economies of scale: nice, useful
greedy megacrops: not nearly as nice or useful

how do we resolve this.....

@grainloom to be more precise, local nonhierarchical unions directly managing local industry and cooperating globaly with other unions to get goods and resources around the globe to where they need to go.

@grainloom if you arent convinced just consider exactly how much infrastructure is already in place to do this for businesses and commodities

@the_gayest_doggo @grainloom
Money is an abstraction to represent value. It's not a good abstraction, but it persists because the global economy is in a local minimum because the disadvantages of sharing information outweigh the advantages. An economy with sufficient incentives for economic agents to communicate their values directly without the abstraction layer would be more efficient, assuming the existence of an agreeable language for that communication

I could tag someone to provide details about valueflows, which is a grammar for that language, but that's probably more information than you want. The important thing to know is that the benefits of collectives aren't just for adversarial situations where we interface with capitalism. We have a basis for building economic networks that are competitive with capitalist business units comparable in size while being just to labor, community, and the environment

The issue is bringing trust-based networks up to scale with multinational corporations. This can happen, but folks are still working on the software support

My interest is in using games to replace discourse an evidence-based approach to economic, social, and political theory

@yaaps @the_gayest_doggo @grainloom you sound like you'd be interesting to discuss games, gamification, and levels of emotional investment as an indicator of probable transference between game and life with. I'm a game designer currently using a tabletop role-playing game to confront colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and assumptions about non European cultures.

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> you sound like you'd be interesting to discuss games, gamification, and levels of emotional investment as an indicator of probable transference between game and life with

Challenge accepted

@yaaps let's start off with proportions. To what extent, such as a % of page count, can a therapeutic or training game be entertaining, compared with the % of social issues, educational subtext, etc in a game marketed as entertainment? I'm currently maintaining a strong undercurrent in 1879 focused on class struggle, income inequality, and colonialism, taking up about 10 - 15% of the role-playing material, and built into the mechanics, with a quantified social class structure.

The difference between entertainment and education as a genre is subjective. If you avoid being didactic and make the lesson implicit in the material, you could have an immersive experience that would be very educational yet still perceived as a game

When you publish in a print format, you have examples from related print genres as guidance for how to present material that's not part of the flow of the text. It's going to vary with genre and length, but a general principle is to base your asking price on the page count relevant to the title

"The Landlord's Game" differed from Monopoly in a couple ways. The cooperative rules made for a better game, in that it was actually fun to play, but focus on the rules that made people miserable is what made publishers money. I'm the wrong person to ask about marketing, though. I choose fun every time πŸ˜‚

@yaaps I was afraid you were going to go with qualitative over quantitative. Trying to find the sweet spot where I can work in a moral lesson or a sharp bit of cultural criticism without being preachy is something I'm still working on, and given your answer, I may always be working on.
As far as printing costs, MSRP, and all that, I've been working with FASA for several years. I'm initially offering my game in PDF only, with one off hardcopy editions for the higher paying patrons.

I don't always succeed, but I try not to be an asshole 😎

But yeah. Electronic distribution still has price points based on page count, even though there isn't such a thing as amortizing the production costs over a run of physical copies and how people feel about paying for your work will depend on how the content meets their expectations for the price point. Bonus material is great as long as it's obvious that the material the reader paid for is present

I want to establish economic partnerships between creator owned production entities (individuals and collectives) and consumer owned distributors in order to accurately model the economic realities in the social relationship and equitable distribute risk and reward, but you're left with pricing structures based on legacy methods of assessing value until that happens

@yaaps hoping the products find their own price level among socialist constructs within a capitalist matrix? That's ambitious. I'm all for owning the means of production, and customers owning their distribution channels makes sense, but external capitalism is going to prevent the products from drifting out of alignment with the general pricing structure of the larger environment, unless you've got a way to insulate the process of creation and distribution within its own paired silos.

There's a spectrum of creative activity from pulp fiction to indie video games where creators have a significant amount of freedom at the cost of poor leverage dealing with Amazon, Valve, and other distributors. Meanwhile, readers and players are struggling with discovery. The consequence is that most creators have subsistence incomes while doing unpaid labor exploring the creative space in their respective genres and they'll have to cut deals taking a large portion of the value from them if their concept proves marketable. The high rent and low quality of the marketplaces makes them vulnerable, but it's absolutely ambitious and more than a little scary

@yaaps I've seen grocery coops and similar pull channels be successful. Have you got a working model of a customer owned distribution channel that can be used as a baseline? Also, how does discovery of pull channels work for the creative collective? How are the multiple relationships between creative collective and pull channels managed?

