Blog Carnival: On beginning posts with “on”Posted: August 4, 2012 | |
Foxy Lady Ayame has no idea who I am but is hosting a blog carnival and I want to play the clown. But since I don’t have many opinions that weren’t covered by other people, I guess I’ll just type up some junk like usual and hope somebody likes it.
Why not get to reflect on what we like to read and for what reasons? (reviews, commentaries, editorials)
I have read this question five or six times and I still can’t figure out what it’s asking. This feels like a test, as if it’s really saying “if you can’t answer this question satisfactorily, you don’t deserve to be an anime blogger.” The only problem is that I never deserved to be an anime blogger in the first place, so I am not obligated to provide a meaningful answer to this question.
Instead, I will respond to the three words in the parentheses, because they make more sense to me.
There are many different kinds of reviews, but to save time, I’ll only be talking about spoiler-free reviews and reviews with spoilers.
Spoiler-free reviews ask the reviewer to consider an anime/manga/Katawa Shoujo and write something intelligent about it without giving away any details. This aims to convince people who haven’t seen the anime/played Katawa Shoujo to go play it or never get near it. The intentions are good, but the execution is often lacking in many areas. Since the reviewer cannot cite any specific examples from the media, the review is inherently vague. And as a result, you could apply a single review to multiple anime or manga without too much conflict. Or worse yet, somebody else could write a spoiler-free review about some terrible anime and a naive reader wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, since the vocabulary for spoiler-free reviews is so limited. Basically: a bad idea.
Reviews with spoilers try to encourage discussion about a show among those who have already watched the entire thing. This allows for great water cooler and/or twitter discussions, but betrays the very purpose of a review: to give a good judgment on an anime that encourages/discourages people to watch it.
So what, then, are we left with? Omitting spoilers restricts what a review can talk about, and including spoilers alienates the very readers we want to convince! What is the solution?
If I knew that, I would actually write reviews. I don’t think anybody can write a review that is both spoiler-free and interesting. So instead, I take multiple approaches, looking at the APR and going on Twitter to get a general sense of what people like each season. If it’s not airing, I comb through blogs to find a definitive score for each anime (more on scoring below). And once I’m finished with an anime, I read others’ reviews with spoilers (often final episode episodic) to get my own thoughts about the show straightened out.
Oh, and another thing – point systems. I could write half a dozen posts about the ten-point system vs. thumbs up/down vs. five stars, but here I want to focus on the very idea of scoring an anime. I have encountered people who do not believe in point systems, arguing that good posts/writing should speak for itself, without any restrictive number defining the entire review. That’s not a bad opinion to have, but I’m not going to read your entire, long-winded history of anime to figure out if you actually like the anime or not. There will be shows that may deserve a 2/10 for the first half and a 10/10 for the second, but ultimately it’s the viewer’s job to come to a conclusion about the anime, and this should be reflected in a rating.
BUT, getting on topic for once… what I like to read, eh?
Episodics are a tough call since I usually don’t have time to watch a lot of anime at once. Episodics with the bland Random Curiosity post format (pictures –> summary –> reaction) are the worst. I don’t want to read your summary. Unless it’s J159 or somebody who can make the summary section anything less than a snoozefest.
Editorials should offer some kind of insight that I did not see before reading, or it should be so well-written that I can’t criticize anything. The worst kind of editorial is where the author rips off another blogger’s ideas instead of forming their own opinions. And this is not so obvious in most instances! A well written post will be very persuasive, and a reader might not be able to prevent ideas from leaking into their own post on the subject. That’s a big issue I have with the blog carnival series itself – asking lots of bloggers to post their own opinions about one subject? Even if people aren’t copying off each other, there’s bound to be a ton of overlap. And nobody wants to read the same thing over and over again. So I guess I like reading well-written editorial posts.
But my favorite kind of post is any post that the blogger has spent hours and hours writing. The quality really shows. Any post with this degree of effort put into it is bound to be a joy to read.
What do we do when we stumble across a new blog?
If it’s good, I blogroll it and revisit it occasionally to read any new posts. If it’s bad, I don’t do anything. If it’s really bad and/or infamous for being bad, I link to it on Twitter and laugh at it. All the Sankaku Complex clones are subject to this, and I do not feel any remorse for laughing at ripoffs of an already crappy website.
This question was bad. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for an answer.
What must a good animanga blog have and do?
There is a whole slew of minor things a blog can have/do to make it better in my eyes. Adding more whitespace, using good grammar, and not writing huge blocks of text like what I did above are on that list. But a really great blog needs two things on top of this:
Effort is a no-brainer. I’m a bona fide genius, and even I can’t write a good post without effort. It takes time and brains to write a long post that doesn’t bore your readers. (Sorry for boring you.)
