The Good Fight

24 Nov

Here of late, I find myself particularly torn and in conflict by the same image problem or concern that some of my friends in the blogosphere have talked about and may have faced. 

Recently, I have been getting a lot more recognition for my posts over at Divine Aegis.  I bring in a good number of readers, people seem interested in things that I have to say and it seems like people feel like I actually may know what I’m talking about.  That feels incredible

One of the downsides to having a larger than life personality like mine is that it tends to overshadow your work.  For years, I have always battled this reputation as being such a personality and being a questionable healer.  Strangely enough, I was more insulted and hurt by the latter than the former.  I never really cared what people thought of me, on a personal level.  I will probably never meet most of these people in any real life capacity and how they feel about how I live my life or the choices I make never affected me.  But it always really bothered me that no matter what guild I was in, what accolades I had achieved, etc. I was never taken seriously as a good healer

I never said I was the best healer or the greatest, but I do feel that I know what I’m talking about in some basic sense.  I never got that recognition from people.  It was always “She’s so loud” or “She’s so controversial” or she’s this and she’s that.  It was always confusing to me that it had to be that way.  Over the years, I would like to think that I have gotten better at knowing when to be more “me” than usual and when to play to the bread and circuses, sorta speak.  That doesn’t mean I still don’t struggle with such things, though.

Since I immersed myself in the WoW blogosphere, I have found that I have come up against several bloggers or several topics that I disagree with.  The inner me wants to bring up these differences and discuss them, to debate them.  I tend to play rough, though and I can’t promise that such discussions would always be as friendly and as personable as others are used to.  I do have an aggressive personality and I can’t always say I take the high road.  It’s hard for me to bite my tongue.  It always has been. 

So, on the one hand I feel obligated to say something and call out people or things that I feel are wrong and to assert my own opinions or feelings about certain subjects and on the other hand I’m worried that if I do that I will be dealing with that age old issue of my personal feelings and actions getting in the way of my professional ones.  I worry that people won’t notice the contributions I’m doing on the priest side of things, because of what I could be saying in other arenas.  I don’t want to take the focus off of my work.

It’s an interesting dichotomy, to say the least.

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10 Responses to “The Good Fight”

  1. Ophelie November 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    The good news is that in the WoW blogging world, you can stir up some controversy while still being respected for your informative posts. Mild examples would be Avalonna who had a really strong personality (I was so intimidated by her, I never even followed her on Twitter!) yet was one of the most respected priest bloggers out there, or Pewter with her strong feminist essays whose shaman posts earned her a job. Some medium examples would Marko and Gevlon who frequently act like asshole, but who’re the two top references for making gold. And an extreme case is the compulsive liar Ferraro who still owns the most popular paladin blog.

    The bad news is that, yes, for the most part the WoW blogosphere is very sensitive and its tough to discuss anything without someone bursting into tears and apologizing profusely for no reason. I don’t even think of myself as aggressive, blunt but not aggressive, and I get reprimanded a lot. I also get disappointed when I post something a bit more…daring…than usual and the only reaction I get is “great post!”. Compliments *are* nice, but I spend the last 6 hours writing a 2000 word post on a topic, I want the opportunity to defend it dammit!

    • Oestrus November 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

      For me, a large part of my post revolved around my relations with people in game and how I fear that those expectations and stereotypes may follow me into the blogosphere. For most of my WoW career, I have shrugged off accusations that I’m a bad healer and I haven’t earned my successes and that I was carried and all that nonsense. I felt like at times if I were less myself and if I were quieter or more proper or things like that maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about all of that. I pride myself on being pretty real and I have gotten better at choosing my battles, sorta speak. It’s something that has made me quite a few allies and has also made me quite a few rivals.

      I see a lot of other bloggers who you can tell are holding back, for the same reasons. I remember when I did my phone post with Codi and we had an absolute blast doing it. We had so much fun and yet she was kind of concerned that people would hear it and think less of her or take her less seriously and I didn’t understand why she would feel that way. Personally, I relate to people more when they let a little loose and can show that they’re human and know how to have fun or make mistakes. I don’t think I would want to read the blog of someone who was all business, all the time. That’s certainly great, but how on earth could I relate to someone like that? The truth is that I can’t.

      So I do look up to people like Ava or others like them and it does give me hope that I can be who I am and still be successful, relevant and taken seriously and it’s nice to see examples of those who can have their cake and eat it, too.

