After lelangir poked holes into the notion of a team blog as being a team I started reading about pirates for 18th Century English Literature. Certainly even here at THAT and elsewhere we are not a finely tuned military machine (blog) that ensures the best cooperation between all arms (members). There are many things that prevent a team blog to have the sort of efficiency that allowed the Wehrmacht to roll over most of Europe with Blitzkrieg. Instead even in the digital age I suppose most collaborative efforts are marred by communication problems, be it time zone differences or generally that it takes us days to respond to requests. Even lelangir, espouser of teamwork, was hard to get a hold of for a marimite post. While I am sure that a higher level of team work might be achievable, the limitations imposed simply because generally each blogger has real life obligations that we can scarcely move beyond a loose coaltiion. Just as Blitzkreig would have been impossible without the radio so too is the kind of professional teamwork seen in such places as say 1up beyond the reach of most team blogs simply because we have our own schedules. At most we can probably attain as sort of Wellington and Blucher dynamic rather than a Patton and Abrams.
Ideally I suppose every team blog or multi author blog would be organized along Prussian/German lines (because no matter what the Germans are notoriously efficient). There would be a General Staff that would have prepared piles of posts or ideas for posts that only needed a bit of fine tuning and a time stamp. Each team would be distinguished by the formal selection of its authors by intelligence and proven merit rather than élan, and the exhaustive and rigorously structured training which authors undertook. This training would be designed not only to weed out the less motivated candidates, but also to produce a body of writers with common methods and outlook (grammatical standards essentially with variation in diction and prose), and most importantly an almost monastic dedication to posting. That aside most responsibility would be delegated to each author in the field with resources and aid allocated as dictated by the needs of the post in question. The overall objective is to institutionalize the work (and perhaps genius) of those who came before, those who now serve, and those who have yet to come. In reality, there is no casual anime blog that even comes close to this nor are we in the business of declaring that “there can only be one” or other such nonsense. In order to be a team in the true sense every person on a blog has to become a cog in a machine with a specified role along with latitude given to field operatives who have the best assessment of a changing situation, otherwise you have micromanagement and that makes for a shitty command structure as the Syrians found out in 1973. (Note that this passage is not indicative of the views of THAT or in anyway a reflection of the collective prejudices of THAT, it is only a sorry excuse for me to rant about Germans in a manner most tangential)
While publicly there is probably little indication of combined effort, logistically (behind the scenes) there is much more team work to be seen, blogroll maintenance, checking e-mail, and for me what I dub Black Bag Operations and spam control (I am, after all, the NKVD here). Being part of a team means being able to get a second opinion on a post before publishing it, or otherwise fine tuning it a bit. It allows for extended leave by changing of the guard so to speak. Logistics aside generally speaking team blogs are not finely tuned posting machines that seek to steamroll over other blogs in campaigns of conquest. Besides not all of us are tech savy and choose to pool our efforts in order to avoid the ground work for setting up a blog with all the bobs and whistles.
Rather in terms of, for a lack of a better word, society I suppose bloggers are essentially pirates. Sure most of us have dabbled in copyright issues, but beyond that superficially at least we do share some traits with the likes of Black Bart and Calico Jack. You see pirates back in ye olde days were essentially social misfits who got sick of being beaten by ship masters in “respectable” occupations, and if you know anything about what life was like for the impressed sailors of the Royal Navy, one would conclude that it was not a decent living. Not to say that we have it as hard a life as those poor sea dogs, but given that we even discuss the merits of “adult” loli hentai as CP we don’t exactly fit in with the mainstream either. Still if you look at the code of conduct drawn up by one fellow by the name of Bartholomew Roberts (you may have heard of him), as listed here:
1. Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.
2. Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
3. None shall game for money either with dice or cards.
4. The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.
5. Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
6. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.
7. He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
8. None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man’s quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.
