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Signal to Noise

What we do in life echoes in eternity

– Maximus, Gladiator

I began clearing out a lot of old bookmarks the other day. I’m surprised at how many sites have disappeared from the ‘net over the last few years, many of which were actually quite useful! While sites like http://web.archive.org are useful, it got me thinking just how much stuff is lost on the net – looking back over some of my early blog posts, I’ve realised that I first started blogging in 2006.  There’s something very sad about the disappearance of many of these other sites, many of which were RPG resources that were at least of some use. I currently have an online presence in a number of formats outside of themandragora.com so if the website ever becomes archived, most of the posts will at least continue to be available at places like Facebook, Twitter, and  LiveJournal. So I guess there will always be a part of me out there on the ‘net.

Many independent websites likely continue to exist out there, but they are often rarely updated. Usually they start off with the best of intentions but run out of steam within a few weeks. Often the hosting provider folds or the expense of keeping a website going (both time and money) leads to them getting buried. So here’s to all those RPG websites that failed their save vs. deletion.

It’s very much the fact that there are huge amounts of people blogging now about RPGs, where once there would have been a handful. More and more frequently there are posts that are little more than opinionated rants, rather than anything useful (I’m as guilty as the next person of this though!). It seems that the days when you could actually do a search on a particular RPG or subject, and/or download materials has now become a quaint custom. There’s been a huge change in the last few years with more emphasis on portal sites and web 2.0, like Obsidian portal, ENworld.org and rpg.net.

I’m participating in the May of The Dead blog carnival, with a post on the 18th about playing Undead. Whilst I’d like to do more I just can’t find the time – it’s also why I don’t like posting or visiting forums such as Enworld, as there’s so much chatter or noise that it becomes difficult to follow or things just become unpleasant (like RPG.net’s occasional overzealous mods and those posters who seem to take umbrage at anyone with a different opinion). However they do have their uses, especially if you’re looking for new players. I’ve never used Obsidian Portal but it also looks like there are many dead games on there too, so it suffers the same problem. I think, in the end, there are too many damn gaming forums! 🙂

Here’s a case in point: there’s been so much talk about the next version of D&D (a.k.a DNDnext) that I’ve given up trying to follow it online. Everyone and their dog has an opinion on it, on a game that hasn’t really been created. Instead, I’ll get the playtest rules when they come out at the end of this month – at that point I might start paying attention to the online speculation, but right now I just can’t be bothered wading though it all.

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