Category Archives: blog thing

Blaugust and Consolidating Your Blog Reading

Sure, one of the main aspects of Blaugust is getting people to start up or keep going with their blogs, writing, if not every day, at least more than usual.

Blaugust Reborn

But the reverse of that coin is reading blogs.  If we’re all busy writing more than usual we should all make some time to go read some of this extra output.

However, we as a group, and blogs in general, are a scattered bunch, with addresses all over the internet.  And, while you could easily favorite/bookmark all your regular sites in your browser, that still means you have to go and check up on each and every one regularly to see what is up.  If you check daily, then the less regular sites will start to seem a wasted effort, while if you check less frequently then those daily posting sites will be a chore to keep up with.

What you need is something you can check that will show you the new stuff.  Well, the internet has you covered, though not as well covered as it once did.  Here are some options for reading blog posts.

RSS Feed Readers

This is likely the default approach for most people, and there has traditionally been a lot of options in this area, both online and offline.  Back in the day I used to use an offline reader for both RSS and UseNet because always-on internet wasn’t a thing, and even when it was I felt the need to archive some sites.

Google Reader changed that.  It was light, readable, and had a lot of additional, useful functionality and dominated the RSS reader market for a stretch.  At one point damn near everything, from Outlook to Firefox, had RSS reader functionality, but why complete with free from Google.  Then Google killed Google Reader, hoping that we would all swap over to GooglePlus.  I’m still annoyed about that five years later.

So some of us were left looking for alternatives, none of which quite lived up to Google Reader of old.  Meanwhile, the continued growth of social media caused some of the options to, if not give up on RSS, reduce the importance of RSS compared to other areas.  NetVibes went that way as an example.  Other sites, like Digg, that would have been well positioned to pick up the slack, had long since wandered away from RSS.  Digg actually killed off their reader.  Still, there are some decent choices out there:

The Old Reader – An attempt to recreate the Google Reader experience, a light and useful online reader, and a good one at that.  It is still doesn’t have features that Google Reader had back in 2008, but it has gone in other directions to connect with social media.  A solid choice, and it is free last I checked.

Feedly – Where I ended up after Google Reader.  Solid, has a UI that works for me, and free for basic functionality.  I pay for premium which, among other things, lets me hook it up to IFTTT in order to run the blog feed in my side bar.  Still lacks features that Google Reader had in 2008 and is building out new features in directions that do not interest me personally.  Also is starting to get a bit too smart for itself.  If, for example, a site you follows changes its RSS feed URL, Feedly won’t let you just add it without jumping through some hoops.  It keeps trying to force you back to the original address.

NewBlur – Another site that benefited from the demise of Google Reader, so much so that the new traffic brought it down.  Another solid choice.  I am not in love with the UI, but I am picky about things like that.  Worth looking into.

There are others out there, but none that I have any experience with, though I would be interested to know about others.  Do you use Comma Feed, RSS Owl, or some other reader?  Consider that a Blaugust writing prompt if you want.

WordPress.com Reader

I wanted to break out the WP.com reader for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it isn’t strictly an RSS reader.  Also, I have been critical and dismissive of it over the years, but it has finally grown into usefulness.  Among its benefits:

  • Easy to follow other WP.com blogs with that follow button
  • Can still follow non-WP.com blogs
  • Can use categories and tags to find blogs

That last item is the biggest feature to my mind.  WP.com has long had a strong yet almost unknown tag and category feature.  You can, for example, create an RSS feed from a WP.com tag or category and see all the posts that use it.  For example, this one does it for the tag “eve online”:

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/eve-online/feed/

This is why I get annoyed when people are lazy about tagging, especially when they uses “wow” instead of “world of warcraft” or “eve” instead of “eve online” for their posts.  The latter choices are specific, the former generic and used for many other things.

Anyway, you can search by tag or category to find new blogs.  I have found a few new MMORPG blogs that way.  I have a regular set of tags I look at for just that sort of thing.

The downside of the reader is that the interface isn’t ideal for me as I tend to prefer a compact view with more titles on the screen, and there is no reading the whole post.  Still, if you have a blog on WP.com, you should check this out, if only to find new blogs.

Bhagpuss’ Side Bar

Once again I pitch how great the Blogger blog roll widget can be, at least if you configure it correctly. (I have seen it configured badly.)  Go look at Inventory Full and check out how it is done.

There are long dormant blogs on the Blogger platform that still send me a regular trickle of traffic because of that blog roll widget.

If you want a reader of your own it is a legit option to create a blog on Blogger and use the blogroll widget to display the latest posts.  You don’t even have to put it on the side bar.  You can configure the feed to use the main space of the layout.

Use This List

Anyway, now that you are thinking about readers you can use the list below, which features all of the participating blogs this Blaugust, as a place to start populating your reader.  If you just want the RSS feed links you can find a list over at Armagon Live.  It should be at least as up to date as my own list.

