Talking to Myself (Blog or Die! Entry #6)

Accepted entry for the “Article” category.

Author: Primus (Cameron)

Word Count: 1,782

 

Talking to Myself

 

Hello again, constant reader. Remarkably, I’m still allowed to submit articles to this blog, so I’ve returned to write about a topic that I know fairly well. Inspired by some recent articles at our sister blog, the Brothers’ Brick, I feel compelled to write about an increasingly important part of this very community: Myself.

But before we get to that rousing topic, I’d like to provide some back story. I used to think that writing for a blog was about bringing attention to fantastic builds, highlighting a collaborative display, or inspiring discussion within our community. Apparently, however, I was wrong. I’ve found out that the biggest reason to write for a blog is to make sure people see my own MOCs! To make sure that my builds, especially ones that I thought were poorly received, can get more views and faves. To increase my follower count, as that apparently helps establish my “worth” as a builder. I’ve learned that the best part about writing for a blog is getting to ignore the fantastic builds other people are making and instead focus on my own!

So, after this revelation, I’ve decided that the best course of action is to follow their lead. I mean, they are the premier blog in the Lego community, they probably know what they are doing (and who they’re asking to write for them). I’m sure they understand how that looks to others (and hell, maybe it’s only me that really has noticed). Given the open nature of this platform (especially when Keith insists on not editing articles), this seems like my best opportunity, constant reader, to latch on to this bandwagon.

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(Banner credit: The Brothers Brick, est 2005-ish)

To begin, I’ll start with my background. Born in 1992 to my mother and father, I got involved in Lego at the ripe old age of 3. Probably. My dad gave me his Lego at some point during my childhood. Thinking about it, pretty sure my dad could be considered an FOL, as I remember him getting Technic sets at Christmas while I got Aquashark sets (as an aside, Lego, if you’re reading this, please bring back Aquazone). I continued to get Lego sets for Christmas and my birthday throughout my childhood until 2001. And in 2001, everything changed. I stopped getting Lego, and instead started to get Lego BIONICLE (which is apparently entirely different than regular Lego according to some people). As I amassed a collection of parts, I started to build my own Bionicle dudes, and I wanted to show people these sweet dudes I was building. I ended up joining BZPower (a Bionicle forum) and started to become pretty active at the end of 2007, thus beginning my perilous journey into the online community. By 2010, I had become one of the most prominent Bionicle builders (there weren’t that many of us), getting blogged multiple times at The Brothers Brick (important!) as well as many other things that somehow corroborate that claim (trust me, I was there). And by 2012 I had totally disappeared (college and moving a lot will do that to a man) and the community continued along unabated. At some point near the end of 2016 I got pulled back in, through a variety of factors which I’m not certain of (though I am certain alcohol was involved at some point). Now that you know all of that, I will continue with the really important part: my (underappreciated) MOCS!

First, let’s will start with HERAKLES. Yes, it’s supposed to be in all caps. It’s important to the character of the build. This build was my first in literal years, marking my return to the community and the end of my dark age. Pretty important stuff! And nobody blogged about it. How rude! I thought it was a very cool build, utilizing techniques and pieces in manners I hadn’t seen before to create a very bulky warrior robot.

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(Photo credit: myself)

I mean, look at those shapes! Look at how powerful he appears, ready to strike down a foe with those massive mitts. Not to mention the quality of the photography. Absolutely outstanding presentation, if I do say so myself. Pretty difficult to do with a MOC that’s practically 100% black. I mean, I’m impressed. Or at least, I was when I originally posted it. The lack of blogging made me reconsider that position, because obviously that’s what really matters when posting creations in this community.

Moving on! I’ll skip over the MOCs that have been blogged (by myself, I might add), and move on to KRUSHER. Again, the caps are really what sets this MOC apart. Aside from all of its other excellent qualities, clearly.

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(Photo credit: MYSELF)

KRUSHER is a hard-suit built around a TechnicFig, which is not something you see every day. People do still build hard-suits, right? Because if not, I guess it definitely wouldn’t be something you’d see very often. By any stretch, it’s pretty rare, and usually only happens when I do it (I think. I mean, I guess Sparkytron has made some too, but we’re not talking about him right now, are we?). I particularly like how the yellow and blue bits break up the black bits and also make it look more mechanical. I thought that was cool, but apparently no one at the Brothers Brick thought so. They probably weren’t impressed at my *ahem* seamless integration of multiple building systems in this MOC. I don’t blame them, it is a Bionicle MOC, after all. Maybe if I wrote for their blog or included a Star Wars minifig they would have blogged it…

MOVING ON, my next underappreciated MOC is a chummy little fellow named Vern Vermillious. I had to bust out the dictionary for that last name, a play on the word “vermillion.” Fitting for a red robot.

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(Photo credit: myself, again)

I thought, maybe, giving him a relatable name might improve his reception. I mean, hell, I made his legs out of train wheels, the contrast between him and the background is dynamic, the photo is very clear, and he’s got a very weird and disproportionate shape. And he’s pretty reminiscent of some of my older works. A home run, I thought! And again, I was wrong! I think that my first mistake was that it wasn’t built by someone at The Brothers Brick. My second mistake was making it out of Bionicle parts, and my third mistake was that silly glow around the edges. Turns out I’m a bit rusty with Photoshop. I’m sure I could have looked past that if I was a prestigious blogger who also happened to build the MOC, however.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how many more underappreciated MOCs I have, constant reader. And I’d like to tell you that I have a lot. But that’d be a lie! And it would be uncouth of me to lie to you. The real answer is two. “Two?!” you say. Yes, two. Two more woefully un-blogged MOCs. That being said, I’ll move on to the next MOC, one which I thought would definitely get blogged. Meet Lich Lord Gvar Zhogvol (sweet name, right?).

