Brief thoughts on the Critical Grumble Blog Fiasco

Critical Grumble is not much of a blog, but from what I always gathered, was just one guy sharing articles he liked and wanted to save for himself and share with his players. I’d found out that some of my content had been copied over there (other older stuff has been deleted within the last few hours) and never said anything about it, because I figured it was something like what Alex Schroeder did with (I think it was called) RPGWorld, where he aggregated and reshared content from OSR blogs. Well, Alex got called on it too, and it was a headache for him, so he pulled it down. I never got the traffic from Critical Grumble that I did from RPGWorld, but so far as I remember, the posts of mine that Critical Grumble shared included links to the original page. After looking at his blog, I kind of understood what he was doing and never thought anything about it. Apparently starting back in July of this year, whatever he was doing to share content recently was either not properly attributing stuff or he was just text dumping, which got him in trouble. He seems to have been in touch with a lot of the bloggers whose content he shared, so things may be getting straightened out.

Personally, I’m more hurt that I don’t have a rabid enough fan base to have let me known about it.

Between this recent issue with Critical Grumble and what Alex Schroeder went through with RPGWorld (or was it RPGPlanet?), one of the main lessons to be learned is that if you’re going to try to be a content aggregator, you’re going to need to do it carefully and responsibly, or you’re going to be in for a world of hurt when people find that you’ve been sharing their content.

5 responses to “Brief thoughts on the Critical Grumble Blog Fiasco

  1. Was AS’s thing Old School RPG Planet? I loved that site. I used it to surf blogs (since Blogger/Blogspot apparently wants to be segregated from other blogging platforms), and also got a fair amount of traffic from it. I can’t really understand why anyone would object to being aggregated there, since IIRC it only showed excerpts, but I imagine someone felt that they were missing out on some hits that generated ad revenue? Or else it was one of those guys who posts/deletes/posts a lot and they didn’t want expunged posts showing up? A real shame, given that every Blogger blog has a mini-aggregator on the sidebar anyway.
    OTOH I have found my posts, and images reused without links or credit and that is crappy. I used to ask them to take it down but as far as I could tell it was just some bot that grabbed content and reposted it to various sites to draw traffic for ads, viruses, or whatever and I never got a response.
    I still wish there was something like Old School RPG Planet. I discovered a lot of blogs through that.

    • Yes! It was OSRPG Planet. It was like a more thorough version of RPGBA. I don’t remember exactly what went down, but I think it might have been a combination of someone complaining and the fact that Alex had already gone through a bunch of hassle when the One Page Dungeon contest entries were given a commercial release by a 3rd party and narrowed the scope of a lot of his projects.

    • And oh, hey, speaking of expunged posts, do you have any idea what happened to that Stelios guy? The one who ran d20 Dark Ages & Word of Stelios? A few months ago he deleted both of his blogs and I haven’t heard about him ever since.

  2. I’ve thought a few times about aggregating content that I liked but often enough I read through several things in rapid succession and by the time I get to the point that I’m ready to so much as post a link, I’ve lost or forgotten everything that I can only write, “I read something like this somewhere…” and blog about my tangent.

    Critical Grumble never bothered me.

    Also, with regard to the fanbase… I share your feels, man.


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