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Frenth Alunril
2013-12-11, 10:25 AM
Short version: have a problem player? Be analytical, find the problem, address it clearly. If it doesn't work, give them the boot.

Long version: Our social paradigm creates a passive/aggressive assumption that membership is irrevocable. This assumption causes certain personalities to act out in classic ways. The people they affect with their acting out feel trapped in a relationship and start to agonize over who is wrong and how to fix the problem. This quickly turns into a classic abusive relationship: one party feels free to act out, misbehave, degrade, insult, and generally make demands of the other party who wants nothing more than to placate the first party in hopes of continuing the relationship.

Often, the case is a Game Master whose "friend" plays only game braking characters, but that isn't to say it's not sometimes the other way around.

In these cases, the abusive party often uses classic passive/aggressive statements and tactics. Examples;

Shifting the blame: It's true, I did it, but I wouldn't have if you made it clear not to.
Mixing modes: I don't mean any disrespect, but you are not only wrong, you are stupid and ugly too. I'm sorry, it's your fault.
Twisting logic: I said I wouldn't do it, and I did it, but I said I wouldn't, so I didn't.

There are more deceptive ways of this behavior, my irrational favorite is, "you always have to be right, don't you." As if I should feel some kind of shame for taking enough care to be right. But that is neither here nor there.

The point is, if someone is abusing you, leave them. Make it clear, be a rational, accurate and professional adult. Tell them they are no longer welcome.

The trick is, you must do it with consensus in a group, and this can be a hard thing to achieve based on our paradigm. You must make the case, quite simply, logically, and without emotion. And then, with consensus, move forward on removing the trouble maker.

...

The reason I am sharing this advice is, my group just did this. I made the case over a year ago to remove a passive/aggressive personality. At the time I was passionate about it. It failed miserably. Then recently the person missed a game and we all had great fun. The conversation was re-initiated, and this time I stayed professional. Consensus was reached, the party member ejected, and we have had fun since.

We did lose one other player in the exchange, but those are the prices of fun, enjoyable role play, and I will pay them again and again.

What are your experiences, opinions, advises and anecdotes on this matter?

Airk
2013-12-11, 10:43 AM
Yeah. It's important to first be aware of the Geek Social Fallacies (http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) because, frankly, a lot of us in this hobby aren't here for our excellent social skills.

Being aware of the 'fallacies' means you can better recognize problem behavior for what it is and take appropriate action to correct the problem. This doesn't always mean booting a player, but it can.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-11, 10:48 AM
Yeah. It's important to first be aware of the Geek Social Fallacies (http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) because, frankly, a lot of us in this hobby aren't here for our excellent social skills.

Being aware of the 'fallacies' means you can better recognize problem behavior for what it is and take appropriate action to correct the problem. This doesn't always mean booting a player, but it can.

That link is priceless! Thanks, sending this to a friend of mine can totally use it!

PhallicWarrior
2013-12-11, 11:34 AM
I concur. After three games destroyed by that one powergamer who just. Did. Not. GET. That my campaigns weren't meant for that kind of rules abuse, I had to kick him. No passive aggression, no beating around the bush, just a simple statement:

"I'm sorry, but your play style is completely incompatible with my group and you've proven yourself incapable of playing any other way. There are other groups in our club; join one of them."

The Blackbird
2013-12-11, 11:46 AM
My own group had a similar problem over the last year. The person we had was actually our lead GM, but was well known for creating partially railroaded scenarios that always subjugated our group to his mercy every encounter. It was pretty clear he had some "Power" related issues, and that is GMing was much more about him than about us as a group.

When he was a player he had similar issues, while he didn't have enough system mastery to be a power gamer or anything game breaking, he was always very passive-aggressive to any situation where he didn't get his way, saying things like, "Well I didn't know we couldn't have *fun* in this game." and other things to try to belittle the GM to get his way.

Unfortunately, it took us a while to remove him from the group, he was a personal friend to us in high school, so ejecting him entirely was difficult, with other issues in life a lot of us felt bad for him and wanted to keep playing with him on account of that. But we did distance ourselves eventually.

Rhynn
2013-12-11, 12:29 PM
Yeah. It's important to first be aware of the Geek Social Fallacies (http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) because, frankly, a lot of us in this hobby aren't here for our excellent social skills.

I was gonna link that after reading the first paragraph in the OP... damn you!

That is some freaking essential reading for nerds and geeks of all stripes, but especially applicable to tabletop RP groups.

I guess all of this is more helpful than the shorter "Sack up!" or the SA-standby "sever sever sever!"...

Just tell all abusers on your life, no matter what context they are in, to http://www.c3airsoft.com/images/smilies/emot-frogout.gif

Amphetryon
2013-12-11, 12:49 PM
There was a long thread at BG a while back titled "Episode 36: Don't Kick People out of your game." It may be worth a look and listen (podcast associated with it) for counterpoints.

SiuiS
2013-12-11, 12:53 PM
Priceless. This is probably going into my signature, on account of ibeing a gosh-darned adult and handling business without malice but also without remorse is what I advocate in all circles.

Rhynn
2013-12-11, 01:00 PM
There was a long thread at BG a while back titled "Episode 36: Don't Kick People out of your game." It may be worth a look and listen (podcast associated with it) for counterpoints.

