I'm not sure if you are all unfortunately familiar with it, but one of the many scourges of piece of garbage television culture here in the US, is a series of programs on the Bravo channel called "the real housewives" of "blank (insert city here). The program concerns itself with a bunch of whining, spoiled, vapid, fake, almost universally moronic and always cruel women, who with their emasculated husbands (or boyfriends) parade around fighting with each other having pissing contests over things like who has the better boob job or who can spend the most money in an afternoon. Its the worst kind of mind rotting trash imaginable, akin to nothing but watching people argue for a hour. Unfortunately, women love it. I know some very Intelligent women who shockingly love it. They say its like watching a trainwreck, they see parts of many of their friends in these shameless shrews, and the weekly trainwreck provides them with endless entertainment. Until today I thought I had grossly overestimated the intelligence of some women I know, but then today I read this article on Bell of Lost Souls.
I've railed against Ard Boyz's before and what worthless pile of dung it is, an antithesis to the wargaming hobby, and something no one I would spend 5 mins talking to would ever play in more than once. (Hey- we all make mistakes right?) This article is about a recent Ard Boyz event, taking place in only what I can assume is Texas, and pretty much says it all,- zero hobby, cheating, physical intimidation, all over toy soldiers. This is what much of the 40k tournament scene has become stereotyped as, a bunch of "real housewives" a bunch of knuckleheads, who ought just go throw dice against the wall for money than bother with the wargaming hobby. While I know not "all" 40K events and players are like this, it is a real subsection of hobby that puts an embarrassing stain over the the rest of it just like steroids in Baseball. My greater point here isnt "how bad Ard Boyz sucks" but how places like Bell of Lost Souls perpetuate this behavior, and are these aggregator type blogs, even good for the hobby?
Let me say now that as much as this looks like one, it is not a shot at the guys who started BoLS, who did so surely with the best intentions, while I know neither personally more than in passing at Adepticon or a few emails. I do know they are passionate hobbyists with love of their game and their gaming community. As we all know sometimes the best intentions go astray, outside themselves and with the exception of a few smarter guys that have moved on, the writers are bloody awful, the articles, overall terrible and immature. Most of the "breaking news" is usually days old, recycled from other blogs. Other games are mentioned in passing, but we all know its primarily a 40k blog and The 40k articles generally promote, ultra competitive, Ard Boyz style play and hence its behavior. The kids are clearly minding the store and the whole thing at least to me looks like one big episode of "Real Housewives", not just the regular Episode but one of the special reunion ones, where people sit across from each and argue and scream at the top of their lungs for two hours.
The problem I have is two fold, One- like the trainwreck of said show, I can't help myself from reading it and now I understand where these women I know that watch this garbage are coming from. Two- on a more personal level is a matter of public perception. I see BoLS lack of self policing really just damaging to the overall perception of hobby because it indirectly hurts noble efforts like Heroes of Armageddon ( in which hobbyist built and donated 4 awesome armies for doctors without borders, raising over $30,000.00) While I am not sure there is even any cross pollination between the HoA team and the BoLS community the association is there, because of the blog and the HoA logo plastered all over it. So when you read some of these insane articles about the 40K hobby like I've mentioned. That is just frankly bad for business. Thankfully HoA has come and gone, but the greater point remains. Whether you like it or not Bell of Lost Souls has become somewhat of gatekeeper to the hobby, and when the gatekeeper, looks like the "crypt keeper", your going to scare away just as many people as you bring in.
I would not presume to tell the guys at BoLS what to do, or how to clean up their act. That simply isnt my place, I am one guy with a blog and an opinion, and these days they need to change the old adage from " opinions are like a-holes" to "blogs and opinions are like a-holes". This is just whats on my mind today. I'm not afraid of self analysis, I know I have easily become one of those old grognards who will inevitably will fit in better at Historicon than Adepticon I am sure sooner than later and thats ok, I am also aware its possible, maybe I just dont get it?.
My only bit of wisdom would be to point out that blogs are different than forums, and the shenanigans that go on at certain forums have there place where the public face of a news aggregator doesn't. Just like certain blogs with a narrower focus, are far less offensive, despite objectionable content, because they are not "gatekeepers" or don't try to put everything in one bucket or be anything more than what they are.
So unlike the "Real Housewives" trainwreck the women in my life just cant stop watching, I can't just drop Bravo from my cable channel, but I certainly can disassociate myself from the BoLS alliance and its place in my blog roll so I dont have to watch the trainwreck. In fact I am retooling the overall coverage of the blog anyway to be non-GW, removing the majority of the GW only and 40K blogs, with exception of "hobby only" powerhouses, like Dave Taylors blog, From the Warp and Santa Cruz Warhammer., because despite the traffic I did get from BolS, I have pretty good idea of who reads this blog and who doesn't.
42 minutes ago