If you’d like to read the article and event I am referencing, here it is. Take your time, this text ain’t goin’ nowhere.
To explain what went on and to show that I might – or might not – be missing, here is what GW2 said:
“Raise your hand. When we point at you, shout out a username and we’ll tell you why it was banned. We’ll tell you on Reddit, the most well-behaved and non-trolly place in the world. No one lies here.”
I have asked my wife, a community manager, to verify what I was seeing. I asked on Twitter and asked a few friends in other places. It seems as though I am not missing something, but feel free to let me know in the comments or other places.
Who came up with this idea? Who at the long-established ArenaNet made the decision to host this on Reddit, and who thought it was a way to show, I don’t know, street cred or something? The fact of the matter is that not a single one of the CMs I know or follow thought this was a good idea. I could go into the million reasons why things like bans or suspensions or silences are not discussed in public. This is a great quote from Facebook from a CM:
“Along with all of the valid points you’ve both raised, this also flies in the face of something I feel very strongly about and that’s keeping a tight fence around your communication channels. Your customers should not have to go on a magical egg hunt to find information from or about you. Discussions should be relegated to your official forum or social media outlet. Reddit? I think they got lucky.”
NOT discussing these things in public is community management 101.
So, why did it happen? I think for a few reasons, including these two:
1) Posting on Reddit gives you some sort of troll street cred. Notice the people who are claiming it is a good thing and you’ll notice someone who is cool with Reddit. Reddit is a cess pool that is overwhelmingly male and young. If anyone denies this, they do not step outside of his or her friendly circle that happens to be hosted on the site. The few “nice” places do not subtract the many horrible places on the site. But, if you’re the president and one of your aids tells you “That’s where the kids hang out!” or if you are a CM and decide “Hey, let’s go over there and tell them trolls what’s up!” then you might think it is a good idea. Let me be clear: these Q and As can be hosted anywhere. Hosting them on Reddit is an obvious cry for cred.
2) Any community team should understand why these things are not discussed publicly. Hell, PLAYERS should know this by now. There are security concerns and other reasons you do not discuss these things publicly, ever. All it does is give attention to trolls (CM 101: do not feed the trolls) and give the legit cases no choice but to be embarrassed because Anet was not answering CS emails (something that has been reported on a lot since the game launched.)
Either I have no idea what happened and what the motivations were behind it, or I am one of the few people who think it was a very stupid idea. Not only did the Anet team feed the trolls but they also set up an expectation for future interactions. How “raise your hand and tell us a name and we’ll divulge private information to everyone” was ever brought up is beyond me.
Oh well, next Anet can publish the names of players they do not like in the hopes that the player will be harassed out of game. Oh, good idea…from now on CMs can just utilize the “shame” method and will have the job become 56.4% easier.
Makes sense, I guess.