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The City of IF Story Part IV

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: The City of IF Story Part IV Reply with quote

I've just posted the next installment of the history of the City here.

Comments welcome, as always.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As interesting as the first three installments were, this one caught my attention the most. This particular part studies the City of IF from the foundation up. I experience great pleasure and excitement from my participation in the emergence of something unique and new, namely storygaming. For me Interfable does represent a community, and I consider the frequent members here my friends.

Regarding the three questions- I have no problem with the answers so far. “Sort-of”, “yes”, and “we don't know yet”, seem fine at this juncture for this unprecedented form of expression. The overall purpose appears less an attempt to improve or replace other established constructs, and more an attempt to create something completely new and equally exciting as what others have enjoyed before (or continue to enjoy now.)

*Looks around for SchoolMarm! before whispering to Key*

Technicalities:

Quote:
3. Storygaming: On This Land I Will Build a City (this should link to /about_3.htm instead of /about_4.htm)

it was no longer Interfable, it was now the City of IF (would better be separated by a semicolon than a comma)

- “sort of”, “yes”, and “we don't know yet,” (inconsistent, would appear more uniform if all commas were placed either inside of, or outside of, the quotations, although I’m uncertain whether there is a steadfast rule regarding this)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ethereal_fauna wrote:
Technicalities:
Quote:
3. Storygaming: On This Land I Will Build a City (this should link to /about_3.htm instead of /about_4.htm)

it was no longer Interfable, it was now the City of IF (would better be separated by a semicolon than a comma)


Well done, Ms. Fauna, you have significantly raised the quality of your work. I daresay you have achieved adequacy.

ethereal_fauna wrote:
Quote:
- “sort of”, “yes”, and “we don't know yet,” (inconsistent, would appear more uniform if all commas were placed either inside of, or outside of, the quotations, although I’m uncertain whether there is a steadfast rule regarding this)


The rule on comma placement is really quite simple, Ms. Fauna, and I must say I'm a bit disappointed. The rule is - *clears throat* *glances at watch* - oh dear, look at the time. I must be off. Class dismissed!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed this installment, Key. Speaking as someone who voted on whether Deica should pick up the bow or not (I don't remember my vote, though), I have to say it was a real pleasure to rediscover IF last month.

Reading this installment, it occurred to me that the way you're building the City of IF is, in itself, a storygame. You had an idea of what would constitute the perfect environment for storygaming. The players, on the other hand, had other ideas, and sent you spinning off in a new unforeseen direction, away from the comfortable town and toward the big scary city. And I have no doubt that you'll continue on the road to success with it, as long as you (the author) keep listening to the players and as long as the players speak out with passion about the games and the site.

Ok, now I get to be Mr. Cynic-Downer-Guy, as usual...

Key wrote:
Even more important from my point of view, the quality of the storygaming improved. Once the players got to know each other, they were much more active in the storygames. They debated and built on each other's suggestions. They declared and explained their votes, trying to sway others to vote the same way. Conversations started taking place, whereas before the storygame topics were just a series of suggestions. This made the storygaming itself more compelling, which in turn built the community.


Hmm. I haven't read all or even most of the storygames on site yet. But I've read several, and I see a bit of this happening, but not a whole lot. I don't get a sense, in most responses, that there's a lot of passion being generated about this character, this "I", and what he/she should do next. I don't see a lot of back-and-forth commentary after chapters. Maybe I'm off base and missing it - I'd love to see some good examples. I think it's this issue that led you to ask about what makes a compelling decision point, and I think that's still a relevant question.

I could speculate about reasons for this (perhaps the site is still too small), but first, I wonder if I'm alone with this sense.

I have noticed that the recent in-character responses do seem to enhance the sense of iimportance associated with the decisions - I hadn't expected that.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Powers That Be wrote:
I don't get a sense, in most responses, that there's a lot of passion being generated about this character, this "I", and what he/she should do next. I don't see a lot of back-and-forth commentary after chapters. Maybe I'm off base and missing it - I'd love to see some good examples. I think it's this issue that led you to ask about what makes a compelling decision point, and I think that's still a relevant question.

I could speculate about reasons for this (perhaps the site is still too small), but first, I wonder if I'm alone with this sense.

I have noticed that the recent in-character responses do seem to enhance the sense of iimportance associated with the decisions - I hadn't expected that.


I think the smallness of the site might have something to do with it. And perversely, I also think the strong sense of community might as well. All the regular posters know each other, and I think too often don't want a debate (obviously D-Lotus and I don't suffer from this problem, as we debate between each other all the time) or disagree, anything that might cause contention.

