Happy 10th Birthday Take on Rules

With a Decade Behind Me, Let's See What I Learned

History is not only the midwife of the universal, it is a bloody archive of the particulars…

That epigraph might be a bit melodramatic, but there is some bloody bad writing in my archives.

On I wrote . Since , I’ve spilled over 418,000 words. I got that number from my page.

I set out to write about and explore game sub-systems. I had a technical blog elsewhere, so I started with that narrow focus.

Since then, I’ve expanded my blog’s scope; I write about topics that are on my mind. Maybe it is an idea I want to develop, an Role Playing Game (RPG) session, a bit of a rules hack, what I’m reading, maybe some , or perhaps a short post about a .

I don’t know when I broadened the scope of what I wrote, but I’m certain my posts tagged personal give some clue.

In writing my blog, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I Love Writing

I love the art of practicing a craft. Throughout the day, I might jot down a note. Or more appropriately capture a note via Org-roam (Org-roam 🔍). From those notes, I feel a sense of building excitement in my fingertips; As though they know that they will soon transport thoughts from brain to blog.

Writing is how I develop thoughts; It’s a conversation I have with myself and more and more with others.

When I first started blogging, one of the concerns I heard and internalized was that I should write to a schedule. I found that to be a path of misery.

I don’t keep a schedule, nor publish at peak hours. Instead, I release what I write when I’m done with it.

Another concern I heard was to focus on growing my readership. The “would love to make money off of my writing” part of me thought “Yup, that’s sound advice.”

To grow my readership, I thought I needed metrics. What I found was that I was prone to chasing that questing beast.

I looked at posts that did well, and would wrack my brain to write something more about that; Or like that. Again, misery. I had ceded my muse to an algorithm.

If I were to describe my muse, it’s probably somewhere between Colin Robinson, a deciduous woods, Ursula K Le Guin, steady falling snow, and those conversations you have with a few people around a campfire as you daydream about dragons.

So I ripped out the analytics, and chose to write according to my current mood and interests.

Along the way, I started sending my non-game blog posts to my mom. I send her a post and she shares with me her stories both young and old.

update

Over on Mastodon, I added a bit to the conversation:

One bit of early advice that I forgot to write in that post goes something like this:

In everything you write, there is someone just a step behind you, interested in the knowledge that you have and that they are close to needing.

Were I to write a gardening blog, for which I’m very much a novice, there is still someone even less experienced than me. By writing where I’m at, I help others join me at my spot, and from there grow and learn together.

I Love Learning

My blog is my exploration of technology and writing in its many forms. In , I migrated from a hosted Wordpress instance to a static site generated via Hugo (Hugo 🔍).

In using a static site generator, this blog sits on my computer and I treat it like any other code-base. I use Git (git 🔍) for version control. I run scripts on the data, maybe to extract some metadata or migrate format. I definitely use it to build some of the .

I wrote tools to “socialize” my posts, pushing them up to Twitter and Mastodon. I also wrote a script to convert my Hypertext Markup Language (HTML 🔍) into the BoardGameGeek format as well as Gemini format. I have yet to publish this content for others to consume.

I started experimenting with Cascading Stylesheet (CSS 🔍) and implementing semantic HTML; I learned a lot reading the Mozilla Developer Network documentation.

I built different views into site and the processes I use. You can see evidence in the human readable , what I’ve changed in my , or those posts tagged blogging engine.

Using Schema.org, I’ve added lots of microdata for my blog. I even poked around at running SPARQL queries against the relational graph you can generate from all of my blog posts. I use the Ruby RDF project for building and querying the graph.

All of this active play leads to further learning and skill development.

I Love the Blog-o-Sphere

Each amateur blogger contributes to the larger conversations. My favorite blogs are those written as a personal passion project. Most don’t have a schedule, but instead share their world.

I’ve made interesting and personal connections by and ; Or .

A handful of people have reached out to thank me for writing about Stars without Number: Revised Edition 🔍 character creation. A face to face friend of mine, whom I haven’t seen much lately nor spoken to all that much, pinged me saying “I wanted to look up the faction rules for SWN and your site was amongst the top ones.”

I also hold dear that this is my site. I don’t have a comment section. Instead, if you want to comment, or write your own blog post and let me know about it. I wrote more about my Webmentions end-point here.

This means communication around my blog will likely move at a slower pace. And I like that.

I take the time to develop my idea and the words I share. If I get an email from someone, I respond and leave room for further conversation.

For those curious about an even deeper dive, I wrote more extensively about .

This blog started in the dying days of Google Reader and gained steam during Google+. As of , Take on Rules has been around for Google to introduce and then kill 100 consumer services. I’m waiting for the Blog-pocolypse when they kill Blogspot. That day looms on the horizon.

At the time, Google+ was the place for conversations about table top games.

I thought I’d miss Google+, but it and it’s adjacent sibling Facebook is not a conductive place for me to develop my ideas. Those platforms require that I craft my thoughts within their interface, that alone is enough for me to now steer clear. This is an extension of my post Own Your Tools.

I also love that each person’s blog design (graphic and informational) reflects a bit about them. I admire Alex Schroeder’s site as one of my favorite blogs and general resources.

And, importantly, most of those that blog invariably publish their posts via feeds; either Rich Site Summary (RSS 🔍) or Atom Syndication Format (Atom 🔍) feeds. And some are waiting for a suitable Saturday to settle in and hack out an RSS feed.

I use feed reader software to aggregate these blogs; Skipping the manipulating algorithms of gated news aggregators (e.g. Google News or whatever service they’re gearing up to kill, Apple News, Facebook news, etc). Blogging and publishing feeds are an act of defiance; And I can think of nothing better for my Take on Rules.

Conclusion

After ten years of blogging, my blog means a lot to me. Throughout its pages are memories of games shared around physical (and now virtual) tables.

This blogging project nurtures my curiosity. I’ve set it free and it’s let me hear my muses.