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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    I'm gonna try to give the Cliff Notes version of this situation, since I'll trip up over myself trying to explain it otherwise:

    * Approximately 1.5 years ago: Went to local gaming society and cons, played games. Wrote critical reviews of experiences in obscure corner of internet. Possibly alienated participants, but no direct confirmation. Stopped going to society after a few months. Culpable? Yes.

    * Some months later: Went to local gaming store. Talked to proprietors and/or a few customers about... various topics, most oddly specific to various forum-posts of mine beforehand. Seemed to be eager, frightened and/or intrigued. Coincidence? Maybe. Puzzled? Yes.

    * A few days from now: Local gaming society will become more active after start of new college term. Would like to participate, but prospect of enjoyment based on previous experiences not encouraging. Possibly being followed online. Recommendations?

    Post-scriptum: If you are one of these people, and you *really* want me to talk to you/attend a game, then you need to send me an explicit communique with no room for misinterpretation. I don't *do* subtle hints. Also: if you don't want me to blab about the proceedings at your games, you have only to ask.

    ...Then again, I could just be paranoid. Thoughts?

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    I doubt someone is following you on the internet.

    Criticizing the gaming society was rude, however. They are not a commerical enterprise and generally are for the entertainment of their members. Personally, if I socialized with a group of people and learned that one of those people criticized our social activity on the internet, I'd cut off contact with them.

    I doubt anyone read those posts, but the proper response to a social activity you don't like is to avoid it or to offer constructive criticism face-to-face on what you think could be improved. You don't criticize people you've socialized with behind their backs on a public forum.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    You're just paranoid.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    You're just paranoid. Unless you go where I did my undergraduate degrees, in which case you should just avoid the society. It's a toxic environment. I know from being president of it for a year.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Again, I can totally understand how people would be upset about this. But if the appropriate response to "a social activity you don't like" is not to go behind the other person's back, but either keep your mouth shut or tell the person to their face, then it seems the appropriate response to my behaviour would be to tell me what I did wrong, or say nothing, rather than have me socially blacklisted by word of mouth. (Assuming, for the moment, that I'm not just paranoid.)

    I mean, it's not like I named any names when I wrote these reviews, which weren't 100% negative. There is an important purpose to critical analysis of play ('critical' in the sense of 'analytical dissection' rather than 'uniform dissing'.) It's how you get ideas for improvement, and a public forum nets you more ideas on the subject.

    Again, this could all just be something I've imagined. It's hard to pin it down to any specific expression or turn of phrase, but I did have a couple of discussions with a handful of society members where they dropped oddly coincident topics in the conversation (fanfic, IP concerns, derivative works, dwarves of all things) and seemed eager to talk, despite being completely stonefaced around me a few months earlier. (And these were not even people I played with.)

    I dunno. I guess I'd just like some way to confirm or deny this either way. If it *were* true, what would be the best way to go about untangling this knot?

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    So anyway- if anyone IRL is listening- I'd like to apologise for my rather naive and/or inconsiderate behaviour. (And if nobody is- well, I guess I don't lose much by saying so.)

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    I doubt someone is following you on the internet.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Criticizing the gaming society was rude, however.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Personally, if I socialized with a group of people and learned that one of those people criticized our social activity on the internet, I'd cut off contact with them.
    Agreed. See below.

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    I doubt anyone read those posts, but the proper response to a social activity you don't like is to avoid it or to offer constructive criticism face-to-face on what you think could be improved. You don't criticize people you've socialized with behind their backs on a public forum.
    Agreed. I've been on both sides of the camp in situations like these.

    In the first instance, we were trying to start up a local gaming group, and one of the guys that was a leading force tended to go a bit overboard with things, and apparently didn't agree with the rest of us that just because we didn't get 20 people start to play at once, it didn't mean the gaming group was a failure.
    He obviously didn't think so, and started coming up with reasons for why he couldn't show up, and then started badmouthing us for being 'inhospitable' and 'clique-ish' and basically telling people to stay away, while telling people in our area that they should instead try other gaming groups further afield rather than join our group.
    After some mud slinging back and forth, both camps in that dispute went our separate ways, and the gaming group is still going strong, and have a decent number of people showing up, whereas I don't know what happened to the other guy. And I'm not really interested.

