Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aether and his CM Philosophy

Not much to write about today (aside from Keen's report that Richard Duffek MIGHT no longer be the CM at EAMythic), so here's a great long post from Aether, the Community Manager of Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Anyway, read up my hearties, on the CM Panel he was in at the recent AGDC:

The SOE folks I recruited to participate on the panel were picked because of their work on Community Influencers initiatives. They are actually bringing individuals that both like and dislike their respective aspects of the game together and listening to their concerns. Not just guildmasters and forum stars, but the kinds of people I described in my previous post to this thread. They are doing some very revolutionary things along these lines, and at no small expense. It was very interesting to listen to, and I found myself taking copious notes on their ideas.

What we didn't discuss the reaction our community had to the announcement per se, though did cite the reaction our community had to the SOE agreement and our response, as an example of Flying Lab Software's approach to communication. That included our commitment to addressing concerns outside of our own forums, which is something we do (and well, just check out Rick Saada over at the forums!) on a regular and fruitful basis.

There are other strategies we used to communicate with folks during that time, but I'm typing too much already. Remind me to share them with you another time.

Well, we do this for several reasons. First, I am a firm believer in allowing people an opportunity to vent. I've seen companies take the duck and cover approach, and inevitably their forums transform in tone to something akin to the Wild West. We take the notion of benevolent dictatorship pretty seriously- at the end of the day, this is our house and we set the tone for the discussions had here. The challenge for us is when people choose to vent in every thread across every sub forum on the same issue. Moving those posts into one area allows us to focus our efforts to disseminate information. But let's face it, there is a ton of information on these forums.

It is very easy for people to miss out on important and new information, so concentrating posts with the same concerns/issues/frustrations in one thread allows us to address everyone with the same information, and helps keep other threads (mostly?) focused on other important topics.

Is this a best practice? Yes, absolutely. Is it embraced industry wide? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, I am a staunch supporter of my community manager brethren far and wide. If you've play other MMO's, I guarantee you that I know someone at that company. That might sound as though I'm bragging, I'm not. I'm just saying that we are a social breed, us community types. The point is, that even your best community manager can be stymied by communication policies and practices. I count myself very lucky to work with a CEO who has this level of commitment to the people who are fans of PotBS, it makes my job much easier.

Well, I happen to think that we've got a superlative team of people that make up the FLS community team. Rhaegar, Dani, Marion and Theresa are all much smarter than I am, so their hard work cannot be overlooked as huge part of what makes our community run. We all recognize that there are areas that we can improve, and we take those suggestions largely from PotBS community feedback.

But to be fair, the approach to forum management was already established well before I arrived on the scene. Rusty and friends have been engaging and discussing this game with the community from day one. Lots of companies say they have a 'top down' commitment to community, but I say the proof is in the pudding (ours is delicious, thank you.)

The biggest challenge we have? There just aren't enough hours in the day. We've got some exciting community initiatives of our own to announce here pretty soon, but I don't want to steal Theresa's thunder, so I'm not saying much more. Here's a hint: TLAPD.

Convention season can be very tough, leaving us desperately yearning for more time to interact with our community. The good news is that now we have more time to focus on you and your concerns, and we’ve got a lot of phenomenal things to share with you in the coming weeks. I've been sitting at my own desk for two consecutive days now, and I couldn't be happier.

More to come,

Looks like Theresa Pudenz, the kind lady who came to my blog months ago to answer a few of my questions will be having something to say on TLAPD: Talk Like A Pirate Day, September 19th. One week from today. Good Jumping Jeebus, let it be a release date among other things. :) Hell, I'd take a surprise launch too. Ha!

Cheers, folks.

1 comment:

Bildo said...

Had to repost this due to a mistake of my own. I need to learn to read better in short. :)

Keen knows what I mean.