Building the working model to establish a baseline would be the current step. I was actually thinking of it as documenting a pattern. I have a financial baseline from operating games where I solicited donations to cover operating expenses and an education in introducing institutions that are new to a culture

Right now, the target culture is in the habit of paying up front for production costs and getting a copy of the game and some swag instead of ownership in the game. Even people who support free software invest in games and get a limited edition t-shirt instead of equity. Then they tell friends to buy the game

Also in mobile, 50k downloads is where companies start spamming developers with offers to buy their game. The asking price is only $500 at that level, but the existence of that market has a lot of different implications when taken with the fact that the break even level with my business plan is about 20k downloads

There's a bootstrap plan that involves adapting some tested games that have yet to be released and targeting them for ActivityPub and mobile. In the process, I'm developing some infrastructure to make it attractive for developers to target distributed systems for multiplayer. So creators should discover the pull network the same way they discover embedded ad networks and in-app purchases, which is the distribution channel publishes software frameworks to support their business model

My vision is to transition from game producer to distributor, pilot the concept of player cooperative, establish relationships with producers, and encourage imitation. There's a difference in attitudes towards licensing between programming and other creative disciplines to bridge. I have a strategy for that, but it's still a tough row to hoe

Once some commercial relationships are established, we can also develop a valueflows vocabulary for the exchange to make consent driven transactions frictionless and move any currency involved directly to our interfaces with capital. (Pay the rent and buy food with money spent on games without incurring taxes on intermediate stages)

@yaaps how would this adjust to the market, where the product is a PDF or hardcopy book? The model doesn't seem to map in this case. The games are by definition multiplayer, but don't have the infrastructure of in app purchases to support the discovery of the pull channel. The licensing also works very differently, as copyright over a printed work holds sway rather than the user license normally associated with software. 1/2

@yaaps you've got a really exciting idea here, of player cooperatives using pull channels to discover new works and obtain games, but I'm uncertain of how it would remap to accommodate a book based product from the software product you're developing this for. I'm seeing a necessity, among other issues, of migrating from traditional copyright to Creative Commons licensing, just to allow the distribution methods that would be needed. And that doesn't reach to hardcopy properly. 2/2

@WanderingBeekeeper @yaaps *noses in*

I haven't been involved in this conversation and don't intend to be, it is way over my head, BUT I do want to mention that Evil Hat and the FATE system are excellent examples of CC-licensed TTRPGs

@InspectorCaracal @yaaps a good point. I've based my own use of CC on their implementation. Fred's State of the Hat lends transparency to their finances, but I don't remember seeing anything from them on how their CC decisions have impacted their distribution and success. Do you have a link?

@WanderingBeekeeper @yaaps ooh, not offhand, but I'll dig around and pop back in here if I find something. :3

Wizard of the Coast's system reference document was well received, even though game mechanics don't have any intellectual property coverage. Publishing an open SRD has the same benefits under capitalism as publishing open source software and it doesn't make requirements on the release of your material

Intellectual property is a legal construct that developed in the context of colonialism. The specifics of every decision concerning what is infrastructure and what is covered as property has been decided according to the principles of mercantilism since Prince Henry The Navigator. Game development is a less obvious example than the history of music in the Americas or the invention of the telescope, but it's not an exception

I'm mostly concerned with post-production activity like fan fiction forums, campaign wikis, and operating multi-player games on a distributed network, but the place I'd be looking for access to free creators from the pull of monopolies would be in tooling for collaboration, like getting your work edited, obtaining cover art, and preparing the document for release. There are reasons that proprietary tools like Google Docs and Vellum have replaced workflows based on powerful free software historically used in this space and it's important to change that

We can untag you, @InspectorCaracal, but I wanted to let you know that I respect your work in these areas and making your kind of effort sustaining for you is the whole point of what I'm doing. You're welcome into any conversation visible to you where I'm going on about this πŸ‘

@yaaps your use of "equity" raises some questions. Do the customers become members of the game production collective? Do they gain some degree of ownership of the product line, a specific product, or the creative process by buying in to the collective's output? If I sell someone a copy of my book, or trade it to them for a bag of oranges, to what degree is equity created? Would there be a mechanism for the various pull channels to directly influence creative output, with feedback?

