Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do you fear to appear in WoW Insider?

There was a time when the highest wish of a newborn blogger was to get a mentioning in WoW Insider. A dream coming true. A brief moment of fame in pond of the out-of-game WoW community.

The first time I was mentioned, it was indirectly. I don’t remember from which blog it was, but WoW Insider had linked to a post on a blog, which in turn linked to a post at Larisa’s Corner, as the blog was called at that point. The effect was instant – the visitor numbers skyrocketed for one day, to then go back to the normal. I was thrilled.

To get a link at all wasn’t anything that you counted on, on contrary. In those days WoW Insider had a reputation for being a bit careless when it came to giving credits. They tended to use blogs for inspiration and content, a bounce-off for their own posts, sometimes without adding any new information. There were moments when there were pretty upset feelings among bloggers who felt that they made a profit on their material without following the normal Bloggers Code of Honour.

This practice has changed over the last year. I don’t know if it’s because of the entry of Matt into the WI staff, but I wouldn’t be surprised, since he’s a true friend and protector of the blogging community. Or maybe they’ve just realized how much the smaller blogs mean to them as content and idea generators. But they’ve clearly improved. It’s evident that they read more blogs and do it more carefully, but they’ve also adapted a policy to give credit to those who should be credited.

The daily quest
A little while ago WoW Insider got a new regular column which reinforces the new link-to-other-blogs-deal. It’s called The daily quest and provides a few links to recent blogposts. I can’t say that it feels indispensable if you’re as deep into blog writing and reading as I am – so far I’ve already read the interesting links they’ve come up with. But I guess it fills a role as a teaser and appetizer, like a road sign, pointing in the direction towards the rich world of the Blogosphere.

However the reaction towards this new column isn’t altogether positive. Apparently some bloggers who have been mentioned have suffered from trolls that suddenly have found an unspoiled area to start to pollute. Even though we’ve had some attacks before – especially the most popular blogs, such as BBB and Tobold, we’ve generally had somewhat of a sanctuary in the Blogosphere. This was a place where you could still discuss issues in an intelligent, meaningful and civilized manner, in sharp contrast to the official forums which since long has been severely infected by trolls. Now WoW Insider has provided a road sign, viewable not only for the friendly blog readers who are interested in a good discussion. The sign is there to follow for anyone, a free entrance ticket for those who for some strange reason find pleasure in being rude to others.

Krizzlybear has gone so far that he hesitates to write a blogpost since he doesn’t know if he’ll end up attracting a bunch of trolls through WoW Insider who will come over and destroy what he’s built up over so long time. That’s sad to hear, to say the least. I think – or rather hope – that he’s overestimating the risk for it – personally I’ve never ever had a single comment on this blog that I’ve had to take away because of it’s trolling nature. But I can’t blame him either for thinking the thought.

Building barriers
Some bloggers don’t wait for the trolls to arrive. They put up barriers, such as approval procedures for comments. Others don’t allow anonymous comments. You could go even further if you wanted to. I come to think about Gevlon’s post where he said that the major purpose of a raiding guild was to build a barrier, to form a small island of competence where you keep the morons and slackers out, a place to hide in. We could do the same, requiring blog readers to apply for a membership, giving out passwords needed to read and comment on the blogs. It’s not something I hope for or advocate though, since it’s so much against the nature of the blog.

Blogging is about sharing ideas, opinions and perspectives. Through the blogs our minds can meet, no matter of hindrances as distance in space, time and social status. We want to tear down walls – not build them.

I don’t know what the best way to fight trolls is. But I sincerely hope that there aren’t more bloggers out there who consider turning silent or start to whisper because of the WoW Insider readers.

24 comments:

Syrana said...

I don't fear a link, but really don't expect to get one either. I know the trolls can be horrible, but they usually only stay for about a day, it seems. I hate the idea of not sharing great blogs with the 'like-minded' readers WoWInsider has. (Not all their readers are trolls!)

And like I said in response to Krizzly's post, the trolls may come, but the true fans are there to support ya. (And will continue to return, the trolls won't necessarily return until the next big linkage.)

gnomeaggedon.net said...

From my extensive experience at being linked from WI (actually, jokes aside, got my 3rd one today), the majority of the trolls keep their comments to WI itself. Probably because they are already registered there.

So far I haven't been trodden on by the Trolls, but it appears that I have gained quite a few new readers, who are leaving great comments in their wake.

I sort of figure that if I did get trolled, I would either immediately stamp them out, or wait a week and quietly remove they debris.

As you say, the links provide a blip on the stats radar, and possibly nothing much more than another handful or readers...

Something to dream of... maybe not... something to be afraid of? I don't think so.

Kimberly said...

I read WoW Insider and comment there from time to time. Some of the comments are immature, but I've encountered far worse trolls on other message boards.

(I quit reading a Walt Disney World newsgroup because of hateful trolls. True story!)

If I ever do get hammered by trolls, I'll let it blow over, then delete the comments out a day or so later once the partygoers leave.

