Saturday, 16 May 2015

Reflections on Blogging



We finished the campaign, which has run from June 2013.   It was a great success in that it provided us with 95 battles to wargame, which was the main objective of the campaign.   It also took up a considerable part of my time throughout the two years that it ran.

However it is the response, or rather lack of response, to the end of the campaign which has caused me to reflect on its impact.   In particular on the 37 players who took part as army commanders.

I posted a short summary of the campaign on my PBEM Napoleonic Campaign forum.   This is the notice board of the campaign which I use to keep players, and any other interested parties, up to date on any changed to the campaign.   I also use it to answer any questions about either the campaign or wargame rules.   I was quite pleased that it has attracted 142 members, including the 37 who took part in the 1814 campaign.   But I was rather disappointed that only one member posted a comment on the two year long campaign.

I also posted a summary on TMP, Lead Adventure Forum, Old School Wargaming and WD3 Wargames Directory.   Not a single comment on any of them.

I have posted on these fora in the past, with the aim of finding players to fill the command posts.   I have always filled the posts, but there has only been a handful of replies to all the posts.

The obvious conclusion is that there is no interest in the campaign.   I am not sure that is really true, because why would 142 people take the trouble to join the campaign forum.

This prompted me to consider the lack of response to the various blogs I write.   At present there are three.   This blog, one about the campaign and another about living in Spain.   The response to all three is minimal, yet the number of hits is quite good.

The first blog was my Living in Spain one.   I started it as a record of the walking we do with our local group, and to keep friends and family in UK up to date with what we are doing. I post one entry each week, often two.   It has had 19,901 individual hits, but not a single comment.   I have had lots of feedback by email and been told how much friends and family look forward to reading it.   But not one comment on the blog.


I started the campaign diary blog about five years ago.  I have posted at least once each week since then, often four or five times.   It has received 46363 individual hits, but (as far as I can remember) not a single comment.  

I started this blog in May 2009.   Since then I have posted at least one entry each week, often more.   In total I have posted 515 posts.  There are 88 members.   The blog has had 116007 individual hits.   There have been 435 comments, including my own replies.

I am one of those strange people who like to record what they are doing.  I have kept a diary for most of my life, and make an entry each day.   So keeping the various blogs is not a problem, indeed I enjoy doing it.   It adds a structure to what I do, and adds an element of discipline to keeping the campaign diary blog.   I run the campaign, and keep the blogs, for my own enjoyment.   But it would be nice to have a little more reaction.

Perhaps its part and parcel of the internet.    I follow a number of blogs, and find that most of them have very few, if any, comments.    There are one or two exceptions, but they are very rare.




14 comments:

Chasseur said...

Indeed, interesting observation! Most of the internet seems to be silent readers. But on the other hand as the hits show they are interested in what you are doing so keep doing it! :) Also maybe switch comment moderation off, anything at all that makes it a bit harder to comment tends to reduce incentive to do so in my experience.

Ray Rousell said...

I think I'd be a bit disappointed as well, especially all the people involved not commenting??? Doesn't make ant sense?

johnpreece said...

well first off, a thank you for all the effort that you have put into your blogging.

I have followed your blogs with various degrees of enjoyment but tend only to leave a comment when I think I can add something to the post. So all I have left have been a few on your walking battlefields narratives.

I have enjoyed the scenery making and read with attention the ideas of someone who sees the real thing everyday. Alas, I fear your living in Spain blog, though it would be of interest,has passed me by and I have little to say about the campaign as being outside my immediate enthusiasms.

I hope this conveys that I do enjoy your writing but mainly in a passive way since my own interests are tangential.

So once more thanks to yourself and your wife and my hopes that you continue with the blog. I shall certainly continue to follow it.

regards
John





thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

Thanks for your comment and for taking the trouble to explain why you do, or don't comment.

Thanks also for your kind comments about the blogs in general.

I hope that you will continue to follow the blog, and indeed to enjoy it.

regards

Paul

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Ray

Thanks for your comments.

I'm glad that it is not just me that finds it confusing that almost none of the players had commented on the two year campaign.

It must have something to do with being "virtual". Perhaps there is no feeling of belonging, or that they feel distanced in some way.

I hasten to say that I do not feel that way about them. I always ask new players to let me have a short history, so that I can put a "person" behind the name.

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Chasseur

Thanks for your comment.

I can understand that the readers of this blog might not feel the need to comment. Though it is interesting that so many read it each week, but very few feel the need to comment on at least some of the subjects.

