On Promoting Your Own Games

edited November 2015 in Story Games
This is going into the suggested guideline, but not rule category. There's no specific instance this is referring to, and there's no anger at specific people, but it's something that comes out of lots of occurrences over time. This also, even if it's good, isn't a rule, because obviously some circumstances are different than others.

You get Directed Promotion to push your own stuff. When it comes to mentioning your own games outside of that, be wary? sheepish? about it. Often, if a game you've written fits a discussion, it's probably a good thing to just be like: "Here is me making an interesting post about the issue in general. Oh, and I guess I made a game that deals with it, end of post."

If people want to know more, they can ask questions! If other people know about your game, they can bring up your game for you!

Part of roleplaying games being flexible enough to handle lots of different situations is that they could with some plausibility, be brought up in lots of different circumstances in relevant. Let's try and not use that for dubious ends and keep the self-promotion isolated.

If people disagree with this, feel free to disagree with me here! Let's talk it over.


  • Has this actually been a problem? Occasionally I see some... let's call it undirected self promotion... and I see it for what it is, but I just roll my eyes a bit and move on. I can't remember a time that it totally disrupted conversation or something like that.
  • I agree with Adam, there isn't much of a problem in this regard. Then again, James is basically just restating the traditional etiquette (don't drive-by advertise - engage the discussion instead) as far as I can see. It's a good etiquette, I think; using other people's discussion as a marketing platform is just crude and rude - as Immanuel Kant would have it, it's using another person as a tool instead of a goal :D

    Then again, I wouldn't want to go to the opposite extreme of ostracizing hobbyists who also happen to be publishers for the sake of noncommercial purity. The Finnish scene used to do that sort of thing in the early '00s, which resulted in some frankly pretty stupid moderator calls at times. The issue has never been whether some commercial effect might conceivably occur due to a public discourse (that's going to happen regardless if one allows the discussion of commercial products at all); the real issue is respect for other people and the meeting of minds, which is soiled by shallow drive-by advertising. This is why I like the traditional SG attitude of allowing people to talk about their own projects, even if those projects happen to involve products that are for sale.
  • I read James's announcement as being, exactly, "the traditional SG attitude", summarized and clearly stated so as to be immediately accessible to any newcomers. We do hope to have a lot of newcomers all the time, don't we?
  • Typically drive-by advertising here has been someone creating an account, starting a new thread to advertise their game, and then barely coming back. I haven't seen a lot of that here lately.

    James seems to be talking about something different. For example, occasionally someone will ask "Is there a game that does X?" and I'll go "Yeah, I wrote this game called Verge; here's a link," and then we can discuss it. Allegedly, people use that as an opportunity to go on and on about their game, basically threadcrapping with their advertisement. I can't remember a case of this happening, though, so I'm wondering if we're just worrying about something that doesn't really occur. And if it does, maybe just a gentle moderator poke would fix it?
  • edited November 2015
    I agree with @Adam_Dray in that it's probably not a huge problem at this stage, but I also agree with @Rafu in that as there's quite a high new-join rate it's probably worth James re-stating the rules now and again. I also acknowledge that my mentioning of my games, and some other people's mentioning of their games, might have occasionally crossed the border into shilling, however 1) if it's in the "Is there a game that does X" type of thread Adam mentioned then no big IMO, and 2) I second Eero's point that this is a community where the ratio of producers to consumers is pretty high, so a degree of passive (i.e unitentional) shilling is almost inevitable.
  • edited November 2015
    I learned a new interesting word: shilling :D

    I mainly agree with the general consensus: this very true and present effect is observable, but so far has never caused a real problem, it has never (that I remember) been worth the aforementioned gentle nudge by the MODs.

    But I do feel for this topic :P
    New creators of games are often enthusiastic of their creature, and in need of external validation: is it actually a good game? can it be interesting for others? have I produced a steaming pile of "not so fun" material?

    And in a creator-driven community getting any kind of spotlight is kind of hard, and sometimes frustrating.
    You do NOT want to pass as the one yelling "look at me! look at me!" but then if you don't do SOMETHING no one is going to do it for you :P

    So, most discussions trigger the "swot" effect.
    You know, that guy in the class that is too much eager to answer any question posed by the teacher?
    Because you kind of feel like it... you DO know the answer to a LOT of gaming needs... and it is YOUR game, hell you created it to address some of those needs, and it also so happens that it works very well for a bunch of others too.
    AND it is your favourite solution, so why NOT mention it every time it feels fitting?
    But of course one game can't conceivably be the best fit for ALL needs right?
    Right, of course, this is why you created THAT OTHER GAME! >__<

    I don't know.
    I sometimes feel a bit like this :P
  • I always welcome, "Here's how my game uniquely handles this situation you're discussing!" Always.

    I never welcome, "My game handles that in a clever way that I think you'll like. Go follow this link and (a) dig through a lot of material to find what you're looking for or (b) pay me money." Never.

    In between is in between.
  • edited November 2015
    I think all of you sussed this out properly! Go team.

    This wasn't a hidden rebuke or warning, it was just clarifying something for new people coming in.

