Free Speech in the WoW-Blogosphere

Me: Oh hei! I started a WoW blog! I’m not very daring though and I’m pretty politically correct.
Friend: No, if you want to be a blogger, you have be loud! And opinionated!
Me: Ah, but the WoW blogging community is pretty mellow.

Believe it or not, the outline for this post had actually been rotting in my draft bin for some time. I think the recent outburst in the WoW blogosphere had been quietly brewing for awhile. What got me thinking of our extend of free speech as WoW bloggers was actually a post by Daraxxus on Guild Ethics. A post that troubled me quite a bit.

My stance on people getting offended by what I write is…..if you dont like it you can either

a) Not read it
b) Go eat a big fat bowl of dick

The whole post is definitely worth reading and it was more thought provoking to me than any of the more, um, classy posts that had appeared on that topic over the past week.

I’m a very ethical blogger
. For the most part. Not because I’m afraid of getting slandered (yes, I was terrified when I first started blogging, but after watching and hearing what the Wow.com writers go through, I got over the fear of having rocks thrown at me pretty fast), but because that’s just who I am as a person. I’m careful when I write about my guild, not because I fear a /gkick, but because I don’t think being a bitch on my blog is the most efficient way to deal with in-game conflict. Honesty, respect and looking at both sides of the story are values important to me in all aspects of my life.

Should I expect other bloggers to follow the rules I impose on myself?

By the light, no!

Who the hell am I to tell others what’s appropriate and inappropriate content? Just because certain values are important to me doesn’t mean they’re important to everyone else. Saying my code of ethics is better than someone elses would be awfully arrogant of me. I’ll admit I can be a goodie-goodie, but there are limits.

Besides, if everyone wrote like me, the blogging world would be a pretty dull place. I stick to a cautious style myself, but I can assure you that I devour exuberant blog posts as much as the next person. I won’t blogroll a blog that I judge unethical (yes, I know I link to Paladin Schmaladin, but Ferraro has behaved for quite some time now and there’s just too much good information on the site to pass up), but I’ll still read it.

Over the weekend, a discussion stirred up on Blog Azeroth. A discussion that covered respect among bloggers, free speech as bloggers and tricks in dealing with criticism and trolls. There’s a lot in that thread to ponder and I encourage anyone interested by the topic to read it (and join in if you have anything to add). For the purpose of this post, though, I’m only going to quote Bellwether’s words:

It has been said to me many times that the WoW blogosphere is a stagnant community because all we, as bloggers, give or get are pats on the back to each other. You very rarely see people taken to task for misinformation or something just plain wrong, and those who do become a sort of pariah for rocking the boat.

As much of a “OMG-lets-all-love-each-other-and-be-happy-friends” blogger that I am, I have to agree with this statement. I’ve seen the WoW blogging community compared to a “circle jerk” before. When I correct another blogger on a mistake their in post, I even feel bad. It shouldn’t be like that.

So where are our limits?

As bloggers, we have two kinds of limits:
1) Legal limits
2) Our own limits.

In other words, a blogger who writes about making bombs and plans school shootings will probably not have a long blogging career.

Beyond that? There’s not really any right or wrong.

But even though there’s no real right or wrong, there are still consequences to what we write.

If someone wants to write a blog about how women suck at WoW, they’re very much in their right. But I don’t expect they’ll make a lot of friends. Same goes for someone who makes a blog dedicated to bashing other bloggers. They’re allowed to, but they’ll get the pleasure of a new hole in themselves pretty quickly.

The issue of plagiarism is a different one, one that I don’t really want to go into in this post. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of power over this. Yes, there are creative licenses and copyright stuff, but since there’s rarely money involved, I question how legally binding they are. There’s nothing more insulting than someone stealing your work, but I really wonder how much credibility I would get if I complained to a court that “X copied my WoW guide!”

Do larger bloggers have more responsibility than smallers bloggers?

