Gravatars Enabled

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Sort of sounds like a line from a Gerry Anderson Supermarionation show: “Gravatars Enable!”

Generic GravatarMovement Point has turned on support for gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatars, though their globality relies on blog sites enabling the service). The notion behind the gravatar is to have an avatar that follows you from site to site as you leave comments, to create some semblance of continuity. People with shared interests tend to visit similar sites, so seeing a familiar comment avatar should help create a sense of community in the otherwise anonymous ether.

Gravatars are keyed to the e-mail address required for commenting at most blogs, though rest assured that said addresses are never displayed here at Movement Point. People without a gravatar account have a generic avatar, like the one above.

I like the notion of a single avatar for multiple sites and services. Establishing a “reputation” online is not as simple as establishing a persistent avatar (especially since you can change your gravatar at will), but any steps in the direction of accountability and defined identity online are good steps.

WordPress, the blog engine behind Movement Point, has one-click gravatar support, so it wasn’t hugely difficult to turn it on. Hardest part is figuring out what avatar you want to represent yourself everywhere . . .

Obligatory Opening Manifesto

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I am a gamer, which is not quite the same as saying that I play games.

I do play games, of course: board games, wargames, computer games, role playing games, games of chance and games of skill. But just playing games doesn’t make me a gamer.

I am a gamer because I am fascinated with the rule systems that structure games. Much of my gaming time is spent learning new rules or pouring over old ones. I find beauty in well-constructed rules that anticipate my questions about a game, that knit together possible actions without devolving into tangled prose.

Rules appeal to my sense of the universe as a disorderly place made more tidy by everyone’s voluntary adherence to an organizing structure. So I study rules by playing games and, now, discussing games and the rules that drive them here, at Movement Point.

Science fiction gets some treatment, too, as the literary form most concerned with rules, more than even Victorian manners novels or form-based poetry. Science fiction examines the effects of a rule on a system, extrapolating what happens when a variable changes (or doesn’t). A work of science fiction is interesting not because it has robots (or sentient widgets or kitchen-sized teleporting devices) but because of what changes when there are robots (or whatever). Good science fiction provides a coherent, systems-based look at a world with different rules than our own.

And, because it’s a blog, Movement Point will sometimes deal with stuff I find interesting that has nothing to do with games or science fiction. Can’t have rules without bending them . . .