Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Respect

First off, thanks to everyone who commented to show their support for this idea, and everybody who joined as a follower! Thirty-two followers in one day is pretty impressive, as far as I'm concerned.

EDIT:
CAUTION! EDITORIALIZING AND CRITICISM AHEAD! HIGH-FIVES AND GOOD-TIMES CONTINUE IN NEXT POST! CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN PERIL!
END EDIT

It's come to my attention, as I have done some more reading of the various on-going discussions about Your Dungeon is Suck, that there are some things that blog actually does well every once in a while, like pointing out certain bits of BS within the community. I don't agree with the style that this is done; hell, I couldn't stomach the incessant butt-licking jokes enough to even find anything of any substance on the site.

My biggest thing, I guess, is this: the quality of our community is directly represented by the manner in which we poke fun at our leaders. I have long considered John Stewart of The Daily Show to be a national treasure for America, for precisely this reason. America is great in part because it has a satirist like John Stewart to call bullshit on the top dogs in government, business, and media.

Seriously, D&D Community, is "Your Dungeon Is Suck" the best we can do? Butt-licking jokes? We can do better than that. Hell, I can do better than that.

So, in addition to pointing out the little-guy, blue collar blogs that are chugging along in relative obscurity and doing some great work (something I will actually do a post on tomorrow) I may also occasionally have a few sarcastic points to make about some things when people in our community take themselves too seriously.

There was actually a great example of this today. Over at "The Tao of D&D", Alexis has set his comments to "moderate" and is demanding respect. Now, I had a lot of respect for Alexis. I think he's earned it for the work he's done with the Same World Wiki and the way he conducts himself on his blog. This post, however, reeks of the worst kind of self-righteous, acrimonious, ivory-tower bullshit. Poor guy was too smart for his own good, got picked on throughout his formative educational years and spent a lot of time reading.

Join the club. I imagine that most of the people who enjoy blogging about their D&D games have had similar experiences. If you think that makes you special in some way, take a number and get in line. I had a similar experience. Maybe if I had listened to my teachers and followed instructions, I wouldn't be working construction, outside, in the 110 degree heat these days. Maybe, just maybe, a couple of them might have been just a little bit right.

Alexis is now also demanding respect from the denizens of the internet. He gets a ton of comments on his blog and sees only conspiracy in the compliments and disrespect from anyone who is clearly not as intelligent as himself.

Alexis, the work that you have done clearly demands respect. There are always going to be people who are not quite so intelligent as you, who haven't done the voluminous research that you have accumulated in your mighty brain, and who have no idea they are making an ass of themselves in the comments on your blog. I haven't read every comment on your blog, nor do I care to. I had a lot of respect for you, until you gushed your sob story on us today and demanded respect from all the denizens of the internet.

Alexis, your dungeon is most definitely Rock. But respect is earned. When it is demanded, it is squandered. Stop whining about being popular and having to put up with people who are not as smart as you. Don't tell us we have to respect you. Keep showing us why we should.

17 comments:

  1. I don't get credit for my sarcastic takedown of this Alexis post that you cite? For shame, man! Have you no honor? :)

    http://errantgame.blogspot.com/2011/07/truffles.html

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  2. You are forgiven for this incident. See that it doesn't happen again, soldier! :)

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I can honestly say I'm a little disappointed. I came here to read what I thought was going to be a positive post. That's all I have to say.

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  5. Firstly, great job on this! I really love the idea here of showing off some cool D&D blogs that not everyone in the D&D world has heard of.

    However, I agree with 'Zanazaz' above and think it would be better if you didn't focus so much on hating Your Dungeon Is Suck.

    I mean, if you don't like it, don't read it. If you don't like a blog, the most harm you can do is to simply ignore it. Drawing attention to it just fans the flames.

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  6. Thanks for the comments guys!

    @R.W.: I'm not going to play armchair psychiatrist here, nor will I tolerate it. I'm sure you are genuine in your desire to not be insulting, but simply by bandying about terms like that, well, you are being hurtful.

    @Zanazaz and C. Stephen: I understand what you're saying there, but this blog was kind of born of a bit of controversy caused by Your Dungeon Is Suck, and this post was meant to be an example of what I think we as a community should strive for, as far as satire/sarcasm/criticism is concerned.

    Regardless, posts like this will be in the distinct minority here!

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  7. Well, with all due respect, I'm pretty certain that my comment was much less hurtful towards the individual being discussed than your post was. Just sayin'

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  8. Hey all. As a focus of a lot of Alexis' ire (I was mentioned of course in the post in question, and in other posts on his blog) I wanted to chime in. First off, I take credit for Alexis' moving over to moderated comments, but it's not because I'm a troll. I'm just trying to, as Sully put forth in this blog, call bullshit on Alexis. I wanted to engage him in discussion and challenge him and myself in some rigorous debate. But Alexis does not seem to brook such argument. He is lord of his domain. I wish him well, but it’s not for me. I tried to reconcile with him, but how can you do so when dealing with someone who berates those that praise him almost as often as those who question his motivations?