You can’t argue with the fact that a larger blogger will influence more people than a smaller blogger. As Tam reported, if Gevlon decided to criticize me tomorrow, I can expect to wake up to pages and pages of mouthy wannabe goblin comments.

As Larisa puts eloquently:

The Swedish author Astrid Lindgren wrote in her book about the red haired super power girl Pippi Longstocking, that if you’re very strong you also need to be very kind.

We who are into this blogging business need to consider this from time to time. You may feel fragile and powerless as you’re ranting your heart out, sharing your burdens, but the posts can have much further impact to our guildies and closest game friends, than you ever intended. We who master the language have a certain advantage over others,which is easy to forget. Remember, we’re dealing with real people, not avatars.

This is very true.

Yet is there a rule saying larger bloggers mustbe more tactful than a smaller blogger?

No.

However, since a large blogger will have a stronger impact than a smaller blogger, the consequences the larger blogger will face will be more than what a smaller blogger will face.The large blogger has far more to lose in terms of credibility, readers and respect.

Whether or not they want to sacrifice their credibility, readers and respect is still left to their own discretion.

One thing that I found very interesting this week was that many of those who were especially critical of Anna’s post on RP Griefing are among those who approved of Kurn’s attacks on Chase Christian (she also takes him on some more here and here). Both women wrote aggressive posts. Yet Kurn’s status as a smaller blogger criticizing a larger blogger made her somewhat of a hero while Anna’s as a large blogger critcizing a smaller blogger had her ostracized across the blogosphere.

Should newer bloggers be handled with more care?

I remember the first time a larger blog mentioned me. (And no, it wasn’t Wow.com, The Daily Quest doesn’t like me for some reason QQ.) I freaked out. My head spinned and I had nightmares.

And that blog was complimenting me. Had the attention been negative, I probably would have never touched the internet again in my life.

But is there a rule saying to be gentle to new bloggers?

No.

Again, it’s up to personal discretion. I would hope that the majority of human beings would have it in their heart to be considerate in dealing with someone who doesn’t yet have the confidence, experience and social network to cope well the, um, “darker side” of being a public figure. (Because yes, whether you have 3 readers or 10000, a public blog makes you somewhat of public figure.) But no has to cater to another’s sensitivities. Barring legal restriction, the blogging world is fair game.

Separating the blog from the blogger

Let’s take my two fake nasty blog examples, the anti-woman blog and the anti-other blogger blog.

I’m a moderator at Blog Azeroth and I feel very strongly about the site. If those two bloggers introduced themselves there and wanted to join the community, would I greet them the same way I would greet anyone else?

I would.

Would I tolerate sexist or disrespectful remarks on the forums?

I would not.

Blog Azeroth has strict rules concerning the positive and supportive atmosphere on the forums. Discussions are meant to be constructive and mature. What goes on in member’s blogs is a different game.

Note that this is my own personal stance and the other mods at BA probably do not share my views about blog content!

Byaghro wrote a very well though-out post about Blogging and Social Responsibilities. While I do not agree with overall message, his points are definitely something every blogger who cares about “blogging ethics” should consider.

One thing that I would like to argue is this:

We have defined ourselves as a community. As a group of people with a common interest whose goal is to benefit both the residents of our community and our visitors.To be completely honest, I am appalled to think my name could, in any way, be associated with the “community” after seeing the interaction surrounding the incident that prompted this post.

Thing is, controversy does benefit the community.

The events of the past week, while most likely nightmarish for all those involved, have contributed to enriching the community. So many of us sat down and thought about our personal limits, our definitions of respect, our own blogging ethics and the consequences of our actions.

My two fake nasty blogger examples, do have something to contribute to the community. Discussion, entertainment(!), even friendship between those banding together against the “nasty bloggers” come from those bad apples.

How often do bloggers mention Gevlon in their posts?

All. The. Time.

