Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Blog till you drop?

wikipedia pencilsI've got to get me some of these pencils!
Image by kaurjmeb via Flickr
I know that people make money from blogging. (not me, unless you count the 34 cents in AdSense revenue (or whatever it is, I try not to look) I've gotten so far) But I had no idea that there were "blogger sweatshops"...

The New York Times reports that people are burning out, and other outlets are also talking about how some blogges have actually died.

That seems messed up to me. While I've gotten some comments about my update frequency and about the quality of my posts... I'm doing this blogging thing for me, not for pay. As soon as it's not fun any more, I will stop. That's as it should be I would think.

Does this frenzy to work, to make money at blogging have anything to do with WMF projects or with free content in general? Well, I'm not sure. Money? not so much... people shouldn't be creating content for the money... but obsession? I've talked about obsession before and how it ties into doing what we like to do. I am sure I'm not the only Wikipedia editor who has looked at the time in shock, wondering how it got so late! It is easy to lose track during a good work session on an article, a policy page, or what have you, but it's important to keep a sense of perspective. As with anything else, some rotation is good as well... don't JUST hang out at Requests for Adminship, or the Articles for Deletion pages or Featured Article Candidates or whatever... take some breaks.

That's one of the reasons I'm glad I have multiple hats to wear within Wikimedia Foundation projects... when I tired of the hurly burly of the English Wikipedia, there are always pictures to categorise or upload (after all, I've got plenty of old pictures!) over at Commons, or things to do at Meta, or the like. But I also have my other obsessions too. Oh, and a real life and a job and a family and bills to pay. That sharpens the perspective I think.

How about you? How do you keep a sense of perspective?


Scarian said...

Remembering that Wikipedia is just a hobby ;-)

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Some people will deny being obsessed with Wikipedia... but once they start blogging about things like "what Jimbo is doing/done" that's when you realise some people have awful fixations with irrelevant things in life...

Quite sad really.

llywrch said...

Well, I have found that having a child does reorganize one's priorities. Taking care of an infant is not conducive to maintaining a chain of thought for more than a few minutes.

On the other hand, considering Wikipedia "just a hobby" leads to problems of quality. After all, if it's "just a hobby", why should a volunteer care about making a given article accurate? Or continuing to contribute after a distasteful encounter with another editor?

If you can come up with an answer to those objections, I would honestly like to hear it. Believe it or not, "just a hobby" is the reasoning I've been using for a few years now, but I've always felt that way of thinking is simply a rationalization that permits mediocrity & laziness -- & I'd rather not feel that I've been either in a detrimental way.