This post is actually two posts—maybe three—but I’ve chosen not break it up because they’re all entangled in my head so I’m sharing this more or less as it occurred to me, which is honest, at least.
An idea you don’t agree with might come to you in a metaphor. That metaphor is like armor on a bugbear. Striking the metaphor does not harm the bugbear.
Analogies, even weak analogies, can be ablative. Attack them and they may break apart, only sometimes revealing the argument underneath. You then have a chance to combat the argument—but this is where a lot of Internet discourse stops. The forumite writes, “Your analogy is imperfect, ergo your point is mistaken,” but that’s not necessarily true.
Fortunately, Sage LaTorra knows this. He has a good metaphor for how modular, home-altered rules can be relayed and function in the wild and he’s using it to make his position about the next edition of D&D (i.e. “D&D Next”) clearer. I think. (I sometimes disagree with Sage even though he’s a proven, cunning, forward-thinking designer. As if Dungeon World wasn’t evidence enough of that, read this post of his about putting D&D in a lunchbox.)
The metaphor: RPG rules are cookbooks.