What's "BG" and what kind of good counterpoints could there possibly be?

Amphetryon
2013-12-11, 01:05 PM
What's "BG" and what kind of good counterpoints could there possibly be?

Brilliantgameologists, the precursor site to minmaxboards, run by the same folks last time I checked.

Shadowknight12
2013-12-11, 01:05 PM
This is excellent advice.

The main problem is that, when I offer this advice to people with problem players, their replies tend to be "But there are no other people who play D&D in my area!" or "But they're my RL friend and I can't kick them out!"

The first excuse always seems very shady to me, given that I highly doubt every single person with a problem player lives in the middle of nowhere and is so completely allergic to play-by-post or play-by-chat or play-by-skype that they absolutely MUST have RL sessions. Most of the time, people who say this don't want to go out to meet new people who share the hobby and go through the trouble of befriending them. They would rather take the devil they know rather than stepping out of their comfort zone and facing new social situations.

The second excuse is related to the Geek Fallacies someone linked above: the idea that geeky people must cherish and value all friendships and bend over backwards for everyone they consider their friends, because that makes them better than those shallow popular kids who reject them. And it doesn't have to be like that. If they're a true friend, they might get angry or hurt, but they will eventually understand. If they don't, then they aren't a friend you want to keep around (and you are under no obligation to maintain an abusive friendship just to avoid feeling like one of the shallow popular kids).

In short, people need to stop making excuses for their abusive friends.

Scow2
2013-12-11, 01:27 PM
This is excellent advice.

The main problem is that, when I offer this advice to people with problem players, their replies tend to be "But there are no other people who play D&D in my area!" or "But they're my RL friend and I can't kick them out!"

The first excuse always seems very shady to me, given that I highly doubt every single person with a problem player lives in the middle of nowhere and is so completely allergic to play-by-post or play-by-chat or play-by-skype that they absolutely MUST have RL sessions. Most of the time, people who say this don't want to go out to meet new people who share the hobby and go through the trouble of befriending them. They would rather take the devil they know rather than stepping out of their comfort zone and facing new social situations.You'd be surprised at just how isolated some people are from other tabletop gamers... and play-by-post/chat/skype tends to be terrible for those who aren't able to get 'into' it (I, of course, can only play-by-chat, because I have severe attention and awareness deficits)... but remote gaming misses out on 75% of the gaming social experience.

SowZ
2013-12-11, 02:03 PM
I don't think I've ever kicked someone out of a game, though I have turned them down to joining new ones I'm starting.

But I would kick someone out as a last resort. Asking someone to change a certain behavior even though you will never boot them for it is a bit like pointing an unloaded gun.

Airk
2013-12-11, 02:05 PM
The second excuse is related to the Geek Fallacies someone linked above: the idea that geeky people must cherish and value all friendships and bend over backwards for everyone they consider their friends, because that makes them better than those shallow popular kids who reject them. And it doesn't have to be like that. If they're a true friend, they might get angry or hurt, but they will eventually understand. If they don't, then they aren't a friend you want to keep around (and you are under no obligation to maintain an abusive friendship just to avoid feeling like one of the shallow popular kids).


Yeah; This one always baffles me. I have a bunch of friends who are really into poker. I am not. I am not offended that I am not invited to their poker nights. Hell, you wouldn't ask a non-gaming friend (you DO have those, right?) to come to your games. So why are you gaming with someone who clearly isn't really interested in playing the same game you want to play? It makes no sense.

SowZ
2013-12-11, 02:12 PM
Yeah; This one always baffles me. I have a bunch of friends who are really into poker. I am not. I am not offended that I am not invited to their poker nights. Hell, you wouldn't ask a non-gaming friend (you DO have those, right?) to come to your games. So why are you gaming with someone who clearly isn't really interested in playing the same game you want to play? It makes no sense.

Shoot, I frequently don't invite people to something I know they'll enjoy not because I don't like them, but because I prefer social groups of six people or so. I can be fine at larger gatherings, but it isn't my first choice.

TheThan
2013-12-11, 02:59 PM
Yeah , Iím pretty much in agreement with this.

Though it extends to disruptive activities besides power gaming. Though if you know that a person is disruptive, why invite them to join?

I have several friends that are really competitive power gamers, I donít invite them to my games. Do they still play dnd? Yes, are they still my friends? Yes, but I donít DM for them because I donít want to DM in that sort of an environment.

If talking to them to sort out the problem doesnít work, then itís just going to get worse until you have to kick them anyway. Sometimes its best to do it first and avoid the grief they put you and the others at the table through.

Thereís at least one thread a week concerning a disruptive player. I find it amazing and somewhat appalls me that there are so many people who ruin games, whether they intend to or not.

Scow2
2013-12-11, 03:37 PM
What's "BG" and what kind of good counterpoints could there possibly be?
From what I saw of the thread (I never saw the podcast), BG was largely griping about getting kicked out of past games - maybe a reaction against groups that tried to resolve player conflict with Booting as a first instead of Last resort.

