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Saturday, June 13, 2015

How Much of an Overlap is There Between OSR Blogs, OSR G+ Communities and OSR Forums?

A funny thing happened at the hotel of the NTRPG Con the afternoon before the Con officially kicked off. My wife Rachel and I met another con goer at the hotel pool. I introduced myself, he returned a black stare, and Rach proceeded with: "Erik Tenkar. You know, Tenkar's Tavern blog?"

He never heard of it nor me. I realized immediately what was going on and asked him: "Which forum do you post on?" and his response was Dragon's Foot.

Now, for the most part, I don't post on forums these days although I am registered at a few - ENWorld and Dragon's Foot are the main ones. Screen name? Tenkar. Not a surprise I hope.

I'm not sure how far a divide we have between blogs and forums in the OSR, and I strongly believe G+ falls along the side of blogs. I'd post a poll, but if you just do forums, we'll never get your input. Hmm, although the lack of input would certainly show a divide exists.

Just a curious observation on my end.

What do you think? Do most gamers in the OSR, assuming they get their info from the internet, favor blogs or forums over one or the other? Is there some mutual exclusivity going on?

30 comments:

  1. I know for me I never venture into forums unless I'm specifically directed there by someone emailing me and saying "Hey Joe, you should look at this..." or a google news alert. (One exception, Canonfire!, which is Greyhawk-specific, and even then I usually just read rather than post.)

    Nowadays I purely read blogs and my G+ feed. Even the G+ communities I'm a member of, I rarely look at.

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  2. I don't like forums...that's about it.

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  3. I pretty well stopped posting on forums about 6 or so years ago, right around the time the "OSR" was blooming. Blogs are a better format for sharing RPG ideas, imho. I've only started in with this whole G+ thing recently. I've avoided social media type stuff like the plague in the past, but G+ seems to be a nice compliment to blogs.

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    1. Blogs are an effective place to share RPG ideas, but they suck (IMO) when it comes to inviting collaboration. I do a lot of game design work, all of it out in the open, and only a forum seems to be able to handle the collaboration I prefer. Those making contributions are first class citizens, not lesser people whose comments are different than my original post.

      Until some other platform provides this feel, as well as a high degree of persistence (I'm looking at you, Facebook), I can't see using anything other than my forum to create and share materials.

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    2. Good point re: open collaboration, Chris. The format of blogs certainly do not keenly support that as well as forums do.

      However, for casual (for lack of better terminology) idea sharing and commentary, blogs and G+ are much more to my liking. Forums have a lot of detritus unless they are private or closely moderated.

      I'm not sure what you mean by the first-class/lesser people comment, though.

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  4. My OSR reading is something like this:G+, blogs I follow in Feedly, and then either the Dragonsfoot or Goodman games forums. I bet I only make it into the forums about once a month though.

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  5. Blogs, a few forums eg the Oldhammer forum on them, though not exactly active.

    Not on G+.

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  6. Use Google + and a read a few blogs...very seldom peruse forums.

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  7. I was a big contributor to a forum, even moderated large sections of it, until I realized I was just a line-replaceable-unit to the folks who owned the forums. I still post once in a blue moon, but I'd rather have people reading my stuff because they want to, not because they need to wade through it to read something else.

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  8. All the back-and-forth of forum conversations muddles things up too much for me. I like the more focused approach of blogs, both for expressing my own ideas and to read those of others. Blog posts tend to be fuller and more coherent expressions. They're also nice if you like to ruminate on an idea for a while instead of the sometimes rapid-fire point/counterpoint/utter nonsequitur rhythm of a forum.

    G+ meshes well with the blogging community, I think, because it allows us to publicize our posts and get some feedback within a fairly short time horizon. Forum threads tend to noodle on for months or years.

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  9. G+, Tenkars, and OSR Today. Forums I rarely venture into for gaming unless G+ fails me,which is almost never.

    Facebook is a huge mess, but sometimes you might luck out with a funny meme.

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  10. I read blogs and G+ (which have significant overlap), rarely look at forums anymore. I guess that puts me in the majority here, which I guess we should expect since I followed a G+ link to the blog....

