Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The closed nature of the conversation

I have been thinking lately about the way we talk about games. Many have said that the gravity of the conversation in the OSR scene have moved to g+, and away from the blogs. Maybe it's kind of telling that Fight On! Magazine is looking to be dead in the water at the same time.

It used to be that you were talking about games on usenet, or mail lists. Then the web revolution happened, and web forums became the place to talk games. Finally we had the blogs and lately, g+.

There's one thing in common with these first techniques, and something which differ strongly with the last one. Getting on usenet and getting in on the good stuff you just needed to look in the gaming groups. The forums and the mail lists needed you to sign up, but most of them were  easy enough to sign up to. You know how blogs work, don't you?

Here's the deal. In order to get in on the juicy conversations on g+, it's not just enough to go to  web page and click around, maybe traversing the universe one link at a time. No, in g+ you have to know the right people. Add them to your circles, and have them add you back. Also, you need to figure out what the heck that guy whose blog you have been following for two years is actually named! It has become much harder to get in.

I don't think this is a good thing.

In order for a community to be vibrant it has to be easy to get in to, and it has to be welcoming. I have been quite involved in these blog conversations we have been having, and I have found it is not as easy any longer to find the conversation. I don't want to be a total Luddite, but I think you see what I'm saying. Is this progress?

9 comments:

  1. I must confess that G+ holds little attraction for me. I've always enjoyed the conversation that occur on blogs, which are more focused and have less pointless distractions than those on forums. But the conversation comes only after finding an interesting post. Posts on blogs are often meaty, thought-provoking affairs.

    G+ on the other hand seems to me to generally have a lighter conversational style, but sadly those conversations often seem to attract the pointless waffle that over stuffs so many forum threads, making the conversation bloated rather than focused.

    I think too that with a blog, I go looking for an idea and unexpectedly find a conversation. With G+ it's all about going looking for a conversation - and I'm afraid that is not my main motivator.

    As for Fight On!, I'm sure that's just coincidental Andreas. I suspect like most old school publishers the "company" is just one man, and from what I've read on the OD&D Discussion forum that one man has being having personal issues over the last year or so. I don't think G+ is the reason for the lack of new issues of the magazine.

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    1. Sounds like you read like me.

      As for FO! I am sure it is coincidental, but I have seen fairly little talk about how people miss it. I'd expected more of theat, so it felt a little like people were occupied with the new shiny. We'll see I guess.

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  2. I don't have time to keep up with social media with respect to a hobby; I do well to keep up with my family and friends there. At least with blogs and forums I can come along a few weeks or months after the fact and catch up. Doing that on a social networking platform is pretty much a non-starter.

    Fortunately, new tech never really completely overtakes the use of the old. People who go to G+ may just become an echo chamber and find themselves to be less relevant.

    Another concern with G+ is that Google isn't shy about closing down services with scant notice. They're good about letting you get your data out, but given the threaded nature of conversations in social media I suspect a lot of gaming content could be lost in a quarterly product purge at Google. (Of course, there's a slight chance of this happening with Blogger, too, but Google doing away with Blogger is about as likely as doing away with GMail.)

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    1. Interesting point. I don't think they will close down g+, but you never know.

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  3. I think the addition of "Communities" within G+ will open it up a bit more for folks to find people with similar interests. If you go to plus.google.com, click on Communities, then do a search on specific rpg rule sets, and there usually is a single community of a few hundred folks that like the same system you do. I have to say that, flat out, G+ Hangouts have decdupled? (x10) my gaming overall. And that drive to play online has also driven me to seek out further for local players to do face2face with. Conversation wise, I've had a lot more focused conversations on G+ as the people I communicate with there I have circled, and hence find at least non-abrasive and productive in their ability to chat about a topic. And that is in a circle of 1300 people (at least for my own primary rpg circle). I try and add folks, then I only remove if they just continually take a negative attitude on subjects. Anyhow, to each their own. If you have not taken the time to build out your circles in G+, or asking those folks you do have circled to share over their 500+ people they like, I could easily see G+ "looking" rambling ; as you are only seeing public posting.

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    1. The thing is, how do you build your circles?

      I have been looking at some of the "coomunities" on g+, and we'll see how they turn out.

      It was the possibility of Hangouts games that did tempt me the most, yes.

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  4. Both Fight On! and Knockspell haven't put out an issue in a year and a half or so. Not sure what statement that makes, just an observation.

    As for blogs vs. G+ - my single greatest source of traffic for my blog is G+.

    Go figure ;)

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  5. I agree. While I am a member of a bunch of communities, the amount I go on is scant. I much prefer reading blogs, as the blogger tends to have a much stronger and focused point. I've loved the gaming I've done on Hangouts, however.

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  6. Tenkar, one of my popular sources of traffic is some place called www.tenkarstavern.com :)

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