Last updated:   Editor: ShyLord

Column: Life as a Buzz writer! Rob_Stark

Everyone in the community knows the team of Smurfs. We exist in blue on your users online page and there is normally one of us online at all times! But what is it like to be a Smurf? What does having your name in blue, actually mean you do on a day to day basis? Is it just a fancy colour for not a lot of work? Or does everyone under value us and our contributions to the community as a whole? Well I thought it was time to explain some of the things we actually do!

On a daily basis I receive somewhere between five and twenty bootmails from players that wouldn't have messaged me otherwise. Some of them ask me questions related to the game and others try to beg for cash. Because my name is more visible I am targeted more by the beggars than others. Those that ask me questions I am always happy to help since it is generally simple stuff. But none of us have the same knowledge as a Help Desk Operator so if players message us Smurfs they may not get the one hundred percent correct answer!

The biggest challenge that we have is, of course, writing our weekly articles. For those users who have never spent time writing an article it is very time consuming. Each article takes around one to three hours to physically write, depending upon how confident we are with our subject knowledge, and usually another three to six hours of research. In a standard column, for example, we have to speak to members of the community which are involved, find out opinions, decide which interviews are actually useful and which aren't and fix the layout of each interview.

A news article is a completely different cup of tea. We usually know straight away who to interview and what questions we are asking. If we can find the shooter the answers usually tell us where to go. But we always attempt to interview the Boss of the shooter and the Boss whose crew was shot. If it wasn't a crew attack then we attempt to find some of the victims who are best known amongst the community. Yet all this takes time. Whilst it is easier to do these types of articles they tend to take almost twice as long.

Yet we still have real life jobs and issues the same as all of you! We give up our precious time in order to bring you articles which we think will entertain and enlighten you. All of us are still learning, our talents at writing are never perfect, and we do make mistakes from time to time. So it would make our lives easier if, instead of negative feedback on our articles, players were to give us positive feedback. Instead of "This is a bad article," tell us why you think that and what you would prefer to see instead!

Hopefully this will give you some insight into the difficult task that each and every one of us Smurfs goes through to produce the Buzz for you each week. This says nothing about the editor's task which is more than double that of the writers. Remember the Buzz is always recruiting so if you would like to give it a go, or think you can do it better, just message one of us for instructions! As always, good luck and happy ranking!