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  11. I'm gonna screw up your data as I'm the outlier. I'm in the OSR community on G+ (among many many others) tho I don't post to it, The AD&D 1e community on facebook, where I post in response to others, but don't make my own posts, r/osr and r/adnd (among many others) on Reddit, but I don't generally post there (but I do in r/rpg, and many other rpg subs), ENWorld, which I treat as a blog, generally reading just the news on the front page and occasionally contributing to the comment section on a story, dragonsfoot where I don't have an account, I just read the non-forum parts of the site (eg: downloads) and RPGGeek where I rarely post in response to others, genrally preferring to just lurk. This is the only OSR blog I comment on.

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  12. I still frequent some forums, but am trying to force myself to stop...observationally I've noticed that the bulk of the "positive RPG movement" is in blogs and on G+....even when it turns sour for a time it always reverts back, if only because there's more creator-controlled content and direction (or put another way, the only negativity in most blogs comes from negative content creators). Forums however tend to dive into cesspools of spiraling negativity, to the extent that its easy to get discouraged about the entire hobby....something about the medium of forums seems to naturally engender this in people on the internet and not just our hobby, I've noticed. Unfortunately bridging the gap between the two means crossing the line and making sure people can find your blog if they like your forum comments. OTOH Google+, provided Google doesn't do something horrible to it, is increasingly replacing the need for that "forum advertising" I feel. So ultimately the only reason I slum in forums anymore is sheer boredom.

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    1. Wow, I have to say, I'm pretty happy that my forum hasn't yet spiraled into negativity... I believe it's not inevitable, not at all; you just need good moderation.

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    2. That's a good point and I suppose I should clarify that the bulk of the private forums for specific games and publishers are actually very friendly (such as for Iron Falcon/Basic). Trollhalla for T&T, the Troll Lord forums, Mongoose's forums, all very nice. Enworld is the largest forum I've been to where people are generally fairly respectful toward one another (most of the time, and thanks to Morrus's gret moderation). But there are some others....which might be fairly obvious as I didn't mention them....that I tend to consider bastions of the "we love to hate our hobby" crowd. They tend to run passive/aggressive (with moderators insuring the passive aggression is thick) down to just full of creeps. As an aside, although I do not hang out on Reddit, ever, although I imagine it's horrible the few occasions something has been relevant over there it always (usually) leads to relatively benign conversations.

      I'm beating around the bush: here's the forums I've been to which have issues: rpg.net (moderation too heavy, too many posters pushing hard agendas over there in the most passive-aggressive way they can); therpgsite.com (sometimes has amazingly civil conversations, other times derailed by everyone being an ass for no good reason other than they can), Paizo.com (actually fine if you are a purist Pathfinder fan, but can be really obnoxious if you aren't...may have gotten better in recent years but hard to say).

      Dragonsfoot seems fine but I hardly ever see any activity over there so I don't hang out. WotC's own forums are interesting but detached from the rest of the hobby in their feel...it's like looking into a forum where no one knows other rpgs exist. Also, not much traffic for the "big kahuna" of gaming.

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  13. Based on where you've posted this question, I'm going to predict your commenters skew towards blogs/G+, which largely overlap. : )

    Forums is where I started but now I have a blog and a G+ community, so I use all three pretty equally. I find they complement each other nicely. I can post/read extended thoughts on my/other blogs, post quick links in G+, have back and forth conversations that aren't time sensitive on forums (most blog/G+ conversations drop off in a few days).

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  14. As a reader, but not a contributor, I find that I prefer blogs. Forums with their multitude of threads and pages of lists to weed through for information seem more like work than interesting.

    I would equate blogs to the magazines that I like to read. They usually provide, at the very least, a fairly well thought out perspective that sparks my interest and often plants seeds for new ideas in my head. I don't have to agree with the point of view, but at least I perceive an honesty of emotion that can be missing from a forum. Forums are the place I will go in an attempt to research for information about a specific topic.

    As a gamer that had to put the books away for a decade due to various intrusions from real life, I am immensely grateful for the Tavern and related blogs for being around. Without these blogs and their individual personalities, I would not feel like I was still part of the gaming community at large.

