Shouting Into the Storm

2018 has arrived and the usual thing to do for the first post of the New Year is to offer sober reflections on what has gone before and look forward to what is to come.

So, I could give a precis of what I feel I’ve achieved over the past twelve months and what I think I may achieve over the next twelve, but for those who follow and visit this blog know, I never quite do what is expected, so there won’t be any of that here.

If you want to know what I’ve done over the last twelve months, it’s all recorded here – literally in black and white, in some cases – so feel free to browse the back catalogue and as for the future…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

So, what exactly is the purpose of this post and what does the title mean?

If you think about it, blogging about wargaming is a rather odd development of the wargaming hobby. Wargaming is, essentially, a hobby in which two (or more) people sit down and pit their assembled forces against one another, indulging in miniature conflicts that range across various genres and historical periods. In other words, for the most part, it is not a solitary pursuit. Now, before certain people start jumping up and done and telling me that solo wargaming does exist, I am speaking generally here.

Blogging is generally a solitary pursuit – one person, sitting in front if their computer screen, manipulating images and carefully crafting a post to release into the wilds of the Internet, never knowing whether anyone will actually read their post or appreciate the time and effort that has gone into preparing it. And as there is so much available content out there, it is like shouting into the storm.

A person’s blog is their personal expression of their way of pursuing their hobby. You may not like the particular genre they focus on or their painting style or the way they express themselves, but, for the most part, that person is not blogging solely for YOUR benefit. They are merely sharing what they are doing in the hopes that someone else will find it interesting or inspiring or entertaining. At least, that’s why I do it.

So, when visiting others blogs, if you see something you like, spare a few moments of your valuable time to tell that person that you like what they’ve done – not because you feel you should or because you want them to do the same on your blog, but because you genuinely want to acknowledge the time and effort that has gone in to doing it. 

And whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinion, think twice before deliberately being negative about someone’s efforts. Think how you would feel if you received a similar comment on all your hard work. I’ve known people who have given up blogging due to petty and vindictive comments made by small-minded people who derive pleasure from publically slagging off their efforts or them personally and I personally believe that the hobby is a poorer place for it.

Our hobby is a rich and wonderful thing, filled with talented people, wonder and imagination – the only trolls should be those fielded on tabletop.

The Crow has spoken. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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27 thoughts on “Shouting Into the Storm

  1. Interesting Jez, when I read the title I imagined it was another development in your Victorian campaign. Having only recently started blogging myself, I can fully understand where your coming from, and agree there is no need for hate or effectively cyber bullying, the hobby is about having fun !
    Always try to leave comments on blogs I follow and be constructive even if it’s a subject that does not have the same appeal to me, I feel this is a mark of respect for the person who has taken the time to write the article in the first place.
    Hope you have a great 2018 and enjoy the hobby for what it means to you

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    • I usually have at least one post a year in which I climb up onto my soapbox and give a sermon. I thought I’d get in early this year…lol

      But you’ve understood my point completely. As a visitor to another’s blog, you are under no obligation to post a comment, but if you are going to do so, it should be done with respect and consideration. You are a guest on that person’s site, so there is no reason to be tracking mud across their carpet.

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  2. All the best for 2018

    I do keep looking over your posts, but to be honest I struggle with knowing what to say the majority of the time so don’t comment (that is in general, not specifically to your blogging I hasten to add).

    Roll on Forgotten Heroes and then I should have more to say ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks Roy – hope your is good too.
      And as I said above, you are under no obligation to comment on anything anybody writes. I’d prefer one genuine comment than a huge glut of false platitudes. If I was concerned about bumping up my stats, I’d post about whatever the current fad is amongst the masses…I can’t see THAT happening any time soon, so I shall happily chug along, doing what I do and graciously accepting whatever comments come my way.

      And there WILL be a Forgotten Heroes 2018, but with Roger cutrently out of commission, I may be running it solely from here this year.