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Hobbits Journey
  3. Aeternus Gaming
  4. Ald Shot First
  5. Arc’s Oddities
  6. Armagon Live
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Athernes Adventures
  9. Aywren Sojourner
  10. barely readable diary
  11. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  12. Bio Break
  13. Book of Jen
  14. Brain Dump
  15. Built on a Daydream
  16. Calamity Jess
  17. Can I Play Too
  18. Casual Aggro
  19. Cinemaxia
  20. Contains Moderate Peril
  21. Daily Creative Thinking
  22. Deez Wurds
  23. Diary of a Guild Leader
  24. Endgame Viable
  25. Fresh Eyes in Gaming
  26. Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism
  27. Galumphing
  28. Gamer Girl Confessions
  29. Gaming Conversations
  30. GamingSF
  31. Geeky Dad Fitness
  32. Glyffe
  33. Going Commando
  34. Gray’s Cozy Nook
  35. Heattanu’s Game
  36. I’m Not Squishy
  37. Inventory Full
  38. JVT Workshop
  39. Knifesedge Blogs
  40. leaflocker
  41. Learn Japanese Online
  42. Leeterati
  43. Magen Tales
  44. Mailvaltar – MMOs and other stuff
  45. Me vs. Myself and I
  46. MMO Syndicate
  47. Mmosey
  48. Moonshine Mansion
  49. Municipal City
  50. Murf Versus
  51. Nerdy Bookahs
  52. Neverwinter Thoughts
  53. Nomadic Gamers, Eh!
  54. Ocarina Farms
  55. Party Business
  56. Pizza Maid
  57. Plan B Better
  58. Princess in a Castle
  59. Professorbeej is Awesome
  60. Psychochild’s Blog
  61. RandomX
  62. RunningShoes.tv
  63. Ryuh Note
  64. Scarybooster
  65. Self-Distract Sequence
  66. Shadowz Abstract Gaming Blog
  67. Shards of Imagination
  68. Simply Janine
  69. Soul of the Forest
  70. Stabbed Up
  71. StarShadow
  72. Stropp’s World
  73. Symphony On A Chip
  74. Tales from the Backlog
  75. Tales of the Aggronaut
  76. TechJoy2Day
  77. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  78. The MMOist
  79. The Parent Trope
  80. The Path They Walk
  81. Thinking Play
  82. ThisThingIsNeat
  83. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  84. TroytlePower
  85. Unidentified Signal Source
  86. Welshtroll
  87. What’s Occuring
  88. Why I Game
  89. WoW Alt Addiction

 

It Is Blaugust and What Should I Even Write About?

Blaugust is upon us.  We are off and running.  If you want to see everybody involved, I am trying to keep the list I made up to date on my first post about this year’s Blaugust.

Blaugust Reborn

And according to the organizing post this week is:

  • August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.

After a dozen years you might think I have a plan here, a guide as to how to crank out a post almost every single weekday for year after year, with enough ideas left over that I have to double up some days or move into the weekends.  According to my eleventh anniversary statistical nightmare post, I had written, on average, 1.097 posts per day over the life of the blog up to that point.

And I seem to be keeping on that track.  I wrote 34 posts just last month, 32 in June, 31 in May, and 32 in April.  You have to go back to March to find me slipping under one a day, and then I wrote 27, which is still more than my target of one every weekday.

So how do I manage this?

I’ve covered bits and pieces of this before, especially during the old Newbie Blogger Initiative, where I tried to dispense what little practical advice I could muster.  In a lot of ways blogging is a very personal thing and the topics I pick and the way I go about writing work for me but likely wouldn’t work for you.  Different experiences, different lives, different values, all sorts of things drive what we do.

But I will straight up say that one piece of advice I gave out during the 2015 NBI stands pretty true:

And Low standards. I cannot emphasize how much just wanting to write something, versus wanting to write something good, helps out.

A lot of days it is that simple.  I don’t want to write something epic or filled with deeper meaning or pithy quotable passages or that is headline news and gets thousands of page views or retweets.  I just want to jot down something about video games I am playing.  Some observation or change or marking or a current or past event.

There is a strong nostalgia thread in what I write, or a history thread if you prefer.  I am still cranking out posts about TorilMUD, an online game I started playing back in late 1993, which was almost 25 years ago on my calendar. (I actually have three more posts about TorilMUD in draft form, so we’re not done there yet.)

But in writing about that I often come across things I wish I could remember or had written down some place.  I wish I could remember, as an example, the start and end dates of the various iterations of the MUD.  So, to some extent, knowing that I am missing so much information on games I have played in the past drives me, and that is basically everything before late 2006.

There is the difficulty of finding some of that information.  Yes, WoW is pretty well documented.  I can find a screen shot of Captain Placeholder when I need it.   But there is this line in the late 90s, before digital cameras were everywhere and when disk space was at a premium compared to now, where information dries up pretty quickly.  And even more recent but smaller games can pass by without much coverage.  And none of that marks what I was doing at the time.  I need to do that, and to do that I must write!

So you might reasonably expect this blog to have a lot of very short posts.  I think one every weekday is too few for my state goal.  So how am I doing so far this year?

2018 Site Stats Through July 31

So I am writing about a post a day.  July 31 was the 212th day of the year.  But I am writing what many might consider longer posts.  An average of a thousand words each feels like a lot to me.  I will run on.

Sometimes I run on to capture details that I know I will want.  Often in my EVE Online posts about fleet operations I will mention things that happened in the fleet, like an argument breaking out over BBQ sauce, because that flavor… heh… my memories when I go back and read the post a year later.  Other times I run on in order to pile up a few things into a single post, so rather than three posts about World of Warcraft I might end up getting everything into one longer post.

Sometimes I wish I would just opt for shorter, single topic posts.  It makes going back to look for details easier at times.  But pushing things together also has value in at least establishing context and relationships between topics.

And, of course, I cheat a bit as well.  I have a structure to some of my posts.  There are posts that recur monthly, or even weekly in the case of Fantasy Movie League, which give me something to write about on a regular basis.  Knowing that on Wednesday I have a post already can be a help.  Knowing that the last day of every month will be the Month in Review posts is nice.  And that is one I can start working on in advance.  I already have the bulk of August in Review written, since those posts are mostly the looks back to what was going on a year, five years, and ten years ago.  And knowing that I am going to do a post about the New Eden Monthly Economic Report and SuperData’s digital sales charts fills in some of the gaps.  Some times it is nice to have a regular topic.  It is almost a day off.  And then things get busy and I have a dozen topics I want to write about and I end up doubling up on those days all the same.

