Thursday, 27 June 2013

Kirith Kodachi: Venerable Blogging Elder and New Steward of the Blog Banters

Kirith Kodachi was old in blog years when I first took up the mantle of EVE blogger in 2009.

The then nascent EVE Blog Pack comprised a significant percentage of EVE's blogdom at the time and they were an inspiration to the next generation of bloggers to come, myself included.

An Ancient Blogging Titan

There were those whose words I had been reading for some time, Kirith's peers such as Crazy Kinux (Crazy Kinux's Musings), Roc Wieler (Roc's Ramblings), Mandrill (I am Keith Neilson), Rettic (The Chronofile), Manasi (A Mule in EVE), Shae Tiann (Sweet Little Bad Girl), Casiella Trusa (Ecliptic Rift), Hallan Turrek (A Merry Life and a Short One), Wensley (Rifter Drifter) and others.

Sadly, many have fallen silent as others have risen in their stead. It's the Circle of Blogs (©The Line King), -cough- sorry.

A few tenacious buggers just keep blogging on to their own iambic beat, most notably Kirith and Roc. I paid homage to these "ancient blogging titans" late last year in my Blog Banter analysis, Knights of the Banter.

Although having been around forever isn't a prerequisite of running the Blog Banters, a long, unbroken blogging run says a lot for consistency and reliability, which such a role does need (and ultimately, the reason why I fired myself).

The New Breed

That said, the same qualities are evident in many of the subsequent generations of bloggers and that is a healthy sign. For those of you who approached me with regard to taking over the Blog Banters, I am grateful that there is such an interest and a rich pool of enthusiasm and writing talent within the community. That tells me that the Blog Banters have been doing their job.

I'm just sorry I couldn't hand it off to everyone. In the past, I had considered some kind of round table system to democratise the Blog Banter process, but that way lies pain and unnecessary complexity. It works well as it is, with one guy in the engine room responding to the voices of the community, monitoring the ebb and flow on a monthly basis.

This is also the reason why I don't think anything would be gained by uniting the Blog Banters with The Blog Pack. Blog Banters are inclusive, the Blog Pack is exclusive. They represent different ideals - both valid, but not easy bedfellows.

The Blog Banters should continue to be for everyone and anyone who wants to participate. I think it would be unhealthy if the BBs were relegated to functioning as some kind of qualification pool for the Blog Pack, which I believe they would, by association if not design. Although ultimately, this will no longer be my decision.

All Hail Lord Moose-Beaver

In Kirith I see a man who has been consistent for an EVE eternity, both as a blogger and a well-rounded community figure. As well as delivering consistently incisive blogging, he has an excellent grasp of the entire EVE spectrum; from the technical aspects (he used to write the Test Pilot series for EON magazine), to the lore (he's a frequent writer of EVE fan fiction). He can even combine the two (Project ATHENA - 'nuff said!).

Kirith isn't afraid to get stuck into the heavy political and strategic morass which is null-sec (this always went over my head) as well as analysing CCP's moves. He fights in Factional Warfare and he's also a champion of the underdog, fighting the now silent EVE Tribune's corner for so long as it laboured in the shadow of EVE media heavyweights TMC and EN24.

Kirith also finds the time to produce a podcast, Broadcasts from the Ninveah, where he provides a handy overview of interesting blogs and community events. You can heckle him from the in-game "Ninveah" channel.

Handing over to Kirith also makes me feel a little better as I pretty much snatched the then dormant Blog Banter out from under his nose by relaunching with BB27 in August 2011 off the back of his blogpost comparing and contrasting EVE Online with World of Tanks. This feels like the right decision to me.

I think Kirith's broad experience and maturity makes him the perfect man for the job.  It is important that the Blog Banter tradition remains a grassroots community service and I think Kirith's experience and conduct shows he would continue to steer the good ship BB in the right direction.

Put simply, the guy is EVE royalty and an all-round solid fellow - leaving the Blog Banters in his hands takes much of the sting out of the decision for me.

"I don't want to go."

On a personal note, I write all of this with a twinge of sadness. I joked to my wife that I feel like David Tennant must have when he filmed his last episode of Doctor Who.

I really didn't want to let go of the BBs for what are probably selfish reasons, but that's not very community spirited.

Passing the responsibility on is.

I will do my best to make it a smooth transition (regeneration?) and I'll still be around to help promote and support the initiative.  I'll even try to participate from time to time.

I wish Kirith all the best and hope that the EVE blogging (and podcasting) community get behind him as he kickstarts the third era of Blog Banters.

Useful Links:

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An Open Letter to the Blog Banter Community

Dear Banteratti

as you may have noticed, I've been a bit slack with my Blog Banter administration duties of late.

For that, I owe the community a heartfelt apology. I dropped the ball (it was either that or the baby).

Why Blog Banters are important to the EVE community 

Blog Banters are a community tradition dating back years and I feel they play an important part in creating a common ground on which all EVE bloggers can touch base. Originally they provided a way of forming the "blogosphere", but they still play a role in maintaining its structural integrity. Blog Banters may not be a necessity, but they add colour and unity to the EVE blogging landscape.

The Blog Banter is an inclusive grassroots community initiative which has seen over 150 participants and enables budding writers and established institutions alike to connect, share ideas and butt heads. It underpins a significant segment of the EVE community and provides interesting snapshots of moments in EVE's history.

Blog Banters deserve better than to be left gather dust for weeks. I have always been very proud of having the opportunity to run the Blog Banters and would like to see them continue.

However, I'm no longer confident I can do them justice.

Why I'm No Longer the Man for the Job

Over the last few years, I was able to devote plenty of my time to EVE community projects and duties as I was able to balance my professional career with my hobby of writing (mostly about EVE).

However, in a strange twist of fates, as injury scotched my healthcare career, my hobby evolved into an income opportunity, which has been a bit of a life-saver now I'm no longer on the NHS payroll.

However, things are much tighter now. The arrival of my baby daughter and the end of my paramedic career have polarised my need to prioritise on things that pay the bills. Now I'm self-employed, I never clock off and I can no longer afford to devote 10-20 hours per week to voluntary EVE community duties when that time is better spent elsewhere.

With writing now being my only source of income, hours spent writing for free (or for ISK) feels like a frivolous indulgence when I need to be building a new future. This may also explain the lack of content on Freebooted, although I intend to maintain that in some regard.

In truth, I would love to have continued running the Banters and posting more. Essentially, they became how I played EVE. Letting the Banters go is genuinely quite a heart-rending proposition and feels like an end I wouldn't choose.

But time and tide and all that, the community marches on regardless. I will certainly be continuing as an EVE writer, observer and occasional player/ship-spinner too.

I hope we can find a new Blog Banter custodian who can keep the tradition alive. I'll be consulting the Banter mailing list members, but please contact me via email (seismic[dot]stan[at]gmail[dot]com) or Twitter or any of the other comms channels we have available if you have any thoughts. Hell, write a blog post and link it in the comments below if you like - that would be fitting after all.

Whatever way the wind blows, it's been an absolute privilege.