D&D General Why are so many D&D articles *garbage*?


Dusty Dragon

It may come to a shock to some of you that sometimes, people are wrong on the internet. And that's ok. I mean, on EN world people are wrong every day. Hypothetically speaking, it is even possible that I am wrong sometimes - I mean, I post a lot and just sheer statistics indicate I should have been wrong by now somehow, although clearly I am the exception that proves the rule ;)

Ahem. Anyway, we all make mistakes, and that's ok, it's just elf games. We aren't paid for this. But some people are paid for this, they write articles for money - good for them! And since they are professionals, they should be... less wrong than the random internet poster, in theory. And thanks to the wonders of algorithms and oppressive corporate surveillance, these articles are recommended for me to read on my phone. Great stuff right? Except, many times, these articles are terrible.

For example: D&D: Five Treasures More Valuable Than Gold

So first of all, no this is not me pointing out that gold is a medium of exchange and thus has no inherent value - you use it to get other things, thus technically speaking everything is more "valuable" than gold... let's ignore my pedantry (sometimes it's the right thing to do!) and let's just look at the choices. Think to yourself "what would be more valuable than gold". Got five-ish choices? Ready? Ok, where they:

1: Decanter of Endless water
2: cloak of flying
3: Silver (... I'm not kidding)
4: A manual that boosts a stat
5: The friends you made along the way.

No? Because that's the list! That is a very mediocre, trolley list, Bell of Lost souls!

And it's not the only one!

The best magical items are...
  • Bag of Holding
  • Cloak of Protection
  • Wand of Magic Missile
  • Alchemy Jug
  • Magic Weapon
  • Illuminator’s Tattoo
  • Boots of False Tracks
  • Spell Scroll
  • Circlet of Blasting
  • Ioun Stone
The druid subclasses, ranked: Dungeons & Dragons: The Druid Circles, Ranked
#1 is.... circle of spores?!?!

And this are just a few examples. I've seen so many over the last year or so. Guide to barbarian telling people to play a bezerker for example, I wish I had saved them.

So, what's going on here? Writers paid by the word and with very short deadlines, and editors that don't know anything about D&D?
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So, what's going on here? Writers paid by the word and with very short deadlines, and editors that don't know anything about D&D?
Pretty much

Websites want clicks. They know D&D is popular. Throw together someone who vaguely knows about D&D, write article, give title to attract audience, await clicks

They're wanting people who fall into the algorithm's grasp, not you.


Well, at least the problem is easy to solve...

If I had to take my shot at being wrong, I'd say that "garbage" articles generate more chat/comments, which generate more hits/clicks.

Case in point - the awful articles generated this thread. And quite a few people (whether they comment here or not) might now click on articles they never would have otherwise just to see if they really are "awful!" So the tactic works.


Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
The same is true for the You Tube channel version of this stuff. There is some great content out there, but you have to cut through a lot of chafe sometimes to find it.
Sometimes it seems YouTube is nothing but chaff.

I've noticed for a while that the paid journalism on D&D is generally of lower quality than free blog posts by hobbyists.

But the OPs examples are all basically examples of the genre of 'listicles' which are pretty much always trash.

So if you reverse the question it almost answers itself.

Why are bad articles now being written for D&D players?

Because there is now considered to be enough to drive clicks.

Sometimes it seems YouTube is nothing but chaff.
I remember the old days. Back when Youtube was just, whatever. Kids stringing together a narrative between different video games, just random good stuff

Tribute to Anomalocaris inexplicably becoming trending again was a beautiful wonderful window into a good time that we all deserved more of

Ogre Mage

It is a positive sign that D&D is now so popular that websites/content creators are trying to use it as "clickbait." As someone who was young in the 1990s this was not always the case.

As for there being a large amount of garbage content, I see that on all topics. I read/view personal finance content and there is a lot of what Jane Bryant Quinn dubbed "financial pornography" -- "GET RICH QUICK WITH THIS PLAN!" "10 HOTTEST STOCKS TO BUY NOW!" :rolleyes:

What would "D&D pornography" be? That's probably a question better left unanswered.

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