Alexis at Tao of D&D. In this post he derides the recent "Build a Better GM" trend that hit the RPG blogosphere. He seems to have the impression that it was a fruitless effort. Or at least that's what I took from reading the post. I encourage everyone to read it and let me know what you think.
I for one felt the Build a Better GM meme was very enlightening, as it gave many perspectives on the art of running roleplaying games. It gave some food for thought, advice, and tips. But unlike Alexis, I didn't think anyone was trying to define in stone what makes "the perfect GM."
I don't understand this guy at all. Who spends so much time being so...angry? Standoffish? Curmudgeonly? Whatever you want to call it, I just can't fathom why someone would want to waste precious moments of life being so downright grumpy about a hobby. Being a grognard is one thing. But being Alexis is something entirely different.
In the past, I've tried to communicate with Alexis in what I thought to be a rational manner, questioning his particular scathing approach to RPG blogging. For my desire to understand more of his motivations and perhaps offer a different viewpoint, I've been "permabanned." He pretty much won't let any of my comments on his posts see the light of day. In fact, I take credit for his switch to moderating comments. So, in light of my inability to comment on his blog directly, I've decided to comment about his posts on my own blog. As Alexis might say, "My house, my rules."
(By the way, regarding the standoffish "my house, my rules, I can do whatever I want" approach to blogging: when you invite someone into your home, do you slap them in the face when they compliment your wallpaper? Just because you own a "domain," be it a home or a blog, doesn't necessarily mean that you have carte blanche to lash out at "guests" and be rude to them, even those guests that disagree with you. If you want to consider a blog to be a virtual house, then what about the ancient tradition of hospitality? Let me put things another way: I bet Gary Heidnik was a big believer in "my house, my rules, I can do whatever I want.")
On another level, I don't understand why so many people put up with his attitude. There are so many people who comment on his blog that he, in turn, berates. It's like going to a "wise man" (and I'm nowhere near actually considering Alexis a wise man) in order to obtain wisdom and being verbally abused at the same time.
Why do I care? I guess I keep expecting there to be a bottom to Alexis' well of disdain. I check in once in a while to see what vitriol he's spouting, and he never fails to deliver. I also think that the guy has a lot of good stuff to offer the blogosphere, but he wraps it in such a noxious package. Thus, there's also a failed opportunity here, in my opinion.
Isn't one of the myriad reasons we blog to connect with our fellows and share thoughts and celebrate our hobby together? But wherever humans gather, there are those who seek to deride for the sake of derision.
He's given tidbits of information about his motivations, and I feel like he's an incredibly intelligent person with a lot of personal pain from his past. So he's no longer much of a conundrum for me, I suppose. I guess I'm just confused why someone would take what most would consider a positive thing (sharing opinions/advice regarding GMing) and see it as something ultimately futile. Like Raistlin's hourglass eyes, which doomed him to see the decay in all things...
I guess everything truly is a matter of perception.
Alexis has stated that I seek to "change" him. That's not true at all. I wouldn't presume to try such a thing. Rather, my eternal statement to him is this: you don't like something in the blogosphere, so be it. But that doesn't mean you are better or smarter than the rest of us who do like it. And it definitely does not mean you are the arbiter of what is, and what is not, a worthwhile topic.
UPDATE: Alexis posted a "rebuttal" to this post, and someone commented "i would rather have a person be harsh and honest then nice and lie about what he truly thinks of things."
To this I ask: why do "harsh" and "honest" need to go together? Can't you be "nice" and "honest"? Is that's what becoming part of our culture, a belief that you have to be harsh to be honest? That's really depressing, if it has any truth to it.