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RPG» Forums » Community » The Tavern

Subject: Unhelpful patterns in RPGGeek threads that I will try to avoid in the future rss

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Hans Messersmith
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Here are a few things I will try to avoid in future in conversations on RPGGeek, inspired by my earlier not serious but serious Messersmith's Corollary to Godwin's Law. I write this as a reminder to myself. Take it for what you will, I don't expect everyone will agree.

EDITED FOR CLARITY

Pattern #1:

Person says "here is this thing I enjoy that I am trying to make better, could you help?"
* Unhelpful answer: "I don't like that thing, here are the reasons I don't like it."
* Unhelpful answer: "that thing you are doing can't possibly be fun, here is why."

To break this pattern, consider the following:
* Potentially helpful answer: "Here are ways I think you can make it better."
* Potentially helpful answer: "Could you explain why that thing is fun for you? That might help me help you."

Pattern #2

Person says: "here are some mechanics I have been working on, I would like some advice on how to make them better."
* Unhelpful answer: "Your mechanics suck."
* Unhelpful answer: "your mechanics have been done before and have nothing innovative, therefore are not worthy of feedback."

To break this pattern, consider the following:
* Potentially helpful answer: "if understand what you are doing, then here is something that might make them better."
* Potentially helpful answer: "Have you read game X or Y or Z? They do some similar things, if you are not familiar with them they may be useful to you?"
* Potentially helpful answer: "I'm having a hard time understanding elements of your mechanics, because they don't seem to work as intended. Could you explain?"
* Potentially helpful answer: "What is the fun you are trying to have with these mechanics? What are the problems you are trying to solve that other systems don't do?"
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Thanks for this. I continue to be amazed at how great RPGG is as an internet community. BGG is increasingly becoming difficult as it has grown over the years. There are pros and cons to growth of course.

I am all in favor of civility and thinking before I post: "would I say this to a friend face to face?"
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Those are good patterns to avoid. Though personally I consider it a mild success if a thread doesn't wind up as "you are a horrible person for gaming this way".

Actually getting a helpful response on an RPG question...that's right up there with finding bigfoot talking on a working pay phone while riding on a unicorn.
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StormKnight wrote:
Actually getting a helpful response on an RPG question...that's right up there with finding bigfoot talking on a working pay phone while riding on a unicorn.


When it comes to mechanics posted in the design section, I have gotten useful responses frequently. I am at a loss to think of a time when I didn't receive useful help. Of course, I am usually posting something specific.
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Incidentally, Pattern #1 is specifically against the rules over at RPG.net, under the prohibition against "threadcrapping." The instructions to users are: If you reject the fundamental premise of a thread, then the proper response is to ignore the thread.

It's not against the rules here, but I try to keep it in mind for myself, as a useful guidepost.
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Awesome. Aside from the usual suspects, there's also a peculiar type of creature on the internet that's smart, well meaning, and doesn't mean to be a troll but always ends up getting involved in conversations that devolve into madness!

'dysjunct' wrote:
threadcrapping


That's pretty cool. We could probably use that here (all 3 domains).
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skalchemist wrote:
Here are a few things I will try to avoid in future in conversations on RPGGeek, inspired by my earlier not serious but serious Messersmith's Corollary to Godwin's Law. I write this as a reminder to myself. Take it for what you will, I don't expect everyone will agree.

Could you explain why you want to avoid the potentially helpful answers? That might help me understand the purpose of this.

...

Uhh...

...

whistle

...

laugh
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Hans Messersmith
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Paolo Robino wrote:
skalchemist wrote:
Here are a few things I will try to avoid in future in conversations on RPGGeek, inspired by my earlier not serious but serious Messersmith's Corollary to Godwin's Law. I write this as a reminder to myself. Take it for what you will, I don't expect everyone will agree.

Could you explain why you want to avoid the potentially helpful answers? That might help me understand the purpose of this.

...

Uhh...

...

whistle

...

laugh
Hah! Although I think your laugh means you understood the idea in the end, you comment makes me realize I could have structured the whole thing a little better. I've edited the above to make it a little clearer what I am talking about.
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skalchemist wrote:
Hah! Although I think your laugh means you understood the idea in the end, you comment makes me realize I could have structured the whole thing a little better. I've edited the above to make it a little clearer what I am talking about.

Well, the question was honest, but I realized that I could re-word that and make the question just like one of your patterns – hence the laugh. And yes, your edit makes it clearer: prior of that, I was really thinking you was to avoid even the potentially heplful answers (maybe because a bit trite and because potentially helpful is not the same thing as helpful, I was imagining).
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SteamCraft wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Actually getting a helpful response on an RPG question...that's right up there with finding bigfoot talking on a working pay phone while riding on a unicorn.


When it comes to mechanics posted in the design section, I have gotten useful responses frequently. I am at a loss to think of a time when I didn't receive useful help. Of course, I am usually posting something specific.


Also if you want help with a question with some sort of literal, definable answer "What year was this book released in?", "hey, what page are the rules for X on...?", the community is great. If you want conceptual help or are trying to understand something, might as well ask a magic 8 ball as any RPG community.
 
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StormKnight wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Actually getting a helpful response on an RPG question...that's right up there with finding bigfoot talking on a working pay phone while riding on a unicorn.


When it comes to mechanics posted in the design section, I have gotten useful responses frequently. I am at a loss to think of a time when I didn't receive useful help. Of course, I am usually posting something specific.


Also if you want help with a question with some sort of literal, definable answer "What year was this book released in?", "hey, what page are the rules for X on...?", the community is great. If you want conceptual help or are trying to understand something, might as well ask a magic 8 ball as any RPG community.


Not sure what you mean by conceptual help or trying to understand something. Is it something like, in Game X, what is meant by some rule? Or why does a particular system do something?

Just trying to understand the types of things people don't understand, ask for help on, and then don't get (helpful) answers for.
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SteamCraft wrote:
Just trying to understand the types of things people don't understand, ask for help on, and then don't get (helpful) answers for.

As far as I can tell, literally any question that does not have a straight-forward, specific, defined answer.
 
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Hans Messersmith
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StormKnight wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
Just trying to understand the types of things people don't understand, ask for help on, and then don't get (helpful) answers for.

As far as I can tell, literally any question that does not have a straight-forward, specific, defined answer.
Brian, do you mean:

* people try to be helpful on questions, but end up not being helpful
or
* people don't try to be helpful in the first place

The first is probably insoluble for you. It doesn't match my experience on RPGGeek but that doesn't matter; your experience is your experience.

But the 2nd might have a solution.
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StormKnight wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
Just trying to understand the types of things people don't understand, ask for help on, and then don't get (helpful) answers for.

As far as I can tell, literally any question that does not have a straight-forward, specific, defined answer.

I am going to venture a guess that your complaint has to do with the variety of responses? As has been noted often throughout the Geek, there are as many opinions as there are games. The result of this is that someone asks a question, recieves answers, then has to rephrase their question in an attempt to narrow the responses, and sometimes that process repeats a few times. My solution is to try to be as verbose as reasonable in my initial question, narrowing the parameters as much as I can think of, maybe include a few examples.
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StormKnight wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
Just trying to understand the types of things people don't understand, ask for help on, and then don't get (helpful) answers for.

As far as I can tell, literally any question that does not have a straight-forward, specific, defined answer.


Could you provide an example? I think this would also address what Hans is asking. We are trying to pin down the disconnect that you are experiencing. For my part, I am wanting to see if I am disagreeing with you on responses not being helpful, I am not looking at the same posts your are, or what is being asked isn't something interesting enough for my mind to have grasped on to.
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Sorry, didn't mean to derail. Just a basic observation on questions about RPGs.
 
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StormKnight wrote:
Sorry, didn't mean to derail. Just a basic observation on questions about RPGs.


If you're holding back out of politeness, it's appreciated but I guarantee the people in this thread have thick skins!

Dialogue is good.

I was listening to a podcast this morning [not really relevant to this discussion but in case anyone's interested it was an episode of Criminal] and it reminded me that a lot of people on the internet (or in electronic communications in general that's not face-to-face) misinterpret each other.

Probably 75-100% chance it's just a misunderstanding.
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USP45 wrote:
misinterpret each other.

Probably 75-100% chance it's just a misunderstanding.


Not sure where you are getting these weird figures from, U, you are way off. The figures i hear are around 3/4 or greater. I don't know if you listen to them, but I'll geekmail you a link to a recent podcast i heard.

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BlinkyJOH wrote:
USP45 wrote:
misinterpret each other.

Probably 75-100% chance it's just a misunderstanding.


Not sure where you are getting these weird figures from, U, you are way off. The figures i hear are around 3/4 or greater. I don't know if you listen to them, but I'll geekmail you a link to a recent podcast i heard.


This is funny because I think I am having a misunderstanding. You both seem to be saying that there is a 75% or greater chance of misunderstanding electronic communication, so not sure how one can be way off.

So I think there is some misunderstanding on my part . . .
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SteamCraft wrote:
BlinkyJOH wrote:
USP45 wrote:
misinterpret each other.

Probably 75-100% chance it's just a misunderstanding.


Not sure where you are getting these weird figures from, U, you are way off. The figures i hear are around 3/4 or greater. I don't know if you listen to them, but I'll geekmail you a link to a recent podcast i heard.


This is funny because I think I am having a misunderstanding. You both seem to be saying that there is a 75% or greater chance of misunderstanding electronic communication, so not sure how one can be way off.

So I think there is some misunderstanding on my part . . .


I think that was the point.
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It probably has something to do with 46.3% of statistical references being made up.
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bobcatt wrote:
It probably has something to do with 46.3% of statistical references being made up.


Studies show that number being closer to 96.35633%
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