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(Photo credit: Me, Myself, & I)

I made sure to reference something from pop-culture in the description (even though it was really an afterthought), I alluded to the style of another popular builder (Pat Biggs, btw. Nice guy.), and I even made sure to post it at a time when there wasn’t a lot of activity. All things I’ve been told help get MOCs blogged on the Brothers Brick. All things that were apparently WRONG. I think instead of “Build a great MOC” and “Take great photos” and “Have great ideas,” the best advice I could give to an aspiring builder to get featured is “Write for the Brothers Brick!”

Finally, there is my most recent MOC, which I probably can’t consider underappreciated yet, as I did just publish it a few days ago. However, I have a minimum word count that I have to hit and it would be a waste of this opportunity to not showcase it, so I present to you, constant reader, the friendly alien Ch’mm Tg’lk.

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(Photo credit: I think you know at this point)

Ch’mm is a decent departure from the other stuff I’ve built this year. First and foremost, he’s not made out of black pieces, while pretty much everything else I’ve made this year is (it’s a bit of a crutch, I’ve got a lot of sweet black bits). He’s also 80% face, while the rest has been faceless or had a pretty simplistic face. He was also a pretty quick build, being completed in under 24hrs, while all of the others stretched out over multiple weeks (as opposed to singular weeks). Again, a MOC I thought worthy of blogitude, full of character and great piece usage, presented in an easy to grok manner. But alas, as of this writing (approx. 9:09PM EST 12/13/17), the MOC had not yet been blogged at the Brothers Brick. Which I get. They’re pretty busy after all, having to dig through their own photostreams to find things to talk about as opposed to Flickr group pools and other places where people post photos (forums? Do people still use those?).

So many MOCs of mine and so little blogging. What a shame. I mean, I’m not entirely surprised truth be told. There are a lot of factors that affect the “blog-worthiness” of a MOC, after all, and I’m not sure that all of these MOCs hit all of the criterion. I would say that they hit a lot of them, though I think I’ve missed the most important one: you have to make sure the right people are seeing it, which is significantly easier when you right person to see it happens to be yourself.

To conclude, after reading this diatribe, you may be asking “Primus, aren’t you worried about the repercussions of taking the piss out of The Brothers Brick?” To which I say, “What repercussions?” The worse they can do is not blog about my stuff; which, if you’ve learned anything from this article, they aren’t doing anyway. And, being the institution that they are, you’d expect them to be able to take a light ribbing. Especially since my griping really only applies to one of the bloggers there (tho, I’ll leave the speculation up to the comment section). The rest of them at least seem to be trying to blog about others as much as they do themselves.

Oh, and since Rutherford thought it would improve my article last time, a parting video for your thoughts.

 

42 thoughts on “Talking to Myself (Blog or Die! Entry #6)

  1. I never understood why TBB even allowed contributors to blog their own stuff – such a clear conflict of interest. At least you got to give Bionicle some much-needed exposure.

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    1. This has always bugged me too. If its actually good enough to get blogged, one of the other writers will pick it up. I only give them a pass if they’re using their own mocs as part of an article on a topic.

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  2. Nailed it! Oh, wait. NAILED IT!!! Yeah, all caps and a couple more exclamation marks makes what I say more important. Yeah, that’s niiiice.

    Scathing, I love it. The worst part is how true it is. Never really understood the whole blogging thing in general; however, just when I started to sort of get it, TBB throw ya wicked googly. Just when you produce something you feel is show worthy, pfffffffft. flat. Same can be said for Flickr In Explore. Just plain fucking baffling what they pick. I’m just thankful I don’t dabble in Bionicle, at least then I have a chance. XD

    Nice one! And Lich Lord Gvar Zhogvol was robbed, who doesn’t love a massive codpiece?! Oh, wait. CODPIECE!!! Yeah, niiiiice.

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    1. Right??? I thought the CODPIECE would carry the MOC to the blog-spotlight (blog-light?) however it’s apparent now that TBB just doesn’t care for giant crotch focal points.

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  3. Blogging your own creations is lazy. Who would do such a thing? Not me (oh wait…) … Since from the video it looks like TBB pays in t-shirts and “experience” (where have I heard that before?…) I guess the self-promo is comparable to people having to take office supplies from work to make up for the fact that they are underpaid.

    If you are using your own MOC’s to help tell a story or convey a concept, I think sometimes it can’t be helped (illustrating aspects of your building process, getting community involvement in your WIP, etc.). But when your story is just “hey – go look at my newly completed MOC that I posted”, on a site mainly dedicated to showing newly completed builds, that will definitely rub the readership the wrong way…

    Oh, and a fun fact. Did you ever wonder why you’ve never been asked to be interviewed for any popular brick-building magazines either? Well, it’s because those magazines have you interview yourself. Yup. Not even the courtesy of them conducting a “boiler plate” interview, or a reach around. Shameless self-promotion is the only kind of promotion in these here parts… and you can go back and read my “Rock Star” article for my opinions on what that’s worth 🙂
    https://keithlug.com/2017/07/27/ted-talks-rock-n-roll-star/

    Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s was a great read, Ted (and also a solid plug 😉). Yea I don’t have as much of an issue with talking about your own MOCs to prove a point (hmmmm) or if it’s to tell a story. I more have an issue with people blogging about their own MOCs just to let me know they made something. I think that’s in poor taste, especially given the platform that they have.

