The issues about blogging charity events

Images by Judith Lefevre
All Fashion for Life 2012 regions donated by DreamSeeker Estates Corporation

Fashion for Life logo
Fashion for Life logo

It’s an archetypal Second Life drama – and Shopping Cart Disco points the way to the train wreck.

One person, understandably exhausted at the end of a huge event that raised over L$5,300,000 for a charity, makes a bad mistake.  No real surprise there – people make mistakes all the time.  I do myself.  I may not have made this mistake, but I’m fully capable of making mistakes just as bad.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker It's Time
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker It's Time - Built by Cierra Anatine and sponsored by LeeZu, Emo-tions, PurpleMoon and Azul

Someone else, fully understanding this is controversial, uses it without checking the facts to cause a blog storm (and garner a huge number of hits for the site he is writing for).  No surprise there at all – we all love watching those reader figures rise through the roof.

People who were targeted by both the mistake and the subsequent article are understandably upset and/or angry.  In some cases they were targeted egregiously – they had blogged or they had incredibly good reasons for not blogging (but no-one checked).

People who were not targeted are upset and angry, and have said so – sometimes vociferously. At which point a feeding frenzy ensued with trolls happily chucking chum into the troubled waters, with people whipping each other up to newer and higher levels of outrage and the few voices of calm and reason (Hi Callie! Hello Breezy! And the others!) being drowned out.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Vrijeme
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Vrijeme - built by DB Bailey and sponsored by Bliss Couture

Amidst all this I was struck by a woman with ovarian cancer posting to say that all this fuss had spilled over into a world that knew nothing of Second Life, and that it had led her, mystified, to start to explore what this Relay for Life of Second Life actually was.  And she discovered a wonderful thing.  She discovered that there were pixel people who were working hard to raise money to fight the horrible disease she was suffering from. She learned of amazing events, of hundreds, thousands of people involved, of creations of weird and wonderful beauty – all working to fight cancer, all to help her.

And, of course, she learned all about the row that’s going on – but she saw it in its true perspective, and reminded us all that barely an event is held in real life without someone’s feelings being hurt, without someone feeling upset or being wronged because, sadly, life’s like that and doubly, trebly so when people’s passions are engaged.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Volta
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Volta - built by Troy Vogel and sponsored by Sonatta Morales

So apologies by FFL have been made, but people are still making over the top claims and declarations:

1) That the American Cancer Society should withdraw from Second Life forthwith
Really? The ACS should withdraw from an event that raises well over a quarter of a million US dollars every year because one tired person makes one bad mistake – and one blog site runs with it?

FFL-12 - DreamSeeker Aika - built by Cory Edo and sponsored by Lapointe and Bastchild
FFL-12 - DreamSeeker Aika - built by Cory Edo and sponsored by Lapointe and Bastchild

2) That no-one should have anything to do with FFL ever again, and certainly shouldn’t blog it
Yes, that will really prove a salutary lesson for people, won’t it? Look how much less money they raise next year, because bloggers refuse to participate!  And that will be so good for… er… er… people with cancer? People who love blogging?  Help me out here, please!

3) That all the organisers of FFL should be removed forthwith
Because, of course, there are a line of people queuing around the block just begging for the opportunity to run FFL and organise the sims, the fashion houses, the small fashion places, the bloggers, the musicians, the DJs, the publicity, the spreadsheets, the finances… all for the warm praise that everyone will rush to give them.

No?

You do surprise me.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Czas - built by Roscko Cobal and sponsored by AngelWing
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Czas - built by Roscko Cobalt and sponsored by AngelWing

Let’s be absolutely clear about this. What happened was wrong, and merits an apology from FFL (which it got).  It also needs to be addressed so that it doesn’t happen again (and it won’t – but we’ll all make new and appalling mistakes of our own in time).

There are also issues here that have been overlooked in the storm.

Firstly, one thing that struck me was that those named and shamed in the list were a very small proportion of the whole blogging list.  This led me to two thoughts – firstly that this was an awesome result – an awful lot of Second Life bloggers were posting about FFL.

FFL-2012 DreamSeeker Epoque - built by Rathmeous Dagger with Alecto Vella and sponsored by Tres Beau
FFL-2012 DreamSeeker Epoque - built by Rathmeous Dagger with Alecto Vella and sponsored by Tres Beau

Secondly, on a more practical note, this episode was rather unnecessary.  A thank you to the bloggers who had posted (with space for later “Ooops – how could we have missed your lovely post?”) would have done the job, and a list of names of people who hadn’t showed up could have been filed for next year – or even passed quietly on to the next big event, so they could have decided whether to welcome them or to have a quiet word.

