Why are D&D discussions so angry? - Page 18





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  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by big dummy
    True, but the subject at hand makes all the difference. With all due respect, if you are completely opposed to even the possibility of progress on principle, then you are exactly what you described above, at best.
    Of course, you insult everyone who disagrees with you when doing so, and now you do again. I don't think it is surprising that your posts draw lots of angry responses.

    With all due respect, you are completely missing my point. It doesn't matter what the specific remedy is because I'm not advocating a specific remedy. In this case I am ONLY talking about the possibility of reform, period.
    Which makes your statement basically navel gazing and pointless. Saying "reform" without saying what needs reform and why is a worthless statement. You need a direction to aim at, and without that,. you can yell all you want about how things need to change and you won't find anyone who agrees with you.

    But the issue at hand is simply the discussion of reform, in the abstract. The baby analogy everyone had trouble with was about that specific issue. I gather definitive statements are not welcome here, but some thigns are definitive. D&D is a game. There I said it. D&D has had more than one version. I said that too. No if ands or butts. Sorry.
    And? You talk about "reform" like it is some sort of goal in and of itself. Talking about things "in the abstract" is about as useful and productive an activity as wrestling with your own shadow. Reform is something that needs to be directed towards a goal.

    Again, totally irrelevent to the concept of reforming D&D. It will change. And it will change in the fairly near future, unless bird flu wipes us out or something. You can't escape it. So since we know it will change, it makes sense to discuss how we might best like it to change, even what aspects we feel are most important to keep as-is.
    And? Does it have to change? Unless the change is directed at doing something specific, I'm not sure why one would want to change things. Unless you are actually talking about a change for a reason, then no, we don't have to accept that change is inevitable. Change without purpose or direction gives poor results, and usually hinders more than it helps. Until you define the purpose of your proposed reform, then talking about reform in the abstract is not productive.

    a very poor analogy because nobody owns it, it hasn't changed substantially in centuries, is about 1000 times simpler than D&D, and works perfectly. Are you suggesting then that you believe D&D is in roughly the same design state as chess? That would explain a lot...
    I'm suggesting that D&D is analagous to Chess in this regard: it provides a certain type of play experience. If you want a different type of play experience, it may not be the most useful endeavor to try to alter D&D, so much as it might be to find a game system that already delivers the game experience you want.

    (And how about, instead of chess, you substitue the game Sorry. Same result.)
    I don't know if I would consider being smashed into a pulp by a giant mace to be a "good result".

 

  • #172
    What? Me Worry?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    pugnacious
    I was trying to figure out a way to use "pugilistic" and "pusillanimous" in such a way as to play off this word, but just couldn't do it.
    "Illegitimis non carborundum." - General Joseph Stilwell

  • #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    {recent throwing in of 'with all due respect' not withstanding. For those of us in the military..that phrase has its own special undertone }
    And those of us who have been in the military know how well that phrase works in actual practice. Generally, its maximum effective range is 0.0 meters. It reminds me of a student in my class this last year who once opened with, "Mr. Chance, I don't want to sound rude, but...."

    I cut her off right there. "If you don't want to sound rude, then don't. If that means you've got nothing left to say, then you've got nothing to say."

    Amazingly, she had nothing to say.

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  • #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by big dummy
    But the truth is from an objective point of view it does seem abnormal and frankly sterotypical. It's jarring to see such apparently intelligent people, often so literate in their posts, completly in a frenzy over some incomprehensible, trivial or blatantly illogical reason like say, the simle notion of discussion any kind of general change in the game, or the very existence of a 4th edition!!!
    "!!!" seems a bit of an overreaction to me. I will join the others in pointing out that it's not an objective point of view at all; it's your point of view.

    Frankly, it doesn't seem the least bit abnormal to me. Soccer fans will actually riot over their games, and two great physicists of the 20th century wrote thier greatest papers as a pair, and broke up over who should have their name first on the paper. People have got killed over what seem to me to be trivial differences in fundamentally the same religious beliefs. Goedel's first words upon meeting another mathematian was "I know of your work and consider it harmful", over an issue that would be incomprehensible to most people with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Concerns about things that others would consider trivial or incomprehensible seem part of the human condition.

    Arguments on a message board getting heated seems relatively calm and subnormal.

  • #175
    Saying "with all due respect" a bunch of times and then following it up with a snide insult pretty much guarantees that everyone figures out just how much respect you think they're due too. In other words, you've just rendered any polite gestures irrelevant.

    This is all good stuff to know when writing memos in your professional life too, because if people start thinking that "Bill can't talk with people without crapping into their ears with his opinions" even a little bit they're more likely to put you in basement with the stapler so you don't have a chance to chat it up with potential customers and their bosses. Again, it's possible that some people are alpha (fe)males, work in constructuion/plumping/mercenary work in Angola where straight talk is the norm and appreciated, and/or are so critical to the well oiled machine of the company or organization they're involved in that they can get away with saying whatever they want however they'd offer to say it. For the rest of us mere mortals, and likely those candidates too though, our communication and reception of news is improved by tact, humor, and the honest recognition of the validity and good faith of the viewpoints of those around us no matter much we think the rest of the world is off its rocker and wrong. No one is a perfect communicator all the time I think, but everyone should strive to be one.

