8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

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8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby Mythmere » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:05 am

For a few days, I've been sort of enthralled by a couple of threads at K&KA, where there was the potential for flashfires, flaming, and all kinds of ways in which the wheels might fall off the thread. ... I think it might be the same syndrome that makes people rubberneck at car crashes, or watch reality TV.

It made me think about what makes a messageboard popular. Don't get me wrong - I like the feel of this messageboard, in that we have lots of different perspectives on RPGs being discussed, without any sort of flaming about editions. That's one major benefit of the fact that S&W is so basic that an infinite number of approaches can be taken to it, from JUST using the basic rules for maximum free-form at the table all the way up to a fairly complex house-ruled system (similar to Arduin, for example, or AD&D).

On the other hand, I definitely wonder if a high level of gentility and politeness actually lowers peoples' interest in a message board..

I'm interested to hear peoples' opinions about this.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby Grim » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:08 am

I disagree and you are a big doody head.

(Did I respond correctly?)

I never fail to get amused at people who actually get upset about gaming. Theres enough games out there to completely avoid the ones you don't like.
I've seen the threads you are referring to and that stuff just isn't important to me at, I'm more concerned with what's happening now even though Nostalgia is fun.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby R. Lawrence Blake » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:16 am

It depends on the type of "interest" you're looking for on your forums. Is the interest in RPGs or personal attacks and name-calling? In some instances popularity ain't so sweet.

The lack of flame throwing on this and GG's forums are a nice relief from the mess on the others I occasionally frequent. 8-)
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby Coleston » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:09 am

"When Geeks Attack"

It is a good question to ponder.

K&K Alehouse prides itself on being a place where thing can be discussed in critical detail in a confrontational atmosphere (but it isn't always like that). I agree that can be a very useful resource and the timid should not offer themselves on the chopping block at that forum unless prepared and critical analysis can also be done effectively in a positive atmosphere too. I think it is true that, from time to time, some folk on that forum use it as an excuse to just be flat-out, mean and hateful. Often at K&K's, it does feel like one really is in a tavern, with people saying and doing things they would normally never do anywhere else. While my experience of that forum has been very good for about 95% of the time (and they do like me more there than many of the folks at Dragonsfoot :) ), I can't help but think that the often hostile atmosphere there may have done more to dampen the revival of AD&D or even OSRIC than it has to help it.

As I have said before, much about the OSR revolves around popularity and publicity. These are the "popular people" - the bloggers, publishers, occasional posters with illuminating insight or even those who are or were connected to the roots of our hobby. I think it is only natural and I don't think is is a problem that people gravitate to them to read what they have to write. It is just the way things are (and may those popular people use their powers for good!).

I am sure that publicity (even bad publicity) can help get more hits on a site and possibly even help sell a few products too. While nearly everyone I know produces OSR material just for the love of doing it, I can easily see how one might try and benefit at someone else expense. I kidded James Edward Raggi once that the two of us should pretend to be feuding in order to get more folks to out sites (kind of like Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell). Don't let James fool you - he's a lovable as a kitten. :)

I find the OSR thriving and growing where folks are invited to be a part of it. For example, Matt, your "Old School Primer" is written in an invitational rather than confrontational style and I think that is the best way to introduce and re-introduce old-school gaming to new and old gamers. Yeah, flame wars will attract attention and maybe sell a few more products, but in the end I don't think they will be helpful to the OSR at all.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby bat » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:36 pm

I avoid K&KA, Dragonsfoot and RPG.net as I find more interesting places to be and better ways to kill time on this planet. I don't have anything against any of the people whatsoever, I just am not interested in the battles, squabbles and one-upmanship. Pick a game, play it, have fun. That is all there is to all of this, everything else is just detail.

Although I must admit that the motivational rpg posters on RPG.net can be amusing.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby ragnorakk » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:47 pm

Things have been a little quiet around here, sure, but I really relish the humor and rationality of this board. And the same goes for K&K - it's the constructive conversations on that board that are really most meaningful to me. There's a place for critique and criticism and (*gasp*) honesty and opinion here - but yeah, I think that the nature of this board may deflect some of the more strident partisanism found elsewhere. Same thing (more or less) on Vin's Trollbridge - a bunch of people who are generally happy with the game as it is do not often generate vicious tirades and rampaging attacks.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby The Red Priest » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:20 pm

Boards are like bars; there are different expectations of social propriety from one to the other. My eyes don't see a correlation between polite and popular. Take Enworld .. please. ;) Really, take Enworld as an example. It's not a place that is particularly polite, but it is wildly popular.

Around here, there's a serious focus on development, and that means work. This is not the emphasis of most boards. Sure, all these other boards talk about gaming, but none of them do anything about it. Okay, that's a joke folks, don't get your panties in a wad. Really though, not everyone here is focused on work for print; maybe they're just working on their own home game, but many, if not most folks, are doing gaming work. That's a greater commitment than just chatting about gaming, and so maybe the volume and traffic will then necessarily be lower here.

K&KA is the place to go for Talmudic level discussion of AD&D. Of course, it's practiced as a full contact sport, and it doesn't hurt if, at times, your pads are made of asbestos. To me, K&KA is The Dungeon, and I'll act accordingly. Don't poo poo the idea of hanging out in a place where you can really let your hair down. Sure it gets out of hand at times, but there are bouncers (mods) to take care of the worst of it. K&KA also seems to be self correcting, if you stick around long enough to catch that.

S&W is more like The Sazerac. A nice place where you can talk at a low to moderate level (polite if you will) and conduct business.

Me? I'll be snarky in any establishment. I only change the volume accordingly. ;)
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby Jason Coplen » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:30 pm

Go eff yourself! :lol:

Boards are all odd. I have no good reason for why any flourish, although rpg.net can die for all I care. It's way too political for a gaming board.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby RandallS » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:40 pm

Mythmere wrote:On the other hand, I definitely wonder if a high level of gentility and politeness actually lowers peoples' interest in a message board.

While nastiness and heated debates can produce lots of message activity, the end result of such areas is usually that you drive all the less aggressive/more sensitive to nastiness posters and potential posters away. Some people thrive on a highly aggressive message board, but many people just shut up and lurk if the board provides them with useful info or just go away if the nastiness outweighs the usefulness in their opinion. This doesn't mean that you can't have debate and discussion (even somewhat heated discussion at times), just that name-calling, personal attacks, and rudeness need to be forbidden if you want more than the most aggressive posters to participate.
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Re: 8/11/09 Politeness and Popularity...

Postby Arminath » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:35 am

I like boards like this due to the low-conflict driven membership. It's a place where ideas can be discussed and disagreed with without a major flame war burning people out or opinions can be asked for and given in a civil manner. Lots of ideas and projects come from places like this where members are more real with their opinions and more forthcoming with their ideas to share. DF and KnK have alot of members, but you only see a vocal minority ever posting...and shooting down a new person's ideas if they don't jibe with their 'right' way of gaming...some places have huge membership numbers, but alot of them were 1 and done posters due to the friction of other members (I've been one of these members on some boards, chew up my 1st post and I don't bother to return).

Keep it simple, Keep it friendly (or at least civil)!
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