Monday, July 6, 2009

Reasons to share your failure stories

Only social people want to read confessions from other players about how their failures. If you blog about how you’re sucking at a certain aspect of the game, you’re just writing crap. No, the way to go if you’re the slightest serious about WoW is to share success stories, preferably including useful information about how to get there.

Well, as you probably suspect, those ideas aren’t my own. I’m trying to make a wrap-up of a recent post by Gevlon. Despite our differences in opinion, I happen to like him. Some bloggers find this affection of mine a bit strange, not to say incomprehensible. But Gevlon is one of my most loyal supporters, being one of the first in the community to read and comment on the PPI. I on the other hand gave him support and encouragement when he started to open his own business. This has created a bond between us, even though Gevlon maybe doesn't see it, since he doesn't believe in networking. And apart from everything else, I find it stimulating to get access to the minds of people who have a completely different view than my own. Sometimes they actually have some good points and if nothing else they force me to think and to find better arguments for my own beliefs.
Attacking I suck-stories
But let's end my defense speech about why I like Gevlon and go back to the topic:
For no apparent reason, Gevlon has suddenly decided to attack a funny little post written by one of my other favorite bloggers, Ixobelle, claiming that he’s writing about his shortcomings just in order to make the “socials” love him. Gevlon also promised in his post that for his own part, he will only share his success stories on his blog, supposedly at the dismay of the socials.
Actually I don’t think Ixobelle cares at all about Gevlon’s opinion on his blog (he would probably be slightly amused at the most if he read his post), so it really isn’t necessary that I pull my sword just to protect his honor. But I couldn’t refrain from picking up the topic anyway, since I'm passionate about how to write, how to communicate effectively and how to improve as an individual and as a group. And I don't share Gevlon's views on this at all.
If anything, I would rather take the opposite position:

I don’t care much about the success stories that are so common at WoW blogs these days. If you’ve manage to down whatever guy - from Hogger to Yogg-Saron - Big grats and good for you, but in 9 out of 10 cases it doesn’t make much of a good read and it’s quite rare that I learn much from it.
I’m more likely to read it and get inspiration from it if you before telling me about your success also share some tales about your less inspired moments. That will grab my attention and make you a trustworthy person.

How storytelling works
This is not rocket science. This is the way stories have been told for thousands of years. Look at the movies! Most of the successful ones, I would say, follow the same pattern. When you’re first introduced to the hero, you’ll probably see him in an everyday situation, which is far from perfect. You’ll see that he’s a human being just like you, and you’ll start to sympathize with him. AFTER this relationship is established, you’ll probably see him raising, being somewhat successful, and overcoming his sucking. Then there will be a little setback somehow, where everything doesn’t work as smoothly as it seemed to. But in the end the hero is likely to win.

There’s a reason why stories are told this way, Gevlon. It works. This actually goes back to my dear old rhetoric divinities, the Romans and the Greeks. They found that a good way to make the audience benevolent was start in a very humble way, pointing at your own weakness and flattering the audience for being bright and enlightened. “Humiliatio” as they called it. It’s still taught in speech classes as one of many tools to make sure that your message will come across. The most skilled speakers are actually the ones who while they’re sharing their fail stories, at the same time giving hints that will let the audience understand that the speaker in fact is awesome – he’s just too humble to notice it. This is a trick that takes a bit of skill. And of course it’s crucial that the audience don’t realize that it’s all a setup, intended to build up some credibility.

So Gevlon, if you want people to listen and learn from your FL+4 stories, you will probably be more likely to succeed if you can make them feel that you’re on the same side, that you’re humble and honest, and that you know what it’s like to fail. Once you’ve caught their attention, they’ll be much more interested to hear about your success, and actually maybe also follow your advice. You are like them. And you managed to overcome your weaknesses and win. There’s no reason that they couldn’t do it as well.

Different sorts of blogs
Another aspect of this is that Gevlon seems to forget that there’s a big diversity among bloggers. There are many sorts of blogs, just as books come in different genres. If you look at the shelves in a book store you’ll find that they offer books for any occasion. Some are for pure educational purposes. Learn to write Japanese in 30 days. 10 ways to become a better lover. How to get rich. Whatever.

Other books are biographies, true stories about fascinating people, that you can get inspiration from, even though you’ll not explicitly learn anything. And yet other books aren’t informative at all, they’re just there for entertainment and relaxation, to make you laugh or cry, to give you stories that you can come back to in your mind and perhaps share with your friends when you come to think about them in a conversation.

