Friday, July 11, 2014

My Blog Post Sharing Is Needy And Unjustified

Nearly everyone who writes blog posts wants those posts to be read by somebody. Otherwise, we wouldn't write blog posts at all and instead would sit on a bus bench scribbling in notebooks, with the occasional outburst of barely stifled laughter.

Because of this, it's a pretty common practice to share blog posts on social media, push the posts to feeds, and generally promote the blog. It's all fine and dandy to say that an interesting blog will attract eyeballs on its own merit, but in practice that's not how it works. My experience may be atypical, but there's two things that are guaranteed to help out with making sure that at least a few people who might be interested in the subject see the post: post regularly (because then people will at least look to see if there are posts on a semi-regular basis) and share the posts.

On Google+, at least in roleplaying circles, there have been calls to not blast a new blog post to every community. There's some overlap in community membership, and people wind up seeing the same post take over their feed. Lots of us have been guilty of this in the past, and I for one have heeded the requests of various owners and moderators to keep it to a dull roar. I tend to pick a couple communities that the post might be relevant to or might be conducive to a discussion on the topic. One of those communities is Pen & Paper RPG Bloggers, which is dedicated strictly to blogging and blog updates. That means I might choose one or two more - typically, it's the G+ Tabletop Roleplayers Community and that's it, because it's the largest and one of the most active. If it's Fate related, I might post it to Fate Core. If it's worldbuilding, then Worldbuilding or maybe a map community. Kicksnarker for...well, we all know what Kicksnarker is for.

This seems to be working for the majority. I can attempt to get the post seen by people who might be interested, moderators aren't inundated with posts that have little or no relevance, and readers don't find their entire stream covered with the same post over and over. Everybody's happy.

Then, there's this guy.

I see he hasn't appeared on +Top Elf 's Nice list yet...I wonder why
That was a comment on my post to one of three communities I shared this post with (including the aforementioned community that is just for blogging). I responded in kind in the thread, at which point I was told that the mere act of sharing of the post comes across as "needy", and that he is apparently the self-appointed czar of blog content quality and worthiness of promotion.

I really - I mean really - have to resist the urge in tagging him in every blog post I ever write. He's entitled to his opinion. Just as I'm entitled to keep doing exactly what I've been doing: writing posts when the mood or inspiration strikes me, on whatever I want to write about, and sharing those posts in a manner that I think will encourage interested readers. Even if that includes a lengthy post to complain about some dude complaining about posts being spam.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We Are All Game Designers

This is actually due to some some philosophizing I've been doing lately.

Every one of us who are involved in the roleplaying hobby are game designers. Sure, it comes in matters of degree - some players never get much more involved than creating their characters, while on the other end are the obvious ones who tackle creating entire games. But even sitting down and planning out a session is game design.

That's a great hippy-feely notion, but it begets a corollary. It's easy to get lost in the "design mode" and just come up with something that's not fun or doesn't work quite right in actual play (as I firmly believe happened with Exalted 2e - looked good on paper, but not so great in practice for me). It's also easy to get caught up in "gamer ADD" and change things in the middle of things just because some new method, technique, house rule, whatever caught your interest.

That's my designer hat, right there
FWIW, my own Tribe 8 game recently suffered from a bit of, "This looked good when I designed it, but I'm not sure it's working so well in play." There were a number of factors involved, up to and including a reasonably large hiatus from running games; balancing design goals and intended outcomes over the course of multiple iterations of the rules; and finally adapting to playing online versus face-to-face (where I think this would have been resolved much faster). As a result, I've kind of changed things about the skill implementation mid-stride. In this case, I think the change was a good one but it definitely got me thinking about the propensity to be in "designer mode", and the impact it can have on an actual living game.