Our cold, tactless resident goblin does not take part in the WoW blogging “circle jerk”. Yet, in spite of himself, he’s brought a lot to the community in challenging our ways of thinking about ourselves, about our gaming habits and about our relationships with other players.

Of course, if everyone wrote nasty, scandalous posts and took full advantage of their right to free speech all the time, the blogosphere wouldn’t be inviting at all to new bloggers. But that’s not the case. Out of fear, out of personal morals, out of the love of blogging and love of fellow bloggers, the majority of us have set high standards as to how we write in our blogs. Even though we’re a pretty crazy bunch and sometimes get into heated debates, the majority of our interactions are positive and are more than enough to compensate for the less pleasant moments.

Blogging about bloggers vs blogging about guilds

We discovered a couple of weeks ago that many bloggers use their blogs as a form of therapy to help them cope with, um, unpleasant guild experiences. Many of those bloggers hide their blogs from said guilds or share Darraxus’s “let them eat cock” attitude. Some bloggers are ruthless when speaking of guildies or former guildies. However, most of the time, that doesn’t create much of a wave.

Is there a difference in blogging about a fellow blogger vs a guildie?

There’s the obvious, when you blog about someone who doesn’t know they’re being blogged about or can’t really do much to defend themselves (guildie), it’s usually inconsequential. When you blog about a blogger, someone who will know you’re writing about them and who has the power to reply, or send their army of friends onto you, you’re going to get a lot more on your plate. (BTW, TJ’s comment handling in that post should be required reading to all new bloggers. I loved TJ before, but her skill and patience here has earned her my endless adoration.)

Beyond the cowardliness factor, there’s, as Byaghro pointed out in the post of his I linked above, a sense of community between bloggers. Attack a blogger and you’re attacking one of your own.

But as I see it, we’re all human beings here. Attack someone, anyone and you’re attacking one of your own.

We’re all human beings here

I can’t say it enough. Big blogger, small blogger, guildie without a blog, random guy who doesn’t even play WoW, we’re all human beings.

I believe in free speech. I may disagree with someone speaking their mind (or blatantly making up stuff to provoke a reaction), but I won’t blame them for it. They have the right to their own rules of what’s right and wrong, just like I have the right to mine. If someone wants to tear a new hole in me for something I’ve written at any point, I won’t hold it against them. Oh, my feelings will be hurt and I’ll run crying to my more experienced blogging friends for flattery and consolation. I’ll be hurt but not angry.

I believe in free speech and if I’m ever caught saying “this blogger is wrong for writing it like that!” and the issue at hand is not a factual mistake, illegal or plagiarism, I hope someone corrects me.

That said, I will not go around promoting bloggers who have a set of values too different from my own when it comes to writing. Just because I accept it doesn’t mean I’ll openly encourage it. That is my decision and how I exercise my freedom of speech. If you don’t like it, you can go eat a big fat bowl of dicks.

ps. Sorry if this post screws up your feedreader, I’ve editted it a million times to correct my bad spelling.

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30 Comments on “Free Speech in the WoW-Blogosphere”

  1. Codi Says:

    I think a major issue that isn’t being discussed here is the reason people start blogging. Cranky was one of the blogs that I liked to read, but she came off as very “writing to be liked,” something that this whole situation has really cemented in my mind. Maybe I’m sounding like a goblin, but I don’t give a rat’s ass what people think of me personally from my blog. I write because the things I wanted to read weren’t out there, so I filled the niche myself.

    Frankly, I wish all this hoopla would just go away. People are so up in arms about it on both sides of the thing and yet they are not in any way involved in the altercation between Anna and Cranky. I read River’s response to it in -awe- of how much of a yakhne he was being. Demanding an apology when you weren’t even involved? Really?

    Gotta say, I’m with Gev on this; words are just words. At the end of the day, if you’re being upset by what anonymous people on the internet think about you, you have serious self-esteem problems you need to work on.

