Pity me for I am made of whinge

There — I think you’ve been warned enough that this is an ego post. Look away! Fly, you fools!

If you’re still reading, I’ll try to keep it brief. (By my own measure. You know, the one where 2500 words isn’t much.)

The MMORPG.com gig is starting to grind my gears a little. For one thing I am so running out of things to write about it’s not funny. For another, most of the time the people who read the column just want to fling poo, usually at me but often just at each other, and while I don’t read them all that often it still makes me want to wash my face and brush my teeth whenever I do. I miss the smart people here and wish I were more motivated to post on my own blog even though there’s no filthy lucre involved for doing so (and yes, I need the filthy lucre these days).

Today, someone made the effort to message me over there to make sure I’d actually read their comment on a recent column. Which essentially boiled down to “You’re okay even if you are totally up your own arse and you never consider anyone else’s point of view!” — which I happen to think is entirely unfair. I’m very likely up my own arse but I am nonetheless always aware of other points of view; I just don’t feel obligated to do more than mention them in passing if they’re not relevant to a column that is actually supposed to be, well, about MY experiences. Okay, player experiences in general, but I’m not doing a standup sketch in the style of Bill Bailey parodying Eddie Izzard doing James Mason (err, sounding like James Mason. You know what I mean.).

My byline or whatever those text blurbs are called: “[snip] discussing topics important to her as a long time player of MMORPGs”. Seems unambiguous to me as far as mandates go.

I’m also a little weirded-out by the responses the columns get. Most of the time something I think will get loads of comments just drops like a resting parrot dead duck, and stuff I think will evoke maybe a yawning agreement or two over coffee makes a bunch of ageing farts like me come out of the closet and join the Old Fart Gamer Pride March. Once or twice I’ve written something intentionally polemical, though the utter shit-storm over the SW:TOR post took me aback a little — then I read some of the comments and realised that most people were, as usual, commenting on something entirely irrelevant or entirely not under my control (like why the discussion thread was in the News forum), so I stopped reading them and almost immediately felt human again. Early on I wrote something I thought was going to be polemical and it sank like a dead whale shark, which was interesting if not entirely instructive.

Thing is, I don’t really know what’s going to be polemical and I don’t really want to. I’m not particularly cutting-edge and I don’t particularly like to stir shit-storms (debates, sure), so I don’t do it much. And it feels odd to think that I probably ought to be trying to do that more for the column gig, because if there’s one thing polemic and shit-storms do it’s generate hits, which is exactly what the site wants and, um, exactly what they’re paying me for. It’s just not something I like doing or something I’m good at. I’m good at rambling and… uh, rambling. I ramble really well. I could ramble in the Olympics! But polemic — not so much.

So these days I kind of feel like the old lady trying to sell lace doilies in the corner of a leather gear store — not bad for business per se, but a little out of place and all the dominatrixes look at me funny as they walk past browsing the new whips. And I decided to whinge about it here, because empty though it is this is still my place and I can write what I want, when I want.

I’ve been pondering the ethics of whether to leave the comments open on this post, because I see it more as a vent-post than a baby-seal cry for sympathy, but I’ll leave em open anyway. I’m not too proud to accept a pat on the back, though now that I’ve vented I’ve kind of done that for myself already. If you want to say something nice, go ahead. If you want to fling poo, I’ll fling it back, because this is still my place and I can do that if I want. That was my Cartman voice, by the way.

30 thoughts on “Pity me for I am made of whinge

  1. /pat

    The reason I got into blogging was much more about my needs than about those of my audience. I was writing well-thought out articulate posts and putting them on the WoW forums and seeing no response and the thread off the front page in no time at all. Meanwhile some monkey would post Do Night Elves wear wonderbras? and get a thousand replies. Then I started reading Tobold and discovered a whole network of intelligent posters and commenters having civilised discussions in our quiet corner of the internet.

    If your vent is a vent looking for advice (which it probably isn’t but hey ho) then don’t feel too invested about what people reply. If you look at comments on all high traffic professional sites they’re almost always a waste of time to read. It’s not you, it’s them.

  2. Well, I’m glad you left it open Ysh. I can’t really say why without revealing a whole lot about my personal life, but please take my word for it: the reaction to your columns, and the head-scratching around ones that generate response and ones that don’t; all of that is completely normal and not just tied to you. I can also tell you that if you are running out of topics, its because you have shared all you know – time to dust off the books or RSS feeds and go learn some more. Your posts are chock full of processing information, and its captivating to watch you do that parsing out loud. You just need more material to parse. (-:

  3. I’d suggest the reason you’re getting paid to write is that you are a good writer, clear and a joy to read. I’d also suggest that there are probably at least 50 people who will read you post because it’s well written to the 1 who responds and most of those responses are made because it makes him or her feel important, and really doesn’t have much to do with what you said.

    Write because you enjoy it and people like me enjoy reading it.

    1. and the reason I’m not getting paid is I sometimes type ‘your’ when I meant ‘you’re’ (sigh)…

      1. Nope. That’s what editors are for. (See what I did thar? :D)

        Seriously – I know some great writers who can’t spell for toffee. Grammar & spelling /= talent. If you want a column I’m sure I can put in a good word, they’re always looking for new writers (I suspect turnaround is pretty high).

