My mentor told me to always have someone with me in a deal or in a discussion. Its not something I can find in a book but its really been helpful, you can even say it saved my hide, when I was assigned in one of the most traumatic assignments in my professional life. In fact its such a important "tactical" factor, I was on the receiving end of a tactic that attacked my credibility because I had no witnesses in an informal passing meet (meeting someone in the hallway on my way to go somewhere else; you can say AMBUSH).
(flashbacks of my time in that assignment Lolz)
Anyway, back to Gaming. I found myself in a very engaging and intense discussion which shouldn't be the case in an RPG. We play this hobby to escape work, we expect tons of good will free flowing and we trust the people we play with to do what is fun and surprise us. Although we cannot help but have some emotional investment in this game make things a bit more intense than it should.
I realized we were in a bubble, and back into the scary and dangerous place of just being in a one on one discussion. Flashbacks you can say make it a bit traumatic for me, and has conditioned my response in a quirky unnatural way - you can say it was a survival mechanism. Still no one has the intent to harm one another, but that's the muddy and interesting thing about discussions and arguments, parties can be completely without malice but it can't help but get a bit intense.
Then in a moment of clarity, my mentor advice all of a sudden came clear back. Basically this kind of intensity is not typical in an open forum with people who can pull the participants out of the intensity. People can remind everyone about gaming priorities and what its all about. The ability to zoom in and out is easier when voices are not as engaged and work with a different perspective as the more active participants.
Arguments are part of a real engaging discussions, dissent is important, and being able to air everyone's ideas is crucial in a where people evolve more robust concepts and ideas. Of course, the ability to shift mindset is necessary to keep track of priorities and letting details work with the big picture. Also note that this is a text based discussion, many things are "lost in translation". That last part cannot happen without an audience to remind them from their outside perspective.
The sense of ganging up is a definite concern, so is picking sides. Things that complicate things, needs a moderator, especially if this is a larger discussion. In a small discussion, just call for a recess when things are about to get too interesting for comfort.
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