But a third issue is a rather broader one, and has to do with the commercialisation of charity events. There are many in Second Life, some to raise money, some to raise awareness. Some are fraudulent but the overwhelming majority are perfectly genuine, from the smallest local charity to the massive RFL with its seriously major fairs.  Many people are asked to donate to these events, generally giving of their skills.  Musicians and DJs could probably play a full roster of benefit gigs night in and night out – I am awed by how generously these people give their time and tips for charitable events again and again.

FFL-12 - DreamSeeker Momentum - built by Frederick Lancaster and sponsored by FallnAngel Creations
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Momentum - built by Frederick Lancaster and sponsored by FallnAngel Creations

So too creators.  So many events ask for items for their event that creators have to ration themselves or work on elements such as a special colour of an existing dress or necklace, a special make-up on a skin.  And woe betide them if bloggers feel that the creator’s standard is below that of their usual products!

Of course you can argue that creators may see such events as loss leaders.  They will have a stall (which they pay for) where they can display their latest ranges – as well as the two or four items that will be sold for charity.  And good for them.  I know from being involved with the Home and Garden Expo and – to a lesser extent, the Fantasy Fair – that these events actually have huge benefits for creators over and above the sales generated.  They are an opportunity to meet a wide customer base and they’re also a great opportunity to meet other creators – last year we ran a series of talks at the Prim Perfect Pavilion at the Home and Garden Expo, and afterwards on many evenings a bunch of designers ended up hanging out in the rooftop cafe, discussing anything and everything. It was lovely.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Zeit - built by Grace Loudon and sponsored by Ala Folie
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Zeit - built by Grace Loudon and sponsored by Ala Folie

So then we come to the bloggers.

Publicity is a hellish thing in Second Life (and all virtual worlds). Getting out the word about your product or your event is not at all easy.  Blogs tend to have small and loyal followings; magazines and TV programmes rather larger ones, but still only reaching a subset of Second Life (leaving out other virtual worlds for the moment).  And it really is very hard to move beyond that – it involves intensive publicity using social media of various kinds.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Tijd - built by Nigel Riel and sponsored by Indyra Designs
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Tijd - built by Nigel Riel and sponsored by Indyra Designs

To me there seems to have been a “creep” factor around events like FFL (in the sense of message creep).  A few years ago, if you were a blogger, that meant you gained early entry to the sites. You could walk around and look at everything while there were relatively few people there and everything was non-laggy, so you could take photos. You could also make early purchases, and, if you wanted, blog them at the start of the fair.

That expanded into having a welcome pack for bloggers with landmarks, notecards and then a few freebies.  And then more – until the welcome pack became a fully fledged blogging pack with items that were being sold at the Fair.  The blogger didn’t even need to go to the Fair – they could try on the outfits or rezz the goods in the comfort of their own homes.

This meant that some people have suggested that people might not have blogged because the items in the bloggers’ pack were substandard or that there were too many female items for male bloggers.  I must say, I have rather more respect for bloggers than to believe they’d throw a hissy fit and ignore a ten-sim Fair for charity because the blogger pack didn’t contain items they utterly adored.

FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Tiempo - built by Anoron Hanson and sponsored by the DreamSeeker Estates Corporation
FFL-2012 - DreamSeeker Tiempo - built by Anoron Hanson and sponsored by the DreamSeeker Estates Corporation

But I do think that this “creep” can lead to a misguided sense of entitlement all round.  For the organisation and for the creators who donate goods, they may expect to see a return for their generosity.  For the bloggers, they may come to expect the highest possible quality of gifts – and enough variety that not everyone is blogging about the same thing.  And, conversely, for some people this might go hand in hand with a sense of obligation – on the part of the creators to supply items; on the part of the blogs, to write about each and every thing. This is not a happy state of affairs for anyone.

Should we perhaps step back from the blogging pack? Should we return to the more basic welcome pack (landmarks and notecards – along with the early access), and accept that this might attract a lower number of bloggers?  Or should the blogging pack be a banquet of goodies that lands with a resounding THUD! in the inventory of any blogger who signs up?

I’m very open to hearing discussion on this issue – although I will be moderating this and comments I consider abusive will be removed. My blog, you see, so my rules.

28 comments

  1. I’d prefer early access, the opportunity to access how best to cover an event (one article? An article a day? More? Photo-based coverage? Opportunities for interviews?), and have done. I’m not overly fussed about LMs, as I usually wander / fly around – but if they are supplied, cool.

    To me, the important aspect is being able to cover an event in the time I have available and to make the most productive use of that time to give fair coverage.

    1. So for you the items in the blogging pack are irrelevant?

      Someone was saying to me today that blogging items for a Fair seems to them counter-productive as you don’t want people to zoom in, grab an item and then run – you want them to explore the event. I agree you want people to take an interest in the overall event … but I think being too prescriptive might turn off bloggers. We’ll see, I guess, as the season continues.

