Greedy Goblin

Monday, December 28, 2009

No more pointless philosophy posts

I started this blog to spread the goblinist ideas, to shape the world a bit in a way I prefer. The philosophy posts are the core of this blog, publishing them is the reason I'm blogging. The analysises are here to support them by finding useful data. The "sell glyphs or other pixel stuff" posts are mostly just advertisements to lure readers to the blog (and also means to practice being a ruthless goblin on the market).

However it would not be hard to notice that some philosophy posts don't work well. They get weird comments that are speculative and usually without any ground. They also not liked by most readers as drop in the visitor count in the following days shows.

I also read blogs and I hate most rants, finding them boring, speculative and useless. However there are some philosophy posts I find great. I was thinking a lot to find what make a philosophy post great. It was a crucial thing to find out. If I keep posting pointless philosophy posts, I'll run out of readers and will discuss "how many angels fit to a pinhead" questions with a few commenters. On the other hand if I stop posting philosophy posts in general, the blog will lose the reason I'm making it.

I can't explain how I found the solution. I didn't have it in one minute and just had it in the next. It's pretty simple: philosophy posts with a point have a conclusion that tell the reader (and not the government, Blizzard or "the people") what to do if he believes in the idea. For example the "use all other tricks available to take the money of the morons" idea has a point. If you believe in it, you can start selling arrows in stacks of 100 for example. If you find it wrong, you don't sell such "scam" stacks or even act against the practice by posting 100 stacks for 1/10 price of 1000.

Either way you act according to your belief. You put your money/time where your mouth is and feel the consequences. For example those who followed the "100 arrows trick" gathered 1-2K G for 0 work and most probably pretty happy about it. Since the post connected the idea to the action, the consequence will force you to accept or reject your current idea (without the post you can reject/accept the action without the general idea).

Note that this "having a point" quality of the post has nothing to do with its truth. The "every time donate gold to the beggars since they are just unlucky and everyone deserves help" idea is as wrong as it can be but still has a point. You can act according to it and feel the consequences in lost gold and being on the friend list of lot of leeches of your server whispering begs every time you log in.

On the other hand my regulation posts had no point, despite I completely believe that they are true. OK, I convinced you, now what? You cannot regulate the markets, not even in WoW. You can't do anything (writing letters to congressmen is considered nothing). Nor can you do anything if you find it bullshit. You can't regulate harder or less hard. All you can do is post a nonsense comment about the world running out of oil or murdering competitors. Or you can just stop reading the blog.

This philosophy post has a point: "don't post philosophy posts without a point". I'll act according to it. I deleted bunch of pointless drafts and will only post philosophy posts if I can clearly see how can someone act according to (or against) it.

Since there will be much less philosophy posts, I'll have to find some fillers to the empty spots. How about some goldmaking tricks and undergeared updates? After all running such projects cost gold and that gold must be made.

Note: rants are not "pointless philosophy" posts, simply because the author is aware that he is not posting anything useful. Rants are "fun" posts where the reader can laugh on the irrationally QQ-ing author. I will (try to) not post such things.


Anonymous said...

"How about some goldmaking tricks and undergeared updates?" If that is a question to readers than count me in. I will stay and read this blog.

Seth said...

As long as your content remains as good as it currently is the readers will keep reading it. (withing boundries ofc.)

Write what you want and how you want it. It's afterall, your blog

Boal said...

I am a daily reader of this blog and truly appreciate every post you make. I wouldn't consider any of them "pointless" at all. The "Limits of the Free Market" posts were not only interesting, they were insightful. I examine my own beliefs in the free market and where my time should be spent and who I should vote for next election. I feel the "pointless" blogs are just as important to me as the ones that cause me to gain something (i.e. gold, "fun" also known as humor, the ability to control markets in WoW).

What I gain from these "pointless" posts are insight and knowledge. I have insight into another intelligent person's thoughts on real world economic theory. If there was no such discourse amongst intelligent peoples then the human race would be 100% M&S and no advancement would have ever taken place.

PS I got my dad (55 years old, never played WoW) and his two friends to read this blog everyday as well. They don't even know what WoW is for the most part. They read this blog for the political and economical insights that it provides. They read because you post "pointless" yet interesting and well written articles on problems facing the world today. Even though we can't act on the solutions you provide (we can't give color coded cards to M&S) they enjoy the idea.

PPS They own and Oil and Natural Gas company and barely know how to run a computer, but love this blog.