Then again, I'm still newish and haven't been linked to yet.

Hudson said...

I got linked back in 2007 for a guild drama post I made

It didnt really do anything for me and most people agreed

holydiscipline said...

The WoW Twitter community has been talking about this on and off for a few days, since a few of the community have recently been linked, and several of them are of my same mindset - we don't necessarily quiet our voices for fear of a link, but we do worry about the WI trolls that (most likely will) inevitably come. And of course it's just the usual WI trolls, because that's the way the comments go there nowadays (actually, for quite a long time).

I got my little 15 minutes of fame from a link from BigBearButt and my views skyrocketed and I squee'd - and nary a troll.

In regards to your "Building Barriers" section, Kestrel just had a post about the very same thing. I have my comment settings set so that if you haven't commented before, I must approve you - and thereafter you my comment as much as you like without moderation. I didn't view it as a barrier, I viewed it as common sense.

Although I think in the long run, the benefits of a WI link will far outweigh the troll problem you might get for a day. As Gnomeaggedon said, the trolls will leave quickly but the truly interested readers stay and your usual readerbase is always there for you.

spinksville said...

I think I would die of shock if I got linked from somewhere like WI.

WTFspaghetti said...

I agree with gnomeaggedon.net.

In my opinion, there might be some trolls out there. However, most of them dont feel the need to comment. If they do comment its not like it is the end of your blog. You can either argue with them or delete the comment like it never even happen.

The plus side is that you get more traffic and that means that you will gain more readers in the long road.

I say that wowinsider's new column is a great idea and will bring new people and new ideas to our blogmosphere.

Good article btw
-thedocter

Ixobelle said...

I love trolls. I want more.

Honestly the only time I've ever been cross linked by any of the big boys is when I bothered to submit the link myself. If I typed up something worthy, I'd drop a tip on the WI tip thing or whatever, and I got a few decent hits while I was writing at NotAddicted.

I'm personally enjoying the more "same level approach" blogging brings with it, instead of the top down "I WRITE, YOU READ" thing we had over at NA.

You touched on this a while back, where you mentioned how you grew your blog by stopping by the comments section after the fact and taking the time to respond to other comments. That's something worth noting, as it just doesn't happen anywhere else (outside of blogging I mean). It gives you a bigger picture of who reads your blog, and who your audience really is.

I like that.

Larísa said...

@Syrana: Yes: I have yet to see a troll on my blog. Still I know that they've been a trouble to some bloggers. Maye gnomes have some sort of built in resistance against trolls as well...

@Gnomeaggedon: after a year of blogging I've come to the conclusion that WI doesn't mean so much to me. I write for the blogging community - bloggers as well as readers. I don't write for the huge masses. If more likeminded people can find my blog through a mentioning in WI that's fine, but I'm really happy to keep things the way they are.

@Kimberley: I tend to think about trolls as something belonging to the WoW forums, but now that you say it I realize they're all over the world, no matter if you're writing ablut Walt Disney, WoW or a pop group. A special kind, really.

@Holydiscipline: I'm obviously a bit cut off from the blogging community since I'm not into Twitter. Just cant figure out a way to find place for it in my timeschedule and attention span. :(

I don't use any filter at all except for the built in thing that blogger has, where you have to prove you're human. And I allow anonymous comments. So far no problem.

@Spinksville: I wouldn't die of shock if you were linked. Rather the opposite. You're blog is excellent and a hidden, overlooked pearl that more people should find their way to.

@Thedocter: thanks! Well more visitors isn't such a big deal. More intelligent comments is though. And I guess there are perals to be found among the WI readers as well.

@Ixobelle: oh, yes, the joy of discussing...

About the same-level-approach: oh yes, I really enjoy that too. I think we have a lot of it in the WoW blogosphere. But I don't think it comes so much with the media as with how you use it. You can prite with a looking-down-perspecitve on the readers if you want to. And you can invite them to a discussion at the same level. It's all up to you. But I really know what kind I prefer!

Aurik said...

I don't 'fear' being linked by WI - especially since, when I have been linked, its been on posts where I expect a partially negative reaction anyway...

I got a few 'trollish' replies but I just discounted them - I had the benefit of getting more good, thoughtful replies than I normally would have, too.

However! I do worry about WI linking me because of the 'slashdot effect' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdotted) Last time I got linked my site was down for 4-5 hours because my hosting could note cope with the increased bandwidth (17x normal traffic iirc) ^^;

/hug

Barrista said...

I think many people moderate their contents and their is nothing wrong with this. I think the people who have genuine input would not mind their comments being moderated while the trolls will give up and find some other place to spew.

I have been "treated" like a troll on a blog or two for asking a question on a post. My question was deleted, but it might have brought things out that would have negated some of his arguments. That doesn't mean I wasn't hoping for a genuine answer.

Dechion said...

I thought of writing a "tounge in cheek" post about how trolls are people too in rebuttal to this, but could not manage to write one that sounded the least bit funny.

