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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Actually, it's none of your business.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday August 12 2009 at 11:46AM
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Man, what a rant-fest I have been on lately!

Several items have fired off this blog:

1) Tobold's blog about "Blogging Ethics." He talks about being sure to divulge any free "gifts" from developers or companies that he might cover.

2) A thread on MMORPG.COM about free stuff that players might receive.

3) Discussions about players getting angry at developers for posting about their vacations. How dare they vacation!

Simple things, but they add up. Over the last several years that I have been more involved with communities than games, I am always surprised that players even ask about such personal things. First, let's talk about bloggers or podcasters receiving "free stuff." Does it happen? Sure. So, why is this even relevant? Many players seem to think that if you get a free poster or glow-in-the-dark pen or free access that you're opinion is tainted and will more than likely lean to the positive. Even if the game sucks, you will give it a glowing review because you saved 15 dollars.

payola

Not only is this is the largest sack of s*** I could think of, but even IF it was true, how is that not the natural order of things? The point here is to get to playing the game. If you are a developer, do you ask bloggers/podcasters to buy your game for 50 bucks, and then ask them to sign up for 15 bucks a month? That's ridiculous. You spot 'em a deal, and allow them to get to the game. If that same blogger goes to a convention, you don't expect him to pay to sit down with a developer to play through the game for an hour? They sit down and log in.

If Tobold feels as though it is "ethical" to tell everyone every time he shakes some one's hand, more power to him. I admire it, but to be honest I just don't care if people think my opinion is tainted. It's an opinion, and the readers/listeners are supposed to have their own.

I want to make sure people understand that I understand that these are the more extreme examples, but it is linked to players thinking that somehow a developer or a blogger or podcaster is not just a human being just doing something. In the case of most bloggers/podcasters, we are not getting paid. At all. I blog every day, in a few areas, and receive nothing. If someone wants to throw me a Light Saber throw towel, go for it.

Of course, my payment is the interaction I get with the fantastic people I have met, players AND developers. Gaming is such a small, small world and is very open to pretty much anyone coming along and making a home.

But think to those that think that freebies being throw around equal biased BS filled reviews and opinions, I will point a few things out.

1) Get with the year, say, 1960. Payola happens. It can taint opinions one way or the other, but so can bloated pay options, cruddy betas, or whatever. A million things can effect an opinion in a million ways.

2) Bloggers/podcasters are NOT journalists. They are teenage girls, keeping a diary. Instead of talking about the cute boy in class, they whine about patches. You do not expect them to remain unbiased when talking about, essentially, toys. Certain levels of excitement or excitement over interactions with the toy-makers can and will adjust their opinion. We are not talking about the crisis in the Middle East, or about health care. Those are subjects that rarely effect us directly, and even occur in other lands. It would be much easier to remain cold and unemotional if the story had no effect on us whatsoever.

3) The players that have an issue with "journalists" receiving any type of gift or high-five or smooch from a developer need to ask themselves if they ignore all the kick-ass swag at video game conferences/fan-fests. Of course not. They grab up that stuff like their lives depended on it. But I will assure that a person-to-person opinion (the one that the gamer has) carries more power then any 1 out of 5 million name-less bloggers out there.  You, as a player, can effect more people than you think, trust me. But snagging free s*** doesn't effect your opinion?

This issue, to me, connects to the idea that developers or "industry people" are somehow not human beings. They are. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a genre of entertainment that is more accessible to it's fans than MMORPG's. You know where a lot of the developers came from? The fanbase!

If you think some one's opinion might be tainted by getting a free pewter figurine, then take what they say as...

...an OPINION.

Form your own. There has always been and always will be the possibility that a blogger or podcaster could not only be feeding you a biased opinion, but outright LIES, and you would never know. Don't place so much trust in someone else's opinion. Use it in consideration for your own opinion, but just as part of the bigger picture.

And, if you really really want to, form your own podcast/blog. Get involved. As someone that just decided to try it one day, I can tell you that the industry is filled with more cool people that are down-to-earth and cool than most. Players AND developers.

And then, when a developer wants to give you a free mug that says "I live to PWN!" you can refuse it for the sake of unbiased opinions.

Beau

Golarum writes:

Beauturkey, honestly I have never agreed with any of your articles, I still read them hoping to one day see something that I would agree with, but to no avail.

I understand that an article like this is just an opinion, but when you volunteer yourself to bring some info to the community, then you hold a certain responsibility to bring them your TRUE opinion. For example, you try the game out, you give it a 5/10, then they give you a free pen and suddenly the game is 8/10? You call that having an opinion?

If I volunteer in a hospital, I have some responsibilities, I cannot go around doing whatever I want because I am not getting paid. It was my decision to volunteer, therefore, it is up to me to do the job to it's fullest.

I am sorry, but if you do not want to give your real opinion about a game, then DO NOT even write about the game. We all know what the devs want us to think about the game, we don't want another person who gets a free pen telling us what the devs think. We want a true opinion, that's all.