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      • I’m terrible at posting comments on other people’s blogs, even when I thoroughly appreciate what they’re posting, so maybe I should resolve to be better at it. In this case I am posting a big thumbs up to there being a Forgotten Heroes again this year, although I shall now be experiencing five months of angst as I wonder who to turn my attentions to.

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        • I think we all are, Alan. We see a post and enjoy reading it and fully intend to post a comment and then something else comes along to distract us. This year I’m going to make a conscious effort to make sure I comment on every post I have good things to say about.

          And Roger has contacted me and informed me that even if he’s not back to fully blogging, he will be administering the Forgotten Heroes site, so all things are go! Time to get those thinking caps on!

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  3. Firstly Happy New Year and secondary my apologies for not visiting more often! Great post Jez and something that I wholeheartedly agree with. Blogging has become an import part of my hobby and the friendships that have developed are really important to me. I have no time for people that feel the need to upset and would at the expense of others. Take care and look out for an email I shall be seeing shortly – I need some advice! All the best, Michael.

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    • Thank you Michael. And absolutely no need to apologise – time is a precious commodity and we can’t always do everything we’d like to. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated – quality over quantity is always better… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And I am always happy to help in whatever limited way I can, so please feel free to ask anything.

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  4. What a brilliant thread. Not just because I`ve been shouting this to the winds for ages (mostly in futile gestures… people hate to be reminded of truth when its something they don`t want to face, so mostly ignore such posts, which is the phenomenon of the internet – easy to hide stay silent hehe), but because I think its a very well written piece, and perhaps January and start of a new year is the ideal time for it.

    I tried an experiment once (earlier last year. I wrote a loooong in depth article, and got little interest: I followed this up with a silly little quarter page thing with lots of shiny photos and got tons of comments (all one liners saying “very nice Steve”. I repeated this again, wrote a long deep involved article I was very proud of and took me simply ages to write… all from the heart. Again, no comments, in fact many didnt comment at all. So I followed up with another tiny one and got (I think it was) about 90 comments, but funniest of all it was just a small article I`d written and posted a year and a half before (same blog), I just changed the title, and bingo! lol.

    Hils did the same, she wrote a piece on black people miniatures in wargames (and why not enough are included in games) and I think she got 8 comments (4 of them our own replies), but the piece was so reasoned, deeply researched and took her ages to pen. Next article she wrote was on Marvel comics and sure enough everyone started commenting again hahaha, so the silence is usually selectively deliberate *wink*

    Anyway I say this not to be awkward or to embarrass anyone, or to be argumentative and fan the cyber waves with internet trolling, but because I think your `shouting into the storm` post deserves a proper response…. I think all bloggers deserve that actually. Sit and spend six hours writing a piece, and surely they deserve fifteen minutes of the readers time to make a proper reply, just to show respect if nothing else? Most would say they havent time.. but time is really selectively optional I always find.

    Very nice piece Jez, and I find myself nodding and smiling in agreement with every paragraph: if anything I would (and could) probably go even further than you do, but then again.. blogging is a subtle art and easy to offend people if you touch too close to the truth, a lot of the time *grins*

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    • Thank you, Stevie. I don’t often climb up on my soapbox, but sometimes I feel certain things need addressing. Not because I want to cause controversy or provoke anything other than reasoned debate. That’s why I consider carefully the point I’m trying to make and offer it in a form that is reasoned, rather than just ranting, because no-one wants to listen to that.
      Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but surely manners should apply just as much in the digital age than they did in the past? Internet access, just like other forms of communication, does not give one the right to be abusive and should be used responsibly.
      So, you don’t care for one of my posts or disagree with my opinion? – That’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But, there’s no need to denigrate me either in comments on my own blog or make disparaging comments on your own.That’s just ill-mannered and childish.

