Well, I guess that's only news to the bloggers at wow.com.
WoW.com (formerly wowinsider) is in a unique and powerful position to influence the views of the community. And I believe that power comes with some responsibility (thanks, Uncle Ben) that lately (and only lately) the wow.com staff have begun to shirk.
A lot has been made about wow.com's supreme and shameful irresponsibility in posting hoax rumors about Cataclysm alpha as fact and stirring up an unnecessary shitstorm by massaging the facts from a Blizzard Support Department Budget Meeting. They explicitly tried to make a non-story seem like some diabolical plot by Blizzard to screw people, when it very clearly was not. They should be ashamed.
But that's not even what I'm posting to criticize them about.
When you go to MMO-Champion.com, you are looking for pure news, distilled down to bullet points. When you go to Tobold or Spinks or Gevlon, you are looking for opinion. You don't go to Tobold's blog expecting updates on the latest patch notes and blue posts. And you don't go to MMO-Champ expecting opinions about WoW and its community.
But there is a place in between. This place is WoW.com. It is the largest WoW blog, and holds the distinction of being the only one that actually pays a staff of dozens of bloggers to keep the spigot of posts coming constantly. It can do this because it's owned by AOL's blog network and uses its unparalleled (well, unparalleled by people working alone for free) ability to produce content to drive millions of hits to the site for advertisers. I can't find the numbers at the moment, but I remember seeing some estimates, and the number of people who visit that site every day is staggering. Good for them! (But bad for the community!)
WoW.com covers everything. They post news in a relatively timely fashion (read: after their staff reads it on MMO-Champion), have guides to all classes and aspects of the game, follow the community (including their machinima and horde-themed cupcakes), and include editorials, classifieds, and advice columns. They are basically analogous to a full newspaper, while blogs like Tobold's are limited to an opinion column, and MMO-champ amounts to a basic news feed.
For so many years, this worked well. However, lately, the staff has begun to abuse the fact that they have the ears of a massive chunk of the WoW audience to push their own personal, petty opinions (often in the guise of news posts!) without the benefit of point/counterpoint to temper their views. They are starting to act like a pure opinion site, which poses some major problems.
They have no unified editorial voice. So any single blogger can post his/her own petty feelings and have it read by millions. Meanwhile, their name, their content stream, and their massive audience all position them as seeming to be *the* definitive source on WoW. So when their bloggers express an opinion, it's going to hold more weight than it should. It's going to seem, to many readers, like this is the voice of WoW.com and its opinions should be considered greater than others.
The most egregious example of this was Adam Holisky's post from mid-December, in the wake of 3.3, entitled How the WoW Community is About to Push the Self-Destruct Button. How obnoxiously arrogant do you have to be (and this coming from someone with a PhD in arrogance) to presume to tell the entire community what they "need" to do? That because Holisky's opinion differs from theirs, they must be a "minority" that "needs" to do what he says because, for some reason, his opinion matters more than theirs? You expect more professionalism from someone getting paid. And you expect more restraint from someone with such a large audience available to him. He's abusing the audience the site gives him to trumpet his own opinion.
To all of the wow.com staff. People do not come to wow.com for your opinion. They come for information. So every time you push your opinions on them, you are failing them and failing at your job.
Wow.com did not build it's audience on your personal opinions. So every time you express them, you are abusing the audience.
Since then, it's gotten even worse, because now WoW.com bloggers are inserting their opinions into the news stories. It's not so bad when a post is clearly labeled and titled as an editorial. It's another matter entirely when it's the only post about a piece of news, and the post actual is all about the blogger's own personal feelings on the subject.
Example 1. So Matthew Rossi doesn't like it when people skip bosses in a dungeon. Tough shit. Guess what: there's a reason why so many people skip that stuff, and it has nothing to do with "not being able to bear a 20 minute dungeon". They are only there for frost emblems, and I don't get why you think your personal desire to clear every boss in OK should outweigh their desire to skip it, especially to the point where you claim moral superiority and call them lazy. Oh, and by the way, the Blue post by Cyrgil doesn't even say what you claim it says, Rossi. It actually has nothing to do with legitimate boss-skipping in places like OK, but just explains why they don't put in a mechanism to automatically skip to the last boss in all dungeons. But thanks for spreading your misinformation without even bothering to post the quote or even understand it. Now millions will read your opinion with no counterpoint and use it to make the lives of perfectly nice and rational people more difficult. Thanks so much.
Example 2. This one is smaller and more petty on my part. Matt Low (who's personal blog World of Matticus is excellent) posts a brief news clip about the Night Elf Mohawk NPC being removed from the game. Then he goes on to fill space by ranting about how much he hates the grenade. Which is of absolutely zero value to anyone reading news. Stop it.
Imagine if you read a news article in the New York Times entitled "Obama Passes Health Care" in the news section and the article read: "I hate Obama, and today a disasterous health care bill was passed by the evil snakes in Congress that's certainly only going to screw the country up." Maybe you agree with that statement, but the point is it belongs in the opinion section, not the news section.
So please, wow.com bloggers: take the responsibility that goes with your massive audience and noteriety seriously. Stop abusing it to try to unduly influence the playerbase with your personal opinions without giving equal voice to disagreement. (I mean outside the largely-ignored comments section) Stop even abusing it to waste everyone else's time by venting your ill-thought-out personal feelings and masquerading it as content.
Oh, and if you have any sympathy for wow.com, this will kill it: check out this shit. Michael Sacco should issue a public apology. Or be . . . heh heh . . . sacked. :D