    Tons of people here create stuff, and that's great, and I encourage you to be excited to share your stuff. So there's a balance in when mentioning your own game will aid a conversation, and I trust all of you to figure it out.
  • The thing I see fairly regularly that always makes me roll my eyes is when "my game" is the answer to any query. Particularly when it is "my game, which is still in development and you can't actually play".

    I am looking for a good game to play superheroes with 7-8 year olds
    My game is perfect for that

    Does anybody know of a game that reflects both deep reverence for Socialist ideals and horrific Cthulhu-esque monster-hunting?
    My game is also perfect for that, as you will find out when I release the first alpha version some time
  • As someone who has been recently sharing their kickstarter here with people, its a hard balance to get right - especially as not all of us are naturals at it. Feeling uncomfortable self promoting and uncertainty as to how to go about it can make it really hard to actually do.

    So posts like this are definitely helpful! Thank you.

    I would also like to say that anyone who just wants to do a drive by promotion here is quite frankly nuts. The level of good advice and support this community has given me is invaluable and far exceeds its size. I have generally found that big forums tend to produce very little actual engagement compared to smaller and more specialised ones. If I were to rate places I shared with my kickstarter with in terms of real returns this community, and lone wolf roleplaying on google+ have been absolutely fantastic. Taking the time to stop and discuss here is definitely worthwhile.

    I cant really keep up the sort of level of general engagement online with various forums and communities that I have been putting in for the Kickstarter - but this is somewhere I do want to maintain an active involvement. Aside from it being very relevant to my game, it feels like a natural home for discussion and sharing generally for me. Far better I would add than a particular other now inactive community I had been involved on in the past that shall remain nameless...
  • Post all the ads; it's not like they'll bump off a ton of discussion these days.
  • I don't have a problem with someone mentioning a game when the thread starter was asking for recommendations. I enjoy hearing about new systems when they are appropriate to the discussion.
  • I was really happy back when there were more creators here doing that, and even when such things were done at the Forge in that way that usually made Ron close threads in frustration. Like people posting some random crazy ideas for mechanics instead of posting articles about full developed games.

    I recall that whenever Ron closed one of those threads I felt so frustrated that eventually, it became the main reason why I walked away from the Forge before it was shut down.

    Now I can't help but feel that this post is somewhat directed at me and it's making me feel a little... well, not exactly unwelcome, more like I realized too late I'm in the wrong room and no I'm even regretful of making some people uncomfortable here. Oh well, nevermind, no hard feelings. Does anybody know of some other forum more creator-oriented I can go to?
  • You can also count me in as a person who *likes* it when people link to their games or promote their products.

    So long as it's relevant to the conversation and adds something to it, I'm all for it, and I enjoy the forum very much for that reason - it's a great way to find out what's out there and what people are working on.

    I even really enjoy threads like, "What game would be best suited to doing X?", followed by a hundred different suggestions. I wouldn't want to see that go away.

    There is, of course, the possibility that someone gets annoying with this (rather than contributing to the conversation), but I can't remember seeing that much on Story Games.
  • Agreed. I love all the links!

    As for myself, sometimes I feel like "These guys must be tired of hearing me say the word "DayTrippers"... but there was a question, and the game answers the question in some way, and is therefore pertinent. Of course I try to explain how. I would never just give a link and expect someone else to buy it just to find out.

    The problem, of course, is that DayTrippers answers so many questions, it's applicable to everything from OSR/trad GMs to collaborative narrative/emergence discussions. It's a curse, I tell you!

  • For whatever my vote is worth - if this is even a voting issue - I really enjoy meaningful self-promotion. If your game is relevant to the thread, and you can expand on how/why it is, I'm happy to see the contribution. That is, as long as your game is on-topic, it's on-topic - the fact that you're the author only means you can add more detail and behind-the-curtains design thinking than someone speculating about a third party's game.

    I only find myself put off by posts with no comment aside from "here's my kickstarter, come fund it," and I don't see much of that.
  • Agreed. I love all the links!
    +1, but in a context.
  • edited November 2015
    @WarriorMonk, definitely not directed at you (you don't even have a game in English to sell, do you?). You just mention your game sometimes, in contexts where it's relevant, and every single person here agrees that's a good thing. I'd like to see you talk about your game more here!

    No one's been made uncomfortable. There was like 1 dude who was over-enthusiastic for like 3 posts and two people politely requested that he tone it down and he instantly said oops, no prob, and all was well.

    If fewer creators are here talking about their games, I assume it's just because Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are better for cultivating individual followings. I don't know of any RPG forums that are highly creator-oriented. If you find any, let me know!
  • Oh well, then I guess I'll keep lurking around and dropping links when pertinent. And I'll see to translate my game in English to further annoy everyone ^_^
  • Maybe this needs a new thread, but as a newbie here, can I ask what happened to the Forge? I sense some kind of disturbance in the Forge that resulted in an implosion...
  • Maybe this needs a new thread, but as a newbie here, can I ask what happened to the Forge? I sense some kind of disturbance in the Forge that resulted in an implosion...
    Nothing so violent, it was more that it was deemed to have served its purpose, and no longer be necessary (or at least, not necessary enough for the owners to keep working on it).
  • edited December 2015
    @CreativeMage, yeah, new thread is probably better in future. I've messaged you a link to Forge closing announcements -- hope that covers it!
  • Roger that. Many thanks!
Sign In or Register to comment.