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#OneADay 6 – In Which I Have Nothing Worthwhile to Say

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So, it’s day 6 of one a day and I’ve already run out of inspiration. Well, not exactly. But my previous few posts have been all SUPER SERIOUS STUFF and I want to do something frivolous.

Dark turquoise robot clockI shall describe the cute stuff on my desk, which – thanks to my ever-increasing Twitter obsession – is more and more resembling a collection of… well… shit. Hang on, I started this project to improve my writing skills so really that sentence calls for a metaphor of some kind, doesn’t it?

…on my desk, which is groaning under the detritus from an autumn’s worth of promotional tat.

It’s not a metaphor, but I guess it’s marginally better than saying a collection of shit. Both are true. However, interspersed among the conference-going tat, unfiled bank statements, redundant stationery (does anyone need 11 pens and 2 rolls of sticky tape on their PC desk? Really?) and things-I-should-be-dealing-with-but-am-not, are some lovely little gems.

My square-headed robot clock, pictured above. He was a leaving present from my last permanent position – the one I was at for two years. Proper solid metal with 5 points of articulation, no less. I love him to bits.

I also have a little pink bear, whom I have named Little Pink Bear. I have a string voodoo pirate with a drawing pin peg leg, whom I have named Pirate Dude* and then I have this.

Cyooooots on mah desk

What is he? My bf picked him up from MCM. Some kind of Japanese yeti, perhaps? Answers below, please. I can’t name him without knowing what he is.

—-
*I also have a polar bear named Frank.

Written by Weefz

7 January, 2011 at 12:22 am

#OneADay 5 – Money And Ethics (Again)

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Another one-a-day blogger, Evrim Ersoy, wrote a great response to my post on selling out.

If you want people to take you seriously, take what you write seriously then it’s your journalistic obligation to prove to them that what they’re reading is not just another form of paid for advertisement.
Evirm Ersoy – The Art of Selling Out

Go and read it so you can follow my points below.

The major part I don’t understand is the distinction between a restaurant giving you a free meal and your paying for a meal and then claiming it back on expenses. Either way, the source of the payment isn’t you. The meal tastes just the same, the service is just as good and the wine is just as overpriced.

The other option is for you to pay for the meal yourself. Surely the only way that can go is towards demands for higher writing wages? How is payment coming from your own bank balance any different, except in the writer’s mind? This brings us back to the point in my last post about choice. Subconscious positive feelings through gratitude are a fact of humanity but all critics are well aware of what they’re writing and why. Restaurant reviews include the cost of a meal for 2 plus wine and of course the reviewer considers the opportunity costs for the reader, yes?

Evrim has a great quote from Ebert about gifts. In case anyone missed my sarcasm about mugs and diaries and lunch in the last post, I agree. Gifts bad. Alcohol particularly so. Granted, in the UK’s social culture it’s harder to build professional relationships without it but anything more than accepting a few rounds in a pub is pretty fucking dodgy in my book. Especially if you (the writer) never reciprocate.

[Disclosure: In December Shopping.com gave me a bunch of cocktails, a shared bottle of champagne and a bottle of Prosecco. They were sponsoring a Christmas quiz, I was a +1 with a friend and my site isn’t about shopping portals. Relevant or red herring?]

Bringing this to a more personal level – I get the occasional free game. I buy other games. Giving me a free game means I feel obligated to write SOMETHING about your game in particular – I was going to write something about some game anyway, so is it unethical to choose the thing right in front of me over the one still in the shop? Is it morally “better” to choose the one I paid for because I thought it looked fun? Why? My choice to buy for myself was influenced by marketing budgets, after all.

Of course publishing only-positive reviews is doing a disservice to your readers. From what I’ve learned over the past few months (through anecdotes not personal experience, I feel the need to add ;), it will also earn you a reputation as a hack and lose you respect from readers, colleagues and PR people. It’s your choice.

Here, I went to Namco a few months back to preview Enslaved: Odyssey To The West:

The game itself is quite fun. As Monkey, you run around the landscape beating up mechs with the occasional boss thrown in for good measure…
…Combat is… okay. I played on Normal mode and found it fairly pleasant, which probably means that fans of melee action games will find it shocking.
Debbie Timmins (Me!) – Preview – Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

I made a conscious effort to ensure the piece reflected the good and bad of my experience. Is it not sufficient to judge a writer on the correlation of their work to the subject matter? How does the adding the knowledge that Namco bought me a pizza and a couple of cans of Coke change the quality of my review? How about the knowledge that it was a horrible gooey sweet chilli pizza that I didn’t enjoy very much?

Personally, I think it’s more important to disclose the fact that I’m not an expert on melee action games – the sort of information that many reviews don’t include, in the name of “objectivity”. Requiring full disclosure on the entire PR experiences sounds to me like a demand to open yourself to circumstantial ad hominem accusations.

Rounding off to Evrim’s statement above: Does the proof that “what I’m writing is not just another form of paid for advertising” not lie in the accuracy of my report as compared to yours and your friends experiences? I cannot be exceptional in choosing to trust reviewers based on how well their opinion of films I’ve already seen meshes with my own, can I?

The questions in this post are not rhetorical. I genuinely want to see more opinions on this. Leave them in the comments or drop me a link to your own post on the subject, please.

Written by Weefz

5 January, 2011 at 3:44 pm

My Name is Weefz and I Am An Addict

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Aion Usage - 2009-10

I thought I played Aion pretty hardcore but that pales in comparison to my Discworld MUD clocktime.

Discworld MUD - 1996 - 1999

I clocked up an additional 23 days on my Discworld alt, too. 1656 hours on a single text-based game.

Edit to add Guild Wars clock – another 188 hours…:

Guild Wars - 2005-06

Written by Weefz

7 December, 2010 at 12:53 pm

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Test Layers Are Overrated

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I even have a test version of the site. I just don’t update it often enough :\

Written by Weefz

3 December, 2010 at 4:59 pm

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Testing Mah Hotlink Redirect

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Written by Weefz

3 December, 2010 at 4:16 pm

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I Write Like…

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I write like
Douglas Adams

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Written by Weefz

14 July, 2010 at 10:14 am

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Social Media Stats

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Today I have been mostly playing with Twitter and other social media stats sites. Click on the images to get to my profile on each one.

GeekChart

Weefz’s Geek Chart

Klout
Unfocused and inconsistent, you say?
@weefz is a Chatterbox!
Yeah, seems likely.

Twitalyzer
0.7% impact, influencer type is Spider

Written by Weefz

14 June, 2010 at 8:47 pm