Monday, April 28, 2008

The ethics of WoW blogging

Are there any ethical principles you should follow when you're a WoW blog writer?
Well, in the end I guess it's up to every blog keeper to decide for himself, I rarely tell other people how to live their lives (well, now and then I may try to give my kids a hint about it, but that's different).

But let's talk about me and my own standards. Is there anything in the WoW sphere that I wouldn't blog about?

Yes, there definitely is. I rarely write anything in length about stuff going on in my guild. Well, I do write from time to time about fun things we do. And I have written about my experience of a guild split. But generally I don't write about guild drama, as a matter of fact I hardly ever mention my guildies by name.

This doesn't mean that I don't like reading about drama going on in other guilds. Trust me, I'm as much of a Peeping Tom as anyone else. I don't know what makes reality so fascinating, but I guess it's the same mechanisms that make us interested in the lives celebrities or following those documentary sopas (survive-on-an-island) that make me follow Wowinsider column Guildwatch. Quite often those guild drama things pinpoints challenges when it comes to management and group psychology and I'm curious to see how other people handle those dilemmas.

So what are my reasons for not providing much of gossip or drama of any dignity for others to enjoy? Well, the obvious one is that I really care about my guild. A guild is built on having confidence in each other. And so is raiding. I think that's one of the crucial things to be successful in raiding: to build an environment where people trust each other. Telling the world about ongoing drama in your guild is exactly the opposite. It builds distrust.

But if you've already given up about trust? If you've been through some drama, a quarrel over loot or whatever, and that idiot has left or been kicked, shouldn't it be OK to give him what he deserves, to tell the truth in your blog and let out some steam? Well. I would think twice even in that situation. You never have the whole picture. You haven't got a clue about what's going on in real life for that guy. What if he has some kind of deadly disease that makes him freak out and act strangely? What if he's just lost his loved one and is only living day by day, being obsessed with loot since there's nothing else left for him? What if your blog post will be just the last little thing that will push him over the bottom line? What do you know about your guildies or ex-guildies? Really?

Another aspect is what signals you're sending to your current guildmates. Can they really rely on you? Maybe they can't. There will always be the suspicion that you're collecting stuff for your blog. Who knows, if you do something that pisses that blog author off you may appear in that guys blog in less flattering words? You always risk to get backstabbed from that blogger... better stay away from him to be sure...

There are other ways you can leave out your guild that aren't necessary about drama. Some bloggers don't hesitate to tell the world about how stupid their own guild is when it comes to raid organizing, loot distribution or how their healers, dps or whatever screwed up the other night and made the raid a failure. In my world that kind of criticism can be necessary, but it belongs to internal guild forums, not publicly available. On the other hand it also depends on how it's written. The failures ARE interesting, good stuff to blog about, as long as you do it out of an intention of learning from it and as long as you don't just blame others, but take full responsibility for your own part of it.

I think you should only blog about those things in a way that you could perfectly well face anyone that appears in the blog, that you're happy if they're reading it and you've got nothing to be ashamed of.

However I've read a number of blogs where the writers don't seam to realize that they actually get readers. I come to think of a story I heard from a colleague of mine, working at a big organization that was about to hire someone working with PR. They had chosen a bright young girl that came straight from university. But just as they were about to sign the contract they googled her name and found her blog, where she had written about the interview and called her new employer suckers. (She didn't get the job).

What I'm trying to say is: don't write things in blogs that you'll regret later. Once out there's no way to put the rabbit back into the hat. It works the same way in Azeroth as in RL. One day you may find that your application to that top rated guild will be turned down because of something stupid you wrote on your blog in a rush of anger.

And if you want to change things in your own guild - how to perform better in raid and things like that - be sure to tell your guild about it first, before you tell the world.
Be honest. Be decent. Don't be a jerk.

You may lose a few of your readers, thinking that the blog isn't quite as interesting as the more sharp edged competitors. But you'll win the respect - from your guild and from yourself. And that's worth a hell lot of more in the long run.


Newer Post Older Post Home