Somehow in the space of almost 2 months, I’ve gone from having no blogs on WordPress, and no collaborative blogs anywhere, to having no less than three.  As someone who is undoubtedly a solo person, this amuses me greatly, and causes no little bit of reflection. They’re very different blogs with a different level of autonomy and collaboration.

The Liar Game: This is a fandom blog, for a pretty obscure manga (Japanese comic). I write it with someone who goes by the handle Quantula. It’s the first collaborative blog I’ve done, and the one that has the widest audience.

My original purpose for joining the blog (Quan is the official owner, as well as the blog admin) was to finally find and create a place where I could express my enthusiasm for this particular series.

If I had to describe my role, I’d call myself a content producer. Quantula is really the one who owns the blog, structures it, and promotes it via various bulletin-board services. I tend to write most of the posts, and dig up most of the news, since I have an elementary understanding of Japanese.

Stranger Museum. This blog is a class effort/meeting place for a class on participatory design that I’m taking as part of my Museum Studies curriculum.  Since the instructor for this course, Nina Simon, looks at social technology and Web 2.0 as a model for participatory design, and since the class only ever meets as a whole and in person for six times over the enter quarter, a blog is a natural way of keeping the content flowing.

I would call this blog largely internal. The blog’s primary audience and users are the members of the class. While others, likely readers of Nina Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog, may take a look at our blog, it’s really more about communication among blog participants than a reach out to social technology or museum exhibit developers.

Social Issues @ AAM. This blog is an experiment for an academic journal that I’m doing work for during this quarter: Museums and Social Issues. The external purpose of this blog is to identify sessions at the American Association of Museum’s 2009 conference that are relevant to social issues or social activism in a museum setting, and then to create a place where those interested can discuss them.

The internal purpose of this blog is to experiment with creating a web presence for the Museum and Social Issues journal, and more importantly to create an online space where we can focus on social activism in a museum arena.

So, I’ve been thinking about these three different blogs, and what purpose each of them actually serves, and what I’m learning for each one of them.  In short, what would I consider to be a success for these blogs?

For the Liar Game Blog: First, I want the blog to be a source of information. Second, I want it to be a place where two seemingly separate halves of the readers can find something worthwhile (for some, the draw is the puzzles, for the other’s it’s the story). Third, I want this to be just part of the fandom, that is, just one part of the buzz that revolves around this manga.

For the Stranger Museum: I admit, I’m not so much involved in the creation or maintenance of this blog as I am with the others, and so my goals aren’t so much my own, but my perceptions of Nina’s.

The blog is a success if it’s something the class uses. If class participants make posts, make comments, and start using it as a place to consider issues relevant to participatory design in museums, and new ways of thinking about social technology in museums then it’s successful.

For the MSI @ AAM blog: Success is learning. I admit, I’m skeptical of how many people are going to use our little blog as a resource while the AAM conference is going on, and the short time frame that we put everything together won’t do much to help it’s success as a measure of views or comments recieved, but I prefer to think of this as an experiment.

If I could go back and do this over, we would have started the framework for this blog back in February or March, drafted the blog policy, and began promoting this blog on mailing lists and forums throughout March and April. Possibly, I would have had the content live in advance, so people could discuss it beforehand.

Surely, the others involved in creating this blog have their own lessons they learned. So as long as no one walks away thinking this was a useless exercise, and instead walks away with an idea of how we can do this better, I call that a success.

Advertisements

Inspired by this post from Nina Simon:

What does the ultimate “game 2.0” look like? How will it balance creative acts with other forms of player participation?

As someone who does play video games, this question interests me.  I attempt answer this, not as a designer of games, not as a creator of games, but as a (not hardcore) player of games.

What would a successful game 2.0 look like from the perspective of a player?

  • It would allow for  satisfying play activity on all levels of participation.
  • As more players use the game, the player experience should improve.
  • The user generated content won’t just be creatures or levels, but actual ways of playing a game.

Satisfying play activity for all types participants:

Games are inherently active. While it’s possible to just watch a game, play is really the key verb. In my vision of an ultimate game 2.0, a ‘creator’ player would have the option to create and share new content if they wish to do so, but there would also be enough structure already existing within the platform so that a ‘joiner’ or ‘spectator’ player could start up the game and play with either developer-provided or player-provided content, without having to delve into other mechanics.

Experience improves as the player-base grows:

This is simple. The more players who play the game, the better the experience should generally be.  This can be user generated content within the game, but this also extends to resources and information provided by players outside of the game. I can already think of several MMORPGs (Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Games, for the unfamiliar) that have fan created forums and wikis dedicated to talking about the game and sharing experiences and strategies.

User-generated content will include activities:

Games are ultimately about action.  The game is not the level, but the process of getting through the level. The game is not finishing the quest, but the process of doing the quest. The game is not winning the chess match, but the series of moves on the way to winning. I think any game 2.0 needs to allow users not just to generate nouns such as creatures, levels, or quests, but verbs as well.  In my ultimate game 2.0, creator-players would be allowed to use the gaming platform to create their own games and sets of rules, which other players could then adopt and modify for their own purposes.

Thinking about it, Spore doesn’t sound like a Game 2.0 to me. It certainly uses web 2.0 technologies to allow users to connect to each other and share creations, but the actions themselves are dictated by the company. How freely are players allowed to use the tools to develop their own games and activities?