Monday, September 6, 2010

Time to move on - I think

The gender debate has been raging back and forward in the blogosphere for a while.

I made two statements about my position in this debate. In the first one I explained my rather pragmatic survival tactics in a stereotyped world. In the second, I called to arms and challenged women in WoW to start aiming higher, conquering everything from the number 1 spot on the charts to the top positions at Blizzard.

I commented a bit here and there on the blogs that were most involved in the debate. But then I turned pretty much silent. Not because I don’t care about those issues. Not because I’m afraid to scare any readers away. But because the entire debate started to make me feel uneasy and uncomfortable.

On one hand I wanted to stand up and defend values and views that matters a lot to me. On the other hand I hated to see the blogosphere, which mostly is a rather peaceful, Shire-like place to hang around, into a hardcore, merciless PvP battleground where people took sides and were standing around, doing thumbs up and thumbs down as they saw another argument or insult landing as a blowing strike. While I sympathized with one side, it was quite painful for me to see the other side getting crushed and tore into pieces. Because I’m motherly like that. Yeah, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Adam, regardless of he deserved my pity or not.

Putting an end to it
In the best of the worlds I probably would have been more active. In the best of worlds I would have come up with a splendid solution that everyone could agree on and we would get out of it a little bit wiser than we were before we started the debate. Because that’s how I deal with such things.

But I couldn’t. The entire thing wore me down, so I tried to get rid of it, writing about other things that crossed my mind, stuff that wasn’t about gender and about what right we have or don’t have to want to ask for changes in WoW. I dodged. And I dodged again. It didn’t help much. There was something lingering in the air, keeping me from letting it go. I needed someone to make a summary, putting together the pieces into a puzzle. What was it that happened, what in all this made me so upset, and what can we learn?

Tamarind, has hold a pretty low profile in the debate, but has spoken up now in a sort of summary post where he tries to knit it all together and put it into perspective. As always he’s far more thoughtful and elegant than I’m capable of, and after reading it I thought: “Yes! Here it is. The end. I’m done and I can put back that book on the shelf, for now being.” Time to move on.

I think it will be a while before I throw myself into another discussion about gender perspective on WoW. Not because everything has been said. There’s surely more and I respect those who blog about those things all-year-round and not just when it’s up as a hot topic. But personally I’ve got nothing more on my mind for the time being. For once, I’ve run out of words. And Tam helped me to come at peace. Finally.

About my blogroll
Oh, and there was one last thing. There has been a spin-off off topic coming from this debate, about blogrolls, where I got some attention too as I removed a couple of links from it recently.

The strong reactions surprised me a little – is it really such a big deal? My blogroll isn’t a manifestation of anything. I disagree a lot with some of the blogs on my list, like for instance Gevlon, who I’ve argued with a lot over the years. But I read him anyway, because I think many of his posts are interesting reads. I like to get a look into a goblin perspective of the world.

If you look at my blogroll, it consists of a very strange mix of all sorts of blogs, reflecting my broad approach to blog reading. I link to very small blogs, which barely no one but me reads, judging from the commentary. And I link to some of the most wellknown and profiled blogs as well, because they’re awesome reads.

Spinks made an overview of the different purposes a blogroll can serve. In my case, the blogroll is mostly for my own use, since I don’t have any feedreader. I read the blogs as they are, visiting them. Thanks to Blogger’s system I can see if they’ve been updated recently, which is why I prefer the Blogger blogrolls to the ones generated from for instance Wordpress, where you have no idea if the last post was from yesterday or a year ago. The “last update” system is very handy.

But the blogroll of the PPI is also a part of the content. I don’t think it’s important, since most readers don’t see it as they’re reading through a feed. But still. It’s not neglected, I keep an eye on it, and because of this, it’s constantly changing. I add new blogs and remove others as often as a couple of times a week.

There are several reasons why I remove a blog. The most obvious one is that it isn’t updated anymore. My thumb rule is that I remove them after two months of inactivity. I also remove blogs if they stop being mainly about WoW or MMO related things. I might keep reading your real life blog if I love you as a writer, but I won’t link to it. Sometimes I remove blogs because I don’t read them anymore, it’s been months since any post really spoke to me and I’ve forgotten why I added the link in the first place. It's not because they're bad or I'm angry about something, it's just not my piece of cake anymore and there are just too many WoW blogs out there to link to everyone. “Sometimes you grow apart”, to use Tam’s words.

