Marc Scaurus was until recently an excellent EVE blogger, but has dropped that to be an editor at themittani.com... more about them in a few minutes. In the process of taking on these new responsibilities, he indicated that he would be letting most of his responsibilities outside themittani.com lapse. But he did assure his readers that the main blogging-related responsibility he'd be keeping would be the EVE Blog Pack. Now for EVE bloggers, the Blog Pack is a pretty big deal. I don't know about other EVE bloggers, but it's been a top three referencer of readers to Jester's Trek since I was first listed on the pack in early spring 2011. Many months, only Reddit ranks higher as a traffic source for my readers who don't come this way directly via their blog-reader-of-choice or their bookmarks.
Already apparently secretly unhappy with the Blog Pack being under a Goon's control and using Marc's shutting down of his own blog as an excuse, Rixx Javix declared the Blog Pack dead or dying and said it was his intent to take it back over (it was under his control before). Marc took this as a bit of a declaration of war, and this started a running feud between the two that lasted several days... with a lot of bloggers looking from one to the other wondering what ws going to happen next, since both draw a lot of water in the blogging community. In the midst of this, Marc wrote an interesting philosophical little post called "The Future of the Community". The title was over the top -- Marc was just curious what people thought about the Blog Pack -- but it prompted Stan to start a blog banter on the topic. It also prompted the Section 8 "Podside" podcast to invite Marc and Rixx to discuss the issue, with myself as referee and interested commentator.
The result of that conversation is available on the web, the second pod-cast I've been invited to since the end of my CSM6 campaign. That said, since I wasn't involved in the feud, my contributions to this pod-cast were pretty minor overall. Still, if you're interested, go give it a listen. It's #52 down the list, and my thanks to the Podside guys for the invite!
As these things often do, the "feud" turned out to be something that was settled quickly and fairly amicably on both sides. Once you get two people talking to each other rather than at each other, or trying to score points, that's the way these things often go. But -- and I'll be come back to this, too -- scoring points at the expense of a perceived enemy is often at the heart of how a lot of us play EVE. EVE is a dark, cold, unforgiving game, yadda yadda yadda, and a lot of EVE players resort to becoming dark, cold, unforgiving types to play it. Some of this seeps into our activities that are EVE-related, rather than in EVE... such as -- for instance -- blogging or writing stories on themittani.com. And suddenly you've got a player community that's often perceived as harsh and negative.
And if there's a player community ready and willing to go negative, EVE's is it. We often attack each other as a matter of course.
The biggest surprise I received in November was Poetic Stanziel endorsing me for CSM8... and I'm not even running that I know of. This is a blogger with whom I've crossed swords a time or two. Overall, I respect some of what Poetic does, and other times, I think he goes out of his way to troll people. If the two of us were ever invited to the same pod-cast (perhaps with Mord Fiddle as referee this time), he'd probably have things to say to me, I'd probably have things to say to him. But the "feud" would almost certainly be amicably covered. But in a dark, cold, unforgiving game... it's hard not to go negative.
One of the (fair) criticisms that Poetic has of me is that I've backed off my Twitter account and rarely post on my Ripard Teg account on the EVE Online forums. The former is something I announced myself back in August. While I appreciate and respect the #tweetfleet community, the tendency of EVE players to go immediately harsh and negative, when combined with Twitter, results in disagreements that get quickly overly emotional and out of control because there's no room for nuance in 140 characters. It's far too easy to be misunderstood. The tendency of EVE players to go negative, when combined with most forums, results in taking the Penny Arcade "Internet + anonymity = dickwad" theory to the nth degree. It just results in a really low signal-to-noise ratio, particularly on the EVE-O forums. So while I lurk in both of these communications mediums, I rarely use them myself.
One of the topics that came up during the Podside podcast between Marc and myself were many of the "features" on themittani.com that are written either by former or current bloggers, or by people who could be bloggers but usually don't have the writing output to do so. Some of these "features" are really just opinion pieces on CCP (one example) or EVE alliances or corporations (one example). And every once in a while, the opinion pieces hit individual EVE pilots. Sometimes, these features include the disclaimer at the top that the piece is the opinion of the author. I encouraged Marc to do this every single time, and he said during the pod-cast that he'd look at it. He's not there yet. ;-)
One of the things that The Mittani himself used to despise -- and was probably a factor in the creation of themittani.com in the first place -- was EVE News 24 or bloggers doing hit pieces on him without actually talking to him. And indeed, sometimes themittani.com features on individual pilots or EVE entities include such interviews with the people involved (one example).
But you know, sometimes they don't. On Monday, I myself was the target of a themittani.com hit piece -- er wait, sorry, "feature." Was I interviewed? Nope. But I was compared to Rush Limbaugh and it was implied that I'm representative of some sort of Rushian army ready to do... something. It's not clear exactly what. Now I'm a big boy with a thick skin, and Marc would be quick to remind me that this piece was the opinion of the author. But this is just the sort of thing that would have driven Mittens wild were it done to him... only now it's being done with his name at the top of the page.
This is the nature of EVE: it's a dark, cold, unforgiving place with a lot of men that like to attack each other. Thousands of people have stopped playing this game because it happened one too many times in game. And from time to time, you get people that stop because of things that happen out of game (White Rose Conventicle, anyone?). Again, it's the nature of the beast.
But this is one of the continuing challenges that CCP faces when trying to grow their player base. When you play EVE, there's a risk that you'll die in game. And then there's the risk that you'll come under attack or be an object of ridicule outside the game too. A good example of this kind of behavior occurred during Fanfest this year, though I can't quite remember what it was. In that case, the perpetrator was punished under the EULA because it happened during a CCP-owned internet broadcast. But there's no EULA preventing such behavior on Twitter, or independent EVE-related forums, or blog posts... or on themittani.com or EVE News 24.
Heaven knows that I do it myself if I feel someone has done something dumb enough. The hit piece says I did it to the CSM, though members of the CSM itself realized and have communicated to me that they understand my view is a bit more nuanced. That comes from them actually... you know... talking to me and vice versa.
But the default position of the EVE community is to go negative. That's kind of how EVE is. The fact that we accept that is what makes us part of the EVE community. And unless CCP works to change the fundamental nature of the game, future players would have to deal with that. So if I were going to write in Stan's blog banter about the EVE community, that's what I would write... assuming that answers his question.
Tyler Durden: Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.