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  15. I just google a topic and if it leads to a good blog or forum entry, I'll read it and maybe comment if I don't have to sign up for yet another ID.

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  16. Forums are far too full of people I wouldn't spit on if they were on fire. The same may apply to blogs and platforms like G+, but I can just ignore them in those areas. Forums require me to interact with the worst as well as the best, and implementations of fixes like blocks and such are poorly distributed among the various fora.

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  17. I don't think there's much cross-pollination with many old-school forums (except, notably, odd74) and the blog/G+ scene. Forums tend to still focus on the original games published by TSR, so people who want to sell books or use clones/sims instead tend to go to blogs/G+.

    Also, many people in the first wave of bloggers actively disliked forums and remain very vocal about the perceived low quality of people there, so that type of stuff also further discourages deep cross-pollination.

    People on G+/blogs don't like the forum format (often). People on forums often aren't feeling a lack driving them to go to G+/blogs. There's only so much time in a day.

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  18. Well I use a RSS reader app that updates constantly on my phone. I have about 5 gaming related categories and hundreds of individual feeds. Generally, I start here, read the posts at the Acaeum (I don't pretend to collect anymore though I buy plenty of material, mostly from small press guys you all know), Then I check the rest of the 'news' type blog feeds (OSR Today etc), G+ I try to limit to scanning as it could take hours to just pull myself away. These are my daily reads.

    I have a section of feeds dedicated to blogs that post creative content that I read once a week. It includes blogs that 5-10 times per year but the content is top notch.

    I have a section that 'professionally' related I checl infrequently, maybe every other day. Cartographers Guild and the RPG net games industry forum on RPGNet fall in this category (which also includes Adobe CC feeds, design tips etc).

    Finally I have my forum feeds (odd74, DF, RPGNet, ENWorld etc). I am not going to rank preferences but I find some odious and most overwhelming with the number of posts. I scan them occasionally but I use the search function weekly. I search for my products in case there is something I can address, Cons I attend, Product names I am interested in buying etc. I rarely post unless I have something to add or the thread was started by Mike Badolato and requires an insult :)

    My general take from all of these is the very active forums attract and serve a useful purpose for active players and GMs. While blogs have more visibility with creators and potential creators. I have just started keeping my own actually after I realized how much I use them in purchasing decisions and networking type opportunities. I invariably run into you guys with blogs at conventions and it is a cool way to meet interesting people efficiently :) I use FaceBook quite a bit but I rarely look at the feeds the way I do on G+.

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  19. I find blogs are great for content, but most have very few comments, and comments are mostly completely independent (no conversation) just like this comment! If you do comment and someone replies to this comment you'd never know that someone had replied.

    Forums look like they'd be a place for conversation but seem to encourage very argumentative types. The most common response I've had if for someone to misread what I posted and to say I'm wrong (about the most innocuous of subjects) - which if you respond makes you look argumentative. So the conversations generally don't seem to go anywhere.

    I've never tried G+.

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    1. I read what you posted and you're wrong.

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  20. "Don't you know who I am? I have a blog!"
    :)
    I read Dragonsfoot occasionally but don't post to it mainly because I forget my logins. I can't keep up with G+ so I don't really participate there either. I have like one gaming G+ friend. I mostly read blogs, but even that is less often than it used to be.
    I definitely see bloggers badmouthing forums, and with reason based on the threads they cite, but I don't have a strong opinion. There are bad apples everywhere I think.

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  21. "Don't you know who I am? I have a blog!"
    :)

    ----

    A reality check indeed... the OSR blogosphere is not necessarily a key to recognition in the old-school "community".

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  22. Forums for specific things or topics - like the OD&D forum which is one of the best, Catalyst Group's Battletech forum for the minis and some rules references. G+/blogs are like the daily news/journals - some of them like Delta's D&D Hotspot are very good reads, others are only if the title is interesting or someone recommends it.

    The more interesting question is "the count of how many gamers that are out there that *aren't* active bloggers/forum posters and their percentage of the gaming world."

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  23. Personally, I spend most of my time on the blogs and the forums. I tend to avoid G+ for a number of reasons including a dislike of the interface.

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