Saturday, 2 May 2009

Of T'internet and Stuff

Things will be slow on the blog for a bit. I have a heck of a lot to do, and am procrastinating far too much. As my rpg-related online activities are part of the procrastination process, I have to curtail them a little bit. The advantage of this is that I won't waste nearly as much time reading what utter nitwits say on, and becoming annoyed. This in turn will be good for my blood pressure.

It's a source of great frustration to me that (probably) the biggest rpg-related site on the internet can be such a hostile, snide and arrogant place. I'm sure it serves as a barrier to entry to the hobby, in some respects - how many newcomers have looked around the internet for information, stumbled across that hive of scum and villainy, and decided gaming is not for them? In any case all the backbiting certainly drowns out the genuine interesting discussion that does go on.

Anyway, there's a guy who I see every morning on the train, on the way to the office. He's fat, bearded, bespectacled, and always walks around with a rucksack slung over one shoulder. I don't think he has a job, because he only ever wears t-shirts with superhero type characters on the front, and slovenly-looking jeans. He looks rather like the comic shop owner bloke from The Simpsons. For ages I've had him pegged as a gamer, and I was gratified yesterday that when he reached into his rucksack to get out a bottle of water I was able to catch a glimpse of rulebooks hidden inside - like a stash of heroin or something.

Slightly unexpectedly, the one on top was Amber Diceless.


  1. Places like and enworld do serve a useful function; they corral all the headbangers, spitemongers and single-issue belmers in an single area.

    It's just a shame that good stuff like the 'city built round the Tarrasque' thread (a personal mental touchstone of mine) disappears under reams of GNS guff and game choice cliqueyness.

  2. Hey, I dress like that!

    Well, more cleanly.

    But then, I have the excuse of being a high school student (at least until next week) who has no money in the first place.

  3. I only recently got back into the hobby a year or so back, and one of the first things I did was sign up at, as I thought joining a community would be a good start, but I was quickly turned off by how... superior everyone is over there.

    I much prefer the blogs now, as they seem to be much more creative and positive. I want to read about people's ideas for upcoming games, how those games went, or just thoughts on their corner of the hobby.

  4. Third tier all the way.

    I think I used to see this guy's soul-mate on my morning bus ride. Spheroid goth-gone-to-seed girl with a Hellsing (the anime) shoulder bag. My suspicions were similarly confirmed when she pulled out a White Wolf hardback one day.

  5. It's funny, because I found this site through RPGnet.

    (Although I must confess that I am usually on the off-topic boards and don't venture over to TTO or d20 all that much!)

    I guess it's just a case of YMMV; I've usually found 2 or 3 good discussions for every wankfest thread that shows up. The trick is realizing it's a wankfest and not reading through all of it. :)

  6. I spread some blame to the web BB format which is so $#@! prevalent. All that avatar/.sig/cruft makes each post -- no matter how short and vapid -- take up a large amount of screen space. Worse is the breaking up of each thread into pages, which a) chops up the flow of conversation horribly, b) makes it impossible to scan a thread visually or use browser search to find stuff and c) requires more clicks and effort to read which is DEATH when trying to scroll past a derail. d) Comments get "orphaned" if they appear late on a page right before a new page starts. e) Too many people skip threads that look long because they're too painful to read or just jump to the end and post shit that's been talked about before. f) And because web BB's don't seem to have a think you can click that is "zoom to the next comment after the last one I read" you need notification spam. g) And since previous posts are likely off page, quoting is more common chewing up more screen space unnecessarily.

    All in all it's a sucky, horrible way to present a discussion. The other day I wanted to review the Tim Kask thread on dragonsfoot where he spews bile at Arneson, and holy hell, what a chore.

    RPGnet has its own problems, but for me the web BB format makes good topics inconvenient and moderately annoying topics completely unbearable.


  7. It'd be nice if RPGNet was friendlier, but I doubt it's all that unusual for a forum it's size. There's a reason I've switched over to blogging. Even in a relatively quiet forum, the procedural issues frustrate me. Though forums do seem to have a symbiotic relationship with the blog-o-spheres on related topics, so it's good that there's an active set of RPG forums out there.

  8. Well, never went to, and after reading all this, think I'll spare myself the "pleasure."

  9. re: Chris

    Holy crap, that thread about Tarrasques is amazing. I had no idea that the forums could be good for anything other than trolling.

