Sunday, August 4, 2019

Everybody's Got An Idea

So... while I was lounging around at the taxpayers' expense, I found myself pondering a few things about Blaugust and this blog and what changes I might make.

Change and I have a testy relationship. I positively enjoy chaotic change provided I'm observing it not experiencing it, for example. I'm also generally open to systemic change provided I'm introduced to it slowly and have time to assimilate how it might affect me.

Then again, I have a strong tendency to know what I like. MMORPGs that hope to sustain themselves by the sale of Cosmetic Items are unlikely to see much of my money for the simple reason that I tend to set a look for each of my characters and then keep it indefinitely. That, after all, is what they look like.

When it comes to this blog, I established both the visual appearance and the content at a relatively early stage. The color scheme has never changed since the first post almost exactly eight years ago. It probably never will.

I'm not even sure I want him to look this drippy. It's just what he does look like.

The only major change I've ever implemented was around six years back when I borrowed some settings from a very helpful website called The Blogger Guide to stretch column width beyond what Blogger allows.That mod is credited at the very end of the blog, after the insane tag tail, where I doubt anyone's ever seen it. I really hope I never have to fiddle with those settings because The Blogger Guide has vanished into the ether along with all its tips and tricks.

For various reasons, then, I don't have any plans to change how Inventory Full looks. That leaves what it's about. I created the blog with the specific intent of writing about MMORPGs. Not about "Gaming" nor even about "MMOs" but about the longform acronym.

Back then there were a ton of blogs like that, writing about a specific MMORPG or a selection or the whole genre. Over the years, as MMORPGs fell out of favor, largely due to none of them managing to seize World of Warcraft's crown, I saw most of my peers, contemporaries and seniors either drop out or convert to more general gaming topics.

I don't play a lot of games other than MMORPGs but even after twenty years I still play a lot of those. Virtually every post here is tagged "MMMORPG", although sometimes the connection is as tenuous as a screenshot. That's the focus of the blog and it's not going to change. Much.

Not an MMORPG. Might as well have been, though.

As I've often said, MMORPGs may make up the lion's share of my gaming diet and then some but I have a number of other obsessions that run deeper and longer. Literature, comic books, movies, and, most especially, music.

Again, as I've said before (it tends to come up in Blaugust, when we all seem to enter some kind of group therapy session) I always intended to feed musical references into my writing here. I started with a very bad idea that I really hadn't thought through.

I opened each post with a link to a song, band or video. That lasted precisely six posts before I gave up. Looking back at those posts today I'm surprised to see that to all intents and purposes it's the same idea I've been using with increasing regularity in recent years, only now, instead of shoehorning the link into an opening paragraph I just use the title or lyric fragment for the post header.

Whether it's more effective to explain the reference and include the link in the post to which it relates or to collect them all up into an annual (or, as it now seems to be, semi-annual) playlist I'm not sure. I know which is more fun for me, though.

What I might do - and I literally thought of this as I was writing this post - is to start to a monthly "This month's musical references" post. Then I could collate the whole thing into an annual playlist for the end of the year.

The main problem with that is it sounds a bit organized for me. I'd be pretty much bound to forget a month here and there, then it'd be question of playing catch-up or skipping and next thing you know it would be too much trouble and that would be that.

Also it doesn't address another issue, which is that I'd like to do some posts that are only about music (or books or movies or whatever). Tyler Edwards introduced a "Song of the Month" post a while back and I alway enjoy reading that but I think if I started I'd need to do more than a dozen a year. I also see that Syp, who's always posting about video game music, now has something called Sunday Serenade, which is a nice idea and probably getting closer to what I have in mind.

The obvious solution is a separate blog. Several bloggers in the roll over to the right have more than one blog - Shintar and Wilhelm come immediately to mind - but maintaining two (or more) blogs sounds like a lot of work and it would be starting over from scratch. Still might do it.

For the time being, and particularly with Blaugust in the picture, I think I might experiment by just dropping music bombs right here. I currently have just under two thousand songs in my "Good stuff I found on YouTube" folder alone (it's not actually called that, although maybe it should be).

