DragonKnight (User)

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User Blogs Aren't Meant To Be Professional

DragonKnight | 495d ago
User blog

Hi there my fellow N4G users. How are you all doing today? I hope you're all well. I'm writing this blog as a comment about the blogs being submitted to this site and how some people really need to re-evaluate their roles as members who can approve or report user blogs on this site. Now, some will see this as speaking directly to them because I've disagreed with their reports, and that's fine if they want to feel that way as it's part of the reason I'm writing this blog. Nevertheless, I'm going to outline some things that I think people should ease up on, or are flat out wrong about, when it comes to reporting blogs as well as moments when people should scrutinize the content a bit more.

Grammar/Punctuation/Sentence Structure: This is almost always listed under "Other" as a report when it should be listed under "Low Quality." Regardless, we have to remember that these are blogs. They aren't professional editorials, reviews, or articles. No member of this site is being paid to write user blogs (unless they win the monthly contest, and even then it's not the same) so we have to remember that. We also have to remember that there are a large number of users whose native language is NOT English, so holding their blog hostage with a report on their grammar, or sentence structure, is just wrong and really looks like an abuse of power. Granted, blatant errors such as uNnEcEsSaRy capitalization and obvious spelling errors should be pointed out, but only in the interest of understanding the content, not because you want to get your inner English teacher out and find improper use of a semicolon to be irritating. These are blogs. User blogs. Treat them as such and don't expect Pulitzer prize material or Graduate School level dissertations.

Interest or lack thereof: A blog should be reported for legitimate reasons. Reasons such as being too short for a blog post, spam, writing a blog that is a copy/paste of an article, and complete illegibility. Reporting a blog because you don't find it interesting is not a legitimate reason. Just because YOU don't find it interesting or worthy of approval, doesn't mean that the community feels that way. These are blogs. They are completely opinion based and not meant to be taken with the same seriousness as genuine, fact based articles. No one is forcing you to read or approve a blog, but you shouldn't punish the writer just because you don't think it should be approved. Now, if the blog is a blatant troll blog, or an attack blog, then you definitely have the right to say that it's not worthy of approval, but we have to remember what blogs are all about and cut the writer some slack every now and then.

Now, so I don't appear to be picking on any individuals who think that that's what this blog is about (it isn't), allow me to explain what we shouldn't be doing in blogs.

I recently saw a blog where the author decided a line-break after the end of every sentence was necessary as it makes the blog easier to read. I'm sorry, but it actually makes your blog look amateurish. This site is for people 13 years of age and older, not little children who need big letters and lots of spaces in between to read what you're writing. Just because I don't think that people should be too demanding about perfect grammar/sentence structure, doesn't mean we don't bear some responsibility in trying to appear that we know how to write well.

Spam and copy pastas should be completely avoided as well. This is a gaming site, so we don't care that you have third world escorts waiting for us and we don't need to see your failed article submission trying to circumvent the system by using the user blog section.

Blogs that are blatantly trying to anger people, or deliberately attacking them, will always be failed on site by mods. The community will almost always report the blogs, but they don't even have to as the mods will insta-fail them on site and you'd have no one to blame but yourself if that happens.

To summarize and finalize this blog remember this. User blogs are opinions that everyone is entitled to have. Just like you wouldn't be too happy with someone telling you that you expressed your opinion incorrectly, so to do others dislike that attitude towards them as well.

SilentNegotiator  +   495d ago
Yeah, no. Blogs needs to have good grammar. If you're going to have a blog featured on the main page of a website, you can take the time to proofread. They're rarely ever FAILED over bad grammar, but reports usually lead the authors to take serious steps to fixing the readability and errors in their post.

And I really don't recall ever seeing a report that said "I'm not interested in this blog", but then my involvement with pending blogs is spotty. Any specific examples?
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DragonKnight  +   495d ago
Yeah, no. Blogs aren't meant to be professional. If they are featured on the main page of this website, it's because people wanted to see them. And, traditionally speaking, when someone sees the words "User Blog" one normally doesn't expect to see professional writing so grammar reports about inconsequential "errors" are pretty sad. If it the grammar is all over the place, that's one thing, but nitpicking everything isn't a legitimate reason to report a blog. It's not an article from someone who is paid to write professionally.

And yes actually, your own. Specifically in this blog.

http://n4g.com/blogs/detail...