Thu Aug 13 2009 11:20AM Report
beauturkey writes:

 You need to make sure that you are reading the blog I wrote.

 Not only are you finding things that aren't there (saying that I am saying that we do not present our true opinion all the time) but you are comparing my lil girl diary to working in a hospital.

 C'mon man!

 Here's the simpler version: do not trust anyone. Do not be surprised when you find out your favorite writer got free stuff. Use their opinion to fire off your own!

 In other words, DON'T BE NAIVE.

 

 Beau

 

Thu Aug 13 2009 12:54PM Report
haratu writes:

Even if a blogger is a journalist (which happens frequently) there is no reason they can not be biased, as any good journalist knows, they spend more time making an article biased than not. The exception to this is science journals (not magazines) where if you are biased you will not get published. 

Personally I try to be as least biased as possible, I know some people like a game, and I mention that in my article before I slam it. a good example is:

"While many people appear to enjoy the gameplay of ______, I find that it is very similar to numerous other games like _______ and ________. Apart from the graphics nothing much has changed."

Such a statement is an example only, but by giving in a bit to one side people are more likely to listen to you. Most good reviewers do this.

 

Thu Aug 13 2009 6:34PM Report
jdkskip writes:

That's kinda of funny Golarum. My wife works in a doctors office. Do you know how many drug reps visit a doctors office in a month? In august she'll have 10 visits, each bringing in little gifts and a lunch. So the next time your doctor writes you a prescription for some pill, ask him/her if the prescription they gave you was because the drug rep just visited, or because it's thier professional opinion.

Fri Aug 14 2009 10:46AM Report
Golarum writes:

Well first of all, I never said anything about you NEVER giving your true opinion.

All I am expressing is that if you volunteer to give your opinion, you should try to never be biased because of the gifts you get. Yes it is a personal opinion, but it should be YOUR opinion at ALL times. Not 80% of the times.

I'll tell you an anecdote: My uncle works in a big architectural firm in Cali, 2 years ago, he got this big deal to build a private hospital for these big money type guys. While on the project, they visited his house, gave him a car and asked him to try and be loose when it comes to following the rules about the security of the building and just try to go the cheapest way to save them some money. He didn't say anything and took the car. When the work was done, they noticed he didn't go the cheap way and reproached him of taking te car and not doing what they asked for. He said: You gave me the car for my great work, and you suggested something I did not agree with, so thank you for the car and here is your building. He did not have to follow their instruction because they gave him the car. They were pretty pissed after that lol.

But my point is you will always get gifts in your life when you are in a position of making a product look good, but you do not have to listen to the people trying to control your opinion, just take the gift and come back and give your real opinion.

And as I said, I am not accusing you of not giving your real opinion all the time, I am just saying that it should NEVER be biased based on a gift recieved.

As for giving an example of the hospital and the architectural firm, I am just talking about the principle of the thing, not saying these things are as important.

And jdkskip, I was talking about the volunteers in the hospital, I know that most doctors are corrupted but that's not an issue, all I was mentioning is the responsibility of a volunteer.

Fri Aug 14 2009 11:03AM Report
beauturkey writes:

Golarum:

 I have been in bands/music for 23 years, been doing this podcast thing for about 4 and been on the internet for 10. Also, I have been working half my life, on several rungs of the ladder.

 You have got to understand that when some guy or girl comes to you and spends time with you and explains exactly why their product might be great, or might show you their product personally, that your opinion could be swayed a bit because that is part of the package.

 If you're looking at a brand new show car, you might feel a bit differently after you were able to take her for a spin. Did you ever think as to how much of our opinions on games are based on simply the mundane aspects, like grinding, logging in, making a character? If someone was able to get you past any hurdle and showed you what the game could be capable of, your opinion would be different.

 We are not talking about a company trying to give me hush money because their product sucks. We are not talking about politicians passing money under the table to hide delicate secrets.

 We are talking about players getting little stupid gifts from companies, the SAME STUFF that you would receive FOR FREE if you went to a comic-con, a Fan Faire or any other event that gave out SWAG.

 When you get swag, do you suddenly fin d yourself a blind fan of the game?

 Again, I am simply telling the truth. But try to not play yourself off as someone that is not influenced by simple, fun little gifts. But also don't confuse the "influence" I am talking about as the type that will completely change your opinion.

 Thank you for the comments, though! :)

 

 Beau

 

Fri Aug 14 2009 4:30PM Report
Golarum writes:

Now we're talking Beau, the way you just explained it is much better than the way you did in your article.

You change your opinion because they showed you the depth of the game, and because they sold it to you with all their pretty words and stuff hehe! That is something completely different, and for once I agree with you :)

But to tell you something, I will not get into details, but I NEVER get swayed by gifts. There are reasons for that, but as I said, we are not here to discuss me.

So to end this, I do agree that we can have a change of heart after we hear and see what the game is all about.

So thank you for clearing this up.

Peace

Sat Aug 15 2009 11:28PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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