If you’ve ever followed the links from my blogroll you’ll probably be somewhat puzzled. There isn’t any clear red thread in my pick of favorite blogs. I read a wide range of blogs for various reasons, just like I read different kinds of books.

For instance, I’ve got a weird fascination for books about climbers other adventurers who who have been dealing with extreme situations, getting stuck at the top of Mount Everest and such. (If anyone reading this shares this taste, I'd like to point you to Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. It stands out since it's not only a good story - the guy is a talented writer as well.)

I re-read The Lord of the Rings every three years or so, not to learn anything, but because I like to escape into the world.

I read educating books about management and communications, because it’s interesting and because it’s helps me in my job.

And I adore the humoristic self biographical books by James Herriot, about the life of some vets in Yorkshire in the 40s (including a lot of “I suck” stories, which really make a funny read). Can I say that one of those sorts of books is better than the other? Do I think that I’m just wasting my time when I read books that aren’t relevant for my career? Of course not!

In the same way I enjoy reading Ixobelle’s spicy recounts from things he has experienced recently (including moments of sucking), as well as I like Tobold’s more dry, intellectual analyzing posts and Gnomeaggedon’s sweet, giggle-provoking weekend reports. They’ve all got a well deserved spot in my heart. And not necessarily because they’re telling success stories or giving useful information. There is a raison d’être for entertainment as well!

You may consider spending time on Ixobelle as wasted, but I certainly don’t.

Sharing fail stories in game
A final thought on this: I seriously wish that more WoW players would share their fail stories, not only in their blogs, but also in the game.

If I meet a player who’s constantly sharing his success stories, never ever mentioning any errors he or she has made, I become suspicious. If I was recruiting for a raiding guild, I would see that kind of attitude as a sign that the player is insecure, lacks self-insight and is generally pretty immature. I would rather look for players who display a sound amount of self distance and don't mind sharing less flattering stories, since they’re confident in themselves and know that they’re in the end are decent players.

I know this is a lot to ask for, and how honest you want to be depends very much on the atmosphere in the group you belong to. In some guilds I can understand that you’d probably think twice before admitting that you suck at something. However I think that establishing such a climate that players feel confident to share stories about their sucking is a very good thing for a guild.

I don’t mean that you should just laugh about whatever error you make. “WTF it’s just a game” and the shrug at it. (I guess it’s OK in a very social guild without any ambitions whatsoever in successful raiding. )

What I’m suggesting is that normal raiding guilds should strive for their players to be confident enough to admit when they suck and then direct their focus and energy towards discussions about what to do about it. The discussion should be lighthearted and yet constructive, aiming for solutions rather than for blaming.

If you use “I suck” stories the right way, they can actually be the beginning of your future success. Share it and gain an audience. Laugh at it. Learn from it. And finally head forward, a little bit stronger and wiser than you were before. And maybe even entertained.
There are many good reasons to tell the world, not only about our glorious victories, but also about our humbling failures.


Syrana said...

As usual, you are spot on. :)

Like I said in my comment on Gevlon's post... there is no "one-size-fits-all blog."

Plus, as you discussed, failure stories tend to provide better storytelling that pure success stories. (Not always the case, but certainly depends on the writer.) A full journey is a better experience, I think...

Read the failures, how they were overcome, and how success was eventually obtained.

Anonymous said...

I think also that people tend not to learn (or related to) from success stories.

A failure story will strike a cord.. maybe it's just a giggle about how they also failed in the same way, but weren't prepared to admit it.
Others take it as a lesson learned, and can avoid that error.

It's true that you learn from your mistakes, and others when presented correctly, but it's hard to learn from someones success.

I dare say we have all been in a raid that one shots a boss, and think we know how it's done, only to spend the next week in a series of failures because we learned nothing from the 1st encounter.

I have also said before, no one wants to know about my happy hassle free holiday complete with slide show... However, the catastophe story makes it worthwhile sitting through Uncle Harry's 3 hours of mundane slides.

Remember also that in the RL, in an interview, the interviewers don't want to hear about how you one shot every situation... they want to know how you failed, yet recovered to save the day.

Klepsacovic said...

Too human: Gevlon isn't interested in humans with all their emotions and feelings and all that other mess that makes us human.

