Soliciting Questions for a General RPG Blog Readership Survey

I’m planning on putting together a survey for RPG-related blog readers.  I want it to be useful to all RPG blog writers and readers, not just me.  (The results will be posted/shared with anyone interested.) I know WotC did a general RPG survey a few months back, but I don’t think they made the results public and their goal was different from this planned survey.  I also  saw a couple of references to an RPG podcast listeners survey and to a couple of other niche surveys, but I haven’t seen any general RPG blog reader surveys (and especially results.)

My goal is to help blog writers understand their audience and what the audience wants.  Not that all blog writers should try to cater too much to the majority. However, this survey should help blog writers write more informative and higher quality posts/articles.

For example, if the results show that not too many people like to read blog posts that are player tips, that doesn’t mean a blog writer should stop that.  If that writer likes that topic he should keep it up because he may become very insightful on that topic and be one of the key resources on that topic.  On the other hand if a blog writer is struggling to choose between several topics, maybe that one is not a good choice.  Another example is that if many of your posts are a couple thousand words and based on the survey most people don’t like long articles, perhaps there is a way to break up your topic into a few separate entries.

This first survey I want to direct to blog readers. (And to blog writers, but mostly in their role as fellow readers.) In the future another survey may be directed moreso at blog writers.  Because I want this survey to be useful to others, I’m asking other blog writers especially (but readers are welcome as well) to add comments to this post with additional potential questions and answer choices. I probably won’t include every suggested question because some may digress from the goal, but I’ll probably add most.

So if you have an idea for a question and the answer options, please post a comment.  I’ll update (hopefully daily, depending on my schedule and the comments) this post with questions that I plan to include in the survey.

We’ll let this question solicitation phase run for a few days, maybe into early next week.  Then next week I’ll launch the survey.  Depending on the survey software, either everyone will be able to see the results in real time, or I’ll update the results as I’m able to. (Again, hopefully daily.)

Below are the questions I’m initially planning.  (I plan to brainstorm more as well.) Please post comments with new questions or suggestions that refine these questions or add more options. (For example, if you think another game system should be included because you percieve it has more than 1% market share, please mention it.)

Potential RPG Blog Survey

What types of blog articles interest you? (Pick any number.)

GM tips
Player tips
Game design
New rules
New items (magic items, spells, monsters, etc.)
Product previews/announcements
Game Industry information

What length of articles do you prefer? (Pick any number.)

Short (Less than 250 words or usually about 5 paragraphs.)
Medium (Around 500 words or usually about 10 paragraphs.)
Long (Around 1000 words or usually about 20 paragraphs.)
Even longer articles.

Do you have your own blog? (Pick only one.)

Yes, but just for my own gaming group.
Yes, but I’m just getting started.
Yes, and I get a few hundred hits a day.
Yes, and I get a couple thousand hits a day.
Yes, and I get many thousands of hits a day.
Yes, and I get 10s or thousands (or more) hits a day.

Which game systems do you like to read about? (Pick any number.)

D&D 4E
D&D 3E/3.5/Pathfinder/Other OGL 3.5 spinoffs
D&D 2E
D&D 1E
D&D 0E
Star Wars Saga
Star Wars d20
Star Wars d6/D6 system
System agnostic articles/posts

If other, please list the other games:

Where do you learn about new blogs? (Pick any number.)

Search engines
From Friends (email/twitter/word of mouth)
Message Boards
RPG Bloggers Network

Of the above, which way do you learn about blogs most often? (Pick one.)

Search engines
From Friends (email/twitter/word of mouth)
Message Boards
RPG Bloggers Network

What turns you off from reading a blog?  (Pick any number.)

Articles are too short
Articles are too long
Articles are specific to just the writer’s game world or game sessions.
Too many ads.
Articles are just press releases with little commentary.

Again, please post suggestions for questions and answer options as comments.

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3 comments on “Soliciting Questions for a General RPG Blog Readership Survey
  1. jonathan says:

    I for one would be interested in seeing the results. =D

  2. d7 says:

    I think this is an interesting idea!

    Some changes/additions to the above questions:

    “What types of blog articles interest you? (Pick any number.)”

    Add: “Fiction”, “Actual play reports”, “Campaign session reports”, “Roleplaying theory” (distinct from design, since it more covers the at-table activity), “World building”, “People, places, and things” (maybe expand/reword the “New items” option you have), “Bloggertubes Topic of the Week” (the good ol’ Echo Chamber posts that are a big part of the blogging community), “Sociopolitical ramifications of roleplaying games” (or something more succinct ;).

    “Which game systems do you like to read about? (Pick any number.)”

    Add to this: “Indie roleplaying games”, “Savage Worlds”, “Old School Renaissance games / Retro-Clones”, “OGL games” (since the OGL is now being used for more than 3.x material), “Castles & Crusades”, “Palladium games”, “Free roleplaying games”,

    “Where do you learn about new blogs? (Pick any number.)” and “…most often”

    Add to this: “Blogrolls”, “Bloggers writing articles that link to/comment on/respond to/recommend other bloggers’ articles”, “Commentluv links in post comments”, “Pingbacks/Trackbacks in post comments”, “The RPG Carnival”, “The Open Games Table anthology”.

    Also, consider changing “Friends” to “Social media”, or splitting “friends” and “social media” apart. Places like Digg, reddit, stumbleupon, (y’know, the pile of “please share this!” buttons that some bloggers use) need to be fit into that question somehow.

    “What turns you off from reading a blog? (Pick any number.)”

    Add: “Edition wars”, “Blog is not about my preferred game/system”, “Blog is only about one game/system”, “Spelling errors”, “Attitude”.

    And, I have a few questions I’d like to add:

    “Do you read blogs via a feed (RSS) reader?”

    All the time; Most of the time; Sometimes; Rarely; Never

    “If you use a feed reader, do you prefer…”

    Full posts in the RSS feed; Just the summary/preview; I don’t care.

    “Do you read the comments on blog posts?”

    Always; Only on blogs I regularly follow; If I’m interested in the topic; If there’s a good conversation.

    “Do you comment on blog posts?”

    Yes; No; Sometimes; (an optional “Why?” freeform field might be interesting).

    “How do you like to keep up with new comments on a blog post?”

    I don’t; Email updates of comments on the article; Subscribe to a feed of comments on just the article; Subscribe to a feed of all comments on a blog; A “recent comments” feature on the blog; Check the post manually later; Other (please describe).

    “Some bloggers use their real name while others use a pseudonym. Do you prefer…”

    Bloggers who are open about who they are;
    Bloggers who write under a pseudonym;
    I don’t care.
    (“If #1 or #2, Why?” freeform answer would be interesting)

    That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more. Some of those questions are about content, but some of them are about the more technical side of running a blog and what features readers care about.

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks d7! You’re thinking along the same lines I am. I’ll be adding most or all of these to the survey.

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