Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blog Readers Don't Want Creative Content

My last post about the OSR Blog Graveyard generated an interesting discussion about the nature of OSR blogosphere content. I mentioned in a comment that even though quite a few blogs have gone quiet, there are still over 200 that are regularly pumping out a Dragon Magazine’s worth of material every day or two. This comment generated these thoughtful responses:
-C: “Entirely too much of that dragon magazine's worth of material is equivalent to forum letters, rather than articles. I am fairly frustrated during my daily blog roll review at the amount of posts that are nothing more than opinion pieces on "what OSR means" and the absurd "OSR is dead" other rubbish.”
Dyson Logos: “I'm with -C from Hack & Slash. Even worse than the navel-gazing though is the edition warriors. Keep to the content generation and talking about how awesome our games are (with examples of play, not with navel-gazing) instead of how un-awesome something is.”

As a blog READER I like the best of both commentary (i.e. history, news, and opinion) and creative content. I think both can be done quite well. As well, both are equally susceptible to becoming trivial and uninteresting in the wrong hands.

In contrast, as a blog WRITER I find myself constantly pulled towards writing more commentary. Why? These are by far my most popular posts. I would be lying if I said I don’t get some sort of positive reinforcement when a post gets a ton of comments and hits. I’m only human.

I’ve put a modicum of effort into a number of creative content posts – like my Gamma World character sheet, fillable-PDF henchman cards, and fully-illustrated culinary guide to wizard entrails. I like writing these kinds of posts and I will continue to do so. The attention these posts get, however, is miniscule compared to something like my pretentious and gametastically useless I Am D&D post from a few days ago.

So what does this all mean? Well, one obvious explanation is that the creative content I produce stinks, which may well be true. I think, however, that most blog readers truly prefer commentary over creative content. Grognardia is the biggest old school gaming blog around – how much creative content does it have? Virtually none. On the other side of the coin, I could easily name several blogs that regularly produce excellent creative content yet attract relatively little attention.

Even though I think most readers would say they like creative content the best, I bet you dollars-to-donuts their mouse clicks would say otherwise…

57 comments:

  1. I hear ya.

    I can spend hours on a spell or a new class idea or a game session or character write-up and get nothing.

    Or I can post a half-baked commentary on something someone else already said on their blog and get a ton of replies.

    I prefer to write creative content. I blog this stuff to help make me a better writer. But I am a Pavlovian dog. Post comments on my snark and more snark will come.

    We are after all I guess only human.

    Edited: Fixed a typo

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  2. If I stayed to creative contenet alone, I wouldn't be blogging! ;)

    Most of my blogs deal in some fashion with digging up Gygaxian history & lore with my Legendarium posts or interpretive Armies of Oerth based on Dragon magazine articles.

    I try to keep things from falling too far off the radar. Hey, it may even inspire somebody!

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  3. Some of that is that the commentary produces large discussions, while the creative content gets stuck in "Okay that's cool, I'll use it when/if I need it."

    Capcha: Exorn. Xorn have web access now?

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  4. I don't mind commentary- but it isn't the reason I keep a blog on my RSS reader. If a blog doesn't generate some useful content every so often, it gets dumped off the reader. For me, the henchman cards and the like are what keeps me interested. I don't have time for navel gazing.

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  5. Why would anyone care what I think?
    Unable to provide a satisfactory answer to this question, I made a conscious decision, when I started my blog, to stick to content; likely nobody cares about that either, but at least I get some use out of it. My numbers are pretty low, and although I like getting feedback as much as anyone else, it is, ultimately, in my case, not the point of the exercise. My original vision was to make a place wherein I could detail my setting with words and pictures. I'm astounded that anyone pays attention at all ever, really.
    FWIW, I prefer to read content myself.

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  6. The commentary gets old when you've seen the fourth or fifth go-round of "I love Trampier!" or "looks what EGG said about magic-users and polearms!" or "WotC is evil!" or "I read HPL, CAS and REH!" etc.

    I'd rather have creative content, even if it meant blogs were updated with less frequency.

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  7. I prefer to write and read creative content, campaign logs and stuff kile that.
    However, I can't say that commentary is bad / useless.

