Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alganon Needs a Community Manager

In my long years of gaming, I've really developed an appreciation for the great Community Managers of various MMO's. They handle the angry posts with grace, patience, and wit, while conveying a genuine affection for all the players. And they relay information from other folks in the company who don't have the temperament for posting on the forums. For potential new players coming to the forums looking for a general idea of type of community present in an MMO, a great CM can really set the tone for the entire forum and the game.

I've been part of the Alganon community for four years. So having a prior long-term connection there, it's a little easier for me to not take the recent shenanigans that seriously. But if I knew nothing of the game and the people involved and just started reading the forums, I'd be really put off and wouldn't be playing.

I've stated before that I appreciated the candor that Derek Smart initially expressed to the players. It was great to finally know what was going on and what direction the game would be taking. And it was great to hear that someone actually wanted to fix the game instead of leaving it broken while adding more broken new stuff on top of it. But he shouldn't be posting anymore. They desperately need a Community Manager.

In reading his posts as well as the subscriber posts over the last few days, this is not is not a direction in community I like to see. His more recent posts have been along the lines of, "If you don't like the game, leave. Any negative posts will be deleted and the poster banned with no warning!" (yes, he did boldface those words) I've been reading the posts and have seen nothing ban-worthy. I have never been part of an MMO community where negative posts are deleted and users banned. I mean seriously, what the heck? Foul language, yes. Name calling, yes. But negative opinions?

This in turn has changed some of the posting styles of some community members. For some there seems to be a need to get on his good side as they join in on snide remarks against the negative poster. His display of preferential treatment to certain players who agree with him or impress him drives the wedge further. And if I hear one more gushing "I really like you, Derek!" grrr. What was already a niche game may become even more niche.

I think he's well intentioned with wanting to help the game and I still appreciate his effort in "getting er done". But he needs to hire a Community Manager pronto to moderate with a kind, gentle hand and stay off the forums. They need to contact Sandra Weathers for advice. She knows how it's done.

7 comments:

Jergis said...

-Ayup.

One of my old posts on the forums (that may be deleted by now thanks to Mr. Smart) talks about the danger of groupthink in a project of this scope. Much more applicable now than when i posted it.

However, Mr. Smart has *always* believed he is never wrong. A look at the products he has been responsible for, and many claims he makes, will illustrate that just isn't true.

I will say though that his antics have likely increased short-term product purchases. Drivers always slow down and turn their head to look at a train wreck/car crash...

Jergis, who hopes someone tells DS to shut up and get back to the game.

. said...

This re-alignment of the discussion forum is vintage-Smart ... The forums for his epic, long-running failure of a game, Battlecruiser 3,000 had the same characteristics.

Mr. Smart creates bands of viciously loyal fan-boys, whom he abuses no less than anyone else .. they just seem to take it as a badge of pride.

These forum users take will soon take enforcement of Mr. Smart's style upon themselves.

Its pathological and sadly predictable. What is more, the MMO genre has perhaps a greater share of anti-social trolls all too willing and ready to play his abusive game. That was less true of his previous genre, space-sims.

Yeebo said...

What you are describing doesn't bode well for the long term health of the game. Hopefully he will hire a CM pronto.

Aspendawn said...

Looks like he's already edited his post, and indicated gripes about game issues can still be posted.

It sure has created more awareness of the game as well as new players. They've succeeded in that and maybe that was part of the plan. But they've reached a peak and too much of this exposure is going to create a downslide. My husband saw me reading yet another of his posts and wondered how he time to manage the game when he was always on the forums or doing interviews lol.

I was worried about the game and now I'm worried about the health of the community as well. I have this vision now of a bunch of people waiving their pitchforks in the air chanting his name, while a few others quietly slink away to their hovels, never to be seen again.

Jergis said...

-For those curious, this post quoted in its entirety is still viewable in the non-subscriber portion of the forums, although it may be an altered version of an earlier, more divisive post:

""Also let me issue a word of warning: These forums are not for negative postulation. Any and all such posts will be deleted.

If you don't like the game, leave.

If you don't think the game will survive, leave.

If you don't think we're going to make it, leave.

If you don't think we're developing the game exactly how you want it, leave.

Seriously we only want positive vibes because positivity begets positivity. We are at a critical time right now and simply don't have the time or patience to deal with foolishness.

If you want to help us, do so. If you don't, yes, you got it, LEAVE.

There are LOTS of helpful and informative people on the forums, if you can't beat them, go ahead, join them. ""

Jergis

Blue Kae said...

Sanya was the best. Having her for a CM is one of the things I miss most from my time as a DAoC player. Hopefully Derek will figure out what he is and is not good at before any permanent damage is done.

Aspendawn said...

She was and is the best. I loved DAoC all the more because of her.

Seems that the moderator has been moderated. All of Mr. Smart's posts yesterday on mmorpg.com have been deleted, along with a whole series of posts including one particular guy who harasses him from site to site. The mod had given them both warnings but I guess decided to just remove the whole post.