    On the other hand, I and another guy in the group decided to head over to the nearby gaming group in the next town over to see if that would be any good.
    We got there, participated in one session, and then were asked, not by the GM of the game they had just started, but by the organising guy, to not come back. The reason given was that they had too many people in the game they were running, and the GM didn't think he could take on two more in the group.
    So we said, 'Fine', and aid that we'd sit out until they started another campaign of something, and maybe join then, if they let us know when that would be.
    We never got anything back from them.
    We did a bit of bitching and moaning about that between the two of us, but then just let it go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    ...if the appropriate response to "a social activity you don't like" is not to go behind the other person's back, but either keep your mouth shut or tell the person to their face, then it seems the appropriate response to my behaviour would be to tell me what I did wrong, or say nothing, rather than have me socially blacklisted by word of mouth.
    Not necessarily. You posted stuff that were negative about them without first trying to explain to them why you felt the way you did, and so, why would they extend you the same courtesy that you denied them in the first place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    I mean, it's not like I named any names when I wrote these reviews, which weren't 100% negative. There is an important purpose to critical analysis of play ('critical' in the sense of 'analytical dissection' rather than 'uniform dissing'.) It's how you get ideas for improvement, and a public forum nets you more ideas on the subject.
    Again, if you give these comments directly to the gaming group, they have a better chance, and more immediate chance, to take the comments on board and make any potentially necessary changes.

    Posting a review online, even if it's a public forum, that you don't necessarily know they are reading, could mean that they get told second, third, or even fourth hand about your comments, at which point it may have been spun to the point where it's all negative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    I dunno. I guess I'd just like some way to confirm or deny this either way. If it *were* true, what would be the best way to go about untangling this knot?
    Talk to them. you said yourself that you're not good at taking subtle hints. So why would you expect them to take subtle hints from you? Talk to them.

    Also, if you say that they will start up bigger because of the start of the college term, you might be surprised that the gaming experience is completely different from when you were there a year and a half ago. There will be other people there, who play the games in a different way, which means that the whole dynamic will change as players have to try to adapt to each other's playing styles.
    Just because you didn't like it then, doesn't mean you won't like it now.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    A year and a half is a long time. If anyone IS still following you online after that much time, they have a serious axe to grind. IE, it's someone you deal with even now.

    So, it's pretty unlikely. Most people, when they fall out of touch, don't bother with online stalking or the like.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by KuReshtin View Post
    Not necessarily. You posted stuff that were negative about them without first trying to explain to them why you felt the way you did, and so, why would they extend you the same courtesy that you denied them in the first place?
    Well... strictly speaking I did critique them directly on a couple of occasions, either in person or through private messages and the like. (To be fair, usually not as intensively, though that was partly a question of time allowances.) Though I can't say definitely that it had no impact, I'm not sure it was much more effective.

    Besides... if the purpose of the stonewalling was to essentially tell me to go elsewhere, then... why not just say so, directly? What would they have to lose? ...the ill-feelings of a person they didn't want hanging around in the first place?
    Posting a review online, even if it's a public forum, that you don't necessarily know they are reading, could mean that they get told second, third, or even fourth hand about your comments, at which point it may have been spun to the point where it's all negative.
    Interesting. I hadn't thought of that. Fair point.

    I might try bringing up the subject directly, face to face, but... (A) I don't really know that any of the above is actually true, and (B) if my suspicions were correct, I was rather hoping this thread would bring the matter to a head. The problem is, I suspect things have been getting worse there, not better: there used to be occasional public advertisements of games being organised, but those have gone now, and their formerly moribund website is down entirely. I hope that I didn't contribute to that, but I worry it may be a side-effect of the geek social fallacies- "...when nothing smacking of social selectiveness can be discussed in public, people inevitably begin to organize activities in secret."