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  8. The one (and only) post I made that was "commentary" (not related to game-in-progress or content) has received twice as many views as the next-most-viewed entry on my blog, taking almost 6% of my total page-views with only 54 posts made so far (even distribution should be at just under 2% per post).

    This leads me to concur that my commentary is a lot more interesting than my content, but sadly I'm a lot less interested in making commentary than content, though I enjoy reading both.

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  9. Oh...and politics. For the love of all that is holy, I wish the politics posts on gaming blogs would stop; they are the worst, no matter what the blogger's ideology/allegiance.

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  10. This is why i think that the numbers of followers is misleading as to the true worthiness of a blog.
    It is nothing more than an indicator of popularity, it doesn't say nothing and it doesn't give clues about the value and worth of a blog's articles.

    In order to attract followers, you would have to write what they want to read, which is just be an horrible and ridiculous situation to imagine.
    If you opened a blog about pathfinder or d&d 4th or talked every day about AD&D 1st or 2nd edition on your blog,it is likely you'd attract hundreds of people.

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  11. You are of course, correct.

    I am ceaselessly frustrated by the fact that I struggle to make my blog a resource that is the resource I would want (like Kellri's dead blog)

    I routinely run across blogs younger than mine with nearly 200 followers, and absolutely cannot understand what causes them to have such a high number of followers. Looking through their posts, I find nothing of interest - certainly nothing that would make me want to click "I follow".

    With two exceptions (my comprehensive tricks document and my treasure document) content posts are rarely commented on. Hell, I wrote a 40+ page psionics supplement for old school games that took me nearly six months to create with art, magic items, kits, etc. and it was barely made any sort of dent. I've tried posting some of my art before to crickets. My theory posts, get comments like, "I haven't read this, but it looks interesting".

    Is this saying something about human nature? I don't know. I do know I've written a personal message about it. I've also commited to constrain my blog to content, review, resources, and insight.

    Thanks for pointing out my comment.
    http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/

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  12. tenth comment to the commentary post, I think this proves your theory. As a blog reader, I skip almost every review and general pointless blah blah in the blogosphere. But I love posts that discuss campaign creation (such the great series of megadungeon posts on Beyond the Black Gate), house rules and actual play (even if reading adventure logs in english is a pain in the neck for me). As a blog writer, I totally see what you mean with positive reinforcement. Still, I post mostly "creative content", and something related to house rules, actual play and campaign creation when I can. But you will find no blah blah on Yaqqothl (aside of a mini rant, but I did pay my 2 bucks to JOESKY and so...)

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  13. Sorry, people commented while I was writing the comment -.-''
    So 13th and 14th comment.

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  14. Here's the thing: people are going to blog about what interests them. Bloggers are not on your payroll, so don't complain if their content is not to your liking all the time; you can always go elsewhere to find what you're looking for.

    I like commentary and opinion. I also like creative content. What I dislike is being told what to post on my own blog. Personally I've got all the random tables of useless crap I'll ever need, but I'll never complain when people post more - that's their business and I'm free to disregard it. Just like the commentary you don't want to read.

    This is the internet. If you don't like what I've got to say, a better blog is just mouse-click away.

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  15. I think it is being over-thought.

    Use an aggregator, when something catches your eye read it. There's no cost, no storage and you get the maximum amount of what interests you in the minimum amount of time.

    Cy here lists mine and a few other aggregators. I like well written material. Whether it's theory or opinion, a new class or rules for sword fighting while in flight I like them all.

    Then again I am an information junkie :)

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  16. The spirit of the Forum section of Dragon Magazine seems to have taken over the blogs in many ways, which is strange because web forums haven't disappeared.

    This is exactly why I changed the name and format of my blog from Call of the Dungeon to Embrace the Dungeon; I realized too much of my own opinion was being pushed out there as opposed to creative content. Clearly, I don't post as often as I used to, but it is my hope (delusion?) that what I do post is both inspirational to imagination and useful to the game, rather than being too navel-gazing, pot-stirring, or simply posting in the name of busy-bodiness.

    I miss Dragon Magazine. I miss what White Dwarf was. Sure, there are publications out there that sort of fill that hole, but isn't it better to receive the equivalent of a full gaming magazine every day via your google blog reader?

    meh ... like any comment is going to make any difference. This reminds me of the virtues of hermitage.