On topic, I was linked to by WI one (and only one) time. It was a post about authenticators that actually still gets a few hits from time to time.

Not a single troll showed up. There was actually some intelligent discussion that came out of it. In short, it was a good thing.

As for the blip on the radar thing stats wise, I got a good bit more traffic the day Petopias own Mania linked to me from Manias Arcania than I got when linked by WI.

*vlad* said...

"Yes: I have yet to see a troll on my blog."

Haha, I'm sure some people consider me to be a Troll now and again; I've had my run-ins with Tobold before over our different views on WoW raiding, for example.

My view is, it's your blog, so if you don't like certain comments, just delete them.
No need to block people from commenting just because they don't have an official account. Anyway, each to their own.

Fulguralis said...

I hire someone to go disconnect the troll's electricity. They're not too hard to find, living under their bridges you know. It's really a small price to pay for safe passage for you and your family. Always with the three questions *shakes fist*...

Darraxus said...

With the few links I have gotten, there has been much more debate than trolls. I enjoy people coming and debating on my blog. Any "LOL DOUCHE" comments will of course be removed. Trolls are a sad bunch. They have nothing better to do that flame other peoples thoughts and ideas.

kyrilean said...

I was linked a few weeks back and it was my first time. The annoying thing was my daily stats graph looked like a single heartbeat of someone dying for weeks after, but I was definitely excited.

I've picked up a few new readers, or at least someone clicking on my site a whole bunch, which is definitely nice.

So far no trolls. /keeps fingers crossed.

Elleiras said...

I was excited the first and only time I was linked at WI. I didn't get any trolls, but I'll admit, I was a little, tiny bit relieved when the huge spike scrolled off of my webstats graph. /ocd

... But you know what was even more exciting? When some of the big names in the WoW Blogosphere started commenting! :D I was much more giddy over being linked at WoM over WI. And I may actually have squeaked irl the first time you stopped by, Larísa!

Larísa said...

@Aurik: oh, I guess it's the disadvantage about self-hosting? Sometimes I'm happy that I stick to the less classy standard Blogger service. Not often, but in moments of instant fame I think it helps.


@Barrista: reading you I realize that maybe everone doesn't agree about what IS a trolling comment. I think it's very individual, where you put the tolerance limit. I like to think I'm tolerant, but who knows?

@Dechion: you're right, there are other places out there that may cause spikes, not just WI, which for some reason is top of mind. I think for instance that some bloggers who have been praised by BRK have been a bit overwhelmed.

@Vlad: you, a troll??? The thought had never ever crossed my mind. Just because you have a different opinion you're not trollish. Just think about Gevlon. How many times haven't we clashed? And still we appreciate each other a lot.

@Fulguralis: sounds like a fine idea! Or smoke them out somehow perhaps, like the quest in GH?

@Darraxus. They're sad indeed. But there's an interesting exception. Actually Euripides of Critical QQ admitted in TN that he was a former forum troll... I found it pretty hard to believe though.

@Kyrilean: yeah, the spike is fun to see. But I've learned to really not expect any lasting effects from it.

Larísa said...

@Elleiras: it's really beyond my comprehension how you could squeal at the presence of me... The thought amuses me. It must have been the pigtails that scared you a little? Anyways - yes,I agree completely. A good discussion gives me a much bigger kick than a daylong spike.

Rhii said...

I read Krizzlybear's comments too, and I hoped it was just a side effect of the computer withdrawal.

I'd hate to see any of the bloggers I read holding back because of the potential of trolls finding their stuff (including Krizzlybear!!)

repgrind said...

If it wasn't for WI, I would never have even found the blogging community. Heck, it was a stroke of luck that I even found WI. I typed in wow.com expecting to go to the official site, and found myself at WI. doh. So I looked around ... read some hunter articles ... ended up at BRK's site ... clicked on some sites in his blogroll ... and the rest is history. SO I would say look at it this way ... it may attract trolls, but it also may bring in new bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Trolls are just a side effect of popularity, and as such it goes hand in hand with blogging. A good way to keep yourself from getting depressed by trolls is to look at how many comments they leave, and compare it to how many readers/pageviews you have. At WoW Insider, something like 0.5% of our readership is trolls that leave comments. It's an oddly uplifting number.

As for WoW Insider crediting other bloggers more now? Matticus is a cool guy, but it's not just his doing. ;) The staff that produces most of the content today is not the staff that did it a year and a half or two years ago. New people who actually, actively appreciate the community are the ones doing the posting.

adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adam said...

Larisa interesting article. I've never seen a word that describes them, but troll fits pretty well. I understand you fear of trolls, they make me cringe everytime I see a comment by one.. bleh.

I know this isnt really on topic, but I cant relate since I don't write blogs and hardly ever post comments, but I enjoy reading good blogs like this one.

BTW I was linked here via the Greedy Goblin blog, linked via WoW Insider =J