The rest of it was nonsense and perpetuating Geek Social Fallacies:
- If you kick someone from your game, it means you don't like them, and you're no longer friends
- If you believe that playstyles don't match, you inherently believe everyone who's differ from your are wrong, and you want to kick them not because you acknowledge they have different playstyles, but because they're doing it "wrong" (And your ending your friendship simply because your former friend can't pretend to be a dwarf 'right')

And... urg...

kyoryu
2013-12-11, 07:10 PM
I think booting is a last resort. But it's still an option when other options fail.

If somebody doesn't fit, there's no reason to keep them around. But there's lots of things you can do first.

A lot of times these issues are caused by assumptions that aren't clearly stated, and simply making them explicit can go a long ways towards resolving them. If somebody is powergaming, and that's not your group, then the first step is generally to say that this game ain't about powergaming, and see if they can work with that - a lot of times charop hounds can get their charop fix by making bizarre concepts work, which allows them to demonstrate their system mastery in a non-game-breaking way.

If somebody likes certain elements of a game, then often a compromise can be reached by adding those elements, but making it clear that the 'disruptive' behavior should be limited to those, and that they have to accept the other elements of the game.

Sometimes people just want entirely different things from gaming, though, and aren't open to trying things that are different. In those cases, it's best for them to find a game that meets their preferences. And that's in no way an insult.

The other type of people that end up getting booted are the ones that have boundary issues of some sort or another - anger, acting out, etc. I'll generally try to work with them, but make it clear that their behavior is not welcome, but they are. If I see a concerted effort and marked improvement, great. But I don't generally tolerate truly abusive behavior for long.

If the 'your behavior ain't welcome' speech is received with hostility, defensiveness, etc., it's usually a good sign to me to just cut it right there. I can accept that some people cross boundaries and do similar things without realizing it, but if they don't even recognize it as a problem, it won't get better.

I separate these out because they're really two separate things, and don't have the same solution.

Pex
2013-12-11, 08:17 PM
Yeah. It's important to first be aware of the Geek Social Fallacies (http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) because, frankly, a lot of us in this hobby aren't here for our excellent social skills.

Being aware of the 'fallacies' means you can better recognize problem behavior for what it is and take appropriate action to correct the problem. This doesn't always mean booting a player, but it can.

I was such a carrier of the first fallacy. I would want to be friends with anyone. It took me a long time to realize I didn't have to. I had to convince myself there are people who like me; they really, really like me. Once I accepted that then I could accept the people who hate me, they really really hate me and not take it personally. I no longer craved their never given approval. That gave me freedom to be more discerning in who I like and don't like. I took it as personal growth years ago when I chose not to be friends with someone in a social gathering.

TheThan
2013-12-11, 08:39 PM
Yeah, I think weíre assuming that all other forms of communication have already failed.

At least I have. Eventually reasonability runs its course and drastic action has to be taken.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-11, 10:24 PM
Of special interest, the list of problems we encountered started with exploded aphorisms, mismatched metaphors and general English failures.

"it's the squeaky wheel that gets the cart to go fast."
"I can't believer how much you face plant (face palm)."
"I point the bow at his knee, I point it at his chest, I'm trying to make a feint, so..."
(that one caused me to "face plant" again)

This continued into a situation where he had his own definition of words, you can light sconces without torches, a room with a single item is now full of items. When I told him the door was stuck and needed to be pulled open, he said, "I pull the door open, using my shield in a way I can't be attacked." When I asked for clarification, it became even more vague, "I use the shield to protect me!"

Since he failed a disarm check for the trap, I took this to mean he was trying to protect himself from the trap as he understood it, but what he ready meant was, "I have a shield, so I'm immune to your traps, dm!"

Ultimately, the language problem, turned into a question of vagueness being used with passive aggressive insults hidden under table talk like, "I check for traps, again, because no one else will." Or the one that finally made me snap in another dm's game, "fine, I'll put my life on the line for the party once again." When he was the thief whose stunts almost killed all of us.

When I first tried to boot him I was a bit passionate about the player being ejected. We had already had a corrective action talk. After the party said no, I met a customer at my job who gave me good advice, "you can say whatever you want, as long as people like you."

So I just smiled and played the good guy for another year, and in the end, when my frustration was hidden behind a mask of contemplative friendship. In the end, people went out of their way to be professional about booting the bloke.

It took a year, but I feel better knowing that we did it correctly.

Erock
2013-12-12, 12:28 AM
I don't know that you did. It's very common that people who have problems with grammar don't understand their problems, and it's common that people who become so enraged over mistakes like "it's the squeaky wheel that gets the cart to go fast." will simply be angry and not attempt to make the other person understand their mistake. I like statements to be clear and correct, but it's very possible that when you asked for clarification he thought you meant to ask what it was that he was doing, not how he was doing it. It's also a possibility that he didn't fully understand the role of the Rogue when he took it up. Passive-Aggressive behavior is childish, yes, but one corrective action talk is never going to be enough. If you weren't busy playing the good guy, you could attempt to educate this player, make sure he understood his mistakes and was having fun, and if he was still making passive-aggressive comments and not having fun, then boot him. As someone who 'takes enough care to be right' I'm sure you understand that knowing what you're doing wrong and knowing why you're doing it wrong are two separate things, and you will continue to make mistakes until you understand why you're doing things wrong. Kicking the player may have been the right thing to do, but it seems you never really contemplated any other option.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-12, 06:24 AM
...Kicking the player may have been the right thing to do, but it seems you never really contemplated any other option.

