In my last post I asked if there was a depletion of interest in the D&D blogosphere ... and I received a few responses saying the previous energy came out of the excitement for Original D&D. In this hiatus before 5th edition, OD&D has established itself now, the conversation is beaten into submission, and in the calm before the storm we shall see if the 4th editioners will rise up and bring flames to the coming struggle.
You know, regarding 5th edition ... about this time in the Friday the 13th series, we had started to make jokes about what the later film titles would be:
Friday the 13th, Part 13: Jason Gets Unlucky
Friday the 13th, Part 22: Jason Gets a Job
Friday the 13th, Part 29: Jason Gets Married
Friday the 13th, Part 30: Jason Gets Divorced
Friday the 13th, Part 41: Jason Passes the Bar
Friday the 13th, Part 42: Jason Takes the Bench
Friday the 13th, Part 51: Look Who Jason's Marrying Now
Friday the 13th, Part 54: Viva Las Jason!
Friday the 13th, Part 57: It's a Merry Jason Christmas
Friday the 13th, Part 68: Jason Adopts Islam
Friday the 13th, Part 69: Jason and the 72 Virgins
And so on. Not really relevant, but when do we start giving D&D editions tag lines? I suggest:
D&D Edition V: The Wizards Get Desperate
Be that as it may. It's nice to know I'm not alone in thinking something is down. I don't quite agree with the advanced notions. I would argue, instead, entropy in the system. I watched another blogosphere crash and burn about three years ago. People fought and fought for their beliefs. In time it became evident no one was ever going to change their mind. Posts arguing anything diminished; this led to less linking between posts and less general commentary all around. Blogs began to drop off the net. A few huge, long-time flamers quit, after years of banging the drum for their prejudices. Suddenly, all that remained were a few neophyte bloggers who had little or no memory of the previous blog structure.
This feels like the beginning of that.
If I were to say when the high point of D&D blogging, I'd mark the decision of Cyclopeatron to rank all the blogs by the number of followers. It was an immense task; he is to be commended for attempting it once - I believe he managed to do it four times. By then, I'm sure it was ready to shoot himself. Search 300+ blogs in the space of a few days so as to get the follower numbers in the tightest possible time? Insane.
The effect immediately proliferated the number of D&D blogs, and multiplied the number of blogs most viewers took the time to read. Zak's Porn Stars blog numbers soared with the notariety ... Zak had the benefit of a spicy blog title and actual porn stars to back up the marketing promise. My offline party joked that I needed to put together a blog entitled "D&D Girls Who Like to Fuck" ... but the girl players were not willing to actually hump on camera while playing D&D, so the idea never quite got off the ground. Perhaps someday I can afford escorts and we can give that a try.
If I were going to state when the community jumped the shark, that would probably be around the time YDIS got popular. Not because YDIS did or wrote anything that affected the community, but rather, because at that time people were ready for something different, preferably irreverent, since SO much of what was being shouted eighteen months ago was "right vs. wrong." I'm a firm proponent of that, so naturally I was one of the best targets.
People being what they are, levelling a gun against them - even a gun filled with kindergartenish language - causes them to drop and close their eyes. Most weren't resolved to keep fighting while being shot full of poo, and certain high-profile bloggers pulled a long way back and out of range. The community split for a time between those who acknowledged the right of morons and those who did not, debasing the conversation generally.
I don't think people are expressly ramping up to fight ed. 5. I don't think they feel they've won the OD&D campaign. I think they're exhausted with the idea of another bullshit edition, I think they've lost any sense that anything is EVER going to change, and I think they've simply laid down into a groove of discussing non-controversial subjects. As such, not much to say about anything anyone writes anywhere else. Result: discontinuity, isolation and reduced kenetic activity. Technical term: entropy.