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Geneforce As A Community of Practice

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Geneforce As A Community of Practice

Post by RKRobot on 10/21/2014, 7:01 am

Here is the final draft of a Midterm essay that I chose to do on Geneforce and the friendly nerdy community that I grew to love over the past 6 years.  Thank you to all my dear friends who have made this possible.  Also, if you are not mentioned in the paper, it doesn't make you any less important than anyone who is.  This was the best I could do for the little time and space I had.

Part 1
Geneforce, the small, forum-based online collective of writers, gamers, artists and roleplayers, is the group that I choose to identify with as my Community of Practice.  With over six years of loyalty, having close bonds with each of the members and the overall trust gained through shared ideas and themes, it should be no surprise to hear that a group like this would be selected for this project.  I am still very active in the community, especially after being promoted to Administrator or “Admin” three years ago.  After taking this role as leader of the group due to my gained trust with the founder, referred to as “Genesis”, I had realized I had a lot of work to do to make sure that previous inequalities were abolished and securities were tightened.  I also had to reorganize and redistribute rules and regulations and redecorate aesthetics that were disliked by other members, but even with all I had done to help make Geneforce better, there are things within this community that continue to confuse me.   Even though I had met these friends of mine in real life back when we were all in high school, I still got to know them and keep friendships through the various ways of communicating over the internet after moving to Arizona in 2009.  Constantly cooperating and collaborating over Geneforce has not only increased my social communication skills, but becoming Admin has also given me a boost in confidence, leadership skills, minus the power trips.

Part 2
The Dreaded Rules of Geneforce is an entire thread posted in the Welcome section of the forum, to which all members are told to abide by them or to leave.  The entire linguistic construction of the Rules has been ordered by Commandments followed by 29 roman numerals in the style mirroring the “10 Commandments” of biblical legend.  This reflects the power of the Admin’s word, especially during the early days of the website when power was first established.  In the rule of example, members are denied from posting on the website in the examples of text listed.  This salient selection of how we communicate is useful for the entirety of our group as we are all English speaking Americans around the same age.  This is easy to understand for our group, and thus far, no one has broken the rule.
“Commandment III - Thou shall not post disruptively
Do not type your posts in such a way that they can't be read unless you have "internet experience." Some examples of this would be:
Messenger talk - "hi howre u 2 day i am gd k thx bb"
Leet Speak - "|_00|< |V0VV | @/V| <00|_!"
Alternate Caps - "oOoO lOoK aT mE aNd My FaNcY aLtErNaTe CaPs"
If you post like this, you either have to little time on your hands and make posts not worth reading, or have to much time on your hands and annoy us.”

The second example is a general conversation between another friend of mine known as “Maria” and myself in a private chat about determining certain attributes about a character in a hypothetical story we had created.  The story is not meant published, but simply created for fun and helps us hone our creative thinking skills.  The linguistics here discusses making particular decisions about how intelligent the character should be and why that is important in the story in question.  Specific terms are thrown around, but the point of using this conversation is to show how easy it was to read from an insider’s perspective, rather than not comprehending the information.  The following is part of the written, private message discussion that took place:
“R: …how smart should an OC be?  Should they be as smart as the author, fully aware of all traps and scenarios as they appear or should they be dumbed down to the point where another character spews exposition for them?  Or both?
M: That would depend on what you want from them.  Intelligence isn’t the only factor in why a character might not be aware enough to make their own decisions.  They could also be shy or not confident in themselves, etc.  Though, if you’re talking about the character being aware of the events in a story before they happen you have to have a good explanation of why.  Honestly, it’s tricky.  Both can be done right, but both can also come off as unrealistic/poorly executed.  A character that can divine the future would of course be sharp enough to know what’s going on; most likely unless you’re having them fake it.  But then you have to explain just how that works within their universe, etc.  Is it race specific?  Class specific?  Is it a talent a character is born with?  Really there are a lot of factors to consider in either scenario.”

The third example is significantly much shorter, but has much more of a conversational aspect, as I was speaking to Geneforce member “Blastion” about creating a character for an entirely different story compared to the one aforementioned.  Being the most knowledgeable about creating a “campaign”, I went to him to understand the important difference between what is called a “thief” and a “rogue” in terms of what to refer to certain characters by.
B: So the reason we use [rogue=
R:      [Yeah
B: =Instead of thief is because when you’re a thief,
      You’re restricted to the thief’s abilities and traits.
       You can’t (.) have that character use as many things as the rogue can.
R: əŋ?.
    If you’re a rogue, you can use things that a thief can,
    but you can also do different stuff too?
B: Yeah=
    My one character in the one >Pathfinder campaign< that we’re in is a rogue who has acrobatics, magic and a bunch of other stuff.
    You can’t do all that if you just have a thief as your class.
R: ŋ-kej
   I get it now!