      Regarding the others in the blogosphere, I haven’t found anyone who is overly sensitive, but I do feel that there is a general feeling of not wanting to ruffle feathers or confront people or ideas that you don’t agree with. There seem to be a lot of “yes people” and people who just nod their heads and spout off “Great post” comments or who pat each other on the back for a job well done and it comes off as really phony, to me. It’s like watching a bunch of rich, old white men sitting around and having whiskey and cigars and congratulating each other on their millions. There have been bloggers that I have tried to engage in debate with and they refuse, either because they know they’re wrong or hypocritical and they would hate to discuss the possibility of such things (i.e. Self-Righteous Orbs) or they feel that such discourse is beneath them or things like that. I find that to be really sad. I would hate to see a blogosphere where we all thought the same thing and we all talked the same and agreed with each other. I think it makes it more interesting, for all involved, when we show signs of disagreement and people can see that we’re not all alike and I feel it gives readers a better pick of blogs and various ideas to choose from.

      I always try and leave more than a “Great post” comment, because those kind of bug me, too. So rest assured I will always add more when I comment on your blog, Ophelie than just those two little words!

      • Ophelie November 26, 2010 at 5:43 am #

        I couldn’t comment much on your gaming experience since I’ve never seen you play nor have I ever been in a guild where personality and performance were lumped together. I do think it’s strange that you’d be labeled a bad healer because you’re more outgoing and aggressive. If anything, I would think it would make you seem like a BETTER healer. What kind of messed up guilds were you playing in?!?

        About the Righteous Orbs guys, I don’t have a lot of experience with them since I rarely read their millions of comments, but I would imagine that it would be impossible for them to have a constructive discussion on their blog, just because there are 100 other commenters competing for their attention. I’m surprised they manage to answer comments at all. I get overwhelmed when I get more than 20 comments (excluding my own) on a post.

        “Great post” types comments don’t *bother* me (after all, it’s nice to see that someone actually READ the post), it’s just that after spending hours researching and writing about a topic, I love when someone points out stuff I might have not have thought of, or gives me the opportunity to defend my post. Yet I have trouble leaving comments like that on other people’s blogs, because they tend to get hurt or flustered.

        Codi’s explained a few times why she uses a very business-like voice. I think it’s a shame, because when we did that Raid Warning podcast together, she was loads of fun! And because of her writing style, she’s often mistaken to be arrogant which has caused a misunderstanding at least once.

        Does being loose and silly affect being taken seriously? It’s hard to say. I joke around constantly in my blog and have no problem admitting mistakes and shortcomings: I figure my readers are more likely to learn from my personal, real mistakes than by me pointing out someone elses’ mistakes. Now, I *am* taken less seriously as a paladin than my businessy colleagues Kurn and Codi. I get tons of emails asking for blogging, networking and writing advice, but very, very rarely do I get paladin questions. It even took a number of people by surprise when they found out that when I’m raiding full time, I happen to be a very progression-focused player.

        But is it my goofy writing and obvious imperfections that makes me be taken less seriously? Or is it because I cover a wider spectrum of WoW topics and because my paladin posts target beginner-to-intermediate players while Codi and Kurn target intermediate-to-advanced players? It’s hard to say.

        In the end, I say just be yourself. I love reading *your* posts and would be very disappointed to discover you’ve buried yourself so you can write about priests. (Nothing against priests! I just don’t play one so there’s no point in me reading much about them.)

        • Oestrus November 26, 2010 at 8:34 am #

          I think in my personal situation, it is the kind of controversy that I court or the niche that I fill that causes people to overlook my healing skills or my knowledge. Let’s use Ava, for example. Her brand of controversy revolved around drinking, being obnoxious, possibly homophobic or racist jokes, etc. That was her thing. For me, I am more scrappy and my brand of humor or personality tends to gravitate towards being more sexual or flirtatious (they don’t call me Oestrus for nothing). I think female sexuality tends to cause people to get up in arms (not to channel Pewter here or anything) and that’s the reason I feel that I was not necessarily labeled as the kind of healer I wanted to be. There was so much focus on how brazen I was or how dirty my mouth was or who I was hitting on (usually in jest) and I admit that I certainly did go too far, at times. But I think it made a really lame excuse to ignore that I was working hard and doing a good job. Again, it could be that I was just in really shallow guilds or it could have just been at a time when I wasn’t so great about choosing my audience. It did happen, quite a lot and it has made me self-conscious about things like that and I dread the same tide turning again.

