The RPG Athanaeum reached something of a milestone yesterday by publishing its 100th post. My initial planning before launching this Web log involved scheduling regular “quality control inspections,” every 100 posts or so, during which the blog’s content would be evaluated on how well it fulfilled the RPG Athenaeum’s mission statement. These inspections would also be used to give readers an opportunity to suggest ways the blog could be improved. The time for the first such inspection has arrived.
Please consider reading the following mission statement and related questions. I don’t expect every reader to find it necessary to comment on or answer every question. The questions are those I asked myself when evaluating the RPG Athenaeum, but they don’t need to be the only ones; I recognize that there may be questions I should be asking that I never considered, and would welcome feedback on those ideas as well. Thus, if you have any answers or opinions you’d like to share, or suggestions about how this blog might be improved to better suit your needs as a Dungeon Master, please include them in a comment to this post.
The goal of this blog is codified in the following mission statement:
The intent of RPG Athenaeum is to provide information related to mastering tabletop fantasy role-playing games, which site visitors can use in their games and which visitors can improve upon by sharing their insights for the benefit of all.
- Is the content of this blog congruent with its mission? In what ways is it failing to meet its mission?
- Is it easy for visitors to find information on the blog? Is the category and tag structure intuitive enough?
- Are the blog topics relevant and useful?
- Is the information presented in logical order within the posts?
- Is the writing style too formal? (I was particularly ambivalent about this one. My day job is writing and editing, so I try to emphasize clarity, organization, grammar and conventions like not writing in the first person when posting a game-related topic; I do, however, allow myself to use first person, relaxed grammar and colloquial speech with site updates and comments. My intent was to provide magazine-article quality, but am I alienating blog readers by using the formality a magazine would require?)
- Are the blog posts too long? (Another question I’m uncertain about. Many RPG blogs, by design or not, provide incomplete ideas, upon which readers elaborate, and by reading both the post and comments, a viewer can obtain a complete idea. When this blog was launched, it was my intent never to post a half-baked idea; to me, such ideas seem to be of little use to new DMs or readers seeking information they can readily import into their games. But are the posts – which average about 800 words – too long for what readers expect? Should these posts be divided into parts?)
- Should the posts contain more or fewer examples of the ideas discussed?
- Does the visual formatting of the posts – use of pictures, internal headings, image captions, or lack thereof – make it easier or more difficult to get the information readers need?
- Are there any blog features – categories, pages, the “100 items” lists, Crime Scene Sunday, Pimp my Treasure Parcel, etc. – that should be expanded or deleted?
- Are the free downloads relevant and useful?
- In what other ways could this blog be made better?
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and thanks in advance to those who choose to make suggestions,