There is a perception within some parts of the community that Blog Azeroth is a giant circle-jerk where we all have nothing better to do than pat each other’s backs and tell everyone how awesome we all are. I thought that a lot of this hubbub and general resentment had died down, but it was mentioned by someone (whose blog I can’t link simply because I have no idea where they write!) in a chat room today that they have issues with BA, and see it as a giant circle jerk. I’ve heard it referred to as this before, and I’m sure I’ll see it again. However, I do also believe that this is entirely incorrect.
Oh, and yes. I am probably very biased. I should probably mention this right up front. I used to moderate the BA community for quite a while, before I took a step back because, believe it or not, school teachers tend to be amazingly busy people with very little time for extra activities. It was either BA moderation or sleep. I have also been a fan of BA throughout my entire blogging career (as small as it may be). However, I think my perspective as a moderator of the community gives me, if anything, more insight to how the community works and what it is all about.
“All you guys do is agree with each other!”
If you really like, I can go through my own blog as an example and find posts where I disagree with other bloggers. And not ‘small’, ‘unknown’, ‘brand new’ bloggers either. I’ve never been particularly afraid to disagree with the big bloggers, or to write something which might be seen as contentious.
“But those posts are all so old!” you might counter. And you would have a good point. I guess that’s mainly because my enthusiasm for the game is waning, people are much less likely to write stuff I disagree with because, hey, hardly anyone writes anything of massive import anymore (yes, I went there! Link me a post I’m likely to disagree with – and be passionate about – and I might write something).
I see people disagree with others all the time. I guess the only thing you are really going to notice is that the disagreements, for the most part, tend to be polite. As a community, most WoW bloggers don’t like to write nasty things about one another. It’s fine to disagree with someone, but it’s not fine to be an asshole while you are doing it. If that’s circle jerking, then get me a rubber glove and a bucket and lets get to it! (Seriously - I don’t like cleaning up mess after my circle jerk sessions).
“Sometimes, people suck. Yet you guys just don’t say it”
OK. Why is it the place of me, or any other blogger, to inform someone that ‘their writing sucks and they should just give up’?
You see a kid on the sidewalk. The kid isn’t in your way – they are actually across the road from you. The kid is trying to learn to ride a bicycle. He’s pretty wobbly, he can’t go in a straight line, but he has his helmet on and a giant grin on his face. Are you going to walk over there, drag him off the bike, and tell him that he’s never going to be able to ride worth a damn and to get another hobby?
If you think a blogger sucks, that’s fine. If you think an illiterate flailing octopus could write better than them, that’s also fine. However, there is nothing that says you have to say that to them. The internet is a fucking big place, and you can ignore anyone you damn well please. Blog Azeroth is a big enough community that anyone but the moderators can ALSO ignore anyone they wish to as well.
But when we give someone advice? Try to help them out a little? It’s not fucking circle jerking, it’s being part of a COMMUNITY. Tips on writing, on blog design, on most anything else people ask for advice for on BA… they are there to help people try to be better. If they are ‘never going to be better’, what does it matter? Who are they hurting? I know it’s not hurting me – I just don’t read you. No biggie for either of us.
Links spread faster through BA than nits in a primary school
Yeah, there’s a LOT of link love in the Blog Azeroth community. Blogs link each other, get linked back, all of a sudden there’s linked text all over the fricking shop.
So what? If a blogger over-links, it might make you think they are a bit nutty. A bit weird. They probably don’t have much to say. So your opinion of that blogger might go down some. Again, you aren’t forced to read their work. Nothing says you can’t skip over a post.
(Truth? – I subscribe to hundreds of blogs. Each day I only ‘read’ a fraction of the posts in my reader. I skim posts by EVERYONE)
Bloggers like to link to other bloggers. This isn’t only true of WoW bloggers, or of BA bloggers in general. I read a lot of different types of blogs, and many of those blogs link amongst each other!
At the end of the day, I think a lot of this stupid idea happens because people obviously can’t tell when people disagree unless they are being outright assholes to one another. Blog Azeroth bloggers have disagreed with each other before. We will disagree again. It happens. However, the Blog Azeroth Community is NOT the following
1. Twisted Nether Blogcast: BA and TNB are not the same god damn thing. At all. One is a forum, one is a podcast. One has the input of all members, one has the input of two people plus the guest of the week.
2. An organisation: I can say with a fair amount of confidence that ‘organisation’ and ‘BA’ basically do not belong in the same sentence. An organisation has an administrator, a ‘vision’, and some form of goal. BA is merely a forum where bloggers can seek advice and feedback, and organise collaborative events.
3. A weird closed circle of protection: No, we do not close ranks and bash people up when they criticise another blogger. There may be commentary on that sort of issue on people’s blogs, but there is never a ‘directive’ or even an ‘understanding’ that we ‘must protect x because they are a BA blogger’. What a fucking load of hooey.Tags: Blog Azeroth, Blogging