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Everything posted by Dr.Bedlam

  1. Noted. As soon as I saw "Internet Living Room," I assumed you were talking to me. Plainly, I shooda made it clear that I was referring to social media in general, and NOT the Reaper boards, which don't work that way. I was going to argue with you on that, but upon reflection, I'm not so sure you're wrong. Particularly considering I wound up elaborating on my interpretation of it, anyway. Sometimes, editing something down to a quick punchy sound bite is perhaps not the best option. I begin to see why you found my "Internet Living Room" analogy irritating. That wasn't what I meant to say, but your point is well made, and sorta ties into what Buglips was saying. You're perfectly correct in that a perfectly good forum can quickly become an echo chamber devoted to any and all ideas, good, or wretched or poisonous, without fairly tight moderation. Furthermore, there are any number of social media sites who don't give a rat about the content, so long as the noses are pointed at the content (and the ads). This is why we periodically see news stories like FACEBOOK GROUP DEVOTED TO (atrocity deleted) DISCOVERED: ZUCKERBERG REFUSES TO COMMENT. I imagine many of these groups started out as perfectly ordinary discussions, and just evolved in that direction, just as you say. No single raindrop thinks it's to blame for the flood. I seldom do Google hangouts, and was completely unaware of everything you have voiced here. And now I'm better informed than I was an hour ago. And that's where it comes down to you and me and the rest of the forumites. Pingo's point... or at least my interpretation of it... is that it takes mods to keep a community in the same shape it was when it started. Stupid is a universal constant, and creeps permeate all. If life has taught me anything, it is that some folks just can't stand to go through a day without kicking over someone's sand castle. The internet is particularly vulnerable to this, as it offers anonymity by its nature, and consequences are hard to come by, short of the mall cops showing up and tossing the miscreants out the door. By then, it's too late; the sandcastle has been kicked, and the joyful validation of the troll has already occurred. Sure, there are mods here. Pretty GOOD ones, compared to some joints I've visited. But it also rests on us all. Doug Sundseth's solution is a simple one, and not a bad one: don't feed the trolls, and keep the dirty laundry in the hamper. If one wishes to talk to him on another level, let's seek someplace other than the Reaper Mall Food Court in which to have our discussion. His solution works for him. Peachy. It's not the only one. I've had plenty of disagreements here, be it about priming or about politics. Disagreements happen. When they get out of hand, we report it, we holler for mods, and so forth. And in the meantime, I try to be civil. I don't always succeed; I'm as fallible and as temperamental as anyone. I'm also not a mod, and this ain't my personal stomping ground. It's important to remember I'm a guest here, and I really don't wanna tangle with the Mall Cops, regardless of my shining rightness and justifications. I've been told to shuddup before, and my Freedom Of Speech really doesn't mean squat here; this is someone else's property. I am free to write dirty words on the walls... but not these particular walls. Regardless of who might be Liking my posts, cheering me on and vigorously agreeing with my fiery hatred of cole slaw or whatever. Ultimately, I think, it boils down to good mods, a good set of rules and guidelines... and the fact that a forum's going to be as good as WE are. (...yeah, okay, maybe trying to boil it all down to one pithy quote wasn't the best plan. So much for good intentions...)
  2. I would do that, if I were smarter and less impulsive.
  3. No, the Reaper forum isn't my internet living room. I was speaking more of social media in general, places what invite you to create your own space, like Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. Sometimes, people wander into my space, and behave unpleasantly. I regard this as akin to a guest behaving badly; I was making an analogy. I get that on Facebook occasionally, when I or a friend posts something someone takes exception to. And since it's my own space, I deal with it as I see fit. Although it's not a bad thing to remember that what Twitter giveth, Twitter can take away. This is a moderated forum. I have no personal space here; I am simply a registered member. I have no living room, here; if I had to make an analogy, I'd describe THIS place as a mall, with separate spaces for separate topics, like the stores in a mall. But it's all public, and none of it is mine. Consequently, the flip side of Living Room Reasoning is in effect: everybody play nice, or suffer the consequences. That's what mods are for. And the rules apply as much to you or me as anyone else. If I make a big ugly noise in a mall, mall security will warn me, perhaps lecture me, perhaps toss me out, regardless of what I think the rules should be or how hard I want them to be that way. It ain't my mall, and I ain't the boss of it. That's really all there is to say, there. Actually, what I SAID was:Monetized social media has a stake in making you crazy, because you're more profitable that way. I think it's more complicated than that, frankly. ANY business is built entirely around one focus: Profit. That includes businesses that are necessary and even altruistic in nature (although it excludes nonprofit type setups). A community NEEDS a grocery store, a bank, and so on. The difficulty comes when a given enterprise crosses a certain line. On one side of that line, the public weal as well as the business's well being are secured. On the other side, the profit margins are still good, and headed upward... but the public interests of SOMEONE, at least, are no longer relevant, and perhaps even under attack. I think Buglips said it pretty well in his big hefty post. He spoke about social media's interests in provoking its users, in maximizing their usage of the platform by any means necessary... and if it means upsetting, angering, or terrorizing said users, well, it's not like we're KILLING anyone, right? We're just maximizing usage and the number of noses pointed at our content, right? No single raindrop thinks it's to blame for the flood. Just makin' money, not breakin' laws, didn't MEAN to do any harm... and yet, here's the flood. Buglips? If I got it wrong, do feel free to jump in here and correct me. EDIT: It is true that Twitter and Facebook and other social media that offer you your own "internet living room" also have moderators and monitoring and rules, Terms Of Service," and so forth. I've noticed, however, that enforcement of those rules tends to be way less egalitarian on the larger monetized platforms than they are here. Hell, Facebook in particular is notorious for allowing what I'd call hate speech, and then banhammering someone for complaining about the hate speech because their response contained quotes from the original hate speech that Facebook allowed! It's stuff like that that makes me ponder Buglips' remarks about their sustainability in the long run.