Back in the early days of the blog, maybe through the first three years, I used to feel I had to play a lot of new MMOs in order to keep things interesting for both myself and the reader.  I played games simply to blog about them.  I am pretty sure that explains Warhammer Online.  Writing about a new game gives you lots of topics to delve into and also gets you more page view.  New is much more likely to attract people than old.  But with the old comes history and evolution over time.

Then there is the time factor.  Where does one find the time?  Again, I’ve already written on that.  People find the time to do the things they really want to do.  If you see somebody’s blog and say wistfully to yourself that you wish you had the time, you’re only kidding yourself.  I tell myself I wish I had the time for all sorts of things.  And I do have the time.  I just choose to spend the time elsewhere.  In the end that is how you know what is really important to you.  I spend time writing about video games, often more time that I spend playing them on a given day.

And here we are more than a thousand words into a post… again… and I haven’t even thrown out any actual concrete ideas about which one might write.  Typical me.  All theoretical, no practical.

Then again, by my own philosophy, I shouldn’t worry too much on what I should write about and focus more on writing something.  It is better to write something than nothing at all.  When in doubt, make a list or do some bullet points.

Or you could just do what Syp wrote, which is far more to the point.

A Blaugust to Revive Blogging

August is nearly upon us, and with it comes the annual event of Blaugust. Initially something of a challenge to get bloggers to post every single day for a month, it was a meant to rally our little corner of the internet and get us involved and cross linking and all that.

A bit hard core in its first round… post every single day in August, 100 word minimum… it lost a bit of its edge over the years.  Last year it was very free form, post or don’t post, whatever.

This year however Belghast is back with a new, revived vision for the event.  While there is still room for the occasional poster, it is also an attempt to roll in aspects of the lapsed Newbie Blogger Initiative of old in order to get new people into blogging.  And so Blaugust Reborn was… born… yeah.

Blaugust Reborn

Belghast has an explanatory post about his vision for the event which also includes links to officially sign up, which puts you on “the list” and such, as well as a link to the official Discord channel for the event.  It still being July there is yet time to get on board the Blaugust train, but don’t loiter, go now!

Here is a list of the participants so far, or at least those that have a blog on the list:

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Hobbits Journey
  3. Aeternus Gaming
  4. Ald Shot First
  5. Arc’s Oddities
  6. Armagon Live
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Athernes Adventures
  9. Aywren Sojourner
  10. barely readable diary
  11. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  12. Bio Break
  13. Book of Jen
  14. Brain Dump
  15. Built on a Daydream
  16. Calamity Jess
  17. Can I Play Too
  18. Casual Aggro
  19. Cinemaxia
  20. Contains Moderate Peril
  21. Daily Creative Thinking
  22. Deez Wurds
  23. Diary of a Guild Leader
  24. Endgame Viable
  25. Fresh Eyes in Gaming
  26. Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism
  27. Galumphing
  28. Gamer Girl Confessions
  29. Gaming Conversations
  30. GamingSF
  31. Geeky Dad Fitness
  32. Glyffe
  33. Going Commando
  34. Gray’s Cozy Nook
  35. Heattanu’s Game
  36. I’m Not Squishy
  37. Inventory Full
  38. JVT Workshop
  39. leaflocker
  40. Learn Japanese Online
  41. Leeterati
  42. Magen Tales
  43. Mailvaltar – MMOs and other stuff
  44. Me vs. Myself and I
  45. MMO Syndicate
  46. Mmosey
  47. Moonshine Mansion
  48. Municipal City
  49. Murf Versus
  50. Nerdy Bookahs
  51. Neverwinter Thoughts
  52. Nomadic Gamers, Eh!
  53. Ocarina Farms
  54. Party Business
  55. Pizza Maid
  56. Plan B Better
  57. Princess in a Castle
  58. Professorbeej is Awesome
  59. Psychochild’s Blog
  60. RandomX
  61. RunningShoes.tv
  62. Ryuh Note
  63. Scarybooster
  64. Self-Distract Sequence
  65. Shadowz Abstract Gaming Blog
  66. Shards of Imagination
  67. Simply Janine
  68. Soul of the Forest
  69. Stabbed Up
  70. StarShadow
  71. Stropp’s World
  72. Symphony On A Chip
  73. Tales from the Backlog
  74. Tales of the Aggronaut
  75. TechJoy2Day
  76. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  77. The MMOist
  78. The Parent Trope
  79. The Path They Walk
  80. Thinking Play
  81. ThisThingIsNeat
  82. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  83. TroytlePower
  84. Unidentified Signal Source
  85. Welshtroll
  86. What’s Occuring
  87. Why I Game
  88. WoW Alt Addiction

Some of those names are likely familiar, others are new.  I put myself on the list, so you are free to copy it elsewhere without fear of leaving me out.  I know you were concerned about that.  Also, I am going to bet that Shintar will click on every link and tell me if I miss-linked somebody.

Also, there is the option to sign up as a mentor.  I opted for that, mostly because after nearly a dozen years I am set in my ways and have some fairly firm opinions on the whole blogging thing.  4,733 blog posts will do that to you.

Also, a bunch of those sites already have posts up about Blauguast.  As usual, I am running late on the whole thing.  There have already been a raft of posts on the event and the first round of topics. But that leads to my first bit of advice on blogging, thus helping to fulfill my mentor obligations.

Don’t worry that somebody else has already posted about a topic if you want to write about it.