The part about it taking a year for the others to come around involved a lot of discussion on corrective actions. They year leading up to the first discussion of removal also involved a lot of concessions on my part as dm, as well as conversations on how to address understanding.

The galling thing was, and will remain to be, the fact that the person with the communication issues is an English teacher.

In the end, the conversation basically broke down into the player telling me, and I apologize for the "ranty feel" here:

"Even though you have done everything I asked you to do, I still won't accept that you have done anything at all, because I'm not wrong. Yes, I'm stubborn, and it's your fault, because I get stubborn when people confront me, and you always have to be right, well... (blah blah blah)" keep in mind this was all private discourse between they player and myself as dm.

At this juncture, it wasn't my pleading, because I had stopped that a year prior, it was the amount of fun we finally had the one night he couldn't play that planted the seed of revolution in the minds of the group.

Clearly I'm only cherry picking instances as the continuous diatribe is nothing more than a boring wall of text.

P.S. I should like to add that the entire group is college educated adults ages 30-40 with years of table time. All of us have the experience working with people who speak English as a second language, including the problem personality.

runeghost
2013-12-12, 06:17 PM
Excellent post, thank you for making it and setting it out so well. My regular group (after a great deal of stressful debate) kicked out a long-time player and friend, because he was a disruptive ass at the table and refused to change his behavior. Our difficulty wasn't in reaching a consensus, it was taking the next step to "yes, we can boot him, and have every right to do so". Our three sessions since then have been marvelous.

Like your group, we'd been putting up with this player for the better part of a year, because making that leap to "we don't have any obligation to put up with this crap" isn't one that came easily to any of us.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-12, 09:59 PM
Excellent post, thank you for making it and setting it out so well. My regular group (after a great deal of stressful debate) kicked out a long-time player and friend, because he was a disruptive ass at the table and refused to change his behavior. Our difficulty wasn't in reaching a consensus, it was taking the next step to "yes, we can boot him, and have every right to do so". Our three sessions since then have been marvelous.

Like your group, we'd been putting up with this player for the better part of a year, because making that leap to "we don't have any obligation to put up with this crap" isn't one that came easily to any of us.

It's tough, but so therapeutic!

Frozen_Feet
2013-12-13, 02:39 AM
This is excellent advice.

The main problem is that, when I offer this advice to people with problem players, their replies tend to be "But there are no other people who play D&D in my area!" or "But they're my RL friend and I can't kick them out!"

The first excuse always seems very shady to me, given that I highly doubt every single person with a problem player lives in the middle of nowhere and is so completely allergic to play-by-post or play-by-chat or play-by-skype that they absolutely MUST have RL sessions. Most of the time, people who say this don't want to go out to meet new people who share the hobby and go through the trouble of befriending them. They would rather take the devil they know rather than stepping out of their comfort zone and facing new social situations.


It's often not an excuse at all. I've underlined the parts that bely a problem in your own thinking.

The first was pointed out already: play-by-net is not equivalent to playing face to face. It's an entirely different medium. Several games are downright unplayable because they rely on props that would take very specific programs to model - programs that are not likely to exist in the first place, given pen-and-paper RPGs are a niche hobby. I play by post constantly, yet I still find it in many ways inferior to playing face to face.

The second is a bigger problem. It's the scarcity of resources. Lot of us live in backwater boondocks, there isn't an abundance of existing roleplayers who are just itching to join our groups. Finding a new player often meets teaching someone completely foreign to the hobby to it. I'm all for introducing new people to the hobby, but from experience I know it takes time and often not-insignificant amount of cold, hard cash to manage. That is a lot of work, so it's perfectly reasonable to either tolerate or alter behaviour an existing player, than to kick them out.

The net doesn't do much to fix this. Sure, there are more players, but there is also more competition. From my observations, online games don't have any better success rate than face-to-face games - they have worse rates. Their pace is slower and as a result it's harder to keep people committed to even a single adventure, something that would take just few hours face to face. It's much likelier for people to just lose interest and go play GTA or something. Finally, pretty much every long-running game owes its success to a tightly-working social clique - and such cliques are very prone to falling apart if even just one key player is removed. So if actually playing a specific game is a priority at all (rather than just generic socializing and "having fun"), it necessitates compromising and putting up with personality defects, especially if the game is niche - players don't just grow in trees.

Rhynn
2013-12-13, 04:31 AM
The first was pointed out already: play-by-net is not equivalent to playing face to face. It's an entirely different medium. Several games are downright unplayable because they rely on props that would take very specific programs to model - programs that are not likely to exist in the first place, given pen-and-paper RPGs are a niche hobby. I play by post constantly, yet I still find it in many ways inferior to playing face to face.

Also, it pretty much requires excellent facility with English (which, surprisingly enough, isn't universal, even among roleplayers and other nerds!), unless your country happens to have a huge online roleplayer community of its own.

Lorsa
2013-12-13, 08:33 AM
Also, it pretty much requires excellent facility with English (which, surprisingly enough, isn't universal, even among roleplayers and other nerds!), unless your country happens to have a huge online roleplayer community of its own.

What counts as excellent facility with English? I don't have that but am still fairly certain I would manage in an international internet-based campaign.

I have tried playing through Skype with the same people I've played with face-to-face and found it somewhat unsatisfying though. Even with webcameras it is much harder to read body language, judge emotions of your players and the like. It is also harder to pay 100% attention to the game when distractions are just a mouse-click away.

Frozen_Feet
2013-12-13, 08:34 AM
I also find it cute the article paints those social fallacies as geek social fallacies in particular. In truth, those attitudes, in both their fallacious and non-fallacious forms, find their way into every group endeavor. The difference is that, say, football and karate clubs or scouts tend to have rules figured out for who gets to do what and why, as well as what to do when problems arise. So if these attitudes cause more problems in RPG player groups than elsewhere, I'd argue it's not because of these fallacies, but rather the attitudes turn fallacious due to insufficient level of organization, discipline and sportmanship.

Rhynn
2013-12-13, 08:36 AM
What counts as excellent facility with English? I don't have that but am still fairly certain I would manage in an international internet-based campaign.

Some people aren't good enough at writing English to play in a PBP. I thought that was kind of self-explanatory?

Not good enough == not good enough.

Frozen_Feet
2013-12-13, 08:42 AM
More to the point, a lot of people who are capable of writing don't actually enjoy doing so. Especially when it comes to play-by-post, many communities practically demand writing novellas for posts. There is a notable overlap between people who enjoy creative writing and people who enjoy RPGs, but the two are not the same. For some, the allure in the latter is simply not in sitting before a screen and typing while alone.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-13, 08:48 AM
To the contrary, I lived on an island, Japan.

I spoke little to no Japanese at the time, so I only had coworkers to choose from. Few to none had played before.

That was 8 years ago, I still play with 3 of the 12 people I turned in to gamers in Japan. They live all over the globe, Australia, Japan, Italy, and I'm in The States.

We load up roll20 in a google hangout, and play every week. We had been using game table and ventrillo, but people wanted to see faces, which is totally unnecessary, and after a year everyone would agree, serves as a distraction. But we have been gaming this way now for 3 years, and, yes, it would be a lot easier for me to play at night with people at my table, but I don't mind waking up at 3 am to pound out a dungeon crawl with mates across the globe.

Lorsa
2013-12-13, 08:49 AM
Some people aren't good enough at writing English to play in a PBP. I thought that was kind of self-explanatory?

Not good enough == not good enough.

It may have been an unnecessary reply by me. I was just surprised you chose to write it as "excellent facility with English" which I don't believe is equal to "not good enough". Think of it as me be curious why you chose to set the bar so high.

It's a somewhat irrelevant discussion though; you are right that some people either aren't or feel they aren't good enough for PBP roleplaying in English.

Amphetryon
2013-12-13, 09:14 AM
Some people aren't good enough at writing English to play in a PBP. I thought that was kind of self-explanatory?

Not good enough == not good enough.

"Excellence" is not a binary factor. People can have perfectly good proficiency in English and not hit varying marks that different judges would arbitrarily call indicators of "excellence."

Airk
2013-12-13, 10:51 AM
I also find it cute the article paints those social fallacies as geek social fallacies in particular. In truth, those attitudes, in both their fallacious and non-fallacious forms, find their way into every group endeavor. The difference is that, say, football and karate clubs or scouts tend to have rules figured out for who gets to do what and why, as well as what to do when problems arise. So if these attitudes cause more problems in RPG player groups than elsewhere, I'd argue it's not because of these fallacies, but rather the attitudes turn fallacious due to insufficient level of organization, discipline and sportmanship.

I think you've missed the point here. As the article itself states, all of these 'fallacies' grow out of normal, healthy behaviors, and only become a problem when they reach extreme levels - which happens much more often in communities of people who are not especially socially able. Many 'geek' communities are essentially formed of outcasts. So the very fact that yes, more socially functional communities have the 'roots' of these problems but head them off by various methods is EXACTLY WHY these are 'geek' social fallacies.

Also, why on EARTH would teaching a completely new person about RPGs require a significant amount of "cold hard cash"? One presumes you are teaching an RPG for which you already have a rule book, and there are generally dice and to spare around any RPG table, and that's all that you need. (One can hardly count 'pencil and paper' as a meaningful expense.). So you give them some teaching, you lend them some dice, and you need to, you lend them a rulebook to read between sessions. Where's the big cash expenditure? If anything, joining an existing RPG group is one of the cheapest things you can do with your time, because virtually all the resources required can be shared, and a new player really really doesn't need to own a copy of more than the core rules for any game.

I guess if you're playing D&D 4E with all the trappings, it might cost a little bit, but how much is a D&D insider account these days? Ten bucks for a month if you don't want to commit to more than that? That's not exactly a big investment, and that should come from the new player, not the person teaching them.

So where's the cold hard cash going?

Scow2
2013-12-13, 12:08 PM
What counts as excellent facility with English? I don't have that
Every single post by you on these forums indicates otherwise.


To the contrary, I lived on an island, Japan.

I spoke little to no Japanese at the time, so I only had coworkers to choose from. Few to none had played before.

That was 8 years ago, I still play with 3 of the 12 people I turned in to gamers in Japan. They live all over the globe, Australia, Japan, Italy, and I'm in The States.