  4. So what I'm takin' away, here: BUGLIPS: Monetized social media has a stake in making you crazy, because you're more profitable that way. This is bad for us all. PINGO: Nonmonetized social media like this forum can be great if we all just behave and moderators manage the troublemakers. DOUG SUNDSETH: I manage by not feeding the trolls. If you feel I'm out of line, report me. Altogether, assuming I'm interpreting correctly, NONE of these statements seem terribly disruptive or unreasonable...
  5. I agree. Mostly I was reacting with my gut; Buglips went out there and did his homework, so to speak. I dunno that I agree with him on ALL the particulars, but regarding the issue of monetization, he's right on the money (if you'll pardon the pun). If you're not paying for the product, you ARE the product. And if a service is being provided, it's in their best interest to make you use the service as much as possible. I used to work in news, a very long time ago. Two of the first things I learned is "Bring us fodder, or get out," and "If it bleeds, it leads." Media requires fresh content, a steady stream of lucid copy, NOW. It's that much harder in video media, which is why you get talking heads jabbering at you during a disaster when there's no fresh information to feed the audience; a part of an anchor's TRAINING now involves what to do when there's dead air and you have to figure out a way to fill it, engagingly, on the fly. Since then, keeping the audience scared, angry, or at least concerned, is part of the process. "Fnords" aren't a real thing, but they might as well be. It keeps them tuning in. Particularly now that there's enough media floating around that you can just pick one that suits your particular preconceived notions. I don't know that social media was DESIGNED to make you nuts, but it's certainly profitable while operating on that rationale. Facebook used to be how I kept in touch with distant friends. Now it's largely a platform for ads disguised as someone's posts, and a lot of people have moved on to other media or none at all. Now I can go for quite some time without seeing much more than ads and memes. It ain't sustainable. Buglips: " Even if there theoretically was a fix, it couldn't be implemented because some of the factors are being driven by people who don't actually think they're engaged in destructive behaviour at all (worse, some may believe they're actually doing good). " No single raindrop thinks it's to blame for the flood. That's the whole point behind moderators, and what I call the Internet Living Room. When you're on my page, you are in my Internet Living Room. I ask the same courtesy you'd show me if you were sitting in my real one. Feel free to chat and argue, even, but don't put up nudes on the wall or laughingly crap on the carpet. By the same token, though, I need to follow the same guidelines when wandering around in other people's spaces. Regrettably, though, either due to a societal shift, or Buglips' theories, or simply Gabriel's Greater Internet Effwad Theory, a LOT of folks can't seem to manage those parameters, and choose instead to kick up %$#@ for fun, validation, power, and, of course, profit. As to the Reaper forums, I keep coming back because most of us seem to understand the value of basic civility and common courtesy, and trolls tend to get stomped on fairly quickly. I've got friends here. But yeah, some of us have moved on, and the board hasn't the numbers it did, once upon a time. But it's still usually a friendly, supportive place, and the mods are present and doing the job. It's worth returning to. And worth saving. Social media ain't dead, but yeah, there's a dumpster fire there. It's a work in progress. Things will shake out.
  6. Well, based on Warriors, they're an official choice, right up there with halflings and dwarves. Depending on your nephew's age and reading level, they are at best the door to a world of adventure, and at worst, harmless fun. With nice art!