Your views on a topic may differ, you may bring fresh insight, you may have your own story to tell, and as a rule, somebody will hear about this topic for the first time from your site.  If you want to be really neighborly, link out to other people posting about the topic.  But don’t stifle yourself just because somebody else wrote about it first.

In fact, we’re supposed to be in the prep week where we post some advice around the technical aspects of blogging.

I have opinions on that which I can cover quickly enough.  My main message is:

Avoid a situation where you must pay money for your blog to ensure its continue existence.

Don’t self host.  Don’t set up shop at a site without a free plan.  Your blog exerting even a minor financial burden makes it all the easier to quit and delete you blog completely, something you may come to regret later.

This goes double for anybody just jumping into blogging.

Also, if you delete your blog you’ll be contributing to link rot, the bane of the web.  So don’t do that either.  And paying to blog makes it more likely that you will do that.

Anyway, going the free route likely means using WordPress.com, Blogger, or Tumblr, each of which has their own ups and downs.

Blogger – The oldest blogging platform around.  Owned by Google, which mostly neglects it.  Has the best blogroll side bar widget, so is very blogging community friendly.  Also has pretty bare bones, laughably inaccurate stats.  It will count your own activity towards stats, even when you’re logged in.  It is very, very free and open to customization if you are handy with HTML and CSS.  If you’re not, the default templates can be a bit bland.  Is mildly awkward until you get used to its quirks, but benefits a bit in traffic from Google searches… but only if you link your blog into Google+.

WordPress.com – The place to go if you want some interesting layouts and new features springing up.  A lot more detailed stats that are not inflated by your own actions nor the actions of comment spammers.  I know the latter to be true as there have been days when I have received more comment spam than page views.  Also, very serious about tags and categories.  You can create RSS feeds from either, for just your blog or across all of WP.com.  Restrictive about what you can customize.  Static blog roll options, unless you hack together a Rube Goldberg venture like I have.  New features tend to show up unannounced and as often as not don’t work as expected for the first month or two.  The free option means ads on your site, which have grown a lot more aggressively prominent over the last year.  But if you pay to get rid of them, your blog won’t disappear if you stop.

Tumblr – All the layout options of WordPress.com with even worse stats than Blogger.  Lives in a self-contained community of likes, follows, and re-posts, which can be gratifying.  You can find people like yourself.  Has the Facebook/Twitter problem of people following you in the hopes you’ll follow them back.  Comments are odd.  No ads that I have seen.  More porn than you might care to imagine.

I have actually used all three and, even after settling on WordPress.com, I have setup versions of the blog that syndicate onto both sites.  Behold TAGN as a Blogger and a Tumblr site, though the Tumblr site really sucks because I want it to send people here.  That never happens though.  Mostly everybody just comes here directly or gets sent here by mistake via Google, with “by mistake” being the dominant route.

While I am here, I might as well dispense one more piece of free advice, worth exactly what you paid for it, double your money back if not satisfied.

Choose your blog name carefully.

If I could go back in time I would tell myself that the name of this blog is one of those things that is funny the first time you hear it, but which gets less funny each subsequent time, and after a dozen years I’ve heard it a lot of times.  And yet it is my brand, and to ditch that is to start over.  So I carry on under that burden.

Your blog name should be short and distinctive… and, if possible, start with the letter “A” because people like me will alphabetize things and most people will only click on the first few links in a list before getting bored and moving on.

Anyway, that is it, my announcement about Blaugust to join all of the others.  Again, go visit Belghast’s post for links to sign up and join the Discord channel.  Also, there is a Twitter group and a spreadsheet around here somewhere.

Onward!

Ten Years of the EVE Blog Pack

I never run out of things to blog about because as time goes on I end up with anniversaries and other milestones about which to write.  So on with another one of those.  This time it is a memory of the EVE Blog Pack.

I pledge allegiance to the pack…

At some point around the May-June 2008 time frame CrazyKinux started emailing some bloggers who wrote about EVE Online about an idea. He had read something about blog packs or some such, an idea that a group of like-minded blogs and bloggers would cooperate, cross-post, cross-link, and otherwise work together to promote each other and our passion of choice.

Being less than two years into my life as a blogger I was keen to join in.  That was back when blogs were almost still a thing and I would expend effort in order to grow my readership.  Heady days.

Having collected a few volunteers, on June 16, 2008 the EVE Blog Pack was proclaimed.

I waited around until July 1, 2008 to run my own post about it, as we were still in the process of settling things, with a couple of last minute swaps in the lineup. But the initial list of blogs was:

  1. A Mule in EVE
  2. Articulated Sky
  3. Bitter Old Noob
  4. Caldari Navy Ibis
  5. CrazyKinux’s Musings
  6. Derekest’s Blog
  7. EVE Newb
  8. EVE-Pirate.com
  9. Flashfresh – A Pirate
  10. Lady in Space
  11. Morphisat’s Blog
  12. Nuyan’s Hangout
  13. Ombeve
  14. Postings from the Edge
  15. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  16. The Littlest Drone
  17. Votrian’s EVE Blog
  18. Warp Drive Active
  19. Winterblink

That list there is a chunk of EVE Online history I suppose. Most of the sites on that list are missing or dormant. Aside from my own site, I think only Morphisat’s Blog has seen a new post this year, with Warp Drive Active following behind with an update in 2017. I’ve left the links in for the sites that still exist in some form.

I am surprised as many still even exist.

(Also check out the playa hosting at Gax Online, another attempt to bring gamers together and do… well… I’m not sure.  But it shut down about a year later.)

There are some self-hosted sites on the list, and more often than not those disappear when the owner loses interest.  Why pay for hosting and a domain name if you’re not going to use them?