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  5. I think it was Simon once said “I blog to celebrate my hobby and share, with others, what I do” I always thought, what a cool way of putting it. Then there are people like Andy often post the most excitingly useful tutorials on terrain building (more than I few I have saved to file and either made terrain from myself using his examples and guidelines, or plan to make for myself later as time and inspiration permits). So many bloggers and so much wondrous inspiration to be gleaned out there from so many of them. Phil over at `Association – Les Riflemen` absolutely inspires us with his incredible, numerous, and beautifully rendered battle reports and the most exquisite 15mm miniatures (all painted better than most others could even paint in 28mm… the guy is an absolute genius). I often want to make massive long comments to his work, but keep them short out of respect.. as he is French, and although his English is good, I`d hate to confuse him with long long replies all penned in English. It amazing enough that he writes his blog is French and again in subtitle English: and wow, was there ever a gamer more deserving of praise. He paints well and he plays games with his finished models lots and lots and lots. The guy (and his club friends) is a walking game god.

    I think I`m saying, bloggers put a lot of themselves into their blog sites, and sometimes spend hours and hours creating articles for others to enjoy. Even if , as Jez says, we partly just do it for ourselves, there is nothing nicer than to know our efforts are worth a few moments of someone`s time while they make a worthy response and let you know they enjoyed it.. better still if the post creates conversation and reasoned debate. We are meant to be hobbyists after all, are we not? And hobbyists (in any hobby) surely like to SHARE their passion with other like minded people?

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    • Exactly, Hils. As there’s no financial remuneration from blogging, for the most part, people do it because they want to. No-one forces anyone to read your blog and there’s no detriment to the reader for reading it – all it takes is a little time. People share their love of the hobby in a public arena an anyone who is prepared to do this should be applauded and respected. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  6. I not being a “Blogger” due to Laziness and a deep seated belief that i have nothing to say.
    Would like to say something……..
    Thankyou
    To all those bloggers out there who do have something to say and to everyone who comments in a civilized manner [good or bad] but not petty or vindictive
    Thankyou
    For spending your time and energy producing what is for me one of the few contacts with the outside world that i can tolerate and hopefully not screw up
    Thankyou

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    • Thanks Chris. I truly believe that you DO have things that ate worth listening to and would to publically thank you for your help and support of all the crazy ideas that I’ve bounced off you over the years. You always provide a reasoned viewpoint and whilst I may not always agree with you, your ideas have been integrated into some of the rules I’ve written.

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  7. Quote: ~~ If you think about it, blogging about wargaming is a rather odd development of the wargaming hobby ~~

    not a more true word spoken. i think it is the internet. i am invalid and cannot move about without a lot of assistance so spend a lot of time using the computer to plan my next games, but never at the expense of playing the hobby. its too easy to sit and talk about being in the hobby and say “im a gamer” but in reality most are not. internet creates a lazy throw away attitude where there is always something new to collect just around the next corner. collect, but do the new things usually ever see the wargame table- no, never. collect more and more and how can the enthusiast ever catch up, but stays for ever chasing time and nothing he owns ever gets completed and certainly never sees the table. the notion of not being able to play with unpainted figures or badly painted ones is the most silliest. I own bolt action world war two and paint it like mad. it taken me over a year so far and nearly finished now, but i have played with them assembled but in various stages of paint completion all along, and have dozens of games, played with my brother, under my belt. imagine if i collected dozens of subjects, how would i ever get any of it finished, and i feel ill at the though of none of it being played with. toys are to be played with, and if they cant be touched until painted to completion, those poor hobbyists will never know the joys of proper wargaming, and simply be internet hobbyists. the internet is a terrible addiction already i have had long conversations with my brother and my mum about whether its worth losing so many hours sitting in front of the thing, when i could be sitting with those lost hours playing more games and reading books to enhance my enjoyment even more. once i get my proper electric wheel chair and learn how to use it, i will be glued to the local club and painting figures each week to enjoy games at that club, so will have a good hobby aim all the time. i would urge anyone into spending hours on the internet at the expense of the main body of the hobby to make the effort to join their local club (or clubs – for many they have options) instead of taking about things that never happen, but never enjoying it. or real. many excuses why they cant, but its all choice really. if even i can drag my body to a club i suspect anyone could.

    there i have stuck my neck out and said it.

    postings like this create debate, the lifeblood of the hobby. while i may not spend my life in blog space and might leave it one day soon, but i do think if you are going to partake, then you must converse and communicate your voice in the hobby for others to hear. or wonderful blogs like this one will vanish one by one as the owners go “what the hell”.

