Welcome back to the second lesson of how to write a blog, and I hope you are refreshed enough to absorb some more information and maybe do your part to contribute. You'd better be, because this lesson is an important one. Today we will cover the different categories of blogs and how one should go about reaching their maximum potential for writing them. Let's waste no more time. Let's dive right in.
The Arch-typical Blogs
All blogs are only variations of the archetypical templates, which basically means all blogs belong to a different category with its own unique set of rules I highly advise you follow. Refusing to do so will run the risk of backlash, along with hurting my feelings. We shall go through each category in turn and list every rule.
This is probably the most popular of the given categories on the website, and it is mostly confined to Elder Scrolls lore. Given the vast amount of material we have to work with, it can be hard to find a good place to begin writing a hypothesis, but before you begin, here are some rules to consider.
1) Always put a disclaimer within the introduction. Asserting a theory is fine, but it is still a theory, and should be recognized as such by the author. This will offer protection from the more anal-retentive reader who seeks to shoot you down, while also providing acknowledgement of the fact that some will not agree with you. An author who respects his/her reader's ideas will draw in a larger audience.
2) Only use physical evidence. This is one that, if all else fails, you need to rely upon if you wish to have any sort of respect in the higher lore community. If all you use is conjecture, you will be eaten alive. Physical evidence includes: events witnessed within the game, dialogue from significant entities (Daedric Princes can be a reliable source), and books. Be warned with books, however. Many are subjective to the author's own personal beliefs that can be contradictory to other sources. Oh yeah, that leads me to the next rule.
3) Always cite your sources. Another formality one must take to have at least an air of professionalism people can get behind is to list where you have found the evidence used within the blog. Parenthesis at the end of a direct quote or an entire paragraph will do, like so: "Something, something, and something. Oh, and cheese," (Book of Something). This way, people know what evidence you provide is legitimate and only bolsters your theory.
4) Do your homework. Is your theory actually sound? Do all the dots of evidence you have give reasonable lines to connect them? Of course, any theory will have to go outside the realms of flawlessness, but you should always do the best you can. Make sure you have a familiarity with the topic before you brainstorm, otherwise your ideas will be picked apart and thrown in the trash. Know your audience as well. Would anyone be interested in your topic? Always look around to see if there has been any discussion regarding it. You don't want to make one about a subject that has been done to death, like CHIM or the Civil War. This will shut an reader down, as well as making unreasonable connections or conclusions.
These have dropped in number since the relatively recent Admin Crisis of late 2014, but this category covers anything from an analysis of how the wikia is currently doing to an opinion on how it should be run. Thus, the nickname "politcal" is given to them. Policy changes are a good topic for this too. Due to the current "peacetime," if you will, these blogs are not recommended as they can prove to cause division amongst the community and then we get another crisis on our hands. But if you do find yourself writing one, here is some things you should know.
1) Once again, place a disclaimer in the introduction. You always state that this is only your opinion and that no one should--if they could--be offended by it.
2) Do not slander or blindly criticize. If you have a problem with how things are being done, be the bigger man about it. No one likes a hate monger, and strong language only deteriorates the validity of the argument being made. Do not mentions users by name, and do not attack those who disagree with your preference on a certain topic. Courtesy is key here. Make sure you have the preponderance of factual evidence to consolidate your claims, and the overwhelming amount of supporting evidence will get people on your side, not shouting things like someone in a riot. These are really the only essential ones for this category, but my official word is to avoid these ones. They can be more trouble than they're worth. On to the next category...
These function the exact same way as a Political Blog, except that instead of going over things directly having to do with the website itself, you are trying to argue a point having to do with the Elder Scrolls games. The most popular (and probably most maligned) of these would be the Civil War blogs. While Political Blogs should be avoided, these are much more acceptable, even if they can start flame wars.
1) Disclaimer. You should already know the drill by now. Be respectful.
2) Use a thesis in your introductions. Include what you want people to know and how you are going to set out proving it in your blog.
