I would like to preface this by stating I am writing this post during prime NFL football watching hours. This speaks to how important I feel this is for the Warcraft community.
I had a nice conversation with one of Blizzard Watch’s most prolific and entertaining editors, Liz Harper, who brought up the topic of Adblocker and how much it means to their livelihood that consumers turn it off when visiting their site.
It’s a double edged sword of sorts. I had no idea what Adblocker was until maybe 3-4 years ago. I would visit sites and get popups and that would annoy the shit out of me. I still get popups now and then. I’m not the most PC savvy dude on the internet. I’ve heard that popups are no bueno though. As someone who can’t afford a new PC or even repairs on it, I take what security I can get seriously. So eventually, I enabled the Adblock on my Firefox browser. Fast forward to when the former site that is now Blizzard Watch was in some financial trouble do to their host, cutting their funding. I learned how important not blocking ads was to them. As someone who has been under employed more than not, I understand the value of what we can do “for free”. So I disabled Adblock (just for BW) for the respect I had for the writers, and to possibly keep the site going.
When they moved to their new site, I was one of the people who blogged, and posted on social media about the site. I like to think I was helpful in getting the new site going. I even put up some money, money which I really couldn’t afford to donate, towards their Patreon. I left ads on for a while, even when I was giving money monthly. I felt I was doing all I could to help out. My finances tightened even more, and eventually I had to drop my contribution to a measly $1 a month.
About 4 months in or so, I kind of became disenfranchised with the direction of the site. There were a couple of posts that I felt were “self-serving” including a “review” for one of the editor’s books. I eventually dropped my $1 per month donation. I did figure on re-upping it once I had the money to do so. I mean, it’s a fantastic site, even though I might have my quibbles. I can be a little self righteous at times, I will admit that.
Things that turned me off to Blizzard Watch: In fairness, I think it is important to list these things. Think of them as raw data that can help them possibly correct some things–or not.
- Moderation- There was a period where the site (particularly The Queue) was being actively trolled by 1 or more individuals. That person made reading and commenting particularly not fun, for lack of better words. As someone with a low tolerance of BS, I found myself trying to “moderate” which was probably not the best thing to do. They finally got the situation under control but it left a bad taste in my mouth, especially as a “paying member” at the time.
- Site management- I’m not an expert, nor do I have insider knowledge on how things were being run, but it seemed like the site was not being run as a professional site, and more of someone’s hobby. I don’t have a lot of concrete stuff to go on, just my own observations/perceptions.
- Preferential treatment for Patreons pertaining to The Queue: Whether this is right, wrong, or indifferent, I felt like this was a slight. I was even still a Patreon when this was rolled out, so it didn’t affect me one bit. I just thought it was a poor decision, coming from someone who knows what’s it’s like not to be able to afford even an extra $1 a month.
- Blizzard Watch logo: This probably will seem petty, and maybe childish, but when they were working on developing a new logo for the site, I suggested why not use one of the logos some commenters have posted? There are a lot of talented people who submitted logos on the site that were pretty cool looking. The idea was shot down, and it was stated that “they had someone working on it”. About a month or so later, they rolled out what is now their logo. Fairly unimpressed with what they decided on. I also think it would have been a cool, “thank you” to the community who helped them sustain their blog. Like I said, it’s not a huge thing, but it was one of those, little things that built up over time.
Things that make me feel more part of the community:
- Posting on the site and connecting with like-minded individuals. Really, this is what keeps me going back day in and day out. Through content lulls, through bad patches. I like the feeling of connecting with the community or just chatting about what I had for dinner.
- Giving helpful information to other readers. This is why I initially started posting. I felt I had information and ideas to bring to those who were seeking it.
- Sharing experiences in the realm of Blizzard and outside it. Blizzard games are great, but what makes it better is sharing the experiences with others who feel the same way.
- “Community Blog Topic” fueled my budding unprofessional career as a blogger. It also was a medium for me to help Blizzard Watch when they moved from their former site.
- Learning about new Blizzard products, features, updates, and all kinds of stuff. When info dumps happen, or when BlizzCon is on, there is no better place to be than the “pages” of Blizzard Watch. I found out about this site way back during Wrath when talk of the new expansion (Cataclysm) was percolating. I was relatively new to Warcraft and it’s community and in my opinion, they were the premier place for info and discussion on the topics I wanted to hear more about.
Blizzard Watch editors work hard to bring us meaningful content. Some of them have part time jobs, some of them have full time jobs. I know Liz seems to be on the site at all hours of the day. Yes, they chose to be at the jobs they currently have, but that is no real reason to withhold compensation from them, is it? Which is exactly what we are doing when we peruse the site with Adblocker on.
All that aside, if you are a regular or you hit up the site 1-2 times a week. What does it hurt to turn off Adblocker for Blizzard Watch? Yeah, the ads can be annoying, but for the most part, it hasn’t been a security issue (as far as I know). It’s probably the smallest thing you can do effort-wise that will have the biggest impact on people’s lives. Particularly the dedicated staff at possibly one of your favorite fan sites. I will ask on their behalf, please turn your Adblocker off for Blizzard Watch.