----Boal of Frostwolf US

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I miss your reports on training apprentices. It was interesting to read about your thoughts and approach as you tried to get people with less-than-ideal professions or habits to adopt some of your methods.

Also, here is a question I would love to see you answer: what would you do to make money on a server where there are already several people just like yourself, but slightly better?

What does the goblin philosophy say about finding new markets?

Gevlon said...

@Boal: there will be Philosophy posts (one will come on Wednesday) but I will make huge effort to find a "point" to them. To reach a conclusion that the reader can test and prove (or falsify).

I'm very happy that your non-playing dad is reading the blog. However I guess I'm preaching to the choir there, he already knows everything I could teach. I must choose my means to the target audience: young adults with brains, but poisoned badly by social ideas. They doubt everything I say, so I must place rock-solid proof behind every sentence.

@Seth: indeed I could write what I want. But if I want it to be read, I must adapt. It's like I CAN craft 10000 lumberjack's shirts, but if I want to see gold from it, I'd better craft something they want to buy.

Gasp said...

That's too bad. Philosophy posts are really only the reason I read. I generally just skim over other ones. Good luck with whatever you choose. I hope to see some great Philosophy though. :)

Matthew said...


About those 1,000 lumberjack shirts... If you were playing on Moon Guard (US roleplaying server), you might find that you can sell all of those--for fifty gold each!

Wish I wasn't being serious, but I am.

Larísa said...

You didn't ask for any advice in this post so I should probably just shut up. But I just wanted to remind you that as opposed to blogs with adds you've got no reason whatsoever to chase huge numbers or to try to please an audience. You're an amateur and you're responsible to noone but yourself. Enjoy your freedom! The reason for ranting about stuff isn't always necessary to convice anyone. It can be an excersise in writing, just a pleasure to get it out of your system if you get what I mean. As opposed to you I'm a huge fan of rants that are written with passion, wits and skill. Regardless of if I agree with the writer or not or if they ask me to act on their rant or not. Not that it matters what I like or not. I'm just a reader. You're the writer, the master of the universe that the Greedy Goblin consists. Never forget that! All this said: I definitely prefer rants that have some sort of WoW or MMO connection (although it may be very thin). Rants that are completely RL related, are something I rarely spend a ton of time on. Not on this blog or on any other.

Anonymous said...

I love the philosophy stuff, but I can understand your reasoning behind todays post. I understand that your blog objective is to try and get young socials to see life from a different point of view, (as opposed to making money from your blog), and thus having high visitor numbers helps reach your taget audience.

I have noticed that your morons of the week posts are getting very few comments. They seem to have run their course, particularly with hunter epic arrows. Perhaps you could get a bit more creative there.

Anyway, combining your philosophical ramblings with a real-world, (o r real-game), hook at the end is an excellent way to tie it up for your target audience. I suppose my only question is why you had to write todays post spelling it all out for us. Why not just do it?

Okrane S. said...

No way dude! Useless Philosophy posts are FUN! (or at least something to ponder about when I am at work)

Who the heck cares about making wow-gold anymore, anyways.......

Gevlon said...

@Larísa: indeed I can write posts that cannot convince anyone. But I don't want to. I want to convince them or at least make them think.

@thenoisyrogue: the morons of the week needs to be old and boring. Their point is to show the people: YES THEY ARE THAT STUPID, THEY STILL BUYING VENDOR CRAP, it's not a one-in-the-time honest mistake, it's them being permanently idiots.

Also I spelled this decision out, because I think it is itself an idea worth telling: "if you want to convince people, tell only things you can prove by action".

Okrane: don't worry the philosophy posts don't go away. One really nasty is incoming on Wednesday. And what makes it really nasty is that it's not just some "evil" thing to think. It's some "evil" thing to DO!

Anonymous said...

"And what makes it really nasty is that it's not just some "evil" thing to think. It's some "evil" thing to DO!"

I'm really, really looking forward to this.

Olga said...

They are going to be very interesting, those posts with a point. Not that your older philosophy posts wasn't interesting either.
As for goldmaking tricks - i rolled a char on your realm just to check how it will look to play horde and how long it will be interesting enough to level one more toon. Despite i didn't want to play on AH purposely, i already made some gold. I was sure that newcomers to your project are already playing almost every trick there, but seems they are not :)

Kro said...

I tend to agree with the idea of removing pointless content. If there's enough quality material, then it's the way to go, and it will also encourage more contributors to improve the quality of their posts.

