Gaffer Tape and Dreams: The Established and The Obsolete

This isn’t necessarily a Weiss Schwarz article. It isn’t even necessarily a TCG article. But it is a conconction of thoughts on communities, and the content and resources that keep them alive and propel them forward, so I’ve taken the liberty of posting it here nonetheless. Not like anyone’s there to stop me from posting whatever the hell I want: it’s my website after all.

Or maybe my blog, or a database of some kind, or a resource repository? Truth be told, I don’t really know what to call it anymore – haven’t for a while. Not that it matters in any significant way, it’s just kinda interesting to me. Because sure, back when most of the posts on here were unknowingly misguided deck techs, it was definitely a blog. But for better or worse, I don’t write actual articles that often nowadays. I do put out the occasional thought vomit here and there (and deeply appreciate everyone who reads it), but as far as the numbers on the Stats tab go, Weiss Tea Time is the place for decklists, translations and banlist pictures. I guess the Weissplaining series has the biggest overlap between perpetually useful content and something requiring my writing input, which only really serves to muddy the waters further whenever I suspend myself halfway down the rabbit hole of trying to concisely label and categorize what Weiss Tea Time even is.

It’s got written content with amounts of personal flair inversely proportionate to how much sleep I’ve had the past night, so it technically still is a blog. But that is neither a definitive nor a comprehensive description, so I’m compelled to explore further. While a spreadsheet is technically a database, I think the universe would bend itself to retroactivelly void my diploma if I were to sincerely present copy-pasting translations into Google Sheets as database management, so I’m not gonna do that. Similarly, ‘resource repository’ is just as technically correct, but it also sounds pompus as fuck – at least to me. I’m not trying to be the library of Weissxandria here! In fact, I’m not trying to be anything.

And that’s just the thing: Weiss Tea Time is hard to categorize and name as something specifically distinct because it’s not trying to be something specifically distinct. It is just an amalgamation of several different Weiss-adjacent things that interest me enough to put some kind of work into them on a semi-regular basis. To be clear, that’s not a bug or a failure – it’s both a feature and a success as far as I’m concerned. Because I like doing lots of different things! I like putting in effort, I like chasing creative and technical pursuits that feel empowering because they don’t have to be ‘to standard’ – they just have to meet my standards. Given that those standards usually start with something working as intended and end with me liking how the thing looks, it’s easy to see how all this makes for a very lax and enjoyable creative endeavor. Whis is good! From my perspective as a creator, it’s great even.

But I do create in and for a community, so my perspective isn’t the only important one here.

And for a community, someone with interests as broad as mine and an approach as relaxed as mine is both a gift and curse, I think. A gift because it means a lot of things get done, and a curse because of how they get done: with gaffer tape and dreams. The way that makes me happy, the way I always do things, the way I’m neither inclined nor intending to change. But also – the way which leaves many things done just passably enough to not warrant immediate upgrades. With a different set of parameters between the molecules in my brain that make the content machine go brrrr, Weiss Tea Time could have been a more prolific and regularly updated blog. Or a more technical and searchable translation database. Or a more UX-refined deck list collection. Those are all things that the Weiss community could benefit from – I just ain’t it.

And oh how lucky we are that in this wasteland of salt and carboard memes, there are other madlads who endavor on the content creator journey alongside me.

I use hyperbole to make these blocks of text a bit more entertaining, but the underlying sentiment is true nonetheless. I’m glad we have any content creators at all – but especially that we have more and more of them doing more and more versatile things. Just like any growing community, Weiss didn’t use to have that much at first. Not that I ever lived through the worst of its desolate content landscape as a creator myself, but I saw it slowly approaching its end around the time when I began playing, so I have some memories of it at least. And I can imagine how having only a small number of people stretched thin over all the many useful things they could be doing isn’t fun, or sustainable in the long run for that matter. So I’m glad that it didn’t have to be. Glad that we have such good content coverage nowadays.

But with good coverage inevitably comes overlap, and that’s kinda what prompted this post in the first place.

Within a group of dedicated individuals working on their passion projects for a hobby, overlap can be a delicate subject. For such content to keep coming out, it’s very easy if not even required for some sense of self to slip out with it as well. For the most part, it’s not like we’re getting paid – the content is inevitably gonna be at least somewhat personal, because it’s that personal dedication that allows it to exist in the first place. And that can make overlap uncomfortable, or even unwanted. If you’re really invested into something, if you immerse yourself in making something, if it kinda becomes your thing … it can be confusing when the prospect of alternatives appears. It can be unpleasant to consider that your work and dedication could be rendered obsolete by someone or something else.

But from the perspective of a community, overlap is (generally) good. Because in overlap, there’s progress. There’s development. There’s taking the many “passable enough” things and upgrading them into great things. And no matter how personal our content can get, I think even as content creators, we should still strive to acknowledge and appreciate that.

Over the years, I’ve been approached by many people with many different questions and many different ideas for stuff they wanted to make for Weiss. Some of their projects, especially in recent times, quite heavily overlap with some of mine. And inevitably, the awkward part of the conversation gets brought up: perhaps most recently in a way so direct and concise, it’d be remiss not to quote the whole thing for how well it gets the point across.

“I don’t wanna disrupt the community with a new thing if it’s gonna kill the old thing.”

And with much fewer words than what I managed at 1 AM in those DMs, all I’ve got to say to that is please, go right ahead.

I can’t say I speak for every Weiss content creator here, but at least in terms of my stuff, if you ever wanna take something I’m doing and make it different or better in some way: please, do make that thing! Yes, I work on a lot of projects, but outside of my own creative input, it’s not like I own any of this. The content niches themselves are up for grabs – they always have been. You don’t have to ask for a green light or give me a heads-up or acknowledge that you might be stepping on some toes. Because if you’re in a position to step on some of my “passable enough” work with something better, that ground is yours to trample and build on however you wish. Killing the old thing isn’t a crime here, it’s just the byproduct of making a better thing. With content made for a community, being rendered obsolete isn’t something to mourn, it’s something to celebrate on account of the progress that was made.

Even if I don’t know exactly what Weiss Tea Time is, I know what I don’t want it to be. I don’t want it to be some behemoth standing in the way of progress solely on account of being already established as ‘the place’ for this or that thing.

There was a time in Weiss history when this website didn’t matter, and before that, there was a time when it didn’t even exist. Either of those can happen again in the future, that’s just the nature of things. I enjoy people’s appreciation that’s granted to me by virtue of running this site, just like I enjoy watching the viewcount numbers go up every year – but neither are something I take for granted, or rely on for a living. I’ve got other creative endeavors, other contexts to be appreciated in, other more impactful numbers to watch when it comes to putting food on the table and merch on the shelves. If Weiss Tea Time as we know it today is rendered obsolete, I’ll be fine, and it will mean the community is even better off than it currently is. So there’s really no downside to someone else doing ‘my things’ in a new way that’s better.

If nothing else, I can always post Madoka deck techs so questionable, no one would think to take them away from me 🙂

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