Of course, it is CrazyKinux himself whose site gone, the place with a lot of the information about the blog pack and its changes over time.  Fortunately we have the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, so I can link back to some key items.

My own time in the blog pack was limited. I disappeared from the list then re-appeared before being officially kicked. Removing me from the pack came about because my site wasn’t  (and still is not) dedicated solely to EVE Online.  Admittedly, I write what I damn well please and bristle at any suggestion that I do otherwise.   Also, the pack was limited to a strict number of blogs, eventually 30, to keep it a focused group.  So despite being a founding member, most of my time during the CrazyKinux era was spent as an outsider.

Somewhere down the line the Blog Banters started, a common topic put out about once a month to members of the Blog Pack to write about and cross link to each other. I think I was already out of the pack by the time Blog Banters started. You can tell when I was in the pack later on because I was pretty good about responding to each one and linking out to all participants.

CrazyKinux himself wasn’t in it for the long haul. So far as I can tell, his last update to the EVE Blog Pack came about in March of 2011. At least that is what the Internet Archive tells me.

After that the maintenance of the EVE Blog Pack and the monthly Blog Banters was moved on to other bloggers. I was on the outside seemingly for good at that point so wasn’t paying much attention.

After the departure of CrazyKinux it seems Seismic Stan stepped up to run the Blog Banters, then handed them off to Kirth Kodachi.  He held the helm for Blog Banters for a stretch before handing it over to Drackam at Sand, Cider, and Spaceships.  I guess there is a summary at that link, which would have been really handy at the start of this paragraph I suppose.  There they faded a little over a year back with the 80th running of the blogs.

I believe the blog pack itself was held by Rixx Javix for a stretch, who also provided the logo if I recall correctly, then it ended up with Marc Scaurus who was also running the EVE Bloggers site. It was Marc who put me back in the pack, towards the end of his tenure, and the timing was about right. That was around 2013 and my blog was at peak popularity and I was writing more about EVE Online than anything else.  Posts about New Eden top all other categories here.

When Marc wanted to step down from running EVE Bloggers and the EVE Blog Pack there was a battle over who the heir apparent would be, with Cyberin getting the domain and the blog pack and planning to keep the status quo.

Cyberin’s evebloggers.com

Then there was Alexia the usurper who, when denied the old domain, rolled up evebloggers.net where the plan was to get bloggers to post directly to that site and not their own blogs.

And in this corner, Alexia’s evebloggers.net

As it happened, neither of those sites lasted very long. But Fuzzysteve, Steve Ronuken of Fuzzworks and CSM fame, stepped in and setup a prototype site for EVE Bloggers, making it a thing once again.  And somewhere in there is the feed for the EVE Blog Pack.  I’m not sure what the URL for it is, it might have simply become the EVE Bloggers feed, but it feeds into Total EVE still, so my posts end up there.

That was in November of 2013 and not much has changed since then.

And so it goes.  But the blog pack carries on in its own way, as do blogs in general.

None of the above should be read in any sort of grumpy tone.  I appreciate all the work that CrazyKinux, Kirthi Kodachi, Seismic Stan, Rixx Javix, Drackam, Fuzzysteve, Marc Scaurus, and everybody else who had a hand in keeping this alive and going so I could, a decade down the road, write a summary filled with half-remember facts and links out to the Internet Archive.

So if I missed anything, or got anything wrong, feel free to correct me.

A Decade of Internet Spaceship Pictures

It is probably a good thing that I only track my other blog here in five year increments rather than the sort of yearly posts I do for this site.  Eventually though time flies past and suddenly you’ve been posting pictures of pretend spaceships on the internet for a decade and you wonder how it happened.

In short, EVE Online Pictures turns ten years old today.

The original banner for the blog

A bunch has happened since I posted at the five year anniversary, and yet things still feel very much the same in some ways.  The graphics of EVE Online have evolved and improved.  A picture from today looks different from a picture from five years ago which looks different still from pictures taken a decade back.

At some point I had to change up the theme on the site, as I had to do on this site, because WP.com was breaking things for older themes.  EVE Online Pictures now uses the Piano Black theme.  Also, unlike TAGN, it has ads all over it.  Over time WP.com has gone from “your visitors may see some ads” to “we’re going to get ads all over your shit” when it comes to free blogs.

Here I pay not to have ads.  Over there I have been less inclined to pay, mostly because the site gets so little traffic anyway.  Its main benefit to me is counting as a fan site so I get one of my accounts comped by CCP.  So the accountant in the back of my brain is reluctant to give away any of the economic upside of that blog by plunking down $48 a year just to have no ads.

You get other features with the basic plan, but none of them interest me.  For example, after ten years at the same address, getting a new domain name seems like a very bad idea.

If somebody could convince me that no ads and a new domain name would double my traffic… I still wouldn’t be interested.  You’ll know why when I get into the numbers.

The story of how the blog came to be… more dubious ideas… was covered five years back.  I’ll link to that post again in case you are interested.  But basically for the last ten years I have put up 2 or 3 pictures a week, every week, with occasional bursts of more pictures (during the Fountain War I put up a picture a day for two months) and a video now and then on the weekend.  The current schedule is a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Basic Statistics

Days since launch: 3,652
Posts total: 1,507 (up 927)
Average posts per day: 0.41 (up 0.09)
Comments:  201 (up 36)
Average comments per post: 0.13 (down 0.15)
Average comments per day:  0.055 (down 0.045)
Spam comments:  35,371 (up 6073)
Average spam comments per day:  9.68 (down by 3.29)
Comment signal to noise ratio:  1 to 176 (up 35)
Images uploaded:  1,418 (up 859)
Space used by images: 447 MB of my 3 GB allocation (up 204 MB)

What do those numbers say about EVE Online Pictures?

