When I was on Jury Duty last week, I had a lot of time to sit around and do nothing. Luckily, I had a lot of RPG books on my iPad and I managed to read a few RPG books, some for the 2nd or 3rd time. A book that I read a 2nd time last week was James Raggi's Referee book. One thing that strikes me about the book, and I hinted at this in the comments of my review of LOTFP a while back, is that it is more of a style manual than a DMG. And that is not criticism. I want to elaborate on what I mean.
One of the biggest challenges in any art for is distribution of new styles. When you see significant style sharing in history, it is important; the Renaissance, the Baroque, Impressionism, etc. A huge barrier to sharing is that artists are often cloistered, under contract with a private patron, and focused on their own work more than teaching their methods to others. RPGs are no different.
We have a huge barrier to sharing in that our art form takes place in small groups and is generally not recorded. Actual Play podcasts are changing this in some respects, but they can be agonizing to listen to because they are audio only and you have to infer a lot. Blogs and message forums are starting to move these things out into the open, but we are only on the cusp of that.
Therefore, I think that the community should encourage the creation of GM style manuals that outline a kind of best-practices that are being used at the table. Raggi's Referee guide is a good start, but it is not available for free download. We need to have a small library of these things. They need to detail just what exactly you are doing at the table, why you are doing it, and how things tend to flow when you follow these guidelines.
I have added this to my long list of projects to keep on my plate, but anyone who knows me very well knows that I bounce around like a jumping bean from project to project. I havent thought about it enough to come up with a standard format, but if someone else wants to beat me to that punch, by all means please do.
Anyone interested in really putting pen-to-paper in a major way to describe just what it is that they do at the table? Raggi's book is 100+ pages. You wouldn't have to write that much, but it would need to be reasonably detailed to be worthwhile to anyone.
Just a thought.