Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 27, 2011
 
Summer schedule

Every summer I'm going on holidays for a large chunk of the July/August period, and during that time I have limited internet access. Besides from not being able to post much during that time, I also can't do comment moderation. Unfortunately Blogger's heuristic spam filter just plain sucks, having a long history of blocking real comments and letting through spam. So I was looking at my comments, and I didn't really like what I saw.

My blog is 8 years old, and has over 3,600 posts. As I'm not changing my beliefs all that often, my opinions on certain key issues have become well known: I believe that MMORPGs are just games that shouldn't be taken too serious. I believe that achievements in video games aren't real and certainly not a good reason to flout one's superiority over other players. I believe games should be entertaining for the majority of players and not cater to the small minority spending the most time on them. I believe game developers deserve a salary and people should pay for their games whatever the business model.

These opinions are contentious by their very nature. There are a lot of people out there who disagree. And some of these people are angered by my opinions, and are even more angry that I am able to express them in a coherent form on a popular blog. Thus over the time I have attracted a lot of commenters who systematically disagree with EVERY SINGLE POST they comment on. There is no discussion, no give and take, just pure antagonism. It's like a bunch of Republicans commenting on a Democrat blog.

I believe that this antagonism hurts my blog. And I fully admit that my own reaction to the antagonism is part of the problem. But I am not at all willing to cave in and change my core beliefs just because these beliefs upset a bunch of hardcore gamers.

Thus I decided that this year I will shut down commenting on my blog on July 1st at the very least for 2 months. I am considering leaving commenting turned off permanently. During the summer period there will also be significantly less posts while I enjoy life on the beach.
Comments:
Whilst I can fully understand your frustration with the minority who disagree on principle, I for one would be saddened if you permanently disabled comments. One of the reasons I find your blog interesting and challenging is often the discussion that takes place in the comments section.

That said, if it's something that you've had your fill of moderating/managing... hey, it's your blog - you should do what's best for you!

Have a well earned summer on the beach, Tobold. You sure as heck deserve it.
 
Enjoy the break, turning the comments off while you don't have the time, connection or even inclination to curate them properly makes a lot of sense.

I only ever comment rarely, but I would miss the option if it was removed. However if it saves your sanity and keeps the blog going, then it is a good idea.
 
Despite the abuses your comment steam, and its debates has long been one of the best things in the mmorpg biosphere Tobold.

Case in point: Look at the incredible thing you created from the stream of comments during your recent trial of Eve. I know that you personally disagreed with many of those comments but the thing you created when you strung them all together is the truest description of the game I have ever seen.

I for one will be sad if you stop accepting comments but I guess I can understand if it has become too much and you want to move on. Enjoy you vacation.
 
Although I'm probably just as guilty of nitpicking at your posts and causing some antagonism, I will say I thoroughly enjoy learning about your viewpoints from a vastly different gamer than I.

I'm a little saddened that you'll be turning off commenting, but I completely understand the need for it (I, myself, have taken breaks from reading your blogs/commenting section after some of the more heated debates). I hope that after your vacation, you'll be back with some renewed vigor, and reconsider against turning off comments altogether.
 
Have a good holiday, Tobold!
 
Isn't there any way you could be convinced just to have very slow comment approval? Or compromise and have some shitty free for all topics, maybe less contentious while you are on vacation?

I know it's selfish but the idea of losing commenting on this blog is really depressing to think about.
 
Have a great vacation, two month vacation sounds great.

A sad farewell to the comments section though, they have always been the greatest pull for your blog for me. However the content of the posts will still be enough to keep me checking daily as I do now.
 
I can't really say I blame you. People just need conflict, most of them to find out where they stand in the first place. By disagreeing to everything you say, they carve themselves a niche and get more security and direction than they've ever had before. Otherwise they'd just be like headless chickens.

That said, it would be sad to see the comments go, but it's your choice. And like I said, I can't blame you in the least.
 
I dont believe you.
You will be back rested and ready for some good old blog war :)

Have a good time and forget us all for a while.
 
Just a suggestion, you might consider just doing follow up posts with reader responses, either commented on or not. That way you can post both disagreements and counterpoints without have to have vitriol on your blog. Andrew Sullivan has been doing this for years and it works pretty well for him.
 
I agree with Anthony, use your vacation to unwind and do what is necessary to reduce your oversight requirements of the blog while you're away. I would be saddened though to know that you would be doing it out of frustration rather than practicality, and this post does hint at that notion very strongly, but it IS your blog, so do as you see fit.

I only have a couple of things that I believe strongly in, but I will challenge and debate those ideals on principle alone, and while they may appear dissenting, I feel that is the essence of blogging and serves to make the blogosphere a much better place...much better than if everyone just handed out constant kudos and high-fives and agreed with you on everything that you post about.

