Friday, February 20, 2009

Respect "The Code," Man!

Okay so last Thursday I said that in an effort to avoid unfairly influencing each others' opinions the five of us here at UWoW were going to try not speaking with each other in person unless completely necessary, even though we all live in the same town. As this "code" has developed via email and text over the last week we decided to go a bit more hardcore, drop the "unless completely necessary" part and not communicate with each other at all, except through the blog.

Well, imagine just how dumb of an idea that is when we don't exactly have all of our assignments down and need another brainstorming session or two about our short-term and long-range goals! So for the time being I have decided to suspend "The Code." And since I am the first person to break the code by saying "hello" to Toothy when I saw him at Small World Coffee last night I am being forced by my colleagues to face the blog and admit my guilt. While I cannot say with certainty that I will not ever violate The Code again, I am happy that The Code exists and will try to more faithfully adhere to the ever-changing tenants going forward.

There was some decent discussion and some indecent name-calling yesterday around the community about what makes a good podcast. This really ties in well to discussions we're having right now between the five of us. Is it simply good enough to have people listen and enjoy? Does content always trump production values? Why do some people automatically assume a production is trying too hard or less intelligent or less serious when it actually contains production values like sound effects or music beds to break up segments or silences? When The Instance plays the "Rumors and Scuttlebut" bumper are they reaching too far or being dumb and immature?

These are exactly the sort of questions that interest me and partly why I wanted to start UWoW. The lazy, snobbish generalizations of people who defend podcasts of sub-par audio quality but decent content in one breath and then bash podcasts with decent audio quality and sub-par content in the next. And vice versa. Well, what about the listeners of these podcasts? Is one group or another morons? Do peoople actually turn somewhere specifically for "smarter" WoW podcasting or are they basically just trying to get as much WoW info as possible?

We were delighted to see Shawn Coons mention us in his blog over at Shawn will also go into the UWoW Hall of Fame as the first non-UWoW member to comment directly on the blog itself! I didn't feel compelled to post in his blog but I did post because right now in UWoW's infancy I want my position to be clear so as to avoid any confusion. I know we're brandy new on the scene and as such I'd rather folks know exactly what I'm thinking rather than having them misinterpret a comment without knowing where I'm coming from. I also wanted to make sure folks know I am just one of five voices here and I don't speak for everyone.

We were also happy to see Stompalina comment:

On some level, isn't it good to have the crappy podcasts around to help listeners appreciate the good ones? How else can you truly gauge which ones are good and which ones are bad?

This is a very good point and it's something we're wrestling with right now. What are the common guidelines we're going to use and what should we listen for? Are we going to post a Top 10 list as one of our emailers suggested? If you have any ideas or suggestions feel free to comment here or shoot us a note at:

What we've agreed upon is that inside the written review anything goes. It can be as long or as short as the author wants. They can be very general or extremely specific. If they get permission from the podcaster or blogger they can link or embed whatever they want, it's their post and their review.

After the review there is going to be a common element at the bottom of the post that will appear in all of our reviews which will summarize the post and maybe give a number grade from 1-10 in several different aspects of the podcast to come up with a composite score. The aspects that get graded will be dynamic and podcast-specific, so if a podcast doesn't use a lot of production elements they aren't going to get a horrible overall score because of that. We're trying to be as even-handed as possible.

We also know that there are a ton of podcasts out there and that everyone has a bad day. I hope everyone will be as open-minded in reading our reviews and will remember we're just reviewing one episode. There are five very different personalities here so one person might love something that another of us is put off by.

Phew... another overlong post from me that I'll mercifully bring to an end. Stick around this weekend our first reviews will be going up!

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