In October, two incidents happened a short time apart…close enough for me to take their happenings as providential: Monte Cook released a limited license for his hit game release, Numenera, and our class was assigned to watch Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk about copyright. I had an interest in Monte Cook’s new policy; it affected me as a freelancer and game creator, and Lessig’s talk gave me perspective on copyright and creator ownership. I wrote a blog post about it, and would like to outline how it came about.

The ingredients:

Social Media:
My Twitter feed, which included game creators such as Monte Cook, Monte Cook Games, Bruce Cordell, and Shanna Germain.

My Google+ feed, which included various game designers, and many gamers commenting about Numenera’s success.

Websites and Blogs:

The Monte Cook Games website, where the official fan policy was posted, and links to other fan supported sites could be found.

Rob Donoghue’s blog on Evil Hat Games’ website.

WECF13 website.

TED.com

rpg.net

enworld.com

The process:

The issue of copyright was fresh in mind after a recent viewing of Lessig’s video. The first mention I saw of Monte Cook’s fan-use policy was via Feedly in a blog post. Shanna Germain, co-owner of Monte cook Games, commented on it and re-tweeted it. The article contained links to both Monte Cook Games’ fan-use policy and Rob Donoghue’s commentary. I shifted both pages to Pocket so I could read them later at home, when I had more time.

After reading both articles via Pocket, I followed more links from Twitter users who were posting the occasional comment on the policy. I also followed links from Rob Donoghue and other game designers on Google+ to other discussions, comments and posts from sites such as rpg.net and enworld.com.

When I was ready to write, I began composing in Google Documents, then ported the article to StackEdit. I did my first edits on StackEdit, added links, (including the TED talk) the published to WordPress. On WordPress, I did my next round of edits, added images (taken from either my own collection or from numenera.com (for the book cover and character sheet).

Post-publishing:

After publishing, I advertised my blog entry on Twitter. The article was noticed by Shanna Germain, and was retweeted by her.
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My first reflections on building and using a textual ecology:

I’ve formatted how I came about to create the blog post using the two above organizational diagrams. Although the diagrams are broken into two sections, they are joined together by my constant reference back and forth between the blogs linked together between each blog and the Monte Cook Games website, as well as by the social media links.

Feedly was my initial inspiration. It was a daily read, looking for news related to gaming culture and community building. The article I found there ran parallel with discussions on Twitter and other social media about the subject. Twitter did not have an active discussion about the subject, but provided links pointing to where the discussions were happening (comments on blogs and newsgroups). Google+ had some discussion among members of the gaming community, with links there leading to other articles.

Because I found some of these links while at work, using Pocket as a read-it-later service was a necessity. I used the “save it for later” function in Feedly to save links and articles, and referred back to them when I composed my article.

Composing, as I mentioned above, used several platforms. I edited the work in different ways at each stage. Google Docs was my first platform, in case I had to leave and come back to the work somewhere and sometime later. There, I did my first proofreading. When I copied the article into StackEdit, I added the links, and did my second round of formatting. After publishing to the blog, I added images and tested links. After that< all I had to do was publish the final work and distribute it. One interested party (who happened to be the co-owner of the company I was discussing) re-tweeted my link.

The unifying theory that ties my textual ecology use together is the ability to be in contact with my news and my means of creation at any time in any place. I could not have the luxury to read anything at any time, due to scheduling, but I appreciated the ability to save and notate any link, reference, or piece of news I found of interest.

I have a habit of keeping a notebook with me at all times. When I encounter a new idea, or something of interest that I would like to return to later, I note it. If I have a free moment, I’ll jot down ideas for game design, or sketches of what I see that’s interesting around me, or notes for projects I’m working on. The process is part of keeping a commonplace book. My textual ecologies form a digital kind of commonplace book. Superficially, it serves the same purpose: in it, I collect musings, curiosities, and news about those things that hold my interest. However, unlike my ever-present Moleskine, it picks up everything, and forces me to filter through to find what I need. My analog technique affords me the luxury of deciding at the moment pen touches paper if its worth knowing later.

Written with StackEdit.

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About mikewgoodman

I am a renaissance-swordfighting enthusiast and I enjoy historical reenactments (where I focus my attention on Elizabethan culture, historical swordfighting, and the London Masters of Defense). I'm an avid roleplaying gamer, have done some game design, and I write. I share my home with a son who loves games, a wife who loves her garden, and a pack of mercenary cats.

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