    I'm going to knock out a few rules of thumb again, of do's and don'ts:

    1. Don't tell something they don't want to hear without telling them something they do.

    2. Don't tell people what their position is, unless you cage such in an unassailable fortress of qualifiers. "I'm not trying to tell you what your position is under any circumstance, but here is what I think I'm hearing you say you think..."

    3. In using the hierarchy of judgments one can make while communicating, do make proposals first, observations second, value judgements third, and assumptions last or not at all. Proposals are usually well received, or at least considered. Observations are often subjective as are values. Assumptions, even assumptions indicated by observation or value judgments, only lead to pain, suffering, and woe. Even if you must lean on observations and value judgments in a discussion it's best to constantly remind the audience that you're aware of the nature of what you're doing.

    4. Do be warm, friendly, knowledgeable and creative. Don't be pompous, patronizing, closed-minded, and vague.

    5. Do understand the nature of the replies from your audience. Replies have several formats, but there are a few that need to be considered: "Do you know something I don't, and need to?", "Can I trust you?", "Do you make me comfortable?", "Are you reasonable?", "Who/what do you represent?", "What's in this discussion for me?" Just because these questions seem confrontation doesn't mean they are. They're normal things of any formatted behavior. Note the first three though - they're the ones you lose automatically by being rude, condescending, patronizing, etc. They're also the most important ones, because they're the ones that determine if people will listen long enough to get to the rest of them sometimes.

    6.Do focus on behavior rather than people. Don't single people out, even groups of people out, unless you're fully intending to be confrontational. Singling people and groups out makes your hair fall out, causes shingles, and leads to loose bowels. Don't do it unless you're scrapping for a fight or you're positive the people under discussion aren't there. That still doesn't make it the right thing to do, but at least if you know you're going in to tick off a whole bunch of people, or one specific person, you can't complain and feel put upon when you get slugged in the guts verbally for a few days.

    7. Do be humble. You are not a unique snowflake. You could be truly cast in gold in the frame of Superman, blessed with the intellect to pound Stephen Hawking into the dirt with your mighty brain. You could have fought your way through the tunnels in Vietnam with a comb and your twentieth level super-duper black belt in hot-sexy-GI-do. You don't know everything about everything. No one should be expected to care about your opinions or observations. No one should automatically respect you over the internet just because you made out with supermodels. There is nothing you have ever said or done outside the context of the discussion at hand, unless it was specifically with the people at hand, that is relevant whatsoever. Even if you have specifically relevant knowledge, that doesn't automatically trump individual opinion or insight. It's the internet, and the only thing you really are is what you convince people to see you as. Even the folks that designed 3E get sniped occasionally; sometimes with good reasons, sometimes for not so good reasons. The grace with which you accept challenges to your ideas is a vital part of how people interpret you.
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  • #176
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    big dummy,

    When speaking about fact, perhaps rather than using a loaded term such as "reform" - having a connotation of changing to something better - I think a more neutral term (at least in this context ) such as "evolution" or even just "change" might be more appropriate. There is a more neutral value judgment involved in such terms and so you will be less likely to offend or convey a polarised tone. This is not "softening" or "sugar-coating" as some have called it, it is more the respect, civility and manners expected upon this forum.

    However, if this is precisely your purpose and you are saying what you mean then your tone will most likely be perceived by other forum members as adversarial, aggressive, disrespectful or just plain rude. In such a situation, what do you think will happen to your thread? In general it is far better to actually give the "due respect" you mentioned earlier and thus promote a discussion rather than an argument.

    The world is a big place and the command of the english language diverse. Sometimes it is difficult for some to see how their words may be perceived by others. This is why the "not ascribing motives" to other posts is such a good rule of thumb.

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  • #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Chance
    And those of us who have been in the military know how well that phrase works in actual practice. Generally, its maximum effective range is 0.0 meters. It reminds me of a student in my class this last year who once opened with, "Mr. Chance, I don't want to sound rude, but...."

    I cut her off right there. "If you don't want to sound rude, then don't. If that means you've got nothing left to say, then you've got nothing to say."

    Amazingly, she had nothing to say.

    My brother and I always joke about phrases like that. The ones that mean the exact opposite of what you are saying. Another one I hear all of the time, unfortunately, at work is 'I'm not predjudiced, but...' Guess what? If you have to say that, you probably are.
    Last edited by Starman; Wednesday, 7th June, 2006 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Argh. Grammar.
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  • #178
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    You were doing so well -- and then you slipped in the snide insult. This sort of jab is a major impediment to trying to have a discussion about an interesting topic; it distracts from the topic at hand, and instead focuses people on thinking that the person who said it is being inappropriately rude. Your point about chess would have had much more weight if you'd just left off the last sentence.