  10. It is an 'unfortunate' fact that Forums seem to be the place where people enjoy being rude and unpleasant.

    Its a place to bait and hide, and an eve better place to gang up on people that have differing opinions to the majority - its a last bastion of bigotry tbh.

    kelvingreen made a great point, Blogs are much better - as they belong to each individual rather than being subject to the 'schoolyard' mentality, and as such generally encourage more civilized behaviour (or maybe the Trolls aren't capable of reading and digesting large amounts of information and stay away).

    Great BLOG btw, Keep up the Good Work - Drew

  11. Chris: That's the thing - there are some really great threads there. Another favourite was an old thread which contemplated a setting in which the mechanical assumptions of D&D were taken to their logical conclusions. And I love my own pet project there, which is the only reason I keep going back.

    Rach: Yeah, this guy is pushing 30, so he has less of an excuse.

    Kelvin: Funny how blogs are so much more convivial. I think it's because when you comment on somebody's blog it's as if you're on their turf, and it would be a faux pas to be unseemly or rude there.

    Sirlarkins: I wonder where I fit on that tier system. Probably in the second, but I like to think that I'd be in the first.

    Allandaros: I barely ever stray from the d20 threads - if anything the superiority and nerdspeak is actually somewhat diluted there. Only somewhat, though.

    K. Bailey: You're right, and I wonder if forums will begin to die as blogging grows in popularity?

    Odyssey: I do think some very interesting and creative discussion goes on at those places. I just hate having to put up with all the irksome geeks who go along with it. I reserve a special place in hell for the moderators, in particular.

    Underminer: Good for you. is much better. Still plenty of aggro, but it's a bit more open, and you actually get people talking about games, rather than theory bullshit.

    pitycrit: Trawl through for a while and you'll come across some hidden gems, trust me.

    Drew: an even better place to gang up on people that have differing opinions to the majorityI think that's definitely the worst tendency of such places. The dogpiling that goes on is utterly absurd. This is one of the my biggest complaints about - the moderators do nothing to stop it and actively join in on the lynchmob when somebody goes against the recieved wisdom of the majority. But when one of the minority steps out of line - wham! A moderator warns or bans them. And yet they're completely blind to it and believe themselves to be unbiased.

  12. Wow, I run one of the largest play-by-post forums (RolePlayGateway) and this is some amazing insight!

    Blogs really have gotten in right, and the BBs have struggled to catch up with the times. They're a lot less social than they should be, and as highlighted by the commenters, there's a wide plethora of problems associated with them.

    As an owner of a board, what would you guys want to see? I really like the idea that threads should be all one big page - but I'm a little cautious about making the page sizes so large that it takes more than a few seconds to download.

    If you're interested in sitting down and talking about what could be done to improve forums, I'd love to have a conversation!

  13. The biggest issue for me is manners, though I am not an aggressive man by any means if I was 'confronted' by an individual with the attitudes and sheer boorishness I have read on some Forums I really would be tempted to knock him on his ass.

    Plus the outright herd mentality (something alas I really don't think can be eliminated) vs new guys and people who's opinions may differ from the herd is downright off putting.

    However, I really do think that Forums mirror the real world now. And such things show the individuals inability to communicate in a clear and civilized manner.

    I may watch and read Forums, but I (for one) never take part in them.

  14. Ironically, I think it's the fact that has such a strict moderation policy that encourages a lot of the problem. Instead of just having a blowout or taking a position, people try to cleverly, snidely, and passive aggressively attack others and get them to mouth off at the wrong moment and be banned.

    I find the d20 and Roleplaying Open forums tolerable. Tangency is just awful, end of story.

  15. A lot of people have issue with Tangents, I LOVE THEM!

    They often lead to great ideas!

  16. Martindale: I'm really not sure if it's a problem with the format of forums so much as it is with the people who go there. Unfortunately that makes the problem even more difficult to fix...

    Drew: The utter rudeness of some people and the snide nerdspeak is a big problem for me too. I used to try to see through it, but now I just think, "Life's too short."

    Solomon: I agree 100%. I also hate the weird cheerleading thing that goes on, where a mod bans somebody and then posts about it in the Trouble Ticket forum... whereupon a hundred sycophants appear from out of the woodwork and start praising the mod to the heavens and guttersniping at the person who got banned. It's a sad state of affairs.

  17. @ noisms - quite rightly so, why bother with people who can't even chat in a pleasant and civilized manner.

    People generally put up with too much 'crap' on the net, you wouldn't in the real world - so why do they online!