Berk List

According to the FAQ at Project Redcap, yo can subscribe to the Ars Magica mailing list by visiting its Web site at ... ars-magica
However, that site is down.

Does that mailing list still exist?

The mailing list exists. Not sure how to register, though.

This is the header of the list: ... ars-magica

Does indeed work. The FAQ need updating.

cj x

Thank you :slight_smile:

The FAQ entry for the Berk List has now been updated.

At the monet the mailing list is debating wether posters should be required to maintain basic civility toward authors and each other.

Just saying, if you are going to go there you should be aware it has a distinctive culture.


When the Berkeley list is good, I find that the discussions can get interesting, maybe deeper than here.

But I find that the Berkeley list is rarely good enough for me to put up with what goes on there, even as a lurker. I'm from New York, with a corresponding willingness to suspend politeness for its own sake. I'm a Jewish New Yorker, and happy to argue, decorum be damned! But I don't post to the list anymore; I hardly even lurk.

For me, the Berklist goings-on transcend bluntness, even rudeness, to reach a plateau of casual contempt. I think this has gotten worse over the years, especially as the people who write and edit the books have become increasingly accessible to the list. It's a case of familiarity breeding contempt, it just slops all over everything, and I don't enjoy being part of that, if only because I know how easily I can become that.

I suspect that the list would regain a measure of civility (after a period of increased grumbling) if David undertook not to post there any longer, and authors of any AM book, depriving the usual suspects of their favorite punching bags. But that has its own costs.



See, and I think it would fare far better if the members of the list remembered that it was a privilege and not a right to engage the authors and line editor in discussion.

Not only that, but if they recalled that ranting about a design point after the publication is about as useful as howling about the barn door being left open after the horse has flown. We're all free to disregard material we disagree with, and that's also occasionally forgotten.

I've played other games for a long time, and aside from second-hand stories of talking to designers on ICE customer service lines, this is the first line where I've found the people involved in producing what we enjoy so willing to talk about the material or their thoughts on the game. As a community we ought to be a bit more considerate than we have been in the past-- authors shouldn't ever feel under attack for their hard work.


I've unsubscribed from the Berk List, myself. These boards are a lot nicer.

Also, you'll see me posting under my real name here soon. Naming myself after the invisible knight from Le Morte D'Arthur who stabbed people in the back and then ran away, doesn't fit the persona I want to project going forward. :wink:


-Andrew Gronosky

There's a reason I sign my name at the bottom of my posts... :wink:


I finally unsubscribed after rereading the same argument by the same person about the same (perceived) problems of the 5th edition. It grew very tiring. I do sometimes wish there was more activity here, but at least here I can get reasonable answer to questions and advice in a timely manner when I need it. (I also like the general assumption that we're all talking 5th ed. here.)

What's done is done, but ranting might (or might not) have an influence in future supplements. It's a way to give feedback, although the editor has to decide whether it's a general concern or just one person's pet peeve.

I, of course, agree that criticism should be done in a respectful manner.

I only just recently stepped out of lurking there, but that was only a one-off. I think I'll keep at lurking or maybe just take the consequence and sign off it. I dont mind disagreements and different takes of the game - in fact I think they are inspiring - but I don't want to waste time on bickering.

I think that, on average, people have more effective feedback if they have a gradient of tone, idea by idea.

"I don't like this."
"I really don't like this."
"I could never see me using this because I think it is broken because of X."
"I find this bit personally offensive."
"This would stop me buying this book."

If, instead, the default position is "You saying Flambeau was not a psycho serial killer has wrecked my game, and you did it because of X personal prejudice of yours, so you wrecked my game to suit your personal agenda, you s***" on -every- idea, then the real flaws of a supplement (and there -are- lots- and some we only catch after years of playing and we'd like to catch them sooner.) just get lost in all the flames.

Ranting doesn't work, because by definition, when you rant you turn the volume up to 11, so the authors can't really hear your feedback, just your tone.

Reasoned disagreement, that is not couched in terms of personal attack, and that backs your complaint up with some sort of analysis of the rules in question with actual examples is far more likely to influence future supplements, IMO.

I'm not really directing this at you. I've made a vow wto just not post on the Berklist for a while, and I'd like to do a quick rant of my own, if I may. I apologise to those of you offended by this. I may use the generic "You" in the post below and it doesn't mean "you" personally, OK?