    I might see what the mood is like during the next society meet. But I honest-to-Gods just wish I could get a straight yes-or-no on the subject.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    I stopped in briefly earlier today. Saw a few faces I recognised, but only exchanged a few words with one or two before I left. I did gather that nothing was being formally organised besides CCGs and wargaming. Even if I weren't competition-averse to begin with, I'd probably be shy about social gatherings that, in essence, hinge on the extortion of hundreds of dollars in merchandise purchases. ...Or maybe I just chickened out. Hmm.

    In fairness, I'd had a long day. I failed my driving test in the morning and spent the afternoon learning the quirks of photoshop CS thanks to a need for emergency graphics at work. The last thing I needed was to have to corner some hapless individual and say "Hai- incidentally, did you stalk me on teh interweb?" ...Of course, that still leaves the matter largely unresolved, which means I'm out of realistic alternatives. Cornering it is, then.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    The last thing I needed was to have to corner some hapless individual and say "Hai- incidentally, did you stalk me on teh interweb?" ...Of course, that still leaves the matter largely unresolved, which means I'm out of realistic alternatives. Cornering it is, then.
    Or, you could. You know. Let bygones be bygones and let it go and start afresh again.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Oh, this isn't about blame assignment per se (if anything, I'm probably the guiltier party here)- I just need to know the details of what went on. For example, if it turns out that 'saying dumb stuff on teh interweb' is not the root cause here, then maybe there's something else I did to precipitate a falling out- and I need to know what it is so I can... y'know... not do it in future.

    If, conversely, I *am* being followed online by one or more people then... clearly we have some topics of interest in common. That's... good, right?

    But if I don't know either way, then I'm paralysed: I could be inserting my foot in my mouth in ways that I don't even realise, or missing out on a large opportunity for common dialogue. It would be good to know, one way or another.
    Last edited by Carry2; 2012-09-20 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Brevity, tone.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    I think you have reviewed and critiqued what is essentially a private activity unasked and in public. That is going to upset people and it seems that the reaction you have had in person is a normal reaction to this.

    Forget about it, move on, and just don't go giving unwanted opinions on peoples gaming. Go back and join in, if you can, and show them things have changed.
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    Default Re: I Could Use Some Advice About An Upcoming Society Meet.

    ...shouldn't have to do this. But I like to be productive rather than antagonistic.

    HOW TO AVOID EMBARRASSMENT AT SOCIAL EVENTS

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    3. Be nice. Nice to every-one. Especially those you don't like.
    4. Be aware. Take note of where others are in relation to yourself. Try not to violate personal space.
    5. Do not gossip! This includes all critique, criticism, and hear-say. It is not polite to gossip in person and it is not polite to do so over the Internet.
    6. Do not, under any circumstances, share your theory that you think some-one is stalking you. Those who believe that they are being followed go to the police for help. Those who don't are just seeking attention.



    Having said all that, please have a nice day. Having good friends starts with you. Be a good friend.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Story Time View Post
    Do not, under any circumstances, share your theory that you think some-one is stalking you. Those who believe that they are being followed go to the police for help. Those who don't are just seeking attention.
    Umm... I appreciate the concern. ...I think. Just to clarify, I don't mean 'stalked' in the sense of 'physically followed'. I mean in the sense of, 'look up materials this person has posted online', possibly under a pseudonym. I can hardly press criminal charges for a person reading publicly available information, or even hold them at fault for finding said materials interesting. (I am, however, baffled by the notion of paying that much attention to what I say online, dropping related topics in conversation, then assuming I'll be too stupid to notice the pattern.)

    I've actually popped the question to several people already, and it didn't seem to raise any particular hackles, but they all denied any particular knowledge of my online activities. There was another 'coincidence' at the meet this week, but it might not have anything to do with my online discussions. I'll probably discuss this in a little more detail after next week.