  7. I have obtained these volumes. They are essentially beginners' guides to Dungeons and Dragons without containing any of the rules. The idea is that a youngster reads the books, he'll get interested in the world presented, and therefore the game that lets him be a part of it. For an established player, they're pretty but useless. Well, except in my case; apparently WOTC has brought Tortles back as a player race. I didn't know this until I read the Warriors book. For a person interested in learning what the game is about and what's expected of you, it's a fun read. Heavily illustrated, and the art is quite good. Made me miss the old Practical Guide series, which served a similar function for Third Edition.
  8. In other news, I find wry amusement in the fact that soon, the same sun that's been making me miserable will be powering my air conditioner.
  9. A variety of thickeners can be used; most of them involved a fairly long cooking time, though. Rice, potato, potato flakes, cornstarch, cornmeal, refried beans, cheese, and tomato paste are all thickeners I've seen used to turn it into a thicker, stewier dish. I take no sides about beans, as I have enjoyed both varieties. Which I suppose makes me a... chilisexual? No, more like a bichiliphile... This post has definitely not gone where I expected it to go.
  10. Well, THAT's where I get all line-in-the-sand-y. There need to be chili peppers, diced chilis, canned chilis, or chili powder involved, or it ain't chili. I've had canned chili, vegetarian chili, white chicken chili, carnivore chili, chili with beans, chili without beans, and chili so hot you coulda used my breath to clean your OVEN... ...but if there are not chilis in some form involved, it ain't chili. It is at best Mexican flavor soup, and at worst, spaghetti sauce.
  11. It stuns me to think that a fracas erupted over the weekend on the Reaper boards on Facebook about whether or not Reaper Bones needed priming or not. I have heard that Bones don't need priming. I have heard opinions both ways. But it never occurred to me that anyone would draw a line in the sand and scream "YOU ARE DOING THIS WROOOOONG!" That set me back on my heels. And then I remembered a NASTY multiperson fistfight I witnessed in Terlingua, Texas, in 1985, about whether or not beans had any place in REAL chili. And then it suddenly all made perfect sense. It wasn't any BETTER, but it all made perfect SENSE.
  12. I have no idea who she is. Was she in the Curse of Strahd adventure? I am pleased to finally see a mini for Van Richten. Now, if they'd just start doing more of the Dragonlance characters...
  13. So I picked up the new Warriors and Weapons book when it hit the streets, couple days back. I was bemused to see that Tortles are now a racial choice for player characters. I can't say I ever felt any great urge to play an anthropomorphic turtle. But, then, I was in college when the teenage mutant ninja variety was big, so... maybe I'm just late to the party. So to speak.
  14. Well, yeah, the PDF is cheap. I was thinking hardcopy. That, and the reprint includes the original text and maps, designers' notes, AND the fifth edition conversion. I regret not knowing what it cost in Canada. Not as awkward as it might have been if they'd had all the armor variants available in the PH. Personally, I agree with you, although I have had arguments with them that didn't ... one guy I know didn't like the fact that the castellan's only referred to as "Castellan," whereas I like the idea that he can be Castellan Otranto of the Order of The Chocolate Sundae, if I say so and it fits into my campaign world. Other people want it all spelled out for them.
  15. Mmmyeah, good point... I started on the B series, but it got tangled right quick...
  16. To some extent, I would agree. On the flip side, it doesn't cost TOO much more than an original copy of the module would, it's got loads more material (hell, it contains the original unabridged module), and it's AVAILABLE. The original KotB is not, short of eBay or download. As to the armor issue, well, we ARE talking about a first level adventure, here. Keep it simple, keep it moving. I would have liked to see the random encounter tables reworked. And yeah, we didn't need the references to other Goodman products. Not if you're aiming at the D&D nostalgia market. That, they could have saved for DCC. I could go either way on the elf. Part of me is irked that they changed that. Part of me says, "Well, they HAD to change SOME things, it's a reboot of an existing adventure!" But yeah, it wasn't so much aimed at 5e fans as it was at us ancient grognards who played the ancient original at a basement table with Mountain Dew and Taco Flavored Doritos. Back in the day, a series letter didn't have a dratted thing to do with a continuing narrative. "B" simply meant "Basic Adventure." Note that Gary Gygax did not originally want to sell adventure modules, because he couldn't conceive a group where the DM didn't just write all his own material. Who'd want to pony up good cash for something someone ELSE wrote? (I am told that before D&D went to publication, it lacked rules for PC wizards, clerics, and so forth because Gary couldn't conceive of anyone wanting to play anything other than a "fighting man." Gary knew a thing or two, but he wasn't infallible. This is why Judge's Guild got the D&D name for next to nothing with no supervision, and how their sudden success had ole Gary saying, "Um, well, okay, maybe there's a market for this stuff." And even then, B1, while wonderfully written, still expected the DM to stock every single area with monsters and treasure; as written, the rooms contained neither. Gygax had an interesting life around that time. He went, within the span of three years, from "Unemployed Insurance Guy And Part Time Cobbler" to "CEO of a sudden company and shepherd and guardian of a hot new cultural phenomenon." During that time frame, his best friend and business partner dropped dead, he had to juggle the company and game while seeking investors to keep the whole thing afloat, AND writing all the new material for the expansions to OD&D, and then later, AD&D. It's not hard to see why he began handing off the chores to guys like Jim Ward and J. Eric Holmes, among others. And even that's BEFORE the Blumes started getting all weird on him. Given the freneticness of all this, I am inclined to give the guy a little slack.