    There was a lot of chatter on his blog and others about how a blog is like your house, and that you are lord of your house and you can tell people who upset you to get out of your house. Fine and dandy. But even in one's own house, someone can try to engage you in critical discussion and differ in opinion, and not attack you in a negative manner. If someone comes to your house and tries to discuss some issue with you, do you throw them out because they have a different opinion than you?

    I also take credit for Alexis sharing as much as he did in the post in question. I think it was a watershed moment for his blog, that level of sharing about his past. One of my intentions for my own blog is to also share in a more intimate way with others as it pertains to my gaming life. I think it's something that is vital to the community, and it develops camaraderie and good will. Yes, some trolls may exploit that, but do we stop communicating on a personal level because of the trolls?

    I’m not bragging when I take credit for the above. I’m just saying that I think we as bloggers need to challenge each other and to be challenged, in a good way. We need to keep each other honest, and to call each other out on things sometimes. And to pull us out of our ivory towers that we sometimes build. Otherwise there’s stagnation and isolation and nothing evolves. This is all my opinion, of course.

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  9. Well, in truth, my initial thought on this subject being adressed on this blog was the same as Zan's there. Against my own better judgment I contributed a comment that really didn't really come across as positive, and for that I apologize. Sully this is your blog and you should post whatever you want, but I think that in the current climate focusing on the positive here is the best approach. And I understand your post here is merely meant to be constructive criticism with no ill intent really, although I am not sure that Alexis would take it in that manner. With that said, I apologize for any negativity I may have contributed and have deleted the comment here.

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  10. @RW Chandler: Alexis pretty much takes everything in a manner far removed from the original author's intent. At least, that's my experience. I guess I keep going back to read his stuff because I am always perplexed as to how he takes what commenters say and interprets them in such...outlandish ways? I respect the guy for his proliferation and his drive. There's just something of a mystery about how he sees the world and other people, and I think we're starting to get more details out of him, vis a vis the post that Sully linked to in this post.

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  11. @ RW & Drance: Thanks for keeping up the conversation here! Just for the record, I doubt I'm even on Alexis' radar, but I hope he understands the point I was trying to make concerning the nature of respect within a community.

    Anyway, also for the record, there have been a number of "controversies" of late that I've wanted to chime in on without jumping into a messy conversation on other blogs, such as the whole "community standards vs free speech" debate surrounding the art in LotFP: Grindhouse Edition. So when those types of things come up, I'll likely have something sarcastical to say here, but most of what goes here will be all about Dungeons that ROCK!

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  12. Understood, Sully. And agreed: if pressed, I have to say that Alexis takes himself, and the hobby, too seriously. But that doesn't mean that I will troll him. I did make a mean comment about him once on another blog, but I apologized for that. But I think he's never forgiven me, despite my overtures of burying the hatchet.

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  13. Yeah, I'm with Zanazaz and the other commenters on this one: disappointed to see the blog taking a turn like this. I think it's partly a question of timing. To put a blog saying "I'm here to inject some positivity into the blogosphere and celebrate the little guy!" and then immediately turn around and make your next post about criticism and satire. I was looking forward to a blog about positivity and group high-fives, not yet another voice "chiming in on controversies"--I've seen enough of those sorts of posts to last me a lifetime.

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  14. If you are going to try and "be" Mr. "Nice" SuckDungeon. Then be Mr. NiceSuckDungeon.

    For me I still enjoy the SuckDungeon. Only I am going to make a difference by posting over there and using my real handle. Which is Tatem. I have not posted over there in the past, so I think it is time to make my voice heard not that it matters.

    As far as this blog there are already so many like it. The Underdark Gazette for one. Only he is actually funny and most times unbiased. He is making attacks against people whom deserve it. Not just because they can not make amends.

    This will just be one more blog lost to the wind unless you find a new approach. Plus it is going to take a lot of time and effort to get to the amount of information that YDIS directs you too. You have got to admit the YDIS must have no life to go through that much information.

    I do not understand why you people feel like you have to read his smut. All you have to do is click on the links and enjoy.

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  15. @SirLarkins: Trust me, I understand the sentiment. I had a long debate with myself about whether to put that post up or not. You are correct in that the timing was not good, but the timing never would have been good for a post like that, and if this is to be my place to point out the positives and perhaps editorialize a little bit about the state of the gaming blogosphere, I might as well make it clear up front. But 99% of what goes up here will be high-fives and good-times. The linked post at Tao of D&D just really rubbed me the wrong way, and I felt I needed to say what I said about it.

    @Tatum: Thanks for the positive feedback. That's all I'm going to say.

    @Aberrant Hive Mind: Sorry you can't hear the wailing guitar solo on this one. It's there. Tao of D&D most certainly ROCKS, he just hit a really sour note with me on that post of his and I wasn't about to take the time to write as much as I needed to say just to have it moderated into oblivion. I don't even know that that would have happened, but I felt it better to say it in my own space.

    I think from now on, on the rare occasion I do offer my two cents on things that bug me, I'll put a big flashing warning sign up so everyone knows I'm trolling, and can ignore me until I get back to passing the bong around.

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