    (I just wrote this book here, because I am absolutely not going to be writing about it in my blog. XD I am taking a stand by using other people’s blogs as my venting place! WHOO!)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Ha! I used other people’s blogs as well, plus emails and stuff. I really wanted to reflect on something beyond recent events because free speech in blogging has been on my mind since the whole guilds and blogging discussion. But I was expecting that if I got any comments on this, it would be on the stuff that’s most fresh in people’s mind.

      I didn’t talk about the reasons people blog because I don’t see how I could tie it into the topic, other than some bloggers don’t really care to be part of the community and the responsibility thing for the good of the community would therefore not make any sense to them.

      But on the topic of people being hurt by words, I don’t think it’s necessarily a sign of serious self-esteem issues. If I spend 6 hours researching and writing a long post, only to have it shot down, it would bother me. When you put a lot of effort into something, it’s normal to be upset when it’s not well received. I don’t take myself overly seriously, but I am proud of my blog. Well, most of the time. That said, what someone perceives as an insult can be influenced by self-esteem. Some people are waaaay more touchy than others!

  2. Benjy Says:

    To quote Spiderman, the fortune cookie the writers found it in, and probably the wise man who actually said it “With great power comes great responsibility”. Blogging isn’t really a great power, but it does carry some responsibility, mainly not being a jerk.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yes and no. There’s no rule saying you can’t be a jerk. And there are many large bloggers, not necessarily in the WoW community, the WoW community is very mellow, who are total jerks. But if you aren’t usually a jerk and suddenly pull an asshole move, you have a lot more to lose in terms of credibility and respect than a smaller blogger.

  3. Adam Says:

    I think that your conclusion about Anna and Kurn is incorrect. Ihe reason that Anna has been attacked over this is due to the result of her action, not the action itself. There was no result from Kurn’s action, as neither Chase nor Holisky responded. Crankys response however, is where the firestorm really began.

    As far as my worst ever guildie that you linked to, there is no way that anyone not involved would know who it was, and my old guild doesn’t read my blog. Otherwise I wouldn’t have written it.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yes, it’s true that had Cranky shrugged off the criticism, none of this would have started. What I was addressing was the “Anna should have been nicer in her post, she’s a big blogger, she know better, you should be tactful when talking about bloggers”. You can’t control how someone’s going to react to your post, you can only control whether what you write is acceptable by your standards or not. (And over my years of being involved in online communities, it’s been my experience that big blowups actually tend to happen when you least expect it.)

      To me, the only significant difference between Anna and Kurn is that Anna was big blogger calling out a smaller blogger and Kurn was a small blogger calling out a large one. (And really, I found that Anna’s post as it currently stands is much gentler than Kurns)

      As for calling out a former guildie, does the fact that no one would knows who it was make a difference? The whole “what they don’t know can’t hurt them?” To me, it’s the gesture itself that matters. And it’s not necessarily wrong to write about an asshat. As many other bloggers mentioned in their own guidelines for talking about guildies, “if you don’t want to be called out as a douchebag, don’t be a douchebag.”

      But all of this is debatable, for sure. The concepts of “right” and “wrong” are far beyond the scope of this little WoW blog!

  4. Keredria Says:

    Wow, all I can say is excellent post.
    <3

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks!

      Your post on Arrogance actually inspired me quite a bit when I was making the original layout for this post. While you mostly talked about the plagiarism topic, it really got me thinking about tones that annoy me and whether I was justified in being annoyed.

  5. Will Says:

    This was a very well-written and thought-provoking post, Ophelie. :)

    However, since I don’t have a blog of my own (I don’t think Facebook counts, and neither does the Twitter that I don’t have yet but am thinking about making), I can only offer my perspective as a reader.

    I see the interactions between bloggers as, for the most part, a “family” matter, and so I try not to let myself get emotioanlly involved if I happen across an incident. So I can’t really offer an opinion on that.

