Policing the Language

You mean people read this stuff?

That's a bit of an evasion.  I have Analytics - I know exactly how many unique readers and hits I get per post.  That's an important part of blogging, and Strictly Average is a moderately successful hobby blog, but it isn't close to being the giant From The Warp is.

How's that for a clumsy introduction?  This story began and ended in the last twelve hours but will ultimately change how I self-edit.  The following is a series of email exchanges between me and Ron, the aforementioned giant.  A la Dethtron/the King/Kirbs, any additional comments I have will be in green.

Cliffnotes version:  I'm going to keep the language clean in the main posts on Strictly Average.  My use of adult language will remain on sites that allow it.


Brent said:
Hey Ron,

I like what you've done with the blog; I think it simplifies it, putting the attention back on your articles.

In your recent post you commented on the changes you made to the blog-roll, and being the narcissistic blogger I am I naturally went to see how it affected mine!  You'd do the same, folks; I just admit it.

And Strictly Average wasn't there!  Just a few days ago it was happily nested in Blog Roll 1.  There's only two possibilities:

1) It was deleted on accident when you made your changes.  Not likely and I knew it!
2) I broke a rule of some sort and you took it down.

Regarding the second, I can't imagine what that could be (actually, I had a very good idea, but being a natural born troublemaker, I realized early in life its best not to give up the details without prompting), but I realize it's your blog.  If you don't want to carry my link in your rolls, for whatever reason, I can respect that.  I'm just really curious what happened.  Both of these are true.  I believe people can spot insincerity so I avoid prevaricating.  How is that different from what I just said about not giving up the details?  The magic words, "I can't imagine."  It always, always means you know.

Thanks for your time.

Ron said:

Your blog was pulled on July 3 for this post:
http://strictlyaverage.blogspot.com/2010/07/unicorns-dont-exist-and-EDIT.html I changed it from the original title: this is me, following through and editing myself.

Use of language and not exactly 40k "hobby related" material.  I see his point but respectfully disagreed in the next email.

And did you reference me in the second post (language in that one too) or is that another Ron? If it was me (it was.  Frankly, it always amazes me when people admit to reading my stuff), I'll have you know I love to play competitively... just with a narrative/not exactly WAAC type list. JWolf also disagrees with my characterization of his style; sadly for all of you, that forces me to expand with a proper vector graph!

Don't get me wrong, I read both and liked them, but that's a personal thing. FTW reaches a much wider audience (to include younger kids) than just me so I have guidelines for the blog.  This is the meat of it and a very valid point, which I'll address below.

Anyway, it looks like those posts have cleared the que and you should be good to go back into the rolls.
You guys (??) are allowed to publish whatever you want and use whatever language you like... I would never tell you guys what you can and can't post on your own blogs. I just keep an eye on what is promoted through FTW.  This is the distinction.  I could have thrown my hands up and cried out for freedom, but that would have been monumentally stupid.  If I want to be promoted through his blog, and I do, there are rules to follow.  They weigh light.


Note, that should have been the end of it!  He as much as said he was going to add me back in, and he didn't even ask for any sort of promises from me.  There was some trust there... but he didn't count on me and my OCD.  That should be a song or something, but I digress.  I then composed the longest email of the bunch and sent it right over.  I've put it in italics: feel free to skip it.

Brent said:
I thought that might be the case.  If A then B.
(As an aside, its just me.  The guys I've given access to have never really come through, which is understandable.  I can't expect someone to care about my blog the way I do.  That makes this my responsibility.)  As an aside, this did make me realize the position I was putting  them in.  I've removed their direct access, allowing them to wash their hands of the whole thing.  While I'd be happy to post material they felt inspired to write, I don't want them feeling obligated in any way.  This is my baby, for better or worse.
I did reference you in the second post; I don't think it's mutually exclusive, but I may not have fleshed my thoughts out.  Or I may be wrong; I have to bear that in mind.
Regarding the posts, I disagree that it's not hobby related.  It's like I said, I like people who like people - the me, that's the focus of the hobby that interests me the most.  That's my background at play though.  The trends and the language are fun to analyze - and I didn't come up with Unicorn but simply responded to it.
The language... there you have me dead to rights.  I'm of two minds there.  On the one hand I love words, even the bad ones, and sometimes they seem to fit better in a post.  On the other hand, that can be a crutch.
I recently blasted Tau Online for some of the awful, perverted material its members were dropping, just because they could.  I hated the idea that kids would stumble on that.  It never occured to me someone else would have the same thought about one of my posts.  If I'm understanding you, you're concerned about the language throughout the post, not just in the title, right?
I'd like to get my spot back in your Blogroll 1 - you've got to know what a big deal that is to promoting all the little guys.  I'll be more mindful of the adult language, keeping it out of my posts on Strictly Average - I've got my articles on Blood of Kittens now: that's certainly a better home for it anyway.  I'm not sure what to say about the topics though; the vast majority of my posts are painting or army or tactics, but the ones that interest me the most are actually community based commentary...
Is that a deal breaker?  Let me know.
I really appreciate the time you're taking in responding.  Even if you decide you can't promote me, at least you've done me the courtesy of letting me know why, and I really, really appreciate that.
Ron said:
Brent,  ...and notice how short his reply was!  I literally laughed when I got this.  I know how I am; I can laugh at myself.  I wrote a novel when no reply was even needed... he was very gracious with my quirk.