Well, first is that I do not get very comments at all, with just 36 comments being posted in the last five years.  Even spam comments have been down during that period.  I also have a lot of space left to upload more screen shots.  My early worry was that I would run out of space.  Not something I needed to give much mind to I guess.

Some Numbers

I’ll put the big chart up front, as I did five years ago, so you can see exactly how much traffic the EVE Online Pictures blog gets.  First, the total page view numbers.

EVE Online Pictures Total Page Views by Month

And then the daily averages.

EVE Online Pictures Average Daily Page Views by Month

You can click on either of those charts to see them full size.

Overall, you can see that traffic volume there is nothing to write home about.  If you go to the TAGN eleven year anniversary post you will see that almost every year this blog gets more traffic than EVE Online Pictures has had in its ten years of existence.

There are a few reasons for that, not least of which is that the site gets far fewer posts.  And the posts themselves are just pictures.  People can see the pictures without bothering to click through to the site if they follow me via a number of syndication channels.

Unlike this blog however, traffic at EVE Online Pictures is not in decline.  There was a significant drop in early 2013 when Google changed how they did image searches.  You can see that hit to traffic in February 2013.  But after that it is pretty steady, holding at about 30K page views a year.

Demographics

As I noted, the language barrier isn’t as big a deal when you have a blog that is mostly pictures.

EVE Online Pictures traffic sources

Countries with large English speaking populations are still represented, but I do get a lot more Russians there than I do here.  Well, at least as a percentage of the total visitors.

Incoming

Who sends traffic to EVE Online Pictures?

  1. Google
  2. EVE Bloggers
  3. Total EVE
  4. TAGN
  5. Twitter
  6. EVE Online Forums
  7. WP.com dashboard
  8. Der Held von New Eden
  9. Reddit
  10. Facebook
  11. WP.com Reader
  12. Massively (not Massively OP, the old AOL site)
  13. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
  14. EVE Online Community site
  15. Google Reader

Of course, Google is at the top of the list, and its total is well over three times the traffic all other sites have ever sent me combined.  Such is the power of the Page Rank.  You can see why people freak out when Google makes any sort of change to their search algorithms.  Anybody who drops off the first page of results suffers a percipience drop in traffic.

EVE bloggers, in its various forms, has provided a decent amount of traffic over the years.

Total EVE has the site in there because I bribed somebody to include it in the EVE Blog Pack list.  I think it has a legit place on that list.  It is all about EVE OnlineTotal EVE hasn’t been around as long as EVE Bloggers so it isn’t higher up the list, but it matches or exceeds EVE Bloggers most days of the week.

Then of course, I send traffic there from this site.  This post will add a bit to that I bet.

For a brief flicker of time the official forums used to send traffic to the blog.  One of the community team discovered the site via Twitter and began including a link to a picture now and then in the regular This Week in EVE post.   And then, as that was ramping up, CCP cut most of their community team and that regular post fell by the wayside.

The WP.com dashboard is people clicking on their stats page wondering what this site is that is sending them some traffic.  I have a lot of EVE Online blogs and a set of news and informational feeds in the side bar of EVE Online Pictures.

Then there is Der Held von New Eden, literally the only blog I know of out there, aside from this one, that links to EVE Online Pictures.  No love for a long time fixture of the community.  At least screen shots know no language barrier.

Once in a while somebody a link gets posted to Reddit.  Actually, looking at the number of page views I would change that to just once.

As with this blog, every EVE Online Pictures post gets piped to the Wilhelm Arcturus account on Facebook where pretty much only my mother sees them.

Old school Massively, several years gone at this point, still holds a spot on the list because they linked back to the site to acknowledge a screen shot they used.  Massively OP isn’t anywhere on the list.

Kirith Kodachi doesn’t have a blog roll, but he must have linked to me at some point.

The EVE Online community site is basically CCP’s list of EVE Online fan sites.

And then there is Google Reader, a blast from the past.  It will be five years gone this coming July.

Outgoing

Honestly, the site doesn’t send much traffic anywhere.  I would be surprised if anybody noticed that they were getting traffic from the EVE Online Pictures.  For the most part it is the rare post that even has a link out.

Occasionally somebody will click on something in the side bar where I have a list of EVE Online related sites and EVE Online related news feeds from CCP and key third party sites.  But for the most part people land on the site, look at some pictures, then leave without a trace.

In that scenario, the sites that do get clicks now and again are:

  1. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  2. EVE Monkey
  3. EVE Online Ships
  4. West Karana
  5. OmbEVE (defunct)
  6. Jester’s Trek
  7. EVElopedia (defunct)
  8. EVE Null Sec Influence
  9. EVE Kill (defunct)
  10. EVE Online Forums
  11. The Mittani dot com (changed to INN)
  12. DOTLAN EVE Online Maps
  13. EVE Online community sites
  14. EVE Bloggers
  15. EVE Tanking (defunct)

The inertia of time.  A third of the sites on that list are gone or no longer at that address.

Of course I am the biggest beneficiary, and why not?  If I post screen shots from a big fight I will sometimes link back to a related post here for further info.

EVE Monkey, West Karana, OmbEVE, and Jester’s Trek all had links out to the for pictures they posted.  Those sites aren’t gone, but they are dormant.

And the rest are people actually clicking on the side bar I guess.  All told those listed add up to just over 5,500 clicks, which is about three a month over the last decade.  Not a significant source of web traffic for anybody.