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  18. My most popular posts seem to fall into one of two categories: step by step processes or questions. If I say "this is how I stock a dungeon" or "this is how I make a wilderness map" I get beau-coup hits. I get even more if I say "Whats your favorite module?" or "How many people do you typically have in a party?"

    Thats part of the reason I've shied away from doing my posts about the nature of my setting. They were mildly popular, but usually only got one or two "that's cool" comments. I tend to judge the quality of my posts by how many comments they generate.

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  19. I'd have to agree with you Cyclopeatron. I'm not sure why it is. I think folks feel more comfortable commenting on someones opinion rather than commenting on someones content (either good or bad).

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  20. I, too, have noticed, when checking blog stats, that pure commentary posts about RPG politics or recurring internal debates get an abnormally high number of page views. I do occasionally get a lot of page views on one or two game content posts, though.

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  21. @Johnathan: I think that's because comments by their very nature are opinion. I believe that people are willing to bring an opinion in response to an opinion far faster than to a creation. (Of course that response is total opinion too.)

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  22. I took a vow of no opinion pieces on my own blog, that I more-or-less have held to. Opinions bring out more comments, because people want to discuss things. Personally, though, most every game opinion I have would fall into two categories:

    a. Somebody else already opined about it 2 years ago
    b. Somebody said something I hate on their blog, and I want to explain how their idea is completely bogus

    So "a" would be boring, and "b" would be mean-spirited.

    For discussion, I really like forums better - most OSR-types seem to avoid those (or at least avoid the forums I read). Of course on a forum it's a lot less fun to stand on a soapbox and preach, because it's a lot more likely somebody is going to tell you you're full of shit in excruciating quoted-line-by-line detail.

    The other way I get my discussion fix is my leaving comments on other people's opinion blogs. Like this one. Of course I never come back to read follow-up so it's kind of pointless...

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  23. Blogging, just like forums, addresses two separate needs - the game and the community. Creative posts help build our game, commentary helps build our community by promoting thought, self-examination and dialogue. Both are equally important.

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  24. @Evan
    "I tend to judge the quality of my posts by how many comments they generate."

    I have given up taking this as the barometer over traffic to a post. Many of the posts I feel the proudest of (the interviews for instance) get very little commentary, but lot's of consistent traffic months after the OP.

    And just to be clear, some of my favorite posts on your site are content ones--several that I either didn't comment at all or a simple "that's great" kind of statement.

    It's difficult to give positive feedback without it sounding repetitive or boosterish. A general problem for our hobbyist neck of the woods.

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  25. @-C: I just discovered your PSIONICS pdf today and am totally floored by its awesomeness.

    I'm not put off by commentary, even of the non-gamey political variety. There's enough content in the OSR to keep me happy... Though I wish Cyclopeatron would throw me another one like that wizard vittles post. :-D

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  26. @EVAN: PLEASE POST MORE ABOUT YOUR SETTING. And I don't mean that in a "your other posts suck" way. Your quality-control is just fine. I'm just sayin' I'd love to read more about your campaign world.

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  27. @ ckutalik

    That is a load off my mind.

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  28. I'd go further than you did Bob and just come out and say what everybody knows but doesn't want to admit; that the old school "blogosphere" and forums exist mostly and primarily so that folks can have something new to bitch about, a new controversy to latch onto and OMG! about, and to have an opportunity to make fun of someone else. Its almost never really about gaming or the gaming content, its about the ability of being able to say something. Analysis of the game, and sharing new material for it, is almost secondary.

    Folks don't want content OR commentary per se, they want a means to vent, or at the very least to draw attention to themselves and what they have to say. The commentary AND the content is simply a vehicle through which people reflect their own angst.

    Frankly, I had a belly full of that crap a long while back.

    My blog will almost certainly never rank among the "greats," at least in terms of followers a you've ranked them, because my blog is going to have a very sharp focus; namely, content and commentary/analysis germane to 0e and 1e gaming within the context of a hobby that, for me, is about having fun. Its not about the latest rumors, or the industry, or who snubbed who, or whatever. Nor is it about the latest editions, or other games, etc. If that's taken as being an elitist, then so be it. Folks don't have to read or comment on my sight if they don't share my interests.