  17. Do NOT get me started on Marion Zimmer Bradley. I would say more, but Ladystorm or someone would just lop it off and chide me for poor judgment and creative use of expletives.
  18. You're not posting the Adults Only listing for the kids, you're posting it for the PARENTS.
  19. Eeeeyeah. Ellison was known for having a sense of humor that sometimes did not travel well upon exiting Ellison's head. I also seem to recall an interview he did with Gary Groth from Fantagraphics in which he slandered a comics artist for being "bugf**k insane." Ellison spent years apologizing for that one, when he could just have kept it behind his teeth. I do find myself wondering if there are any lit professors out there preparing to launch careers on literary analyses of Ellison's work, though. He seemed to think there were quite a few lined up waiting for him to die.
  20. Ellison wrote a fair amount of crap to pay the bills. He also wrote some genuinely great stuff. You pick and you choose from the Salad Bar of Life. But I made a point of buying "The Essential Ellison" because it had copies of certain stories I wanted, and it contained various personal reminiscences from Ellison's life. One "slice of life" story, he's talking about this one paperback anthology. I remember, because I HAVE this particular book, found it at a used bookstore. Like many paperbacks from the seventies, it has a page in the middle which is a glossy ad for some brand of cigarettes. Not uncommon for its time. Ellison popped an O-ring about this, and spoke to the publisher. Apparently, Ellison's books were, by contract, supposed to be published without advertising in the physical copies of the book, period. The publisher had violated that contract. Ellison demanded that the books be altered to remove the advertising. The publisher flat refused, as pulping the books and reprinting them would cost too much. Ellison could feel free to sue if he liked, but the books would go out to the public as scheduled. The remainder of the story details a number of actions that Ellison took against that publisher... the man personally, not the business. They range from "prankish" to "terroristic." Ellison wasn't interested in going to court, he apparently went straight to "revenge." And I'd agree that Ellison transgressed a line in there somewhere, well before he got to the part where he mailed a dead woodchuck to the man's office, third class parcel post, and sure to begin leaking by the time it got there... Another reminiscence was about a young lady who did him wrong, and seemed rather unprincipled in her dealings with Ellison and others. He tells the story with his usual aplomb, and concludes with a topless picture of the young lady in question. No doubt Ellison and his publisher had made sure that the publication of the photo in question was unlawsuitable before inserting it into the book. I never met Ellison, and now he's dead. I don't like to speak ill of the dead, and I don't much like to judge. But I've found that the sort of fellow who brags about the ugly things he has done to others tends to be the sort of fellow I wouldn't much care to have to dinner.
  21. It has also been speculated that his mental state was affected due to his ischemic attacks, caused by a partially blocked carotid artery. While I think Doug ain't wrong, I suspect that he genuinely couldn't see that his work was taking on a certain rambling quality.
  22. Charles Stross has remarked that he LIKES ebooks and epublishers, as he, the author, gets a bigger bite of the income when a book does well. On the other hand, I can appreciate being nervous about modern epublishers. A thing that irks me is that Stross's most recent work is durned hard to find in hardcopy. Then again, I recall Harlan Ellison's stories about battles with publishers who took his books and stories and performed great atrocities on them before releasing the crippled, mutilated results to the public. Or so Ellison reports.
  23. You could be right. It'd explain some details as far as before and after, in the series. But the inconsistency bugs me, at least until I focus on the MST3k mantra: "It's just a show, you should really just relax." Then again, I was never crazy about the plane of shadow and the feywild, either; seems like they rearrange the cosmology with every new edition. Along with what goblins look like. Amusingly enough, I finally got around to looking at that Stranger Things D&D set I bought as a result of watching the show for the second time. The adventure in the box corresponds to the adventure the boys are playing at the table in the show, and I found it entertaining as all hell that whoever wrote the adventure made VERY sure it touched on all the elements... And interestingly? The Demogorgon corresponds very closely to a first edition D&D troll in stats and abilities. D&D now has more than one sort of demogorgon....
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