I really do not do this very often but I am going to post about something that has nothing to do with painting miniatures. It does, however, have an enormous amount to do with this great hobby of ours.
The Internet is a funny old place, people hide behind their anonymity in order to make snide comments. Complex issues are summed up in 140 character bursts which are frequently massively over simplified. People actively “troll” to trigger long strings of furious comments that somehow enhance their self worth. More than anything else, people bitch and moan.
It is getting to the point where I find myself actively avoiding seeing any comments sections of websites at all because they just depress me. This is a real shame as the Internet can be an enormously potent tool for discussion and debate. Now I am not naive, I know that the idiots who “troll” comments forms will never go away as long as there are sad people whose self worth is boosted by the rage and upset of others. What I would like to see is a greater responsibility on the part of we, the bloggers, to make sure that we present news and opinions in a positive and non inflammatory light. There are sites – you know who you are – who seem to post deliberately inflammatory editorials to spark what they call discussion. I suspect that the problem is that advertising revenue on the Internet is tied to page views and rows bring page views. Oops, there I went, see how much deliberate thought this takes? That last comment violated rule 7 below.
So here is my thing. I hereby pledge to do the following on my blog:
1) I will keep all criticism constructive.
This is an important one, if you don’t like something about a model then specify what it is and more importantly what you are doing to correct it.
2) I will make no sweeping generalisations.
This leads on from above, do not say “that model is rubbish”, say “not convinced by the sword” and then – following rule 1 – “so I’ll replace it with...”
3) I will not signal my dislike for a range/model that I have no intention of buying.
This really annoys me. People who do not like a model, who have no intention of buying it, throwing around cynical snipes which ruin the enjoyment of all those who do like the range. If you don’t like it you won’t buy it. That is fine, there is no need to express your less than humble opinion to the world. (example: I genuinely felt like the only human on Earth who thought the Stormraven was kinda cool)
4) I will not base my opinions on photography alone.
Miniatures often do not photograph well. I will have a model in my hot little hands before I make any judgements upon it.
5) I will treat others with respect.
Other people’s opinions are valid, they are entitled to them, yes, even if you think they are stupid.
6) I will not summarise highly complex issues of business.
I know nothing about running a multi-national company, I know nothing about running a miniatures company, neither do you if you are honest. Maybe a handful of people in every ten thousand know anything about these things. I will not make sweeping comments about things I know precious little about.
7) Suspicion is not proof.
I will not make accusations without proof of indiscretion. Snide cynicism is an unhealthy humour.
8) People are people, even on the Internet.
What a lot of people seem to forget is that every miniature ever made was created by the blood, sweat and tears of at least 1 person. Maybe lots of people. All of those people worked hard, are proud of their endeavour and will see any flaws in their creation far more keenly than you. All that ignoring the above 7 rules will achieve is to hurt someone’s feelings.
There, now I would love to turn those 8 rules into some sort of active pledge that we would all endeavour to uphold. Unfortunately I am just a very little fish in this great big pond and don’t have the sort of clout that would be needed to get this universally adopted. Any volunteers?
Oh and to settle my mind I would like to throw my hat into the hurricane of fury associated with pricing. NO-ONE is forcing you to buy models. No-one is forcing you to choose one miniatures company over another (anyone who raises the tournament compatibility thing only has a right to if they ACTUALLY ATTEND THEM and the vast majority of us do not). If the models are expensive, save up for them. If the models are more than you think they are worth, do not buy them. Everyone can afford this hobby at some level. So you can’t afford a 4000 point vostroyan guard army? Of course you can’t. You probably don’t own a Ferrari either. I want a huge number of things that I cannot afford. I don’t buy them. I don’t feel that I should vent my spleen to millions of people about it. Try not to grumble automatically just because someone is successful. This was brought home to me when I realised I used to make anti-Microsoft jokes while using a Windows PC. Ridiculous.
That is all, I just wanted to get that off my chest as it has been driving me nuts lately. If you have read this far I salute you. Stay positive people.