Dec 19 2012

Why I Love Unreality Readers, And Why I Comment On My Own Articles

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials

I originally wanted to write this post around Thanksgiving, when I was thinking of everything in my admittedly pretty stellar life I was grateful for. I didn’t pitch it to Paul because I either didn’t have the ovaries to get vulnerable, or I thought I’d be perceived as pandering. Maybe it’s because I’m filled with the Christmas spirit, or maybe it’s because I, like the rest of the country, have lately been trying to parse one of the most horrendous things to have ever happened in our nation, but I’m ready to lay it all out there and spread a little love around the internet, a place that can sometimes seem coldly absent of the warm fuzzies.

Someone wrote to me via my website asking why I commented so much on my own articles. They said they avoided commenting themselves, for fear of hurting my feelings by disagreeing with an article’s thesis. They suggested I leave the commenting to my fans/detractors, and remain silent once I laid out my thoughts via my pieces. They went on to compliment me on my work, and express their hopes that I would continue writing. First of all, I want to thank that anonymous person. Thank you for reading, thank you for encouraging me to “keep up the good work,” in your words. I’m sorry if writing all this publicly causes you to lose your faith in me as a voice of female gamers (another point made by the commenter). I sincerely hate to lose you, but I’m not going to stop engaging the readers of this site. Here’s why.

You Are My People

httpv://youtu.be/BSLPH9d-jsI

They may not be Unreality readers, but they may as well be. You are each and every one of you this epic.

This may actually be the most unabashedly dorky, most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Ah, to be so committed to singing a video game song in a made up dragon language while cosplaying! To fight a sword fight with a violin bow! To add in HUD graphics 3/4 of the way through! TO BE SO FREE!

Look, I was bullied in school. My main adversary used to save his full milk cartons from lunch just so he could chuck them at my head while I waited for my ride home. I enjoyed learning, I was in band, and I carried around a dogeared copy of The Hobbit all through grade school. I wrote short stories about how I was an alien from another planet. I quoted Star Wars incessantly and jumped around the playground singing the theme to Indiana Jones. By myself. It wasn’t a tragic existence, I always had friends, but I knew I wasn’t cool.

Eventually I made it through high school and discovered others like myself at college; even more on the world wide web. I was part of a group! Maybe none of us were “cool,” but we could make each other laugh, think, and be there for each other when the need arose. You all are an extension of that group. I write for you because I appreciate your thoughts on video games, movies, and television. Unreality has an almost abnormal lack of trolls frequenting its comments sections, and that’s one of the many reasons I wanted to write for the site. We can disagree, and still hold a civilized conversation. And at the end of the day, we’re all here for the same thing—awesome nerdery cultivated by awesome nerds.

Like Many of You, I Read This Site Front to Back, Every Day

From The Morning Link to The Final Countdown, and every Pokebra in between, I’m in it to win it. Do I always comment? Of course not, I’m too busy trying to hide my internet activity from my employer. I was an Unreality reader for a long time, finding my way here via a gaming post of Madison‘s, and then staying to read Paul Tassi‘s thoughts on Heroes, then checking out Nattyb‘s “That Guy Actor of the Week” column. By the way, I am the queen of recognizing “that guy” actors, so major props to Nattyb for pulling them out of the woodwork for the recognition they deserve.

Later on, talented new writers were added, and I happily devoured the gaming posts from Dave Bast and Benny Bedlam (who is another girl gamer, if you haven’t got past the “Benny” yet); the film and television posts from David R, Glen Miller, Remy Carreiro, Laura Frances, Zack Ruskin, and E. Lee Zimmerman; and the crazy make-em-ups of TJ Fink. Of course, all of these authors’ works span genres, and Benny is just as likely to turn in a great piece on movies as Remy is to draw up a thoughtful list on gaming. I owe my Unreality authorship partially to Remy, in fact, since I got into a lively discussion with him via the comments section of one of his articles, then thought to myself, “if they let this clinically insane guy write for this site, why not me?” Which brings me to my final point:

I’m a Commenter Too!

I read stuff on the internet all the time. When I read something I like, I like to talk about it with other people who read it, and sometimes I like to ask the author questions. I like it even more it when the author answers them or otherwise acknowledges me in any way. So if you ask me a question, I’ll answer it. If you say you liked what I wrote, I’ll thank you. But listen, I don’t just pretend to be a well-adjusted adult person on the internet, I’m also one in real life. If you disagree with me, you aren’t going to hurt my feelings. I write about games and movies and tv shows. Not the meaning of life. I may be passionate about these things, but your differing opinion is not going to send me over the edge. I do this for free. Why? Because I like you, you’re clever, and I want to talk to you about the things that pique our collective interest.  In all honesty, one of my favorite comments I’ve ever received was the simple “This article is bad and you should feel bad.” And I am not even slightly joking. Draugr made my day a couple weeks ago. They (I don’t want to assume gender) laid out their disappointment, plain as day, hiding behind no flowery prose. I respect the crap out of that.

So comment if you feel so moved! Lay into me if you’re so inclined! But don’t try to take the discussion away from me. In times like these, we need to cultivate our communities. I want to be a part of this community. I am a part of this community. And I hope to be for a long time.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Live long and prosper.





