Advice on Blogging Safely Without Fear of a Gkick

I sensed a disturbance in the force. As if millions of unsatisfied WoW bloggers cried out in terror before being silenced.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic but I wanted to offer up some advice to both bloggers and guildmasters about guild stuff that gets blogged. I’ve been on both sides of the coin and I’d gladly share my experiences with those that are a little nervous about coming out to their guild that they’re a closet blogger.

So in this post, I want to expand on a few aspects of blogging about your guild.

  • What spawned this post
  • The guild master’s perspective on the blogger
  • The blogger’s perspective versus the guild
  • Why blogging is good for the application
  • The negative side effects
  • My personal limits
  • How to “out” yourself

A quick background

There was a question on Twitter asked a few nights ago regarding the revealing of your blog to your guild. It eventually turned into this post by anea. I responded that I had no problem with it and that I encouraged it. After a bit more reading and research, I came across a rather disappointing story of a blogger who got the boot over their blog Whoops, factual error. I misread. He didn’t actually get canned. He left of his own accord. Larisa detailed her own thoughts regarding the situation. The folks at Hots & Dots listed their stance on it too.

As a guild master

I go out of my way to remind the bloggers in my guild that they are free to write about whatever they wish, but have some tact. If it’s a problem with myself, a situation, conflicts, or policy issues, that it be brought up with myself or an officer first to see if it can be resolved. After that, they’re free to blog their experiences and what not free of reprisal. It’s not fair to me if I am told that there is no problem only to find out minutes later on their blog that they got treated poorly or had some really bad experience somewhere. It becomes even worse if it’s something that I could have fixed.

Again, I stress that I would never gkick anyone over their comments on their blog. I might be a little hurt but it comes with the territory. I’ll gladly remove players for attitude reasons or what not, but their blog is their territory. It is their personal haven for their thoughts. I don’t exactly pay these guys unless it’s in epics. I would never dream of with holding Holy Paladin loot for the Bossy Pally (especially now that she’s our only one).

Besides, have bloggers in your guild can be a positive thing. They’re ambassadors of your guild to the public and to potential applicants. Bloggers can offer an idea of what raiding or day-to-day guild life is like. This helps applicants reach a better conclusion on whether or not your guild is a good fit for them.

Note: I mentioned this in Anea’s post, but I am most likely the exception as opposed to the norm. Guild masters have take a variety of stances and perspectives when it comes to stuff like this. Some will embrace it and others will feel threatened by it. Not every person is willing to have guild business on the internet and will view it as a private and internal affair. I guess you could say I lead one of the rare few blogger-safe guilds in existence!

As a blogger

In previous guilds, I’ve been just a raider who blogged. So I definitely get that whole feeling of wariness and caution. But you know, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I knew I was a fairly decent Priest and that raiding guilds love Priests. If I was going to get booted for having a published opinion, then I didn’t want to be in that guild anyway.

The trick though is to write without being utterly spiteful. Don’t come out with guns blazing when you face a problem. Write about it with a sense of style. Write it calmly. Write your drama posts as you would an objective news reporter: The facts. Add your opinion, your feelings, your thoughts afterward.

My blog has always been my personal outlet when I was frustrated with different aspects, proud of various achievements, or if I simply wanted to get my thoughts organized somewhere.

It can also act as a thermometer.

When you notice your blog starts to have more negative posts about your guild, it’s time to re-evaluate the guild you’re in. In the past, I’ve read blog posts centered around dissatisfaction with certain policies or actions. Then I think to myself, “Man, that player and that guild certainly did not make a good fit”.

The story of the bossy pally and how she conquered

I’m going to pick on the bossy pally here just because I’m her GM.

Ophelie was not the first blogger to apply to the guild. A while ago, there was a hunter by the name of Amava who applied. You may remember that hunter blogger from a long time ago. But I knew the name, I knew the blog, and I already made up my mind to pick him up. I only skimmed his application. If memory serves, he actually did list his blog in it. Amava has since retired from blogging and is now a social and casual player.

Now the bossy pally on the other hand, did not. She merely mentioned that she had a blog without listing her URL. When I saw that, my eyes narrowed, my knuckles cracked, and my brain turned full tilt.

Here was a supposed blogger who applied without listing their URL.

First, the thought on my mind was that came up was “Why?”.

