What next for the AIGW?
Last Sunday, we had the first meeting of The Association of Independent Game Websites in London. For something that was founded only a few months ago, the turnout of around 15 people was better than I ever expected.
What was immediately apparent was that the AIGW appeals to a very wide range of people. We had website owners and freelance journalists, people who want to go into the industry professionally and those who are just doing it as a hobby. There were large sites represented and those that were only a one person operation, people whose core competency was journalism and those who were more comfortable with the technical side of running a site.
A place for best practice
One of the reasons I set up the AIGW is to establish somewhere for website owners to discuss and learn about best practice. To a certain extent, we’ve been working in our own little bubbles, unaware of how other people are doing the same thing. I run Thunderbolt the way I do, not because I read how to do it somewhere, but through years of practice and experience.
I spent a lot of Sunday’s meeting talking to people about how their site and other sites they’ve worked for operate. As you might expect, there was quite a variety of methods. Some sites pay writers expenses, others don’t. Some edit articles thoroughly, while others simply publish them without proofreading. The list goes on.
One of the first things I want to do with the AIGW is to have a section on our website for articles that discuss best practice. I’d like to model it on A List Apart, which some of you may be familiar with. That means coherent, edited articles that encourage debate. I don’t want them to be This is how you should run a site, but This is how we do it and why you might like to do the same.
Ben and I didn’t have much time to discuss how we’re going to handle membership in the future because of a very drunk man in a sheriff’s hat harassing us (don’t ask), but we agree on the general principles of it. At the moment, only the founding sites are members and this list will grow when we have time to develop the website to accommodate new sites.
We still need to iron out the finer details of how we accept sites and on what basis. It’s important that we’re fair, transparent and consistent, so we’re not going to rush into accepting other sites without first thinking it through properly.
At the moment, we’re looking to have a meeting every three or four months. The next one will likely be in late June/early July in London. There’s also the possibility of having other meeting elsewhere depending on demand, since London can be quite a journey for some.
None of this would be possible without the support of other website owners and journalists in our little endeavour. Thank you for your enthusiasm and interest so far; we hope we can repay it with an organisation that meets your expectations.