    As far as what I choose to read, I base that not on whether it’s a “large” or a “small” blog. Readerbase doesn’t necessarily denote quality, and since everyone surely started with only a few readers, it’s not unheard of for me to find a diamond in the rough.

    I prefer it when bloggers write with their own personalities, rather than putting on airs. (Except in the case of an obviously in-character blog, like Ratshag’s, which is without question an awesome one.) I want to base my opinion of a writer on their own genuine personality and attitude. But that’s just me.

    I don’t have any problems, as a reader, with blog columns that are critical of a Guildie or another blogger. As long as the criticism is for the most part respectful, and not every column is like that, I find it to be a good change of pace to read a more “negative” entry. Everyone has a temper, everyone’s nerves can be frayed, and it’s to be expected that if you have the platform, you’d want to vent about things from time to time.

    As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I read the blogs of people who play classes that I don’t. I read certain Paladin blogs, Warrior blogs, and Druid blogs, even though I don’t play those classes, just because I like the way the authors present themselves.

    You, for example, come off with a certain friendly charm that I really like. I’m glad that I clicked that link on the Twisted Nether website and found you. (With a name like “The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon”,how could I resist seeing what this was about?)

    So basically, I’m not going to tell anyone what to write on their blogs. If I don’t like it, I’ll simply not read it anymore. I’ve stopped visiting blogs/listening to podcasts simply because I stopped liking the people who made them. They’re still going on, doing their things, but I don’t have to subject myself to it. Everyone’s happy, and that’s the way it should be.

    Sorry for the long comment, by the way. >.<

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s great to hear views from a non blogger on the topic!

      I’ll be the first to admit that blog posts about blogging are acts of self-indulgence. I assume they’ll be boring to anyone who doesn’t blog (and probably to most people who do blog), but since I find myself writing them to shut my brain up, I figure I might as well post them. You are absolutely right about interactions between bloggers being like “family matters”. That’s really what they feel like to me as well.

      I’m very thankful you found my blog, I always really enjoy your thoughtful comments :)

      • Will Says:

        Even as a non-blogger, I enjoy reading the occasional column about the nuts and bolts of blogging. I’m the kind of guy that tends to like making-of featurettes just as much as the movie itself, so it’s interesting to me to know what goes on behind the scenes. :)

        Since I often hear of WoW bloggers as a “community”, and most everyone seems to know most everyone else, the family analogy was easy to come up with.

        And I’m very glad that you both enjoy my comments and find them thoughtful. A fear of not having anything worth saying is a large part of what kept me from commenting for a long time, and I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten over it. :)

  6. Tam Says:

    I think the reason I don’t comment on your blog is because I tend to agree with what you say, which leads to dull commenting :)

    I think the comparison to Gevlon works very well actually – I mean he’s an important part of the community in that, as you say, he does challenge us and make us think. And if Gevlon links to you, it tends to have some positives (huge hit spike) and some negatives (lots of pseudo-goblin nasty comments). But nobody would go around telling Gevlon he had to be “nicer” to newer bloggers – why are there different rules for different members of the community?

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’ve often been told that the best way to get comments is to be wrong :)

      I didn’t even think of the hits perks of being linked until I saw Spinks’ comment on your blog about how she would have loved to have a big blogger disagree with her when she was first getting started. Not that hits are a big deal on a free site, but big numbers spice things up, and even though the initial attention is negative, some people like what they see and stick around.

      I’d love to see someone try to start a fuss about Gevlon’s lack of sugar coating! I actually don’t find him that nasty, not compared to some politics, news or celeb gossip bloggers, just very opinionated and unconventional, but all the other large WoW bloggers are either very kind or very neutral. I do find it impressive just how much influence he’s had on the community. I mean, the expression “Gevlon would stamp a Social label on my forehead” has become part of the regular vocabulary of a number of bloggers I read.

  7. theerivs Says:

    Anna was a douchebag, she tried to cover her tracks, her cronies a virtual lynching of Cranky.

