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Happy Fourth Birthday, Gnome Stew! The State of the Stew, Year Four (2011-2012)

Today is Gnome Stew’s fourth birthday — we launched the site on May 12, 2008. (You can see all of our launch day articles [1] here.)

Sometimes I think the Stew comes off as a more polished operation than it really is. Not in the sense that we don’t put time and energy into producing polished content, because we do. But we started out as a bunch of GMs who love GMing and wanted to write about it and hopefully help other GMs love it as much as we do, and that’s still what we are, and what Gnome Stew is about.

I didn’t know if this site would work, though after two years of running my first GMing blog, Treasure Tables, I had a hunch that it would. It has worked, in my opinion: We’ve had over 1.3 million visitors since 2008. Million. I’ve never had a million people engage with anything else I’ve ever been a part of; it’s humbling.

If you’re here, now, reading this: Thank you. I’ve been saying you rock for the past four years, and you still rock. You’ll have to hear it for the next four years, too. Thank you.

Stats? Fuck ’em.

For the past seven State of the Stew articles, I’ve crunched and shared site stats that I suspect only me and a handful of other people actually cared about. And that’s fine; I shared them for me, and no one else was obligated to care.

Last year, though, we hit a plateau. A few stats went up, a few stayed about the same, and some of them went down. It was depressing, despite the fact that our overall numbers were still enviable for a niche blog within a niche hobby. I did some soul-searching. A lot of email went back and forth on our internal mailing list; we had conference calls and set goals and started a calendar and did all sorts of other stuff behind the scenes. I considered stepping down as site admin and quitting blogging.

Several folks pointed out that we, the gnomes, should just keep doing our thing and not worry too much about stats. And they were right.

We write the articles that we do, the ways that we do, because we want to. We’re thrilled that thousands of readers feel the same way about what this blog is and should be as we do. Those who’d prefer Gnome Stew to be a different kind of blog, to broaden our focus beyond GMing, or to go with the flow have hundreds of alternatives to choose from, and we wish them well.

So: Not worrying about the numbers. But milestones? Hell, yeah:

If I’m forgetting anything (and I probably am), I apologize.

So that was year four, May 2011-May 2012. It was a good year. Enough looking back, though. Or if you prefer: Fuck it, let’s go bowling get back to talking about GMing. Thanks for reading.

12 Comments (Open | Close)

12 Comments To "Happy Fourth Birthday, Gnome Stew! The State of the Stew, Year Four (2011-2012)"

#1 Comment By Ben Scerri On May 12, 2012 @ 7:54 am

WOOO! Well done, guys 🙂

Gnome Stew has, and will always be my favourite GMing blog on the big open mesa that is the internet. For the past 3 and a bit years I have sat at my email screen counting the minutes until it hits 9PM (GMT+10 over here) as that is _usually_ when the Stew posts come rolling ’round. Well, maybe not counted them down, but I always feel happy when I see those familiar words pop into my feed!

Congratulations on making it through your fourth year, and here’s to another 50 filled with GMing AWESOMENESS!

(Note, if ever in the next 50 years of blogging you need a break, I might be able to help out with a few articles :P)

Cheers 🙂

#2 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On May 12, 2012 @ 9:34 am

Two birthdays to celebrate! The Stew’s b-day is shared with Eldest Child. Congrats, Martin. Your red cap is the pointy-est of the crew!

#3 Comment By Martin Ralya On May 12, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

[11] – At present, my red cap is full of sand. It’s nice. Happy birthday to your eldest!

[12] – Ben, that’s high on the list of the coolest things said about the Stew. I’m very glad to hear that!

#4 Comment By clight101 On May 12, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

Congratulations, you guys are great and one of the reasons I started blogging. Keep up the awesome stuff and I’ll keep coming back, and telling other people to do so too.

#5 Comment By randite On May 12, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

Happy Birthday Gnomestew! Thanks a shit-ton to all the Gnomes and other contributers. Keep up the good work.

#6 Comment By Martin Ralya On May 12, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

Thank you, clight and randite!

#7 Comment By mercutior On May 12, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

Congratulations guys. The stew is always fresh and hearty! I think your successes lie in the fact that you are a true roleplaying blog/site. Many of the insights and articles, while they may be geared towards a specific game, are relevant to roleplaying in general (Yeah!). Your amazing publications Masks and Eureka are prime examples of that fine philosophy. Too many sites claim to be “roleplaying” or Game Mastering sites, and focus far too much on the mechanics of specific game systems. (Boo!)

Keep up the good work.

PS Don’t worry about the stats—you have fans and that’s soooo much cooler.

#8 Comment By drow On May 12, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

gotta be doin’ something right.

#9 Comment By MonsterMike On May 13, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

Most excellent! Your value is measured by the quality of your content. Keep it up and congratulations!

#10 Comment By Tsenn On May 14, 2012 @ 5:59 am

Belated birthday wishes for the Stew, and all who sail with it!

#11 Comment By BryanB On May 17, 2012 @ 10:07 am

It’s a good thing that you make fresh batches of the stew on a daily or weekly basis. Because eating four-year old stew would be pretty gross. 🙂

Happy B-Day to the Stew.

#12 Comment By Martin Ralya On May 17, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

Thank you very much, everyone!

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