Damn you, hivemind!

Squidman, over at Elves ate my homework, recently mentioned that he’s been taking a break from the blogosphere, and I can’t blame him. If it weren’t for Old School Rant I’d probably be following no more than a handful of blogs (Grognardia for sheer volume and quality, plus I’m mesmerized by the Dwimmermount reports; Playing D&D with porn stars because Zak is just a bottomless pit of good ideas; Eiglophian Press for my RDA of Weird Tales inspired goodness; I guess I could just point to the blog roll over there which I started mainly to give my own contacts some entry points to the OSR). But in fact I find that I can’t even keep up with the blogroll, and barely have time to check in on some others that are in my bookmarks but not yet on the blogroll (Cyclopeatron, with its demented art, Save or Die!, with its rather high-concept back-to-basics sandbox, etc.). Which is ok. All too many posts here have been riffing on what I’m reading elsewhere and frankly what I like about other blogs is their own unique content, not their commentary on other blogs, and so I think I’ll be trying to keep my posts limited to stuff I’m doing, not a report on the other blogs. I still have a ton of figures to paint poorly and photograph in bad light!

As an aside, I think someone some day could do a fascinating study of how these little blogosphere ecosystems develop over time. They seem to reach a tipping point where some kind of aggregator is needed to manage the sheer volume — Old School Rant arrived exactly when we needed it! On the other hand is also interesting to see how ideas, themes, and links proliferate. One week everyone is posting about playing with their kids, and another week everyone is posting about level limits for demi-humans, and another week everyone has some ideas or questions about Chainmail — it is really interesting to see how we feed off each other and how ideas travel. I’d just stumbled on Ramblings of a gentleman gamer and his link to the TSR writer’s guidelines/code of ethics, and a day or two later Grognardia is posting them in full and igniting a shitstorm of discussion about them. Whoa. Old School Rant points to Grey Elf’s OD&D supplements and A paladin in citadel discovers them too a few days later. And compare this to this! (It’s OK, Middenmurk, I’m not mad at you! Your comments are right on.)

The blogosphere will eat itself. Or else we really are more monolithic in the OSR than we think. Or more likely we are connected enough to pick up memes from each other and not even realize it. Or maybe we just tend to think about similar stuff because it is inherently interesting and we have similar tastes.

Anyway, let’s hope this my last entry with an “Other blogs” tag! I have a few half-written posts that I’ll still eventually publish but my plan, for now, is to concentrate on the figures, on Dungeon Delvers, and games I’m playing.

Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m with you 100% when you state that you prefer unique content and opinion rather than commentary on other blogs. Me, personally, I take it one step further and my eyes glaze over when I find essays on the hobby, its origins, style and roots. I know that Grognardia is huge, but I just like to cook for my friends and wreck shit at the table, so I don’t read it. When I read a blog, I look for the author’s personality. If I can’t get a sense of who they are or what they are about, I move on.

  2. There just isn’t enough time in the day to go over all of the great blogs that have cropped up in the last year. I used to have a handle on it, but my own blogroll has gotten so big that I feel bad about having to rotate through it.

  3. I sometimes wish the blogosphere had a ‘logical topic file’ that could start somewhere, be passed from blogger to blogger (gathering input along the way), and then find a final resting spot.

    Just from the Tharizdun work, I can tell you… it really is monolithic and there’s an eerie sense that we are following parallel trails of thought.


    • Yeah, if only there was some way for people to start discussions of some topic, and let others reply and answer questions and suggest links. It could be like those old cork bulletin boards 🙂

      But seriously, forums get overloaded. I used to read and post on The Miniatures Page, and numerous eGroups/Yahoo groups, and so on. Information scientists call it the information glut.

      Regarding the monolith, I think it is partly we are reading each other’s posts and so on, getting a lot of he same inputs, so naturally the outputs are similar. But there is an immense diversity, too, which is great.

  4. Yes, the proliferation of great blogs is exciting but also pretty overwhelming. I agree with you about preferring new creative material over self-referential rants and such. As you were eluding to, it would be nice to have an evolving meme tracker to help keep track of all these new blogs.

    I used to focus my reading on a handful of the popular blogs, but these days I’m finding a lot of the most interesting and exciting material on the newer and less-known outlets. It’s tough to keep up with everything, but fun!

  5. Several things,

    Damn that’s a bit creepy, the synchronicity/convergent evolution thing does seem to crop up fairly often but how is it that we both stumbled upon different verions of the same image and used them to illustrate posts dealing with similar ideas? (i.e. an acceptance of D&D’s combat system as actually pretty good after all)

    Not to mention the fact that you found my blog at all. I’ve been kind of hiding it until such time as I felt I had enough decent content to go about blowing my trumpet (except for one small mention on trollsmyth).

    ahem… http://middenmurk.blogspot.com/

    Anyway, bravo for having such a damn fine blog and thanks for the shout-out.

    • Thanks! The picture just screams D&D and hit points… I first saw that image a good 20 years ago in a book on longbows (The grey goosefeather), and actually used it a little later in a poster at my college gaming club to recruit some GURPS players (AD&D 2e was the drug of choice for most of them), with a caption like the one on my blog now.
      Middenmurk sounds like a cool setting.

      A google image search of “wound man” turns up a few similar ones. I guess they were for training field medics back in the day.

  6. […] you, Hivemind! I take it all back, Hivemind.  I still love […]

  7. […] sad fact is I am pretty out of touch with the miniatures ends of the the blogosphere.  As I have whined publicly before, I can’t keep up with the OSR, let alone another whole domain like minis.  But miniatures […]

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