    Bottom line because of it, everyone will suffer. Cause thats how I roll.

    My name is River, I’m a dick, and I approve this message.

  8. Kurn Says:

    I’m currently writing a post, which I hope will be finished up today, that talks a bit about blogging, my reasons for blogging and the fact that I’m mystified that anyone might view me as a “hero”.

    I’m not up on the Anna/Cranky thing. I don’t even know who Anna is. I don’t know who Gevlon is. I don’t consider myself a real part of the blogging community — I’m just someone who’s got opinions and has decided to write those opinions in the public sphere (through my blog). Were my posts aggressive? Absolutely. I’ll talk about this a bit more in my forthcoming post, but part of my aggression stemmed from frustration at what I perceive(d) to be misinformation. Further, though I wrote it for a global audience, it was with the assumption that no one gave a rat’s ass what I wrote on my blog. ;)

    And now I’m known as “that [person] who hates the wow.com guy”.

    So very, very strange! :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      I have to admit I found your blog via someone saying “you have to check her out, she HATES the wow.com guy!” Then I was stunned that there was a longstanding paladin blog I hadn’t heard of before.

      I look forward to reading your post. It’s interesting to hear views from bloggers who don’t write to please. Being part of the WoW community has its perks, but at the same time it’s limiting, especially if you’re someone with strong opinions and an aggressive style.

      I was maybe exaggerating the “hero” part for the sake of getting my point across, but you did get a lot of normally soft spoken bloggers to say “hey, check this out, this writer has something interesting and different to say”

      • Kurn Says:

        Haha, I joined Single Abstract Noun (the non-EU version) and someone was like “OMG, you’re the guy who hates the wow.com paladin!” I laughed for a good couple of minutes at that. :)

        I wouldn’t say my blog is a longstanding blog nor just a paladin blog, so no worries if you just stumbled over it. I admit I don’t know a lot of the pally blogs myself; although I’ve heard of yours, I never really took the time to stop by. I’m glad you showed up in my site referrals. :)

        I’ve been blogging a lot more since 3.3 hit, but I’m certainly not as ensconced as Blessing of Kings or Banana Shoulders or anything of the like. ;)

        The thing about this whole ordeal, and that’s how I’m thinking of it these days, is that it brought out my aggressive side. I’ve always been opinionated and can easily carry the title of “bitch” if it’s laid on me, but I like to think I’m a lot less aggressive and, believe it or not, patient in most aspects of my life and my writing (including wow blogging). I’m still more or less amazed that anyone cares about what I wrote.

        It’s kind of crazy how many people have responded to my posts or blogged responses or have linked to them. Never did I anticipate this kind of attention. Not that I think I would have done anything differently, but it certainly is something to consider when you see how much support you might be getting for a specific view on something. That’s why I really liked this post of yours which allowed me to tie it in to the post I’m writing about my reasons for writing what I’ve written.

        Whew. Too much talking about writing. Not enough writing — well, on the blog, that is. ;)

      • Kurn Says:

        Posted, btw. :)

    • Saunder Says:

      *raises hand*, and Yes, I’m not a fan of Chase either. I just spent 3/4 of an hour posting to that effect. (obligatory disclaimer) My point is that WoW.com is the bread and butter site of the WoW public, especially those who aren’t the ones who read and read and read everything they can.

      When the information that goes up is so likely to mislead, so likely to misinform, it is our right, nay, our responsibility to try to correct the slate. I obviously don’t have the pull of Kurn … Noone has called me even a fan-of-the-person-who-hates-the-wow.com-guy :D, but I would hate to see some baby Holy Pally give up and go back to DPS because they have gone OOM or don’t have <1 sec GCD via haste after reading that article

      No, Chase may not be Kurn's poster-boy, but maybe if WoW.com actually addressed some of the issues raised, the furor would have died down. They seem content to either ignore us or bury their heads in the sand, which is hardly helping the situation.

