If you’re a gamer, you’re familiar with the term griefing. If not, lemme explain. It’s when you’ve established something in a game, and another player (or group of players) show up in your area and either break apart or steal your stuff.
Within the indie biz community, griefing is still a fair description, from low to high end in the negative effect it has on businesses, and whether or not it occurs due to ill intentions, or perhaps a lack of consideration from one party to another.
Competition keeps the indie biz community healthy, however, it’s one thing to compete and another to steal. An artisan may produce a design another artisan loves. To produce a similar design, but including new and unique aspects into the design, can be a compliment to the original artisan. But, to attempt to replicate it exactly, or so closely that the designs are without noticeable differences is theft.
In the mid-1980s, I was a journalism major at Vincennes University. Each of us who staffed the university’s newspaper, VUTrailblazer, lent a hand to come up with unique headlines for our articles. Of all the headlines I ever came up with that I actually remember, was for an article about farming. I grew up on a farm, so it was special to me. It was especially-special, because the type of farming I had the most mileage, experience with and love for was/is melon farming. The story wasn’t just about farming, it was about melon farming. Melon picking. Melon tossing to load up trucks and wagons. The photog for the article had caught an awesome picture of one person tossing a melon from a wagon to another person who caught them and loaded them into a truck. Ahhh the memories! I was inspired and so wanted to be the one who came up with the headline chosen to be used in the article, and I did.
The headline was: Get it? Got it! Good!
It was, and is, the most loved and perfect headline I ever came up with. I’d never read it anywhere before, but since ... wow! I’ve seen it show up all over the place and used for all sorts of articles.
Maybe I wasn’t the originator of it. I didn’t even write the article the headline was produced for. But, I was confident I came up with it first (at least at the time), and for many years, each time I saw, I felt a twinge of indignation over someone griefing my line. In truth I wouldn’t have even considered to use it for any of my own articles after that because, although I wrote it, it belonged to the VUTrailblazer.
Did other journalists steal my work, or the VUTrailblazer’s work intentionally? Probably not. Was there a copyright on the paper’s content? Absolutely. Nonetheless, although I felt slighted on one hand, on the other I was so pleased that it was a line good enough to be used over and over again in journalism productions far larger than our Trailblazer editions.
So a headline was produced. But, what if the entire article had been reproduced with near exact phrasing? That would have been intentional griefing/theft of our work and we would have been well within our rights to pursue the thief and not only have their work removed from circulation but damage to their professional and personal integrity would, or could, have been huge. The bright side of that is, the IBC is a quality group that is largely made up of folks who do have integrity. They communicate with one another and look out for one another. There will always be bad apples, however, with a community that is largely self-governing and inter-supportive, bad apples get tossed out of the barrel. And since the barrel has become global, it can be very, very difficult for them to ever be allowed back into the community as a business owner, or even as a client, in some cases. IBC owners reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and their list might include other members, or former members, who griefed the work of the IBC members.
How ‘bout those appointments?
When a business owner sets an appointment with a client, and the client fails to keep it without giving ample notice that they can’t make it, and hopefully ask for it to be rescheduled, it causes problems that often the clients are either unaware of, or they’re grossly lacking in consideration for others.
Let’s say you’re photographer and you set up your appointments to give yourself enough time to not only take photos for each client’s session, but also to set up and take down props and backdrops? I have several pro-photographer friends who do sessions with people that might include anything from dry ice to produce steam or smoke, or candles, or twinkling lights behind backdrops to produce starry skies.
It not only takes time to prepare the setup, it also costs money. Unless they’re off the grid, electricity isn’t free. Neither is dry ice or candles, at least for most of us. Past that is the time. What time is allotted to one client is time taken away from another. If a client doesn’t show up, the biz owner could have given it to a client that did. It’s how they earn their living and everyone’s time should be respected. Consideration for others is a key-element necessary in maintaining a healthy IBC. When it isn’t, everyone suffers a loss, including the client (who may end up being either charged for the time they failed to show up for, or the owner refusing to provide further service. Most of us don’t like being taken advantage of and clients ditching appointments is the same as saying, “I don’t respect you. Your time isn’t valuable to me.”
Good business practices make the IBC thrive. I’ve been working frequently with pro graphic designer, Rita Davis, over the last the last few months. Sometimes we collaborate via email. Sometimes via shared access to documents in Google Drive. Sometimes it’s in person at a local restaurant, where we have WiFi access. We bring along our computers and collaborate in person.
Both of us have demanding schedules and we know there might be times we might not be able to keep our standing working-lunch date. However, when one of us has had to reschedule, we contact the other and start hunting for the next available day we’re both free.
I respect her time. She respects mine. We get a lot of quality work done during those meetings, in an enjoyable atmosphere, which was the reason we began having the meetings in the first place. If we didn’t, we would both lose out on the many good things we gain from our get-togethers, both personally and professionally.
"Here's your sign..." (Thank you Bill Engvall)
Griefing is so not cool in any community. It’s something for all of us to keep in mind and all of us to remind each other of, at least when we see it happening. The angel-on-the-shoulder position might be something most of us have to engage in occasionally. It’s one of those actions that help to keep our community prosperous and growing in the right direction.
Since I’m not keen on writing rants, or reading them most days, and felt that we’ve been assaulted mind, body and soul over the last few weeks with negative situations, I wanted the last sections of this post to end with positive and uplifting information.
And so, from the ShoutOuts to the storm reporting video below, I’ve accomplished that.
You can click the pic to view a linked news article with video covering the recent storms in our area. I hope you'll find the video and brief article as uplifting as I did.
Thanks for your visit today. God bless you. Thank you for your time and interaction. You are appreciated.
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marcoujor, Virtual Buskers Guild
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