I'm not dropping your blog.
Be mindful of the language, that's all I can ask.
I like the topics, it's just the language that kills me.

I'll put you back in this afternoon when I make my rounds.

He couldn't have said, "Leave me alone, PLEASE!" more nicely... which makes it a face-to-palm DOH! when I wrote him once more...

Brent said:
Thanks Ron - I appreciate that.  I'll keep it all PG-13.

...  Stop, Brent, stop!  Leave it, leave it..!

You know I've got to talk about this, right?  I am a blogger...

Ron said: 
I know.  Translation: I know you can no sooner leave this alone than you can stop breathing, so I give you permission.  Please don't email me again... ever.
Just keep it professional.


So there you have it!

I believe my blog has appeal, but I realize kids won't wade through my long-winded commentaries.  I never worried about the language because kids will link out like the Flash the moment they hit the wall of text.  I try to be better about my more widely appealing articles... but that's just justification, isn't it?  Ron can't know that so has to apply rules.  He was very professional about the application of them and I have zero negative things to say about the whole affair.  I appreciated the resolution very much.

I do believe adult language has its place in the conversations of adults, but I've got an outlet for that in the articles I'll be writing for TastyTaste and Blood of Kittens.  I won't be changing my material or the things I like to write about, but I will be avoiding the cursing.  I can make my point without it, and I do have to be mindful of the audience who sees this, be it from Bell of Lost Souls or From the Warp, not to mention the myriad other blogs who are kind enough to include me in their rolls.

I am the proud owner of a link from Yes the Truth Hurts, but that can't really be included in the tally, seeing as how that's a home for adult language and an aggressive exchange of ideas.

Brent, the voice of Strictly Average, out.


Chumbalaya said...

Can I still use adult language?

Why is called adult anyway? I don't feel any older saying it. I think we should call it XXXtreme language so the kids know it is totally rad and cool.

Brent said...


You're welcome to say whatever you want, Chumby! The comments are a conversation, whereas the blog is a more wide-ranging thing.

I feel like Cosby: foul filth foul foul filth.

Sometimes cursing is an art. Sometimes is expresses what you mean more than anything else.

The_King_Elessar said...

For that reason, I try and often fail to stick to Ron's Requirements. (lol)

I'm frequently missing from the BlogRoll - in fact, I probably spend more time off it than on it. Nonetheless, I am proud of any association with FTW, and consider it one of the pre-eminent hobby blogs.

Sadly, life has a tendency to put me in a frame of mind that I can't express myself without swearing - and most of my most read posts are instigated (powered?) by some form of NerdRage.

Frankly, I'm not even sure I'd put my own blog in the same category as yours recently Brent. I've hardly drowned my readership in a deluge of quality material lately.

Brent said...

I appreciate the compliment, King, but I think whether it's quality is all largely a matter of opinion!

For example, I'm pretty sure my friends all universally think I'm wasting my time with this, but I love it. Not that they haven't been supportive; they've been so despite what I suspect is their opinion. They're good people.

And jerks. You can't forget that for a moment - they can smell weakness.

I can say without reservation I've never enjoyed the hobby so much as I have in the last year. A big part of that is the expanded community I've met.

Dethtron said...

It should be painfully obvious where I stand on the language issue. It's not my responsibility to keep swearing away from kids. It's the responsibility of parents to either a)shelter their children from the harsh realities of life by using big brother type software and doing tremendous psychological harm to them or b) be there to put things into context for their kids if they have questions about something they've seen or read. or even C) do something else that I, not being a parent (that I'm aware of), can't think up.

I understand that other people feel differently about language than me, so I attempt to avoid swearing in post titles and first paragraphs, since that will show up on blog rolls. Everything else is fair game. Just me vs the english language ,and only one of us can win. It's beyond naive to think that kids will not find stuff far worse than anything I could possibly imagine saying in other corners of the net. it's not my responsibility to do somebody else's parenting for them.

speaking of assaulting the english language here's my word verification for the day:

meglave- a way of referring to one's polearm. eg) if ye touch meglave again I'll hack your arm off

GMort. said...

@Brent - I tend to use swear words in much the same way that other people use punctuation marks. If anything my own blog is relatively clean compared to how I communicate in real life. Having a nine year old daughter quickly teaches you how to 'turn-off' swearing ;-)

As for your blog, I have up-most respect for anybody who can maintain a level of quality posting on a daily basis, Which is why you are one of only a dozen or so blogs I have links to from my own humble attempt at blogging.

Keep up the good work and anybody who doesn't like it can fuc....whoops, I mean...naff off.

Herr Fernseher said...


Oh, sorry, I meant:


RonSaikowski said...

I'm going to throw my two cents in here.

First, love the commentary.

And as for the use of language, all I ask is that FTW members do their best to follow the FTW guidelines.

Herr Fernseher said...

