Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Tone of This Blog

It chanced to occur that, beginning with Thursday of last week, my body decided to stab my brain brutally in the sinal cavities, resulting in my becoming annoyingly unhealthy for several days. As such, the diatribe against a particular video wound up remaining front and centre on this blog longer than I had ever intended.

And this brings to mind a comment I received on the blog, discussing the inappropriateness of adding this material to ‘a gaming blog’ - if that is what this is. I have never actually used that phrase to describe this blog in any of the hundreds of posts I have made.

There is, in publishing, a strong sentiment towards what is called ‘responsibility towards the reader.’ It has been front and foremost in all of the five magazines I have worked for since 1989. This responsibility is usually framed as respect given to the reader - particularly the subscriber - in exchange for years of loyal patronage. It is actually a euphemism to describe the magazine’s fear of losing the reader’s money.

You see, in fact, corporate firmly believes that if the money can be made elsewhere, from some other reader, the ‘loyal’ readers can go fuck themselves. Problem is, corporate rarely has any other plan to drum up other readers, so they think it best to appear to suck up to those readers they already have.

Now, there are certain readers, the letter writing kind, who manage to get their names into the magazine, who cotton onto this whole responsibility to the reader philosophy, and use it as a bludgeon to get what they want … i.e., to influence the editorial policy of the magazine. And occasionally there are those weak and gutless corporate types that run scared from such readers. But that’s the nature of business.

I am not, as it happens, running a business. I am writing a blog about D&D (and very occasionally upon other games) because I enjoy the game and because I want to write about it. I will in almost every case write about D&D on this blog, because that is my desire. But I will warn the gentle reader … I feel no responsibility to anyone except myself. I write this blog for my pleasure. I will often post things which I know others will also enjoy, and I will sometimes post things that I feel ought to be posted by someone, on principle. I will often rant when I am angry, and very rarely something that makes me angry will have very little to do with gaming.

In this particular case, I chose to post this particular rant on this blog because war, and the activity of war, is a pet subject of many people who play wargames or role-playing games. As such, I knew I would get some response, and get some response I did. If I ever feel that there is something else that strikes at the heart of my general readership, I will do it again.

I think most of my readers have come to expect from me a rather wide perspective on what makes this ‘gaming blog’ tick. I only wish to make perfectly clear that if the label applies to me, it is sheer chance - it is not a responsibility I feel I need accept.

4 comments:

Carl said...

It's your thing. Do what you wanna do. I can't tell you who to sock it to.

- The Isley Brothers, 1969

Your only responsibility on this blog is to yourself. The moment you begin to pander to your audience, you're going to lose it.

Greg said...

I couldnt support you more on this point, Alexis. What good is the freedom of the new media to bring the voice to anyone who wishes to speak if we must cower before the "wise" crowd.

Vincent Diakuw said...

There has never been, nor will there ever be, a wrong place or time to cry out against war and how we mold ourselves to it.

Ryan said...

I didn't understand the row, personally. Nobody forces your readers to read the entirety of each and every post. If they don't like it, they can skip it, go to the next blog in their blog roll, and return another day. I personally skip most of the non-game related content in the blogs I follow, but I don't pretend that the authors of those blogs have any sort of editorial obligation to me.

(deleted and edited for typo)