Several years back White Dwarf ran a series of articles called "A Word in Your Ear." This was a sort of editorial section was supposed to lend "select" hobbyists the opportunity to espouse on some element of the hobby. Of course this lacked all elements of journalistic integrity.* The topics that I recall from this column included rules lawyers (written by a real-life lawyer, and it included some very horrible legal analogies), hating on new hobbyists (it's bad!) and my absolute favorite, the online community. I tried to dig up the WD issue with the latter article, but unfortunately after moving twice in the past 3 years I liquidated part of my WD back catalog and I don't have this issue anymore, so I can't present an accurate citation. So much for journalistic integrity.
This article in question was published sometime around the release of the 4th ed. Tyranid Codex. The crux of the author's point was that the online community was doing a huge disservice to the hobby by its constant gripping about the state of the rules or the quality of new releases, etc, etc. His example on point was the then recent slew of bitching and moaning about the then upcoming re-sculpted Genestealers and how some folks said they looked liked monkeys or something lame. I'm 90% positive he was referring to a thread on Dakka.
I understand why is was written. It was a propaganda piece directed against those GW saw as abusing the good name of its products. That's their MO, nothing new. But what struck a real nerve and infuriated me was that they had the gall to print the article in the American WD. As in the America where we have the 1st Amendment. This Constitutional guarantee allows you to wear a jacket with the words "Fuck the Draft" printed on it inside a state courthouse without getting arrested for disturbing the peace. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). Granted, there are exceptions to this protection and it applies to government suppression of speech, so this WD article is not technically suppressing 1st Amendment related activities.
However, the article very much embodied the spirit of suppression. After working for GW's retail outfit and getting fired and then having them fined for the method in which they fired me, I know what control freaks they are with their product. Remember when GW had their own online forum? Their Think-Pol mod's used to lurk like the troll in Three Billy Goats Gruff waiting to tear down any tread or post with anything the least bit critical of the company (I imagine they were rather busy during the annual June price hikes). Imagine if another company adopted such PR tactics. I think even BP would know better than to say something along the lines of "people who are criticizing our product or business operations are complete assholes," and I mean in an outright fashion, yes I've heard their radio commercials.
So what's the point of all this rambling? Well, this popped up on the interwebs:
The House of Paincakes
Since that old "Word in Your Ear" was published the online community and the bloggosphere has expanded beyond the influence of a poorly written and insulting magazine article. And now we have this new network, some of whose member's blogs would make Jervis Johnson hang his head in shame. GW is still obviously trying to respond to the community and keep a tight grasp on how their games are played. Just look at their statements regarding how they disregard the viability and spirit of truly competitive play, its even in the new 8th edition WFB book. I'm glad to see this network, hell I'm kinda giddy. The hobby community is really not very large, and GW has no business suppressing it, even if some folks need a well-deserved snowmobiling.
*I know a lot about journalistic integrity. In college I wrote a few articles for Long Beach State's independent paper, the Union, about the utter absurdity of the spring 2005 student government elections. They also let me publish a series of comic strips about a dead cat named Stinky, but that's another story.