    Folks that play other editions, or other games, are welcome to read and even comment as long as they want to talk about what I'm interested in, are polite, and actually ENJOY gaming. I don't mind contrary opinions at all, but I enjoy my hobby and am not interested in pissing contests and the spewing of on-line bile at all.

    Commentary gets more attention because it generates an opportunity for controversy, and folks thrive on it. Content doesn't generate the usual bile, because even bad or lackluster content can be viewed with a "hey, the guy gave us something for free, even if I don't like it" attitude. Its not usually personal (although there are exceptions, particularly when personalities have clashed previously over other things).

    On the other hand, commentary about games, gaming philosophy or theory, play style, etc., is all taken very personally, and often boils down to "you're not playing right/how dare you tell me how to play" arguments.

    Plus, for some reason, folks love to talk about the "industry," how to grow the hobby, evangelize for new players, and so on. For many, gaming is a CAUSE, not a hobby, and that turns me off to no end. I already belong to or support plenty of causes that I'm passionate about, and gaming isn't one of them. I'm passionate about gaming to a point, that point being having fun with my family and friends.

    Forrest, trees, and all that.

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  29. I agree with the original post. My most viewed posts are commentary. More people have gone to the page with my conversation with Zak than have downloaded my free game. Rofl.

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  30. I think, however, that most blog readers truly prefer commentary over creative content.

    Not quite mate. It's probably just that it's easier to write substantiative comment in response to an opinion piece. Nothing gets the nerds battering their keyboard like an opinion, especially if they think someone being wrong on the internet!

    Often the best/most valid comment can offer in response to a usable content-heavy post amounts to little more than "This is relevant to my interests. Saved for use. Thanks."

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  31. I blog mostly creative content with the odd "check this out" article, mostly as a brain dump exercise. Ultimately our hobby is about creativity whether that's creating a new monster, map, miniature, or house rule. Arguing over the pros and cons of one system or rule or the motivations of the latest D&D Brand owner isn't.

    I value quality rather than quantity with respect to comments, a simple "thank you, I found that useful" is 100 times more valuable than a "I totally agree with your opinion".

    BTW Cyclo, the work you are doing in mapping the OSR Blogosphere is in itself creative and very useful, thank you and keep up the good work.

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  32. I'd go further than you did Bob and just come out and say what everybody knows but doesn't want to admit; that the old school "blogosphere" and forums exist mostly and primarily so that folks can have something new to bitch about, a new controversy to latch onto and OMG! about, and to have an opportunity to make fun of someone else. Its almost never really about gaming or the gaming content, its about the ability of being able to say something.

    Folks don't want content OR commentary per se, they want a means to vent, or at the very least to draw attention to themselves and what they have to say. The commentary AND the content is simply a vehicle through which people reflect their own angst..

    Frankly, I had a belly full of that crap a long while back.

    My blog will almost certainly never rank among the "greats," at least in terms of followers a you've ranked them, because my blog is going to have a very sharp focus; namely, content and commentary/analysis germane to 0e and 1e gaming within the context of a hobby that, for me, is about having fun. Its not about the latest rumors, or the industry, or who snubbed who, or whatever. Nor is it about the latest editions, or other games, etc. If that's taken as being an elitist, then so be it. Folks don't have to read or comment on my sight if they don't share my interests.

    Folks that play other editions, or other games, are welcome to read and even comment as long as they want to talk about what I'm interested in, are polite, and actually ENJOY gaming. I don't mind contrary opinions at all, but I enjoy my hobby and am not interested in pissing contests and the spewing of on-line bile at all.

    Commentary gets more attention because it generates an opportunity for controversy, and folks thrive on it. Content doesn't generate the usual bile, because even bad or lackluster content can be viewed with a "hey, the guy gave us something for free, even if I don't like it" attitude. Its not usually personal (although there are exceptions, particularly when personalities have clashed previously over other things).

    On the other hand, commentary about games, gaming philosophy or theory, play style, etc., is all taken very personally, and often boils down to "you're not playing right/how dare you tell me how to play" arguments.