There’s nothing fair about a blogroll. It’s a deeply personal thing and I don’t think you should have to explain yourself to anyone why you link or don’t link to a certain blog. I don’t link back to every blogger that links to me and don’t expect linklove from blogs on my roll. It just doesn’t work that way.

Many times my decision to add one blog and not the other is quite random and more based on a gut feeling than on a thorough evaluation. I just wish it didn’t become such a Big Thing. I want to be able to play around with my blogroll without having to consider all the possibly hurt feelings that may follow.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a subtitle to The Pink Pigtail Inn, namely “Larísa’s Corner”. Yeah, the blog used to be called that for a very short period, before I moved it and name changed. But there’s still some truth in this name. Sure, I invite everyone to come here and have a pint and discuss almost anything connected to WoW and gaming and MMOs and life and the universe or whatever. But in the end it’s my corner of the world, and I’d rather not like to go into arguments about the looks of my blogroll.

And that’s about it I think. I got all the stuff I’ve been carrying around off my chest. Time to move on.

On an additional note I wouldn’t rule out that the blogosphere might explode in some other argumentation soon again. What else is there to do when Cataclysm still is months away and there isn’t much going on either in the game or the blogosphere?

There’s a good reason why this happened right now.


Magma said...

You and your misleading titles! I thought you were quitting wow or blogging!

Larísa said...

Oh dear. I made one of those. I hate it when other bloggers do that too, making you think they're leaving, when they're not. I'm so sorry. It wasn't my intention.

Dwism said...

" It wasn't my intention."
Oh yes it was, you tease! ;)

On topic: I think it's great that you feel so much about blogs on your list, but the guy in question was either the biggest douche-blogger this year or (more likely) fishing for readers by trying to inflamate the blog-sphere around him. Either way, there really is no need to excuse taking a guy like that off your list.
Gevlon does almost the same thing (and klep too now that we are at it) but with one *huge* difference: he writes inflamatory post to prove a point (and up readership).
Why anyone who claims to not be social would care about how many people read his blog... Well that is a discussion for another time.

Syl said...

"There’s a good reason why this happened right now."

I think u got a point there Larísa, pre-expansion tension is the time I always feared most as a guild officer; people are bored to death with the game and likely to get into fights or general apathy more than ever.
am not saying that any of the things that have been written by some would've been any more or less okay - but it's likely that there wouldn't have been such a hubbub and so many blogs joining in, had people been busy discussing new or exciting game content. some things are actually better left rotting, but it's human to get into fights every now and then, especially on such personal topics.

Anonymous said...

I read both you and Gevlon. I like both blogs for different perspectives. I don't have to justify why I like and would choose to read both. So don't feel obliged to defend yourself to haters. Keep doing what you are doing and people will respect you for it.

Klepsacovic said...

I thought you were quitting your guild.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I try out different blogs, specifically if its on someone's blogroll or if they call it out on a post.

For MOST of the blogs, they end up not interesting me, but I have found quite a few gems.

spinksville said...

I think feminism stirs up a lot of comments at any time, that's not just because of people being bored pre-expansion.

Even me just posting a sentence about how I didn't like to see my warriors wearing string bikinis was one of the most commented posts I ever wrote.

Saga said...

I do find discussions on feminism in WoW interesting. Not so much the "war" that has been raging, but the general posts that delve deeper into it and makes us think about things.

Throughout this I've read some really horrible comments from people about how women should do this and that.. and it really horrified me.. I have to admit for some of the really bad ones I've seen I've considered removing those people from my blogroll for the simple reason that I don't know if I can read someone who views the world so differently to myself.

One in particular stands out, I saw a really horrible comment from someone whose blog I read and commented (one of few people who did), and we had some nice discussions about guilds and dps on his blog. But then when you read a comment that shows a disdain for women (gamers) you start to question the discussions you've had with them.

