Oh hell yes, it’s just a matter of context & delivery.If you don’t care about alienating some readers then you can rant to your heart’s content in the shoutiest way possible, but if you want to manage how your online persona is perceived then you need to give real thought to not only when & if but also to how you blow off steam.
If you are passionate about something then it’s a fair bet that you’re going to come up against something that annoys you, some development or event that really rips your knitting. Sometimes even the most patient among us (and I do not count myself as on of these enlightened souls) just reaches a point where a red haze descends and our fingers take on a writing life of their own. When that happens you need to know you balanced on a razor’s edge; on one side lays the deep yawning crevasse of ridicule whilst on the other a cold ocean of lost respect and in both lurk the twin evils of error and libel. Your job, should you chose to walk this fine line, is to get you message across with all the passion you feel whilst at the same time ensuring you are correct, polite and, if possible, amusing. If you can do that then your rant will have been worth it – you will feel better, your readers will have had an amusing post to read and the target of your rant won’t feel you are a loon wanting to call a jihad down upon them.
I’ve had several rants on this blog, mostly about technical difficulties or roleplaying dullards I encountered in Second Life and which conspired to ruin my fun. It’s fair to say that since I left SL and started playing MMOs my ranty nature has calmed down a lot and now my only rant in the last year was expressed in a polite open letter to Turbine about why I was not going to renew my LOTRO subscription. Still, back in the day when I did rant I always tried to make the post funny and never actually attack any game devs personally (after all, they are just regular people too and don’t set out to annoy you personally) and instead directed my criticisms at the company, or the direction the management appeared to be taking it in. My advice is to keep your rants polite and on message because if you throw in personal attacks, drag up other issues and generally construct your rant in the manner of a tinfoil hat wearing loon, you will deserve the derision that is passed back at you.
Of course there is a flip side to ranting – the replies. Not everyone who reads your words will agree and some of them may well be moved to comment that they think you are wrong. What should you do about these? Delete them? Hell no! Look, it may well be your blog and the commenter does not agree with your passionately held view, but as long they are expressing themselves in an equally polite and well constructed manner you should let the comments stand – maybe even reply to them, after all this is how adults behave and how discussions evolve to inform. If you treat those readers who disagree with you with respect and fairness then all of your readers, including those who disagree with you, will respect you all the more. Now if some twunt just posts a reply that is offensive or trolly then delete it & don’t give these people the oxygen of recognition as they will only derail your post and dilute your issues – be bigger than they are*.
This message was brought to you by the Newbie Blogger Initiative & Dr Burro’s educational leaflet entitled “I’m alright. You’re alright. Let’s have a ruddy good rant!”
*Mind you, when some lazy git just takes on of your fun rants and uses it to prove a fatuous point over on their blog, I say it’s ok to have some fun with them. This happened to me when some blooger took one of my SL rants and likened me to the “Leave Britney Alone!” guy. This annoyed me for many reasons, not least being he didn’t have the nuts to say it to me with a comment**, so I took the *ahem* conversation back to him and a fun time was had by all, even him although he’d never admit it.
** But also because the Britney guy was obviously a set up, a piece of performance art and as such had roughly 1,000 time the validity of my original ranty post. I keep saying it – this is a blog about a game and therefore is as deep as a puddle and as meaningful as daytime TV, something my detractor never really understood.