Success doesn't teach much because it's much harder to see what goes right than what goes wrong. It's not as simple as "this worked" since success relies on so many factors, while failure is much more easily narrowed down to discrete issues, sometimes even one problem.

What is to be gained from a success post? "Do it this way." That's a box and if the stuff you have (your raid setup, you, your gear...) doesn't fit that box, then the box is worthless. Failure is more like a bag, it gives some general dimensions and limits, but is far more accommodating.

Getting back to humans: success stories often are perceived as arrogant: "Look at how great I am." Failure stories show humbleness and recognition of imperfection. Recognizing failure is the first step to fixing it.

MomentEye said...

I guess it's very Gevlon to assume that the act of reading a blog must have an immediate and tangible profit.

I would say the writing part of blogging doesn't necessarily require an audience manipulating agenda, either.

Anonymous said...

It leaves me with a bad feeling when people think they can tell other people what they should or shouldn't write about.

I just end up feeling that it bothers him that people like different things, because he doesn't understand why. I agree with you, Larisa, writing about failures is a way of reaching out to an audience and making it easy for them to identify with you and your experience.

Not because they're all losers but because it's the nature of the game that you win some and you lose some. We all were new and didn't know how things worked at some point. Saying 'Hey, I did this when I was a noob but I sure won't do that again, haha' doesn't make either you or your audience idiots. It just means you get to talk about a shared experience -- it's inviting the reader to identify with you. That's how I see it anyhow.

You can do that with writing about successes too but that would require the writer not to be doing it purely as an egoboost.And, more to the point, it would require more agreement about what a success actually is. I think it's a stunning and remarkable success that my awesome but casual raid group has killed some of the keepers in Ulduar and is soldiering on even through the difficulties of Summer attendance. I know fine well that a lot of people would not see that as a success, they'd point at hard modes and whatever else they've been doing. But... I know success and I know mine is not meaningless. And I also know why every ex-hardcore raider who joins us keeps trying to tell the rest of the group to value what they have, because it's so good and so rare.

But still it's easier to share the experience of failure cos we all agree roughly on what it means.

Gevlon said...

Dear Larísa: what you wrote was exactly the point of my post (and you missed it).

Writing properly designed stories that manipulate their social thinking is the easiest way to make readers love you. That's why blockbusters do it. However the blockbuster have one point: get money from tickets.

Maybe, with using all the social tricks I could reach 4-5-10-100K subscribers. So what? They don't pay me. I have no advertisements, so they don't pay me even indirectly.

Having 100K subscribers who just come here for the "good feeling" is pointless. What do I gain? Even better question: what do they gain?

It's also true that after I built up a network it's easier to manipulate them. Except, I don't want to. I don't want to change someone else's minions into my minions. I want them to be thinking people. The trick is that I can't make them become thinking people. Only they can do it.

The final point is: it is NOT my interest to teach them how to make gold. It's theirs to learn. So I won't waste my time on networking tricks to somehow save them. If they want to learn, good. If they don't, fine. It's them and not me who will grind elementals if they prefer a properly built site with socially preferable content.

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

I admit I find failure stories more entertaining and educational. They remind me of my failures which I can afford to laugh to now, they act as hints about possible errors I might make and to be honest they make me see the person writing with greater sympathy. Happy stories are fun once in a while but rarely provoke further thinking as failure/sad stories do.

As Momenteye said the writing part of blogging doesn't necessarily require an audience manipulating agenda. I write what I like, some people like to read it, some ignore it. Simple as that.

Now that I think about it its probably the reason I got so few readers :-p

Larísa said...

@Syrana: yeah, I think that's the ideal. The long journey from fail to success is normally much more interesting than just the final of it.

not much to add - you put it very well. And I love Uncle Harry's slideshows for some odd reason. I'm one of the few people who actually enjoy looking at pics from other peoples holidays. But pics from when it rained and the car broke down and the kids cried are infinitely more interesting than the ones from a sunny perfect beach. That's true.

@Klepsacovic: Oh yes. It's a tough genere to write about succesful events. I don't say you shouldn't do it at all - I do it myself sometimes, since I write about whatever comes into my head. But it definitely is a challenge if you want it to be a fun read.