    As regards being a good friend: The single biggest favour I can do for this society is to help them to have better games. In order to do this, I am going to have to dissect what goes on during their play sessions. Dissection is a messy process that involves a lot of spilled guts and makes many folks uncomfortable. But there is no alternative, if you really want to find out what makes the beast tick on a fundamental level. In order to repair, let alone improve on a system, you must first understand how it works.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    That's not stalking in and of itself. Basic research into online activity is something that companies do now, too.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    That's not stalking in and of itself. Basic research into online activity is something that companies do now, too.
    It's not legally stalking. But I know a lot of people will refer to things like "facebook-stalking" and whatnot, generally for fairly harmless activities of following someone's online presence and seeing what they're up to. I doubt the OP meant to imply that it was an actual legal stalking situation.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    ...Yeah, that's more what I meant.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    As regards being a good friend: The single biggest favour I can do for this society is to help them to have better games. In order to do this, I am going to have to dissect what goes on during their play sessions. Dissection is a messy process that involves a lot of spilled guts and makes many folks uncomfortable. But there is no alternative, if you really want to find out what makes the beast tick on a fundamental level. In order to repair, let alone improve on a system, you must first understand how it works.
    Personally, I'm not sure I agree with that.
    If they don't have any problem themselves with the way they're playing the games, and if it works for them, then there's no need for you to dissect their play to 'improve' them.
    Just because you think it's not working for you, doesn't mean it's not working for them.

    The best thing you can do for them is to volunteer to run a few games the way you run your games, and then join a few games run by others and let them run their games the way they want to run their games.

    For me, there's nothing more annoying than someone constantly trying to 'improve' on a game that I'm running.

    That's just my opinion, though.
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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by KuReshtin View Post
    Personally, I'm not sure I agree with that.
    If they don't have any problem themselves with the way they're playing the games, and if it works for them, then there's no need for you to dissect their play to 'improve' them.
    Just because you think it's not working for you, doesn't mean it's not working for them.

    The best thing you can do for them is to volunteer to run a few games the way you run your games, and then join a few games run by others and let them run their games the way they want to run their games.

    For me, there's nothing more annoying than someone constantly trying to 'improve' on a game that I'm running.

    That's just my opinion, though.
    Oh, I've got no problem with them running games "their way", as long as I do see evidence that the players are consistently enjoying themselves because of the game. As in, I can see the players are engaged and responsive and lighting up in response to the flow of imaginary, in-game events. And sometimes, that has more-or-less been the case (examples being a steampunk session back when I first joined, a zombie survival campaign I usually enjoyed, and a Dragon Age RPG demo from later on in the year. I can respect groups like that- even if I personally wasn't always 'in sync' with the group's style of play or thought the system could stand refinement.)

    What I have a problem with are groups where half the players are evidently bored, neglected, or abused. Or when the players are sitting in rigid terror of the GM. Or where the rule-applications are so vague and hand-wavey that I don't know if I'm actually achieving anything, or the GM is just narrating what he wants to happen. Or where actual attention to in-game events is sporadic and trivial, people are talking across eachother, nobody knows what's happening with the characters, and in short the game itself is a thinly-veiled excuse to take the mickey and otherwise conventionally socialise. They might be having fun, but the game has very little to do with it. (For the record: I don't have a problem with people socialising per se, but it's not what I primarily came there for.)

    I'd certainly be interested in running a few sessions of my own, but willing participants have been in short supply so far (possibly as a result of aforementioned social blacklisting.) I'll see if I can work on that.
    Last edited by Carry2; 2012-09-30 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Brevity, tone.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    I was going to update sooner after last week's meet, but I actually don't have much to report. I was hoping to talk to one or two other folks involved in an RPG session from last year about the whole... thing, but I arrived half an hour late and most of the gaming groups had already formed up by then, and they seemed moderately busy. I might pop the question properly this week, given the opportunity.

    Half-dozen of us played boardgames instead. ...It wasn't bad.

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    Default Re: I could use some advice about an upcoming society meet.

    ...I'm getting that weird coincidental feeling again. From people who really ought to be more honest with me.

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