Why would anyone withhold their blog URL and from me of all people?

Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re a little intimidated that what content they have on their blog isn’t good enough. Are they embarrassed? But why be embarrassed? There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Unless you have a terrible blog layout with really bad eye gouging colors and the inability to type properly, I’ll definitely give applicants that chance.

But, I will absolutely deny an applicant if I find their blog aesthetically vomit worthy. Comic Sans MS?! Fuchsia (I hope I spelled that color right)?! Really obnoxious ads that obscure everything?! Not in Matt’s guild!

Regardless, I was determined to find her blog. I’ll walk you through what I was thinking.

How does showcasing your blog help your application?

  • Demonstrates your knowledge: I want to know what you know. If it’s about raiding? Great. Class knowledge and posts? Perfect. Even if your blog has nothing to do with the game, I’ll still hunt it down anyway because it offers me an insight into your personality. I have this theory that when it comes to writing, people unconsciously imprint a part of their soul or essence into their work. It offers a glimmer or a window into what makes that person who they are. Thankfully, when I saw her blog, I was satisfied with what I saw. Here was a person who was young and new to the world of blogging but had a solid grasp of their class. Her blog layout? Passed with flying colors.

How might showcasing your blog work against you?

  • Content censorship: I think this is something that bloggers wrestle with internally. There is a political aspect to this. “If I write about this, will the leadership get mad? If they get mad, does that jeopardize my status in the guild?” Bloggers, especially those new to the guild or who aren’t as “established” in their organization tend to be a little cautious. No one wants to piss off their boss intentionally. No one wants to screw up their raid spot or have that epic drop accidentally mislooted. As a result, you’re not quite as free as you think you are because you’re subconsciously trying to put up a positive image of not rocking the boat.

Writing about guildies and my limits

Unless my guildies already blog, I’ll never list them by name. It’s more of a protective measure. Every day, I get various tells and emails and such. Most are positive and some aren’t. The last thing I want to have happen is for that sort of publicity spillover to the rest of my guild when that flak is undeserved and unnecessary. I’m a little paranoid about it, I’ll admit. It might be unjustified even so.

All the same, it allows me to blog about certain… finer, humorous moments in the guild without opening them up for exposure. I would never shy away from writing about the positive outcomes. At the same time, while I may be reluctant to write about the negative experiences, I won’t be afraid to dish that out either. If someone in the guild epically failed and took 18.63 seconds to shake of the Pact of the Darkfallen on Blood Queen, I’ll write about it but withhold their name. The primary purpose of the blog has always been to teach and to get you readers to think. Readers can learn from my successes. But they can just as easily learn from my failures. As long as someone out there is getting some kind of value from what they’re reading, then our job here is done.

Be careful about the dirty laundry you decide to air. It could very well come back and bite you in the ass.

Again, you have to remember to be tactful about how you come across. This is the internet. It’s a little difficult to convey tone. Saying “You moron!” like House is vastly different saying “You moron!” in a playfully, teasing manner.

Various ways  to “out” yourself

  • Forum post: Create a simple forum post announcing your blog’s URL and what it’s about. Solicit some advice and feedback about what they like, didn’t like, and what they’d want to read more about.
  • Stealth: Insert it in your forum signature. See how long it takes for people to notice.
  • Announce in guild chat: Maybe log on late or early when there’s a few people around. Subtly leak it to the players that are online. Say that you’re working on a little WoW project.
  • Scavenger hunt: Just say that you have a blog. Leave no URL. Leave no clues. Leave no other indications. Make them work for it and lose sleep until they find it.

So how has Ophelie turned out so far? In about 2-3 months, she’s come a long way. When she was first in the guild, she had a tough time speaking at all or saying hi. Now she actually speaks and has even taken the initiative to lead a 10 man.

Lastly, I’m not saying you have to out yourself. That’s your personal move. You shouldn’t be afraid to though.

Let this be a warning! No applicant’s blog will ever be safe from the super blog stalker! Of course, you could just also not say anything and I wouldn’t have a clue (unless I recognized your name like I did with Amava’s).

Ugh, I’m losing my touch. I look at this post and it seems like I’m all over the place. I suppose that’s just blogger rust. The formatting looks weird! Where’s my coherency? Where’d my flow go? I’ve lost my blogging mojo! Sigh! But whatever, I want to get this post out.

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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