Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Friday, July 26, 2019
Sunday, July 7, 2019
First, if you're somehow reading my blog and aren't already following Evlyn M at Le Chaudron Chromatique, you should be. Her artwork is some of the most beautiful and original on the RPG scene right now, her writing is bursting with fresh ideas, and her work ethic is enviable and inspiring.
Yesterday she published this excellent overview of trans representation in OSR cyberpunk games. I am first deeply appreciative of Evlyn's efforts to contribute an OSR* perspective to the discussion on queer issues on the RPG scene, and secondly really impressed by the rigour with which she carries out her research.
Back in the Days Of G+ there was a discussion of sorts as to whether the scene needed more critical voices. The prevailing position was that no we don't because those might make someone feel Bad** but I maintain that hell yes we do and this is exactly the sort of work I had in mind. I think Evlyn does such a great job at focalizing an important question, surveying the area, analyzing and drawing intelligent conclusions leading to helpful advice - that is, of being critical though not polemical. Hell yes, more of this please, and thank you.
*or whatever we're calling it these days
**This is an oversimplification and possibly a strawman but I'm blogging from my phone so
Monday, June 17, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
click led me to lose an in-progress response multiple paragraphs long. Twice.
I'm mostly on Discord now, lurking on about a dozen servers and active on 3 or 4. The ones I'm active on are small, the largest with members numbering around 100. I do not even lurk the big OSR server because I simply can't keep up. I mention this because those servers are my main point of comparison.
I miss G+ but not as much as I'd expected. Frankly, I'd grown tired with a number of aspects of the platform by the end. The crowdedness of G+ made a constant chore of just keeping the platform bearable, and the conversations I was interested in having seemed mostly to have played out. The conversations that were happening felt increasingly dominated by chatter, or like rehashes of last year's topics. I also felt that the culture on G+ (reinforced by the site's UX design) created an emphasis on "making", whether the thing made was a blog post or a game product or what have you. As my life got busier that pressure felt more limiting as I sought more casual avenues for my hobby. Furthermore, as my interests branched out into other RPGs that weren't D&D, I found my community there increasingly unresponsive and occasionally outright hostile.
The gaming experience on Discord has been refreshing. I was initially drawn to G+ by ConstantCon and the promise of easy access to games on a whim. As far as I can tell, those days were already over by the time I signed up. On Discord I have found games in abundance and varied in kind. Tellingly, after years of intermittent, utterly failed attempts to get a Monsterhearts game going on G+, I managed to wind up running one in Discord almost by accident, and have had to take some creative measures just to keep player numbers under control.
The social experience has been superior, straight up. I spend much less time thinking about who to avoid and how to avoid them. My communities feel more intimate and trusting. What I lose in granularity of control over my social circle I make up for in a sense of conviviality. I've also had some really enjoyable exchanges with people I doubt I'd have ever much engaged with on G+. While the language for relationships on the Internet remains fraught as ever, I do believe I have quickly made friends on Discord.
As a queer person I also want to shout out to a couple servers in particular that have provided what feels like a distinctly queer space for RPGs - something I never would have asked for but am so, so happy to have. This is not to say that G+ was hostile, exactly, but I did always have a sense of speaking to a more mixed group, even in cases where I may not have wanted to. Discord, I suppose, offers a sense of movement between intimacies, rather than shouting from a fixed position.
Discord is not perfect. For all my talk about the shallowness of "the conversation" on G+, on Discord it's downright impossible to have a comparable, extended discussion of a given topic. G+ was good at creating space for an exchange of ideas, decentralized, spread out over time, but connected. Part of the reason a lot of blogs went dormant (including this one) is because it was just easier on G+, and it rendered blogs redundant except as dumping grounds for overlong posts (like this one). Without G+ as a hub, many seem to be returning to their blogs. My RSS feed (I use Inoreader) has done a good enough job of keeping me abreast. "Good enough" feels key here. It's not the same, it's perhaps not as excellent, but I am satisfied.
I'll close this with a quick thought on "the conversation" after G+. If we're returning to blogs, we'll probably find ourselves looking for ways to recreate the sense of continuity and connectivity that generated so much energy in our old home. I think it will be increasingly important to regard blogs as key nodes in a network that extends into a variety of platforms and communities. That means we'll need to be mindful of linking back to other posts, and helping our readers follow the conversations we're taking part in.
To answer Patrick's question: Do I miss G+? Sure, of course I do. Rest in peace. Thank god it's gone.
Friday, March 1, 2019
|Max Ernst, Europe After the Rain II, c. 1940 - 1942|