Take this post for example, let me address key passages you made and offer my own feedback:

I believe that MMORPGs are just games that shouldn't be taken too serious.

I agree. For me they are a past time, and an escape from real life if but for a few hours at a time.

I believe that achievements in video games aren't real and certainly not a good reason to flout one's superiority over other players.

I would agree, but I'm not totally sure if you're addressing the achievement system such as is in WoW, of if you're talking about someone feeling good about earning and wearing say a full set of 365/372 gear. Without getting more specific you are inviting feedback based upon what someone "thinks" you mean.

I believe games should be entertaining for the majority of players and not cater to the small minority spending the most time on them.

Are you talking about a game that was designed, released and funded under a certain revenue model since its inception? One that millions of customers have grown accustomed to? Or are you hinting that a game like WoW, because of its grind elements, should change after 6+ years to incorporate some type of RMT/Microtransaction scheme to give the time poor, money rich gamers some sense of fairness?

I believe game developers deserve a salary and people should pay for their games whatever the business model.

I agree 100% with this statement, but with the caveat that a game should be solely either a sub model, or solely an RMT/Microtransaction model from the git go. I know where you stand on balance and fairness due to your well stated opinion of things like the sword from Free Realms and the ammo in WoT, and we both agree on that, but I would like to ask, since you really dont say either way, is what you think about a supposed microtransaction that costs $68?

But I am not at all willing to cave in and change my core beliefs just because these beliefs upset a bunch of hardcore gamers.

I dont think that is what anyone is asking you to do. What I do think is that these people are asking for a better explanation of what those core beliefs are, and how they align with a particular post. I've been guilty myself of being left scratching my head wondering just exactly what you mean sometimes, but I'm really not sure if it's my reading comprehension that's at fault sometimes, or if the posts coherence has been muddled as a precursor because you expect and are trying to ward off a certain level of antagonism.

It's like a bunch of Republicans commenting on a Democrat blog.

I laughed out loud when I read this. =)

My only response to that would be that we have an old saying here where I live: There's not much sense in repeatedly going to a barbershop if you have no plans of ever getting a haircut. =)

Have a great vacation!
 
Have a good break!

Hopefully somewhere will host the debate in your absence.
 
Enjoy the beaches.
 
I’ve been reading this blog for a while and I have noticed that in issues relating to MMORPG’s this blog is no different to all the other forums in that reasonable discussions are mostly not possible.

Most posters come with their minds already made up. You can answer their points and provide strong evidence as to why they are wrong but they will completely ignore everything you say and just rant/shout back with the same old prejudiced opinions.

Even when you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are wrong they will simply go down the strawman route and create an entirely fictional background story for them to disprove what ever you have proven. It seems they lose track of the purpose of the discussion and become obsessed with winning even if they do so based on a lie. I could draw a parallel with the many users of ebay that start bidding more than an item is worth due to becoming so obsessed with “winning” that they forget their original objective - to obtain a certain item at a reasonable price.

They will not listen to reason – when did you last see someone change their mind as a result of a discussion? It says something about the psychological issues that afflict many MMORPG fanatics.

I myself keep an open mind – I had my mind changed with regards to loot rules on BOE items by smart posters on a forum that put forward a good sound argument but sadly most people are just not open to persuasion in this way.

The problem is further compounded by those with no vested interest that dip their oar into issues that do not apply to them – e.g. hard core players interfering in discussions that relate to casual players and have no bearing on their own personal game experience. I think specifically of those who make suggestions or oppose the suggestions of others when the only outcome would be to deny others access to an item or content whilst offering no personal benefit to the individual writing the post.

I can therefore see why you would want to shut down the comments section but I wouldn’t make it permanent. I’d just remove the posts of those people I mentioned that dip their oar into matters that don’t concern their type of player and remove those that merely want to shout and rant their premade opinions and not actually take part in a reasonable open minded discussion.

I personally enjoy reading the points that many of the regulars post on this blog, please allow that to continue!
 
I read this blog specifically for the comments.
 
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well, I guess if you can find nothing in the other comments anymore, nor any fruitful dialogue for yourself to motivate your own writing, then turning off comments completely is certainly understandable, although lamentable.

I have a hard time believeing this though - that the negative/troll voices should so far outweigh the positives? of course I cannot judge that myself, but maybe it's something to ponder before making that final decision. don't let the trolls win. :)
(probably a stupid question but have you already disabled anon and no-account commenting?)

Happy holidays.
 
Turning it off on vacation is 100% reasonable. If you are worrying about keeping up with blog comments, you are defeating the purpose of a vacation.

