There are clearly very good reasons to remove the private game function. Concerns about technical difficulties, the ability to ‘examine’ players and GMs, potential abuse of the private game as a way around rules and regulations, and exclusionary practices that remove players from their intellectual property are legitimate reasons to make these changes to the system. There are, however, people who do feel that the ability to have a private game is important and that this course of action will cause problems for them.
General Desire for Privacy: One the things that I think most gamers who are involved in Private Games enjoy is the anonymity; the fact that they know who’s playing the game with them and they don’t have to worry about others who are outside of the game being aware of their involvement. It keeps the game and the world closed.
Visibility: While I dislike exclusion and the practices behind it—particularly if the person excluded was already a participant, I do feel that at times there is a good reason to keep things between certain people. Fights with friends happen and there are certainly people who are not invited to certain games because the content is not appropriate for them (people play a certain way and are inflexible about styles or dislike games that play either too close or too far from reality) who will try to play these games anyway and suffer because of it. This is especially true if the game is between people who have moved apart and are trying to continue an IRL game without including players outside of the main group.
Sensitive Content: I’m not talking about the difference between pg-13 and R content, I’m talking about content that is emotionally or psychologically sensitive to players suddenly going on display for everyone to see. While it’s true that there are private threads, some people aren’t comfortable with other people even knowing that this is on display. It’s one thing to be playing a game where there isn’t much investment in the characters and it’s simply fun, it’s another to be playing a game that delves into deeper places and pushes the boundaries of what players are comfortable with. In those cases, I’m sure that players not only would not want others to view this content, they might not even want people to ask about the game in question.
Protection of Joint Intellectual Property: I am definitely against GMs kicking people out of games and then making the game private simply to lock them out. If time and energy has been invested in the game that player does have the right to that property and there are probably other ways to deal with problem players that do not involve blocking them entirely. That said, with the removal of the private game function there may be problems with protecting intellectual property and infringement upon intellectual property. That is to say, people may take ideas, characters, and other aspects of a game that is running without permission or knowledge of the parties involved. While private threads do prevent most people from reading a game, it’s less of an issue and perhaps comforting to those involved, if the players don’t have to worry about the games drawing attention from anyone who isn’t directly involved.
I joined this site with the understanding that I would be playing a private game—one that was in no way open or available for public viewing. Had this not been the case I would have, under no circumstances, invested half as much time or energy into the games I have been playing. It seems that this new policy will certainly protect the intellectual property of those who have been removed from games, but also has the potental to open up the intellectual property of others for use.
Based on the way the topic is being discussed by the higher powers, it seems (emphasis on ‘seems’ I’m not trying to put words in anyone’s mouth, I’m just stating this based on the way that the topic is being examined) that the issue has already been closed and Private Games will no longer be available on this site. If the issue is not yet decided (and even if it is), what are the alternatives? Will you provide us with a way of protecting our joint intellectual property beyond private threads?
I like this site and I like the way it’s set up, but I am uncomfortable with the way the private threads (being the commonly accepted solution) are described:
“Private material (including Private Messages, Private Threads, and material in Private Tags), should not be construed to create any actual expectation of privacy. "Private" material is more accurately described as material that may require permissions checks before being displayed. Private settings (for threads and tags) are not respected within the game archive. Site staff members, and GMs/Moderators and Readers in games have access to private material within that game.” http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/ind...rivate_Threads