The following was blog post I wrote for one of my online gaming communities. While the specifics are about the game the general sentiment, the notion of an ideal, rules to point out the most egregious examples of not applying that ideal, and the behavior between really is how I view quite a bit of my life from business to politics to interactions with friends and family.
Recently there has been some excellent discussion about rules in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I won’t get into that because those discussions will, along with the game, fade in importance as time passes.
But as a part of that discussion I’ve really had to express my view on the TG Primer and how I feel it shapes and guides the community, the rules and player behavior. Here’s my attempt to distill those quite verbose messages into the core essence of what I feel TG represents.
First and foremost comes the primer. That is the ideal to which we should all strive. Being an ideal it is something that most, if not all, people will fail to obtain 100% of the time. That is one end of the spectrum.
The other end of the spectrum is codified in the rules. The rules are there to address egregious shortcomings both in the technical limitations of the games we play vs. how we as a community want to play them as well as gross violations between players on an interpersonal level. The rules is not the manifestation of the primer. They are the minimum requirements thereof based on addressing the most unambiguous violations of the primer. The reason for this is that there must be some leeway given for learning the ideals, for transitory mistakes and failings. IE, to address the very real notion that people will fail to live up to the ideal 100% of the time.
Between those two end points is the grey are that exists between any ideal and any attempt to codify and quantify the ideal. I call it a spectrum because it is in this area, bounded on one side by the ideal of the primer and the other by the rules which mark the gross violations of that ideal, that the totality of player behavior we as a community will tolerate. It is in this area that our disagreements lie.
I do not, however, consider this area to be equal. I consider behaviors and ideas which are closer to the primer side of the spectrum to be better than those behaviors and ideas which are closer to the rules side of the spectrum. The rules are the minimums but the expectation is to be as close to the ideal, the primer, as possible.
In other words, I expect members of the community to not only mold their behaviors to those explicitly spelled out in the rules applied to our various games. I expect the members of our community, especially those who wear the tag on our, and other, servers, to attempt to mold their behavior to the ideal; to exceed the minimums set by the rules. I expect them to do so knowing that the rules aren’t there to enumerate what is always correct but what is always wrong; to recognize the difference between those two conditions and to give the benefit of the doubt when an action may not be always wrong but certainly may not always be right, either.