When it comes to the blogroll in general though I just keep all the blogs I read on there. I don't have all of them listed on my site since I have a section for ones that are new to me and I'm waiting to see if I will stick with them, or a few that may be inactive.. they're all tucked away in a different place and if I end up deciding I like them - I will put them on the blogroll on the site.

In the end, the blogroll is just a list of the majority of the blogs I read.

Jayd said...

"I don’t think [the blogroll is] important, since most readers don’t see it as they’re reading through a feed."

Wrong! Blogrolls - and your blogroll in particular since your blog is so popular - is very important. I'm a newcomer to the blogosphere, and your blogroll (along with others, most notably Pugnacious Priest's) is my window to the world. If I've read all the blogs I usually read and still want more, I go to someone's blogroll and click away. It's a lot easier to find other Wow blogs by doing that, than it is by Google. The blogroll is very important to the community, I believe - even if it is set up solely for your own personal preferences (which I think most are).

Perdissa said...

I don't read many blogs, probably just 3 on a regular basis. I'm not really sure what the fuss about gender and blogrolls are about. I found Tamarind's post about this drama headache inducing and didn't manage to finish it.

Ah well, hope this storm in a teacup is over for you. Don't fret these little things.

Rowan said...

I can certainly see Jayd's point of view about your blogroll being important (I can see it too, as I think most people do). But you are entirely correct in that you are the sole custodian of your blogroll, and not responsible anyone else for what you include or exclude.

SpiritusRex said...

This is your Inn and we are your guests. As such, we have no right to criticize your blogroll - for you to even consider other feelings in this respect is much further than I would ever go. Keep up the good work!

As far as the gender blow-up that's been occuring lately, I honestly must say that I try not to draw parallels to the real world in my video games, but to each their own. I find that I try to stay away from the "Hmmm, I wonder what they really were saying." If I have doubts about what a person was trying to say I've got no problem just asking them to clarify.

Anonymous said...

Glad you cleared up the misunderstanding about the title....i was about to go postal on yo ass if you was quitting!!!!

Cacknoob The Enforcer

SSB Jezi said...

I use my blogroll for the same thing: what I read. I personally like blogger's set up and blogroll system as it shows who has updated the most recent, so I look at my blog every day at least three times and see if anyone has posted anything new. Of course it is great to share and be able to see other people's blogrolls, as chances are if you enjoyed their blog you will probably find several blogs on their blogroll worth adding as well!

I agree with Magma..
I almost cried inside thinking you where going to quit blogging!

Great read as always

Aloix said...

I agree with Jayd about blogrolls. Especially when one is new to a certain 'genre' of blogs, they are invaluable. And even for experienced blog junkies/newsfeed addicts, they're worth looking at on occasion for new gems!

About the whole 'issue', I do kind of empathize with you, Larisa.
I'm an avid reader of several Wow blogs (even though I don't comment much) and did read most of the 'Ismgate' (?) posts/comments.
I never commented, partly because there were other people much better at discussing the issues than I, and partly because I just felt more comfortable standing back and watching.

Anyway.. yes, I do hope it's put to bed(-ish) for now, and that any/everyone involved is somehow wiser for it.
I'm sure it will come up again, it's inevitable (and valid).
At the moment though I do hope the community moves forward, united by that we all have something(s) in common, gender/isms be damned.

Tam said...

I think quite a lot of people use your blogroll particularly, and blogrolls in general, as a resource but it doesn't follow that it's therefore public property. Anyway, thanks for the kind words and, as ever, the injection of calmness and sanity into the whole business - hopefully we can all move on now :)

Larísa said...

@Dwism: I don't think that Adam had any cunning intentions about it to be honest. He wasn't trying to be provocative just like some kinnd of trolling act. I think he meant what he said, which is what made me so depressed. I tried to reach through but failed. And he failed to reach through to me. I suppose I have to accept that some disagrements aren't due to lack of communication but that you really have different views.

@Syl: There have been other heated discussions before on various topics - probably including feminism, but I can't remember anything as deep and long lasting like this one. And yeah, I blame the blues.

: Thank you for the encouragement! Cheers!

: Awww. I fail at communicating.