On the other hand, I would think less of you if you left the comments off. That isn't winning. That looks like, "I can't win the argument, so I'm preventing the argument from ever happening." It's high-handed, and it makes things look very Ivory Tower.

Besides, I know what I do when someone cuts me off from commenting on their blog -- I call them out on my own. Sure, there are leeches who don't have audiences of their own who glom onto more popular people and put giant treatises in other people's comments, but if you are talking about people like me and Gevlon, you can't stop our signal anyways. Might as well keep part of it here on your home turf.
 
Can I ask what you get out of this blog, Tobold?

I know you have no concern for the "epeen" of a popular blog based on your stance on virtual achievements and your consistent total anonymity. If comments are removed, there can be no discussion of ideas. What is left?
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
if you are talking about people like me and Gevlon, you can't stop our signal anyways

Well, I can ignore those signals better. I removed Gevlon from my feed reader since he found it necessary to insult my wife in a headline of his. What I don't see can't hurt me.
 
If comments are removed, there can be no discussion of ideas.

The question is whether there can be a discussion of ideas with comments enabled. It seems less and less so.
 
Enjoy the summer!
 
I stopped reading comments ages ago and just read this in the RSS feed. I bet you have many that do the same. I like what you write about and find most of the comments shallow by comparison. Sure there are nice ones, but then it isn't worth my time to filter through them all. Keep writing! I like reading!
 
Tobold: The question is whether there can be a discussion of ideas with comments enabled. It seems less and less so.

It all sort of depends on what you want out of the discussion. I think it's quite obvious that trying to convince others to conform to one's own ideals is a losing battle in this forum. The only thing any of us can agree on is that we each have our own ideal game that we would like to play and each is not objectively better than any other (but even this agreement is hard to come to sometimes).

What I like about these discussions is rather the close examination of one's own ideals. I feel that you really don't have a solid grasp on your thoughts until you've been forced to defend and explain them; putting them down on paper will really make you take a second look at your own position and wonder if it's something you would really fight for.
 
You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you for the great reads over the last couple years. Your opinions on games, gaming and having fun have shaped how I play games and who I think about gaming.

Enjoy the break!
 
Regardless, thank you for your writing and enjoy your vacation.

It will be sad to see comments go but there is a lot of "this is why we can not have nice things" on the internet these days.

While it was frustrating to you, I did not see the conflict as negatively as you.

As annoying as Republicans commenting on a Democrats blog can be, it is far more valuable than Democrats commenting on a Democratic blog.

The old saying is that when two people disagree, one of them is redundant.

OTOH, I fail to see how your pro bono efforts getting criticized is pleasant for or benefits you.

Again, thanks and enjoy your vacation.
 
I kind of look at blog posts as an introduction to the comments string. But maybe that's just me.

You know, like on Coffee Talk from Saturday Night Live: "F2P BELF Porn and Achievement Whores; match made in heaven, or harbinger of MMO destruction? Discuss."

I would be frustrated to read your opinions without being able to comment, or read other's comments.

Your posts are excellent, but if not for the conversation, what really is the point of posting?

What I would like to see in comment moderation, however, is a word limit, and not more than TWO posts per person.

I don't want (nils) to single anyone (nils) out, but sometimes the (nils) discussion does get (nils) hijacked.

Perhaps some of us need to be a little more verklempt.
 
I totally disagree with this decision, but not for any reason! You, sir, are a tyrant!

No, I'm joking, which can be hard to tell via text. I do hope after your rest you decide to re-enable comments, but I can understand not wanting to deal with them. I'm nowhere near big enough to have any detractors yet.

have a good summer!
 
Not to completely defend Gevlon, because I can totally understand why you would ignore him for other reasons, but I don't think he meant to insult your wife. I'm not sure if you read his article or not after seeing the headline, but the headline was used to illustrate a dichotomy, not to insult her. His argument was as follows:

If leveling content is too fast for her, she must be a no lifer.
Tobolod says she is ultra casual.
If she is ultra casual, and the content is still trivial for her, this must be because she is intelligent

And, of course, this leads in to a rant about morons and slackers.
 
Happy summer vacation to you and your commenters :)
 
Hardcore gamers are a blight on the MMO genre. World of Warcraft proves that it's far more profitable to cater to the overwhelming majority of players who aren't hardcore. Not necessarily "bad" players, but those who play casually.

Although I hate raiding, I've been participating in arenas in WoW for the past 4 years, ever since season 1. And the arena community is truly horrendous, full of elitists who somehow think that because they're higher rated than you, therefore their $15 monthly subscription fee is more important than yours.

You can be elite without being elitist. It's time to recognize elitism for what it really is: narcissism.
 
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