Now you don't come right out and say "I'm not interested in this" but you do say there's no reason to approve it because you've heard these arguments before. That's not a reason to report someone's blog. You've heard the argument before, ok, but you haven't heard it from that particular user have you?
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SilentNegotiator  +   494d ago
Original content is stressed with blogs, you know.

That blog says this: "Ps3 has better exclusives, online is free, and my Xbox broke"

Not even remotely unique arguments that we see made every day by users.

And since it's typically decided by mods if blogs are declined, I simply voiced my concern in the report section that the content wasn't original and (though it surprisingly didn't) would probably cause a s**tstorm.
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DragonKnight  +   494d ago
"Original content is stressed with blogs, you know."

Only in the sense that articles can't be copy/pasted as blogs. Blogs are inherently original by principle as they are opinion pieces.

"Not even remotely unique arguments that we see made every day by users."

Irrelevant. The blog was written to be that particular user's reasons, thus in that sense it is unique. Just because they appear to be echoed sentiments doesn't mean anyone has the right to say that individual's opinion can't/shouldn't be shared.

"And since it's typically decided by mods if blogs are declined."

Actually, mods rarely fail blogs unless they are against site rules. Don't believe me? Look in the pending section to see a blog that's been waiting approval for 14 days. The mods typically leave these things up to the community unless they have to intervene because of the power they have to instantly approve or fail articles or blogs.
SilentNegotiator  +   494d ago
But the mods actually DO THE ACT of failing the blogs, is my point. The blog wasn't going to auto-fail over my one or two reports.
Valenka  +   495d ago
Agreed. I understand that N4G is not a professional journalism median as say, Game Informer, but that does not mean users can simply grunt their submission and move on. As SilentNegotiator said, it's going to be featured on the main page so at least take the time to proofread and fix any obvious errors.

I'll admit I can be pretty anal about certain things, but it's because I sense laziness in the writing. People need to have pride in their contributions and by pushing them to take the time to check for errors and put some serious effort into their work, you can help them have such. I have been trying to ease back in terms of what to let go and what to report. DragonKnight made a valid point - it's one thing if the grammar is all over the place, but a few confusions of it's and its do not warrant a report and I am admittedly, guilty as charged.

The fact of the matter is, if a majority of the community can (even some with English as a second language) contribute something substantially lovely in terms of language, spelling and grammar, then so can the rest of the community. It's a simple concept that boils down to pride in one's own work.

But as I said - since I know a portion of this blog was aimed toward me - I have been trying to ease up a bit and get those quality submissions out there as quick as possible, despite a few irrelevant errors.
DragonKnight  +   495d ago
Hey, I'm not perfect myself. One time instead of reporting a blog, I tried helping the author out by making a comment about his mistakes and it was pretty much an a**hole move to make. I'm just saying that, just because it's featured on the main page, we should all remember that these are blogs. It's not like mods or anything have to review the blog before it's featured, it's a system put in place that is self-governing thus much easier to work in. This actually removes some of the "prestige" of getting a piece on the front page because it wasn't put there by virtue of flawless grammar or high quality content, it was put there because people liked it.
Nicaragua  +   494d ago
@valenka
The fact is that you have no right to report these things anyway as they do not violate any N4G rules or guidelines for blogs, so it is just you being anal and misusing the reporting system.

It's not your place to decide what level of grammar is acceptable for the websites front page because its not your website. Who is to say that it isn't just supposed to be a literal user blog for casual writers to post their gaming related ramblings?

If your so smitten with doing things properly then you should do just that and stop reporting blogs over trivial crap, there are no guidelines so stop making them up and forcing them on others.
cgoodno  +   494d ago
***The fact is that you have no right to report these things anyway as they do not violate any N4G rules or guidelines for blogs, so it is just you being anal and misusing the reporting system. ***

Actually, s/he does have the right. There is no rule that says s/he can't do as such.

***It's not your place to decide what level of grammar is acceptable for the websites front page because its not your website.***

It's a community driven site. S/he is a part of the community. S/he is also a very prominent figure when it comes to User Blogs.

***there are no guidelines so stop making them up and forcing them on others***

A report does not designate that a blog or other submission on the site can't get approved.
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Nicaragua  +   494d ago
@cgoodno
So to summarise - anyone who uses the site (a member of the community) can use the report/approval system however they want to regarding blogs since it is a community driven site and there arent any fixed rules, and dont worry about reports because they are a bit pointless anyway.

This we already know.

What im saying is that I dont think its right to be so hard on trivial spelling, grammar or layout. I've seen reports on spelling over words spelt the UK way rather than US, reports by people saying articles needed more paragraphs when in all honesty they didnt, and reports on spelling when it was obvious the author had mispelled for comedic effect "dis iz ded stoopid" etc.

And to be honest it was Valenka who did all the above and by his own admission he is a bit too anal over these things. We've discussed our differences of opinion privately and i respect the guy and his articles but i still feel he is way heavy handed with reports.

Some kid, who might not have english as a first language, should not be dissuaded from writing blogs for the site because he mispelled a word or didnt use a colon in the correct way and is being clubbed over the head by a set of reports.

Once one person reports a blog then usually others follow suit just based on the first report. Thats fine if its actually a bad article but when you have 4 reports stacked up just because you used the UK spelling for a word then there is little chance that blog will get approved - and there is nothing wrong with it !

Thats my opinion on it. If you want the blogs to have editorial standards then the admins should formalise the rules. As it stands I would prefer less trivial use of the report system.
Aery  +   494d ago
No, your problem is not to be "anal", but sometime (sometime) you have an "Illusions of grandeur" and this is bad for you because in the end you are a good guy.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe not ... you know yourself.
cgoodno  +   494d ago
***So to summarise - anyone who uses the site (a member of the community) can use the report/approval system however they want to regarding blogs since it is a community driven site and there arent any fixed rules, and dont worry about reports because they are a bit pointless anyway. ***

No, but they can use it for legitimate reasons. Grammar and spelling are legitimate.

***What im saying is that I dont think its right to be so hard on trivial spelling, grammar or layout. ***

Okay. That's your opinion. That's fine. Doesn't mean other opinions are wrong.

***Some kid, who might not have english as a first language, should not be dissuaded from writing blogs for the site because he mispelled a word or didnt use a colon in the correct way and is being clubbed over the head by a set of reports.***

Most people who speak English as a second or third language will be more welcome to correcting mistakes, though. It's unlikely they'd be dissuaded by someone since they were already brave enough to write it in the first place.

*** If you want the blogs to have editorial standards then the admins should formalise the rules. As it stands I would prefer less trivial use of the report system.***

This isn't what I want, this is about the rights of the community members. You guys share different opinions, but that doesn't make either of your opinions more 'right' than the others. If you talk to Valenka, I'm sure he will just skip your blogs in the future.

I'm not supporting what Valenka does and how he does them, but I am saying that you don't have the right to say he can't participate in the community in the way he does as it's not against the rules.
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dedicatedtogamers  +   494d ago
While I do understand where you are coming from, the Monthly Contest throws all of these arguments out of the window. I can't say for certain, but I imagine that user reviews and user blogs generate some level of click-through for N4G (maybe the mods can confirm this?) and the Monthly Contest is there to encourage quality content. Win-win: N4G's operators make money off the blogs/reviews, and blog posters are encouraged to hold themselves to a higher standard.

The reality is that the "user blog" is no longer a blog. I wish they would change the name, actually, to "user editorial" or something like that. A blog is a personal site for a person to dump their thoughts, regardless of inherent quality. Obviously, the blogs that are approved (and the ones that win the Monthly Contest) are more than just a random dumping of sentences. There's a quality that is expected.

Again, I'm not saying "you're wrong!" as if your thoughts on blogs are incorrect. I'm saying you're wrong because the "user blogs" aren't really blogs anymore on N4G.
DragonKnight  +   494d ago
Actually, I am not aware if you've won a user blog contest or not but, when you do the message is a thanks for making N4G a part of your daily life. It's a reward, not a payment. Anyone can win, but not everyone does, so in that sense that throws your argument out of the window. I understand your point though.
Cat  +   472d ago
User Blogs aren't a money maker on the site, but I think that it's one of the more impressive parts of the site - and worthy of a slice of the prize money pie!
StreetsofRage  +   494d ago
There is nothing professional about blogs. Normally it's based of highly biased views. Whether it's gaming or politics, it usually is just a rant.

The art of journalism was killed with the birth of the blog.
DragonKnight  +   494d ago
"The art of journalism was killed with the birth of the blog."