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  4. Is this going to lead to a series of entries to this contest from builders who are pissed they never get to see their builds blogged? I might give have to give that ago.

    I dislike building in black because I find it impossible to properly photograph them, but yours are great. Those three black builds are my favorites, but especially the one with the blue tubing. That’s a cool touch. Though I’m not sure about its feet. The third one’s whole rib cage area is brilliant too.

    The community needs a second TBB, The Brothers Bionicle, just for the five bionicle builders out there.

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  5. This is the second article about Barnacles (something that I don’t care about at all) that has gotten me to stop and read through it. Good writing should do that, so nice work!

    While I’m firmly in the “Not Legos” camp, you make nice biomechanical looking MOCs that are beautifully photographed. Black is a fickle mistress.

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  6. Cameron, god damnit!
    I said Vanilla Ice would have helped! Not an infomercial for a coven of Lego aftermarket entrepreneurs! Ice! Ice baby!

    Keith says my style is hyper structural. He means this in a bad way, but this is mostly because he’s a filthy hippy. I of course, being steeped in a fascist tradition, really like structure. I want an intro, some supporting arguments, and a conclusion. And I want clarity. CLARITY… in caps… (and ellipses… used incorrectly… in place of commas. I really like that!).

    Now, just for the sake of CLARITY (YES!) I remind every dam body, that I am NOT judging these contest entries. Not really. Not secretly, not publically, and not even super double secretly. Really and for real. Keith does not endorse my opinions about lots of the material he publishes here. So don’t confuse my unsolicited opinion with any kind of assessment related to your standing in this contest. Hell no. In fact, this is your second entry, and THAT ALONE (YES!) kicks ass in my book. You’re on the field, and kicking up some dust. Hammer your opposition. Do the deed! Write the words! I commend your efforts man!

    So, my opinion does not matter in the context of this contest. That said, here is my opinion any ways! Ha!

    You don’t state your thesis clearly. It is there, as a notion. It is apparent. It’s what guided you through the entire effort. To the reader however, your thesis is emergent. It sort of bleeds in around your sarcasm. (Note… sarcasm is NOT a bad thing!). And, to your credit, it bleeds in quickly. But I say it bleeds in, because you never march right out and say your thesis out loud. Keith might say that this fact makes your article better. After all, it’s a more subtle approach. Your thesis is there… and your reader understands it… You successfully communicate it without being pedantic (yes!) in your language, and this reflects well on your ability to communicate. It’s not a right/wrong deal I suppose. But me? I’m a fascist when it comes to writing. Especially when it comes to an aggressive thesis like this one.

    Aggression. Also not a bad thing. The word gets a bum rap in our culture, like “discriminating” and “arbitrary” Not necessarily bad… but we usually use them to mean something bad. Hell, my last Fire for Effect was an aggressive thesis. Im down with aggression (not the same thing as being mean!). Here you are firing a shot across TBBs bow. That’s fine. But to my way of thinking… if you are going to throw stones… accuracy is important. The structure of your stone throwing machine needs to be very strong.

    I mean, throwing stones is aggressive, and people will judge you quickly. I mean your reader will impose a silent moral judgement on you quickly. Think about it literally. You see a guy throwing stones and right away you think: “What the hell is going on here? Who’s he aiming at, and WHY? Once you determine that, you will QUICKLY decide whether or not you agree with the stone thrower, or… maybe that you consider his or her attacks to be unjust.

    Point? Point being that you need to protect your good name and sway your audience… QUICKLY. Don’t let them wonder about your motives, and then wander over to your targets side. Make it clear to the audience quickly that you have good reason to throw those stones.

    In your article, you establish two facts, WHO and WHY quickly. Who is easy. TBB. Why is slower, but still pretty clear. Because their staff posts their own stuff. My problem is with your WHY. “Because they blog their own stuff” is an answer… but its not enough of an answer. You fail to really drive home the answer to an implied question. That question is “Why is it bad to blog your own stuff?” Instead of developing this notion, you rely on a sympathetic reaction from your audience. You allude (al be in obliquely through sarcasm and hyperbola) to notions such as arrogance, the exclusion of better efforts, and maybe hypocrisy. But your answer to the question: Why is it bad to publish your own stuff? Remains underdeveloped. There is a feeling… a quiet subtext… I don’t know. An assumption? That we all know what you mean, and that we agree.

    By the way… I do pretty much agree with your assertion… but we are talking about how to improve your writing here… not our opinions. Why? Because everybody has opinions… but not everybody has good arguments. And good arguments sway, change, and even create opinion in others… and THAT is a goal that ROCKS! And THAT is a goal within your grasp!

    I say: Don’t settle! Don’t talk to people who already agree with you! Talk to people who do NOT agree with you! Develop your assertion and present it in a way that MAKES an indifferent audience recognize the legitimacy of your assertions! Reach into our brains and compel us to choose between the dark and the light (wow… that’s some mellow dramatic shite! But it’s not as crazy as it sounds). What I mean is, lead me through each of your assertions with compelling reason, compelling morality, and compelling passion. Logos, Ethos, and Pathos baby! I know I’m not wasting my time talking to you about these topics, because you are playing hop scotch right along the edge of this stuff already! This is a threshold moment Johnny… Step across!

    https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/a286a45f-59f1-40b8-8504-a392eccaf002

    Yeah, I got you, TBB writers blog their own stuff… and maybe I agree with you that they shouldn’t. But… maybe I don’t agree. Or, maybe… I never thought about it before. Never even noticed it before. Maybe… I WISH I could be on TBB blogging my own stuff all the time. Right? I mean… maybe. So now you got my attention by throwing stones… today, right now… for the next two or three minutes… you actually got my attention. Now it’s crucial that you USE that time to change my indifference into agreement (or maybe even better, change my disagreement into uncertainty!).

    And as well as you write? This goal is absolutely within your reach! Well, I should say: As well as you write and build. In the AFOL community, “expertise in practical application” is an indispensable source of credibility. Our culture celebrates the accomplished builder, and we transfer respect for an AFOLs building abilities to other areas. That is why early on, so many Lego Ambassadors were non-communicative types. Even though an Ambassadors role is defined by communication based tasks… AFOLs chose their Ambassadors based on the popularity of their builds, and not on their communication or social organizational skills.

    Let me close out by jumping sideways for a second: We, AFOLs listen to “expert practitioners”. We listen to good builders. Good builders may be terrible communicators (May be? Like theirs any doubt in the AFOL culture!) And so… maybe TBBs blogging behavior is guided by sound logic. In your article, you proceed form a list of reasons for blogging: “bringing attention to fantastic builds, highlighting a collaborative display, or inspiring discussion within our community” TBB does in fact pay some lip service to the notion of highlighting excellent builds… and indeed, they often do exactly that. But empirically, TBBs blogging patterns supports other goals. Goals not on your list.

    One such goal is advertising. TBB pimps both TLG products, and various aftermarket wares. This is not a stated goal of TBB, but it is readily observable as one of their main efforts. Where your opinion and my own may differ is that where you suggest a moral fault, I merely say an advertiser is an advertiser. Sure… their overt rhetoric ignores this commercial agenda completely, but the same can be said for TLG itself. TLG talks education, development, and wind power, while they sell Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and oddly… Cops from every period of human history! In this respect, I would describe TBB as “operating at the commercial standard”

    Don’t get me wrong brother! I dig your article! I only take the time to offer this critique because your writing is right on the cusp of the next level! Right now, you rouse the spirit of those who already agree. Time to gain the ear of those who are indifferent, and maybe even cause those who disagree with you to reassess their own positions! Your almost there! “Almost there” is a nice way of saying “not there yet”

    I urge you to get there.

    Attack!

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    1. Thanks for the in-depth reply (344 words short from being as long as the article)! I guess I just assumed that my audience would know that it’s bad form to blog about yourself excessively, but you make a fair point that I should have set that up more. I’ll take it into consideration for my next article 🙂

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  7. As you yourself said, you build the wrong thing, but doesn’t stop me from appreciating your models – you’re definitely one of the 5 bio builders that attracted my attention. The excellent photography is a big plus as well (hear that Matt? photography, not that whatever the hell it is you’re doing with the camera).

    Great article, gave me a good chuckle. I’m not as bothered by them blogging their stuff (and I sure as hell can’t complain about getting blogged); it’s the news/reviews influx that’s getting bigger and bigger that annoys me – I go there for builds, not the same crap everyone’s posting about everywhere. But then, I suppose that’s the way to get readers instead of it being another 15 omniscient grumpy bastards like this place.

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  8. I’ll give a more formal review of this entry later but I wanted to offer an observation based on my admittedly limited time writing for TBB. During my tenure the writers were encouraged by Andrew Becraft to always blog their own stuff, so I wouldn’t blame the individual bloggers too much…even if I think guys like Ralph Savelsberg and Nick Jenson took it to an extreme pimping everything they do. I personally refused to do so, and when I voiced my opinion internally that I thought it was a bad look for TBB as a whole, I got no traction whatsoever with anyone and even a bit of ridicule. I was told by Becraft that posting one’s own models was “perhaps even required?” I think he considered it a perk for in exchange for the free labor of writing for a blog, and I think he liked to reinforce the notion that his staff were not just writers but also builders of some renown.

    I still think it’s a bullshit policy and a bad look, but that’s the way they’ve always conducted business and I don’t think it has changed under the pop-culture infused stewardship of Ian Clifford on Stratford on Avon Heath. If anything the self-promotion has only increased. They care about money and ads, and clicks, everything else is secondary. There is nothing inherently wrong with their approach and they are pretty honest about it, I just don’t happen to agree with it.

    Great entry, I’ll have more to say when I’ve caught up with my formal reviews.

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    1. I think the main problem is the implied notion that as a site that blogs about builds that it would blog about builds made by someone other than the blogger. In that case, it is then our fault that we are not clear, have a faulty assumption, about their intent or that we would simply call it Andrew’s Echo Chamber otherwise. Andrew has a specific “business model” for TBB and your assertion that they are builders of some renown is spot on. Iain, Ralph, Deus, Nick, as well as Simon and yourself give/gave gravitas to any article on their site. And the perk of self-promotion is incentive enough. Perhaps a percent would be a better and more realistic option to maintain a level of “honest, diverse reporting”. For every nine articles of other’s work, one for yourself. 10% ain’t too tasteless. And maybe they already do that and we only notice the self indulgence disproportionately because Iain does publish a ton of articles.

      That leads into my biggest issue with TBB: Their lack of any depth. I assume they have a maximum word count, but I personally find the exchange of real conversation for set reviews, Star Wars, news, Star Wars set reviews, Star Wars news, Star Wars set news, Wars in the Stars news, and even contests to be less than interesting. Oh, and Star Wars contests. What we end up with in TBB is a watered-down, over-filtered, milquetoast Reader’s Digest for Lego; basically something to read while on the shitter. I know attention spans are measured in nanoseconds nowadays and perhaps Lego, honestly, really isn’t all that interesting; however, if you manage to build up a reputation as the premier blogging site, and you manage to wrangle some of the best builders to write for it, and they all seem capable of forming complete sentences, AND you have a guaranteed captive audience, then why not be something better? Why not be a bit adventurous? invite guest blogs that you (Andrew) do not necessarily agree with? Why not have an Op-Ed section of sorts? I want to know what’s next for TBB, because no growth is death (see Mocpages.) As it is now, I half expect an update on the high school football team’s defeat Thursday to our crosstown rivals and who the candidates are for prom queen. (No, Rutherford! We STILL don’t think those white pumps with the rhinestones go with your lemon chiffon taffeta cocktail dress even though your gams are glorious. jeeeesh.)

      But that’s me, and I’m still fairly ignorant and hazy about the whole blogging phenomena. Doo-DOOO-doodoo-doot, Phenomena! Doot-doodoot-doot. Phenomena! 😀

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      1. Everything you just said about The Brothers Brick is so true. And “no growth is death”. Damn. Also true. And eerily representative of other things in our diverse hobby…

        As Michael would say, Attack!

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      2. TBB at the moment isn’t so much “too long; didn’t read” as much as it is “too shallow; didn’t bother.” That’s how you kill readership. If they have little meaningful to say about the models they blog about, then I’m just gonna skip the articles and go straight to the models. I only use it as an extra net for things I may have missed on Flickr. May as well just be a Twitter/Tumblr-like repost machine than an actual blog.

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      3. I disagree about the growth here. It’s a blog to showcase the best lego models the community has to offer. Or that’s what it was at one point. It’s the place to go if you want to avoid going through the ocean of mehness on flickr or you missed a few days and the ocean turned into the final frontier. Or are simply lazy. Dialogue is not a necessity.

        Growth is what happened with the addition of the new bloggers and the news. And for me it went downhill. News aside, there’s too many people that have to do their quota and plenty of meh models get blogged. Because there’s only so much good stuff posted in a week, and what can you do when you have to blog three times the amount?

        What should happen is get a few people capable of forming complete sentences (and makes sure you have diversity – character fans, car fans, castle fans and a few jack of all trades to make sure you cover all the bases) and just post the best (searching for excellent unknown builders along with the stars is a recipe for success). That’s it. No news, no daily brickheadz, no weekly reports, no growth. And if you really want the attention a news site gives you, why not make a side site focused on that? TBB News with set collectors and manchildren writing the reviews, would be much more fitting than having builders that couldn’t give a flying fuck about play features and whatever review them. And if you didn’t have the readers already, it means they don’t care for what you did before, so no reason to have them in the same place.

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      4. I agree Vit, and I was thinking the same thing about format for TBB as a newspaper. Specialists and jacks-of-all going in depth. I should clarify that my assertion that no growth equals death is based more on business. Not that I’m any expert, but there are basic tenets that, for lack of a better term, make or break you. Perhaps TBB are not in that position yet for actual growth of in depth substance, another rule of business applies in this case then. Expand through the profits. TBB may actually only be a rag-tag fugitive fleet at this point and not ready to move beyond fucking Brick Headz and a goddamned Advent calendar. But as attention spans waver and fall, my own included, I, like most, will find myself not caring what they post no matter how good it is. In which case it is exactly how Christopher described, a net for the missed and certainly “too shallow; didn’t bother.” It would also at that point shift Cameron’s article from sarcastic safely into can’t-prove-otherwise. I think as a site built to showcase the “best” out there, it should define why something is the best and ALWAYS be open to rebuttal and discourse. This is a very dangerous proposition though because it is still a subjective art form. Playing it safe like they do is just masturbation. I just despise wasted potential, and I see a shit ton there.

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  9. I’m gonna partially agree with Rutherford here. I actually like that your thesis isn’t blatant, and letting it seep out through sarcasm is a fun way of going about it. Rutherford’s style is to beat us over the head with his thesis, but I’m not sure if he realizes that that is basically what you did. You made your point after the first photo and then stretched the same joke out over the next three. You expressed the thesis through humor, but the humor didn’t evolve so neither did the thesis. You could have developed both at the same time, nonchalantly continuing your sarcastic dig into TBB while getting more at the heart of what makes their blogging practices so reprehensible in your eyes.

    One other thing: Maybe this is pure coincidence but your writing voice seems a bit imitative to me. In both articles you’ve referred to us as “constant reader,” which feels like a Keith-ism to me. It’s good that you’re paying attention to the style of the blog, but don’t get too carried away with that. Also does Keith say “diatribe”? That seems like something he’d say. Maybe I’m thinking of Rutherford. Or maybe we’re all starting to sound like each other, which is a scary proposition.

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    1. The “constant reader” bit is intentional imitation of his style, everything else is my own voice. Fair points on the development of the thesis and humor, I’m sure I could have dug into them more 😉

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      1. In one of my early articles (pre-contest), I know for certain that I typed “dear reader” and the editor-in-chief subsequently edited it to be “constant reader”… it’s a “Manifesto thang”… Matango.

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  10. Ah Mr. Hoffmann,

    1 but I’m not sure if he realizes that that is basically what you did.

    Yes I got it… but I have to be all fascist about it. That extremist position is sort of my cognitive poison of choice. I want the name square, spelled out, and then I want the four corners to be numbered and presented in sequence… and then I want the name “square” repeated again in the conclusion. I guess… If I wanted to describe this articles approach in the best terms possible… (But why? Why would I do that?) I would call his approach “subtle” or maybe even “adult”.. a deliberate departure from the academic constraints I clutch so tightly. I often feel so beat down by the “explosive” or “non-directed” writing I see. Trying to figure out what the heck the author is saying before I decide if I agree with him or her. I’m just (as Keith says) a hyper-structural advocate.

    2 but the humor didn’t evolve so neither did the thesis.

    Money! Absolutely agree. Take us some place man! Develop the thesis. Use changes in tone and approach to enhance this development. It is the same joke three times in a row… mix it up! Still… his point stayed clear… and I do love me some clarity!

    3 Maybe I’m thinking of Rutherford.

    Chris… I… I don’t know what to say. We’ll talk later…

    4 Or maybe we’re all starting to sound like each other, which is a scary proposition.

    THIS is a frightening truth! Keith is trying to buck that trend with measures like this contest. Trying to pull fresh air into this dive! Remember all that slop I was droning on about with CONSENSUS? It creeps in to any and all groups. We like it. It’s a self re-enforcing behavior. And its a trap. The more alike we all think and talk… the less room we leave for divergent views! That is one of the reasons I tired so hard to get input from that other guys blog in my last FFE! Trying to get some DISSAGREEMENT in this place. We don’t exclude, and we don’t mercilessly attack newcomers… but all groups tend towards ever increasing levels of consensus. An ever stronger feeling of separation from other groups.

    Primus here is a new guy! We got a small few with this contest. I blame Keith for this tepid showing. The man eschews any sort of deliberate approach to publicity. He’s like a dictator who hates propaganda!

    But what destination can we hope to reach while this grubby hippy drives this magic bus!

    Like

  11. Official Contest Review
    Entry # 6

    Title: Talking to Myself
    Author: Primus

    Views: 268 Comments: 26

    Favorite Quote: “I don’t blame them, it is a Bionicle MOC, after all. Maybe if I wrote for their blog or included a Star Wars minifig they would have blogged it…”

    Favorite Comment inspired by the entry: “who doesn’t love a massive codpiece?!” – Matt roontrEE

    Single Sentence Summary: An examination of selected critically unacknowledged works by the author, and commentary on the writers of TBB’s tendency to blog their own models.

    The Good:

    1. All the sick burns! Although I’m very appreciative of my time at TBB, I also take pleasure from a good joke at their expense because just like MOCpages, TBB should be a hell of a lot better than it is. So This article was tailor made for me in a way you had no way of knowing, so kudos for the sarcastic surgical strike, you hit just the right nerve with me and judging by the comments a lot of other folks too. Reading your article was like watching a good standup comedian, I could picture you pacing back and forth on a comedy club stage, smoking a cigarette and casually tossing out the jabs. Every paragraph had a great zinger at TBB’s expense like my pick for favorite quote: “I don’t blame them, it is a Bionicle MOC, after all. Maybe if I wrote for their blog or included a Star Wars minifig they would have blogged it…” Ouch, the truth hurts. That was just one of my favorite examples but there are too many to mention in this blurb. So you get big points for humor, this was funniest of the entries.

    2. This observation is closely connected to the first one, but I give you a lot of credit for being honest and taking a fucking strong position (until the end…). You say right up front that you were “compelled” to write the article and that comes through in spades. I think candor and willing to take a stand on an issue are key components to comedic writing and you went for it! I know that both here on the Manifesto and in the community at large there is a large number of people who share your viewpoint in this article but I think less than 5% would actually have the stones to say it out loud. Even though this is a crappy dive-bar of a blog, our kind are largely a bunch of gossipy yentas and I guarantee someone from TBB is going to be pointed in this direction and although you joke about it, there’s a decent chance that you won’t be blogged again, or perhaps blogged a lot less frequently. You titled the article “Talking to Myself” but you’re talking to TBB too. It will be very interesting to see if your next major effort is. I know you won’t lose any sleep over it but I also know you don’t care…because there is no way that you could write this article and not really care about the topic. That’s what makes it so effective and so funny. So you get BIG points for me for the candor and having the aggression (as Mike says) to commit the idea to digital paper. From my perspective you took the biggest risk of all the contestants and I appreciate that, this is one of my favorite submissions.

    3. This point is going to be short and sweet, I very much enjoyed the structure of the piece and the quality of writing in general. Even though it lacked a Rutherfordian “THESIS GOES HERE!” neon sign I think your message was crystal clear and I enjoyed the fact that you dabbled in stream of consciousness within the structured section of (present model, talk about model, zing TBB) I thought it was instightful When Hoffman suggested in the comments that your style was imitative of my own. I think he was on to something and I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I’d give you the victory simply because you imitated my style the best….but I don’t feel inclined to penalize you for it either. Whether you set out to ape my tone or not, the article still rocked. Even though the sarcastic burns won me over, my favorite paragraph was your biographical section where you talk about your dad a little bit. You’re a good writer and any time you’re in the mood to blog you’ve got the key to the backdoor.

    The Bad:

    1. Although I love the premise and your sharp stabs at TBB, by the end of the essay it seemed like a one trick pony and I was left wanting more, a deeper exploration of the topic. You point out what seems like a big error in their philosophy but you don’t really do much more than scratch the surface of the problem. The piece would have benefitted from a single paragraph where you explicitly spell out (without excessive sarcasm) why you think blogging your own stuff is bad. You hint at it, but you never actually tell your audience what the downside of the policy is. I have my own strong take on why the practice of self-bloggage is bad but I want to hear why YOU think it’s bad. You don’t offer any explanation as to why the writers tend to blog their own material or even attempt a counter-argument to then address and refute. You might even have compared the situation it to other blogs to see if it’s the community norm or if they really are doing business differently at TBB. So while the article was definitely funny,it could have been a little more insightful and made a better argument.

    2. I think your selection of underappreciated models was excellent except for one striking exception, the Vern Vermillious. When I looked at your other creations I thought they were absolutely rad (especially Lich Lord Gvar Zhogvol and HERAKLES, and certainly worthy of the spotlight treatment from the Blog of Blogs, but Vern….eh, not so much. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some nice features and clever parts usage with the train-wheel legs, but I never would have blogged that one during my brief tenure at TBB and I wouldn’t have blogged it here either. The proportions are wonky (a characteristic you celebrate but I found off-putting), and it looks too sort of generically Bionicle to catch my attention. And why doesn’t it have knees? I tried to imagine Vern walking at it wasn’t a pretty mental picture. The robot is not a terrible effort by any stretch of the imagination but I think you could have found something more compelling to include like Kreger or maybe even Rooster. Did Vern kill your chances at a victory or ruin the article? No, but it did stop me dead in my tracks to think “I don’t know about this one, I think TBB was right to ignore it” and your article drifted a little from “yeah, suck-it TBB you guys don’t recognize diverse quality” to “This dude is complaining too much, he can’t self-evaluate his work”.

    3. You took your foot of the accelerator. I was with you right up until the end, laughing and nodding in affirmation all of it…until I read the following line from your closing remarks: “Especially since my griping really only applies to one of the bloggers there”. That’s a copout and it’s far from accurate, I can easily think of a half-dozen bloggers there who never fail to promote their own stuff: Salvesberg, Zhang, Heath, Jensen, Gillies…and that’s just the worst offenders. It took the edge right off of your rhetorical blade and made it look like you’d changed your mind and suddenly didn’t want to offend anyone. Then to top it off you get all coy on us and refuse to name the singular blogger who inspired the entire rant. If you’re gonna call someone out, do it. Name names, point fingers. You spend a thousand plus words self righteously slagging TBB to the delight of the cowd (and definitely yours truly) and after the corpse lies bleeding on the arena floor you turn around and say “but it’s all good”. But it’s not all good, your thesis was a spot on and you backed off of it at the end. If you were really going for the victory you should have gotten more aggressive in your approach, done some research and let us know just how often the worst offender published his or her own models. There is strength in the numbers and the research and I think it would have been much more devastating than your well crafted zingers. Maybe finding someone else who’s work has been studiously ignored might have been good. People complain in the shadows about the same thing all the time, the readers were clearly with you, gathered behind you with pitchforks and torches and you say….”The rest of them at least seem to be trying to blog about others as much as they do themselves.” It was like watching John Wick, but instead of the final violent orgy of gunplay, you get the assassin sitting under the bodhi tree eating a sandwich.

    The Whatever:

    I’m not sure whether to praise or bury you for including that video. I hate that video, it’s the perfect smarmy, self important encapsulation of all the bad things about TBB. It’s deeply conflicting because in a perfect world I would never want that thing anywhere on the blog, but it’s a key component of your story and it’s not going anyway…so…thanks? I’m glad I watched it but I also wish I’d never seen it. You’ve left me very conflicted and it ended the story on a weird note.

    * I will re-post this review along with the rest of your competitors when the final results are issued.

    Like

  12. Although I feel somewhat hacky doing this, the only time I got blogged by TBB (nearly a decade ago) wasn’t even for a MOC, but for what Andrew deemed a spot-on parody of the real him in my comic, which I never expected would get me blogged. Here’s the link to the post.

    Like

    1. I remember that posting, you should do another comic featuring Becraft and see if you can get him to bite again, that would be pretty funny. Good to see you on the blog BTW, it’s been way to long since I heard anything from you. I’ve got to get back to Chicago one of these years. Thanks for reviewing some of the contest entries, unlike some sites, necroposting is encouraged here.

      Like

      1. I’m seeing my chance here; do I get to be a necromancer if I do a lot of necroposting (how awesome does this sound?). Always wanted to be one.

        Like

      1. Another lame feature of pages. I noticed leaving groups also removes builds from them, which sucks when browsing older mocolympics and such and half of the atuff is gone.

        What made you guys delete the accounts inatead of just leaving them there?

        Like

      2. Hmmm… that’s kind of a long and tired story but I’ll give you the gist of it. I can only speak for myself, Mike ran the first DA and I was just the combat operations guy. But In the specific case of DA2, I opened a new account there with the express purpose of running the game and nothing more. I had no interest in uploading my old models or posting new ones, it was always intended to be a temporary residence and I said on my home page (and in the DA group) that I would be leaving The Pages when the game concluded, so nobody who was paying attention should have been surprised when I bailed.

        I have an unpleasant history with a former moderator on MOCpages who summarily deleted my first account several years earlier so I didn’t see the point in rebuilding my presence there when it might be taken away again. I should point out that this moderator in question denies doing so, and it was kind of a messy situation with people taking sides and stupid drama. The upshot was that I simply didn’t trust the place.

        I was also really tired of how buggy the site was during DA2, with frequent outages and such. Then there was the outcome of DA2, where I believed and still believe to some degree that the players conspired to end the game in a tie. Even though there was no rule prohibiting such a thing, I thought it was entirely against the spirit of the game. I ended up awarding prizes to both of the players who tied, but I refused to declare a winner. I’ve put a mechanism into place for DA3 that will ensure that it can’t end in a tie. Mix in some fatigue after running the game for almost 4 months and I was just ready to bail.

        I didn’t delete the group in retribution or out of spite, I honestly didn’t think about it that way. I said up front that my participation and the group was going to be temporary and it was.

        Like

      3. Damn, that place is a real drama queen. I can understand the reasoning, the ugly part is there’s no archive left of it and it sort of sucks. I’m sure some of the players would like to revisit the place sometime, and newcomers that weren’t there at the time could find it an interesting diversion.

        When I discovered mocathlon/mocolympics, I really enjoyed browsing through the older competitions and it was annoying seeing that half of the builds were gone from the group or builders deleted their accounts. It’d be nice to have a place where things like these can be archived.

        Like

      4. I’ve got it. You should call the game DA 2.5: Bonk, Smash, Thud! I can’t wait to see if we break the site again (if we run it over there). MOCpages fits the game so well, but has numerous drawbacks. Perhaps those could be spun to become an advantage, I don’t know.

        Like

      5. The upside there is that you can’t break something that’s already broken. The other great thing about Mocpages is that this is a war game, no nudity involved. Therefore it’s Bible approved and ready for the firetrucks.

        Like

    1. It always bugged me that MOCpages is that it is full of old dead groups. So many dead groups in fact, that it is often difficult to find a group that is actually alive! Click on most groups, and you will see that nobody has commented for years! Ive always found MOCpages to be like a dead city. Empty groups, row upon row of them, like ruined sky scrapers in a dead city… depressing. So, when I start a group, I run it, and then I close it, and then I demolish it.

      After all, it’s just a group, not a museum.

      I think I left “The Final Count Down” group up but I cleaned out all the content. I wanted to use the group member list as a guide when inviting members to any other group I started there. I knew the members list would get lost otherwise.

      If you want to see the DA MOCs though… that’s still pretty easy. Just do a search using “DA”, “DA2” or “Decisive Action” as key words. You’ll find MOCs lined up all the way to the horizon!

      You’ll find lots of DA player groups as well… but they are inactive, and mostly locked up so you can’t see inside. Again, rotting buildings on vacant streets. Nostalgia, hanging in the air like a fog that conceals the ruins. Silent holes in the earth, … Empty graves in the rain.

      Leaving a dead group on MOCpages always seemed like leaving a camp sight in a national park without picking up your trash. Easy enough, but very ill advised.

      When travailing in MOCpages, Take nothing but photos… leave nothing but foot prints…

      Like

      1. Pointless groups, sure. Raze them, it just makes things harder to find. But as I said, when it comes to group focused on competitions, or focused on getting to together pictures of a theme and such instead of convo, it’s a waste.

        Sure, you can search, but that’s your solution, making things 10x more tedious? It’s a different thing to see them all together in one place and get some perspective from the threads as well. Not everything becomes futile with inactivity.

        And, well, the group is not necessarily the only way to go, but it’s the lazy option; a chronicle of da posted here would work wonders, but that would take a lot of work. I’m honestly toying with the idea of a blog focused on preserving stuff I feel should not be lost more and more. Contests that left a mark on the community, works of builders that are no longer active and so on. Doubt it’s ever going to happen, but I’m tempted!

        Like

    1. Nailed it. :))

      But i’ll have you know I had my litte dc++ group back in the day mister! And it was for the dc metal community almost what the festo is for the lego one, except I was too young, stupid and inexperinced to take it this far. Got the atmosphere right in there though… you know the grumpy elitist gasbag one. :)) And co-owned another on last.fm when it wasn’t dead, focused on digging up obscure/lost demos/bands. Parted ways with them when lfm killed groups and they moved to facebook. While I haven’t done shit in the lego community, I’m not conpletetely lacking the experince in the area to be honest, but my lazineas grow heavily with age.

      Like

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