Responding to iTunes Comments

iTunes allows listeners the chance to post a comment to the iTunes Music Store about the items it distributes. Whenever you buy a movie, a song, an album, or subscribe to a podcast you can read people’s comments to guide you. Maybe you’ll download the item because of a stranger’s opinion and maybe it’ll steer you clear.

This is a great feature of iTunes and in addition to posting comments listeners can also rate the item. The CWF Game Cast has been rated by 2 people who wrote comments. They are scoper22 and That70sGamer. Between the two of them our podcast has a combined rating of 3.5 stars. If those stars were a grade they’d be a C+/B- or to put it in the realm of Grade Point Averages the podcast has a GPA of 2.5. That’s not bad for a guy talking about gaming on his own based on his experiences. I’ll take that any day.

However, these two individuals left comments and they deserve to have them addressed by the podcast. I had originally intended to respond via podcast and that is why I have waited so long to address these comments. My apologies to both That70sGamer and scoper22 for the extended delay in replying. Now that the podcast is operational I have changed my mind and am going to respond to the comments both on this blog, for those who don’t listen to the podcast, and in the podcast so scoper22 and That70sGamer will receive the replies they deserve. If anyone knows these individuals I humbly ask you to alert them to the response and extend my personal thanks and appreciation to them for taking the time to comment.

I have long said that listener and reader feedback is the only way the blog and podcast can improve. I said it before and I stand by it now. Scoper22 and That70sGamer deserve my most sincere thanks and appreciation. Leaving a comment may seem like nothing but that extra step is one that most people don’t take. Doing it shows that both individuals care enough to voice their thoughts. I applaud both of them for their action in speaking out and I hope they, and others, will continue to do so in the future.

As to the individual comments I am taking the liberty of reprinting them here. They were made publicly on iTunes and as such are a public comment in regards to the CWF Game Cast. To see the original comments please go to iTunes and in the Podcast Directory look up CWF Game Cast. You will see their comments on that page. Sadly, iTunes doesn’t post a timestamp so I have no way of knowing exactly when the comments were posted.

That70sGamer, who was the first to post a comment, said “if you play tabletop war games this is a must to subscribe simply because its the only podcast of the subject. the host is good at presenting his information but is not very good at speaking, its hard to describe but if youve told a long story you might remember having to stop and breathe (just shortly) but the host is doing tis and its kind of distracting.” This was retrieved on 12/30/07 at 11:44pm EST.

In order to reply I’m going to parse the comment and address each segment in turn. I was surprised when I created this podcast that no others existed on the subject. That partly motivated me to create and continue the podcast. Tabletop gaming is a big area and no content existed on iTunes at the time. Now, there are more podcasts such as The Drop Pod Cast, Meeples & Miniatures, and Podhammer: The Warhammer Fantasy Podcast. These are just a few I subscribe and listen to. Each has its strengths and its weaknesses but they are all worth checking out.

I work very hard to present the information I have at hand, and to fact check that information for its accuracy. Where possible I do my best to provide supporting information or resources that you the reader and listener to access to see the source information. Or, I will post the information in the show notes and on this blog for you to use at your leisure. I appreciate this being recognized and noted. I am very excited about gaming and often will confer with my friends and owners of nearby FLGS before making a post or podcast. This gives me a chance to bounce ideas off them and to get the skinny on what’s happening.

The end of the comment provides me with some constructive criticism and I am embracing it fully. In at least several of my podcasts I do pause to catch my breath. I have a medical condition resulting in shortness of breath, tightened airways, inability to breath, and this accompanies my usual manner of speaking rapidly and in a rush when I’m excited about an issue or simply because I live in Massachusetts and we do everything fast here. I have no formal training in speech, if only I had taken the Public Speaking class in college, but I did participate in organized debates and I am also an elected official where I have to speak to groups of people. All of this has resulted in my being more careful and meticulous in my speech. I pledge to do my best to speak slower, more clearly, and with less pauses and to do my best in post-production to clean up any noticeable gaps. That70sGamer I hope you are still listening to the podcast or will at least give us another try. I look forward to receiving more feedback from you. Please, don’t ever hesitate to send me e-mails or leave comments in iTunes or the blog about a podcast episode. Your feedback is vital to the improvement of the show.

Phew, that’s a mouthful but there’s still one more comment to respond to. Scoper22 is the newest person to leave a comment. He wrote “hey owner/ person in charge of this podcast, do you ever do stuff on the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game from Games Workshop. Cuz u say u cover that kinda stuff but i havnt seen any. so, if you could do that would be awesome!” This was retrieved on 12/30/07 at 11:44pm EST.