We load up roll20 in a google hangout, and play every week. We had been using game table and ventrillo, but people wanted to see faces, which is totally unnecessary, and after a year everyone would agree, serves as a distraction. But we have been gaming this way now for 3 years, and, yes, it would be a lot easier for me to play at night with people at my table, but I don't mind waking up at 3 am to pound out a dungeon crawl with mates across the globe.The difference between your game and a lot of other online games is that it started as a face-to-face game, and you know the real-world players. 90% of online games are played by people who turn to online games because they don't know anyone in the real world able to play with them.

Black Jester
2013-12-13, 02:14 PM
Every single post by you on these forums indicates otherwise.

That might very well be a wrong assumption, as written language uses a different register and requires a slightly different set of abilities than spoken language. It is not that unusual that people who acquire a secondary language are more familiar with more formal registers and written communication in general, but have more problems with verbal communication due to issues of pronounciation, more coloquial terms and phrases and issues of listening comprehension.

Lorsa
2013-12-13, 04:00 PM
Every single post by you on these forums indicates otherwise.

Thank you for the compliment. However, like has been stated before, the issue was with how to interpret the term "excellence". I consider myself fairly decent, maybe even pretty good, yet I lack the proficiency needed to write a novel. It is, in fact, a source of great dissapointment for me that I might never come to possess the excellence needed for such an endeavour.

There is a lot of colour to the English langauge, much more than is present in Swedish and I have trouble to pick up the nuances of words such as glitter, glisten and sparkle.

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-13, 07:20 PM
That might very well be a wrong assumption, as written language uses a different register and requires a slightly different set of abilities than spoken language. It is not that unusual that people who acquire a secondary language are more familiar with more formal registers and written communication in general, but have more problems with verbal communication due to issues of pronounciation, more coloquial terms and phrases and issues of listening comprehension.

That depends heavily on the mode of acquisition. I'm an outlier, and I know it, but my ability to speak and understand spoken Japanese is on par with a child/casual adult, and I can get by quite well in a conversation, however, written and proper Japanese are elusive to me. So, I can do the bits most book learners cannot, however, they can do the things that I cannot.

I suppose if I tried, I could do much better than all the others, but, I'm to busy for that.

Scow2
2013-12-13, 07:30 PM
There is a lot of colour to the English langauge, much more than is present in Swedish and I have trouble to pick up the nuances of words such as glitter, glisten and sparkle.If you can pick up on the nuances between those words, you have a better grasp than most English speakers/writers, as far as I can tell. Our language is full of superfluous synonyms. ...Other than Glitter being, in addition to a synonym of those words, also an extremely obnoxious decoration that infects everything it gets close to and cannot be gotten rid of.

I don't know your English verbal fluency, but I didn't even know English wasn't your first language! (On that note... I think I need to learn Swedish so I can understand the lyrics of all the songs I listen to)

Lorsa
2013-12-14, 03:15 PM
If you can pick up on the nuances between those words, you have a better grasp than most English speakers/writers, as far as I can tell. Our language is full of superfluous synonyms. ...Other than Glitter being, in addition to a synonym of those words, also an extremely obnoxious decoration that infects everything it gets close to and cannot be gotten rid of.

I don't know your English verbal fluency, but I didn't even know English wasn't your first language! (On that note... I think I need to learn Swedish so I can understand the lyrics of all the songs I listen to)

I can translate them for you if you wish! The only use you'd ever have of learning Swedish is if you're moving here or as some fun hobby. Most people in Sweden speak fairly good English.

To my understanding, not all synonyms are superfluous as they come with slightly different connotations. There should be online classes for these sort of things... (oh look! google!).

Frenth Alunril
2013-12-14, 05:43 PM
I can translate them for you if you wish! The only use you'd ever have of learning Swedish is if you're moving here or as some fun hobby. Most people in Sweden speak fairly good English.

To my understanding, not all synonyms are superfluous as they come with slightly different connotations. There should be online classes for these sort of things... (oh look! google!).

There are no superfluous synonyms. As locutious dexterity defines intent, so to does a limited pallet sound sweet siren cries warning of deficiency. Of peculiar delight, I am piqued by the crossing of siren, a thing known for its allure, being used in place of klaxons. But such pray shall allude us again as I must ponder industry.

Lorsa, your hold of the language exceeds that of many Americans.

Honest Tiefling
2013-12-14, 06:16 PM
Thank you for the compliment. However, like has been stated before, the issue was with how to interpret the term "excellence". I consider myself fairly decent, maybe even pretty good, yet I lack the proficiency needed to write a novel. It is, in fact, a source of great dissapointment for me that I might never come to possess the excellence needed for such an endeavour.

Well, if your language wanted more nuances, then it should start mugging other languages ASAP. Also, are you entirely certain that you lack such proficiency?

As for the topic, I think one could make the argument that if you simply cannot clearly communicate in English, then you should not be teaching it nor gaming in it. It just won't work.

On the other hand, I've seen many people from various countries (Japan, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Spain) have perfectly fine English and type just as well, if not better, then many native speakers. The only hints are usually that they make unusual typos.

I have also seen people supposedly from England who typed as if they were deathly allergic to punctuation and spelt like they banged one keyboard with another. They were HELL to game with and made the whole process unbearable.