(I have dislexia, not Tourette's.)

Brent, I'm posting an entry on 4&20 in support of your freedom of speech. Enjoy!

Brent said...

I find this funny - I really do!

Herr Fernseher, the joke was as perfect as possible: brilliant. And I'm going to head over to your blog to read what I'm sure is either a parody or a social commentary, both of which I'm interested in.

But I don't feel like my freedom of speech has been... unsupported!

I have the option of using whatever kind of language I want, and I will! There are plenty of adult-safe-zones, not least of which are the sites of the dudes who've commented, or YTTH, or BoK.

I'm willing to pay the very reasonable price for Ron's support.

But I think you know that and are having fun with it... since that's what I'd do and you and I are a lot alike.


The_King_Elessar said...

Absolutely Ron, hope my post didn't imply more than that. :)

Brent - I think it's the hypnotic blue. Makes people see quality in every post. lol

guinal: Of, or relating to, Guinan, from Star Trek:TNG. Eg, That purple outfit is positively guinal!

(A new favorite!) Anon: I haven’t even bothered playing a game of 6th yet, cause I have read the rules, and actually understand how they interact with units. I know my armies no longer function how they should, and so I need to change them.

Strictly Average: 'cause 6-inches is all you get.

Stalking Jawaballs since 2009.

Jawaballs: "My butt just tightened up."

Brent, preferred 2-to-1 over Not Brent in a recent, scientific poll.

Brent: emptied the Kool Aid and DRINKING YOUR MILKSHAKE with an extra-long straw.

Unicorns don't exist.

Home of the Stormbuster, the Dyson Pattern Storm Raven.

I'm a comment whore and this whore is getting no play.

Not Brent hurts Brent's feelings.

I think, therefore I blog.

"You should stop writing for everyone else and worry about your crappy blog." - Anon.

Not Brent has been spotted lurking around with a green marker.

He's not like a bad guy from a cartoon, all devious but never quite evil, Not Brent is bad beans, man, bad beans.

Dethtron: "Again I feel obliged to remind you that trying to sound smart only works if you are."

MVB: "I am not one to join the unwashed masses of self-titled 40k experts out there distributing advice from their blogs about exactly how your list should be built..."

Shiner Bock on tap: that's how I choose hotels.

Strictly Average: The Home of Hugs and Gropings.

Don't feed the trolls!

MoD: "Welcome to Brent's head."

Competitive is Consistent.

Dethtron: "...you could use that extra time to figure out a way to get your panties unbunched and perform a sandectomy on your vagina."

Dethtron: “When calling someone an idiot, it's generally best to avoid making grammatical mistakes.”

Warboss Stalin: "You know, if it actually WAS funny, maybe I wouldn't mind."

Mike Brandt: "It's not a successful bachelor party if you don't misplace someone".

"The Master Manipulator (every store needs one): "...now, enough stroking."

Kirby: "I don't know about gropings. Seriously, Brent, keep it in the pants, please."

Loquacious: "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Hugs & Gropings or Stalks Jawaballs into Brent's little tribute."

Captain Kellen: "I rate this article a Brent on the Faith Hill to Nancy Pelosi scale!"

Drathmere: "Come for the balls, stay for the Brent? Kind of disturbing, man."

Go no further, lest thee see something thine eyes would fain look past!

Isabelle: "So, thank you for supporting your local and not so local unicorns. A noble gesture like that can show some scared kids out there that they don't have to hide from everyone and it's ok to be who they really are."

There is nothing more interesting than We The People... in all our beautiful, ugly glory!

On Internet Advice: You see, I have an almost religious belief that's it's a huge, colossal waste of time.

...I think I'll call it the Gun Shy Pattern Stormbuster, because after the Internet destroyed my first humble effort, I find I'm a bit worried about the reaction to this one.

Lauby: "Is it left over from that time you thought that you could just complete step one 12 times to meet the mandates of that court order?"

Not Brent: "I guess we'll have to read on and find out. Signed, Not Brent. Especially today."

Cynthia Davis: "I think the scrolling text is from Glen Beck's new book."

Grimaldi: "Spamming certain units creates interesting possibilities but also fatal weaknesses."

Purgatus: "Math can inform decisions. It cannot make decisions."

Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?

You'd be that much quicker to figure out what I mean when I refer to a Unicorn if I covered it in a rainbow flag.

SinSynn: (To Brent) "Curse you and your insidious influence on the internets..."

Dave G (N++): "You know you're an internet celebrity when your following is more akin to tabloids."

I prefer the term Internet Personality (or IP) myself, seeing as how I coined it.

Lauby: "Your attempt to humanize him as failed. I feel nothing but scorn for his beard - it's like a warcrime or something."

BBF: "I've always thought you are a good player but I finally figured out that you are a great player. It's hard to see sometimes because your personality is engaging, sincere and quite charming - to me that is kind of a rare combination."

'Clearly cheating?' I didn't misspeak: you jumped to conclusions. If you'd like to apologize I'll be happy to send you an autographed picture of my ass.


I thought I was doing alright before I realized I was losing.

Age and treachery beats youth and vigor every time.

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