October 2013

I went to Perth last weekend for a few days and didn’t take my computer, so no gaming, no internet, and much catching up and boozing. The good wife and I joined some old friends at a new bar in Perth specialising in American whiskey. We sampled the 23 year old Pappy van Winkle and found it to be well worth the $80 price per 30ml nip. Jetsetting back into Melbourne I then had a meeting with my editor who has finished examining the second draft of my book. This we dissected and managed to come up with a way of solving a structural problem which had reared its ugly head. This will probably consume my time for the next week or so.

I have dipped into the Emerald Dream, but my dipping has been sporadic. I’m still sitting at level 26 so for those of you who are trying to catch up to me I’m sure you’ll be able to as I won’t be on for the time I’ll be working on the revision. If you do see me on then I am obviously being a very naughty boy indeed. The other news is that I have been selected for my first cricket match with my new club and I’ll be playing this Sunday. I would like to think that I will make a glorious debut but let’s be honest here: I’m just going to try and not stuff up too much. I have my flashy new whites and a nice new helmet which I have been busy scruffing up so I don’t appear too much like the returning newbie that I am. Stay tuned for a match report next week. Exciting stuff.

Yesterday I wrote why the newbie blogger initiative is a poor idea. But I left out the biggest reason to back up my view on this so as to make a seperate post of it today. Not just to wring blood out of a stone, but because I consider it to be so important. Milady commented yesterday that:

“… I know one of the organizers for this year and I can assure you that he is only thinking of attracting more people into the ‘fold’ …”

This actually sums up the greatest issue I have with this idea of forming what will ultimately become a bloggers collective. When a group is formed you are either in the group or out of it. Being left out of a group can lead to disallusionment and feelings of resentment that the excluded are not part of the clique. The knock-on effect can be that people who were once willing, engaged and active participants now decide that this is not a place for them. And they may well be right in making that decision. I am not talking about bloggers who are not in the cool blogging collective. I am talking about you, my friends. The readers.

Forming a clear and identifiable group of bloggers merely serves to highlight to the average reader that they are not part of that group. To me the most valuable comments I receive on my blog are from people that I have never heard from before. Perhaps they have been reading the blog for some time before they find the urge to write a comment. It can be a big deal to write that first comment and then wait to see if the blogger has responded or if other people have weighed in with their thoughts. The average reader does not have a link on their name to their own blog. They have no vested interest in making a comment. They are doing it because they are engaged to a level where they want to participate. That is priceless, and if you are a blogger those are the most valuable readers on your site.

I called yesterday’s post a circle-jerk, and that was with reference to this idea today. Bloggers posting on other people’s blogs, bloggers writing a post in response to someone else’s blog post, these are things that occur on a regular basis and they are fine. The readership puts up with it, even though I know for a fact that it annoys some readers a fair bit of the time. But making a blogging clique is taking it too far. This merely serves to rub it in the face of the reader that they are not part of this group. They are not on the same level. They are not as important or valued as other readers who also happen to blog.

Authors do not form cliques that alienate the reader while they ingest the product. Nor do journalists, or musicians or film-makers. There are however, some isolated examples of these groups doing just that. The film Oceans 12 is a prime example of this. The first film in the series was a big success, the second not so much. The reason was because the film-makers and the actors made the film for themselves. The audience were not in on the joke, unlike the first and third films in the series. You can’t do this and expect the audience to put up with it. At best the NBI posts disengage the general reader. At worst they cause them to never come back. And who can blame them? The posts are certainly not for them so why should they read the blog?

This NBI thing won’t alienate every reader, far from it. But it will piss off some. And how much it will have a detrimental effect is unknown. There should be no reason to make such a visible group of this nature. If people want to know how to blog they can ask. But really, what is there to know? You blog when you feel that commenting on blogs is not enough for you and you have more to say. In other words, you have your own beliefs and opinions that you have a strong desire to put out there on a visible basis. If there is any value to your opinions you will attract readers. If not, then you won’t. Couple that with writing on a regular basis so that readers keep coming back and you should be able to develop a clear voice over time. Joining a group usually means that you end up following the group’s beliefs and opinions. I have seen group think evolve many times in my life and this will be no different. If you’re serious about writing a blog I would stay far away. Successful blogs, the ones that readers keep coming back to, are unique.

There is another push to get poor unwitting people to become MMO bloggers, and now they have their very own site so it’s official and everything. I wrote about this last year when this syndrome rose its ugly head, and my views have not changed in the last twelve months. Here is what I wrote that best sums up my feelings on the matter:

“… Obviously being a person who blogs about videogames is not felt to be high on the legitimisation scale. So they believe that if they pull lots more people into their chosen activity, then by default of weight of numbers their activity, (blogging), will now be somehow more respectable …”

But there are a couple of further points that I now wish to raise concerning this topic. The first is these people’s assumption that more MMO bloggers is of itself a good thing, a worthy cause if you like. Are we sure about this though? Why are more voices to be encouraged to join what is already a vastly overcrowded field a good thing? If anything we should have a blogging cull, and get rid of some of the dead wood that’s floating along riding the coat-tails of talented, respectable, and dare I say it, handsome bloggers such as myself. Check out the killtenrats blogroll if you don’t belive me. I dare you to count how many blogs there are on that list. I can’t, because I’m not able to count that high because my parents mistreated me. But you can. That’s a lot of blogs. Are people able to read this many blogs, on the same subject, every fucking day?

I don’t think so. Thus, the first premise holds up. We don’t need more blogs about MMOs or videogames in general. We need to have a blogging cull. My second point naturally becomes, why are these people still doing this? I mean, how many blogs are still around from last year’s effort? I don’t know, I can’t find any info about this. I’ll bet my nutsack however that a bunch of people started blogs that were abandoned faster than a Polish position in front of a Panzer division. But I think I know why these bloggers are so invested in being kind and helpful and all-knowing to people who most probably didn’t even realise that they so desperately wanted to become a blogger. It gives them vindication, yes, I wrote that last year. But it also gets more people on their side. What? I hear you say. There are sides? Of course there are sides, dear reader. We are witnessing one being busily created. By doing this NBI thing they are slowly pulling in more like-minded people who might well suck as bloggers, (and hey, if you need special help to work out how the fuck to put up a blog and write words then I reckon the suck factor is going to be up there with my pal Linda L), but they will all be on the same team. And thus, by default, when their team gets large, when it has lots and lots and lots of “bloggers” then they will be able to implement phase 2 of their dastardly plan which I also wrote about last year:

“… The next step along this line is the desire to partake in the imposition of new rules concerning bloggers in an attempt to “raise the bar” and “clean up their act”. Now the true control freaks will rise to the surface much like scum floating on top of your nice pot of fresh chicken stock. Stay tuned for this one …”

In the real world in the fields that I am a recognised expert, I have noticed the curious phenomenon of the least able of the field always being the ones that end up appointing themselves the go-to experts and organisers. It’s their way of making up for the fact that they basically suck. And of course they end up sucking in their role as self-appointed expert as well. But gullible people get sucked in, and that’s the way of the world I suppose. Now I am not insinuating that the organisers of the NBI all suck, no-sir-ee. I leave my dear readers to make that decision for themselves.