Wednesday, June 6, 2018

10 Years

On May 28th, 2018, this blog passed its tenth year of existence.  More than 2,600 posts, more than 2 million page views, quite a lot of flame wars that are now falling further and further in the past, several efforts to sustain a wiki and an ongoing campaign to change minds about the game and what it's capable of giving.

Strange to think of the size and scope of this thing.  I used to regularly get readers who would let me know they were reading the blog from the beginning.  That's not happening much, lately.  I wouldn't recommend it.  My best stuff is definitely in the last four years, plus what readers have voted on as worth reading.  Most of the rest is lashing out, mumbling, struggling to make things clear to myself and a whole lot of attempted ideas that crashed and burned.  But ... it is all part of the process that leads to having a clear vision.

It takes me about an hour to write a thousand word post, a bit more if there are plenty of links or research involved.  2600 posts at 600 words a post (which, for me, is very conservative) is 1.56 million words ... or 1,560 hours, all by itself.  Triple that to account for thinking about this blog, posts that got ditched rather than completed, time spent in the comments section, plus the actual slower pace that I probably had when writing here and we're half-way there to the ten thousand hour rule for blogging.

I fully expect to still be doing this ten years from now.


James said...


Shelby Maddox said...

I've been reading back through (from the beginning). Haven't quite made it to 2014 yet.

Congrats on 10 years!

Behold said...

Congratulations Alexis! I will say I've read your blog from the beginning but that was on starting 6 or so years ago today that would be much more daunting.

Carl said...

Happy Anniversary, Alexis!

Daniel Oliveira said...

Like Shelby, I've been reading it all from the beggining. I'm still in 2011, though.
If that stuff is not as good as your more recent work, I can't wait to get to 2014. This blog really opened my mind about how to approach the game.

Congratulations and here's off to another 10 years.
Cheers from Brazil.

JB said...

Ha! Today is my blog’s anniversary date (June 6th). You’ve got a year on me!

Longevity is its own reward, man. Personally, I’m more impressed (and in awe) of your ongoing campaign!
; )

Alexis Smolensk said...

JB, I'm working on the podcast with you as a guest, right now. I should have it up in a few days.

Ozymandias said...


But let's not forget the time spent on the Wiki or your books. And the time spent running an online game, or your in-person games. And, as you said, the podcasts.

I think you sell yourself too short, my friend.

Andrew Wright said...

Congratulations. I am impressed with both the volume and quality of your output. I enjoy the depth of your analysis as well as your commitment to becoming a better GM. You write about "lashing out" and after listing several other activities conclude that these activities and failures are necessary for developing a clear vision. I agree that effort and failure is necessary but is lashing out necessary for a clear vision? I read your work in spite of the harsh criticisms you lay upon others, sometimes fairly and other times I think unfairly. I can imagine that something is gained through critical readings of other's work, but I do not think that attempting to embarrass others or suggest that they shouldn't be in the hobby is at best worthless. At worst it turns people who don't like conflict off to your message and discourages others who may not have your depth of insight or commitment. For example, your writing about Matt Coleville on railroading I feel was fair criticism, and evenhanded, whereas what you wrote about the Angry GM seemed to be mostly wrathful, of much more mixed merit, taking in less of his work. You may be uninterested in or disagree my thoughts on this matter, but I hope you take my comments in the spirit of discussion. I am genuinely asking whether lashing out is necessary for building a clear vision of the art of GMing. Again, congratulations on ten years.

JB said...

@ Alexis:


Alexis Smolensk said...

Andrew, thank you for the answer.

I connect "lashing out" with my "clarity" because during these last ten years, I have stepped far, far back from the abusive writer I used to be. I used to foam at the mouth, with a lack of control that sometimes makes me want to delete old posts. I keep them as a memory to myself.

Regarding the example you draw between Colville (no 'e' before the 'v') and the Angry GM. These ten years on the internet have taught me that there will ALWAYS be people who feel that I'm right to do this to such-and-such, and wrong to do that to such-and-such. You, one person, will tell me I was unfair to the Angry GM. Someone else will stamp their feet and cheer at the exact same words.

Some will say that I am attempting to embarrass others, or that it is worthless to abuse them. Others will say that I'm speaking truth to power. Others will say that I am calling out fakes on their bullshit. Others will say I'm horrible and psychopathic, or even autistic.