@MomentEye and Lance: I agree that you don't necessarily blog to gain an audience. But good storytelling is an artform and if you're into creative writing as this is, it doesn't hurt to give it a thought sometimes. At least it has helped me a lot in my profession. I wouldn't call rhetorical principles "manipulating". Writing can be improved with some skill and knowledge just like other activities. I don't see any reason to reject things that people have found out by trial and errors for thousands of years.

@Spinksville: true, true. I think the sharing of failure experience actually is pretty essential to knit together the gaming community. The veterns can get nostalgic, remembering their own fails when they were new and rejoicing at the progress they've done. and the newcomers will see that even though things seem difficult now and they keep failing, they will eventuall improve. Everyone fails at some point. Sharing those stories will lower the walls between us and make a solid ground for future learning.

@Gevlon: Sometimes you're something of a mystery to me. I thought that you used your blog as a way to spread your goblin ideas over the world. You're contradicting yourself.

Even if you don't have ads on your blog, I suspect you care a little bit more about the subscription numbers than I do. More readers = more future goblin minded people.

There are methods to get out your word just as there are methods to get gold. Why turn your back to them, claiming you don't care if people read your blog or not?

bobtail said...

To have a internet blog and updating it regularly and then claim you don't care if people read it or not is a contradiction in itself. and it's dishonest.
sorry Gevlon, you're just the same attention-seeking and self-aware writer with a wish to share and get reactions like any other blogger. you gain confidence and confirmation that people read you or even agree with you sometime like other bloggers do - this is 'the gold' of the blogger and you're on of them. you don't run a blog only for yourself or i'd suggest to go back to a diary.
and your blogs are no more and no less 'manipulative' than any others'. in this you see yourself different when really you are not. but this ofc is also too human.

MomentEye said...

@Larisa - I'm all for good writing and rhetoric.
The manipulation I had in mind was Gevlon's riff about using 'I suck' stories to "subconsciously [force readers] to do something stupid" like reading without profit.

Gevlon said...

@Larísa: in market words, I want high conversion rate and not high pageload. If 1 million devout socialists would visit my site, I would have spread 0 ideas, as they would all think it's terrible.

I want to attract intelligent people who are more or less immune to the social tricks like "I suck you are the king".

Anonymous said...

Excellent post - and I agree with pretty much everything you've said.

Ultimately, we’re drawn to failure stories more than success stories, not, I think, because we want to be validated by the inadequacy of others, but because tales of failure are infinitely and uniquely personal. Success, although admirable, of course, is the same proposition for everyone who plays: we downed this guy, I made this much, my dps is this figure.

As you say, success only takes on genuine interest if you already care about the blogger.

I think the other thing this business illuminates rather nicely is the uneasy public/private space of blogging - whether you're running it, on some level, as a business for attracting readers. Or not :)

Zaph said...

Every player in the game has had both failures and successes. To present only the successes and not the failures is far less honest than presenting it all. /bow to the honest.

Anonymous said...


Some of the best memories that I have in game are those of failures. It can be said that the failures are sometimes more educational than the successes. Failures force you to hone your skills (even if it is just learning to repair before a raid - LOL ixobelle).

I have Mr. Goblin in my current read list because I think he does something a bit better than most WoW bloggers - he sparks conversation. But, he used to do it in a kind, and decent manner. I'm not so sure I like the Goblin as of late. His posts have moved from thoughtful, and thought provoking, to borderline downright mean :(

Firespirit said...


Silly me pressed the wrong button, and posted as anonymous. Hehe, it was me :)

I Like Bubbles said...

If I didn't post my failure stories I'd have a lot less content. >.>

Fitz said...

In paging through my recently posted blog entries from my few months in the game, I realize that I write more about failed groups than our successes (or even when I was successful in Naxx with a PUG, I complained about what that illustrated about my guild). It's just natural because (1) you get more emotional about failures than successes on the whole, and (2) you always learn more from failure.

Gevlon is becoming quite interesting though, I agree with a previous comment that he seems to be more incindiary than he was before. Anyways, you are 2 of the 3 blogs I read in my short lunch break so I guess you'd be top of the blogroll if I knew how to put one together.

Anonymous said...

Great post!

I certainly enjoy reading about struggles...and write about some of mine, myself.

Not everyone is perfect, everyone WILL make mistakes. There will be wipes before wins, no matter who you are.