      • Ophelie Says:

        You raise a good point on correcting misinformation.

        When correcting misinformation, you do have to keep in mind what it is you want to accomplish. If you want to vent (as Kurn did) or get people riled up or drive a point home to a clueless audience (like Anna did), then yes a flamboyant approach is very effective.

        But if your goal is to get a wow.com to publish an erratum, you’re better off sending the writer in question an email saying “love your work, but I’d like to point out a few discrepancies here, here and here and I’d like for you to correct them”. If the writer ignores you, you go to an editor. If the editor ignores you, you might want to let a clueless audience know that wow.com writers don’t pay attention to their emails. However, from what they report and from corrections they’ve made in the past, it seems that they do read emails and act on them. (I haven’t gotten around to reading your post yet, so I don’t know if you’ve tried the email trick already or not!)

        It’s the same way if you want to deal with any IRL company that ticked you off. The “I’m a loyal customer BUT X AND I’d like if you Y” email format is usually very effective.

        I find that people in general tend to shy away from being direct in communicating what they want. As strange as it sounds, it is less intimidating to write to a faceless audience than it is to a person. But if you want to make sure someone in particular hears what you have to say, you have to tell them directly.

        • Matticus Says:

          I know personally that if I screw up something and if I miss it, I react better and quicker to a personal email than via comments. Comments tend to be fairly loaded with cheap shots on authors and other insulting stuff and contrary to popular belief, it DOES weigh in on the psyche. Many people who’ve applied to WoW.com have gotten the position and then quit after a few weeks because commenters can be extremely vicious and it takes a certain type of personality to withstand the type of feedback. The feedback generally isn’t always constructive. It also isn’t always accurate.

          Misinformation happens. Its not always intentional. Lord knows I’ve made more blogging and publishing mistakes than the community at BA combined. I’ve had people who hate me for no other than reason than for being me.

          I once got a rather hateful email about my blog because I didn’t write about Warriors. Try to figure that one out ^^.

  9. Rhidach Says:

    Wow, I totally missed this dust-up last week!

    Very thought provoking post. Personally I try to be congenial to my fellow bloggers so you’ll seldom see me talk about how other people post stuff that’s blatantly wrong or outrageously wrong. It’s just not in my blood to be “that guy”.

    Still, I love me some drama.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s what happens the second you turn away from the internet for a second. You miss all the excitement!

      I love drama as long as I’m not involved! Although in last week’s events I just felt sad and embarrassed for both parties. I’m getting old and soft.


  10. [...] Here’s the post: Free Speech in the WoW-Blogosphere [...]


  11. [...] wrong and tries to do better the next time. And I do not agree at all that a bigger blogger has a responsibility to treat smaller blogs with kid gloves. I will give each and every new blog the same treatment that I would afford an established blog. [...]


  12. [...] edit: Some great discussion about this as it relates to blogging on a blog I've recently discovered, "The Bossy Pally". Her other posts are equally recommended.] [...]

  13. TJ Says:

    Ah, thanks for the kind words about that descent into insanity of a post!

    I read the Blog Azeroth post you linked and your post, and laughed when I saw you use the words “circle jerk” – I have, quite vocally at times – called the WoW blog community a circle jerk.

    Also, insular, self-impressed, boring and eye-rollingly lame.

    Mean? Yeah, probably. But I don’t hang around BA or the comment sections of WoW blogs anymore for the same reason Belwether detailed in her BA response – as a long time blogger (over 11 years now) – I guess I have a kind of cranky old man thing going on, but I know I was definitely getting a reputation as the cranky or hostile one. And that’s aside from the fact that I don’t really write about WoW, anyway.

    To be honest, the WoW blogging community got pretty lame a long time ago. More and more people have jumped in, I guess, which is nice and all. I’m supposed to say here “There’s room for everyone!,” right?

    Except there’s not.

