15 November 2011

Adding fuel when I should be adding water


There is controversy about a paid gold guide and the player involved.  I am not going to mention names; if you care, have a look at the links on the right hand side of this blog. 


TL; DR.   Don't copy other peoples stuff and claim it as yours.  Don't expect a guide to be original.

For the record; I would not be where I am today without one of the actors in question.  The pageviews I got from his links were invaluable in establishing this blog.


I have not read the guide in question.  I have previously seen paid guides for a variety of games; professionally produced; and been unhappy with every one of them.  I wouldn't buy one, but then exploring the game is part of my enjoyment. On my first toon I read the text of every quest; and refused to install "quest helper" (an addon that did just that) just so I could see the game with fresh eyes.

My understanding of the complaints are :
  • the guide is paid for; 
  • it isn't original; 
  • it isn't complete; 
  • it isn't 'best', 
  • it may have been pushed aggressively.
My blog doesn't run paid adverts.  I like to write (hopefully) original material.  I am happy to point to other writers, and steal their ideas but not their text (unless I have permission).  In turn; I have explicitly allowed people to use content from my blog (even for financial gain) with an attribution and share alike requirement (see the footer of this page for licence details)

I have no real issues with a gaming guide costing approximately a month's WoW subscription.  I feel the same way about charging for a guide as I do about ad suppported sites; I want it all, and I want it free; but acknowldege that real life gold can help with motivation.

There are plenty of players I know that could use a comprehensive guide.  As a reader of this blog - you know players that could use one too.  There are some players that I would love to hit over the head with any cluestick - and they are still broke.   Consolidating material provided by others is valuable.  Wowpedia, MMO Champion and even Google all provide information provided by others and charge (via ad sponsorship) for this service.  If there was permission to include other sources, then I have no problem here.  If there wasn't permission, then my problem is in claiming rights the guide didn't have.

It isn't original?  No? So what?  Not many good ideas are.  However, if you are going to use other's material verbatim, you are required to quote your sources.  You also need permission.  Many (but not most) items on websites can be deemed to have permission.  As I said above, permission is conditionally granted for my material.  I am unsure about some of the guide's sources.  Having not read it, I am unaware if his sources are linked or quoted.  It is generally considered wrong (and even illegal) to claim authorship for someone else's work. As a community we write great material, but are horrible at providing a consolidated reference for a newbie.

It isn't complete?  I don't think there is such a beast in WoW; You can specialise or generalise.  From what I saw of the largely negative review (not having read the original guide), it seemed to cover a broad cross section of WoW.  I know marketing material says it can do it all.  If you think that you can get it all and get it quick; well I've a bridge (or even guide) to sell you.

Is it best?  Best is subjective.  I can't even get Critical Goblin to agree that I'm right and he's wrong about glyphs (yet).  However, there is better and worse.  I use raiding guides, it doesn't mean that I expect to be a server first heroic raider because of them. I like 'why' more than I like 'what'.  Apparently the guide in question contained some of the why, but could have provided more.  It also contradicted itself in a few places (i.e. mistakes in editing). 

It has aggressive marketing.  Well, I've read some of the suggested methods of getting our goods sold.  Some of those methods are not nice.  Walls, deep undercutting, camping, locking someone out of a market, fake trade wars, real trade wars, fake bidding and worse.  I am now hard to surprise for 'in game' gold making.  How can I be surprised at real life gold making?  I don't like some of the things I have read about obtaining third party endorsements.  And that can also be said of endorsements for gaming guides too.

In summary:
  • Verbatim copying of other peoples material without permission or attribution is wrong (both legally and morally).  I encourage getting permission and then re-using good material.
  • A gaming guide, (paid, ad supported, or gratis) can start you off, but won't complete your journey.  Some players are ... not capable of their own research or reading.  A guide is good for these players.  If you get need a guide you will be able to pay for repairs, but are unlikely to ever reach a gold cap.
I would read a gaming guide (gratis, ad supported, or borrow a paid one), but I am unlikely to recommend a guide that is paid for.

Coming soon; real pixel gold stuff and less controversy.

7 comments:

  1. How can you even defend a supposedly Ultimate guide that is in face just some copy paste basic arena/pve guide, 30 or so gold making videos that include mostly outdated goldmaking strategies, and the addon that supposedly contains specs but in reality is just a buggy mess and not even correctly specced since there are no real cookie cutter specs and they don't have alternatives like Aoe-spec-protection warrior and singletarget spec prot warrior. Paying for this guide is like paying for the newbie tips on Blizzards website. And the ridiculous marketing with showing off mounts and legendaries just shows what a real scam it is, since obviously the guide has nothing to do with it.

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  2. Foo you are right but you are wrong here. The Advertising of the guide is blatantly over top, this is fully demonstrated by Faid. The Advertising is so bad that in many countries including mine you would be in court up to your eye-balls.

    Copying other people's work and pretending it is yours is just plain wrong so much so that the people behind the work should be ashamed of what they are doing.

    Having said that you are correct in that many a new player needs a helping hand.

    All in all, I no longer read several blogs and related sites in question, but Faid I still do.

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  3. I also suggest that you look at any gaming guide in your favourite (bricks and mortar) gaming store. Choose any guide, any game. What you will find are guide that is a buggy mess, out of date, and a copy of other people's material (generally the game author's)

    I don't have a problem with someone paying for newbie tips taken from the Blizzard website. I don't have problems with someone getting their (third party) updates with adverts all around them.

    I am uncertain how my post consists of a defence of any guide. What I have asked readers to do is be precise and consistent with their critique.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Abenie said (the clean version)
    Abeni said...

    The game has ONE good loading screen tool tip that says (para phrasing here) "Be wary of unofficial sites offering paid wow services.." That one statement covers paid gold guides in my view. Blizzard got this one right. If you must get a guide, do not give these clowns money, pirate it. Also if you must visit their sites then make sure Ghostery and Ad-Block addons are installed to block them further.

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  6. There are critisisms of lots of things on the web, including my blog.

    If you want your comments kept, keep the language clean. Work out what your objections are; and be consistent in applying them.

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  7. I like your angle on this subject, Foo. It's easy to misinterpret what you write, especially since many readers know which guide your writing about, but the fact that you did write the post is what makes me want to comment the post.

    It's easier to say "this and that sucks" than it is to discuss pros and cons and even just adding substance to personal opinions. You balance a thin line and I can understand both sides reactions.

    In the long run paying for guides is a waste of money unless you're a person that is bad at seeking information on the internet. Or plain lazy. Lazy people might rather buy a guide and have it all in one and I can understand that. The problem remains though, that laziness will be the reason why the guide won't be of too much help anyway.

    Seems as if reading adds too many ideas to my brain. Can't be silent.
    Keep on writing, Foo!

    ReplyDelete

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