So what's the plan for the forums?

#1

Hey so I’m wondering what the direction for Ice Water Games is. Seems like from what I’ve heard you’re doing some kind of gaming Cooperative thing and I don’t fully know what that means but it sounds cool.

Adding forums seems like a progression of that idea and I wanted to ask what you want/expect this space to become?

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#2

Hey yeah! We wanted to create a place of our own, off of for instance Steam or itch.io or Discord or Reddit or any other platform, where we would actually want to hang out, and where we could invite friends + fans + peers to talk about whatever.

IWG’s become a sort of amorphous label that’s hard to describe but there’s a short thing we wrote that does an OK job of explaining here: http://www.icewatergames.com/blog

Personally … I kind of can’t stand the feeling of tweeting, and everyone’s migrated to Discord, which I dislike almost as much, and I hope the IWG forums just become a place where I can idly chatter with people about whatever in a positive + comfortable space.

We also have a bunch of random community spaces, like Steam forums for our games, that we never check because we kind of hate the experience of using the platforms, so part of the idea is to invite those folks to instead come over here if they want to ask us questions or talk about IWG games in a more cross-platform way.

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#3

i second badru’s personal feelings on this, and especially with regards to discord (and slack) as the default alternatives for community platforms online these days - both come with a preset expectation of what the platform’s purpose is (discord is a COMMUNITY PR TOOL for GAMERS, slack is a SECRET PLATFORM for PROFESSIONAL-ADJACENT CHATTER), and they both encourage instant messenger-style communication. i think a traditional forum like this is an occasion to try and coalesce a community outside of these expectations and on a slower pace.
the label itself functions on similar principles, in trying to slowly build up a community that exists aside from the existing socio/economic infrastructure of VideoGames and hopefully is a little bit more sane…?

these are just ramble thoughts and they definitely don’t represent the rest of the label btw, it’s only me thinking out loud haha… i’ve just been thinking a lot about parasitic modes of community as a way to sustain the late capitalist experience of Being Online (and also just Living), about creating networks of support and solidarity and community that exist alongside the current infrastructure rather than within it, places where we can retreat to. the label also resonates with that mindset insofar that the games in it are published on mainstream platforms through the normal channels and infrastructures of the field, but the label exists to the side of this as a way to bring together the games and their creators.

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#4

Watching forums as a method of communication shrink from relevancy has been concerning. Ever since social media began to take over as the more prominent form of interaction online, reliance on boards has spiraled downward. Forums offered much greater control on the content within, though this was obviously a double edged sword in some ways. Mastodon’s emergence was exciting in that it brought back that feeling of, “You own the space, you decide what passes as acceptable here,” in an empowering way. But it still had its drawbacks, tied so closely to Tweetdeck/Twitter’s general interaction model.

Growing up with forums, I valued the open-access nature of them for one main reason - preservation. Even today, I can search for specific topics from the 90s and early 00s and find vestiges of fan-run forums that give us a look at what life was once like online. Digital archeology can be quite enlightening, stumbling across abandoned places that formed their own culture as the community grew into its own. Chat services existed back then as well, but the balance always felt more in favor of the public-facing board software. With a lot of communication happening through private, gated channels like Discord, the potential for so much information and potentially fruitful discussion could be lost with no reliable public back-up.

Not that I don’t value Discord, Slack, etc, for what they are, as I do use them regularly to connect with friends, but forums are undervalued and I was quite pleased to discover that IWG decided a place away from Discord and Bird Hellsite would be nice. The format is much more elegant for long form discussion as well, honestly. I’m far too verbose to be contained by terse character limits, so I find the general expectation that you’ll likely read a few paragraphs at a time per post comforting, and forum software is built to facilitate that in a way that chat programs and social media simply can’t.

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