The Puppetmaster-Player Communication Dynamic in Alternate Reality Gaming and Chaotic Fiction

Audience/Player Sphere
Audience/Player Sphere

The Audience Sphere has very little structure and a very different dynamic. In fact, it is more of a free-form swarm rather than the directed system seen within the Architect Sphere. These communities can exhibit collective wisdom and extreme effectiveness at accomplishing tasks, but, contrary to popular opinion, they possess no overarching "intelligence" or sentience. Hence, we must describe the thresholds in the Audience Sphere in different terms more suited to our purpose than those in the Architect Sphere.

The bottom tier, again in terms of least potential direct effect upon the experience and metaconversation, is Awareness. This is the first step from the Potential Sphere into the Audience Sphere and is simply those who have knowledge of the existence of the campaign, which is different from knowing the existence of a particular campaign asset. Networked Awareness refers to those individuals who not only know of the campaign's existence, but who are also in contact with others whom are aware.

The Focused Discussion tier refers to the Audience group that knows, has networked with others who know, and is actively talking about the experience. This can be a step from a passive shared experience (lurking) to an active experience, and is a layer where the most speculation about the campaign is likely to occur.

Organized Discussion describes a step up from talking in general to organizing generated or collected information and theories into references and usable tools. This tier, though usually a relatively small number of Audience participants, can have a larger influence on the metaconversation than the previous Audience levels because it actively eases the digestibility of the chaotic system. A strong Organized Discussion tier can also amplify the effectiveness of the Audience Focused Discussion with their tools and references by lowering the barrier to entry for potential audience members.

Organized Action refers to those who do something to affect the experience and is a second jump from passive to active, only more in terms of experience production rather than experience participation. Where discussion produces content and ideas that may be incorporated in the experiential universe, this tier produces happenings and accomplishes tasks.

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