Dump-and-drop vs Participate

   Still wondering what to do since the disappearance of the RPG Blog Alliance. There are alternatives, of course, but with some strings attached, it seems. Tiny strings – but strings nonetheless. The “Bloggers Association” seems to have vanished too, but they expected members to post at least once a week, which was a total turn off for lazy bastards such as yours truly. “Roleplaying Games” (Google+) frowns upon what they call “dump-and-drop”, which is basically the writing and posting of an article or update, with not much follow-up. Let’s talk some more about this one.

   Roleplaying Games, along with Pen & Paper RPG Bloggers, encourages you to participate. I’m okay with that, even though I’m not quite sure what it means. Participate in what? Write your articles with other bloggers? Anyone can chip in, is that it? I have tried HitRECord for a year, posting bits of dialogue, and other members picked them up / added to them / modified them / reposted them. Most of the time, the end result wasn’t that impressive. It’s a very nice writing workshop, sure – but the next Mother Night is not going to suddenly erupt out of a 5-person collaboration.

   I think this phenomenon is due to the subconscious Facebookisation of society. Facebook is a comment-based platform. If you post a picture and nobody comments on it, it’s a miss. A flop. Facebook is like, 25% original content / 75% feedback. But the blogs are something else entirely – let’s say, 90% original content / 10% feedback. Since I joined the RPGBA fifteen short months ago, I visited almost half the blogs registered, but only left 3 comments. Even the OSR big dogs sometimes get fewer than 10 comments for one of their articles. That is how the blogosphere works, especially in a tight-knit community such as tabletop RPGs: we read, we agree, we bookmark, and move on. We won’t write a page-long commentary every time we agree (or even disagree).

   The Google+ interface I saw had an avalanche of boxes and rectangles, each with snippets of text or memes. What is all that? Each of these rectangles is a blog post, a tweet, or a quote from a blog post? It kinda looks like that infamous Windows 8 home screen – some people love it, some don’t. I don’t.

   Guess I’m a grognard in everything, right? I prefer old school blogging, too. “Grogner” means “to grumble”. The original grognards, Napoleon’s guys, were really, really grumpy. It’s a 200-year-old legacy.

   Dear social media, I’m truly sorry to disappoint, but not everything can be done “together”. Look at your favorite TV shows. The writers and producers sit down together, discuss the story arcs – but then, when they’re all on the same page, they go their separate ways, and each writer writes one, or two, or three episodes. Alone. Check the episode guide: each is written by one guy or gal, and directed by another one guy or gal.

   Twenty-year-old Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein all by herself, sitting at a small desk in her bedroom, and Beethoven composed his symphonies alone in his study. Before social media and that global Facebookisation, dump-and-drop was basically called “journalism” or “literature”. The times they are a-changin’.

   When I started working on this blog, I didn’t think it would last an entire year – but it did. Still, I’m bound to run out of topics eventually. So I’m just gonna keep writing my little texts – some of them serious, some of them absolutely ridiculous, like the Blibdoolpoolp RealDoll thing – and to hell if my Blogger numbers dwindle. I do this shit for fun. It’s not a job. This is why I can go for three weeks without posting anything (and it’s why I couldn’t join the former RPG Bloggers Association).

   Another blogger over at hillcantons invented the psychonaut class. Psionics experts. Check it out, it’s awesome! I’ve bookmarked it, and I’m probably going to introduce a psychonaut or two in my own AD&D campaign. That’s my participation to that other blogger’s outstanding work, and it’s just one example. Someone creates something. Someone else uses that thing. What more participation do you need? That’s why we blog in the first place: because we couldn’t share with hundreds of other gamers on a personal level – that would take way too long. Now, are you telling me that’s what I should do?

   My social RPG activities take place in meatspace, and require lots of energy: all that game prepping, all that trying to get 7 guys in the same room at the same time, even though they’ve got wives + kids + all-inclusive trips to Cabo San Lucas. I actively participate in that, and it’s draining a full tank of juice. Just look at my previous post: a game like that doesn’t happen out of the blue – it’s maybe 40 hours of volunteer work! After that, I may not have anything left to venture into the chatrooms and review / debate some new Pathfinder supplement or a toned-down Romulan F.A.T.A.L. reboot or whatever.

   So, Pen & Paper RPG Bloggers, if you want me to join... drop me a comment.

   Pun intended.