Ravyn Freewrites: Aggregators and Expectations

(Writer’s note: looking over this, I could see it as coming across as either a whinge-fest or a diatribe. I know there have been other times when something that I intended as an exploration of my own mental processes that happened to begin with a thing I didn’t like was taken as a rant about a Thing, so—I have no quarrel with anyone involved in this incident but the unknown hacker who kicked it off; I am not attempting to self-pity or play Lone Virtuous One; I simply wish to explore the idea of expectations.)

I don’t remember when I saw the rejection email from the RPG Blog Alliance in my inbox. Friday evening, over game? Saturday? One of those days. I learned later—took me until today, in fact, though they sent the word out Sunday—that it was the work of a hacker. That I could definitely believe. Particularly the part where if you’re going to get rejected, you get a warning, a chance to figure out what the problem is before the hammer falls. (It also told me I need to check my email more often.)

At the time, though, I believed it to be genuine. Mostly because I’ve always felt that the RPG blog aggregators weren’t quite sure they wanted me. When I was with the RPG Blog Network, they didn’t take my whole feed, just my specifically RP-related feed, and since I was paid per unique visitor back then, this meant that I was far likelier to have a week in which I didn’t put up any content applicable to writers than to have a week in which I didn’t put up any content applicable to tabletoppers. I don’t think the Alliance has quite as stringent rules, and they certainly use my full feed, but, well, it’s for the dice crew, not the pens/wordprocessors/novel-mapping bunch. So when I saw the email? My first thought was, “Ah, crud, my running out of topics skewed me too far towards the writing side of things, that’s why I’m out.” (It occurred to me later that the week in question had been almost entirely gamer-stuff, and not even the posts I apply to everyone because it’s world-building or characterization or making sure the description doesn’t miss something important, but hey, expectations influence a lot.)

Which, I suppose, explained why once I was done with the “this can’t be” and the “this was coming eventually” and the “was it something I wrote? Didn’t write? Forgot to code into a sidebar?”, the next thing I did was actually think about whether I was going to protest. Not being tied to an aggregator focused on one of my emphases meant I didn’t have to worry about whether I was favoring one over the other. About whether I could afford not to favor one over the other.

And really? I don’t think anything is going to change. As it always does, the night’s topic will spring from whatever factlet or in-game incident or bizarre aspect of history/science/human psychology/other subject happens to kick forth the ideas. I’ll game, I’ll write, I’ll synthesize, and I’ll analyze everything that holds still long enough until it reflects the world at me.

What else is a writer but a person with a compulsion to write?

Leave a Reply