    You want to discuss change in D&D? It's not too hard. Just don't insult people.

    Ultimately, the only person we're each responsible for on these boards is ourselves. That's why self-moderation is so important.

    To everyone: If you're a poster who finds that most threads you participate in break down into fights, it's quite possible that you're feeding that pattern. Breaking away from your pugnacious tendencies and being deliberately non-aggressive can really help in those cases. If you aren't trying to prove something, arguments usually don't occur.

    So you are supposed to have the patience of Ghandi i guess. It's asking for a lot piratecat.

    I've addressed this .... seemingly off topic.... seeemingly intentionally off topic thing about the bloody baby, and the (whether intentionally or not) switcharoo between the idea of reform in general vs. my alleged specific ideas several times, and people keep throwing it in my face. And I'm the one who is wrong for getting just the slightest bit sarcastic?

    I do notice a pattern: what tends to really push my buttons is when people stubbornly keep pushing a thread off topic, usually by making what seem to be extremely basic mistakes in interpreting what I've said repeatedly and then sticking to it like tar, while trying to pick one of these fights over semantics. Shouldn't they be taken to task for this by the moderators? Isn't there at least supposed to be some kind of effort to keep things on topic?

    BD
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  • #179
    Quote Originally Posted by Primitive Screwhead
    Big Dummy, Debating the general issues of 'reform' is a moot point. The only constants in life are change and death {which itself is a form of change}

    When you start a thread debating the merits of 'reform' you must speak in specifics. These specifics are the points where disagreements are made and opinions created.
    I think this is where the problem is. You are apparently never allowed to have any kind of discussion of general reform of D&D. You can of course address highly specific problems such as with this or that spell or this or that feat, especially if they are deemed to be balance problems. If you are discussing something a bit more broad, you will be shouted down and / or your thread will be attacked by kamikaze flamers / baiters.

    Are definitive statements wrong-fun and need to be avoided? No.
    However, stating opinions as definitive fact does need to be avoided as this leads to arguments.
    If I've done that, please show me where.

    Re-read this thread with an eye towards the tone of the posts.. and the places where posted have turned an opinion into fact or made an assumption that broad stroke generalizes. {eg "if you are completely opposed to even the possibility of progress on principle" .... an assumption that opposition to a thread or two translates to complete opposition despite a healthy and long running practice of discussing change in a number of forums here}
    I re-read the thread and I've lurked here and occasionally participated for nearly 7 years (and yes to colonel mustard or whoever I did have anothr name pre-katrina). When I re-read the thread I notice 4 consistent reactions:

    1) People who are polite but frame their answers in terms of general forum etiquette rules and do not recognize any particular problem with ENworld or with D&D forums.

    2) People who agree with me and have some very insightful if depressing answers as to why things are getting the way they are.

    3) People who disagree with me and want me to believe that I am the problem (sometimes overlapping a bit with #1)

    4) People who are just playing around.

    I respect the #1 and have heard enough of #2 to be encouraging and make it worth while to have started the thread. #4 is no problem. (and I don't mind being called 'dummy' in the least) As for #3, I can't say what I think about them because forum etiquette prevents me, but they are hardly unexpected.

    I'd sincerely suggest that you re-read the thread yourself and instead of only seeing the 1s and 3s, notice the #2s as well. They are pretty insightful IMO.

    {recent throwing in of 'with all due respect' not withstanding. For those of us in the military..that phrase has its own special undertone }
    Yeah surprised that shows through. I've been out for 15 years.

    BD
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  • #180
    Quote Originally Posted by big dummy

    I do notice a pattern: what tends to really push my buttons is when people stubbornly keep pushing a thread off topic, usually by making what seem to be extremely basic mistakes in interpreting what I've said repeatedly and then sticking to it like tar, while trying to pick one of these fights over semantics. Shouldn't they be taken to task for this by the moderators? Isn't there at least supposed to be some kind of effort to keep things on topic?

    BD
    Now, in my expericne there are more than a few posters who indeed do this, and seem to delight in bringing up unsolveable arguments (or at least ongoing) into any thread that is even vaguely on that topic (And the worst when it is not) I find that annoying also, expecially when they are one-liners, with no effort to address the core issues ofthe thread.

    But I do not think that is the moderator's job. There are so many threads, so many posts taht I would be very surprised if a moderator could read even 10% of them, without giving up all sembelence of real life. I beleive forums or discussion boards need to be self moderated, with the moderators skimming off the worst 5-10%, (or more if they are superhuman) of the trouble on the boards.

    Really, Enworld has always struck me as a very good place to discuss D&D. It is easy enough to ignore the posters who try to derail the thread as long as you don't get angry and give them what they want.

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