MSB: The meta-discussion


  • Admin

    Hey folks,

    Since it's come up a lot in both private conversations lately but also in Random Bitching, I'm wondering what your views are on MSB's (and WORA's before it) effect on the community and course of MU*ing in general has been.

    Aside from our personal feelings on the matter, i.e. if we're using it as a way to connect and catch up with with friends over time, how do you think this place's existence has influenced our corner of gaming as a whole?

    Might also remind everyone this is inthe constructive section of the site. :)


  • Coder

    @Arkandel

    Wora, Swofa, Soapbox, et al., have been the OOC Room of the hobby: A lot of people think it's pointless or even toxic, most of the real work is done behind the scenes, but still important to keep conversation and socialization alive and a surprising number of useful things comes out of it.

    Mind you, only a fool will keep moldy bread around just in case they need penacillin, but if you can keep your skunkworks separate from your core development, then keep it around.



  • If anything, I think this iteration is more community building than anything. I don't know if I've actually played with any of you before, since WoD isn't my jam, but it's a good place to bounce ideas around.



  • Places like this offer a consistent identity, with coversations open to public viewing.

    Sure it could so with some way for folks to say a post sounds biased, angry, over stated, overly sweeping etc.

    It could use a wiki where discussed examples of a a given behavior, a given play or player group, types of game play, tips for game setup creation and running, etc are all summarized.

    However, no matter what, this place does it in the open, and no game staffer or player can come here and silence you. That is CRITICAL.

    Sure maybe someone lies, or presents only what they know, or presents only what makes them look best, but it's out there. Now people who may know better can call them on it, or just re-evaluate their impression of the person.



  • I see a pretty marked difference between MSB and WORA.

    People still argue here, and play devil's advocate plenty -- but rarely is there the constant trolling amongst regular posters occur that was fairly prevalent on WORA (in all of its incarnations) and SWOFA that made it nigh impossible to actually have a productive discussion about anything.

    Many games never even make it on the radar here, but the ones that do, one way or another, tend to have their dirty laundry aired if there actually are soiled knickers scattered about the joint. It's entirely possible that the games no one ever mentions here have plenty that reekingly remain, but if there's something sketchy going on, it will often come to light here.

    That's both good and bad. I think some of the worst breed of staffers are less likely to attempt to get away with shady garbage because of the fear of exposure. Fortunately, that means that the old-school worst abuses are much more rare today than they once were.

    Unfortunately, that means that a lot of minor stuff, or stuff people just worry that maybe it could happen (not even could be happening but just could happen) gets elevated to the same level of hysteria that would erupt over things like staff banning somebody for turning them down for TS, or a staffer setting their husband's PC's stats to godlike levels for no reason, and so on. The closest I think we've seen to the kind of old-school horrors that raised the alarm are Elsa's email stalker campaign with channel meltdowns and Spider's illustrious career on TR and FC.

    Even suspicion seems to be enough to condemn someone lately, and I'm not so sure I'm keen on that. Considering most people are aware of this, ironically enough it makes it a lot harder to find quality staffers, because you have folks now terrified to make even the slightest innocent minor and easily remedied mistake lest they be crucified as an eater of babies and kitten rapist -- and doing the damage control (which almost never works anyway) required to even attempt to correct the impression is enormously time-consuming, and usually futile.

    That worries me. It can't not worry me, because in that way I see that there's real damage being done to the hobby. There's so much talent here in this community, but plenty of people are (quite understandably) not at all willing to do things because it's like painting a target on their face, ass, and heart all at once.

    Do I think this is balanced out by the ability to impartially review ideas and concepts, or call out real major abuses and the like? Yeah. I do think the over-reaction stuff needs to slow its roll some, however, for this place to be as productive as it could be.


  • Politics

    @surreality said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    There's so much talent here in this community, but plenty of people are (quite understandably) not at all willing to do things because it's like painting a target on their face, ass, and heart all at once.

    I'm not sure if MSB's nature is the cause for this reluctance.

    People with creative talent usually get recognized for the same away from these games. And, when they do, they have less time for the games.


  • Coder

    As illustrated by the results of the where you play poll, I think the community here is pretty insular compared to "MU*ing in general". I get a lot of "What's MSB?" when I mention the site to people.

    I never participated on WORA because it was too toxic, and I am frequently driven away from MSB by the negativity. Obviously I'm dumb enough to keep coming back, but it's with reluctance not with joy. I cannot recommend it to my friends who aren't already here.

    I think it's valuable to have an open forum for discussion, but that cannot be successful when different viewpoints are so frequently attacked as wrong, stupid, or "what's killing this hobby".



  • Dealing with opposing viewpoints, even poorly or aggressively expressed ones is part of being an adult, and part of contributing to things.

    You don't have to engage, but people should be aware of whats going on around them. Apathy and ignorance (as in unaware of) look pretty much the same. Sadly legitimate complaints and not often look the same as well.

    I will note that trying to be polite or acknowledging of alternate values or goals gets exactly fuck all in terms of reciprocation here. It's a great way to realize who isn't worth listening to.



  • It's not MSB that makes me not want to staff anymore. It's players. But THAT'S a whole different topic and one that just leads to me hating on people for behavior that's down to the unavoidable price tag of dealing with humans.

    Anyway.