I think that a blog is a perfect place for people to express their thoughts and opinions. And if someone is frustrated about an encounter, or mechanic of the game, their blog is the perfect avenue for them to walk themselves through it. Not all strategy guides need to tell you how to can learn just as much from those sharing how they aren't winning as those that are sharing how they do win.

I perfer people who are honest about what challenged them in an encounter, and who are looking for solutions to solve problem. For me, I find knowing what a person went through to get that kill makes me appreciate their success that much more.

I learn just as much from other people's mistakes as I do from my own, and I am happy for others to divulge their bits of wisdom upon me =)

Bell said...

When you think about it, success and fail stories tell you "nothing" unless you explain how things went right or how things went wrong. They are both only stories and they are both the same.

I have, myself, tried to move away from this. When I had a terrible PUG group, I wrote a post about how to be a good PUG leader. When I downed Mother Shahraz for the first time, I announced it and then gave tips for healing the encounter.

What's interesting is that there seems to be a little bit of differentiation about visits and comments. When I write something short and simple like "I just turned 21!" I get twice as many comments as my Recount meter guide for healers, which was linked by and brought thousands of readers to my blog. One told a story, one gave information.

krizzlybear said...

The great reads are the ones where you can "hear the author's voice." Blogs are read strictly for the personal feel for it. Everyone who is into blogging do so for their own accord, and paint unique pictures with their own special colours. This is why I enjoy reading both blogs, even though gev's is more of an acquired taste than anything =D

Fish said...

They always say you learn more from failure than you do from success. That is usually the case. I have gotten a lot of constructive criticism from stories of my many fails.

On the subject of Gevlon, I find the majority of his rants abrasive and unreadable. I tried to give him a chance because I do greatly respect your opinion, but not all blogs are for everyone.

Bristal said...

The literary word is "Hubris". Pride and arrogance, a tendency to shame and humiliate others, often resulting in the hero's downfall. Gevlon has it in spades. He will no doubt fall at some point.

That said, Gevlon's posts as a whole are informative, his main point is often not obvious, and his commenters are extremely intelligent and well written. His ideas require effort to understand, and force you to form an opinion.

Warm, fuzzy posts about how funny it is that we all screw up and aren't we all the same deep down is fun reading and makes you feel good (social?).

I read lots of WoW blogs (and I love yours, Larissa). Gevlon's is the only one I NEVER miss. And if I go on vacation, I catch up on all back posts.

Maybe his "socials" stance allows him to take more risks. He's just got some "bite" that makes you want to see what he'll come up with next.

Larísa said...

Well, many bloggers who start claim that ”I’m only writing for ” myself”. And just lke you I doubt it. If that is the case there’s no need to go public. Still we DO have different sorts of ambitions and motivation. Everyone isn’t trying to maximise their hits. For my own part I’d never compromise with what I think is fun to write, just in order to get more visitors. It has no point, especially since I’m not trying to sell the world ideas as Gevlon is, and since I don’t have any ads. To me the interaction with the readers and other bloggers are more interesting than the numbers. But I think Gevlon actually could have some good use for techniques for persuation.

@MomentEve: Cheers! I do know that some people think that rhetoric = manipulation. So I figured that was what you were getting at.

@Gevlon: Don’t you have more faith in your own ideas and ability to get them through than that? You’re writing for the ones that are already convinced? You’re making me disappointed. And as usual: the world isn’t as digital as you think. I think there are people out there who appreciate a good read that include some self distance and irony, who don’t share all of your views, but are still interested in a good discussion. Some of them may even be socialists! (This said I’m NOT a socialist myself, but I don’t dismiss all of them as hopeless M & S.)

@Inmysissyrobe: Thanks!

@Zaph: Well… I try to be as honest as possible here,. But of course I’ll never ever be able to give you a complete picture of me as a player. I don’t write about everything, I can’t. I pick my stories. But this said, I think the stories are more interesting if I don’t just pick ones to flatter myself.

@Firespriet: oh yeah, there are fails that I STILL giggle at thinking about them. Two years ago I was at level 70, in a guild that planned to do Onyxia. So we went in to do one of the final parts of it in a raid. We hadn’t done any raiding at all (except for some wipe at Attuman ) but of course the bosses were a joke anyway at that level. So we breezed through it and were just about to leave the instance when someone managed to hatch ALL eggs at once. That wipe was epic. And so was the laughter at TS. Oh… those were the times…

@I Like Bubbles: and probably be less interesting to read as well…

@Fitz: oh, thanks! I can’t help thinking that me and Gevlon will complete each other pretty well. He bringing the salt, me bringing the sugar…

@Fallingleavesandwings: thanks! Yeah, to me the blog serves as a therapeutic outlet. I can beat myself up a bit, I can vent my frustrations as well as my enthusiasm. Some blog readers prefer other kind of blogs, “useful” ones with informative posts and guides. But then they can surely find those sorts of posts somewhere else.

