Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Caledon. Love it or at least make it less annoying

I love Seth's Blog. Of all the other blogs I read/skim, glance at it's Seth and to a lesser extent The Cunning Realist that I actually read end to end 9/10 times. In this post, Seth lays out a commentary on one of the fine lines between big and small communities.

It occurred to me just when Caledon crossed that line between forgiving the idiosyncrasies and actually loving them and moving into the realm of 'can't please everyone'. I differentiate individual dissent (the uproar over Kushiel's blood fountain) from larger scale bodies of people. This division probably occurred before it became obvious, that point being the War with Neualtenburg.

There were 'mercenary groups' who got the impression that Caledon was suddenly one huge combat estate. There were people who loudly opted out. There were people who played with the idea of a Victorian Peacenik approach to the whole thing. The final concensus afterward was, 'That was annoying.'

Other little shifts occured, Desmond Shang didn't call snap dance parties on the chessboard anymore. He hadn't in a long time. Microsocieties started to take form in earnest, with their own leadership (or lack thereof). To be fair to the Guvnah, Mondserrat is a work of art. Many thanks to Denver Hax for that. St Kitts was lovely. The occassional Benny-fest is great fun. He does what he can when he can.

My point is, Caledon cannot please everyone. It never did, even when it was small and quirky and people stayed out of love. It doesn't now that it's huge and sprawling with little to no chance of knowing all your neighbours and people stay out of a mixture of love, of disinterest in moving, of knowing that the management in many places outside of Caledon is more annoying.

So there is the shift from small to large. Impossible for everyone to know/enjoy the company of everyone else, with many sub-cultures/groups, thus is the reason for the hands-off approach to management. Impossible to please everyone, myself included. Increasingly less possible to stay solely out of love. These peoples will move on, forge their own lands or join smaller and vibrant communities. They're following what they need from their space, they need to love it, quirks and all. Those of us who remain need to concentrate on annoyance reduction.

6 comments:

Vivito Volare said...

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is
trying to please everybody.

-Bill Cosby


I think I am going to have to start following Seth's blog. Great article.

I agree, though I would say that you can make something both lovable and less annoying. The trick is to know your audience, and have a feel for your customers' expectations.

Kamilah Hauptmann said...

I think what Seth was getting at, is, one type of audience loves the weirdnesses and quirks, say, fans of Rocky Horror. Another would like to be looked after competently, say, diners at a fine restaurant.

Caledon is big enough and splintered enough that there is room for finding your own little thing, your niche. Warts and all. But at this point of development it's mostly about making the machine run smoothly enough so that a minimum of toes gets run over.

I'd feel safe juggling Push Enabled grenades with Tensai Hilra in Steelhead in a crowd. I wouldn't in Caledon. In Steelhead I expect the expectation that BEWM happens. (I'm quirky and loved for it.) In Caledon, I'd expect an AR from someone in an indignant huff. (Don't annoy me.)

Virrginia Tombola said...

I don't think it is a "big is bad", or even "big means less tolerance for the eccentric" sort of situation. What we see with good growth (which I believe Caledon has experienced) is that there is more room for different social groups.

Yes, it was magical/special a couple of years ago when everyone knew everyone. But I suspect that the number of people I know well hasn't decreased, it's simply that the population has increased.

So, Caledon is now less one single social group than a many living in proximity to each other. Steelhead, for example, is still the size of one social group.

Conflict in multiple social group environments can arise when these groups interact ("Hey, who's the weird cat juggling hand grenades?"), but within the groups, conflict is no more likely to occur than it did before. And truthfully, we are suffering from nostalgia excess if we think there wasn't drama/conflict back in 2006.

Sometimes that nostalgia is born of the fact that for many of us, that was when we were new to the grid. Everything was so new and wonderful! People in a virtual world with Victorian manners! Airships! Talking Lionesses in crinolines! But as our eyes adjust to the lighting, we start seeing more bumps.

Speaking for myself, I try to preserve a sense of wonder. And if I forget about it and grow cynical, I would entreat my friends to kick me :)

Kamilah Hauptmann said...

Bitter Oldbie: Noun
-A pioneer who no longer feels valued for their input.
-Needs a place to love.

Noob: Noun
-A newcomer who expects something preprepared for them, beds made with a little chocolate mint on the pillow.

Virrginia: So, Caledon is now less one single social group than a many living in proximity to each other. Steelhead, for example, is still the size of one social group.

Me: So there is the shift from small to large. Impossible for everyone to know/enjoy the company of everyone else, with many sub-cultures/groups,

Me: Caledon is big enough and splintered enough that there is room for finding your own little thing

Virrginia: Conflict in multiple social group environments can arise when these groups interact ("Hey, who's the weird cat juggling hand grenades?"), but within the groups, conflict is no more likely to occur than it did before.

The math behind group dynamics touched on here and here. I mention the size of groups our brains are wired for as an aside: 5-10. Beyond that we start to lose track of our 'tribe'.

Virrginia: And truthfully, we are suffering from nostalgia excess if we think there wasn't drama/conflict back in 2006.

The aforementioned blood fountain? :)

What happened with the plaintiff? He founded Babbage for the sake of something to love.

I point also to the recent departures, I still see their sails drifting off over the horizon searching for something to love, quirks, warts and all.

The bitter oldbies will always move on seeking for the next dynamic and new. The noobs will always roll into the neighbourhood and start doing things their own way. These bankers and seamstresses and lawyers and teachers will outnumber the pioneers and woodsmen.

I love 'em all, and they ain't getting rid of me that easily. I'm too hard to bug. (And I love the trust Desmond has afforded me. Watch that guy, he's a tricky one.)

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Kami:

Thanks so much for the tip about Seth's blog. I love it!

I guess you might append the sobriquet "bitter oldbie" to me, as I have left to find something I love, but I'm not sure the word bitter really applies. I came to the realization "Hey, this isn't much fun any more, why am I paying for it?" and left in search of an experience that I found more exciting. I'm not particularly bitter about Caledon, there are many, many folk there I like quite a bit, still. For me, well, it's a big game that had best be somewhat amusing at some level, or why am I wasting my time?

I have to admit, I made the right choice-- at least, until the next milestone is reached. :-d

Hypatia Callisto said...

You are responsible for your own happiness in Caledon, or any other place you reside. Caledon is still full of happiness, of fun things to do, of interesting people to meet.

In fact, more of all of it in 2008-9 than in 2006.

If you aren't finding it, then I have a few things to say:

You haven't looked hard enough.

Only you can make yourself happy.

And lastly... looking for other people to walk up and give happiness to you is impossible, and it won't happen now either. You have to go out to the happiness.