Wednesday, 29 July 2009

To Blog or not to Blog

I am up to date on the blog, at least until Jan and I finish the latest wargame from the Tarragona Campaign. So I have a little time on my hands

Yesterday I did my daily check on TMP, and found one about blogs on the list. It asked why people blog and there were many of the usual reasons given. Then I found one by an appropriately named "Shagnasty" which said "I feel they are one of the worse manifestations of the Internet."

I should, of course, have ignored it as I usually do. But I fell for the bait, and responded. What I put belongs here rather than TMP, so I repeat it below:

"I have three blogs, and different reasons for each one.

My main blog is a record of my 1813 campaign. I have always kept a record of my campaign, including battle reports. I put in on my computer so that I could email club members what the next game would look like and keep them up to date on the campaign. It was a short step to starting a blog.

As others have said, a blog is a very good discipline and makes me keep my records straight, and gives me an extra reason for photographing the battles and writing battle reports.

Now that I live in Spain it is a way of allowing friends in UK to keep up with what I am doing with the campaign now. So this one would be half for me from a practical point of view, and half for friends or anyone interested to see my campaign.

My second one is Walking Napoleonic Battlefields. This one is mainly to encourage others to get out and enjoy them. I had wanted to walk battlefields for a long time, but was put off by how to research, find locations etc. When I did it, it proved to be not so difficult. With the success of my first blog, I thought it would be a good idea to share, and hopefully inspire others, my enjoyment of walking battlefields. So this one would be mostly for others.

My third one is a record of our move to Spain and our life out here. My wife and I belong to two walking clubs here in Spain, and I often take photos when we are out in the hills. Other walkers asked me for copies, and I used to send them by email. Then, as I was doing the other two blogs, I thought it would be nice for all of us to have permanent access to them. So this would be mostly for my fellow walkers plus friends and family in UK.

But the important question is why advertise them on forum such as this. I have not, and would not, mention my third blog, the living in Spain one, because this a napoleonic forum. I have always been a little hesitant about mentioning the other two as it does seem to be showing off. That is really not the reason; it is a desire to share a part of what I do with others of a like mind. It is much the same reason that all of you post of this forum. However I have recently stopped posting any mention of my 1813 campaign, as I felt a little uncomfortable doing so. I do continue to post the Walking Napoleonic Battlefields because the whole point is to reach new people and encourage them to have a go.

However when you see a comment like Shagnasty "I feel they are one of the worse manifestations of the Internet" you do wonder whether you should continue or not. I respect the fact that Shagnasty does not like blogs, and I respect his right to say so. I just wish he could have found a slightly nicer way of doing so. And are they really "the worse manifestations of the Internet"? What harm or offence can they possibly cause to anyone on this Forum. Providing they deal with the subject of Napoleonic history/wargaming surely they have every right to be posted here?

I personally feel that one of the worse manifestations of the Internet are the negative and unhelpful comments of people like Shagnasty, who seem to take delight in slighting other peoples efforts and always in a "nasty" sort of way.

I visit this forum at least twice a day, and take much enjoyment from it. There are a few subjects I have no interest in, and I simply do not select them from the list. I would never dream of putting a response such as he did. If you don't like them Shagnasty, don't select them"

I have repeated it, because if I am to defend, or explain, why I do a blog, it should appear on the blog.

Mr Shagnasty did make me wonder why I do keep a blog, so it was not a bad thing that I read it. It made me consider what my motives were and on balance I think it is a worth while exercise.

Anyway I enjoy it, so I shall continue. Presumably Mr Shagnasty will not be a regular reader.


Martin said...

Hi Paul,

I agree wholeheartedly. Having been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by my wife and kids, the internet has opened up a whole new "window on the world" for me.

Your blogs are an important part of that. What a dull place the world would be if we all thought alike. Like Voltaire said, "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Martin

Thanks for that vote of support.

I completely agree with you about the internet. Of course there are aspects of it that are bad, but on balance I agree with your comment about"window on the world"



Capt Bill said...