Most Viewed Posts

  1. B-R5RB Infographic
  2. Space Cockroach
  3. Sansha Battle Station
  4. Asteroid Mining Station
  5. The Maze Complex
  6. Myrmidon
  7. Raven and Rokh
  8. New Asteroids
  9. Rifter
  10. Angel Cartel Battleship Opens Fire
  11. Ragnarok Jumping in with the Fleet
  12. Cormorant Classic
  13. The Mighty Rorqual Transitions
  14. Caldari Jump Gate
  15. New Cladari Jump Gate Model

The B-R5RB infographic is the biggest draw by far, the one thing that Google still finds on the site when people search.  Of course, somebody else made that.  The top five are all the results of Google, as is number eight on the list.  General interest in asteroids and asteroid mining tricks people to coming here.

After that the rest of the list were linked on some other site or in a forum post.

For the most part a post gets traffic the week it is posted and never gets another click after that.

Most Used Categories

For the site I tried to set up categories for what I felt would be logical ways to divide up pictures at a higher level.  I went with the four empires and then some specific items, ending up with 24 categories over the years.  I suppose I could have gone with ship classes or something else, but this is what I started with and some times it is better to carry on consistently how you started out rather than trying to change horses mid-stream.

  1. Caldari
  2. Amarr
  3. Gallente
  4. Minmatar
  5. Space Station
  6. Planet (also used for moons)
  7. Space Objects
  8. Explosions
  9. Contest Entries
  10. Citadel
  11. ORE
  12. Classic Graphics
  13. Ringed Planet
  14. Drones
  15. YouTube Video

Ships identified as Caldari are the most common on the site, the category having been used 492 times, followed by Amarr at 479, then Gallente at 373, and finally Minmatar at 355.  I think that split mostly reflects my starting off as Caldari back in 2006, so a lot of early pictures were focused on those ships. (Or the Guristas versions thereof.)

Explosions is probably the best tag, followed by Ringed Planets, while Classic Graphics is a interesting look at the past.  Of course, when I created that category there were only “new” and “classic” graphics.  Since then there have been a number of revisions to how things are rendered as well as ship models, so I suppose the concept of “classic” has been somewhat diluted.  But in the context of the site it means the way the game looked when I showed up.

I excluded one category from the list.  Every post has the category “EVE Online” attached.  Tags and categories are powerful things at WP.com and one of the things you can do with them is make an RSS feed of a category or tag.  If you have a WP.com blog and you write about EVE Online, you should definitely use the “EVE Online” as a tag or category. (Here is the feed for EVE Online category or tagged posts at WP.com.)  For heaven’s sake, don’t use just “EVE,” you don’t want to know what else gets lumped in that feed.

Most Used Tags

Tags are a lot more whimsically applied.  They include the specific type of ship in the picture (and are mostly correct) or the system or some detail in the shot like Caroline’s Star.  But mostly it is ship types.  And there are a lot of ship types in the game, which probably explains why I have 450 different tags.

  1. Drake
  2. Megathron
  3. Jump Gate
  4. Apocalypse
  5. Revelation
  6. Archon
  7. Avatar
  8. Naglfar
  9. Erebus
  10. Tengu
  11. Maelstrom
  12. Dominix
  13. Hurricane
  14. Typhoon
  15. Ragnarok

Of course the missile spewing doorstop that is the Drake tops the list.  I flew it a lot before I went to null sec and then it was a doctrine ship for over a year once I got there.

Likewise the Megathron was a doctrine ship during the Fountain War.

Jump Gates… they are in a lot of shots because that is where fleets tend to bunch up and where fights often happen.  And then there are titans.  When I got to null sec I took a lot of screen shots of titans because I had never seen any before.  I still take lots of screen shots of them.

The Future

I plan to carry on as I have.  Three pictures a week isn’t an onerous level of effort.  It is easily worth doing given that it nets me a free account. (CCP still makes money off of me though, I have two other Omega accounts at the moment and I have been known to buy PLEX to get SKINs from the New Eden store.)

My posting process is pretty straightforward.  I tend to sit down for a bit on a weekend and go through pictures, queuing up posts for weeks ahead of time.

The only tricky bit is to try to include some variety in the pictures posted… I try not to post several pictures in a row from the same battle or of the same ship type… and to not repost the same screen shot.  I’ve only done that a few times over the course of the blog, but I have caught myself thinking “that looks like a good shot to post!” only to find that I already post that weeks or months earlier.

I am also picky about posting things that give a view of things that people might not see every day.  That tends to mean lots of titans.  If I gave up on my own personal rules about repetition and just started posting every decent screen shot I took, I could probably post a picture every day for the next couple of years without repeat.

Overall, a decade in, I am happy with the site.  It never took off or became nearly as popular as this blog, but it has been steady over the years and is now something of a time capsule of EVE Online visuals over the last decade. (And earlier, since I drew from older pictures at times.)

Probably the only regret is that I have hung on to the same 1600×1200 monitor over the life of the blog so far, so all the screen shots are that size.  I did recently upgrade to a slightly larger monitor, so at some future date when my current queue runs down, screen shots will start appearing in 1920×1200 resolution.

So, after about 2,500 words, I will invite you to come visit the site if you like internet spaceship pictures.  New posts are syndicated out to the following sites:

  • Tumblr (I need a better theme here)
  • Twitter (I do say things here occasionally)
  • Facebook (Pretty much just blog posts from both my sites)

I guess I need an Instagram account as well.  Maybe some day.

Or if you don’t care for any of those, you can just go to the EVE Online Pictures site directly and use the Page Down key to scroll through all 1,500 pictures thanks to the infinite scroll option of the theme I use.  We’ll see how things look again in another five years.

2017 MMO Blogging Champs

Things change, people change, hairstyles change, interest rates fluctuate.
-Hillary Flammond, Top Secret!