Fallstar: Yeah, there are so many blogs out there and I would estimate that only 1 of 5 I encounter will end up as something I visit again. At the most.

: It was? I frankly can't remember it. To me you don't have to write anything about feminism to prove a point. You're a tank, both in the game and as a blogger. You know stuff. You write about it, with an aura of self confidence. Daring to take up place. Like a huge exclamation mark, defying all prejudices and stereotypes about women. I really admire you as a blogger, if I haven't made that clear already.

@Jayd: Glad to hear you find it useful! And yeah, to be honest I rely on some other bloggers link collections as well. When I first set up my blog, I discovered many other blogs thanks to Rohan of Blessing of Kings for instance. My blogroll took a great deal of inspiration from his as I started.

: Only three? I feel very much honored! And yeah, I hope and believe this is over as well. I think it is. It's been such a downer for a long time, but now it feels as if my worries finally are gone and I'm looking forward again.

@Rowan: Hm... well, if it's important I think I'll stay blissfully ignorant about it, because otherwise I'll start thinking too much about it. I don't want to spend all that time and energy on my blogroll. Sure I maintain it, but I don't analyze it too deeply.

: Well, as I've stated I stick to the game most of the time, it's not as if I'm walking around thinking about gender issues all the time. The point on the debate though was to respect other players right to think about those things and express their wishes and suggestions, without asking them to get the fuck out of the game. Oh well... I won't get into that again. I've put it behind me. For real.

: Hehe. No way. But I must say that the bridge in IF is far from what it was back in time. Miss your craziness!

@Jezi: Sorry to have mislead you with the header. And yeah, I think Blogger is far superior to the wordpress one.

@Aloix: I really think that we're on the same page here. Regardless of what we thought about the -ism issue, we really want to discuss something else. Hm... any suggestion for something interesting that will stir up a discussion? Preferably a good and constructive discussion, mind you!

@Tam: Thank you. If I'm calm and sane it's thanks to you, putting me on the right track again.

Ophelie said...

I don't think I commented on any of your recent posts, but I did want to say that I really appreciate when you get involved in the "player society in WoW" discussions, especially discussions like the recent feminism one.

Most of us WoW bloggers are in our 20s and our knowledge of life is pretty limited. You've experienced so much firsthand and your posts contain a lot of wisdom. I don't always agree with everything (I blame our generational and cultural gaps!), but I always love reading your thoughts.

I confess that when I write, I even sometimes pause and ask myself "what would Larisa say?"

Also, don't underestimate the power of your blogroll! I used your blogroll as my personal feedreader for months, until I figured out how to use google!

Larísa said...

@Ophelie: Good lord, now you made me REALLY feel old. When in fact I think I'm as clueless about certain aspects of life as any 16 year old. I'm still trying to figure it out. How things ARE, you know.

But I appreciate your kind words and your trust in my judgement. As a matter of fact I'm so humbled that I don't know what to say.

opit said...


Your post of feminism and blogrolls came up when I was posting on comparative practice at the ones I keep on a variety of topics. I get my material from news and forums gathering news, so a perspective as tender as yours is not part of my day. More often I feel I'm editing a horror movie. And that's despite - or is it because of - using a lot of material from the Protest Site.
The point about not keeping everyone posted on the blogroll when they aren't used is just reasonable culling to reflect your real world practice : otherwise it becomes useless because it's unrealistic. That and the blogs might not even exist there any more...a common problem.
Links Checker can sometimes help. or
I can't keep everyone 'on the go' - much as I might like to - because I live in a busy world of finite resources and limited attention span. I think your friends contribute their share of news too.
Aggregators and readers are easy to use if you want a way to track posts in addition to the usual. In fact, I have Blogger, Netvibes, MyYahoo!,Pageflakes all backing iGoogle and Google Reader.
I'm losing Bloglines Oct 1 when withdraws the service.
I think the wild hybrid I'm working on right now is unique though. Have a look at where I repost the feed at under the title RSS SnapShot! Blogs I'm Following uses Bloggers' FriendConnect Dashboard report for a source.
You might not want to go that crazy - but those and might give you some useful ideas.