It seems an odd position to me that, in an endeavor where the main activity is describing things (what your character is doing, what the world is like, what is going on) someone can take the position that the quality of presentation of that description is pretty much irrelevant. . . . It's a reasonable position to say that the content is MORE important than the delivery, sure. But saying that it is unimportant doesn't seem terribly reasonable.
I've been idly following this thread and, although I don't wholly agree with the premise that RPGs are not literary, it doesn't seem to me that [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] is denying that delivery has an important role to play. He's simply demoting it from first place. Here are a few quotes from posts that I recall:
I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise on the player side - thespianism is (in my view) secondary, whereas engaging the fiction from the position/perspective of the character is absolutely central.
The player is invited to adopt the perspective of the PC, and from that perspective to make a choice. This is a completely different form of engagement. . . . My view is that when we think about things from the point of view of RPGing, this common invitation to engagement is much more important than the issue of which has more literary merit.
A GM who can't control his/her words at all is going to have trouble wrapping up a scene, or cutting to the next situation, in a smooth way; but I think the threshold of skill to be able to do this falls well short of being able to write an evocative opening or closing line.
I'll finish this post by saying that, in denying that RPGing is a *literary* endeavour I'm not denying that it has an important aesthetic component. But I think that the aesthetic component is much more connected to a sense of motion and drama in human affairs, than to a sense of beauty in composition or performance.
None of this suggests that the quality of presentation is "pretty much irrelevant."
I have continued following this discussion partly because I'm intrigued by the assertion that [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] makes about advising people new to RPGs:
If a new(-ish) GM asked me what is the one thing to do to make his/her game better, I would recommend working on managing framing and consequences to maintain player engagement, rather than (say) working on the portrayal/characterisation of NPCs.
As someone who spends a fair amount of time teaching people how to play RPGs (adults and K-12 kids), I'm always looking for ways to get to the heart of the art form. Right now, I still can't quite wrap my head around what "working on managing framing and consequences" looks like at a beginner's table.