      1. Aside from using “access” when I meant “assess” (fingers!), yes, as mentioned, I’m not particularly bothered whether or not a “blogging pack” is supplied. Seeing one on offer certainly won’t make me favour covering X over Y, as it were.

        As to the practical benefit of having someone blog on a fair or event, I would suggest a lot comes down to how the article is presented and / or how it is read. An article that casts a very focused light on one or two aspects of a larger event might well cause people to flip in and out without seeing the rest. Similarly, people are prone to focus on what interests them when then read about an event.

        For the last SLB, I tried to produce a mix of articles for that reason: general overviews taken over each day, light on facts, lots of photos, then more focused items on specific exhibits that either interested me, or which I felt would interest my readers.

        At the end of the day, the old adage comes into play whether its “blogging packs” or blogging outcome: you’re not going to please all the people all the time or appeal to all aspects of people’s interests all the time. The best you can hope for is to cast a net that is wide enough to capture a good portion of appeal for the articles and the event.

  2. nicely written article, Saffia and truly needed. Thank you. It’s sad really, how quickly people in SL are drawn to anything even slightly resembling drama. Like the fight on the playground, after school.. but.. with SL, many grab the chance to throw in a punch of their own, just because they can. I sympathize deeply with Harper.. because I know how hard it is to work yourself, bone-tired, for a very personal cause.. like wanting more than anything to spare even ONE person, the pain that cancer brings. She made a mistake and she’s the first one to say it, too. Well, I won’t be the first to say this, but I’ll say it anyway, Thank you, Harper for all the work you do, to give those who are fighting a terrifying disease, the hope that they will live. For knowing that you can do SOMETHING for the mother who is faced with choosing a headstone for the child she’s lost to a disease that randomly strikes someone in EVERY family. Thank you for stepping up in a HUGE way, to help fight the fight. You did an awesome, awesome job with FFL and you and your staff have made a HUGE difference in that fight. Thank you!

  3. This is the first time I am commenting on your blog. 🙂 Great post, and I agree with you. Although a mistake was made and it might take some time to regain consumer confidence, RFL/FFL is, regardless, a wonderful and creative event realised from noble intentions. It would be just as wrong to crush these intentions and all that group effort that came along with it by not forgiving the one mistake.

  4. Let me say forthrightly that I made a huge mistake in pointing out bloggers who had not blogged on the FFL website. As Saffia has already noted, I was indeed exhausted when I put together that list. That does not excuse, however, what happened. I am extremely sorry I shamed those bloggers in that manner.

    Many wonderful bloggers and media helped put the word out about FFL. Some took a few moments to cut and paste the press release we had provided into their blogs, many showed the fashions, and some did extensive coverage, like this very blog. We tried our best to keep up with the many many blogs that posted and as reported to us or we found them, put them up on our website here: http://www.fashionforlifesl.org/forpatrons/fashion-for-life-in-the-feeds/

    We truly appreciated the extensive work so many did. It was a bad bad move on my part to point out the small set who didn’t or couldn’t. It should have never happened and I have apologized and have certainly learned from it.

  5. great post saffia 🙂

    i thought of things i hadn’t considered, yet did experience feeling in the past. in my first few times participating in RFL, and it’s fashion fair part, HUGE mistakes were made by those in charge and i said “I WILL NEVER PARTICIPATE AGAIN WITH THESE PEOPLE”… i didn’t say it in a blog but i said it to myself and felt the mistakes were SO bad and WRONG that i just could not believe it… AND they effected me. i was pissed off. i didn’t share them because i didn’t want to hurt my customers who had cancer who told me how much my participation encouraged them in their struggle, but believe me i was really upset. long story short… thinking again about those precious ones fighting for their very lives and knowing it meant the world to them for me to support them thru participating in RFL or other things.

    fast forward a few years later to now… i’ve gotten over my judgements and personal offenses, and realized by putting on a TINY event, lol (10 people) hahaha, how HARD it is to pull of something like a FFL or Home expo. i got more of a glimpse last year seeing harper and nikki and mamap work and working closely with them seeing how much they have to juggle and it’s OVERWHELMING ME NOW to even think about it… ugh… it’s not a job for the masses and takes a VERY organized, passionate, committed person to endure, shift, lead, follow, inspire, and i could not EVER do it . EVER!!!!

    it took seeing a bit closer how much work went into it to see that when the BIG mistakes were made years ago that i got offended by, those ppl too were probably tired, over worked, and it wasn’t intentional. had i seen that back then, i would have been a lot less critical and probably a bit more supportive AND more clear when working with them. (which could have helped the mistakes too)

    it’s almost a miracle that events like this happen at all considering most is in TYPE!!!!!

    i have the utmost admiration for every person who participates and for the ones who run it? i’m glad you’re there LOL… i know in my own businesses in SL (my clothing brand & KittyCatS!) even with the best planning i make mistakes, some of omission, some of commission and guess what…. some “knowing better”… those are usually when i’m over tired or in a “reaction” mode.

    we all make those mistakes… each of us. my hope is we extend a bit of the forgiveness we want when we make ours to them, and trust that they will make the amends they need to, as i’m sure they will trust us to when we blow it.

