IF Community

Considering some hostile things that were said about her specifically when this forum was new, and considering some more recent implications, e.g., that people who support choice games have ulterior motives of wanting to be popular, or the suggestion that people who supported the CoC were ill-intentioned/hostile (Emily certainly was not), (EDIT: In retrospect, Emily didn’t say anything about actually supporting the CoC, so I may be making an inaccurate assumption here–sorry!) I can understand why she’d feel unwelcome. I am sorry she feels that way, but I understand it.

I’m not a tumblrer or a hacker, so I’m not quite sure how I fit into this framework. But if these two sides are being characterized as “concerned about being able to express dissenting opinions” and “concerned about people’s feelings,” I’d like to think I fall into the overlap between the two.

There’s a difference between being allowed to say something that might hurt someone’s feelings vs. going out of one’s way to hurt people’s feelings. I’m advocating the former.

Ok, gotcha.

I can only speak for myself, but thank you for coming. If you hadn’t, we’d be pretty much going in circles, because we all have pretty similar opinions (which is why we’re here and not there for this discussion). And I think good, important things were said, food for thought, so again - thank you.

Vlaviano, thanks for showing up too. Love your posts.

I’m…not so sure about that. But I share the sentiment about “Thanks for coming.”

Porpentine and adeniro were “members of the existing IF community”, i.e. wrote & published some games in Inform, before becoming Twine champions. In 2012 (the year of howling dogs), Emily wrote Bee, Jon Ingold wrote A Colder Light, zarf wrote Bigger Than You Think. I’m not sure how much more organic you want the evolution to have been.

You’ve shown that at least five existing IF community members did in fact write choice games, but my statement was predicated on a reality where the mass Twine influx hadn’t happened. But it did, so I not sure of the relevance. We can’t know whether an undisrupted community would have embraced these works as IF or just viewed them as games in other genres that were written by IF authors. It’s easy enough to imagine an IF author going off and writing a CRPG. That doesn’t mean that the author views it as IF (see earlier in this thread for discussion of whether this matters) or that the community accepts it as IF.

This discussion, along with the one on the intfiction.org forums about XYZZY Award eligibility, calls to mind a similar debate on a music site that I frequent regarding metal bands that had significantly changed their style over the years to the point where their music was no longer in any way metal. Should they be listed? That community concluded that if a band had ever put out “at least one fully, unambiguously metal album”, they were of interest to the community and their full discography should be included. By that standard, the choice games that you cite are of community interest by virtue of being written by IF authors, even if not IF themselves.

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vlaviano, in light of the other thread, I’m afraid what I said–oh–about eight posts up–didn’t come across right. What I was trying to get across there was that, due at least in part to some inaccurate and hostile accusations that were made about her a while back, I think emshort got the impression that she was not welcome here. My understanding is that the tone of some things said more recently just added to that initial impression. I don’t think she has a problem with disagreement per se, which is sort of what your post seemed to be suggesting, to me.

I don’t want to drag her back into this discussion again; I’m just trying to clarify what I meant because I got the impression that you thought she, or I, or both of us, thought it was wrong to criticize an ideology. And I think the tone of my earlier post didn’t come across right either. Mostly I was sad that she felt unwelcome.

My intent was to say that she’s not intruding here, because this, unlike other spaces to which she may be accustomed, is a place where disagreement is tolerated. I said “the culture that I support” instead of “this place”, because I didn’t want to speak for others (and because I was taking a potshot at the opposing culture), but that seems to have obfuscated my meaning. I did not intend to suggest that she was unwilling to face disagreement; I’ve seen her respond to disagreement with strong, reasoned replies on many occasions.

As we discussed in the “Not All” thread, I read more into your comment about generalizing people than you intended. Still, the thread lead me to clarify some of my thoughts about criticism, so I found it valuable.

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Here’s an observation from someone who really liked the conversations in the 90s and 00s that took place on Usenet. I just liked reading and observing for the most part, I didn’t contribute that often:

We ducked out of Usenet because there were a bunch of people abusing the medium to make it impossible to talk about anything. Most of us went to Merk’s site and conversations continued. Clearly, over the last some-odd years, intfiction.org became a CYOA and parser site.

CYOA games, to me, have something in common with real-time strategy games. RTS is a fun genre, I tried out a lot of them and got to the point where I felt like I pretty much had their grammar down. Every once in a while, my friend Pinback will point me towards a new RTS game that he says is new or interesting, and of course he is correct and of course the game does do something novel with the genre. Love it. Glad they’re being made, I like the occasional update about them and I’ll dork about 'em from time to time. A genre that I loooooooove, though, is arcade games, and there is a site I go to just to read the conversations about arcade games.

It would be weird if RTS discussions started appearing on the KLOV arcade forum.

This isn’t me saying RTS games are bad. Atari made Rampart in the 80s, and Rampart is quite similar to an RTS game. So we already talk about RTS games over on KLOV anyway, don’t we? I mean, everyone gets the analogy, but imagine waking up one day and seeing all the previous weeks’ conversation now be about a genre you don’t have that special affinity for, on the one site you went to for the thing that you did have nostalgia and insane interest in. It’s not GRRR the worst thing that ever happened, but I think it’s absolutely understandable that a bunch of people were left wondering what happened. In fact, King’s Quest had a parser. To many people in this thread there is no difference in CYOA dominating the conversation on intfiction.org and AGS games doing the same. They are different genres and experiences to some, not others.