Frozen_Feet
2013-12-15, 02:59 PM
I think you've missed the point here. As the article itself states, all of these 'fallacies' grow out of normal, healthy behaviors, and only become a problem when they reach extreme levels - which happens much more often in communities of people who are not especially socially able. Many 'geek' communities are essentially formed of outcasts. So the very fact that yes, more socially functional communities have the 'roots' of these problems but head them off by various methods is EXACTLY WHY these are 'geek' social fallacies.

Being asocial is not particular to "geeks"; more to the point, I don't find the label "geek" especially useful in the first place. The way I see it used these days, it seems to just mean "a person enthusiastic about something". But when that "something" can be practically any hobby (see, f. ex., "band geek", "sports geek" yadda yadda)... yeah. I stand by my claim: it's universal human communications problem, nothing particularly "geeky" about it.

Also, martial arts and scouts are considered "geeky" hobbies around these parts, but like I said, those communities usually manage to deal with them. So the actually useful points of contrast are not between "geeks" and "not-geeks", they are between different hobbies, with different levels of organization.


Also, why on EARTH would teaching a completely new person about RPGs require a significant amount of "cold hard cash"? One presumes you are teaching an RPG for which you already have a rule book, and there are generally dice and to spare around any RPG table, and that's all that you need. (One can hardly count 'pencil and paper' as a meaningful expense.). So you give them some teaching, you lend them some dice, and you need to, you lend them a rulebook to read between sessions. Where's the big cash expenditure? If anything, joining an existing RPG group is one of the cheapest things you can do with your time, because virtually all the resources required can be shared, and a new player really really doesn't need to own a copy of more than the core rules for any game.

Travel expenses are one of the foremost things. One of the biggest audiences for pen-and-paper games are students, who are also perpetually short on cash. Consequently, number one reason why gaming groups fall apart and people stop playing is when someone, or everyone, move away from campus.

As an example, in our local gaming group a lot of people live 30 to 100 kilometers away from their hobby space. In the very, very likely case a new player couldn't be found in the immediate area, their participation would rely on their ability to have means and money to regularly get here. Oh, if someone is really interested in a hobby, they will pay the money, but first you need to get them interested in some way. Which brings me to...

Advertising. We're talking of a completely new player here, remember? They are unlikely to already follow any established RPG media. So you need to get the word to them. As someone who recently payed 200 Ä for advertising a game, the costs are not exactly negligible. Oh, but what about dragging in someone from my other hobbies? That's free, right? Actually, there are lot of hidden costs. For example, I'm a member of scouts and karate club both, and pay around 150 Ä yearly just for membership fees. Even if you just go hang around in a place with lots of people, travel expenses still factor in.

But what about the miracle machines known as computers? Electronic messaging is cheap, right? Yeah, if the players you are rearing in belong to the subset of people who already pay hundreds of euros to have passable communication hardware and software. Or did you forget byuing and owning these things costs money too? Sure, if you live in a post-industrial country like me you can reasonably expect a lot of potential players to own the minimum required stuff for other reasons, so there won't be much additional opportunity cost... unless we get into specific web subscriptions, like 4th ed D&D you talked about. For people who regularly have net savings of zero after paying their bills and such (the aforementioned students), yes, that additional 10 Ä per month can be the dealbreaker.

Oh, and about those books and other rules materials... what if the one being kicked out is the one who owns them all? Someone needs to invest in getting new access to those materials if the group wants to keep playing. Depending on the game being played as well as your business ethics, this may mean an investment of zero money and a couple of minutes, but it may also mean one of hundreds of euros.

Pen-and-paper RPGs are one of the cheapest hobbies, but they are also often played by some very poor people. Just because the absolute costs are small, doesn't mean the relative costs are negligible.

Airk
2013-12-15, 07:18 PM
Being asocial is not particular to "geeks"; more to the point, I don't find the label "geek" especially useful in the first place. The way I see it used these days, it seems to just mean "a person enthusiastic about something". But when that "something" can be practically any hobby (see, f. ex., "band geek", "sports geek" yadda yadda)... yeah. I stand by my claim: it's universal human communications problem, nothing particularly "geeky" about it.

The dilution of the term in modern usage is annoying, yes, but I don't think either of us are misunderstanding what it means in this context. This defense is invalid.



Also, martial arts and scouts are considered "geeky" hobbies around these parts, but like I said, those communities usually manage to deal with them. So the actually useful points of contrast are not between "geeks" and "not-geeks", they are between different hobbies, with different levels of organization.

If you say so.



Travel expenses are one of the foremost things. One of the biggest audiences for pen-and-paper games are students, who are also perpetually short on cash. Consequently, number one reason why gaming groups fall apart and people stop playing is when someone, or everyone, move away from campus.

Uh. I've been an impoverished college student too. Paying for gas shouldn't be backbreaking, and honestly, if someone is new and interested, it falls on them to show up at least once. IMHO the real reason game groups fall apart when people move is not because of costs, but because of time - driving for 3 hours or something to go to a game is awful.



As an example, in our local gaming group a lot of people live 30 to 100 kilometers away from their hobby space. In the very, very likely case a new player couldn't be found in the immediate area, their participation would rely on their ability to have means and money to regularly get here. Oh, if someone is really interested in a hobby, they will pay the money, but first you need to get them interested in some way. Which brings me to...

