Thursday, October 25, 2012

Commitment

This past August, I submitted an application to the RPG Bloggers Network, a blog syndicator. Blog aggregators or syndicators offer an opportunity for bloggers and readers to find one another, and shortly after I launched Really Bad Eggs, I submitted an application to RPG Blog Alliance, which promptly added RBE to its blog roll.

But the RPG Bloggers Network requires that a blogger must show at least three months of active posting, on rpg topics, to be considered for syndication. It was actually eight months after launch that I submitted an application to RPG Bloggers Network, on 20 August 2012. I received an automated reply the same day.
Thank you for your message. We have received it and will get back to you as quick as we can.

Technical issues and problems experienced by existing members generally take priority, and we will respond to these issues as soon as possible.

If you are submitting a new application for membership, it may take a couple weeks before someone gets back to you depending on application backlog and other mitigating factors.

We use FogBugz to keep track of our incoming email. You can check the status of your message at the following URL:

https://rpgbloggers.fogbugz.com/default.asp?898_hstelmbk1rfo50hm

You may want to save your case's tracking ticket: 898_hstelmbk1rfo50hm

Please reply to this message if there's anything else we can do for you.
Both the email and the website are clear on the "may take a couple of weeks" thing - since it's a safe bet that this is someone's hobby or sideline, I can totally understand turnaround taking some time. So I waited.

And waited.

Two weeks passed. Then a month. Then six weeks. Finally, on 17 October, nearly two months after submitting my application, I sent a follow-up email, asking for an update on the status of my application. By then I'd checked the RPG Bloggers Network site to see if RBE was added and I simply missed it, but no, none of my posts appeared in the blog queue.

And, once again, I waited.

Today, eight days later, still nothing at all in reply.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'd pretty much forgotten about my application until a few weeks ago, when a post on theRPGsite regarding the delays of the "legendary" megadungeon Dwimmermount generated buzz around the blogosphere, and I was reminded of it again in a post by Eric Tenkar at Tenkar's Tavern listing Kickstarters he supported that didn't deliver.

Unfulfilled promises are a regrettable fact of life in what passes for the roleplaying game 'Industry,' and they are certainly not limited to the practitioner-publisher or dedicated hobbyist. At the same time, I think those who choose to offer a product or service to gamers take upon themselves the obligation to honor their commitments, in a timely fashion, or risk earning a reputation for failure and flakiness. Those who choose to put themselves and their work out there should not then claim, 'But I'm just a hobbyist!' as an excuse for a failure to deliver.

I've been approached about a half-dozen times now by different publishers with offers to contribute to or write supplements for different roleplaying games, and while I've been tempted a few times, I've said no in the end. Roleplaying games are my entertainment, and I don't want to turn my hobby into a business. I do this for fun, and saddling myself with deadlines and word counts has the potential to suck the fun out of it for me. I won't take the chance of disappointing others and tarnishing my own reputation in the process.

I admire those who take the plunge as publishers or website managers, but I respect those who deliver on their promises.

10 comments:

  1. I applied to that network a time or two during my first year of blogging, and had the same experience. (Flakes).

    Clearly, The Lich House and Really Bad Eggs just aren't RPG Blogger material - better up our games!

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    Replies
    1. I think at this point we're better off going full-Groucho: "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member!"

      ;^)

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  2. Yeah, Between Are the Doors does not rate a response either. Of course, it has only been around since July 2010.

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  3. Same here. I know I'm pretty flaky, but most of my posts are RPG-related.

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  4. I tried getting into the network 2 years ago, but they had a freeze on applications. Ah well ;)

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  5. I applied 2 weeks ago and by the looks for your post and the comments I might be in for a long wait.
    Things can take longer than expected or fail but if it's promised, it would be nice to have that communicated.

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  6. Well, at least I know I'm in good company.

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  7. After the network changed hands it was very spotty so far as activity and administration while my old blog was involved.

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  8. I should add it's still better than Blog Catalog, which took TWO YEARS to answer a blog application. :D

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