Anyways... Gevlon's articles tend to compare IRL markets with AH. While it might be partially ok, considering the mechanics, it overlooks a fundamental difference: AH damages moron players in a game while real markets damage the very lives of (maybe moronic) real people and partially relies on unfair (but hidden) scandals ranging till crime against humanity. I recommend you to watch John Pilger's many documentaries or check out Howard Zinn's conferences or books. Maybe Noam Chomsky's books too. And i'd like Gevlon to consider this fundamental difference a tad more. This raises very real ethical, moral and political issues.

berg said...


I enjoy the philosophy posts as they currently are, I often feel educated and better able to explain my own beliefs to the socials I have around me.

To me a philosophy post does not need an action as a result, the action is merely to consider the information presented and come up with your own interpretation and have the reader decide how he will act in regards to the article.

It seems like you are trying to herd your readers (socials) into one path by having them following your set path of action. But it seems logically a social would not be reading your blog, so you are trying to herd a goblin into the path you want, which seems a lot more tricky Gevlon.

Although we want guidance, we don't need to be told that x comes as a result of y, we can work that out ourselves.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, a large part of the reason I read this blog is for the philosophical posts that on the surface have no point. But to me they have a point, they make me question my own logic on things, and irregardless of the outcome of the exercise, the mere process reinforces my beliefs, or destroys them utterly. Either way, I get to spend a few minutes that day re-examining my personal philosophy.

I'm sad to hear of your decision, yet understand the reasoning, considering the target audience. Let's hope you'll see continued success in your efforts.

Anonymous said...

the morons of the week needs to be old and boring. Their point is to show the people: YES THEY ARE THAT STUPID, THEY STILL BUYING VENDOR CRAP, it's not a one-in-the-time honest mistake, it's them being permanently idiots.

The bigger question is why are they buying easily obtainable items that they would otherwise obtain elsewhere if they did not have so much gold.

The social concept of spread the wealth is rampant in Wow. Beggars no longer ask for 1 gold anymore, 1 gold is an insult, when they can get 25 gold for that new mount.

Makes me wonder if these same people would have done this in Vanilla when gold was hard to come by - Wow has turned into the worlds greatest social experiment where everyone get what they want and are happy - with the exception of a few Greedy Goblins.

Christian said...

This makes me sad.

I enjoy reading about how other people view the world. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. I read the posts if they are well-written, entertaining or interesting, them having a point is irrelevant.

And your posts, with or without point to them, are good, Gevlon. I enjoy reading them, sometimes they are enlightening, sometimes they show me a different way of looking at the world.

I'll miss them.

Alex said...

I will freely admit that I am exactly the person you are targeting with this post. I tend to skip your posts focusing on real life economics and social reform, it doesn't make me not come back the next day, but it does mean that I read the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph to see if I am interested, and then generally flip away.

I read you blog mainly for the WoW economy posts, however I find most of the other WoW related stuff interesting as well, and I think that you are on the right track to keep my interest (I can't speak for the others) with this idea.

That being said, I'm also with Larisa on this one:
Post what you want.

Schumpeter said...

It's never a bad decision to think about how to make your blog more marketable, although I wonder if it was necessary to announce the intentions with an entire post rather than just subtly changing your philosophy posts.

I have learned all my gold-making "strategies" from this website, but I did so about 10 months ago. At this point, making gold is more about a system than it is about "hot new tricks"!

For one example, selling the arrows is certainly a hot new trick, but one that isn't really all that necessary for me.

Thus, I suppose that I'm disappointed that the philosophy posts are changing, as they were the highlight of the blog for a long-time reader like myself. It's not so bad if you're just *changing* them, but it'd truly be unfortunate if you are reducing how *many* of them you post.

Brian said...

As someone who has disagreed with you on a lot of your philosophy, I'm still interested in them...but I think they'd be even more interesting with a twist similar to the one you're talking about now.

Most of your philosophy posts end up LOOKING like rants (even though they are not) because you seem to write them for an audience that already agrees with you. If I'm not already convinced that "social" is bad and "goblin" is good by default, most of your posts aren't really going to convince me.

This is not always the case, sometimes your posts are more convincing, more targeted towards people with social tendencies. As an example, your posts on looking for a more hard core guild helped convince me that I'd be happier taking a more goblin-like approach to finding a guild, despite the fact that I'm generally one of the more social people you could meet.

More posts like that would help give your philosophy posts the "point" you are searching for, I think. Instead of just saying WHAT you think, you could change some minds.

Ismaris said...

