Tuesday, 13 November 2012

An Ecosystem of Wordsmiths

There has been some recent community discussion regarding the welfare of the EVE blogosphere. Marc Scaurus, custodian of the Blog Pack and EVE-Bloggers as well as Judgemeister General of the Eebies (the EVE Blogger Awards), has published a blogpost asking for a frank look at how these community services (and by implication, also the Blog Banters) can continue to be run. If the continuation on any of those traditions is important to you, you should head over and leave a comment. Marc needs to know if his efforts are appreciated and those services are still desired.

Meanwhile, the blogging autocannon that is Rixx Javix has fired off a related post citing TheMittani.com as the cause of a perceived decline in the Blogosphere population. It's an interesting line of thinking, but as a medical clinician I'd like to take a more pragmatic approach and look for some differential diagnoses before claiming civilian casualties in The Mittani's media war on EVE News 24.

Acceptable Attrition

It is true that some notable EVE bloggers have gone dark of late, either announcing their retirement or just quietly ceasing output. Nashh Kadavr, EVE Scientist, Kaeda Maxwell and Corelin to name a few. But that is the way of things. Each has their own reasons for leaving, but also a game like EVE, whose history spans a decade, is likely to outlive the interest of all but the most hardened of addicts. Equally, the very fact that EVE has been around for so long is testament to the fact that new players join or old players return.

This holds just as true in the blogging community. In the last month we have seen the return of some bloggers too, my idol of irreverence, Spectre, has started blogging again on EVE Newb after being dark since 2010. Alexia Morgan, founder of EVE-Bloggers and the Open university of Celestial Hardship has returned to the fold and is interested in reclaiming his creation. We've seen several promising new blogs start up over the last year too (Crossing Zebras, Low Sec Lifestyle, Flying Silent, The Gallente Blaster Cannon etc.), so the revolving door continues to spin.

I think TheMittani.com is a magnificent thing. There is regular, high-quality content to be found there and, as Rixx says, several bloggers are focusing the lion's share of their efforts on providing material there, Marc Scaurus amongst them. EVE News 24 continues to deliver and has even had a facelift to keep up with the Joneses.

But that doesn't mean that all that there is to say has been said. Far from it. Not every blogger will be producing material that fits a commercial news site. As new bloggers hone their craft, they may not feel ready for the challenge but may aim to contribute in the future. It's all part of the same grand ecosystem. Bloggers are a unique breed and I'm sure a community of independent blogs will continue to thrive in the EVE metasphere.

In the latest edition of EON Magazine, I wrote an article about the EVE blogging community and the Blog Banters. In it, I said this:

“Imagine EVE players are animals. You can find many of them in zoo-like forums where you can witness the moderated behaviour of players in controlled enclosures, pacing and snarling or building their nests out of walls of text. Beyond these menageries are player-aggregated news sites which could be compared the circus; here players celebrate and show off their best tricks and highlight the clown-like gaffes of others. To complete this analogy, the blogging community then is a safari, where these same players return from their controlled environments with a wont to explore and discuss their gaming experiences in their own environment. Whilst a brave blog explorer could always go on a walkabout of self-discovery through the blogosphere, Blog Banters are the off-road vehicles that can take you on a tour of the blog wilderness to witness these nomadic writing creatures in their natural habitat.”

Taking it on the Chin

So I don't think it's time to go all Chicken Little quite yet. The sky is not falling and TheMittani.com has not “killed the Eve Community”, it's just joined it. Whilst Rixx observes that there has been a decline in blogging, I can see a number of other possible explanations for this. The current EVE development cycle of refinement and polish is perhaps less inspiring to some and there may be slight decline in general interest in EVE (particular from more creatively-led bloggers), which would naturally influence many parts of the community. Also, we are just coming off the traditional Summer hump, where there has always been less activity and interest. Again, this would impact many aspects of EVE. It's just part of the cycle.

But, if the doom-mongers do prove to be right, so be it. Everything has its day. With regard to Marc's discussion, I see little sense in setting up an automated process for any of the community initiatives. If a recharged and enthusiastic individual wants to help out or take over, that's great. But if not, trying to provide artificial life support for any of the services seems pointless – if there's no demand and no interest, let it die.

As Massive Attack once sang in The Hymn of the Big Wheel;

The big wheel keeps on turning
On a simple line day by day
The earth spins on its axis
One man struggles while another relaxes


This topic as it developed (in chronological order):
And (hopefully) to finish it all off, Rixx Javix and Marc Scaurus will be duelling with handbags at twenty paces on Podside tomorrow night. Maybe Ripard Teg will just assimilate them into his Borg collective and that'll be the end of it. ;)

Blog on.

6 comments:

  1. Could this be the start of a Blog Banter on Blog Banters (or rather, the blogging community in general) or would that be too meta? ;)

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  2. Primarily "The Mittani killed the Eve Community" is a sensationalist headline to grab attention, I freely admit it. My blog isn't called Eveoganda by mistake.

    If it turns out that EBP etc do indeed die out, which they very well might, then it is also true in one sense. Since Marc and others are now working for the site instead of running the community features - The Mittani will have killed the community... as it exists now.

    But the community is bigger than one person. It isn't a thing that can be killed, it is an entity beyond our control. It will change, adapt, and move on with or without us.

    This isn't a personal thing. I understand why some have chosen to move on and even why some have gone dark. Life happens and choices need to be made.

    I'm just glad to be a part of it. Still stirring pots.

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  3. You lot really aren't going to believe this, but I went to bed pondering exactly the same questions last night completely unaware that any of you were discussing this!

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  4. @Azual - It would be amusing and very meta, but as the conversation is already in swing, there's not really any need for putting a blog banter stamp on it. I think it will be interesting to see how the debate evolves organically.

    @Rixx - Shameless but effective marketing tricks aside, I firmly believe there's room for both organised news sites and independent blogs. I'm with you on the independence. The fact that your prod at TheMittani.com drew aggressive and negative posters out of the woodwork is reason enough for me. Aggregate sites are welcome to their kind and I think the blogosphere cottage industry is fine just as it is.

    @Firstly I look forward to reading your thoughts on the subject.

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  5. "idol of irreverence"??

    I love you too hunnybuns.

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  6. Featured prominently in:

    http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2012/12/men-behaving-badly.html

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Lay it on me.