Editorial: Please Answer My Million Gold Question

Let me tell you a secret. I’m worried. Okay, not breaking news given I worry about things every day, like anyone else. Y’know, I worry that I’m getting fat (or as I like to put it, “going floom”). I worry that my new I Am The Intersect T-shirt looks silly because, while it wins geek points, it only came in mens’ sizes. I worry that overnight my country will morph into  something in which citizens have no basic rights and there are knocks on the door at midnight.

Those are silly things to worry about. Except maybe the last one. For the most part they’re things I don’t need to stress over. But what I want to talk about today is something I’ve been wondering about for a while and which affects you. At the end I have a question for you, whether you’re a blogger or non-blogger.

I’m worried because the MMO blogosphere is said to be an insular community. It’s a well known fact that there are loads of blogs out there, most of them WoW-based, and only a fraction of all MMO players read those blogs or even know they exist. Blogs tend to attract other bloggers as readers first – though to be fair there are a few exceptions to the rule, mostly larger blogs. Generally, working out how to attract non-blog readers is a constant conundrum acknowledged by many gaming bloggers out there.

By extension, I’ve been wondering whether MMO Melting Pot is going that way: it seems that bloggers interact, discuss and comment more, and that non-bloggers are more passive – I’m wondering whether they feel less welcome. Or simply whether I notice this trend more than I should because I know who out there is a blogger 😉

Some of the things we do at the Pot are focused specifically at bloggers, like the blogger map. On the other hand, many of the things we do are focused at both bloggers and non-bloggers: simply featuring posts or highlighting new blogs on the site gives bloggers some extra limelight, and gives non-bloggers something interesting to read (we hope), for example, and the upcoming features are very much for both non-bloggers and bloggers to interact simply as fellow gamers. And of course, there’s loads more. Either way I think (without solid prove) that a lot of our readers here at the Pot are bloggers, rather than non-bloggers.

Don’t get me wrong – I love that bloggers come here and interact, and we couldn’t be this blog without you. But maybe we, too, are falling into the insular “blog read by bloggers” state. And given that our #1 purpose is to be here to serve the community – which includes both bloggers and non-bloggers, I want everyone to feel welcome and included, and like we’re a resource for them. Bwah. Maybe I’m worrying for nothing.

So anyway. I figured I would open this can of worms and find out how you feel both on a single blog level and on a wider blogosphere level. I know there are no good solutions to helping gamers to find a blog or website if they don’t have any way to know you exist (though if you think I’m wrong and have ideas on that, feel free to share). Basically what I’m asking is this:

If you’re a non-blogger, do you feel welcome here, or do you feel a bit like there’s an exclusive ‘blogger’ club and that you’re not as included as you might be? Why? Do you feel that in general about gaming blogs? Is there anything you’d like added/changed to this site to make you feel more at home to share your thoughts, or anything you think the blogosphere at large can do?

If you’re a blogger, do you think this is a problem in the blogosphere? Have you noticed it, do you worry about it, do you wish there was more we can do to reach out to non-blogging gamers? Do you have any ideas? Or should we, primarily, follow the age-old addage: write for ourselves and not worry about who our readers are or where they come from?

But the million gold questions – firstly this “gaming blogs are an insular community” thing has been around for ages but are we worrying for nothing – is it a vampire myth and untrue, or is it actually true? And then if it is, surely we’d hypothetically like to reach out to include more people in our community – and surely there’s something we can do about it?

Let me know what you think. I’m listening.