Advertising. We're talking of a completely new player here, remember? They are unlikely to already follow any established RPG media. So you need to get the word to them. As someone who recently payed 200 Ä for advertising a game, the costs are not exactly negligible. Oh, but what about dragging in someone from my other hobbies? That's free, right? Actually, there are lot of hidden costs. For example, I'm a member of scouts and karate club both, and pay around 150 Ä yearly just for membership fees. Even if you just go hang around in a place with lots of people, travel expenses still factor in.

But what about the miracle machines known as computers? Electronic messaging is cheap, right? Yeah, if the players you are rearing in belong to the subset of people who already pay hundreds of euros to have passable communication hardware and software. Or did you forget byuing and owning these things costs money too? Sure, if you live in a post-industrial country like me you can reasonably expect a lot of potential players to own the minimum required stuff for other reasons, so there won't be much additional opportunity cost... unless we get into specific web subscriptions, like 4th ed D&D you talked about. For people who regularly have net savings of zero after paying their bills and such (the aforementioned students), yes, that additional 10 Ä per month can be the dealbreaker.

Oh, and about those books and other rules materials... what if the one being kicked out is the one who owns them all? Someone needs to invest in getting new access to those materials if the group wants to keep playing. Depending on the game being played as well as your business ethics, this may mean an investment of zero money and a couple of minutes, but it may also mean one of hundreds of euros.

Dunno man; I think anything outside of that area should be 'find another group'.



Pen-and-paper RPGs are one of the cheapest hobbies, but they are also often played by some very poor people. Just because the absolute costs are small, doesn't mean the relative costs are negligible.

Negligible? Maybe not. Some sort of crazy barrier to bringing new people on? Also no.

Knaight
2013-12-15, 07:27 PM
Being asocial is not particular to "geeks"; more to the point, I don't find the label "geek" especially useful in the first place. The way I see it used these days, it seems to just mean "a person enthusiastic about something". But when that "something" can be practically any hobby (see, f. ex., "band geek", "sports geek" yadda yadda)... yeah. I stand by my claim: it's universal human communications problem, nothing particularly "geeky" about it.

Also, martial arts and scouts are considered "geeky" hobbies around these parts, but like I said, those communities usually manage to deal with them. So the actually useful points of contrast are not between "geeks" and "not-geeks", they are between different hobbies, with different levels of organization.

It's not even organization so much as formal rules, with formal enforcement. There are some very organized and scheduled things which still have these fallacies in spades. Church groups, for example. Avoiding religion here, there's the matter of a social gathering where just kicking people out is frowned upon, allowing all five of the listed fallacies to flourish.

Frozen_Feet
2013-12-15, 07:34 PM
@Airk:I didn't feel the need to stress the time factor, because I noted that in my first post, and you asked, specifically, about the money. It doesn't need to be a "crazy barrier". Inconvenience is enough of a reason to consider fixing things up with an existing player. Is it backbreaking to pay that extra 10 Ä for gas per week? Not really, but it adds up. It is going to to be a factor whether new players are coming to me, or I'm going to them.

@Knaight: true enough.

jedipotter
2013-12-16, 06:31 AM
What are your experiences, opinions, advises and anecdotes on this matter?

I learned to be very strict up front, before the game even starts, to avoid problems latter. For example I noticed that players that used a certain rulebook just about always caused a problem. So I banned that book. And that has worked great. One of the best ways to avoid things to to not even let them happen. A couple dozen house rules can fix a lot.


The same way I learned to not bother putting any of my time and effort into getting people to come play the game. So if the game is set for Friday at 6pm, all I want to hear is ''I'll be there''. If they say anything else, I go with the idea they are not coming. I have learned to never accept late comers, you come on time or not at all. Like so:

Player'I can't make it on time for the game at 6 pm, I absolutely must, go to my wives tea party. I'll try to make it there by eight."

Me It's ok, I understand. Don't rush or anything on our account. Just stay and have fun at your tea party.

Player But aw man I want to game so bad!

Me Well if that was true you'd be here at six. So it must not be true. Coming to a game halfway or more through is not really going to get your game fix. You will only have time to play catch up, be confused, and roll a couple dice. Your not really going to get a game experience. So it is better if you simply don't come at all.


And during a game, I have no problem with saying to a player ''that does not work or happen and rocks fall on your character.'' Generally a new player in our group has to ''do the Kenny'' for a couple weeks until they learn our groups play stile.

I'm not passive aggressive myself, I'm aggressive aggressive maximums.

Airk
2013-12-16, 10:04 AM
A couple dozen house rules can fix a lot.

Good god, I should hope so. There's a couple dozen of them, after all. o.o


And during a game, I have no problem with saying to a player ''that does not work or happen and rocks fall on your character.'' Generally a new player in our group has to ''do the Kenny'' for a couple weeks until they learn our groups play stile.

So you kill off their characters repeatedly until they learn your unspoken rules? Sounds charming.



I'm not passive aggressive myself, I'm aggressive aggressive maximums.

Yeah, I'm noticing that.

Amphetryon
2013-12-16, 10:15 AM
Me Well if that was true you'd be here at six. So it must not be true.
So, you feel that a person who prioritizes his or her marriage over his or her gaming buddies isn't being truthful when they say they would like to game. How fascinating.