Let This Be a Sign Unto You

June 10, 2009

Hey, it’s the first thread about the “SG community”, which means that forum’s useful days are numbered (i.e. things have gotten so strained that folks stop ignoring it and start talking about it). I’m only somewhat kidding. When the Forge started having umpteen threads about what the Forge was and how to be supportive and etc., that’s when you knew things were pretty much over. Of course, the Forge is still a great place now for specific purposes, but is very different than it was before, so I imagine SG will similarly stick around to fulfill a much smaller niche (direct promotion, perhaps).

My best guess is that we won’t see another forum that serves as a gathering place for all of indie roleplaying. Things are so diverse and fragmented right now that blabbing and design will happen in a dozen different places, only coming together at conventions and meetups. The end of an era? Perhaps, but the beginning of another one as well.

7 Responses to “Let This Be a Sign Unto You”

  1. Guy Shalev Says:

    We’ve had it after a blow-up some 6-7 months ago too.

    And don’t forget the relevant discussions about honesty, and politeness regarding the first iteration of “The New Honesty”.

    It happened before.

  2. John Harper Says:

    Yeah, the doom and gloom seems… a bit premature. Not everything is a trend indicator.

    It’s no big deal. SG is not The Forge. This is a typical SG flare-up which has happened several times, as Guy says. It’ll pass and the forum will continue on as usual.

  3. ColinC Says:

    I’ve had that feeling of impending doom for a few months now, but I think the place will be around for a while yet.

    There’s really two ways any community ends. One is when it ends for the individual. The day someone says “nothing more to gain here, all the good is gone and only noise is left”.

    The other is when it ends for the creators, when they say “I’m done. This is not worth the effort” and shut the place down.

    I think we’ll see it ending for more individuals in the coming days, especially people who have been around for a long time and have other networks of contacts to bounce ideas off of.

    As a lurker there I have the advantage of being able to ignore the noise. Not so easy for someone who is trying to get a point across or make a connection. Sad.

    Of course Andy gets tired of the whole thing and shut it all down, but only he knows when his patience is up. Me, I’d hit the off switch for a week, see what happened afterwards, and go from there.

  4. John Jenskot Says:

    I think these sort of blow ups every few months are one of the reasons Story Games perseveres! It lets the tension out.

  5. Jmstar Says:

    There’s wisdom in that, John. I hope it is true. There seems to be a critical mass at which a site attracts new people, who inject energy and ideas. Many of the “disapora” destinations seem like really insular echo chambers to me, the same people talking to the same people about the same things. S-G suffers from this, too, but there’s always some loon you’ve never met to shake things up a little. I like that.

    That said, I think Andy saying “We’re taking a week off, see ya” would also be healthy. People could re-assess their relationship with the place and maybe some of them wouldn’t miss it and wouldn’t come back.

  6. Guy: Oh yeah, the New Honesty! I guess I had blocked that out of my memory. That was the first time I wanted to throw my hands up and never read SG ever again.

    John H: I wasn’t trying to be doom and gloom, so much as acknowledge a shifting social scene or maybe, moreso, just reflect on my own relationship with SG and other forums (and not really being upfront even with myself about that being what the post was really about). I guess I’m in the process of trying to find fulfillment from the online roleplaying discussion scene and wondering if SG is really where it’s at for me anymore.

    Colin: I agree with your comments completely and may be one of those individual casualties in the sense that I’d really like to stop posted except in very specific threads where I really have something significant to say (which probably should have been my goal all along).

    Jenskot: Maybe, Askani’son. I guess I just feel like each of these blowups alienates me more and more, so that I have a harder time reengaging after each one.

    Jason: I agree to some extent about the insularity of the smaller forums — lord knows I tried to engage at Structured Freedom but it became increasingly clear that my perspective and interests were too different for the conversations there to be really productive — but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I mean, at the Forge and SF and other places, I’ve felt like there weren’t people interested in supporting and helping with the kind of design work that I’m most interested in doing, so I have to find a community elsewhere. I still need to engage with the wider community at different points in the design process as well, but if most of them aren’t interested in the earlier stages of my design / play process, it doesn’t do me much good to try to gain their attention at those stages.

  7. John Jenskot Says:

    I don’t feel satisfied by many of the disapora destinations. They often feel too insular or specific. And hard to find! It would suck for example if I didn’t know this conversation was happening on your blog. I’m sure there are many more I miss.

    I think what I really want is a hub to keep in contact with the people I see at live events such as Recess, Jiffycon, Camp Nerdly, Gencon, Dreamation and more. And a place that draws in people who may not attend those events but are interested in mutualism and sharing. That by no means that people should agree or have similar perspectives. I think that hurts us. But conversely, many of the people that help cause these flare ups are the same people I enjoy interacting with. So far Story Games has been the best fit of what I enjoy.

    Here is the thing, what we have, warts and all, is pretty rare. The fact that we have so many creative people sharing in a typically insular hobby is fantastic. I don’t want to lose that. But I’m happy to see it evolve. But I don’t want the evolution to happen where it just closes down with no concrete follow up plan. And ultimately I don’t think structure can replace individual passion to drive things. Putting structure in place minus those individuals leading the way often leads things to die down after a few weeks or months.

    I really liked Knife Fight. Especially early on. I like that there was structure yet it doesn’t speak to a very narrow group of people. Cultures of Play is also pretty good. I’m not sure why it doesn’t excite me as much as I would like.

    Jonathan, I sometimes get the feeling you don’t think you have a sounding board or that no one listens when you speak. Maybe I’m wrong around that. But if I am right, I think people tend to listen to you more than most. For instance, I really enjoy your blog and the things you share here. I don’t think any of this is a replacement for in person interactions. But I find your contributions valuable and I bet many other people do as well. I doubt most of the people posting to your blog would if they didn’t find what you had to say to be valuable. If I’m off base I apologize.

    In terms of a purely creative community, http://www.werecabbages.com/ might be worth a look at (although much of their interactions happen on their private forums).

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