My problem with the Berklist is that right now there are a group of people who are arguing that Andrew, and by extension all of the authors, should be be polite to them, and keep answering their queries, regardless of how nasty they are, because it is what we get paid for. I realise that this is an imbedded value in a section of the American public (presuming that the woman who wrote "Nickled and Dimed" wasn't lying to me) and so I can see where they are coming from, but actually, no, in this country, it's not my job to be nice to readers who are horrible to me, for the following reasons:

  • Atlas is my customer, not the reader. My tax office says this is the case. Who am I to disagree with them?
  • My work was work-for-hire. I'm not on retainer to Atlas and as such, I doen't owe them anything beyond a feeling of goodwill now his contract is over. Answering questions on the list is something I do for free, rather than as an employee.
  • That people can be horrible to customer service workers and be blaise about it is not a cultural construct I recognize as being relevant to my life. I don't mean to knock all Americans here, because I know many of you are wonderful people, but I'd like it to be clear to those of you who kind of agree with the ideas expressed on the Berklist that sucking this up is part of the job of anyone in a customer service industry that that we are an international fan community, and your way of doing things is not universal. Here, if you yell at any of the staff I supervise, I will have you escorted from the building and tell you not to come back for at least 24 hours, and if you come back and yell at my people again I will have you permanently excluded from my workspace. If I do not do this, I am breaking the law. (Not legal advice.) My people have a basic right, in law, to have a "safe working environment", the definition of which includes basic dignity and respect from customers.
  • The goodwill of the authors who volunteer to answer questions is not limitless. Andrew has indicated he intends to seriously consider not doing so anymore, Matt seems to have said something similar (and I apologise to either if I am putting words in their mouths) and right now I'm boycotting the Berklist myself, because I'm sick of getting my head handed to me in a blanket about one line in the Criamon chapter every three months. There are others who don't bother either. Where is the tipping point?
  • You know David's been trying to blood new authors because he's told you its the case. Would you accept the job knowing that there's an immediate fan expectation that you will soak up whatever personal attack anyone wants to throw at you and be expected to volunteer your time to be nice to the jackal afterwards? It's hard enough to get new authors in without there being a community expectation that they are volunteering for abuse. Right now I'd advise new authors to come to this forum, but skip the Berklist
    Book after book after book, all the way back to the previous ediiton, I've seen old hands in our community try and rip chunks out of new authors for increasingly trivial stuff. At the moment I receive about 90% criticism / 10% praise for my work, most of the criticism around crossbows (one table) and the "Criamon must be faithful" lines in two books that I wrote years ago. At which point do I just ignore all feedback? At what point do I say "In this pile of 10 letters, I know 1 will be positive. The rest will claim I wrecked their game, that I am a fascist sympathiser, that I support genocide, that I am generically a wnker, or ask me to just give up writing. A handful of others will be smarmy attempts to get me to join a pile up on David."
  • I'm not going to "kick complaints upstairs" as Berklisters keep asking me to do, because David's probably the best editior I've had, and I feel no particular desire to join the increasing call for authors to place any blame for thier mistakes at his feet. I wrote the Criamon chapter. I wrote the crossbows table. No, I feel no particular desire to blame him for them, and I find the repeated call for authors to dodge "blame" by sticking it to the line editor to be juvenile and deliberately cruel.

So, in short, I'm only lurking on the Berklist now, and am thinking of giving it up entirely. If it is not self-evident to its participants why when I was being uncivil that I was doing the wrong thing, then I see no point in giving them my volunteer time when I could spend it writing books, kneading pasta, building a cat run or weeding my herb garden.

This is a pity. It was the first list I ever joined. The problem is, that it isn't worth it anymore.

Ah, hi Andrew. I didn't realise you were Sir Garlon. I hope I haven't put words in your mouth in my rant. :blush:

I've been intimidated. So I'm giving all my energy to working on another game being released soon.

After reading the last extract I also decided on unsubscribing. Seems my inbox will become much ligther in the future - and I'll be better for it! Reading that list, even if not participating, was less than kind on ones mood.

I hope the various authors will be seen around here and that they wont let the unfair treatment stick to them for to long.

It's more like you took the words out of my mouth.

I'm glad to be part of any community that makes me feel welcome.

I don't want to burden members of this board with the problems on the Berk List. However I do ask everyone take a look at the new FAQ entry I've written about engaging authors directly in "discussions:"


-Andrew Gronosky

Been there, read that. Agree with you. :slight_smile:

I am one of the ones that did not love the change in Flambeau's death, but I am extremely happy to the general vision of the Flambeaus in this edition. In fact it is pretty much how we have been playing them for years. There was an article in durenmar (I think) that changed them to spirited dudes more than sociopathic maniacs. We liked that approach (and it fits nicely with the new vision of the house) and have been using it.

So, kudos for the job, and kudos for the FAQW maintenance :slight_smile: