Geek Related has been part of the RPG Bloggers Network pretty much since it began in August 2008. It’s simple – just a RSS feed aggregator – but it’s quite useful, and it’s how I often go read what’s up in the blogosphere. Like many people, the hassle of actually setting up a RSS reader has never appealed to me, I’d rather just go to a Web portal. And it’s been quite worthwhile for the blog, the plurality of my referrers come from there, especially on new-article days.
Now, the RPG Blog Alliance has opened its doors and I’ve signed up. There’s an interesting history here – an early breakaway the RPGBN was a Ning site, the Role Play Media Network. It wanted to ‘do more’ and be more of a social network. It didn’t get much use and recently closed its doors. So now the RPGBA has opened up, it’s more of a blog aggregator (the RPMN’s fatal flaw was no way to aggregate blogs, and it was supposed to be for bloggers, so…) but also has social stuff – a forum and now a Google group.
I am not sure if the RPGBA has the magic mix needed to succeed or not. On the one hand, I don’t mind another aggregator. Yay hits. On the other hand, I’m unlikely to go use both the RPGBA and RPGBN home pages for my daily blog-checking, I’m probably just going to use one.The RPGBN’s is winning for me because it’s more concise – there’s lots of blog posts in a day and so the more articles I can see per screenful in my browser wins.
And I’m divided on the value of the “social aspect.” On the one hand, why not? On the other – the most valuable “social” thing you can do as a blogger is go comment on each others’ posts, generating community and clickbacks. Having any of that discussion hidden in a forum or mailing list reduces its worth. Plus, it’s not like there’s not a bunch of major RPG forums out there if you just want to hobnob with gamers. And already the fragmentation of having both a forum and a separate, unrelated Google group is worrying. I know they want to try to collaborate and accomplish Greater Things – but my experience with Internet groups accomplishing Greater Things is bad, the usual vicious infighting turns into open war the second anything like money gets involved.
Of course, one of the real underlying issues is that the RPGBN isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. It seems to have tech problems from time to time, like just today my posts are appearing and disappearing on it, and whoever’s running it isn’t keeping up with new blog signups and whatnot, so that’s creating some pressure for an alternative to arise.
So, I wish both the networks luck, have joined them both, and will see what happens!