That ought to keep me going for a while. Knowing myself as I do, though, what I'd like to keep as short, sharp posts will likely as not turn out to be essays. I could do a couple of thousand words on that specific Superorganism performance above, for a start.

I'm going to include this as a contribution to Blaugust's Topic Brainstorming Week because, rambling though it is, it addresses the general them of "What Am I Going To Write About?" After eight years I still haven't made up my mind and that's my advice: don't.

Don't tie yourself up in knots with self-imposed rules and regulations. Let the content flow. I completely uinderstand that for many people structure and pre-planning are helpful but there's a big difference between planning ahead and painting yourself into a corner.

Which is kind of what I feel I may have done to myself almost without noticing. It's a very cosy corner and I've been very happy here but maybe it's time to go take a look out of one of the other windows. If I don't like what I see, I can always come back.


  1. I've done the multiple blog thing in the past.

    Probably never again.

    I'm all for being even just a bit more flexible on what you include on your main blog instead. :) 100% agree with you on not backing yourself too far into a corner (although I very almost did exactly that when planning my return in Jan).

    1. Seperate blogs seems elegant but either one is going to languish with no real audience or interest or they'll both pick up/keep readers and you'll find yourself with two separate readerships. And if what you get is the same readers reading both then what's the point of having two?

      Definitely not going that way!

  2. The two blog thing... if one of them wasn't a screen shots only blog, it wouldn't be a thing. In fact, EVE Online Pictures was just an experiment in blogging that got away from me at some point and now it is eleven years old.

    I thought about duping my EVE Online posts over there at one point, but even that was too much work.

    If I were to go back in time, I would just post a weekly EVE Online screen shot on TAGN or something.

    As for staying on topic, whatever that means for my blog, at some point I declared that weekends were for whatever. So you get book reviews or random things not necessarily related to... *checks notes*... MMORPGs.

    1. When I linked to EVE ONline Pictures I wondered why I'd never added it to the blog roll. You've mentioned it many times but it literally hasd never occured to me to add it. I think that has a lot to do with the way you refer to it, which isn't dismissive but always seems to set it aside as something entirely separate.

      I think two blogs would just be too much work. Luckily my blog's name is general enough to cover anything, although no-one is ever going to find it on a search for music or movies. Still musing on it but I'm pretty sure some non-MMORPG posts are going to start creeping in soon.

  3. "Don't tie yourself up in knots with self-imposed rules and regulations. Let the content flow".

    This. It's the best advice you can give. If you have a broad remit then your really can write about anything you see fit. I see my blog as me sitting out on my front drive with a trestle table. Each day I get to put what I want on it and if people are interested, they'll stop and have a look. I write about caring for the elderly, movies, games, blogging, podcasting, music and the odd minor bit of politics. If I go on a day trip to the coast or a museum, that's becomes a blog post. And the odd thing is, it all gets read to a greater or lesser degree. Funny how after a time, your readers tend to indulge you :)

    1. One reason I gave myself such a specific remit eight years ago was that I was quite apprehensive about putting myself out there in the first place. I'd been filling up other people's threads with post-length comments for years but having a fixed location where I could be found by anyone at any time seemed a bit scary. At that time I wouldn't have wanted to reveal much about myself or take on anything much more controversial than game mechanics but over time that has changed a lot.

      In eight years I've probably had three or four unpleasant comments at most. Almost everyone who takes the time to comment is polite and friendly, even when they strongly disagree. I always intended the blog to be a personal diary and I was never searching for an audience but I found one anyway and it's full of lovely people.

      I read loads of blog posts about things I'm not particularly interested in because I am interested in the bloggers themselves. It's a loose, dislocated, virtual Ccommunity but it definitely IS a community.

  4. Agreed with everyone else here that the answer is to just do it here. Readers will read, or they won't. There are certain kinds of posts that I skip on some blogs, accepting that this particular content isn't relevant to me like the other 90% is, and that's fine and doesn't chase me off. I feel like that's a pretty common sentiment amongst those who are still reading video game blogs out there


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