    And so many people post the same stuff as everyone else, over and over. But every blog is a good blog, right?

    Except they’re not all good blogs.

    Everyone can do it!

    Except not really.

    To me, it goes much deeper than being afraid to disagree because of potential backlash.

    In the world of blogging as a whole, the WoW niche is quite small. However, the people inside that niche often forget that there’s anything outside of WoW blogs, and hang on tightly to this little community and stand in awe of the “big” blogs within that community. Since the perceived community is so small and insular, no one wants to say anything negative for fear of affecting – yes, I’m going to say it – traffic numbers.

    Oh, I know, I know. Everyone writes because they truly love it. No one cares about traffic or comments or popularity or anything like that. Everyone writes their blog because they truly love to write, not because they secretly hope to the the next BRK.

    Except, BS. The community is so small and so circle-jerky that it seems like these days, with the exception of some bigger, long-standing WoW blogs, the people reading and commenting on WoW blogs are the people who are also writing WoW blogs. You’ve got to be nice to all of the other writers because if you don’t, they might not read your blog anymore. Don’t rock the boat, or your traffic stats will go down.

    I’m not saying everyone should be a jerk.I’m saying that it’s okay, to me, at least, to admit that not everyone is a good blogger. NOt everyone writes well. Not everyone writes correct, well-researched information. The WoW blog community has a few – a very small fraction – of stand out blogs, with a whole pile of half-assed, weak, gee-this-looks-easy-let-me-try blogs clustered around the bottom. And everyone tries to desperately to cling to that traffic by falling in line and not rocking the boat that it’s boring. There’s no discussions, there’s no debates, there’s no forward movement – just continued hollow accolades with a desperate air of “please, please, click on my link” trailing in a cloud behind.

    Where am I going with this? God only knows. Why am I so worked up about it? Because the attitudes of these bloggers/commenters/readers of WoW blogs carries over into my comments at times and drives me insane. The blog world is bigger than WoW blogs and the WoW blog community is stifling itself into irrelevance. A few people need to sack up, figure out what makes a blog community thrive, and push it forward.

    BA is nice, but another venue for back pats and circle jerks isn’t what the community as a whole needs.

    And, uh… that disjointed, asshole-ish ramble is all I have to say about that.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m fairly new to the blogging scene (beyond the friends-only LJ type which is a completely different world), so a lot of my ramblings about the blogging world are just me trying to figure out what I think of it all. But I have noticed a lot of circular stuff. And not just the jerking type. I guess there are only so many ways to write about new patch notes, guild drama and class guides. It was the same when I was big into message boards, always the same topics coming up over and over again and discussed the same way over and over again. I can’t say that exactly bothers me a lot. As much as I’m having fun with it now, at the end of the day, blogging is just another hobby to me, like message boards were, one that I’ll move on from once I get tired of the same thing all the time. I’m a pharmacist, not a writer.

      Still, the whole “it’s not a community if we’re not all happy friends holding hands” mentality gets on my nerves. I’ve even seen a few smaller bloggers mention something along the lines of they don’t feel safe or welcome in the community because of last week’s spat. I do believe that many of those complaining will readily admit they blog to make friends, I don’t think they necessarily want to be the next BRK but liking and being liked by everyone is important to them. (I’m not going to deny that I love having my ego stroked as well, the ego boost from blogging is definitely what makes it addictive.) But hearing that the community is going downhill and that there’s a big bad bully on the loose because two bloggers had a squabble, a squabble no different than the squabbles hundreds of bloggers have every single day really annoys me.

      I enjoy meaningful conflict, discussions and personality. I’m in no position to complain since my own blog is very mellow, but it makes me angry to see that “the community” is so intolerant of those bloggers who are less inclined to please, those bloggers who are, you know, interesting.

      Now I’m rambling.

      Anyway, thank you very much for dropping by! It’s great to hear views from someone outside the immediate vicinities of Blog Azeroth.


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