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25 responses so far

  • Frothy_Ham

    I find myself commenting more on this site than most others I visit. I think since it’s a fairly small community, and things are generally laid back, it DOES lack the common trolls and/or overly negative commentors who seem to just want to ruin somebody’s day.

    I personally appreciate it when article writers actually reply to the comments. It shows humility in that they don’t view themselves as being above the “common rabble”. It seems that so many bloggers and amateur writers for websites get into their head that since they are a self-appointed “expert” on the topic they write on that their word is gospel and you either take it as it is…or you are wrong.

    It seems more and more that rather than having geniuine discussions on one’s opinion of a subject, and it’s pro’s and con’s, things are boiled down to their extremes. Something either sucks or it’s awesome…there isn’t room for in-betweens because moderate opinions are not self-identifying enough.

  • DocDoom

    Sara, this site is great and your articles are usually my favorites. Personally, I think it’s awesome to have the author of a column you respect respond to your stuff. I love it!

    Rock, rock on!

  • Matt

    I agree with the frothy ham

  • Spleenfarmer

    “I agree with the frothy ham” BWAHAHAHAHA! That’s the best line I’ve read all day. :)

    Like DocDoom said, your articles are some of my favorite, too. You had me at, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” Lucky fruit salad!

    Keep up the good work and thanks for acknowledging our little scribblings from time to time.

  • http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/author/thomas-fink/ TJ Fink

    Awesome piece, @Sara! I feel much the same way about writing for Unreality, and love the lack of trolls we’ve got around here.

    :D

  • trashcanman

    By all means, madame, lay it out there. I also prefer small communities (this site replaced AICN on my daily surf list) and am much more likely to comment if I don’t feel like my post will get swallowed by 1000 off-topic edgy trolls. I’ve probably laid into about every writer on this site as some point, but I feel like it’s constructive criticism that they will hopefully take to heart to improve this site without crushing their will to live, such as Tassi’s Hobbit review that made me rage by being a borderline verbatim reproduction of every poor, uninterested, and downright wrong review I read on Metacritic. I come here for a DIFFERENT perspective, not more of the same old soulless crap written by people who could care less about the reader or the niche cultures they represent. Your articles always do that for me, Clemens (okay, maybe not the Honey Boo Boo one so much). Anyone can play a video game or watch a movie, but only some of us really EXPERIENCE and appreciate them as more than an empty diversion. You’re one of the good ones and I’m glad you enjoy this as much as we do.

  • Frothy_Ham

    With your spleen farming, my being a anthropomorphised “frothy ham” and Matt’s comedic timing…just think about what we could do!

    No seriously, think about it because I have no idea.

  • http://commanderbedlam.com Benny Bedlam

    This is a great piece Sara! I always look forward to what you write!

    I also encourage people to share their thoughts whether they agree or disagree because it helps me as a writer. In addition, I love engaging in conversations.

    I love writing on Unreality because it gives me a chance to express myself when I can’t in real life. As my good friend once said: “Finding a gamer friend in real life, especially a gamer girl, is like finding a rare item in an RPG game.”

    So thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on my posts! I appreciate it :)

  • http://saraclemens.com Sara Clemens

    HONEY BOO BOO 4 LYFE!

  • Tonyctitan

    Quit kissing ass TJ fink! Ok Jk.

  • Tonyctitan

    How come the writers get to have avatar pics? I WANT AN AVATAR TOO!!!

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      I run this place and I have no idea how to get an avatar pic.

  • http://commanderbedlam.com Benny Bedlam

    I got mine using the Gravatar feature in WordPress.

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      Genius! Look at me! I’m a human!

  • http://saraclemens.com Sara Clemens

    I just set myself up with a gravatar account, and my sparkly green face ends up being all up in everyone else’s. It’s global, so it will be your avatar for any site like this that has space for one.

    https://en.gravatar.com/

    Later Edit: Look at me, everybody. I’m a day late and a dollar short. Per usual.

  • Tonyctitan

    Not sure if I can get it to work through the iPad.

  • Tonyctitan

    Holy crap it worked! It’s magic!

  • Tonyctitan

    I feel so special. I’m the first non- unrealitymag reader to post an avatar! Paul looks like my not as handsome younger brother!!!!

  • http://remycarreiro.com/ Remy Carreiro

    Nicely put, Miss Sara.

  • http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/author/thomas-fink/ TJ Fink

    I want an avatar!

  • Tonyctitan

    It’s so great TJ.

  • Steve2

    I’ve gone through a lot of sites over the years that I check daily. Many have come and gone. But this site has been in my “itinerary” for a good 3 years now.

  • Walken

    I love your writing, too, Sara. And I’d like to go back in time and beat that bully up for ya. But glad you have a stellar life now.
    p.s. More cowbell!

  • 280dollars

    I don’t know about all this “cool” crap. They sure have made a lot of money off movies that make the “cool” kids look like a$$es. I’m new to this site but so far, I like it!

  • http://saraclemens.com Sara Clemens

    Very true. “Cool” is in the eye of the beholder, and if “cool” means picking on other kids because of the things they like, then no thanks. Glad you like the site, come back anytime.

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