  6. The title ‘The issue of blogging. Hadith events’ is not the real subject here. The real subject is ‘charity group’s responsibility to coordinate their free resources’. If more effort by FFL was made to assign a person to coordinate and stay in contact with their volunteer bloggers then this would not have happened. Using manpower to research who didn’t blog after the event makes it appear that someone wanted to pass the blame onto these volunteer bloggers.

    When one of the largest charity groups in Second Life thinks its a good idea to go through the extensive effort of publicly maligning its own volunteers, that is a red flag that something has gone wrong in the ranks of that organization.

    Harper didn’t do this without the knowledge of several people in FFL. The list wasn’t removed until threats of boycott got so loud that FFL could no longer ignore it.

    So where was the voice of reason within FFL? Does FFL have a voice of reason or has it turned into a cult of personality?

    It may be time to bring in some decision makers into FFL that can be approached within the organization and be told “what you are doing is detrimental to FFL and our cause”. And FFL needs someone that accepts the shame is on them if they don’t coordinate free resources like SL blogger.

    Also, I see this article mentions the free designer products volunteer bloggers recieved. That’s been a definite sign through out this controversy that people still don’t understand what the real issues are here. And that’s a shame.

    1. My blog. I get to choose real issues I want to discuss on it – which may be radically different from what you see as “the real issues”. I chose a subject and wrote about it.

      Addressing some of your points –
      It’s probably a good idea to have someone as blog co-ordinator. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of people who are willing or available to put in the long hours that are needed to run an event like this. I think it would be great if more people – people like you – volunteered to help. As someone who does a lot of cat-herding in my various roles, I know how long tasks can take – and the more people willing to help is an enormous boon.

      Also, there’s no magic circle here. You want to see changes, then join in and work for them. It’s a small group of people – not a monolithic state,

      As for “one of the largest charity groups in Second Life thinks its a good idea to go through the extensive effort of publicly maligning its own volunteers” – it was one over-tired and over-stressed person who has apologised publicly to the community and privately to the people involved. I’m not going into the question of the Associated SL Press – they’re a media organisation and operate by the own rules and standards. But to claim that the WHOLE of RFL (or even the whole of FFL) is in some way implicated in one person’s cock-up is something of an overstatement.

      One person involved in FFL made a mistake. Never done that yourself? If you’ve really never made a humiliating and very public mistake that hurt and upset people, you are oh-so-lucky. But I fear, at some point in your life, you will. Because you’re human. And I hope that all of us do what Harper did, and apologise publicly and privately.

      There is, however, a common perception that because things are seemingly big or well-known in Second Life that there is some sort of huge organisation driving them with shedloads of people who’ll step up to the plate and eagerly take on jobs. It isn’t so. Most events and organisations in virtual worlds are run on a shoestring and by tiny groups of people. As someone who is running a successful virtual world said to me recently, “They have a garage for their start-up? That’s luxury!” This is an environment where great things are done from a very small basis.

      Once you start looking into these things from the inside, you realise that in fact a lot of what happens in Second Life happens because of the efforts and energies of a relatively small number of people (I don’t mean overall, but for each individual project). It’s surprising how few people co-ordinate events that need all the planning of real world events, and do it on little time and less money. So calls to have someone to do this job or that job … well, the people who are doing the organising would LOVE to have people to do this job or that job, but the people who could do that just aren’t there.

      So who will be the blogging co-ordinators and the decision-makers? Are there people out there who want to become involved? That would be great! I’m sure the RFL people would welcome offers to help in any way.

      And yes, I mentioned the free designer products. I mentioned them as part of a discussion on how such things should be arranged and co-ordinated. I see the Fantasy Fair people are going to try something a little different. I don’t know what the Home Expo people have in mind, but I’m sure what has happened with FFL will sharpen minds.

      I’m not sure what you think are the real issues regarding blogger packs that I have seemed to miss (in your opinion). But I suspect that here on my blog, I was talking about something rather different to what you had in mind.

      1. My blog. I get to choose real issues I want to discuss on it – which may be radically different from what you see as “the real issues”. I chose a subject and wrote about it.

