Balanced? Nah.

Here’s the thing as of late: it is more popular to talk about blogging than to blog about gaming. That’s fine, being that most of us are beautiful, wonderful amateurs that do this for fun. There are no rules as to what trends can come and go, so I welcome this one with open keyboard.

I tend to get in text yelling matches with people who want to speak on honesty, integrity, bullshit like that. Talking about being fair, honest and balanced is a sure-fire way for me to say that you are, more than likely, full of shit. Let me explain if you would. I’ll keep it short.

When someone comes to my blog (in one of it’s many forms and places) and accuses me of being one-sided or “biased towards free to play games” or something like that, I tell them that yes, yes I am biased, unbalanced and leaning towards a certain style and type of game and game-play. I am a fucking BLOGGER, which means that besides the occasional fluffy little perk I get here and there, I get paid between nothing and zilch. I am in nobodies pocket, which is ironic considering how many people will question your honesty when you post a positive review about something. The point is that I am not a journalist. A journalist is to REPORT, and to avoid opinions.

How BORING.

While I respect the job of journalism, I report my opinion. (And no, that doesn’t mean I LIE.)  And as of late more and more bloggers (in this tiny world we inhabit) are getting all worked up because blogging is getting a lot of coverage (without realizing that most fads get this same coverage, and then go away) and because they might be getting a few thousand readers out of the 10′s of millions that exist in the world. Many bloggers are now setting up artificial rules for themselves, rules about “Here’s how I review..it will be completely balanced…” while we, as the readers, know perfectly well that total balance is IMPOSSIBLE. Developers try to achieve the same thing in these games we love: true balance. They try to make all classes BALANCED. What the Hell does that mean? To me, it means:

1) To avoid pissing off those forum posters that whine about stuff like “class balance” and

2) to make character classes more and more bland.

Balance in blogging is the same concept, if you ask me. Why should the blogger give a care about what their readers feel and think? That is not the point of the blog. The point of the blog is to post your opinion, firstly, and to get the opinion of your readers secondly. I have found that bloggers and podcasters that try to go for such a balanced act are a little on the boring side. No, I am not advocating going for such extreme opinions like “The developers are stupid” or “this game is broken” because those are things that are not true. (A common blogger would have no way to know all of the developers well enough to know if, in fact, they are all stupid and the game might be broken for them or even a majority, but not broken for all.) I am only saying that bloggers, if they feel it honestly, should post their opinion no matter what. We don’t need a Dan Rather act when it concerns something as fun as video games.

Let’s all get our heads out of the sand, bloggers. We are nothing but a sort-of fad right now. It will pass. Many will fall off, like podcasters do. Only those that really enjoy this will continue doing it. Only those that are truly doing it because they love MMORPGs will be around in 3 or 7 years. Blogging is the same as Twitter, MySpace, Chat Rooms of old and many of our games, which is to say that they will attract a crowd for a while and then settle down into the people that truly love the medium.

Now stop worrying about what ANYONE thinks. Post whatever you feel. Be the grump if you’d like, or the burnt out raider.  Be the blogger that posts nothing but role-play. Whatever it is you do, just do it honestly and listen to your readers only after you have posted your thoughts. Of course, I don’t make rules for you to follow, so do what you will.

But for fucks sake, stop talking about balance. You ain’t a robot.

Beau

6 thoughts on “Balanced? Nah.

  1. I used to get the same thing Beau. It just shows how obtuse some people can be when they can’t distinguish between a blogger and a new site. Bloggers do NOT need to be impartial or balanced. Blogging is the height of opinionated content – that is it’s purpose, providing a personal perspective. I find it funny that those people who bother commenting and telling you what to do with a your blog that you pay to keep up versus uh, just not coming back again if they’re unhappy? Alas, that would make way too much sense for some. *sigh*

  2. Good post. Even if that were our aim, its utterly impossible to divorce ourselves from the filter of personal knowledge, experiences and biases. The best one could hope for is relative transparency about such influences and biases (not to be confused with “disclosure”)– an expectation and understanding you’d expect most readers to bring with them when they came to any blog.

    I’d go one step further than you did though. Journalism, however noble minded, is subject to the same limitations and frailties of human nature. Its job is not necessarily to just report without opinions as “objective”, “fair and balanced” reporting in any context are oxymorons.

    Was a time in the not too recent past when, for example, each city had two three or even four major daily newspapers reporting on the current events all of which had relatively transparent, well known points of view. Some might have been at relative extremes of viewpoint while others more moderate (when compared to their audience). They were, however, unabashedly biased or opinionated and the readership was left to think critically and or synthesize their own opinion from those in the marketplace of ideas.

    Once upon a time, thinking, you see, was required for understanding. At some point, someone got the bright idea to sell objective, fair and balanced no-bias (wink wink) reporting to the masses. Indeed, the current runs through J-schools and wider academia as if reporting were the clergy, complete with its own dogma to be observed, lest you be excommunicated from its ranks. The (mis-)belief in “objective” media is marketing that means, come here, read/view us, you wont have to think, we’ve already done that for you…

    That sort of opacity and corruption of motive is far more caustic than any open bias or opinion could be. Even more so when the fourth estate starts to believe its own myths as being the vicar of truth and objectivity. Objectivity is unattainable, so lets not pretend its out there, nor that any individual is capable of delivering it.

  3. I can’t see it’s a problem if individual bloggers decide to attempt to be balanced. It’s just another stance.

    The chances of getting a majority of bloggers to be “balanced” is about as likely as getting a team of cats to pull the carraige at the Lord Mayor’s show, so I don’t think we need to worry about the blogosphere developing objectivity any time soon.

    This dichotomy between “bloggers” and “journalists” and “professionals” and “amateurs” is bogus, too. If you get paid, you are not an amateur, period. Many bloggers get paid. Being a professional doesn’t make you any good at what you do, it just means you take money for doing it, however badly.

    And newspapers have had bloggers for, literally, centuries. They’re called Columnists. Changing the distribution medium and the title doesn’t change the activity.

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