Thursday, January 31, 2013

They're Kids ... Scare 'Em

Well, it's been a strange week.

For those who are getting a little uptight that I haven't posted anything solid about game design for quite awhile now, my apologies.  I promise a nice, pretty picture of a three-level ship in a day or two.  I've just been putting my energy towards beating my fiction novel into submission and trying to find a blue Les Paul I can get a photo of for the front cover.  Things are looking good for next week, perhaps the week after.  Can't rush these things.

In the meantime, once again I'm being counselled - again - about my abusive, arrogant, inconsiderate manner in writing posts telling other DMs that they're idiots, they run shit worlds, they haven't done half the work they need to justify themselves and that in the future the game is going to leave them behind.  I'm being told - as ever - that if I were polite, and presented my ideas politely, then these people would be SOOO much more willing to discuss the issues.

Pure bullshit.  And here's why:

I love this scene.  It directly addresses the entire issue of being polite to people who consider themselves talented and capable, who are in fact prima donnas who need the royal shit scared out of them from time to time.  People do not improve with pampering.

People improve when they are shit scared.

I don't know ... I may make this film thing a regular feature.


  1. It seems to me often that these people have little experience in leadership roles. I have managed in my life...and it is a difficult role. And it is made difficult by the fact that people do not, generally, take seriously someone they do not find to be capable of doing them some sort of harm. Harm, in this case, of course meaning repercussions of a negative kind, not physical injury.

    I have worked for many managers myself and, universally, the good ones that got results from their employees could be either nice and helpful or strict and taciturn..or anything in between. What they had in common, however, was that their employees always knew (or at least I did) that they had a whip that they could crack. That was always clear. There was always the looming threat that if you did not perform or did not act appropriately, there would be repercussions.

    This is how I modeled my own managerial style. I tend to be easy to work for and friendly...but I have fired people on the spot for violations. They deserved it. One of these people was even one of my good friends and, afterwards, we still maintain a good friendship. It was what it was. And he respected me for it. My subordinates respected me for it because they knew I demanded the same of myself. I was not unfair with my ideals.

    I think that is one of the things that truly challenges people that read some of your material. They look at it and they hear the attitude associated with it and it puts them on the defensive...they scramble because there are clear ideals present that are being upheld by the author. It is an open challenge that says "prove this is not better. prove my efforts are not superior. prove you should not be striving towards this". People do not like that. People do not like to feel like they are not doing enough.

    They can't, however, come up with a good argument against the ideal. It makes too much sense. So the tone is attacked...even though the tone is necessary to shake people up and say "Look at this! Respond!". It is necessary to challenge them. This is the same reason people try to dismiss it with bullshit cries of "Well I don't have the time for that!"...which is, as stated, bullshit. People have crazy amounts of time. What they don't have is the desire to put in the effort...which is a whole other kettle of fish.

    Strangely, I would respect a reply of "I don't have the desire to put in that much effort" far more. It is, above all else, a fair response to the challenge. "I lack the desire to do that". Who can argue with that? However, people feel insulted by having to make such an admittance because it means they do not have the desire to do everything in their power to improve as a DM. Interestingly, they do not see it as the spectrum that it is.

    Desire & effort are not analog thoughts or modes. After all, Alexis, could you do more to improve as a DM? The answer is yes. Could I? Yes. Could anyone? Yes. I love my wife. Could I put in more effort to express that? Yes. I enjoy cooking. Could I put in more effort to expand on that enjoyment? Yes. It all comes down to the spectrum of desire and effort...and, in the end, when someone considers something important many of them seem to react negatively when they see someone putting in more effort because they have more desire.

    It is an affront to them. It is spitting on their own works. It is an insult.

    Now, of course, it's none of those things...but that is what it is rationalized into...for the sake of sparing one's own ego. "I have done this thing in your field. Are my efforts not great & admirable?" says a man of great desire & efforts. The reply he receives is "FUCK YOU!". So often this is true. Sad...but true.

  2. That's marvelous, Yagami. Put much better than I put it. Interesting that I have also had a long experience with management. I am also easy to work for and friendly ... and I have also fired people on the spot.

    There is something to that assessment, particularly in that the example I immediately rush towards is one where the manager gives the employees shit.

  3. Worth pointing out perhaps, for the purposes of discussion, that nobody ever sees themselves the way everybody else does. Nobody. Ever.

  4. Never apologize unless you've done something wrong.

    I assert that you are doing things very right.

    Else, I would not be commenting and your blog would not have made it into my bookmarks.

  5. I for one prefer the current line of posting to game design posts. I find them to be quite interesting. And the furor it raises is half the fun! Think of it as illuminating the masses. Well, maybe a few of them got the point. I think I did. Let's see if it sticks.

  6. It's a question of balance, Are Braaten. Meat AND Potatoes.

    I'll keep writing these as long as I keep thinking of valuable things to say. I am, sometime next week, going to get started full-on working on my How To DM book. Much of this has been in my mind. But I am reserving things back to talk about there, so that the book is new material, not a rehash of this blog.

  7. Sadly, the video in your post no longer seems available. What was it, so I can find it elsewhere?


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