An excerpt from an interview between Rudy Kraft and Gary Gygax, appearing in Gryphon Magazine, Issue No. 1, Summer 1980:
Kraft: We've seen some criticism of TSR in particular by people who write in the Amateur Press Associations. What are your feelings towards the Amateur Press Associations?
Gygax: I probably have articulated this a number of times. I basically think that it's a very low form of vanity press. They needn't necessarily be that way but people who can't get anybody else to publish what they write can always type it up and send it in themselves and therefore get up on their soapbox. I think it has about as much validity as someone standing up on a soapbox in a public square and talking about whatever they feel like talking about. The concept of APA's is a relatively interesting one which could be quite valuable to the creative gaming community; whether they were creative as players or as authors and designers is immaterial. I'm not sure what the overall effect has been, frankly, but in my own judgement I think it's been rather a waste of everybody's reading time. At one point, I took Dave Berman to task about his amateur publication called "The Apprentice" out of Canada because in my opinion it was a really bad magazine. He recently sent me a copy of a newer issue and it was superb. It is verging on the professional side. It is what you call semi-pro right now. He picked up the gauntlet when I tossed it down and whacked me across the face with it, so to speak. He benefits. I benefit because it was a good magazine. It was well worth reading and the hobby benefits.
Kraft: So you're not against all APA's, just the bad ones.
Gygax: Basically true. The problem is that I have only seen a couple of them. The idea is fine. In application it hasn't been working out very well.
Kraft: What would need to be done to make it work better?
Gygax: I know that in theory an APA provides everybody with a chance to say whatever they like. However, having a little more editorial control to make it something that is a little more useful would probably not only benefit the readers but also expand the readership. An APA which is filled with cross-talk saying, "Gee, I like your ideas, Bozo, but on page 39 you make this error" and a lot of other banal cross-talk and chatter and then some ridiculous propositions or suppositions regarding this, that, or the other thing are a waste of the reader's time. To have to wade through 70 or 100 pages of oft-times badly written material in order to find one or two good ideas is rather counter-productive to the interested individual. They would be a dandy training ground for the creative people if there was a little more editorial control over them.
I don't subscribe to the above arguments, particularly as regards the blogoverse. Participation in the OSR blogging community should be encouraged, as it provides a low-cost way of soliciting feedback, making suggestions, sharing alternatives, promoting role-playing, and, yes, hawking one's wares.
The problem of editorial control in the OSR is that every editor is biased, and can make mistakes. Once you put someone in charge of being the gate-keeper for the OSR, that will inevitably lead to the culling of ideas, approaches and products that might otherwise develop into the next big thing.
I hear complaints that much of what is being churned out by OSR bloggers amounts to white noise, self-promotion and navel-gazing. Well, you know what? Democracy is noisy, too. Yes, having to wade through the output of 400+ bloggers (and growing) is a challenge. But if the alternative is having someone else tell me how to play, who is worthy of attention, and what official tools to use, i'll stick with the current OSR blogging community model.