I'm generalizing about a situation where the self publishing revolution has created asymmetrical power to the benefit of distributors across multiple media. The specifics of addressing that inequity will vary by platform

I don't endorse equity in the sense of using value stolen from workers in one area to steal value from someone else. That was an argument from lesser to greater. Under capitalism, people are already willing to invest in projects without taking a share of the excess value generated, so we should be able to find people who would want to empower creators when the excess value is returned to the community

My ideal outcome would be fully funded production with the product seeding a protected commons, but a situation where the player organization receives perpetual rights for members is an acceptable start. There's still education to be done in the creator community about IP law protecting rights holders rather than creators in that properties with significant value are expropriated without the creator receiving just compensation in the vast majority of cases, but I haven't chosen that battle for myself. (My spouse is a romance author and the reason I judge that a losing cause for me, personally πŸ˜‚)

I chose to associate with 'pull' because the creator side has freedom and I don't want to be the one asking them to trade autonomy for income. The best way for me to improve the balance of power with distribution is to design and create alternate distribution channels, which is fine because I have the background to do that and my ability to analyze systems is much more useful for providing quality deployment strategies than it is for game design ex nihilo

@yaaps so equitability might have been a better term than equity, which under capitalism has a specific monetary definition. The idea being to level the playing field between the creators and consumers? The pull channel allows players to discover & request new content, as well as provide active feedback for what sort of new content they'd like, while the creators retain the value they've created. How is excess value returned to the community? I'm thinking again of books -- donations?

I'm coming from an understanding of the fiction market and Amazon as the distributor. It's been years since I've looked at the print on demand industry and the business models of RPG electronic publishers. This is a starting point, not a complete presentation

But, yes. The goal of the consumer collective is to takeover the functions served by distributors so that the author has a direct relationship with the readers. Ultimately we'd like to have millions of members paying an annual membership fee that's somewhere between the amount of property tax on their dwelling that goes to support their local library and the amount they'd spend on books if they weren't a member, but for now we're 200 people who've decided to turn our book club into a cooperative. We've been collecting dues for 3 months, we've set up a web host where we have ample storage and bandwidth and our current budget to distribute to authors is $2400 USD/month

Current models available for authors are traditional publishing and self publishing. If we're going remove the role of capital in this relationship, then the consumer collective needs to either serve as publisher or write off authors who want a publisher as out of scope for their operations

So you're the author. Is your book the first of a series? Do you want to publish or to be published? Do you want to relate to a collective that only offers the publishing workflow relevant to your preference or one that offers both? Do you also want to distribute through capitalist channels or just communal distribution channels?

@yaaps To zoom in, I'd be more interested in the discovery & distribution workflows, as I'm already set up to handle the publishing end. As far as capitalist vs socialist channels, I can't afford to pass up any available. The worst thing that can happen to a writer is obscurity. I put up a post about this on my at You might also see the entry on Indie RPGs at How would your book club acquire a pre-existing game book or PDF?

My internet connection is too busy complaining about my preparations to kill my Mac to give me web pages, but I'll reply after I've had opportunity to read them

If I had an actual, rather than hypothetical, collective that was interested in a specific work that was nearly complete from a creator, I'd want to negotiate a perpetual license for members of the collective with permission for individuals who accessed the material while members to continue to use their copies even if their membership lapses or is discontinued

Your actual situation is more similar to mine than anticipated in that I have a creative asset that I want to receive compensation for the labor invested, but I want to promote ethical interactions with the community around it instead of participating in gate keeping and rent extraction

In my case, I plan to reach out to the play testing community when I'm on the cusp of a commercial product and encourage them to form a collective to purchase the asset from me and my partner and contract us to produce additional material. We'd still have our names and the names of other contributors on the work and moral rights, but the co-op would acquire certain rights and take on certain responsibilities. The purpose of establishing the cooperative is to empower the players to negotiate equitably and have a relationship where agreement can be based on mutual consent

You set your boundaries, ask your supporters if they want to be your main distributor, let them use any infrastructure they're currently using to organize themselves if they wish, and weep for joy if they drive a hard bargain 😎

If you've published before or otherwise know your market to be different this won't apply, but the typical experience of an author dealing with Amazon is that success, getting income to pay for your writing and marketing time to live on, involves an endless cycle of promotion to drive monthly releases. New releases take an average of 2 months to break even. The process builds your backlist by 10-12 titles per year with each title generating $10-20 USD in income whenever you have a new release

Whatever your experience or expectations, you can probably negotiate an agreement with your current patrons to support a healthy schedule for future releases and promotional activities that would suit your needs better than the vagaries of the market. The players would be better served as well

Also, yaaps is an acronym for Yet Another ActivityPub Server. My name is Chris, I'm 49, and I'm married to T.N. Nova, author of gay romance

@yaaps can I get your permission to copy our discussion this far to my Patreon blog? I'd like to use your words as written rather than paraphrase, to present this latest idea and the train of thought that led to it.

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