        MY RESPONSE: You first mentioned the incident, excused it as a mistake from a exhausted person in FFL and then went on to call people who criticized FFL trolls and users. One might think you were being ever so slightly biased.

        It’s probably a good idea to have someone as blog co-ordinator. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of people who are willing or available to put in the long hours that are needed to run an event like this.

        MY RESPONSE: At this point it is more than a good idea, it is mandatory if FFL plans on operating the same way for their next event. Blaming the volunteers obviously won’t work.

        I think it would be great if more people – people like you – volunteered to help. As someone who does a lot of cat-herding in my various roles, I know how long tasks can take – and the more people willing to help is an enormous boon.

        MY RESPONSE: You so easily excuse FFL’s actions. You should volunteer to do it. Its not that hard: Prepare a google spreadsheet and share it with the necessary coordinators. Once a blogger requests a package, you deliver it to them with a welcome/thank you letter and add their name and their blog name to the spreadsheet. (now this is the good part) You contact each blogger on the list at least two weeks before the event and then again a week before the event. Get the link to the write-up they did and add it to the spreadsheet. For those that do not provide you with a link to the review they posted, ask them to at least copy and paste the FFL press release to their blog (send them another copy of the press release). WRAP-UP: Thank ALL BLOGGERS that received a review packet. The person posting thanks on the FFL website can now access your shared Google spreadsheet and see the final results and thank everyone publicly and appropriately. They should restrain from pointing out the bloggers that did not review the products.
        /end.

        Also, there’s no magic circle here. You want to see changes, then join in and work for them. It’s a small group of people – not a monolithic state,

        MY RESPONSE: For years I had one of those Relay for Life Kiosks on my island. I was told by the coordinator that recruited me that they would like to see at least $10,000L from each island owner with a kiosk. So I walked by the Kiosk on my island daily and dropped $1,000L in it. I had all of my retail renters add signs to their stores also, but I did not pass on the responsibility to raise the $10,000 to them or blame my retailers if the island did not raise enough money.

        As for “one of the largest charity groups in Second Life thinks its a good idea to go through the extensive effort of publicly maligning its own volunteers” – it was one over-tired and over-stressed person who has apologised publicly to the community and privately to the people involved.

        MY RESPONSE: Over-stressed and exhausted people do not create more work for themselves by researching who did and did not blog and then compiling a list and preparing a 700 word article on it. I get exhausted just thinking about going to all of that effort to call a few people out.

        But to claim that the WHOLE of RFL (or even the whole of FFL) is in some way implicated in one person’s cock-up is something of an overstatement.

        MY RESPONSE:Actually, it’s not. Non-profits that collect thousands of dollars from the public have a responsibility to the public. If one person at Planned Parenthood dragged the organization through the mud, they would need to resign. Oh, that happened last month. Go figure.

        One person involved in FFL made a mistake. Never done that yourself? If you’ve really never made a humiliating and very public mistake that hurt and upset people, you are oh-so-lucky. But I fear, at some point in your life, you will. Because you’re human. And I hope that all of us do what Harper did, and apologise publicly and privately.

        MY RESPONSE: I have made mistakes in my life, but never on that scale. Even when an internal mistake is made it’s time to sit down and address it and change the way things get done in order to make sure it does not happen again. Stating “I was sleepy. Sorry” is not ensuring change.

        There is, however, a common perception that because things are seemingly big or well-known in Second Life that there is some sort of huge organisation driving them with shedloads of people who’ll step up to the plate and eagerly take on jobs. It isn’t so. Most events and organisations in virtual worlds are run on a shoestring and by tiny groups of people. As someone who is running a successful virtual world said to me recently, “They have a garage for their start-up? That’s luxury!” This is an environment where great things are done from a very small basis.

        MY RESPONSE: But that has nothing to do with what happened here. One person working for a total of 20 hours through-out the entire fundraising preparation time could easily maintain the blogger PR contact list. I’m making valid criticisms and suggestions and you respond very snarky and aggressive.

        Once you start looking into these things from the inside, you realise that in fact a lot of what happens in Second Life happens because of the efforts and energies of a relatively small number of people

        MY RESPONSE: FFL should have realized that about the volunteer bloggers.

        (I don’t mean overall, but for each individual project). It’s surprising how few people co-ordinate events that need all the planning of real world events, and do it on little time and less money. So calls to have someone to do this job or that job … well, the people who are doing the organising would LOVE to have people to do this job or that job, but the people who could do that just aren’t there.

        MY RESPONSE: The people are there. a person coordinating bloggers doesn’t even have to know what Second Life is and they have no reason to log into Second Life. Once a blogger created the google form to get a package, the coordinator checks their blog and has a in-world volunteer drop the review package on them. Then the blogger coordinator just needs to send e-mails and check blogs to fulfill their volunteer obligation.

