Today Markco over at Just My Two Copper had a very interesting post called Unique Gold Ideas. He presents a comprehensive list of the ideas he debuted on his own site and offers compelling credentials to demonstrate his experience, and how that translates into great gold making ideas. At the end he issues a challenge of sorts to the blogging community: for each to decide for himself what his unique spin is, and to write from that perspective.
I have read this post about a dozen times today. At first I thought it was a rant aimed at bloggers who Markco thought had been taking credit for his ideas. Then I thought it was advertising for JMTC. Next, I thought it was a resource for new readers so they could easily find information about various things gold-earning related. Finally, I thought it was a challenge to bloggers for each to justify his own unique ideas instead of taking credit for ideas that Markco may have had first.
I have come to the conclusion that the post is a little of all of those.
The Rant: What Does It Mean?
As far as the rant goes, I feel for anyone who puts as much time and energy into an effort that is obviously such a passion, and then see the fruits of those efforts be stolen, misrepresented or otherwise attributed to others. The JTMC blog has become a favorite of mine, and I read it every day. I comment on posts that I find interesting and chime in when I have something to offer.
Markco got me interested enough in blogging to start this blog--so I thought at first today that he might be addressing some affront he perceived by me. Did I somehow steal one of his ideas, or take credit for something he did first? I don't think so. And if I did, I think he would contact me directly instead of in a blog.
Regardless, bloggers have little protection the way that a PnP author does with copyrights and trademarks. Ideas are posted into the vast open Internet and anyone can copy it and say they had the idea first. So, I have to agree that each of us as bloggers has to find his own unique voice. And make sure to attribute credit when due.
Bang Your Own Drum
I had a teacher in high school who told me one time that I needed to "toot my own horn more. No one will do it for you".
While there is a fine line between bragging and advertising, I think there are many ideas that appeared in JMTC first, and that we should recognize (realm first??) as such.
That being said, there is a school of thought that says no idea is truly unique. As James Burke writes in Connections, there is a legitimate argument that all innovation is driven by need and chance rather than inspiration. For example the Wright brothers didn't really invent the airplane but did create new ways to package existing technology so that flight became a reality.
From personal experience I know that some of Markco's ideas are intuitive, like breaking stacks of trade goods down to the size needed by a player to skill up. I began doing that a year or more before I ever heard of JMTC--out of the need to sell more easily than my competitors. I discovered that I would personally rather buy ore in stacks of 5 so I didn't have left overs and could buy just enough to skill up. I applied that thinking to my sales, and there you go! It worked.
However, Markco should get credit for publishing many ideas first. Also, he should be credited with "pulling back the veil" on many tips and tricks that other players have become accustomed to using. Once you know the rabbit is really hiding in the magician's sleeve you don't have to wonder where it comes from. You know where it is every time you see that trick. The same is true for making gold. When I see stack upon stack of Saronite on Saturday, I think of Markco.
Easy to Use Resource
Having all the tips broken down into easily searched and grouped areas is a great idea. If I had a friend who was just starting to play today I would point him to today's post as the one place he could go to find the most information possible about earning gold and using resources wisely in WoW.
Not only is this a fantastic resource for new players but it is also handy for players like me who often need to review strategies and tips to make sure I'm not missing something. Just today I re-read some of the older posts and was reminded about placing bids before maintenance. I had done this for a while but gradually gotten away from it. Now I have a reminder on my calendar to peruse the AH specifically on Mondays to just bid.
Find Your Own Voice
To me, this is the most important part of Markco's post today. I find the value in JMTC's daily tips. This is not an accident. It is the voice that Markco has developed--it is his niche. Similarly, I find Miss Mediocre fun to read every day because her voice is more about fun things that happen in game and in life, with good color on specific events. Likewise, Cold's Gold Factory has a plethora of short, informative tips that I can quickly read and digest. And Acadia's Gold usually has timely information "cut from the headlines".
As I reflected today on MY voice, and whether I had one at all, I was stricken by an epiphany: others will learn from my mistakes.
My motivation is to help newer players avoid errors I made in the past. Most of these involve earning gold but many are general gameplay issues. I struggled as a player when I began. I didn't have a dorm full of peers who played, no one with whom I was friends IRL played, and I had no other resources to use OTHER THAN the internet. And that is (as you know) occasionally challenging to find a good answer to some things.
Stylistically I'm occasionally long winded, but I enjoy illustrating via example and anecdote the concepts about which I write. I want the reader to find the prose enjoyable and the examples worthy of remembering. And I find the act of writing to be cathartic.
Thank You Markco
Thanks for issuing a thoughtful challenge. I enjoyed the introspection and feel like I have gained some perspective as a result. I think I will be a better blogger from this exercise.
Certainly, I will make sure to credit JMTC when credit is due, but in reality, it is hard to always credit the muse for the result of the artist. In many ways ALL things gold related can be somehow traced back to Markco, and for that, we should all be respectful.
So the community has grown, tips are more prevalent and there has been some overlap in terms of where the original idea came from. I for one am happy that the community has grown. I hope it continues to flourish. Innovation is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. I hope to offer some of that inspiration to players so their perspiration isn't wasted.