    Plus, for some reason, folks love to talk about the "industry," how to grow the hobby, evangelize for new players, and so on. For many, gaming is a CAUSE, not a hobby, and that turns me off to no end. I already belong to or support plenty of causes that I'm passionate about, and gaming isn't one of them. I'm passionate about gaming to a point, that point being having fun with my family and friends.

    Forrest, trees, and all that.

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  33. 'Ere, where'd me comment go? :<

    Repost:

    I think, however, that most blog readers truly prefer commentary over creative content.

    Not strictly true mate. It's sometimes more satisfying as a commentor to jump into a conversation about an opinion piece which piques your interest than to just leave a bald "Relevant to my interests. Saved. Cheers."

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  34. I just write about what's going on at the time. Sometimes its content, sometimes information, sometimes just goofy crap that amuses me and on a rare occasion I'll rant, but I try to keep my blog as a positive. It's my little place on the web to play and have fun.

    I read different blogs for different reasons. Some I read because they are so opinionated or fun or whatever. You can vote with a click of a mouse or not clicking.

    My most popular post in my 2 years of blogging was one about medieval decorations for a bathroom. What the hell. I've given up trying to understand the blog, I just blog.

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  35. I often click on the ranty commentaries, but I regret it later. I find myself getting tired of it quickly and then realizing that I've wasted thought/time. On the other hand, I rarely comment on creative output, but I often use it and definitely find it a positive mental experience. For this reason, I try to shy away from almost all commentary on my own little blog. (Plus, I'm one of the least knowledgeable people around here, so I don't put a lot of faith in my own opinions about industry/hobby-as-a-whole/etc)

    I do appreciate the type of commentary that explores DMing techniques, mapping, module use, stuff like that. I LOVED Zack's article on Picaresque, for instance.

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  36. Oh, and anytime someone has an F word in the post's title, I'm probly going to read it.

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  37. So, here's the paradox here.

    A string of comments of bloggers saying "I like creative stuff more than commentary" but yet all of these blogs read by these same bloggers find commentary gets more comments.

    Interesting, that.

    I think some of it is creative content fatigue. If a guy always (or almost always) does interesting stuff, just how many times does one want to comment something as limp as "cool" or "good post"?

    Second, like the universe, this corner of the blogosphere is expanding. There are more blogs competing for peoples attention. Commentary (which begs comment) draws attention.

    But, you know, if those of us here don't like it, we can change it. :)

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  38. I've seen that today. I posted what I thought was a quote from Gygax. I was wrong about the source I used and posted an update. I had more comments on my misquote than I have had on my last few creative posts (none on them actually).

    I've had enough humble pie, so I think I am going to turn in for awhile from comments and go back to creative. It's safer. :)

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  39. I do my best to comment on at least 3 blogs every day. A lot of the time it is a simple "hey, that's cool" because I don't have anything particularly critical to add, but I think it's cool. I leave that comment because I like getting comments, and I actively try to encourage more content of that sort.

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  40. Many of the comments raise good points, but all (for my money) have missed the essential point: Commentary is more accessable than Content. You often can't tell how good content really is until you've tried it out, and there are so many other pieces of content all vieing for attention. I have over 10,000 items that I've downloaded because they looked interesting or useful, and rarely have the time to look at them. I have another 100 or so items on my RPGNow wish list for the same reason - even if I bought them all tomorrow, it might be a decade or more before I got to look at them.

    That said, there is a middle ground. The span between content and commentary is a continuum, with the division between the two being uncertain and artificial. Certainly, some posts at the extremes can be easily categorised, but some is less easily defined. At Campaign Mastery http://www.campaignmastery.com , content is the number one goal - but what we have found is that the best content sparks commentary, and the best commentary sparks refinements or even original additional content.

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  41. It's an interesting conundrum.

    As you say, my commentary and review posts at the Alexandrian are the ones that typically attract massive comment sections.

    The creative content, OTOH, tends to generate a giant, echoing silence.

    But, on the flip-side, I have to consider something like the Three Clue Rule. Based on my visitor logs, this is one of the most popular things I've ever written. It attracts thousands of readers to my site every single month and it has done so consistently, year after year after year.

    But it took nearly 3 years before someone posted a comment on my site about it.

    So popularity doesn't always equate to comments being posted.

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  42. I am commenting.

    Why?

    You voiced an opinion, I have a different opinion, so I have to comment.