As I mentioned above, what really makes a post stand out is how much time and effort you put into it. Each and every post should be polished and refined, not just something you slap together in two minutes. At 396 words, my latest post was quite short, but I spent a couple of hours trying to formulate my opinion. In the end, I did cop out by centering it around Aeroblip’s post, but I’m proud of the post and of how concisely I was able to express my thoughts. Not all of my posts are like that – take this one, for example. I’m being long-winded and the next section is going to be a total waste of your life, but I did put effort into this! Not only do you need to have the drive to blog, you need to transfer that drive into your writing so that your readers can admire your handiwork and yearn to be like you.
Keeping up this level of quality is absolutely necessary. Anybody can try hard and write a good post, but always trying hard and staying consistent is what separates the great blogs from the rabble. All of the blogs on my blogroll are deserving of the “consistency” badge (except Mushyrulez, but he’s funny so it’s okay), and I respect each and every one of the bloggers on there because of this.
Two smaller points, put into a list so you don’t have to read either of them
- Creative post titles: These are necessary if you want people to actually read your blog. People tend to click on posts with the post radical, outlandish titles. That’s how Sankaku Complex lures suckers into reading their anti-Chinese racist bullshit. Oh, and porn.
- Pictures – not too many and not too few: Too many pictures sucks the viewer’s attention away from the actual content of your post. You get more hits from Google image search, but people are coming to see your pictures, not your writing. Of course, if you’re a Sankaku Complex or Dannychoo clone, it doesn’t really matter either way. Too few pictures bores your audience. Splitting up huge chunks of text with pictures helps them get through
the torturereading your posts. Also, always use pictures from Nichijou or else nobody will read anything you write. That goes for school essays and academic papers too. don’t try to fool me. You can’t fool these eyes.
Some posts I really liked
- Running a RAM Hog: Workload Workshop, by Jesus159159159
This post really brings out both the wit and genius of J159. Not only does he indulge the reader in his usual wacky way of writing and his trademark captions, but he goes in depth into explaining how he does it… all the while staying far out in left field with the aliens. The amount of effort put into this post is clear – it’s funny, informative, and an interesting read.
- “HNNNNG!” The Weird Science of Head Orgasms, by 2DT
2DT is an ex-blogger who could be described in one word: classy. This post reflects that – while the topic is about the common phrase “HNNNNG!!,” the writing isn’t crude at all. Instead, it’s quite technical and the author doesn’t make much of an argument. Instead, he describes head orgasms and opens the floor to discussion about this strange phenomenon after just five short paragraphs. Between the strange, specific topic the post focuses on and the way 2DT encourages readers to describe their own experiences, it’s a magnificent post.
- We get it, you’re an anime character, by Baka-Raptor
A tsukkomi post by the resident dinosaur Baka-Raptor. This is what a good rage post looks like. It focuses on a single aspect of anime, relentlessly mashes it into the ground, and wraps up before anybody can object. Also, there’s an accent on the letter “e” in “moe.”
What blogging behaviors annoy us (anonymously of course)?
Another mysterious question testing my worth as a blogger. “Anonymously” is italicized and followed by “of course,” as if any elementary schooler should understand this confusing statement. Taking it at face value, it seems like an innocent question: “what blogging behaviors annoy us? Don’t cite bloggers by name, do it anonymously.”
But I’m not stupid. It’s been quite clear from the start that Foxy Lady Ayame has had a hidden agenda with this whole “blog carnival” thing. Why else would she say,
No, the Carnival I’m suggesting isn’t about the Tourney. It’s isn’t about any new contest either.
It’s not any new contest, that’s for sure. Instead, it’s been some twisted blogger initiation that I’ve completely seen through. So while you fools take the naive interpretation of this fourth question, I’ll answer the real question: “What anonymous behaviors annoy us?”
I got my first comment from an anonymous reader a few days ago, and it doesn’t say much. Just a jab at Kokoro Connect with some elitism thrown in. But I know other blogs (Scamp’s in particular) that do have a lot of people who comment anonymously. (By the way, I define “anonymous” as “does not have a gravatar.” Get gravatars, people. It’s really easy!)
I don’t really see any fault with commenting anonymously. Though I did have an experience back in 9th grade when I played MapleStory, an MMORPG. I remember getting on the boat to Orbis and another guy said in all chat, “Hey _____, you go to ______ High School. You’re such a loser.” Something along those lines. It really goes to show the terrifying power of anonymity. You can say whatever you want and not meet any repercussions until the police come and arrest you for possession of underage anime-style pornography. (Those cases are going up these days, huh?)
Well, classmate of mine, I’d just like to say that YOUR THE LOSER AND YOUR STUPID.
Thankfully, you don’t get many stalkers or crazed anonymous people who go through the effort of commenting on an anime blog. (Unless you start talking about Tenchi Muyo OVAs and whatnot.) So I guess the last 350 words have been a complete waste of time.
I’ve been reading Cromartie High School. Blame that.