The storygames with a larger player base like Thorns and Steel, tend to generate more discussion. More players=varied ideas=more reason to promote your viewpoint. Also I think that the players of Thorns and Steel identify with the character and are genuinely concerned that the decisions Denad makes are good ones.

As for me, I know I don't want to start a flame war, or to get flamed. I don't mind posting an opposing point of view or a rebuttal to something submitted by someone like Key, Smee, or Reiso for example, because I know that they will take any comment I make in good humor. A pleasant exchange could occur on this level, some of that back-and-forth discussion mentioned.

Other times I am reluctant to submit a response to someone else's post. It's easier to submit an idea solely in response to the SG and leave it, than to risk cluttering up a story thread with a pointless and inane argument.

The best example of discussion was lost in the consolidation of Thorns and Steel, but that one chapter and the exchange taking place on whether Valshi should kill a punk or not, and how to prevent said punk's inevitable and violent death, was great fun for me. Many ideas were submitted and the merits of them weighed, and the passion about the game really came through on that chapter.

I agree that the in-character responses enhance the importance associated with the decisions. I also think that as more players use IC responses, it might become more comfortable to initiate some back-and-forth discussion. IC responses seem to come from the game, not simply from another person disagreeing with what you said. It's friendlier and more natural to argue with yourself than to start a fight with someone else on a peaceful gaming site. Razz

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking forward to this installment, and it didn't disappoint.

It clearly showed just how easy it would have been for me to dismiss InterFable when I first arrived.

Yes the handful of storygames were interesting, but I had lots of back chapters to read before I could join in, and in the meantime there was nothing I could do. I couldn't even say 'hi' without polluting someone's thread.

The progress over the last 6 months has been fantastic. Arriving at the City of IF demonstated the community we now have. I often stare at the logo and remember the different ones we were looking at - hell even that process was similar to a storygame :wink: Very Happy

Of course now I'm very glad I stayed and had a look around. I know, and have talked with in chat, just about every regular member and consider them all friends to varying degrees. The chat system may have been a last minute add on, but I think it deserves a little more mention in this post.

The chat system means that I can see someone online and rather than trying a strange posting conversation (something Saxon and D-Lotus mastered :wink: ) we could talk in real time. Then of course is the new part of the city - Chat Storygaming. This brings together different people from the geographic region you talked about all at the same time, to spend time together and interact. I think this is exactly the kind of RP boost, and interactivity that you were looking for in storygaming. The very nature of it though forces the final dragon in to play - chat storygaming isn't cut out for many players at the same time. Despite this I think it has become a valuable part of the city.

I await with much interest to get some idea of your plans for the future. So far so great. One thing that may be under consideration, and still baffles me, is the number of new members arriving. In the last 300 new members, only 11 of them posted (one of those being SchoolMarm). There are nearly 13500 members - enough to populate a small town, if not a city. Why is such a small number staying? What is attracting them, and why are they so reluctant to look around and see why it is worth staying?

Happy Planning Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the great feedback. Some thoughts and replies:

The Powers That Be wrote:
Reading this installment, it occurred to me that the way you're building the City of IF is, in itself, a storygame. You had an idea of what would constitute the perfect environment for storygaming. The players, on the other hand, had other ideas, and sent you spinning off in a new unforeseen direction, away from the comfortable town and toward the big scary city.


That's an interesting insight; I hadn't thought of that. I guess it's not a bad way to approach life in general: have lots of ideas and plans, but always be ready to change them...

The Powers That Be wrote:
Hmm. I haven't read all or even most of the storygames on site yet. But I've read several, and I see a bit of this happening, but not a whole lot. I don't get a sense, in most responses, that there's a lot of passion being generated about this character, this "I", and what he/she should do next. I don't see a lot of back-and-forth commentary after chapters. Maybe I'm off base and missing it - I'd love to see some good examples.


As Fauna mentioned, Thorns and Steel Chapter 5 had a good discussion, but that's been erased Sad. Two other examples are The Ram Chapter 8 and Chapter 9. Chapter 8 is an interesting one because the decision point is mostly plot-driven, rather than character-driven, but it still generated lots of discussion. So that goes against my theory that character-driven decision points are more likely to trigger discussion.

These kinds of discussions don't happen all the time. My point in the history was that they happen more now than they did before last fall, and I think that's true, but the larger point, which you mention, is that we need to think about how to get them to happen more often.

The size of the site may have something to do with it, as you and Fauna suggest. You mention that the in-character responses seem to generate more discussion. Could you (or anyone else) say more about that? I haven't noticed that myself.

Smee wrote:
Of course now I'm very glad I stayed and had a look around. I know, and have talked with in chat, just about every regular member and consider them all friends to varying degrees. The chat system may have been a last minute add on, but I think it deserves a little more mention in this post.

