Monday, October 31, 2016

Long Time Running

This is a post we always expected to make some day but never really wanted to.

For seven years, Without a Peer has been a delight for us to run. We've met new people, engaged with fans on the Internet and in person, and had the opportunity to give our opinions on matters regularly.

We're very proud of the fact that we were the first source for RPI live tweets - both for the RPI women and for the RPI men from the very beginning. No one else that we knew of was doing that in 2009 - today there are multiple places where you can keep tabs on the game in progress.

But as life has evolved for both of us, so has the site in and around that. When we started WaP, both of us were not working full-time and both of us were single. Today we're both married, both of us have full-time jobs with significantly increasing responsibilities, and notably, Tom is going to become a father for the first time in November.

You can see where this is going.

This isn't the end, and it's not goodbye. We'll still be kicking around here. WaP will continue to exist - it just won't quite be the same thing you've seen for the last seven years.

First, live tweeting will come to an end. This is tough to do, since that has been one of WaP's bread-and-butter items since the very beginning, but after seven years, it's time for us to return to simply being fans instead of guerilla journalists in the stands, informing folks on what's happening at as many turns as we can. When we're busy tweeting, we're not celebrating goals, or appreciating saves, or fully getting the fan experience that we love so much. We miss that - and we hope our fans won't begrudge us deciding to go back to it.

Second, we won't be doing weekly recaps anymore. These have always been a staple of the site since the start, always fairly-research intensive, delivering game summaries with an RPI-centric eye in an attempt to convey the fan mood, with plenty of links and insights for the reader to digest. But lately, these recaps have been less fun to produce and have felt more like a chore. In past seasons, it was always a little more difficult to write these when the team was struggling, but it never truly felt like it was being done for form until some time last season. When Tom sat down to write last week's recap for the Niagara-RIT weekend, he felt more like he was writing a recap for a difficult and heart-wrenching borefest rather than the engaging and interesting weekend that the Engineers had.

After discussing the matter, we've decided that rather than continuing on as we have, with the site starting to feel more of a chore than a source of enjoyment, we're going to cut way back on expectations by eliminating these two elements. But when there's something either of us want to say, you'll still have WaP to read it if it's substantive, and you'll still have @without_a_peer on Twitter if it's short and/or snarky - possibly including in-game tweets, which will probably assume that you're already watching, listening, or otherwise keeping tabs on things.

Certain features will continue. When the mood strikes, we'll have a weekend pumpup with cogent commentary. The yearly recruit pipeline piece every January will continue. Tom is hoping to continue the summer's "Know Your Enemy" roll, although that may be altered somewhat. Engineer Bracketology will probably make a comeback whenever it's necessary (not looking good this year, but stranger things have happened).

This was not an easy decision, and it was made only after we tossed around a few ideas. Among the bigger items was deciding against starting a Patreon account. WaP has always been free. We always wanted it to be free, and it always will be. It'll also always be ad-free. We've had a tip jar for several years, but that has always gone directly to site related costs. We've now taken that down - and we thank those who have made donations over the years to keep WaP up and running.

Through Patreon, we considered that we could allow our readership to decide how valuable the site has been to them, and that we could offer additional content (or a return of past content, like podcasts and stupid photoshops) if our readership as a whole found it worthwhile enough to voluntarily fund. But when it felt like another job even without funding, it would have felt like even more of a job with funding.

So instead of forcing our way thorough the rest of the season, we decided that the time was right to make this change right now. We hope our readership will understand.

Gary will still be seen at women's games - when he's around to attend them - and you'll still be able to catch Tom on WRPI covering men's games. Feel free to say hello if you see us, we're always up for a chat on RPI hockey.

Thank you, so very much, from the bottom of our hearts. This entire endeavor would have been nothing without you. We both feel an immense amount of pride in Without a Peer, and we hope to continue bringing some insight and analysis through WaP, even if it's no longer going to be on a regular schedule.

-- Tom and Gary

6 comments:

  1. My thanks for your past dedication, and also for your future commitment to the rpi hockey programs and their legion of fans (things evolve, be well, go red!).

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  2. dent it all you like, if Appert didnt have an active dumpster fire smouldering since the bailen/cj lee et al senior class, youd be able to stomach covering the program week to week. youre massive homers and great guys, so he gets away with it from you guys (ie, the only outlet that comments on the program, not simply reports the results) when he should have his feet held to the fire. The fact that your minds are flowing towards defenses of him as you read this is proof positive. Im not saying I fault you for holding back, Im faulting him for costing the fanbase a great source of coverage. But SJ doesnt care about losing you. She'll only care when the fans stop showing up. Which they wont, because its students and old white people who have been coming out for 30 years. So Seth has it good and he knows it. Dartmouth to LP with more frequency than you should tell you alot about what youre bringing to the table. They should make me the coach. Ready? Throw it in the corner and hope for the best. Jake, please stop taking 4 penalties a game. What? Fuck you coach? Yeah I guess when you put it that way, you have a point. See? EASY.

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    1. This is submoronic, and I'm leaving it here so people can see it.

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  3. Thanks guys and everybody involved, your hard work has been incredibly appreciated among the RPI faithful. Scaling it back only means that we will learn to appreciate your content even more. Thank you and congrats to Tom on his upcoming lifetime Engineer devotee!

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  4. Union hockey fan here coming in peace. Wanted to thank you guys for the outstanding coverage of RPI and college hockey over the years. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and tweets especially given the lack of substantive analysis out there for college hockey fans in general. I hope the Engineers have a great game against Yale tonight and that you enjoy the game as regular fans. :) Thanks for everything!

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  5. I enjoyed this blog and it is what kept me up to speed even when I couldn't listen to the games. Tweets were fun. THanks and enjoy the family. Being a dad is thoroughly awesome.

    Paul

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