Part 3

Playing Minecraft: Agrarian Skies with the Geneforce sometimes ends with a giant destructive upside-down tree!  How do you fix something like this?!

Sometimes we get together and play on Roll 20, a virtual simulation of playing a table-top based campaign, which also includes virtual dice rolls and playing pieces on a grid!

The old banner for the website fully displays unique digital outlines for main characters that we write and use in our artwork and stories!  Everyone is together in the same image!

Part 4
After analyzing everything I ever could about the evolutions we’ve all underwent throughout the lifespan of this Community of Practice, I have determined that it has done more than create a solid group of friends.  Geneforce has created a kinship, which is a collective unit of persons that have been merged together through sharing goods and services and exchanged valuables, the “goods and services” and “valuables” meaning our ideas and stories that we have willingly exposed for others to add on to or critique.  This kinship is of the friendly variety, and while it does not seem like much, the effort it took to go online for a short while, write a response to someone is plenty of effort to be acknowledged by someone.  The acknowledgement alone is important for introverted members to feel important or useful, and thus, increases confidence.
“Multiplayer and LARP (Live Action Role Playing) games have evolved to incorporate generally available technology,” Schneider and Kortuem argue when discussing how technology can improve playability for energetic roleplayers.  Without the forum that we use on a near-daily basis, none of us would be able to communicate so fluidly with each other, and perhaps be less connected as a group.  I’ve also determined that as friends, we have helped one another laugh, cheer up after a bad day or simply relax back into a comfort zone.  Receiving character or any artwork when I am usually the one behind the pencil is extremely rewarding to me and makes me feel like I’ve done something right for my friends.  After all, a picture worth a thousand words, right?
Many of us utilize this as a form of fantasy therapy, just as reading a book or watching a movie can lead a reader or viewer into escaping the harshness of reality for a brief moment. (Hughes)  You can be more than just a cashier at a day job, or a telemarketer by night when you play these games with friends.  From a personal point of view, roleplaying is also very educational, and the more the members of Geneforce learn, the more I have to keep up with as their Admin.  When I pull each member aside and discuss similar things as I had done with “Maria”, I learn something more about their persona in their writing or speech, remembering it for the future so I know exactly how to communicate with them.  Lobbing on the nerd stereotype is easy to do for all of us, so categorizing the people of our group any narrower would be difficult because not everyone fits a certain typeset.  This is one of the reasons why I believe Geneforce was the very thing that we needed to keep the old friendships alive.  Despite how different it has been run from its debut, or how many members come and go, Geneforce is the place with the people I know and care about the most.  To leave unexpectedly for something else would be devastating to the rest of the group, not because I think I am important enough to glue the pieces together, but because I know I have contributed enough to earn an irreplaceable spot on the team.  I can only thank them for help making me the person I am today.

Transcription Key:
: means elongated letter sound
(.) or (#.#) means pause between sentences/statements
underlined text means emphasis on words or syllables
((text)) means an action has occurred, not spoken word, noises
[] indicates interrupted speech or two lines overlapping
= latching, or no pause in between lines
>text< are the symbols for sped up speech

B: Blastion,
R: Rocky, or myself
M: Maria

Works Cited
Hughes, John. "Therapy is Fantasy: Roleplaying, healing and the construction of symbolic order." Anthropology IV Honours, Medical Anthropology Seminar, Dept. of Prehistory & Anthropology, Australian National University. 1988.

Phillips, David B.  “Roleplaying Games in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom.”  Tenth National Conference on English Teaching and Learning in the Republic of China.  Department of English.  National Chengchi University, 1993.  Online.

Schneider, J. and Kortuem, G.  “How to Host a Pervasive Game: Supporting Face-to-Face Interactions in Live-Action Roleplaying.” Position paper at the Designing Ubiquitous Computing Games Workshop at UbiComp. 2001.

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Re: Geneforce As A Community of Practice

Post by Blastion on 10/22/2014, 1:13 am

Bravo! *applaud*

So, you had to write a paper about the community in which you identify with?
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Re: Geneforce As A Community of Practice

Post by RKRobot on 10/22/2014, 6:00 am

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! ^_^

Yes, that was one of the main rules of the assignment. Easy to choose, for me. XD

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