@Bell: well, I try not to bother too much about comment counting. Sometimes a post with not so many comments will turn out to have a big impact in the long run – it will be linked, other blogs will write spinoffs etc. Impact isn’t as easily measured as just in amount of comments or hits. But yeah, personal stuff tends to grab more attention than impersonal guides.

@Krizzlybear: I share your taste for blogs, definitely. Still I think it’s not true for ALL blog readers. There are people who read blogs as if they looked up strats at wowwiki. I’m not one of those though. The personality of a blogger is what grabs me. And yeah, Gevlon certainly has plenty of that!

@Fish: Fair enough, fish. I don’t force anyone of my readers to hug Gevlon.

@Bristal: The fall of the Goblin, heh? Well, I don’t agree about the general quality of the comments. He’s doing a good work trying to clean out the worst trolls, but there’s still quite a deal of crap there, and I can understand that he can’t keep up to reply to most comments, due to the huge amount of them. But yeah, I’m with you about the “bite”.

Kristine said...

You don't have to be a blogger to tell stories. We all tell stories in game, its how we to a large extent relate our experiences. After all, the form of a story is easy to access and convey.

I also think the amount of success stories are limited. More then often the stories we tell are when things go bad. When the tank pulled before the healer had entered the instance, when the rogue needed on the cloth bracers etc. It might not be stories about personal fail, but telling eachother about other failings is important in informing each other and establishing what we see as good play.

After all, since Leeroy most of us learned that rushing in without your group is a bad idea ;)

Hatch said...

The whole point of Ixo just went "whooosh" right over Gevlon's head. My favorite thing about Ixo's blog is that it's funny. Gevlon almost never says anything funny. He's just sort of stuck in serious mode. If it makes him happy, more power to him, but I think he's gotta learn to understand that that's not how everyone else works, and having aesthetic preferences doesn't make someone an M&S, or mean that they are simply running easily-dismissible "ape subroutines".

There's a difference he's missing between "stuff Gevlon doesn't have a taste for" and "M&S crap", and I'm striving to see that difference myself, and hope he can do so as well.

Sydera said...

Failure is pedagogically useful. One of the best ways to learn is to try and fail and then make changes in the process. In my classroom I have my greatest success getting through to my students when I describe what the learning process was for me and what my personal pitfalls were. This technique is really effective in my writing classes. I see it on my evaluations. When I admit that writing is difficult for me, they feel better--less fearful. When you have a less fearful student, you have a person who can learn.

I'm not sure why you're a Gevlon supporter either. Early on I thought it was a pose, but over the last several months his level of vitriol for anything and everything has impressed me unfavorably. I'm not sure what Gevlon the person is like, but Gevlon the writer thinks well of himself and ill of others without even trying to really understand their posts. He uses his reading as pure reaction fodder--as such, he's not really "reading," at least not as I understand the process. He probably just didn't bother to see what Ixobelle was trying to do.

Anonymous said...

Fail stories can be useful in my opinion :)

When my casual guild tried to start Naxx, I had a mage who was very nervous that she would screw up things. I'd had raiding experience, having cleared Naxx before in Pugs/with another guild.
I told her not to worry but she would be like "You've done this before, of course you're not worried!" So I told her a couple of stories where I'd made stupid mistakes, for her to realise that I, too, once was new and made mistakes. (and still do make mistakes) She laughed and suddenly being new wasn't so bad. And that it's ok to make a mistake, others aren't perfect too.

Frostheim said...

There's also a lot to be learned from failure.

I somewhat tentatively I wrote a blog entry about my cunning min/maxing of talents after a big patch -- only to later realize that when I respecced I never trained the new ranks of the main talent (explosive shot) so was running around engame raids with the lowest rank of the primary damage dealing spell.

The blog entry was super popular, with a lot of comments of "Oh crap! I gotta go train that when I get home!"

Had I played it cool, I wouldn't have helped anyone.