You're smart to recognize the source of your waning readership. I think there is still room in the blog for philosophical posts, even ones without a "call to action."

You have to make some decisions for yourself, though. A blog is, after all, a place for an author to ruminate on topics that are of special interest to him. I think what we're seeing more and more as a result of blogs replacing traditional media sources, though, is that readers are hungry for a more traditional, "newsworthy" format for blogs. This includes posts that are interesting, sincere, and have a summary point or call to action.

I guess, in the end, if you want to retain and grow your readership, going back to the formula that worked originally would be a smart move. Personally, I am only interested in your blog to become educated in Auction House economics for WoW, but who knows? Over time I might become more curious about your worldview as well (or maybe realize that the two concepts are inextricably tethered).

Anonymous said...

I don't know... I remember taking a few philosophy courses in college. Each of those course involved a good amount of exchange amongst the students. While some of these exchanges included ideas from somewhere out in left field the conversations gave "everyone" a sense of involvement and a general good feeling of being able to voice their opinion. Most other courses were "sit & learn".

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your philosophy posts such that i check your blog every day. I live among M&S and thought i was was screwed up all these (60) years. It has been nice to see that I am not alone. I look forward to your blog everyday. Thank you.

Also it would be interesting to see if you could come up with a strategy on how would one deal with someone like you on wow. How could i make gold up against you? Now that would be very interesting.

Gevlon said...

@Those who liked my philosophy posts: don't worry, they stay if they have a point. For example would still be posted.

Tonus said...

I think that you may simply have misread your audience. People who will read day after day of gold-making posts may not find social experimentation and study to be interesting enough to return.

If you find that the philosophy posts are what you really want to do, keep at it. No doubt that over time the people who come here for gold or WOW posts will leave, but others may replace them. As Larisa said, since you're not depending on the blog for money, you can afford to build an audience that you want.

You can't please everyone, but you can find a group of people who will make the blog as interesting for you to read as it is for them.

Sargeta said...

IMHO, your philosophy posts are, in certain ways, gold-making tips. I mean, being into business, dealing with M&S, other competitors or even other's all about predicting and playing with the other's mind.

After trying to use your gold-making strategies in my own realm, I realized it wasn't working out. So I decided to stroll through your entire blog, reading the posts about philosophy and the likes. It really helped more than any gold advice. By following your way of thinking, I could improve my tactics, and even my social life! (that might be a little exaggeration, but w/e).

My point is, don't stop doing these kind of posts. Even if you think they're useless, they could be of use for someone.

Perhaps divide your time? Like Mon-Wed-Fri: gold advices and WoW in general. Tue-Thur-Sun: philosophy and the likes. Take Saturday off to kill some M&S!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the issue with readership dropping off, or asinine comments, after some of your philosophy posts much to do with whether or not your post contains a point. Like many of the posters here have voiced: some people LIKE these kinds of posts. Some people like rants.

I believe the main reason you get some comments and a drop in readership after certain posts it because the posts themselves are illogical and so biased that it's obvious you have not considered the full ramification of your idea.

I understand that you are using your blog to spread your ideas and to argue your side of the "debate" so to speak. That's great. And so it is in your best interest to ignore anything that supports the other side of the debate. However, doing that can undermine your own argument if it becomes too obvious that you competely ignoring anything that doesn't support your argument. People just won't take you serious.

Some (not all, some are great too) of your philosophy posts do this. You are so passionate about your own ideas and so committed to convincing others that you are right that you ignore reality. That you ignore or deny scenarios that don't support your claims.

That only hurts your credibility.

If you remain aware that not everything fits perfectly into a little box but still preach your way as the best way, in spite of the imperfections, you'd probably have more credibility in those posts and not turn readers away.

Anonymous said...

Edit: I am the same anonymous that posted about credibility and not denying everything that doesn't fit your argument. Wish there was an edit function.

You said, "@Larísa: indeed I can write posts that cannot convince anyone. But I don't want to. I want to convince them or at least make them think."

Which fits right in with what I was saying. If you want to make people think or convince them you can't project such a biased argument that people just laugh at you because it's obviously ignoring reality. At times, in your philosophy posts you do this.

A better way to do it would be to present your argument/stance, acknowledge the exceptions to the rule, but show why your way is better anyways/most of the time.

Lemontree said...

I would like to say that yours is the number one blog I read because in addition to comment on my favourite pastime, it comments on important issues that aren't necessarily solved yet.