However it does baffle me that almost none of those taking part in the campaign commented. They all played an important part in the campaign, indeed there would be no campaign without them. They all appeared to take the campaign seriously, and sent their orders in promptly. I can't imagine that had it been a campaign run in a normal wargames club that there would have been this apparent indifference after such a long and successful campaign.

I am reluctant to switch off the comment moderation. I never seem to be advised when anyone posts, although I done the settings to receive an email notification. So without the moderation anything could be posted and I would not be aware of it.

regards

Paul

Sun of York said...

I can relate to what you write. I too like to record what I do and my blog has been a delight for this in regards to my wargaming hobby. Lack of comments seems to be par for the course. More annoying is comments not on topic, but even those are (thankfully) rare.

I'm currently organising a 15mm Waterloo game for my club and it has been a struggle getting involvement, although that has started to change now as the date approaches.

I've recently joined the Facebook Napoleonic Wargame group and that is very active (although it seems hard for people to stay on topic at times).

Keep blogging and all the best for your campaigns.

JWH said...

It has been a fascinating campaign! All the more so because it is almost entirely yours: your battle rules, your campaign rules, your maps and your administration. The way you have dealt with the various issues has help me immensely in clarifying my own thinking about how to tackle problems as they arise.

Best of luck with your next campaign.

Regards

John

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Sun of York

Thanks for your comments

I tried to organise a campaign some 30 odd years ago when I was running a weekly wargames group in my garage. There were about eight regular members, but very little interest in running a campaign. It was one of those groups where I supplied all the figures and scenery, designed the weekly game and usually umpired it as well. They were obviously content with four hours wargaming a week, and did not want to devote an hour or so to running a campaign. In the end I ran it myself, just to provide interesting battles for them to wargame.

I will try the facebook Napoleonic Wargame group and see what they have to offer

Regards

Paul

thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

Thanks for your comments.

I am quite surprised to hear that you have found my campaign so interesting. I always feel that I am running very fast just to stand still as far as the campaign administration goes. And I am aware that many of my decisioins are far from popular. I guess I get feedback from disgruntled players, rather than contented ones. For example one player resigned recently because of my poor administration. As you know I send out an updated map and order of battle at the end of each day, and ask each player to let me know if there are any errors or anything they do not understand. When I received his last orders I could not action them because one of his corps was in the wrong place. I asked for clarification and he referred me to his last three orders. I explained that I could not go back beyond the last campaign update, but that he could change his current orders. He replied, IN CAPITAL LETTERS, that he couldn’t understand how I could get his orders wrong for so long. He seemed to overlook that he also failed to check his daily update for the same three days!

Despite this I do enjoy running the campaign, and would miss it greatly if it came to an end.

Regards

Paul

JWH said...

Paul,

As far as I know, it is one of the most grandly conceived campaigns ever attempted by a wargamer and you have managed - despite various travails - to make it work. It is hard not to feel great admiration! In addition, the way you have explained your thinking about the campaign - whether it be the maps to use, or to introduce some change into the campaign logistics - has been fascinating as you search for the delicate balance between something playable, something fun, something that will be interesting in the long-term and something that at least has a flavour of realism,whilst incorporating the possibilities of PBEM. It prevented me from going down that route for my present solo campaign, not because it can't be done well, as your campaign obviously proves the reverse to be true, but rather the time and energy needed to deal with the admnistration and management of so many players and forces by these means.

Regards

John

thistlebarrow said...

Hi John

Thanks for your fulsome praise, though I am not sure it is really deserved.

I must admit that I am very pleased at the way the campaign has progressed and developed. I think the main reason is that I started with a clear plan to make use of the wargame facilities I have, and to make the campaign fit that framework.

I have been very lucky in that so many players have been prepared to take part. I am very aware that my campaign is not as satisfying from the players point of view. The requirement to produce enjoyable wargames means that they have to accept that they can not play a conventional campaign.

It does take a lot of time to run the campaign, but it is very much a “labour of love” for me. And I particularly like the unpredictable progress of the campaign when there is a new player who does not really understand the rules. I think that element brings a real “fog of war” to the whole project.

Thanks again for your kind comments

Regards

Paul

JcDanville said...

The most mind blogging...err bogging is you succeed in actually managing what amounts to 4? Campaigns together.

thistlebarrow said...

Hi JcDanville

It's currently five mini campaigns within the overall 1813 campaign.
There are five geographical areas. Northern, Central and Southern Germany, plus Northern and Southern Spain. Each area has its own French and allied army and commander.

The aim is to always have at least one campaign battle to wargame.

It's worked for the past five years