    I like that there's a place where people who MU can discuss MUing. The community is very fragmented. WoD players don't talk to non-WoD players. You get even smaller splinter factions, like people who are ALL transformers/mech games. Or people who only play MUX and don't play other codebases. I'm not sure MSB does as good a job as could be done to be an open forum for all different types of M* gamers (like, there's active MOO RP that's not that different than the game we talk about, but doesn't touch here at all), but it's what we got and I appreciate it for that.


  • Admin

    For me it's like this:

    MSB has its drawbacks. But with all those drawbacks combined we are still better off than if there was no neutral ground like this at all.

    People who bemoan the negativity that can emerge from this place are often correct, but they're neglecting to mention confirmation bias. Sure, we can form lynchmobs to go after This Week's Public Enemy #1 in no time, but without MSB the MU* landscape was quite a bit different. Petty despots were ... I won't say the norm, but they weren't the far exception they are today. Game-killing Queen Bees did their thing with relative impunity and reputation didn't count for much since there was almost no continuity at all; the community was a great deal more fragmented than it is now.

    We have some very experienced people posting here. Folks who've ran games, who've designed them from scratch, staffed them, coded them, played them, abandoned them. That's... an invaluable resource - it's not organized, we're more like cats who knock everything down sometimes just because, but the collective knowledge on MSB is unparalleled.

    Quite simply I haven't ran into anything else quite like it out there. There are smaller forums (usually game-specific) and more generic places but nothing that targets MU*ing specifically or for so long. I'm still often surprised when I ran into people who don't know about it.


  • Pitcrew

    To me, WORA was at best the twelve car pile-up on the highway that you cannot stop staring at no matter how hard you try, and at its worst, a cesspool for the worst of behaviors that people can permit themselves on the internet just short of arrestable crimes without the kind of consequences involved with seeing the people you are squatting over and shitting on. Was there ever productive discussion? Sure. But one good apple does not make the entire barrel of rotten to the core any better. Shaming had less to do with the means of rehabilitation, but rather entertainment.

    MSB is not rainbows and hugs and bunnies, we all know this. But I do think it is a million times kinder than WORA. Criticism is given and taken, and as I've mentioned in another post, most of the time it's sarcastic in tone, but we do not reach out past the realm of our hobby. I don't know if because as a society we've gotten past the initial hump of taking advantage of anonymity to be cruel and made it to the revelation that we are more successful being relatively kind, but to this day I have yet to see the kinds of behaviors that the worst that WORA offers - the doxxing, the slutshaming, the attacks - here on MSB.



  • I was afraid to ever post on WORA. Never did, actually, before it closed.

    I have posted on here, and I think in useful and productive ways, even when it was straight up a call-out post.

    That should illustrate my thoughts on the difference between the two.


  • Pitcrew

    I really, really like to argue. I like the occasional debate as well, but I really like arguing. MSB satisfies that itch for me. It's rare I venture out of the Hog Pit, there's only so many conversations about cookie-cutter WoD games I can read. But that said, MSB is a good place for people of all walks-of-gaming to come together and hate on each other while packaging their griping as constructive criticism. That or to post logs of people they used to be friends with but who don't like them anymore so they're terrible people now. YMMV


  • Pitcrew

    For me, it was a way to see what games were out there. I hadn't MUed in a number of years and this place sprang up from the ashes of WORA just as I was leaving the hobby. When I came back, it gave me some ideas on places to play, and let me connect with a few faces I hadn't seen in a while (figuratively speaking).



  • @Pandora

    Or to vaguely cast shade at someone they don't know about their motivations.


  • Pitcrew

    @Meg said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    @Pandora

    Or to vaguely cast shade at someone they don't know about their motivations.

    Cute, feeling guilty? But no, it's happened to me.



  • @Pandora said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    @Meg said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    @Pandora

    Or to vaguely cast shade at someone they don't know about their motivations.

    Cute, feeling guilty? But no, it's happened to me.

    Not in the least. I have tons of people that I don't like that I have never posted logs about. Actually, in all of my time in MU*s, I have only ever posted logs or made a complaint about one person. That you have consistently posted shit deriding that complaint and reducing it to something that it wasn't doesn't make me 'guilty'. Let's use the word suspicious instead of any post you make.



  • I only ever trolled on WORA or played devil's advocate. So far I feel like, for the most part, MSB is more conducive for actual discussion. Or maybe I grew the fuck up. I also haven't been here long.

    How many people are active on here? In the few places I've read, there's a smallish group that's vocal, then another layer of semi-vocal. I have a lot of presumptuous thoughts that I'm thinking through - specifically about the echo chamber and hypocrisy as a result - but they're not fully fleshed out and require more interaction outside of those topics. But MSB is a significant improvement over WORA in my limited experience.

    (I'm also shit at the interfaces, especially on the phone.)

    I think a place like this is fine, but can easily become a toxic place, excruciating if new people get shit down. I get that not everyone plays nice in the sandbox, but I think a lot of games can benefit if the discussions don't devolve into just shitting on things. I haven't seen that thus far, to be honest, which is good.


  • Admin

    @WhatInTheSun said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    How many people are active on here? In the few places I've read, there's a smallish group that's vocal, then another layer of semi-vocal.

    There's a link at the top where you can see stats about posters, etc.



  • @WhatInTheSun said in MSB: The meta-discussion:

    How many people are active on here? In the few places I've read, there's a smallish group that's vocal, then another layer of semi-vocal.

    This is something I've noticed that's different from WORA.

    Like yeah, there might be a decent pool of people who post here and there, but MSB is mostly like...the same 5 people from the WoD-crew circle-jerking each other all over the board about how they're the only people who know how to 'MU right'.


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