It isn’t 2008 any more. Hell, it is going to be 2018 in just days, at which point I will have to retire this image my daughter made for me.  So I might as well use it again!

The strict MMORPG market has peaked and the lines between what we call MMOs and what would have been, in the past, mere multi-player games has blurred. I’m pretty sure that the original Diablo, a co-op game with a lobby from 1996, could be spun as an MMO in today’s market.

Meanwhile blogs have long since ceased to be the trend on the internet, with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Reddit splitting out those who might have blogged in the past from those of us more dedicated to the solo, long form existence. Sitting down to write a new post on a regular basis is a different experience than the interplay on Twitter or the caustic comment culture of Reddit.

And yet some of us remain, bloggers who focus on the MMORPG niche who write something on a regular basis.

My Feedly account is littered with the titles of MMO blogs long gone dormant. But the tradition remains and I see posts daily from blogs. Some stray from the core topic… but that was ever the case even back in the heyday… and, as noted above, with the lines blurred one can argue as to what is and is not an MMO. Raph Koster says that Pokemon Go is an MMO. Are you going to believe him or Tobold?

Anyway, in these times I thought I would call out a dozen MMO Blogs who bring it on a regular basis.

  1. Aywren Sojourner
  2. Endgame Viable
  3. Going Commando
  4. Growing up in Azeroth
  5. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
  6. Inventory Full
  7. MMO Fallout
  8. Nomadic Gamers
  9. Tales of the Aggronaut
  10. The Nosy Gamer

Which isn’t to say that those are all that remain in our little corner of the internet.  Ten is an arbitrary number, small enough to make the list easy enough to fill.  There are still others out there, some on par with any on that list.  Yes, there are others who don’t bring the content as often or who have branched out regularly beyond just MMORPGs, but are still part of our little community in spirit if not in every day practice.  So if you’re thinking MMO blogs have disappeared or died off, you can sort through this list as well.

Blogging about MMOs is not yet dead.

Elf

No, I am not trying to trigger Syp.  Well, not just that anyway.

Any elf will do for our purposes…

Back in high school, a distance through time more easily measured in decades than years at this point, I took German as my foreign language.  I think the primary outcome of three years of the language is that my writing in English improved greatly.  One of those side-effects, you have to examine your own language in order to learn another one.

I think my greatest achievement in German was reading Catch-22 in the language, something that took me most of a summer, a copy in English, and my German-English dictionary.  Other than that, I retain very little of the language.  Enough to annoy my mother-in-law (who is German), catch the occasional bit of dialog in a movie, appreciate The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers slightly more, get that joke about the German novel where the last two chapters are nothing but verbs, and make a poor joke from a post title.

Anyway, the German word for “eleven” is “elf,” something endlessly amusing to a 13 year old boy, an age I have never fully ceased to be.  The title is a joke because I write about fantasy MMORPGs now and again… less lately than before… where the elf is a staple, and yet relevant because this is one of those anniversary posts… my eleventh.

The Annual WP.com achievement

I am clearly out of clever titles and amusing intros at this point.  Remember that anniversary post that was full of Soviet propaganda?  Or the one grounded in Winnie the Pooh?  Now I am hanging my hat on the fact that the German word for eleven is a mythical creature in English.  It’s all I’ve got, and I’m not even going to run with it.  I’m going to just break in the usual statistics for a bit and hope I can come up with something new to say before we get to the end of the post.

For those interested in some of my better attempts at anniversary posts, here is the list:

And from that we might as well get stuck into this.

Base Statistics

In which I attempt to quantify what I have done here in the last twelve months.  The change over last year’s totals are noted in parentheses.

Days since launch: 4,018 (+365)
Posts total: 4,416 (+341)
Average posts per day: 1.097 (-0.013)
Comments: 29,415 (+1,456)
Average comments per post: 6.66  (-0.2)
Average comments per day: 7.32  (-0.33)
Spam comments: 1,376,145 (+63,980)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 424
Average spam comments per day: 342.5 (-16.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 47.2 (+0.2)
Comments written by me: 3,873 or 13.1%
Images uploaded:  10,416 11,764 (+1,348)
Space used by images: 270MB of my 3 GB allocation (9%, down 69%)
Blog Followers: 1,340
Twitter Followers: 722
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 6 (one twice)

This is the first year of the blog where I wrote less than one post per day, hitting the publish button 24 fewer times in the last year than the year before.  That is about a month of weekday posts I did not do.  See the effect of MMO malaise?  Because, seriously, I didn’t take any long vacations or suffering from debilitating illness over the previous twelve months.  I just wrote less, something that generally happens when I am just not interested in a given topic, which in this case is my MMO hobby.

Still, the average over the full life of the blog is over a post a day.  And even 333 is more than a post every weekday, the goal for which I strive.  That would only net me about 260 posts so, while no Stakhanovite, I have exceeded my posting norm.  Not bad for an eleven year long streak.

With posts down, comments were also down, both overall… simply fewer comments than last year… and as a percentage of posts… people commented less per post.  My comments, as a percentage of the total, was up.  Probably me talking to myself.

One oddity in the stats above is the amount of space used by my uploaded images, which dropped precipitously since last year’s post.  For some reason WordPress.com reset my allocation last year.  Maybe it was a happy anniversary gesture.  Maybe it was a bug.  I suspect that nothing good will come of it and that some day I will log in and find every screen shot from 2006 through 2016 missing, having been deleted by some automated process.  But for now they survive.

Anyway, that is the basic gist of what happened here over the last year.  The remainder of the post is after the cut to keep the long list of mostly meaningless words and statistics from overwhelming the from page.  See you on the other side, should you choose to go there… or if you are looking at this in an RSS reader.

Continue reading