        So who will be the blogging co-ordinators and the decision-makers? Are there people out there who want to become involved? That would be great! I’m sure the RFL people would welcome offers to help in any way.

        MY RESPONSE: Just post the position on the website volunteersofamerica.org and you will get more than enough replies. One of my Facebook avatar friends has 3,000 SL friends on her account. There are plenty of Second Life Facebook groups to post a request for volunteers. I’m amazed none of these resources have been thought of. And not being able to think of these resources is not a valid excuse for dropping the ball on this and then blaming volunteers.

        And yes, I mentioned the free designer products. I mentioned them as part of a discussion on how such things should be arranged and co-ordinated. I see the Fantasy Fair people are going to try something a little different. I don’t know what the Home Expo people have in mind, but I’m sure what has happened with FFL will sharpen minds.

        MY RESPONSE: It may sharpen the minds at other SL events. But FFL seems to think “I was exhausted and I am sorry” is all that needs to be said about this without making any commitment to change how they do things to make sure the bloggers are treated better next time.

        I’m not sure what you think are the real issues regarding blogger packs that I have seemed to miss (in your opinion). But I suspect that here on my blog, I was talking about something rather different to what you had in mind.

        MY RESPONSE: Blogger packs are the strawman argument I saw in your post. They have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

      2. @bladyblue: You’ve posted so many well-formed procedural ideas on how to improve FFL, I look forward to you volunteering for the management group next year to make sure things run properly. You seem to be the kind of confident person who can take on responsibilities and execute tasks without a hitch.

        I’m afraid we keep Saffia far too busy with her own responsibilities as a magazine publisher and television producer for her to be able to volunteer in your stead. But I can assure you that part of those responsibilities – indeed, some that give her the greatest pleasure – include efforts that directly benefit Relay for Life.

        Finally, if kindness and restraint constitute bias – I say so be it.

  7. Fantasy Faire are giving people different blogging options, blog on items, sims or just the event as a whole. Allowing bloggers to explore and find gems is a good way of getting publicity.

    However, organisers are also going to want to try and ensure as much of an event is covered as possible, some areas are always going to be more popular than others, this is where bloggers packs can come in handy, contact details on the participants, information on the sims, what sort of products they have.

    There’s room for both approaches, but flexibility is the key.

    As for this FFL drama, one thing that people have lost sight of is that people are volunteering their time, the organisers, the merchants and the bloggers.

    The cause those people were volunteering for is far far bigger and more important than this drama, let’s hope nothing like this ever happens again, we should be seeing positive posts about this event.

    1. Absolutely – and thanks to the awesome Beq Janus (writer) and Judith Lefevre (photographer), we ran ten days of reviews of all of the sims for FFL. And we’ll be trying to do this for Fantasy Fair too (passes Beq and Judith their running shoes and their PP-approved vitamins).

      The popularity of different areas will be a problem, yes, in that most people won’t be able to blog everything. Even Beq and Judith had to focus – that goes with the territory of making news decisions (and Prim Perfect’s has always been to focus on the builds rather than the fashion when it comes to FFL).

      I think a blogger’s information pack such as you suggest is actually ESSENTIAL at a large Fair. What I query is whether it should contain goods to blog about – or whether bloggers, when they have visited the Fair (using their Welcome pack and their privileged early access) could then approach the individual store-keeper for a review copy of an item they particularly want to blog about.

      To me, the blog posts that are going to be best for the Fairs are not blogs about individual items, with handy landmarks so you can drop in, grab the item and hurry home. They are going to be posts that encourage you to explore the regions – and this is where I think Fantasy Fair has a good idea – encouraging region and event blogging.

  8. If anything i believe FFL is an example of a blogging system that works, if out of 104 bloggers only 3 did not blog an event, not to mention all the others who where ot listed as official ones but did it anyway, at the end of the day the event had a lot of coverage:

    These is a direct quoate from the arcticle above:

    “That expanded into having a welcome pack for bloggers with landmarks, notecards and then a few freebies. And then more – until the welcome pack became a fully fledged blogging pack with items that were being sold at the Fair. The blogger didn’t even need to go to the Fair – they could try on the outfits or rezz the goods in the comfort of their own homes.

    This meant that some people have suggested that people might not have blogged because the items in the bloggers’ pack were substandard or that there were too many female items for male bloggers. I must say, I have rather more respect for bloggers than to believe they’d throw a hissy fit and ignore a ten-sim Fair for charity because the blogger pack didn’t contain items they utterly adored.”

