BoardGameHour Digest: Introduction

As mentioned previously, I try to participate in the weekly BoardGameHour discussion. Since the “hour” of choice hits at noon in my time zone, I am usually able to attend. However, my office sees a fair amount of traffic and from noon to one I am first an employee and being a human interacting with the outside world comes second, so I often miss at least part of the hour.

Update 04-30-15: I can create these digests quickly for any BoardGameHour (within a day or two), but expressed to the Minister of Board Games that I would not openly post these digests without his blessing. So I am posting the ones I have created behind a login so they can be available upon request. If you would like to have access to these, simply request a login and mention the BoardGameHour as one of your interests. I will then let the  Minister of Board Games know that you have requested access. This way, if there is an interest we will know about it. Note: You can always go to Nurph and replay the event, but I find this to be tedious. Even if you participate in an event it is hard to follow all the conversations. The beauty of the digest is that it collects all posts into their respective conversations.

Late summer of 2014, I asked those participating in a BGH session if they would be interested in a digest of the conversation. There were a few who said they would and I certainly would benefit from such a digest, so I went about creating one from that week’s conversation. Although I was able to automate some of the consolidation, it was going to take significantly more effort to either automate or manumate the consolidation process. This effort barrier combined with the fact that the next several meetings were not logged by Nurph caused me to set the project aside. Note: It didn’t help that the week I chose to attempt this process was one of the busiest of the year.

I had been thinking recently about that effort and then, today, I cannot attend due to the change in clocks in the US and not in the UK. The hour has moved to a time when I can’t participate at all. Especially unfortunate, the topic was one that I am really interested in contributing – rulebooks. So until BGH returns to its regularly scheduled programme, reading the Nurph log will have to suffice.

So here I am, considering the process again. I will describe some of the challenges and how they can be approached. I will also describe the digest as I expect to be reasonably able to compile it.

Challenges: (Not slights, just the facts).

  • Participants are holding many conversations at once.
    • Often regarding topics that have nothing to do with the BoardGameHour topic du jour.
  • Participants are not consistent in coding their responses.
    • Participants usually start their response with a reference to the question number, usually A# or Q#, but these references are inconsistent or nonexistent.
  • The question/answer numbering often gets wonky.
    • New questions are added ad hoc.
    • Participants get confused in the numbering.
    • Question numbers get accidentally skipped.
    • Participants don’t always respond in question order (which is OK if they code their responses, but it is too much effort to reconcile if they don’t).
  • Responses that may seem coherent at the time can be unintelligible later – especially when all the side conversations have been removed.
    • Was that a response to a question or to a sidebar conversation?

Approach:

  • The digest will start at the time of the first question by BGH.
  • Although some of the tangential dialogue is interesting, I will concentrate on including responses to BGH questions in the digest.
    • Trying to capture these tangents is where I spent a great deal of effort.
    • In my attempt to keep as much as possible in the digest, tangential conversations may be included into the question at the approxmate time of the conversation.
  • I will make a reasonable effort to identify responses that are not coded as such.
    • Those starting with “A#” or Q#” (with a few variants) are easily identified automatically.
    • Responses without this leading code generally have to be identified manually.
  • References to the poster Twitter accounts will be removed.
    • They are only important at the time.
    • Twitter and related applications can be used to track this information. (I am not trying to replace or compete with them and the full conversation is available on Nurph.
    • I don’t want to subject myself to any strife over who said what and proper context and…
  • I will make a concerted attempt to capture as much as possible automagically and put some additional effort each week toward codifying the week's log.

Hopefully, this approach is valuable to those who follow BoardGameHour and be an inspiration to others to join in the game every Monday. Special thanks to the Minister of Board Games for hosting the BoardGameHour.

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