  4. Dear Ysharros,
    I believe the problem here is that you’re writing on the internet. While the internet is a brilliant place for discussion, debate and meeting like-minded individuals, it’s also full of people. One of the main things I’ve noticed about people is that when they like something that they’ve read they’ll just smile quietly and get on with their day. They don’t leave a comment, they don’t send you an email generally, they just keep on keeping on. When they’ve read something they don’t like, however, they tend to let you know about it. I think they do this because they feel annoyed that they wasted some of their precious minutes, but then by taking even more time to comment they are just throwing good time after bad.

    TL:DR I like your writing. Keep doing it, and I’ll keep not commenting. For every time I don’t comment, pat yourself on the back, because you’ve made me smile and keep on.

  5. Trust me, I totally get where you’re coming from — I never know what’s going to get a good response and what won’t (it kills me when I spend just hours and hours on something that gets maybe 3 comments), and the commenters can be just bizarre and sometimes hurtful. But I’ve developed a thicker skin through it and concentrated on having fun writing what I want to write, and it helps.

    You’re doing a good job, FWIW.


    There, now it’ll feel more like the place you choose to spend your time instead of spending time with us. Maybe now you’ll love us instead of abandoning us so cruelly as you have!


  7. /pat

    It’s just the norm of internet forums that people say more bad things than good. Sometimes, this is because the people who like something have nothing to add more than that they liked it, and try to avoid adding “ditto” posts. Don’t let it get you down.

  8. Just the other day I thought to myself ‘did Ysh die?’. But now I can see that you were taken hostage by internet trolls and forced to read nonsensical and irrelevant comments! Glad you made it out alive. An by the way, thank you for expanding my vocabulary, cause I have never heard of the word polemic before and now I am going to have to look this word up in order to make sure I understand you post!

  9. /hug

    I’ll take a dozen of those doilies. No, the other… yes, those ones, thanks. They go well with my leather.

    I hear ya, I really do. It’s hard coming up with things that I really WANT to write about; some days there’s just something I really want to say, and some days I push and push and nothing I really care about comes out.

    As for the commenters, I don’t know what to recommend. I’d find it hard, personally, to just ignore them, but maybe that’d be the best advice. My expectation though is that most commenters in most places on the internet are asshats. It’s always lovely to spend time in places like this, where that isn’t the case, but it’s a cold world out there. Bring mittens when you go.

    Mittens is my velociraptor. 😀

    1. Welcome back to blogging, btw! I’ve been hitting “Read all” far too often on my RSS feed lately and I just noticed your return the other day. Interesting that we seem to suffer from the same kind of malaise at the moment — though not surprising. We’re not the only bloggers to start wondering what the hell to post about that we haven’t already said. 😉

      My velociraptor’s called Pansy, in homage to Andrew Vachss.

  10. I solved my recent malaise by posting pictures instead of lots of words. Now, to work on my new malaise. Wait, am I repeating myself again? Hrm…

    I’m kind of like Syl; I’ll write something that I think is useful and thought provoking, then get a resounding “meh” from the internet. Their loss, I guess. I’ll stop writing when I run out of things I want to write about. I don’t begrudge anyone a break or a retirement… heaven knows I’ve contemplated flushing my blog more than once.

      1. LOL! Only took me 2 weeks to see this! x)
        Oh and dont worry about me – I usually get most replies on posts that took me 10 minutes to write, wahey! now if only that was my average writing speed…

        Yours is one of the most refreshingly straightforward, amusing yet critical voices in the blogosphere, with just the right amount of sarcasm and shit-me-not that it takes to make a lasting impression (on me). please do not change a thing. Where wood is chopped, splinters must fall – and trolls make for lots of wood!

  11. Alot of people post anywhere they can on mmorpg.com to improve their post count and visibility on the site, so that is part of why there seems to be a disconnect between what you’ve written and what the comments are.
    Running out of topics has to be a killer. Perhaps reading through the forums for a bunch of different current and upcoming games would give some inspiration? Best of luck. Keep writing!

  12. Ysh,
    What game are we going to play next? I miss the rambling conversations into the wee hours. Hope you are doing well.


    1. Truli!! I’m waiting on The Secret World and I *might* try SW:TOR when it comes out. In the meantime… I dunno. 🙁 Not much appeals atm that I haven’t already tried.

      1. Dang it, Secret World is coming down the pipe soon, isn’t it. It kind of slipped off my radar, but whenever it goes live I’m pretty much going to be forced to play it.

      2. Live schmive, I’m going to pull what few strings I may have at my disposal to get me a beta spot, stat! (Besides, I’m piss-bored with WoW :P)

  13. I started off my online commenting career posting in threads over at MMORPG.com. It soon became apparent to me that trying to have a reasonable conversation over there was a lot like standing in the middle of a chimp cage and reading poetry while poo gets flung all around. Utterly pointless.

    A decent proportion of posters there are screaming asshats from beyond time and space; wearing a core set of two or three immutable opinions on their sleeves like bleeding hearts, and unable to conceive of the possibility that someone else might enjoy mechanics which they [said asshats] don’t enjoy for any reasons apart from inexperience or sheer stupidity.

    All that said, they aren’t as bad as the guys commenting on news stories at CNN.com, much less the guys that hang out on the WoW forums.

  14. Ysh,

    Take heart dear girl.you posts on MMORPG are some of the most enjoyable commentaries on the site. You have an innate ability to speak to the untold millions of gamers who prefer to find a balance yes a semblance even of moderation in there addiction.
    Your views seem to echo many of mine and I come away feeling better for having read your insights to the wherewithal of modern gaming.

    My only wish or agenda if I may is to convey that there are many many who do not wish to sling poo but rather have there own thoughts provoked by your keen incites

    *a big warm hug*

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