    If you had voiced an opinion I agreed with, I'd say "right on".

    However, if you posted an item I didn't like, I'd just not comment, I wouldn't go "that sucks".

    If you posted an item I liked I might go "awesome thanks" but it would require actual new creative thought on my part to actually add useful content to an item like: "what if you added a ..." so i'd be less likely to do it.

    In other words: commentary generates commentary.

    The most you can usually say about a good piece of art is "i like it" or "i'll use it". with a commentary piece, there's a million things to say. I mean, lots of people ask to use my paintings in RPg stuff but when I post a picture i get very few comments.

    Plus with commentary, there's more of a chance you're addressing the concerns of the WHOLE community, whereas when you create content, you're just filling a niche--no matter what that content is. If I don't use leprechauns I don't need a random leprechaun-limerick chart, if I post about "why don't more girls play D&D", well everybody deals with that issue.

    The commentary may get more pageviews and commentary, but the content is the reason people are on the blogs to begin with.

    Or, short answer, I agree with Trey and David.

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  43. Good topic and discussion. I'm learning alot and feel I'm doing okay by mixing content/commentary over posts.

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  44. I came here and stayed because Telecanter told me about the wizard entrails post, which I love and consider to be right up there with some of Zak's finest lunacy. For myself, I tend to comment more on commentary, but I think that's because (speculation time):

    1. Creative content is a little bit of the person who created it, whereas political commentary and opinion are in the field of discussion - ie. held at some distance from the self. So I at least tend to feel inhibited about commenting on content unless it's to say "love this" or "have you thought about that?"

    2. Opinions are often easy to form or bricolage together. You can get an emotional hit off a rant and rant back without having to think too much. So I'm guessing the impulse to comment is greater.

    3. Rants tend to network: they self-advertise (like memes) and propagate to more readers quicker than creative content (see 2).

    I wanted to ask you this about your tracking of the rise and fall of OSR blogs, actually: do you know how much interlinking (especially by blogroll/RSS) there is among your top sites? I suspect the meteoric rise of x or y could be due to their being added to the blogroll on Jeff's Gameblog or Dndwithpornstars.

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  45. Oh look. I thought hard about that comment and now along comes hot elf chick to school me on how memes work.

    Maybe there's some dopamine payoff to getting your rant on like there is to clicking random links hoping for porn.

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  46. @Tim Shorts:

    "My most popular post in 2 years of blogging is about medieval bathroom fixtures"

    That could be because it's a useful and weird thing that's rather rare.

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  47. > 90% Content.

    That is what I aspire to on my blog with the occasional play report. And I regularly avoid commentary heavy blogs, like Grognardia, which is the worst navel gazing perpetrator in this little circle.

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  48. I too am almost completely interested in content. If a blog that I read regularly engages in some commentary, chances are I'll read it. If commentary becomes the norm, I just stop visiting.

    I don't blame bloggers for jumping into commentary - it seems like the entries with opinion du jour spark the most interest (comment-wise, at least), while many times a content entry may only get a few (or sometimes, no) comments from the readership at all. Undoubtedly there are as many different reasons for this as there are readers. Perhaps many of the content readers are like me, and feel that a 'great idea!' comment just isn't that helpful - perhaps those readers (like me) are wrong. Perhaps the blog popularity contest is always going to be won by those sites that cater to readers who like to see their name in print, linking back to their own blogs. I don't know.

    I do know that there are some great blogs with amazing content (Swords of Minaria, for example, has some of the best information, examples, and house rules for properly using Chainmail Man-To-Man with the LBB I've come across), but many of these are hidden like small glades in a forest of yammering pontification and self-aggrandization.

    My significant other pesters me to start a blog detailing my experiences and clarifications with Chainmail M2M/LBB integration, but all I can see is that it's going to end up like SoM - seldom visited, eventually tapering off in activity until it passes through the Door of Night into Cyclopeatron's Dead Blog List.

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  49. Argh, comment system ate my comment (et tu, Chris?) >:[
    I go to blogs with content (by which I refer to campaign ideas, playtests, session reports, and so forth). If said blog has the occasional commentary mixed in, I'll read it, but if the site begins to slide toward more commentary than content I'll skip the blog and move on.