Although Mr. Shagnasty disdains blogs he spends his time critiquing them. Isn't that a little telling. Frankly, I enjoy your blogs and love the battle reports and photos. Fear not tread on! My own humble blog is: feel free to drop by. Best regards, Bill

thistlebarrow said...

Capt Bill

Thanks for the kind words.

I really enjoy keeping the blog up to date, and it is a great discipline to keep me going. Kind remarks like yours are just the icing on the cake!

I shall certainly have a look at your blog.



Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I blog becuase I find the act of blogging helps me to think about what I am doing because the process of writing MAKES me think clearly and cogently. If someone else reads my blog, that is a bonus.

That said, I have found that since I started blogging I have developed more ideas to fruition than I did previously because my blog readers encourage me to do so. Their support helps me to achieve things, which is a very positive outcome.

People who read blogs and then slag off the whole concept of blogging seem to me to have missed the point. We don't MAKE them read our blogs; they choose to do so. If they don't like what they read, then they don't have to read them do they!

Keep up the excellent work,

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...


Its a shame that the internet in general, and TMP in particulr, seem to attract some people who are so negative about everything.

I find that the most popular subjects on TMP, in terms of the number of posts anyway, are those which attack someone or something.

I am sure that there is a massive "silent majority" out there who feel the same as I, but as they don't express themselves you are left with the negative vibes.

Not a complaint, just an observation.

Like you I get great personal satisifaction out of my blog, and I feel I am sharing with a group of like minded friends. But even if I never received a single feed back comment, I would still enjoy the exericse of recording what I am doing.

Also like you, I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading other blogs. Someone commented on TMP that blogs could well replace wargames magazines, because they fill the same need. I think there is a lot of truth in that.

Nice to hear from you



Greg Sapara said...

I also made a comment about Mr. Shagnasty.

It brings to mind a recent occurance at the large gaming convention here in the US - Historicon.

Some time ago, on my own blog, I posted some (not so good) photos of Eureka Austrian Grenzers. While I generally don't get much feedback on my postings, there was one particular response I got via TMP about "what a shame it is that Eureka spent so much time making their Wars of the French Revolution range comprehensive, but so little time researching the uniforms" - to paraphrase.

Nic over at Eureka caught wind of this comment, and very kindly offered to provide me with some grenzers with the "correct" headgear. A very kind gesture.

However, it did make me feel somewhat embarassed that I had caused such a stir, and I could see the look of disappointment on Nic's face when I met him at Historicon. I felt I had to apologize for bringing the whole thing up! Nic was ever the gentleman, but I felt his pain.

One thing we've all learned from the Internet is that there is no shortage of individuals who can find fault with just about anything. In this particular case, you have a manufacturer who has the best intentions and yet someone smacks them in the forehead and tells them they are not good enough.

The person who made the blog comment over at TMP is in the same category. You can either take joy in viewing the exploits of others, be it after action reports or painting efforts; or, you can grumble and point out how no one really understands the button colors of Portuguese infantry on June 10th 1811.

The blogs that I regularly follow have added immensely to the joy of the hobby, and it has shown me that I am not alone in this thing.

For that I am grateful.


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Greg

Its easy to forget when you write on your blog that you are actually writing to the whole world - including the negative part of it.

I often feel that I am writing a diary, because it is so often a sort of wargame diary for me. This can be particularly so with a blog, because there is relatively little feed back.

I hope that Nic over at Eureka realised that you were the innocent party in the story you relate? All too often misunderstandings and "flame wars" spring from a badly turned phrase.

One of the things I particularly dislike is the ability to hide behind false names and identities. I am sure that this is what creates this negative sort of attitude. I am sure that most such people would never dare to say things to ones face that they are so quick to put in writing.

However the advantages far outway the disadvantages. And if we choose to put our thought on the world wide web, then we just have to live with the consequences - both good and bad.

best regards