Response to the MBACD

Warning: Not a game related post.

Today in the MMO blogging world a new event launched, the MMO Blog Alliance Charity Drive. I have issues with this.

But before I get to them, I do want to acknowledge that I feel like I know a few of the bloggers associated with this drive, and insofar as I do know them, I fervently believe that they’re people with good hearts who are trying to Do The Right Thing.

I just think this ‘drive’ is a mistake. Maybe my life is different from yours… but in the past I’ve donated to quite a few organizations, none of which want to let me go. It has gotten to the point where now, at this time of year, I start to drown under a deluge of requests for further support. The phone rings (in MA the “do not call” law doesn’t apply to non-profits) and the mail box fills up. Those are the personal requests. Outside every grocery store is someone (sometimes several someones) propositioning me with sad tales of people living a hard life who need my help. Soon Santa will be ringing his bell at the mall. Donation coin cups will be passed around the theater. Coin cups will be next to the register at the coffee shop. TV ads showing starving children, puppies, or children with puppies will pop up 4 times during every TV show. The Giving Tree will go up at work. Kids will knock on the door looking to raise money for some cause… in some cases these causes may even be legit.

In short, without being deaf, dumb and blind it is *impossible* not to know that there are needy people and good causes in the world, and I’m all for contributing to these causes if doing so feels right to you.

But the *last* thing I need is another vector for outstretched hands being shoved at me. Particularly a gaming blog. (And yes, I appreciate the irony of me writing this post on a gaming blog.)

Now I’ve been called “Scrooge” (in a kidding way) and ‘mean’ (in an apparently serious way) for this attitude already today. But y’know what? You don’t know me. You don’t know my past, or my habits. You’ll have to take on faith that fact that I contributed often in the past. Not as much these days, both due to my personal financial situation, and more so because of all the spam and the harassing phone calls that charities use. Calling me 3 times in a given week asking me for even more money is not a way to get me to continue contributing to a cause.

And when I have something spare to offer, I don’t need a random blogger (no matter how much I enjoy their insight into gaming) suggesting who I should donate to. Really, are there people out there saying “I’ve got $500 I want to donate but I have no idea who needs it.”? I can’t believe there are. Personally, my Q4 donations tend to go to fire departments (because my father was a volunteer fireman) and a charity that brings toys to kids in the hospital, because when I think Christmas I think kids and toys.

Now, you might suggest I’m over-reacting and to be perfectly honest I’d have a hard time arguing against that. What irked me most about the MBACD media blitz is that it was a media blitz. A bunch of MMO blogs I read all posted at the same time encouraging me to donate to those less fortunate. I likened it to getting 6 phone calls the same evening asking for donations… even if I was in favor of the cause, that’d be pretty irritating. Ferrel pointed out that not everyone is going to see multiple postings and he’s right.

But some of us will and, having no advance knowledge of this organization, it felt like a trap. We’ll lure you in with good talk about MMOs then suddenly hit you up for money!

Again, I absolutely understand that these people are well-meaning and trying to do some good (and of course won’t profit from this campaign in any way). I just don’t think most of us need another group of people urging us to donate, and when you push something on a person hard enough, the response will be pushing back. I suggest that people are getting so sick of being ‘urged to donate’ that they’ll stop donating out of spite. I’m personally getting close to that point myself.

Those of us who wish to donate will, no matter what we read in our RSS feeds. There’re plenty of big budget media campaigns making us aware of the need. Those of us who don’t, or can’t, donate, aren’t going to be swayed by a post on a friend’s blog, no matter how sincere the plea is.

Urging donations is getting close to talking politics (or religon) and I don’t think a gaming blog is the right place for any of these topics.

If you disagree…if you really do want to help and somehow have gotten this far in life without gaining awareness of the many good causes out there, then by all means please do read Ferrel’s post about the MBACD. He, and the blogs he link to, can offer you many suggestions for charities that could use your donation.

[Edit: Clipped a few rantie tangential paragraphs off the head of this post, as advised by my new BFF Brian (see comment #1) since they were really unrelated to the topic and in consideration of the rather solid conversation that has emerged in the comments. The removed ‘graphs were just me grumping about the “Holiday Season” starting too early and the current political incorrectness of referring to “Christmas” rather than “The Holidays.”]