The Inside Voice of Every Community Manager…

… Became the outside voice for Tseric. I’m not sure whether he is “the” community manager or one of the reps for World of Warcraft, but it doesn’t really matter–he’s an official voice of Blizzard. If you don’t know what happened, he basically snapped at players for a dozen or so posts stating things that have gone through the mind of every community relations person ever (and any developer who has ever visited forums regularly). I mostly agree with what he is saying, even though he probably shouldn’t have said it out loud to his community. There is a lot of noise to the signal on forums, and negativity can really run rampant if not monitored and controlled. Links to his posts and a little more commentary beyond the fold…

That’s no excuse to blow up on players, of course, but it is a great excuse to ban people who are harming your community. I’ve always had a ban first, don’t ask questions ever policy. There are some posters who will slip out of line just a little bit and deserve a warning or a short suspension, but you can generally tell on the first offense when someone will negatively impact the community. They are your forums for your game, so get rid of the problem children. Forums are a free service that are not part of the game subscription–they are a privilege, not a right. So yes, I agree that some people can really be bad for a community, and I agree that it totally sucks having to deal with certain aspects of game communities sometimes.

All that said, I won’t go off on players like that, not because I’ve developed thick skin, but because I realized something: Most of the time, players are freaking out about your game because they care passionately for it. Playing your game is one of their favorite things to do, and they are just trying to reach out to someone to help make their experience better from their point of view. And then there are trolls who thrive on conflict, and they don’t belong in your community. Get rid of them.

Here are the posts for those interested. Keep in mind that Tseric was probably pushed over the line not just by players but by the undying RL beast, and send him some pie or something to help him gather his wits. Believe it or not, community managers are human, and really do like pie.

Sure he went overboard a time or two, but I applaud him for speaking his mind even if I wouldn’t advocate or condone it in a business environment. So “bad” *slap* for actually doing it and *cheer* for this being archived somewhere for people to see what goes through every community person’s mind, at least until they start realizing a thing or two about why players are doing it and that they are actually people even with the anonymity of a forum avatar.

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