Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Introspection with Dashofpepper

I was chatting with one of my 40k friends today (Mike Brandt, from D.C) who checks in to see what I'm writing from time to time. We were chatting about...well, a bunch of different stuff. The part that I wanted to share and get some feedback on is this: Ego.

I write with passion. I also write as it comes out of my head, putting down via my fingertips a literal stream of what's coming out of my head. I use things like *ponders* and *laughing* and whatever else is in there as it comes out. Mike doesn't think that is a good approach; it isn't a dispassionate presentation of my ideas.

As an example - my last blog post - I wrote about the importance of generalship, and how I felt that the person playing an army is more important than the army they put on the table. I compared 40k commentators to professional sports - noting that no one...well, you can read it.

I intended nothing about me in that post. It wasn't about me...or my Necrons, or my stupendous awesomeness. And yet...that's all that some people get out of it. Some people don't care about the content I write, and are only looking for a reason to flame me - I get it. Some people look past the presentation and value the content. I get that too. And there are some people who can't get to the content because of the presentation. Those I don't get.

It frustrates me when I run into this. Trolls...I'm not worried about trolls. Idiots exist. The world is full of stupid people, and our hobby isn't exempt from them. But there is another category of people who are *not* idiots, people unwilling to read and value something I write because the presentation of my arguments offends them....well, if there's a way to present something that is more amenable to the masses, I'd definitely consider it.

I've been pondering using "Something I was thinking about" or "Someone I know" instead of using myself as an example. I promise - I don't write things to incite riots.

Upon further chatting with Mike, one his points was that people find it offensive when I present an opinion like a fact. X is a better choice than Y. He said that there is no accreditation system to teach our hobby. I told him that in one aspect or another, teaching and training has always been a part of my professional life - and that has extended into our hobby.

On the one hand...I can understand someone like Hulksmash being offended if I try teaching him how to play Space Wolves. But skilled gamers have never been my target audience. When I first started in this hobby, I searched hard to learn, I absorbed knowledge as quickly as I could find it. I still do - what I write is meant to share the knowledge I have as a mentoring tool for others. I don't "target" individuals to teach; I present a tactical article...a battle report...a guide...that is open for anyone to read.

Inevitably, this led to us talking about a battle report. What is a battle report if not a teaching tool for both the players involved as others critique decisions made during the game, and for others to read and learn from? Mike tells me that it shouldn't be a teaching tool, just my point of view on the game - something I would find as an uninspiring reason to write them.

He asked me if I had any idea how many people ask him for 40k advice on a daily basis...and that he helps them, but in private. I returned with, "So what about when 10 Ork players ask you for help on the same thing? 25? 100? At what point is it more worthwhile to write a guide to point them to than to replicate your work in private over and over?"

I realize that there is no mechanism by which anyone can ever prove that they're the best 40k player. Nor validation to claim that they are amongst the best. There's another scientific method though - which is to start with an assumption and attempt to disprove it. That's the method I've chosen - to assume that I'm an superior 40k player, and attempt to disprove it. That's why I travel and why I play in tournaments - I want to find people who can outwit me on the table. And then I want to learn from the experience. That's personal growth to me.

I wonder if personal growth in this hobby would be accepting that the will to reign supreme doesn't fit this hobby...because it is a hobby?

This originally started as a method to solicit feedback on how to present guides and teaching tools such that they are better accepted - but now I wonder if that's the wrong goal. And now I don't know what else to write, so I'll open it up to input.