    Like others, I don't always comment on content, even content that I use. I've felt (perhaps wrongly) that a 'cool new $content' comment isn't very helpful, though after reading some of these comments maybe I should at least let the creator know that I've yoinked his content or idea and implemented it. Or maybe send an email to the blogger in question if the post with said content is old, I don't know.

    There are some great content-oriented blogs that seem to languish in obscurity. Swords of Minaria, for one, has some of the best written examples and house rules related to Chainmail Man-to-Man/LBB integration I've come across, and yet has few comments and hasn't been updated in a few months. Some content-heavy blogs like Telecanter's Receding Rules or Gorgonmilk put out fresh content frequently, so maybe the journey to obscurity has less to do with content versus commentary, and more to do with continuing to update. Of course, both TRR and GM seem to have pretty active readership (at least a portion), so perhaps that's the secret instead. Or a combination of several things. Or none of them - I don't know.

    My significant other wants me to start a blog detailing the Chainmail/LBB integration and my experiences with it, but I look at Swords of Minaria and think that as he went, so would I go - but on the other side, there are so few solid resources for the would-be Chainmail/LBB integrator that actually make sense it might be worth it, even if only one or two people read it and give it a shot. I struggle with the decision.

    Back on point, I choose content over commentary. Opinions are like, well, opinions, but new content is a pretty precious thing. I will endeavor to at the very least, let the content creators know when I've cherry-picked one of their ideas or resources. In retrospect, it's probably the least I can do.

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  50. Here's a wrinkle for the discussion. Consider, this morning I posted my take on the whole hot elf chick thing mentioned above, and while it's fast becoming one of my most loaded pages it's probably also led to several views of my other pages of mostly content.

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  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. (edited for spelling)

    I'm late to this.

    I don't think my blog is short on content. I've had some wildly successful content-focused posts. I have the Wiki to back up the blog, and the Wiki is rich with viewers of the content. The popularity isn't suffering there.

    I know for certain my blog is filled with commentary, too. Commentary lets me be funny, which is hard to manage with content.

    What's nice, obviously, is comment & content, in the same post. When I'm inspired.

    I think it's a mistake to think that commentary is only good for interest sake, however. I write my blog with an agenda in mind ... that all of you should play your games the way I play my game. I don't worry that I will inevitably fail in this agenda. Being Quixotic, failure is Job One. For me, however, the blog exists because I feel that agenda deserves to be out there. It deserves attention. The reader may not like it, but the reader doesn't get to decide on whether or not these things get said.

    Seems to me, that's just as important a content as any content I put forth. Seems to me, some countries are founded on such content.

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  53. Looks like my last comment got eaten, but to expand on a point I made in it: At the Alexandrian, if I filter out posts made in the last month, the most-visited posts on the site this month are--

    A Nomenclature of D&D Editions (1)
    The Three Clue Rule (2)
    D&D: Calibrating Your Expectations (55)
    Rappan Athuk: Level 6 Mazes (0)
    Don't Prep Plots (4)
    Node-Based Design (13)
    Dissociated Mechanics (52)
    Death of the Wandering Monster (21)

    You can see that comments aren't telling you everything about popularity.

    With that being said, I think it might be useful to follow a rule of thumb: If you use something from a guy's blog, drop 'em a comment and tell 'em how it went.

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  54. I made a fairly personal post the other day, opening up about an old "frienemy" and gamer from my youth who I found out last week blew his own brains out in the 90's. A good, hard hitting story means little in th OSR (mostly people telling you to "get over it"). Unless you are James or Zack (or even you, with your especially high quality posts), who will get 60 comments saying "gazoontight" when they write "ah choo," then I'm not sure you can get a lot of buzz unless you stir shit up. The couple of times I bitched about horrible recent gaming experiences, with an especially hostile voice, is when folks sit up on my follow list. They love when the angry monkey dances.

    Also Bob, now I know why at work I can't view ypu blog.

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  55. view it at work, I should say. "adult content."

    Elf porn is no no, I guess.

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  56. I really hate missing a post of Brunomac's. Instant classics.
    If oldschool people don't like creative posts I wonder where my hits come from? Paranoia level now at maximum.

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  57. I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to thisC topic. Liked the material. . .
    coin mining

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