9. No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of 1,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.
10. The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each
11. The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only by right. On all other days by favor only.
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate’s life for me
We pillage, we plunder we rifle and loot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
You will see that like pirates, we bloggers of fortune are generally egalitarian in our decision making, in the case of THAT even Captain Impz is answerable to the rest of us and his authority derives out of common consent. Not that we ever had to deal with a mutiny or anything…Though I wish I could have acted as quartermaster for a duel or two. Otherwise this is a collaborative effort with each author contributing his/her time to write up a post. Sadly most of the articles laid forth by Roberts do not apply, seeing as we have no cutlasses or any of that cool jazz. Also we allow girls to be apart of these enterprises, and I’d like to believe that we are not in the habit of seducing children, but I suspect otherwise. Still for the most part organizationally we are spread out across the globe without any formal union. Like pirates we (and that includes single author blogs) often make loose alliances to raid (blog) series in concert and rob the ship masters (writers, directors, studio staff) of those blockaded (viewed) series of all their dignity or to see them off handsomely as perceived quality allows. Most importantly the ability for each of us to separate or retire is sacrosanct. So in many ways we share some similarity to pirates, we have little love of stratification, and value our own independence. The degree of desired independence will vary from person to person, not every one wants to be a free booter, despite the jokes of Impz’s Army and accusations that blogomerates are sucking up all the traffic, as in the age of sail we are all at the mercy of the winds of fortune. The only real advantage of being on a multi-author blog is the reduction of logistical difficulties, and perhaps mild feelings of camaraderie.
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate’s life for me
We extort, we pilfer we filch and sack
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
Maraud and embezzle and even high-jack
Drink up me hearties yo ho
I don’t find lelangir’s entourage theory and venn diagrams to be entirely precise defining the author in relation to the reader, mostly because I think that the average reader is reading mostly because said reader is interested in the series being discussed, with any fondness for the author being secondary or even tertiary. After all like the Battle of Guadalajara there are many writers of fortune who see the same thing but each can derive an all together different conclusions. Just as the French and Russians felt that the problem with the Italian Mechanized Warfare was deficiencies in the concept of mechanized warfare, where as the Germans felt that the problem was deficiencies in Italians; we the audience can at the same time give a standing ovation or merely hurl rotten tomatoes. The reader themselves can decide what to make of an episode, their participation is by and large voluntary and have no need to visit a blog instead of heading off to a forum. The same loosely applies to the editorial as the issue might be the same, but the conclusions might vary wildly. As such I don’t read all of IKnight’s posts since his delving in mecha have brought out stuff older than me or series I have never even heard of, I read only on things that I can somewhat relate to. I don’t read all of lelangir’s editorials because he uses technical language that is beyond my peasant comprehension just as I suspect most of you will know nothing of Waterloo, the Prussian General Staff, the Spanish Civil War, or the Golden Age of Piracy. In the end maybe it’s not fondness for a writer’s style that appeals to the average reader but love for a series and then discriminating from there. Maybe like the general public readers take interest simply based on the notoriety of the writer of fortune in question, after all Omni is usually at the tip of the spear so naturally we go to RC for spoilers since many do not speak moon. There are other ways of achieveing noteriety of course…
Personally I don’t think people read my posts because they like tl;dr posts, rather they simply like Gundam 00, Ture Tears, and Macross Frontier. Maybe my notoriety derives from being the only one who actually liked Alto-hime, or perhaps I am the only one who is openly sick in the head (Hell my date of enlistment was in 2004, anyone who knows anything about world events knows what connotations that might carry), perhaps that is why the wandering minstrel lelangir has declared me a test subject and marked me for observation. Since there is some mild hostility to the term blogosphere, I propose that we rename it Pirate Helltown (Mos Eisley or some other hive of scum and villainy would also do), blogs become ships, and bloggers become writers of fortune. Besides finding innovative ways to spend huge amounts of money in a short period of time was also a pirate trait as was the perpetual search for loot.
As for these “team posts”, they are admittedly in an experimental phase. It is certain that the format needs refinement, as there are communication problems within the GATTAI post. But from the three I have done, they have been wonderfully productive for the authors, though, as Crusader mentions, a post being productive for the reader is just as or more important.
In the end, this nascent idea of “teamwork” needs refinement and expansion, not abandonment.