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    • Very true, Luke. I am just as guilty of this as others, but I use my blog to encourage me to actually DO something with all my collected figures and gaming accoutrements. Prior to starting my blog, all my hobby stuff sat in boxes gathering dust, so the blog was a reason to get it all out and start using it for its intended purpose. I may not game as much as I should, but I’m getting better and my blog has enabled me to fall back in love with my hobby. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a good thing. ๐Ÿ˜

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  8. hear hear

    WELL SAID, from start to finish. The comments alone say it all, you are not alone in your thinking, but most are too afraid to say anything openly. so again WELL DONE, faultless and true to a fault. What you say here is valid and worth taking note (I know I have). Comments from your readers just adds voice to it and proves a point I believe.

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    • Thanks Dave. Similar to my post regarding the ‘Magpie mentality’ of certain gamers, sometimes I just feel someone needs to stand up and say something. I’m not trying to change the World, just trying to make people think a bit more about what the hobby SHOULD be, rather than accepting those parts that shouldn’t.

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  9. Happy New Year buddy, a quick one line reply to say I agree….lol

    Sorry I couldnโ€™t resist! However I do happen to agree with the sentiment. No one has the right to hate on someoneโ€™s blog post/hobby efforts, constructive criticism is more than welcome and any help is gratefully received however I cannot bare people spouting bile! It takes a very long time to produce even a small post with minimal photography so at the very least folks should respect that if nothing else.

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    • Thanks Andy and Happy New Year to you too!

      Whilst a blog post may take five to ten minutes to read, the creativity that has gone into producing the figures or terrain or other content, not to mention taking the photos, playing the game and typing it all up takes significantly longer. We do it because we like to share what we’ve been up to, not because we expect praise or are furthering some agenda. So, all I’m encouraging people to do is think before they comment.

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  10. Well said Jez. Just be considerate. Many lonely gamers find inspiration and friendship amongst the bloggers who share their hard work. And those that share deserve to at least NOT be trod on. Thanks!

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    • Thanks Harry. For those who don’t have access to a gaming club or a circle of like-minded friends with which to play, the online gaming community offers a window into the hobby which means they can talk about what they love and be inspired by what others do. So they gain the social aspect of gaming rhat they may not usually have access to. I personally think that this is a good thing, as being a gamer amongst non-gamers can be slightly disheartening.

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      • Exactly! There is no club close to me (that I know of). Nearly all my gaming interaction comes from online, either blogs or podcasts or simply browsing minis sites. Finding your blog was incredible. Something new and fresh and invigorating. So many ideas floating in my head down. I’ve thought more about gaming and models and building in the past couple months than in the previous 2 years. No reason not to say thanks!

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        • That’s very kind of you to say, Harry. There’s a lot of talented and clever people out there and I’ve certainly gained much from viewing others work and interacting with like-minded people. And also made some very good friends. So the positives outweigh the negatives, which is a win in my book.

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  11. Agreed wholeheartedly. Well said, Crow. Nothing torques me off more than reading a bunch of negative comments on someone else’s work. There’s plenty I read and see that I’m not jazzed about (not on THIS site, of course), but rather than run someone’s efforts down, I’d just as soon say nothing.

    CMON is somewhat notorious for this kind of thing. Obviously, there are all different skill levels of painting represented there. What’s sad is when someone seeking constructive criticism finally gets up the courage to post a picture of their efforts and all they get is trolled. Not cool. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    Anyway, you keep writing, and I’ll keep filling my plate at the buffet. Always happy to see what you’re up to over here.

    Sorry to hear that Roger’s out of commission; but glad to hear he’ll be back for Forgotten Heroes. Looking forward to it later this year!

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