3 Reasons I Chose to Not Be a Nitpicker—the Death of the Tribble-Rating System

Ok. This is a big change for Continuing Missions. Hopefully, you will read it through and give me some feedback. Because, the fact of the matter is, this site was launched to celebrate Star Trek Adventures, pros and fans alike.

I launched the Tribble Rating System years ago. I thought this would be a helpful tool in letting GMs know which modules they might prefer. In retrospect, I doubt many GMs really cared about the reviews since a module is what a GM makes out of it. Hence, I am killing the Tribble-rating system for 3 good reasons (at least, for myself. Others can use it if they want.)

Case in point, my most recent review of “Bacchus’ Irresistible Call”, a Living Campaign release later included in the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide. Despite the challenges I had with a module that was one of STA’s first releases (hence, still pretty experimental), I made it work and it ended up being one of my group’s most favorite stories. Why? The group makes the story. The modules or mission briefs are merely the skeleton of the adventures.

I wanted to express why I, as a blogger, am going to change my tone.

Michael Dismuke

With that said, I feel the work writer Shawn Merwin did on this was great! It provided the foundation and pieces for me to GM a great game. (PS. I never spoke with Shawn about this, so he did not hold a gun to my head to write this or anything. LOL. For all you conspiracy theorists out there.)

After I posted that review, I felt like a turd. The epiphany came to me when I considered the generally positive response I got from my article about chilling out about Ferengi ears.

Hence, I wanted to express why I, as a blogger, am going to change my tone.

1. We live in a world of negativity. Why add to it?

The world is a dark place. Real-life is tough. Work. School. Home. Social Media. For many, these are not safe-havens. If anyone has ever felt like an outsider (I have), finding a place to belong is tough.

But, isn’t that what draws a lot of people to Star Trek? A sense of belonging no matter who we are? I think a site that professes to celebrate Star Trek (like this one) should reflect infinite diversity in infinite combinations. That includes peoples’ varying opinions of the shows.

However, this doesn’t mean we need to come from a place of anger, hatred, or vicious criticism. That is anti-Star Trek. It would be hypocritical of me to become a nitpicker, which is all the springboard some people need to launch into an angry tirade.

I, personally, want to be better than that.

All over fandom, we see people arguing about different intellectual properties. These conversations turn insulting, demeaning, if not outright racist, and inhuman. That starts when people start being overly critical and forming extreme emotional connections to the franchises.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I get affected when I see characters I love portrayed differently than their original introduction. It can cause me to viscerally react and want to spray paint someone’s car. I mean, we have all had our Star Trek V moments. But over time, I calm down, smile, and accept it. Why?

Here’s what it is for me…

2. Most of us want to be in the writer’s room

Artists and writers have worked hard to get where they are. Anyone who has ever published something, displayed their art, or engaged in the performing arts knows how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into the endeavor. It takes years to get recognized. It takes establishing connections, accepting a lot of criticism, and adapting to your clients’ wants and needs to get anything out there.

Patrick Stewart with writers of Picard including writers Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Discovery), Michael Chabon (John Carter), Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), Diandra Pendleton-Thompson (Lucky Night), and Emmy nominee James Duff (Major Crimes).

Maybe—and this is a rarity—you might get an opportunity for bigger things. When working for a major intellectual property (IP) like (ex. Marvel, DC, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Dune, etc) you inherit decades of stories—and fans. And with great stories comes great responsibilities. We all know that fans do not take kindly to what they perceive as inaccurate portrayals of their much-loved characters.

I harken back to my dad’s words, “People criticize those they envy.”

Often, writers and artists become the brunt of this dissatisfaction even though there are so many chips in the dip when it comes to producing content. Production houses, distribution companies, editors, deadlines—all of these can lead to enhancement (or contamination) of original ideas. That is never going to stop as people take on new jobs and fans become generational.

It is not going to stop.

Hence, I chose to smile and appreciate what we get. I also aspire to put a small dent in the industry, humbly realizing that it is not “my way or the highway”. Humility, flexibility, endurance, and passion are the key ingredients to being a successful artist if you are going to join the community.

I doubt anyone here would turn down a job working in some fashion on your favorite IP. Do you think you could make something that would get zero criticism? Doubt it. We are imperfect people so it is impossible to create a perfect product that makes everyone happy.

Instead, I harken back to my dad’s words, “People criticize those they envy.”

To me, this means I am going to treat all artists as I would want to be treated if I were handed such an awesome responsbility. It won’t be perfect. But hopefully, it will reflect my passion.

(I even apologized to Rob Liefield years ago after I made a critical post on social media at SDCC one year. Because in my heart of hearts I knew I would be elated to be where he is. I would be gracious about it even if I wasn’t liked by everyone. NOTE: Please, do not make this article about Rob Liefield or things you have heard or experienced with him. Keep it positive.)

But it is not just about the paid artists and writers. I think back to who Continuing Missions is here to serve…

3. This site is here to celebrate everyonebut especially the fans

I restate the site’s About Us statement. “Continuing Mission is a fan-run website for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, published by Modiphius Entertainment under license from CBS & Paramount Pictures. We strongly encourage fans of Star Trek and roleplaying games to check out this game system, preferably while also supporting their favorite local game store.”

Amazon.com: Hallmark Star Trek Party Thank You Notes (8 ct) : Toys & Games

I want to also restate my invitation to any fans who want to post appropriate material here. Send it to us. We don’t make any money on this site.

I remember how I played decades of games with my friends and I felt like I had no one to share it with. Not so with the STA community and spots like Continuing Missions. We are here for you to belong!

Our entire volunteer group wants to thank you for making us the #1 fansite for STA on the planet. We want to keep delivering. We want to make sure this is a feel-good site that supports everyone and celebrates IDIC.

Simply put: I want us to have some class.

Want to share your art, writings, modules, anything STA-related? Send it to me at michaeldismuke1 at gmail dot com. Happy to review it, post it, and celebrate it.

4 comments

  1. I’m currently running the Bacchus series with my group. As you so rightly said, it is what you make of it. I’m enjoying it and my players continue to show up so they must too.
    Also mate, it shows strength of character to admit to your mistakes. For that you have my respect.
    Not me, I’m bloody perfect.

  2. Not having a numerical rating is great. But I did like how you broke down different parts of the missions based on era, adaptability and what not. Those we useful metrics, even if you don’t want to include a value with it please make sure to still include a break down in those areas.

    1. You make a good point. I will still give my opinion about those points without the Star system.

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