    And the issue i have with this statement is, this did not happen in FFL, Bloggers asked creators for what they wanted to blog and they blogged it, for days the feeds where filled with FFL creations, so was plurk and several forums, if ot the bloggers did a wonderful job and covered a lot of the Fair.

    And yet by this statement they are being painted as the weakest link, when the issue that rose from this was not the bloggers work, but the fact that after the event, the official website for the event, singled out wrongly a list of bloggers and condemend them for not doing their work. Including one blogger who was in the hospital, getting treatement for what the whole charity is about.

    1. I agree – the overall response was wonderful – especially when you consider the non-official ones.

      But I’m not talking about private arrangements between individual bloggers and individual designers; I’m talking about the Welcome pack and asking simply – should a welcome pack for a big Fair contain just information and landmarks, or should it also contain items that could be blogged?

      What do you think?

      1. No you´re talking specifically about how FFL was handled to ask a question, that in no way is connected to FFL, there was never an issue with the FFL bloggers, but after the event there was an issue that had nothing to do with blogging. You cannot start an article about eggs and then make questions about the bunnies, i know it´s easter, but come on.

  9. I’m sorry – I’m confused. I thought you were responding to my question about how blogging should be handled at charity events and large fairs?

    What ARE you responding to?

    I started by discussing a problem and then moved on to general points. Eggs and chickens maybe.

  10. @Aisling:

    @bladyblue: You’ve posted so many well-formed procedural ideas on how to improve FFL, I look forward to you volunteering for the management group next year to make sure things run properly. You seem to be the kind of confident person who can take on responsibilities and execute tasks without a hitch.

    MY RESPONSE: FFL has made no public announcement AT ALL about changing the way they run events. Waiting until next year when they start new events is too late to add a new position to that organization and make it work. Hopefully someone over there is listening, realizes that their current structure is not working and is sitting down with some of the FFL crew to institue some changes. Even if their collective egos make it impossible for them to admit it in public.

    I’m afraid we keep Saffia far too busy with her own responsibilities as a magazine publisher and television producer for her to be able to volunteer in your stead. But I can assure you that part of those responsibilities – indeed, some that give her the greatest pleasure – include efforts that directly benefit Relay for Life.

    MY RESPONSE: You forgot to add to her resume the task of pretending to write a story on blogger paks while really penning a fanboi piece to clean up FFL’s image. Youre right, she has some work cut out for her.

    Finally, if kindness and restraint constitute bias – I say so be it.

    MY RESPONSE: Too bad that sort of kindness and restraint was not exhibited by FFL for those volunteer bloggers. I blieve your sympathy is misplaced. And as long as influencial people like you and BOSL cicrcle the wagons around FFL, pretending they are the maligned ones in this instance, then FFL will never see any reason to change. Keep up the good work.

    1. FFL was a fantastic event, with hundreds of people involved – builders, designers, bloggers (including this blog) and customers. That was an awesome thing and an awesome achievement – even before you see the amount of money it raised. Yes, I’ll fangirl that cheerfully.

      There was a bad, horrible mistake made at the end of it. That needs to be sorted – and I said that in my blogpost. The mistake has been apologised for by the person who made it – publicly and privately. I imagine that action will be taken – but I’m not involved in the organisation of FFL, so I have no way of knowing. If that was my primary concern, then I would make a point of getting involved in FFL to make sure it didn’t happen again. However, it’s not my primary concern, and I have other responsibilities moving forwards – some of which involve RFL. You are so right about one thing – I do have some work cut out for me over the coming months!

      But I also trust people to learn from their mistakes and move on. If I believed that they couldn’t then, rather than standing on the sidelines and yelling at them, I would get involved (as people who know me are fully aware!). I think they’ll sort this out without my help – but if you think that someone needs to do something NOW – then why not you? Talk to the RFL organisers. Go to their meetings.

      If you see FFL as a single entity and blame everyone associated with it for one person’s mistake, then yes, you are maligning many fantastic people who’ve given their time and energy to this event. Look at the pictures in this blog post (I included them for a reason) – look at the sheer work that went into creating those sims. Do you really feel that those builders for FFL should be seen as as part of this? Or the designers who put out their clothes? These people invested in FFL and I want to celebrate their achievements – and the achievements of the many bloggers who, like my team, wrote about it. I’m not ignoring what went wrong – but I want to celebrate what went right, and the sheer bloody hard work that went into it by all those creative people.

      And I really do feel it’s time to move on from this. I said a mistake was made – I’ve said it several times in fact. Probably, Blady, you are going to continue to believe that FFL was completely tarnished by what happened. Well, you have a right to your belief, and you’ve stated it trenchantly on this blog, at SLU and, I am sure, in other fora too.