At the same time that all of this is going on, there’s two CYOA forums that I know of that have had more new topics and posts in the last 7 days than I think this site has had in a year. I think it’s safe to say the community is thriving and there are lots of places to talk about it. There’s got to be at least a dozen CYOA games on Steam, and every Steam game has a Community Forum tab where there are dozens of threads, with only a small percentage devolving to jingoism and developer death threats. The parser world seems to keep shrinking; when the last 7 entries on Planet IF’s RSS feed have nothing to do with parser games, it really wasn’t an RSS feed for me to keep up on the genre I had a special thing for any longer. Add to this – as people have said in this thread – the different Tumblr vs Hacker mindsets and the fact that many people do enjoy both genres, and of course there is friction, of course there is strife.

(I don’t have any answers, of course. I still read the same sites. No answers, and I decided to make an RPG next, so there ya go, haha.)


Would someone mind summing up what’s meant by “Tumblr culture”? The article vaporware posted gave me an idea of what’s meant by hacker culture, but I’m still not sure what the “tumblr” values are meant to be, and searches haven’t been very helpful.

Also-- vaporware, thanks for posting that article. I think I have a better grasp now on why feelings run so high. If you’re a “weirdo” who doesn’t fit in, and so you go build a treehouse where you’re free to be weird without being scorned, and then people who are scornful of you and your weirdo culture take over the treehouse and kick you out–I can see why that’d be super frustrating.

This comparison stuck out to me:

It’s worth noting that these values cut across the left-right spectrum of how people tend to think about politics, rather than bisecting it. There are progressive, libertarian, anarchist, moderate, communist, conservative, liberal, and reactionary hackers, just the same as can be said for women, bisexuals, Texans, or engineers who aren’t hackers. (The only political identity I’ve never seen represented natively in hackerdom is authoritarianism, and even then we invite them to our conferences.) This also means that we can’t always rely on the attitudes that people wear on their sleeves. We have to watch closely, mining the interactions we observe for actionable data the way a person on a blind date pays attention to how their date treats the waiter.

Even though I’m not a hacker, that comparison of watching how people are treated resonates with me a lot. To take one example of how I’ve observed people: if someone claims to care about respecting women, how do they talk to, and about, women with whom they disagree? Women with different ideologies? The women in the public eye whom seemingly everyone loves to hate on? If you (general you) claim to respect women, but really you only respect women who agree with you, I’m not impressed.

How do they talk about, and treat, people with unpopular opinions? Do those people cease, in their minds, to be human? That’s a problem.

Argh. I had the wrong thread open when I replied. Apologies - can this be merged into the other thread, or should I delete this and post it where it belongs?

I actually wouldn’t mind this being a separate thread from the original “IF Community” thread, which was getting awfully long. But either way, it’d make sense to split off these few posts from the original post in this thread.

(Note: some posts above were merged in from another thread.)

A third Spring Thing game resembles a parser game. It has a keyword parser.

http://springthing.net/2016/play.html#TheXylophoniad custom parser in JavaScript.

Only one parser game was entered in the main draw last year.

Yes, it’s frustrating to be attacked for “too weird” or “not weird enough.” I think I remember a tweet of Laroquod’s where he said, in high school people insulted me for maybe being gay, and now I’m insulted for not being sympathetic enough. There’s a certain amount of “you have to agree with me, NOW” that I’ve learned upset me.

I’ve definitely found this to be the case. Another thing is, how do they treat people from whom they have nothing to gain? I remember having people turn against me once I stopped helping them with homework, and they were the ones I knew better than to ask for help back.

I’ve had a hard time pushing away someone with political opinions similar to me who says, well, if you don’t believe this, you’re stupid (one particular case to shake was someone who’d donated money to a political candidate I liked). But it needs to be done and gets easier with time. And I’ve learned a lot from people I’ve found to be totally wrong on some issues. Obviously, if they pass from wrong to nasty, that’s when you close the door. But some things don’t always matter, even if they’re big and general.

hmm, love reading such long-winded discussions on the nature of the IF community.

yeah, just like globalized countries nowadays, it’s right now fractured into dozens of tiny communities with their own agenda and will to power, a mirror to state of affairs in our fragmented tribal society, as IceCream Jonsey well put it,

and nazi law such the CoC didn’t help at all. It’s only point is to alienate and isolate those whose opinions are unwanted in the current IF community. So, you have a media which is enjoyed by few people in the world and you shut down the few who genuinely care, what do you get? just a reduced audience and more trouble for your sockpuppets to try and maintain the illusion of an audience… sad

BTW, does porpentine ever make a remark which isn’t a logical fallacy? I don’t ever remember being a rainbow-puking slimy creature minority to enjoy its games… if games those hypertexts are at all…

full disclosure, I don’t ever remember being to cave spelunking, fantasy castles or mansions at all either, and those still attract me regardless

it’s certainly not without merits: it makes for a more balanced view

I’ve seen plenty of games of IF where the own author lists it and immediately gives it a 5 star. So, I give it a quick spin to see if it’s any worth and if it’s just drivel or unoriginal amateurish stuff we’ve seen dozens of times before, I award it a 1-star just to counter that bogus 5 stars… :wink: