Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Men behaving badly

Seismic Stan does great work with the blog banters, but he quite often raises such deep topics that by the time I'm done thinking about them, he's moved on to the next topic.  ;-)  Even more often than that, though, my thinking carries me off on a tangent that sometimes doesn't really have a lot to do with the original question.

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.


  1. As a "barely clinging on" member of the blog pack due to recent inactivity, it is a major source of hits, but there's also a LOT of people who are pretty active in EvE and on the forums who have no freaking clue that it exists. I applied to an alliance a while back and several of the directors had no idea who I was and had NO idea what the hell the blog pack was. My ego was shattered. SHATTERED I SAY!

  2. Just a slight correction Ripard; at no point was this discussion a blog banter. It didn't need to be, it just happened naturally.

    The blogpost you've linked ( An Ecosystem of Wordsmiths ) was just my thoughts on the storm-in-a-teacup that was the topic of the day.

    As more posts started to crop up across the community, I just collated a list at the bottom of the post out of habit and for reader convenience. I like to think of it as a guerilla banter, but it wasn't an official Blog Banter.

    This discussion started completely organically and was, to my amusement, the strongest sign of a healthy blogging community I've seen for a while.

    The irony is delicious.

  3. I know what you mean about the "going negative" thing. I'm always disappointed with myself if I write a needlessly negative blogpost, or even a tweet or forum post. So for the most part I try not to.

    I think negativity in this sense is a sign of over-investment. If something about EVE matters enough for writing to become vitriolic and inflammatory, then it's time to take a step back and think.

    I'm not sure about Poetic's approach to discussion. He's a great writer, but he's either wilfully confrontational for his own amusement or he's suffering from a touch of autism and doesn't see how antagonistic he often is (I doubt this). Either way, he's a hugely entertaining force, if only for the social car crash effect.

    Apparently antagonism, sensationalism and drama are the tools of choice to get things done on the interwebs these days.

    I blame the Goons. It's always their fault.

    1. Weren't you the guy who called me Eve Online's media dictator bcz I wasn't running my featured blogs they way you wanted; publishing what became a tired tirade of opinions about the same issue (which is why banters become pointless beyond a certain point).

      Then I remember you "banding" with Marc and spreading some vitriol my way. Anyhow, nice to know things are "working out for you". ^___^

      Regarding Marc's involvement with Mittens dot com, it makes you wonder how long until he wears out or gets into an argument or figure out he's doing someone's else hard-work in exchange of ingratiation and a chunk of isk… (an stipend payment which is actually meaningless to mittens given how much he has and how little effort he put in getting it)

      Endie did the same and seemingly worn out (unless he just tough for himself "let's get some idiot do my job", in this case that would be Marc). Then we got Bagehi - who went there and still is in really good terms with me.

      Bagehi's case is interesting, when he was in EN24, he used to run 2 or 3 pieces a day, which is an excellent turn out for more than a year and a half with no signs of wear. He left for Mittens mostly for political reasons and his output - along the work output of many others in there - has been abysmal. OFC RL has been the main factor behind this, but he did had a RL back when he was in EN24 (AFAIK). I read this as a lack of managerial skills from Mittens behalf. And I say managerial skills, because sometimes managerial skills mean showing off and leading by example among your peers (specially for startups) - Mittens has never been known as a man who leads by example, he leads by other people's examples. Real life is quite different than EVE and in that regard Mittens hasn't been that successful in it. (What kind of successful lawyer retires at 30? really?).

      Part of my blogging syndication model was designed to ensure the survivability of these bloggers should EN24 disappear. On that topic, are currently reinventing ourselves. In this regard my recent partnerships are based off giving those who deserved it, a fair share due to their hard work. I wonder how many of those editors in mittens dot com will get a similar deal?

      At least they got Mittens "endless" gratitude, I guess.


    2. Riv, as I recall I compared you to Rupert Murdoch in a private convo and it was intended as a back-handed compliment. This seems to have appealed to your ego as it's not the first time you've brought it up. :)

      I've never had any problem with your decision to bolster your website content with the material from other sites, I think it's great to encourage the sharing of traffic across the community.

      But I don't see your continued need to attack Blog Banters. That's where we had a clash of opinion - we disagreed on what was good for the community and you continue to exhibit that same lack of understanding. Blog Banters are by bloggers for bloggers, it's a way of encouraging a cross-pollination of readership. If you don't want to read any/all of them, that's fine. But it is an effective way of keeping the community together.

      You then reneged on a number of agreements. You agreed to support the Blog Banters by syndicating the opening post and the summary each month, but then chose instead to cherry pick individual entries for syndication rather than supporting the community equally as we had agreed.

