Monday, February 24, 2014

In my opinion... a phrase you're almost never going to see here.

Recent posts on other blogs have gotten me thinking about opinion essays. They are a stalwart of the OSR blogosphere.  They are, quite possibly, the mainstay of the OSR blogosphere.

I hate writing them.

I have opinions, and I'm not particularly reticent to express them, but I'm not particularly judgmental and I'm not fond of conflict. There is a deep-rooted part of me that does not care how anyone else plays their game, and finds it peculiar that other people actually have emotions about it. Proselytizing my beliefs has no appeal to me; condemning others has no interest; I generally find it more efficient to show rather than say; and when writing for the OSR and Swords & Wizardry, I honestly enjoy working within the context of the system even when it's disagreeable or awkward.

When I first got online, back in the glory days of TSR AOL, I did so expressly to network with the designers at TSR.  Online time was limited, so I picked the board with what seemed to be the best/most intelligent conversation and TSR participation.  That was the Greyhawk board. I listened, I learned, I read, and I wrote Greyhawk.

Fifteen (sixteen?) years later, I still haven't ever run a GH campaign. To my knowledge, I might have played in one GH game, at Gen Con 1999. I homebrew my campaigns.  But writing for Greyhawk, and the feedback from the wider audience (including Roger Moore, Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, Gary Holian,  and Eric Boyd) was an invaluable education, and the only thing I regret is not seizing more of the opportunities that knocked on my door (hint: when someone at TSR sends you a message that there's an entry level position open to run the copy machine and you should apply to get your foot in the should DO IT.)

Writing for Swords & Wizardry, I learn something with every post and every comment.  Sometimes this blog is my private little podium behind which I toot my own horn, but usually I think of it as a product.  A whimsical little product that doesn't answer to anyone but me, but a product nonetheless. A game-content delivery product, because that's what amuses me.  And I hate writing opinion pieces.


  1. I rarely encounter this phrase beyond a few immature young gamers lacking the capability of logical, cogent thinking. It assumed all have opinions. I believe the "fright factor"comes in when immature/untrained/stupid individuals are allowed access to the internet.

    1. In my opinion,

      This phrase has a place in any discussion where it's important to stress the subjectivity of the proposed ideas. Discussions sometimes get heated; interlocutors become defensive, vehement, or both. Using this and equivalent wording to bring attention back to the subjectivity of the viewpoints can be an effective move to de-escalate a conversation so that relationships can continue to be built or, at the very least, maintained in a community. Is it a NECESSARY part of discussion? I don't think so, but I do think that it can be useful, even in mature, nuanced discourse.