      1. There was a bad, horrible mistake made at the end of it. That needs to be sorted – and I said that in my blogpost.

        MY RESPONSE: Actually, you never said “That needs to be sorted” until now. But FFL has not indicated that anything will be sorted at all.

        I imagine that action will be taken – but I’m not involved in the organisation of FFL, so I have no way of knowing.

        MY RESPONSE: You, nor I have no way of knowing because FFL has not indicated that any action will be taken.

        If that was my primary concern, then I would make a point of getting involved in FFL to make sure it didn’t happen again. However, it’s not my primary concern,.

        MY RESPONSE: How can you say that you would just join FFL’s coordinating team and put your attentions toward an issue that FFL does not even admit exists? And you cannot just knock on their door and proclaim you are now a member of their team. That scenario will never happen.

        But I also trust people to learn from their mistakes and move on. If I believed that they couldn’t then, rather than standing on the sidelines and yelling at them, I would get involved (as people who know me are fully aware!).

        MY RESPONSE: No one is “standing on the sidelines yelling at them”. How can an organization take thousands of dollars from people and then proclaim they have no reason to listen to them? And why does the public need to work for free for RFL or FFL to be able to have a voice within their organization?

        I think they’ll sort this out without my help – but if you think that someone needs to do something NOW – then why not you? Talk to the RFL organisers. Go to their meetings.

        MY RESPONSE: RFL Organizers have been reading all of the flak around this maligning of volunteers. They have made NO EFFORT to chime in and invite anyone to any meetings to start changing how they coordinate volunteer bloggers.

        Tight-knit groups like that do not want some outsider muscling their way in and telling them they are doing it wrong. As is evident in your responses and the deafening silence coming from FFL and RFL concerning coordinating volunteer bloggers.

        If you see FFL as a single entity and blame everyone associated with it for one person’s mistake, then yes, you are maligning many fantastic people who’ve given their time and energy to this event.

        MY RESPONSE: Then that is exactly what I am doing. When an organization allows a top person in their group to say “I was exhausted, I am sorry” when they publicly shame several volunteers, that organization has become an unfit entity and a cult of personality.

        Look at the pictures in this blog post (I included them for a reason) – look at the sheer work that went into creating those sims. Do you really feel that those builders for FFL should be seen as as part of this? Or the designers who put out their clothes?

        MY RESPONSE: I’ve read on SLU that a designer have said that they will no longer lend their name to any FFL events. You may wonder why they didn’t accept “I was exhausted, I’m sorry” as a valid explanation for an FFL affiliate to publicly malign volunteers.

        Instead of everyone involved with RFL and FFL resting on their laurels, they should be taking this opportunity and feedback from the general public to make necessary changes that will assure that this will not happen again. Instead, they let stand fanboi statements from people like you that say “If you want changes, do them yourself”.

        These people invested in FFL and I want to celebrate their achievements – and the achievements of the many bloggers who, like my team, wrote about it. I’m not ignoring what went wrong – but I want to celebrate what went right, and the sheer bloody hard work that went into it by all those creative people.

        MY RESPONSE: I understand you want to (now) move on from this, but you brought it up and I responded to your statements.

  11. Hi Anonymous!

    Your post (in response to bladyblue’s second comment) has been moderated (and held back) because you didn’t use a real or virtual identity when you posted, and also used a dead email account.

    If you want to correct this and post again, feel free.

  12. Fantastic post. I wasn’t actually aware of all this as I guess my head it too far into the arts… but I think this post highlights something else which, although not the main focus, is one that is important to me: responsible journalism.

    I’m going to be TOTALLY biased here. The reason I maintain my loyalty as a writer to Prim Perfect is exactly this kind of issue. Not only do I find we are the publication with the best writing and least typos (ha, ha!), but I know for a fact that we approach things with integrity – and you, as editor, wouldn’t have it otherwise. Of COURSE we like the juicy stories! And we like to attract readers! But I’ve yet to ever read anything here I’m ashamed of, and I doubt I ever will.

    And incidentally, I’m not pointing a finger at Harper here, she has elegantly owned and apologised for her error… I’m more unimpressed by the blogosphere fallout, from start to whinging finish. At least BoSL left the dregs of the original post as it was already ‘in print’, and have made retractions. But did it need to be written at all – or perhaps done in the way it was? I guess people like that sort of thing.

    It isn’t for me though. I prefer the Guardian… not the Daily Mail.

  13. hello great article ust wanted to pint out that builder for czas sim was rocko cobalt not roscko cobal but great blog

    1. ugh i can’t seem to spell either rofl it’s roscko cobalt oh and you don’t have to post these lol i figured u would delete it after u see it just couldn’t figure out how to contact you

  14. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog.
    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s