The chat system means that I can see someone online and rather than trying a strange posting conversation (something Saxon and D-Lotus mastered ) we could talk in real time. Then of course is the new part of the city - Chat Storygaming. This brings together different people from the geographic region you talked about all at the same time, to spend time together and interact. I think this is exactly the kind of RP boost, and interactivity that you were looking for in storygaming. The very nature of it though forces the final dragon in to play - chat storygaming isn't cut out for many players at the same time. Despite this I think it has become a valuable part of the city.


I'm glad you stayed too, Smee Very Happy

You make some good points about chat. I was planning to talk more about chat in the next section of the history, since I think it's one of the features of the site with the greatest potential. But I think you're right that it also deserves more discussion in this part of the history. I'll add in something more on chat.

Smee wrote:
One thing that may be under consideration, and still baffles me, is the number of new members arriving. In the last 300 new members, only 11 of them posted (one of those being SchoolMarm). There are nearly 13500 members - enough to populate a small town, if not a city. Why is such a small number staying? What is attracting them, and why are they so reluctant to look around and see why it is worth staying?


This baffles me too. I'm not surprised or especially disappointed that there are many more people visiting the site than sticking around; I think that's standard for any web site. But it mystifies me that so many people would register if they don't want to participate. Registration isn't necessary for any site feature, and it's not something we even tell people to do. If you were browsing the site, why would you register unless you were going to post something? Any thoughts, anyone?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there's the ones like Shanty who probably didn't get the email right...
The chavs who didn't get it first before registering, then realised with the usual reaction (OHmiGOD!)...
About 4 of them are a guy at our school who didn't get that he would recieve an email...
And maybe the rest forgot completely, it's easy to do especially if your computer wipes the adress bar every minute :evil:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thoughts on this problem that I could come up with and discussed with Fauna are that maybe most people are looking for the MMORPG experience, sign-up without thinking and then realise it's different to that.

However, I can't think of any solutions that wouldn't potentially compromise the members that do stick around - it's definately a tricky one. Maybe we could get some input from the latest arrivals and their thoughts - TayFinch could be a good one.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Key, this most recent chapter definitely puts things in perspective. It never really sank in with me how affected the site is by each member's input. I remember being one of the people who suggested Linear Stories have their own place, and having chat (while ironically being the person who probably uses it the least), and of course there is the moderation duties and what not... it felt really cool to see that even though I was a relative newcomer at the time, that my ideas were being heard and if I wanted, I could even have some control over my own corner of the site. It's kind of sad really (in terms of RL), but there aren't many other places where I feel as much a part of a community in which I am a semi-respected member.

But through out all of that, I was pretty much under the assumption that you knew almost exactly what you were doing, and we were just being helpful here and there. It never occured to me that not only did you encourage feedback, but were relying on it heavily. This plus the point of the interaction with each of us as we become recognized by each other improving the stories - well like I said, it adds perspective. It's interesting to follow that logic through to a point where an author may eventually think "I don't want to dissapoint X, or so and so would really enjoy this kind of scene, so I'll do it"... in short, this aspect is more like a gaming experience in which the story is crafted to entertain specific people. A good DM knows his players, and makes a game they will enjoy. Adding this element to the storygaming makes for exciting possibilities, I think.

But I am most interested in what you will cover in the next chapter; the future of The City... should be very enlightening.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Key wrote:
I'm glad you stayed too, Smee Very Happy

I'll echo that! Very Happy
Key wrote:
If you were browsing the site, why would you register unless you were going to post something? Any thoughts, anyone?

I think that some people do not fully read and/or grasp exactly what the site is about, and they somehow think that by registering they'll access a graphics-based game play.

Phang also mentioned a few good points, in that some memberships are probably dead because people forget passwords, misinterpret email verifications, forget to bookmark the site and never find their way back, etc.

Reiso wrote:
But through out all of that, I was pretty much under the assumption that you knew almost exactly what you were doing, and we were just being helpful here and there.

Although I wasn't here for the initial restructuring, and you (Key) may have actually formed a new vision by the time I arrived, I too have been under the impression that you've known what you were doing and where this was going all along. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Key wrote:
You mention that the in-character responses seem to generate more discussion. Could you (or anyone else) say more about that? I haven't noticed that myself.


That's not exactly what I said:

Quote:
I have noticed that the recent in-character responses do seem to enhance the sense of iimportance associated with the decisions


It appeared to me at the time that the in-character responses seemed to give more detailed reasoning behind the choices they presented. I'm not sure that's true, just an impression.
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