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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:49 pm 
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Hi everyone. I'm an admin on IFWiki (although I haven't been very active this year due to personal issues, sorry about that), and I'd like to make a rather sweeping change to several categories and pages on IFWiki that currently refer to "games" and change it to "works".

That would mean Category:Games becomes Category:Works, Category:ADRIFT 5 games becomes Category:ADRIFT 5 works, Category:Italian games becomes Category:Italian works, etc. etc. etc. I would also change the text of those categories so references to "games" would instead be to "games, stories, and art pieces" or "works of interactive fiction" as appropriate. I will create redirects so someone searching for "Inform 7 games" will find Category:Inform 7 works.

Likewise, some pages like "Recommended games" would change to "Recommended works".

However, I do not wish to change references to phrases like "game mechanics" or "game characters" since such terms are still in general usage. Nor will I change the names of specific historical items that referred to IF as games.

One reason I want to make the change is because it feels more honest to acknowledge that not all works of IF are games in the normal sense of the word. Previously, I felt okay with using "games" in a more generic sense, the way "monsters" is sometimes used to refer to all NPCs in D&D, or the way we use "rooms" to mean any location. I felt fine with listing Photopia or Rameses as games (even though they're really stories) or IF Art Show entries as games (even though they're really art pieces) because I saw them as outliers; to me, IF seemed mostly about games.

The last few years of IF competitions have increasingly strained my long-treasured assumptions of what IF is. Part of me is rebelling, screaming internally that "these things aren't games!" And I think part of why I keep thinking of IF as games is because that's the word we keep using to describe them. So I think it's time for me to bite the bullet, and make at least some of my internal complaining moot by making this change. If I start listing works of interactive fiction as "works" instead of "games", I'll no longer have any reason to mentally whine that something isn't a darn game, at least when adding info to the wiki.

The Inform 7 website and its materials have already made an effort to be more inclusive on this issue. I think it's time for IFWiki (and my own website, Key & Compass) to follow suit.

Whaddya think?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:06 pm 
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I support this suggestion. I think it would be helpful for the reasons you cite.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:18 pm 
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Even though I prefer game-y elements in general, I think "games" to "works" is a reasonable and good change to make, too.

Especially since even making or playing something intended as a game is, well, work.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:29 pm 
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I think this would be a great idea. And it does fit with how, well, the whole comunity describes itself as about Interactive Fiction rather than Text Games.

We could still have a games category for works that are actually games, though? Which, come to think of it, is like, 99% of the parser-based ones.
Of course, I can see this causing a fierce debate on some parser-games that are actually not very interactive at all...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:23 pm 
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I think it's a good idea, but many game authors are also authors of IF books, game development systems or even extensions. Are those to be included under "works"?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:20 pm 
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I really enjoy how games culture at the moment is constantly testing and stretching the bounds of "game" to a very satisfying breaking point, and I think IF has been doing that longer than any other genre of game. I love that some things I write might get called games rather than stories. I think a definition like this is less about the content of the thing at hand and more about how you position that thing for its audience(s). Do you want a reader of IFDB to believe they are about to play a game, a story, an art or a work?

Here's a thing I read the other day that really stuck with me:

Quote:
We need to be talking about sorting. I first decided to take up this question because of the use of definitions and distinctions as sorting techniques in some academic work I was encountering. Scholars would make clear distinctions between x and y. Arguments then seemed to become about those distinctions: sorted! Perhaps then sorting becomes not so much making things useful but about the reproduction of a system that assigns use and value. One example would be a blogger who spent a lot of time making a clear distinction between ontology and politics. Sorted! That distinction is clear if you define ontology in such and such a way and politics in such and such a way. The distinction was then used to say something like: racism belongs to one sort (politics) and not another sort (ontology). Such an argument has nothing to teach us about phenomena (something that happens in the world that we have given the name “racism”) because it is simply exercises its own distinction. It is a very humanist operation because in the end all you are doing is returning to something you have brought into being yourself. You are getting further away from a world not closer to it. When I read this kind of work, I have an image of someone making piles, putting sand in this pile, that pile; moving things around, creating more and more piles. What you end up with is very neat piles. But is that what we want to end up with?

http://feministkilljoys.com/2014/10/15/out-of-sorts/


Less speculatively, will works be required to list anywhere whether they're games, stories, experiments, artworks, all of the above, &c? Or will this just be implemented via the tagging system?

Also, at the moment, just as everything is currently listed as a game, everything also has, rather wonderfully, an "About the Story" section, whether or not it has a story. So everything is currently both a game and a story, even if it's testing the bounds of story as much as game. Will that also become "About the Work"?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:32 pm 
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duodave wrote:
I think it's a good idea, but many game authors are also authors of IF books, game development systems or even extensions. Are those to be included under "works"?


It is not my intention to change the groupings of things, only what IFWiki calls them. I want books, authoring systems, and extensions, etc. to remaining in their current categories. I understand that "works" may well be too broad a name, whereas "games" is too narrow. (And I am reluctant to go with "games, stories, and art pieces" as the alternative for "games" because it's far too long.)

Discussion on ifmud has proposed a couple alternatives, of which "IF", "IF works", "Works of IF" are the most palatable terms to use instead of "Works". (At least, palatable to me.) Historically, I have avoided using "IF" in IFWiki's category names because IFWiki is supposed to be about IF already, and specifying "IF" seemed redundant. But perhaps I need to reconsider.

So, variants to my proposal:

First, considering only the large category currently called "Games". I don't want to rename "Games" to just "IF", but I will consider one of "Works", "IF Works", or "Works of IF" in its place.

Secondly, regarding all the subcategories, I would find "Hugo works of IF" or "Inform 6 IF works" to be a bit unwieldy (although I could be talked into those if really necessary). In these cases, I would like to go with either "Hugo works", "Inform 6 works", etc. or "Hugo IF", "Inform 6 IF", etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:37 pm 
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Harry Giles wrote:
Do you want a reader of IFDB to believe they are about to play a game, a story, an art or a work?


I'm only talking about what IFWiki does (or should do), not IFDB. Perhaps IFWiki might want to tag various works explicitly as stories or games or art, but I'd like to table that discussion for another day.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:10 pm 
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Works is a good general category. IF Works would be redundant.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:14 pm 
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David Welbourn wrote:
Harry Giles wrote:
Do you want a reader of IFDB to believe they are about to play a game, a story, an art or a work?


I'm only talking about what IFWiki does (or should do), not IFDB. Perhaps IFWiki might want to tag various works explicitly as stories or games or art, but I'd like to table that discussion for another day.


Aw, sorry for the divvy mistake. Got confused in the theoretical puzzling and forgot what I was talking about. Happens.


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