      When I approached you about the issue, I was given a load of attitude which essentially boiled down to an arrogant "I'll do what the hell I like" speech. Of course I was disappointed, but I've done my best to not make a fuss about it. Whenever I write about EVE news sites I tend to mention both EN24 and TheMittani.com in the same sentence. I try to be even-handed about it, but you don't make it easy.

      There was no vitriol when I opposed the idea of you operating some kind of EVE-Bloggers clone. But you had exhibited to me that you had no capacity for fairness or community spirit and operated solely according to your own whim and self-interest. You'd proven you were neither reliable nor trustworthy and I did not want to see the future of the blogging community in your hands. I certainly do not trust your motives and don't believe you for a moment when you claim to be supporting bloggers, you've effectively told me otherwise.

      I think the tone of your comment speaks for itself in underlining my point about over-investment and negative writing. It's a shame, sounds like you need a holiday to unwind and get some perspective.

    3. seismic.stan: You are an unregulated law unto yourself. Nothing anyone can do, but you're not very consistent.

      I accept that you are essentially a media dictator who has more balls to jufggle than the ones I'm concerned with, so I can't expect you to give it much thought.

      The funny thing is you were mainly pissed off bcz someone had come up with a self-supporting model which would could render Eve-Bloggers useless, which is why you hastened yourself into white knighting someone else's interests. Now that EVE bloggers is going down the irony now is priceless. And despite claiming it to be a coincidence, I sincerely do not believe you, Jester is spot on in the reason for which you wrote that banter.

    4. You're clearly dedicated to making everything a petty competition, discussing things you've proven to have no real understanding of and ignoring presented facts, like the fact I didn't start this discussion, it wasn't a blog banter and EVE Bloggers is not "going down". So I'm not going to waste my time trying to explain it further.

  4. This is also a feature of blogs generally. Text is an extraordinarily lossy communication medium, and it's :effort: to imagine a favorable context in which another point of view could be articulated. Plus, trolling and mudslinging get page views. Journalists and aspiring journalists have counted on that for as long as the profession has existed.

    It's wrapped up rather neatly in Godwin's Law, which came out of the swamps of USENET.

  5. Casual reference not to you but to posters who's arguments strangely mirror yours in paragraph two. Insinuiation that you may not have thought through it because of existing biases in paragraph four. Welp, ignore the last six paragraphs boys, it's a hit piece!

    Victim card much?

    We'll not even get into the irony of you talking about Mittani's indignant defensiveness while being completely and indignantly defensive. Oops, just did.

    1. Mynnna, your first paragraph is completely unintelligible. What were you trying to say?

    2. It's Goonie blabber... does it have to make sense?

  6. Apparently I'm more well-known for being 'that guy from reddit' than my blog. vov.

    1. I see you on reddit all the time and only barely remember that you have a blog too.

      I suppose the same would hold true for me as well, as my blog hasn't been updated in months and I shitpost all over /r/eve every day

  7. Why even write about a blog post that is writing about your blog, when the author of that blog did not even understand what you were writing?

    Mynnna is accusing you off stuff that you simply did not wrote. And now you gave him more relevance with actually talking about his post?

    Anyway, I think the analyse of Mynnna on the passive csm shows something very important. The CSM seem to have no idea what to do. If the current CSM would have anything of real value to offer to CCP they would, but it does not seem like they have a clue. Shame that Mynnna did not notice his own flawed logic in his article, else he would have come to the same conclusion.

    1. I think the CSM have some pretty specific ideas. It's just that those ideas might not be in line with what CCP Ripley and other CCP management wants to do. I'll get to that post.

  8. I've now noted at least two 'pieces' on TM.com based on your own blog. They have had some excellent stuff on it but now most of it is benign shite or pretty much lifting blog posts, rewording them and calling it commentary. Ironically something they bash EN24 for.

  9. Sorry I missed this earlier. I was fighting to stay out of real jail and missed it.

    Excellent article and well written. Lighting fires isn't easy and it is dangerous, but it is also the only way to ensure growth. Stagnation is a horrible thing. The Eve Community, in particular bloggers, needs to burn every so often. More new blogs have started recently... which is not a coincidence.

    When CK started the blog pack it was a briliant and much needed way to promote Eve bloggers and promote excellence. The world that existed then doesn't exist now. Google Reader, Mobile Phones with the internet on them, Twitter, RSS Mobile, all of these and more were not even around ( or at least not as popular and widespread) when CK started the EBP.

    The community continues to evolve. And either we grow with it or we don't. There is no middle ground.


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