I want to begin by thanking Scoper22 for his enthusiasm for the LotR game by GW. I firmly believe the rules created for this game are incredible and that the models are breathtaking. There are posts on the blog about LotR and even some episodes of the podcast that briefly discuss the game. The main reason I stopped discussing it is because I don’t know anyone who plays it nor do I see it being played. Therefore, I thought it had died despite GW continuing to put our new releases for the system. There are so many games and only so much time to deal with them.

On average the podcast runs 30 minutes. Of that 5 minutes is something other than me talking. That can be music, introductions, themes, and etc. This leaves just 25 minutes to talk about everything from 40k, WFB, Starship Troopers, Warmachine, Hordes, LotR, BFG, Mordheim, Necromunda, Epic, Warmaster, Blood Bowl, AT-43, Battlefield Evolution, Starship Troopers Evolution, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Confrontation, World of Warcraft CCG, Axis & Allies CCG, War at Sea CCG, Star Wars Minis, D&D Minis, Halo Action Clix, Horror Clix, Hero Clix, Board Games (Carcassone, Settlers, Ticket to Ride, Sitting Ducks, Apples to Apples, Starfarers, Infernal Contraption, etc), and many more.

If I discussed, equally, each of the above listed games in each podcast I’d only be able to spend 55.55 seconds per game (if I lump all board games together). That’s barely enough time to say the name of the game and a quick headline. I like being able to divide the show up to cover 2 or 3 main issues each podcast and this results in some games being cut completely and others left on the drawing board until next time.

The blog allows me the freedom to spend more ink on games and it is likely you’ll find more content on LotR on the blog. The most common thing you’ll find are pics of new releases. The new White Dwarf, issue 336 for January 2008, has some nice content for LotR. You can be sure that I’ll cover that in the blog. I will do my best to make sure that I at least mention in the podcast, or its show notes, when new LotR content is on the blog. Plus, each month I send out the CWF Game Cast newsletter that rounds up everything that happened on the blog and the podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter by going to http://wargamingforums.com/newsletter/. You need to send an e-mail to cwfgamecast [at] wargamingforums [dot] com titled “Subscribe”. To unsubscribe e-mail cwfgamecast [at] wargamingforums [dot] com (Titled “UnSubscribe”). We honor all requests for removal done this way.

This has been a lengthy post, and I’ll have to cut it down to 5 minutes max in the podcast, so I shall end it now. I want to thank That70sGamer and scoper22 once again for rating the podcast and leaving a comment in iTunes. Everyone who uses iTunes can rate us and leave a comment about us. But, everyone (no matter how you listen to us) can leave comments on the blog or e-mail us to share your thoughts. We love getting your feedback and making the CWF Game Cast Podcast & Blog better for you.

4 Comments on “Responding to iTunes Comments”

  1. barbalet

    I had a similar experience with my weekly podcast (http://www.biota.org/podcast/) and iTunes reviews. Rather than blogging it, I took your initial option and talked about it in my podcast (frequently). There is a generally accepted problem in podcasting that most of the audience listens to the podcasts either away from their computers or in a fashion where they can’t submit an iTunes review quickly. I wouldn’t stress about it too much and I added a five star review today. Keep up the great work!

  2. ^Raven^ Post author

    Thanks for your comment and the rating. Aaron Sorkin once said that “Decisions are made by those who show up.” He’s right about that. Leaving comments, sending e-mails, and getting involved with podcasts and blogs help shape their course of action.

    But, you are 210% correct that most listeners do so in a way that they cannot be involved with the podcast. I think we are all guilty of that at some time or another. I usually download podcasts onto my iPod and listen while I walk or driving to work. Neither activity is conducive to sending an e-mail, calling in, or writing a comment.

    I know more and more hand-held devices have internet capabilities but sometime we are too connected. A walk in the neighborhood should be about the walk. It shouldn’t be about hopping online. Similarly driving to work should be focuses on safely driving.

    I don’t grudge anyone listening while they’re disconnected and naturally people forget what they wanted to say when they get re-connected. All we, as podcasters, can do is keep podcasting and initiate communication with our listeners. I share…force my friends to listen and then get feedback. I discuss content with gamers at my FLGS and in turn have great face to face conversations. I’ve lost count of how many times that has resulted in great content for a podcast.

    I think, barbalet, you have hit the nail on the proverbial head. The issue of showing up is a big problem in podcasting, and elsewhere, but there are ways around it that podcasters must take. The onus is on us and not the listeners. That said it is still nice when listeners take a few moments to let us know they exist. Otherwise we’re just people talking to our computers. It wasn’t so long ago that people got sent away for talking to inanimate objects.

  3. barbalet

    Thanks for the response. I’m looking forward to some new podcasts. When is the next podcast planned? The later podcast take a lot of time in admin related discussion. I’d be interested in hearing what you are playing and your impressions on these games. Have you heard the Meeples and Miniatures podcast (meeplesandminiatures.co.uk)? Neil’s format should work well with your podcast too. Keep up the great work.

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