I actually kind of agree with that.
cgoodno  +   494d ago
I'll put my two cents in here directly.

As someone who is one-half of the team that reads every blog and decides on winners, grammar and spelling are part of how I determine winners. They're not the primary element, but if I come upon a blog with so many errors that it's apparent the user didn't take any time to work on it? If it detracts from what they are saying? It's unlikely they will be in the finalists list, let alone a winner.

Now, having said that, having poor grammar or spelling is not a single determinant as to what can or can't get approved as a User Blog. We also don't prevent people who report such things, it's within their right.

Personally, I'm not going to take much interest in a blog, user blog or blog from another gaming Web site, if they can't take the time to review their writing and make it easier for me to understand and follow.
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DragonKnight  +   494d ago
I can definitely see where you're coming from, but I tried to make it clear that little mistakes in grammar and spelling being reported really comes off as just petty and/or an abuse of the ability to report someone. Like I said, grammar that's all over the place, repeated spelling errors, or a blog that is generally difficult to understand because of very poor structure or something along those lines should definitely be reported because it's sloppy.

But, these are also just blogs. They aren't school assignments for an English teacher to grade. So long as what's being said can be understood by the majority, little nitpicky moments such as the difference between their and there, or when a line break should occur, or the proper use of a semicolon shouldn't be reported. That's something that anyone can just PM the author about and say "hey, I think I can help you out with your blog's grammar" and leave it at that.

And also, I understand that what I'm about to say is very subjective, but I highly doubt most ever consider blogs to be professionally written so cutting the author a little slack should be a given. Just saying.

I've just seen so many reports in blogs that are little, inconsequential problems. And a lot of people take reports hard or don't have the understanding that a report of "Other" doesn't necessarily mean the blog won't be approved.

That being said, I'd rather have the spellcheckers and grammar nazis than the fanboy agendas letting anything that suits said agenda to pass through and cause nothing but endless flaming.
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coolbeans  +   494d ago
"That's something that anyone can just PM the author about and say 'hey, I think I can help you out with your blog's grammar' and leave it at that. "

That typically seems to be the best sort of action for those inconsequential problems. I also find it an easier course because the text boxes are big and allow for someone to thoroughly discuss each English problem they notice. I can't stand keeping track of my report message when 6-7 words is all you can really fit in one line (if that).
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Cat  +   472d ago
Yep, it's really about the line between "oops, typo!" and "I was typing blindfolded while wearing mittens".
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Aery  +   494d ago
"...I recently saw a blog where the author decided a line-break after the end of every sentence was necessary as it makes the blog easier to read. I'm sorry, but it actually makes your blog look amateurish."

If you refer to the latest chickergamer blog you are totally wrong. I can assure she can wrote a lot more professionally you can figure and remember, there is always a style in everything. She just use an awesome idea and then she apply to her post.

If you refer to other post, sorry.

Ps I agree with other point you raise anyway, but I'm sad to notice how much the chit-chat gain more attention over real gaming related post/blog/article etc
Valenka  +   493d ago
I'm going to have to agree with DragonKnight - the only reason I removed my report on her blog was because I'm not going to waste time reprimanding someone for paragraph structure. If their submission oozes quality and the only thing wrong with it is the line-breaking, then I'm just going to give it an approval.

However, DragonKnight is spot on. It does not make it "easier to read." I personally think that's a poor-man's excuse for "I'm doing it the way I want so deal with it." It's actually less appealing, in my opinion, and if I may go as far as agreeing in that it does look amateurish.
Baka-akaB  +   494d ago
"holding their blog hostage with a report on their grammar, or sentence structure, is just wrong and really looks like an abuse of power"

No sorry , i can never agree with that . its common courtesy to your readership to proofread .

Now it's not worth throwing someone into flames when it comes to spelling , and everyone makes mistake .

But some continuously prove they just dont care about having proper grammar and posts or titles you could understand .

The whole "english is not my native tongue" excuse isnt a valid one either .

On the contrary knowing this , you aught check even more frantically so you dont come across as a clown , and to make sure people actually understands you , at the very least .

English isnt my native tongue either , wich i guess is obvious to some , with some of my errors and odd syntaxes habits ... but even as a mere forum and comment poster i constantly check and edit myself . Hell i almost always have edited posts .

Again no excuses
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