3) Make sure your reasoning is sound. If you are unsure, it would be wise to test the waters with your thesis by going into a chat room and see how users respond. A little back-and-forth can actually help your arguments in certain circumstances, but if you find that you're being left out to dry, you should take it as a sign of either your opinion does not resonate with audiences (and if you say, "My opinion is my own. I don't care what others think," the more power to you, but why make a blog about it if not to draw attention to it?), or it needs refining. If you think it went well, even if you technically lost the argument, others may be on board. All you need to do is ask!
4) Don't get into flame wars. This is our first post-publishing rule about blog writing, and though I am bringing it up just now, it is not unique to Opinion Blogs, but rather every blog. Opinion and Political Blogs just have it worse. If some user comes to your page trying to start a row, avoid it at all costs, because people tend to lose sight of what's smart when angry. If you let someone bother you and you get caught up in an aggressive conversation, one wrong sentence from you and things go to Hell. Not only will your opponent never give you an inch after a mistake--a small one even--but you lose that aura of professionalism we talked about some users like, and it turns them off from future blogs. They even begin to take whatever you say, no matter how well-reasoned it is, with a grain of salt. Fame is fleeting but infamy lasts forever.
These include everything to fan fiction, role playing, and spoof blogs to critics, games (yes, it's possible, and fun!), and Wabbajack Grinding (shameless self advertisement). While meant to be fun, let's go over these rules.
1) Do not indirectly insult a user for humor. Even passive-aggressively. People are surprisingly sensitive about that kind of thing, and why shouldn't they be? It's an attack on their person. You can make a good joke without being rude. It's a lot easier than you think. That's...actually all there is for this one. You have a lot more free reign to go wild with these types, but if you really want to entertain, experiment with different jokes and gags other than the one your mother told you had her on the ground dying faster than an old person with poli--Ahem, actually there is another rule.
2) Avoid insensitive humor. Along with assaulting a user with a barrage of "Your Mom" jokes, a user can respond strongly, mostly with hostility, if you crack wise about something controversial. Rape jokes, religious jokes, sickness jokes are probably something you should keep to yourself and giggle while no one is looking than putting it on here...you sadist...
Question or Build Blogs
These are blogs where users take it upon themselves to ask a one sentence question or share their character build with the rest of us like we care.
1) Go back to Oblivion. Seriously guys, save it for the chat room or forum. Actually, just the chat room. Most of the questions asked are either stat questions or play through suggestions. No one cares. These guidelines are something you learn from your experience in th field and can be directly applied to any blog, not just limited to having to do with the Elder Scrolls. A blog for your site, a blog for...something else. Anything really. That concludes the second lesson of blogging, but we're not done yet.
We need your help! This Wikia has seen a surprisingly peaceful year so far for a website with it's rowdy reputation from the past. This is a good and bad thing. Good for obvious reasons. Less community drama means there is less community drama and more focus on why we all came here in the first place: To celebrate a great game! However, since the recent announcement that a new Elder Scrolls game is not coming for a while, there is a certain lull we are going to have to weather through for at least the next two years with nothing but the Elder Scrolls Online to satiate the more die-hard fan, a mixed blessing for some.
Without the glow of a fantasy game to distract us, there are some community problems that can spring up as we are sitting around. To avoid such conflict, there are other problems that need to be addressed.
1) As the games grow older every day, less and less people have played them. Older game articles can be considered a joke and are in dire need of real editing skill. If you have anything to contribute, please, do so.
2) Admin CCC has asked me to ask you to further spread the word about the InterWiki Project, meant to assist everyone by forming an alliance with other wiki's and there Admins for further collaboration. If any of you know an Admin on another wiki, ask them to join and see CheatCodeChamp for more details!
3) More ESO editors are always welcome, but for now we are doing well on that front. Older games are more of a concern.
4) The Blog section has taken a real turn for the worse these past few months. Not nearly as many people read them as they did. So, I have been commissioned with the formation of a Writer's Guild. Any of you who are interested in learning how to really blog and make them actually good, talk to me and we can sort something out. Not only that, but all the guilds have taken a back seat recently. If you want to help out on a specific topic or game, visit the appropriate persons in charge.
5) We need more people attending the Weekly Moot. If there is a specific problem you have or something you want to share with everyone, sign up now! More information is on the Moot Page.