4/16/17

ECHO CHAMBERS


I was on last.fm for a long time, that's a smart radio, which means that it plugs into whatever application you listen music with, and keeps a record of what you've listened to shape your own personal tracklist. So far, so good. But then, it matches you with people having similar tastes, which means that you're bound to meet your clones, and encouraged to interact with them.

Now, that's probably not a bad thing if you look for like-minded friends of all sorts, but it is certainly bad if you look for honest feedback, and want to take the pulse of your ecosystem, because you're bound to find yourself on a self-asserting loop.

There's a strategy on social networks in general which will lead to the same delusional result: the exclusion strategy, through which you ban, and block people with different views. You do this when you crave for confirmation, or want to shine amidst people who can in no way threaten your stance. The final result of this tendency is that you end up interacting with an echo chamber, which has no other purpose than confirming yourself. Some people need this, why not. But problems begin when they confuse their own private echo chamber with the ecosystem itself.

I saw recently a publisher, not a bad guy in himself, honestly, innocently saying that he's broke a new record by becoming the first seller on the same platform as mine, Drivethrurpg. I did before him, as did many others. Since I assume he is being honest, I sincerely think that he had no clue whatsoever. He, and the few other people sharing the same echo chamber do think, that they're “doing things to the OSR”, “mapping the OSR”, changing things, twisting them their way, or “representing it”. It's a narcissistic, deeply delusional idea which can survive only in the confines of an echo chamber.


So now, I agree that it's not easy to leave the echo chambers. You have to reach out for people if you want to do so. You find them in groups, communities, chats, everywhere but it takes the effort to go out there, and to talk to them. Going by proxies is good method, that's how I ended up on a Romance Writer group on Facebook, the Wizards of Istanbul, and a D&D 3.5 group. Now, I don't write Romance, but I write. I don't live in Istanbul, but hey, Wizards, and I don't play D&D3.5 anymore but I design RPG stuff. Sure, I've found controversy, and different views there, but that's what I believe the internet is for once we've gone past the infancy of self-promotion. There are thousand of places in your ecosystem where you're literally nobody, but it takes the courage to find them, and to explore. That should be the least of the requirements for a delver, and an adventurer.

6 comments:

  1. Do you mean Raggi? If so, he wasn't saying he's the first OSR seller on Drivethru, or the first one to hit #1; he said it was a first for one of his products, speaking only about LotFP products, to the best of his knowledge, especially because he focuses most of his selling on RPGNow, which aggregates titles differently despite being the same service.

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  2. For the first seller, yes, didn't notice that. I don't mean James for the rest, that was just an example. This being said, I don't think that relying on RPG Now is a good idea since many titles launch on Drivethrurpg, and RPG Now doesn't take them into account. Better launch on Drivethrurpg imho.

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  3. "literally nobody"

    Figuratively.

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  4. Good post. Every "Map of the OSR" I've seen is the author in question looking around and drawing concentric circles with themselves at the center.

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  5. I think another hard part of it is how to discover OSR stuff. I've seen great blogs like dieheart.net with their round-ups, but we really don't have a way of discovering the latest in an unbiased way. Also, maybe we need ways to discover things that is biased towards editions? For example, a site that favors B/X and BECMI-type stuff and finds anything it can on those items?

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