For your readership it may be important to have posts that sort of tell the reader what to do if he agrees, but some of the points you've raised seem to be important things that aren't considered in our society. The way I would imagine it is that maybe someone would look at one of those posts and think of an actual solution to that. But if the point was never made maybe that person would not have thought along those lines and it would not be solved. (Obviously I'm simplifying this, because you have written about complex things that probably don't have simple solutions, but someone could possibly find part of an answer or make some small change along those lines)

Another thing is to consider people's personalites though. I have been reading about MBTI types a lot lately, and for me your open-ended blog posts are great(I am INTP), I feel that they are important but the fact the it does not push me in any direction is fine by me, it leaves me with possibilities. However for someone who likes conclusions, who doesn't like having an infinite number of options (someone SJ very likely), they will feel a bit overwhelmed by the "pointless" (in their eyes that is possibly exactly what it is) nature of these posts. What I would suggest, Gevlon, on potentially "pointless" posts is to give any small idea you may have, and say something like "This is my opinion but I don't really have a solution about how to fix it, some ideas that may or may not work are: _____." That would suggest to the NP type people that there are a lot of possibilities, but to more SJ type people it would give a few options or ideas that they might go from, in addition to the fact that it would allow you to still post these types of philosophy posts.

And as a final note, I have several of your old philosophy posts in a bookmarks tab titled "Thoughts to Ponder" because I considered those posts very important but something that I couldn't really do anything with immediately.

Nielas said...

As someone else commented a philosophical discussion works best when it is an actual discussion. This is a blog where the readers get to post a few comments but do not actually get to discuss the issuess in a proper manner.

When I read many of Gevlon's big philosophical 'rants' I often agreed with many of his general ideas but disagreed with the specifics. Since I could not discuss them more in depth with him, I had to reject his general take on the issue since to me it was flawed enough not to use.

With the more 'ponted' posts they were based on actual scenarios (rather then idealized models or analogies) so I could examine them in more detail and make an informed decision.

To put it into context, a discussion on 'ninja looting' really needs some test cases where we can examine whther that set of circumstnaces is 'ninja looting' or not. We need the particulars of an incident to determine how applicable a case like this is to the whole arguemnt.

Anonymous said...

Or you could just get rid of themes and write whatever you are thinking of at the moment. That's what you're doing right now anyway, why call it anything else?

You're trying to fit your blog to a mold that will get you more readers instead of sticking to what got you readers in the first place. Deleting content is an even dumber move.

Lee Quillen said...

From your post it sounded like you were mildly interested in suggestions for content. If that's true I think there is still a tremendous amount of gold making in WoW philosophy available which you have only hinted at in the past.

IMHO Gold making strategies differ depending on the amount of time you are willing to spend in the game. Someone, like yourself, who spends a moderate amount of time coming up with strategies would differ in tactic greatly from someone who enjoys doing it for 12 hours a day. The strategy would differ as well for someone who only had 30 minutes or so each day. While the basics building blocks are the same regardless (make as much per hour by understanding markets), how to maximize it would differ depending on how much time you have.

Playing about 30 minutes a day myself, I found it was still quite easy to make gold once I understood how to work around other sellers who were monitoring the AH 12 hours a day.

Much like what you did to show that each profession was profitable, there would be equal readability in proving that people could make a tremendous amount regardless of the time available to them. I've heard numerous people complain that they can't play the market because of limited time. Based on those conversations it is clear that there is a large audience who would be interested in tips demonstrating the ease of using 30 minutes wisely to make much more gold than 30 minutes of dailies would provide. Same building blocks (buy cheap mats, have crafters make items, sell for profit), different philosophy in the best way to go about it.

Wiggin said...

I think such a post is a sign of maturity, not to say you wern't mature, but more of a self-reflecting or self-realization.

I am happy to see this :)

Zan said...

Gev, make a second blog for your 'useless philosophy posts' and mention its creation. Those who enjoy reading it will happily subscribe.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your blog posts, and until now, have /never/ read the comments. I enjoy your point of view, and your style of writing very much. Random interweb commenter analysis of it.... not so much :) It would be a shame to see you change your craft based on the tone or nature of the comments posted.

keep it up!

Dogsdanglys said...

Not sure why im even bothering but hey -

Read the paragraph after the bullet points. Gevlon why do you care now?

Like any market, your share of the readers will go up and down.

radu said...

Can you compare probability of someone acting influenced by an idea delivered in one of the pointless philosophy posts to that of someone performing the action type advocated by practical philosophy posts?