Here's what the internet has taught me: one person's opinion about anything I write or present ~ yours, for example ~ doesn't mean very much. It means a great deal when someone reaches out to me, repeatedly, again and again, to discuss what I write, or elaborate upon it, or make a meeting of minds. JB, in this comments field, and I have gone head to head often. Ozymandias has earned his stripes too. Carl keeps coming back though we've gone round and round. I haven't heard Behold for a while, but he has left dozens of comments on this blog. Shelby has given his position many times as well. And James has been prolific, particularly these last six months.

These people matter to me, because they have built up a rapport with me. They don't always agree ... but fuck it, no one anywhere always agrees with anyone. This is what discourse is about.

The thing about your comment, Andrew, is that it suggests that, after 10 YEARS of blogging, I'll be successful if I just try to stop offending people. It's true. I'll be successful at not offending people.

But, see, what I want to be successful at is changing people's minds. And people, forgive me for saying so, DON'T change their minds. They don't change them for rude people, and they don't change them for polite people.


Alexis Smolensk said...

When people don't want to change their minds, they'll invent all sorts of bullshit for why they shouldn't. On the internet, the favorite is, "You were rude to me." Another favorite is, "You make a fine case, but I don't buy it." And another is, "You don't seem very passionate about what you believe."

You're one of that first crowd, Andrew. You're here on my 10th Anniversary Post, where I've clearly survived the test of time: patreon page, books still selling, 5-star rating Amazon for How to Run, nine years of running real life players on-line, talking to readers one-to-one on podcasts ... but that isn't enough to convince YOU. No, YOU need me to, you know, stop turning people off my message. Stop discouraging people who ... how did you put it? "May not have my depth of insight and commitment." Hm. Interesting, that. I assume that doesn't include you, Andrew. I'm sure you count yourself as one of the people who possess my depth of insight and commitment. Please, if you don't mind. I'm sure all the people here would like to read your 10-year-old blog, every bit as insightful as this one. I'd sure like to read it! I don't know how you've managed to keep it a secret all this time.

I assure you, Andrew, I am very interested in your thoughts on this matter. I've been thinking about your thoughts on this matter for 10 years. Because I was awarded this argument right at the very beginning of my tenure here ... and it has taken a long, long, long time to figure out how to answer it. But I'm pretty sure I have that.

You. Don't. Matter. You never did. And the reason you don't matter is because you're not thinking. You're not creating. You're not making Role-playing a better thing. You're just sitting there, judging behaviour, like a good guy, worried about the state of the world, and all the hate that is in it. You're just doing your part to make the world a better place, by explaining how my actions need to be more in accordance with your ... um ... feelings about my lashing out.

Well, you see, I don't lash out any more.

Now I just stomp interlopers on their throats until they're dead. Clarity. It's a wonderful thing.

Alexis Smolensk said...

JB, you sound GOOD. It's going to be a wonderful podcast.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Andrew, you're banned from this blog. I don't care what you meant to suggest or what you meant to say, or how you meant to be understood, etcetera. I don't care to give you any air to explain yourself, or perpetrate your beliefs, or vouchsafe your innocence or your goodness. You don't have free speech here. This is my blog, my home, my agenda, my happiness, my bliss.

Dear, Gentle Readers,

I thank you graciously for allowing me to give a good booting to a fellow like Andrew. It just wouldn't be a 10-Year celebration if I didn't get to give someone the boot.

Vlad Malkav said...

Congratulations for those 10 years, Alexis !

I've obviously also read your blog from start to finish, and have a godly amount of its pages in my favorites. As i started relatively early, I'm lucky to have made the trip progressively. But i'd reread all if I had to ^^.

Thanks for those years, may you make many more !

connor mckay said...

Thank you for all the work you've done. I've greatly enjoyed the blog, and 10 years of anything is impressive, let alone something as big a project as this.

Your work is changing minds on how to run games where I am at least.

Zilifant said...

Congrats Alexis, and thank you for sharing all of your hard work with the masses. Your blog and books have been more inspirational and thought-provoking for me than any others by far and have truly changed the way I play, DM, and think about this game we love. Looking forward to the next ten years!

Discord said...

Congratulations Alexis! I've been reading for the past few years, and you inspire me to think about the game in many different ways, many of which I wouldn't have reached on my own. Bravo!