          I think it’s funny when I hear about Codi’s reputation or how she is perceived, because I know her IRL. We lived together and she is pretty lively and eccentric, most of the time. She can certainly flip the switch and be uber professional and business like. But I always laugh when people say that she is snobby or condescending, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. She is tons of fun and has a huge heart and a great sense of humor and I would like to think I do my part to drag that out of her. As much as I adore her as a friend and writer, she is someone I definitely look to and think to myself “I don’t want to have to do that.” I would still like to be as much of myself as possible and still maintain credibility and readers and things like that.

          You do bring up a wonderful point about what makes some be taken more seriously than others. I guess it’s really easy to “blame” our personalities, when it could be a number of other things that we may not have thought of. It could be the audience we target, the topics we cover, the guilds we are in, etc. You never know and it doesn’t make sense to kill yourself trying to figure out what it is.

          Thank you very much for the compliments and the link love. It meant a lot to be included in your blog and to hear those things from you. I definitely haven’t buried myself, but I did want to give people the choice of what side of me they want to experience. If they want pure business and priest things, there is Divine Aegis. If they want to hear about how much I hate Blood Elf death knights, they can come here. Pick your poison!

      • Ophelie November 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

        Ah female sexuality. That explains a lot.

        Haven’t you heard? When a woman gains sexuality, she loses all other aspects of her person. Clearly, a woman couldn’t possibly be a sexual being and a human being at the same time!

        That’s a really common mentality, especially in male dominated environments like gaming. I find that even a lot of the feminist WoW essays reinforce that mentality by crying outrage each time women are associated with sex. As you can probably tell, it really annoys me!

        I actually penned a post on in-game flirting while I had no computer. I was going to sit on it until all the Sundering/Cataclysm hype died down, but now I feel like bringing up the topic ^_^

        Back on the topic of blogging voices and being taken seriously, BRK was a hilarious writer, even his hunter theory posts were lively and comical. And while yes, he’s quite exceptional, he still proved that it is possible to be educational and entertaining at the same time.

        • Oestrus November 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

          It does seem to be a weird dichotomy. If a woman is too flirty or suggestive, it’s too much and she’s no good and she’s obviously being carried or indiscriminate. If you don’t flirt at all or you don’t show any signs of fun or being a little saucy, well then you’re frigid and a prude and you can’t win there, either.

          I would really like to see your post on in game flirting now!

          I’m not sure who BRK is. What is their link or homepage?

      • Ophelie November 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

        Oooh you don’t know BRK! You’re in for a treat!

        http://www.bigredkitty.net/

        He stopped blogging about a year and a half ago (I actually broke down crying at his goodbye post), but he’s been covering the alpha and beta for Cataclysm.

        As for the post on flirting, I guess I’ll type it out and fix it up over the weekend. I think it’ll go over well with my readers, but I’m a little nervous about how my guild will react to it. Each one of us has a slightly different view of our guild culture and I’m using guild incidents as examples quite a bit.

        • Oestrus November 27, 2010 at 7:11 am #

          From what I’m reading of him so far, he doesn’t seem too bad. Of course, I’m still on the first page. Do you have any specific examples of what people have found noteworthy or more shocking than others? I’m curious to know!

      • Ophelie November 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

        I don’t know of anything he’s done that would be considered shocking. He’s known for his energetic writing style, his gift for storytelling and his contributions to the hunter community. “Fo’shizzle” and raspberry lattes were his trademarks. He’s also the reason Spirit Beasts were such a huge hit.

        I haven’t followed his Cataclysm work because I avoid spoilers as much as I can, so I can’t comment on it. But in the past, he wrote the hunter column on WoW Insider for awhile and was to be regular on the WoW Insider Show. On his blog, he produced a number of guides, videos, podcasts and merchandise and he proved that educational posts don’t have to be serious and dry. I didn’t care about hunters at all, but I still read pretty much everything he wrote because his style is just so entertaining.

        He wrote a lot of personal posts too, stories about his time in the air force and about his family. He’s kind of blogger you get attached to as a person, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who shed tears when he announced his decision to leave WoW.

        I’m really surprised you’re not familiar with him. You should check out his podcasts too (and I know he’s on at least two of the TNB podcasts), he’s as gifted a speaker as he is a writer.

        • Oestrus November 28, 2010 at 9:31 am #

          He sounds interesting and from the few posts I read I could tell that he and I may get along just fine – lol

          Thank you for suggesting him and I will certainly check out more of his work soon. 🙂

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