Recent Hangout ForaysRecently I've been bugging various people about joining a Gamer Talk on air event even if I really can't competent enough to be a host. I like talking about the RPGs as much as I like playing them. I like talking to different people with different point of views... more importantly I'm not there to give unsolicted advice.
I don't feel a need to really run these talks, I'm actually trying to get other GMs to run it even if they don't plan to run it regularly. Just know how to run it so that in the future they can hold talks to grow their own games. In this strategy, once other GMs have the confidence and technical know how more and more people do it and I can find more people to Hangout with... Paying it Forward kinda.
Lessons in HostingLast discussion there was such and a friend pointed it out to me how important it was that people can talk about their games without feeling that someone would judge them about it, to the point of providing unsolicited advice. I mean, I give a lot of unsolicited advice in my blog but I don't think it can be helped, although in a discussion with new people I think the default should be: give advice when asked but otherwise the line of questioning should focus on the experience of the other person.
Line of Questioning: Ask the other Person about their Experience
I like hearing about other people's challenges, primarily for the reflection. When I hear about problems, I think first about if I have that problem and try to visualize it. If I don't, i just feel grateful and empathize with the person with the problem. If I have the problem, then thats a check in the box and if possible pursue a Problem Solving line of (non-leading) questions.
People need to get it out (I'm assuming), I want to get things out but I have a blog so I kinda good, but I would be happy still talking about my own problems. In that kind of need is the common ground of most gaming discussions. We all have some problem that is nagging at us, and often it needs to be teased out by a line of questions from an open minded and accommodating listener. The kind of environment we want to talk in is the mirror of how we want to be when we are part of a discussion.
I put myself out there, and I don't mind getting a lot of posts in my wall about the other blogs, but strangely I have an irrational caution to plug my own stuff in communities unless there is an event. I try to come up with 3 posts a week thanks to Scheduling. This post has been written with an intention to air in about 2 weeks or hopefully more (hopefully building a good buffer).
I guess its because I am not a professional and my content is really not professional grade. Other blogs are professional by professional writers so I guess they really should be the ones in the front lines posting their weekly posts. I've seen and read that material regularly and they are professional grade, I cant say that about my stuff lolz. So if you publish in all your communities you should be professional grade... and very importantly you have Professional Savoir-Fair when dealing with people.
Hard sell marketing is really annoying, I got exposed to them in the BPO we operated and as a former artist (where jobs are usually marketing related). My knee jerk reaction is negative for good reason, to entertain it is to draw more Hard sellers at your door (basic game theory).
If your not familiar with MUTE function in G+ you better check out that upper right corner marking on a G+ post or in facebook and learn to mute the marketing. If you want to be able to filter the content on your wall easier, use G+ IME.
I guess its my very overly zealous filtration of content is the reason why I don't want to plug my stuff too much. Once you worn out your welcome, getting people to give you another chance is x10 harder. Which brings me to the conclusion that the best way to show you are something else is by doing stuff more than plugging stuff (lolz). I mean, the talks are something to do and gets more problems out in the open, aired, and new perspectives.
Politics in Groups
One really annoying thing of putting yourself out there is the consequences and perceptions of what you say and do. Age is great because you tend not to care, simply because you have a body of work to make mistakes an anomaly and not the statistical norm, but to the untried and inexperience can make politics a frightful thing.
I'm sure everyone has felt social politics of a group now and then, and heartily try to avoid such complications and serious emotional investments that lead to such complexities. AVOIDING such complexity was my greatest focus and why, i stopped being in the forefront of things when I was younger. If you were the idealist who always had the energy(and naivete) to start something, only to realize running something is overly complex and your intentions is muddied by perception and politics then you have that much in common with me.
I usually leave leadership to the most diplomatically adept and neutral to the group (scores high on everyone's reaction roll/ relationship score lolz). Im very happy to be logistics and technical support, because experience has told me I have a long way to go before ever being able to deal with such and suffer from foot-to-mouth disease severely.
Framing honesty in the best light can make every sentence an laborious as an essay made under a minute, by the amount of processes you have to undego to vet it Ok for public consumption. Still I, and I'm sure others, want to get things off our chests and have to worry less about these perceptions assuming the worse of us.
Its just a Game
In the end of the day, one cannot hold too severe a judgment or worry about what they just said while talking about Games because its not Politics or Religion. It has Consent and No-Fault elements (it doesn't take wrongdoing to end the relationship) in the unwritten social contract.