There’s been some feedback coming in lately about Blizzard’s CMs, saying they’re too blunt, not constructive, and not doing a good job.
Zarhym has featured on GAMEBREAKER in the past week, being rather firm with a forumite about his complaints that the Raid Finder was mandatory, and he was in the same boat yesterday with a very similar thread about Dailies. Only in this thread on dailies, a player ticks Zarhym off about his attitude, saying that for the well-known Community Manager “to come into a thread (one that didn’t dignify a response) and basically condone certain behaviors through both the language he used and the context he used it in is quite disgraceful and reflects pretty poorly on both Blizzard and the CM team.” The poster goes on to say that “It is up to the CM, not the players, to set the standard when it comes to meaningful debate and conversation. Showing otherwise further condones bad behaviour and meaningless posts in this thread and others all over general.”
As is often the case with online issues, this seems to have started a ball rolling, and there has been CM activity on a new thread, one that directly addresses the behavior of Community Managers. The OP of that thread asserts, among other things, that CMs are essentially customer service agents, and that therefore:
“The [CM] role is one where you are employed to have a thick skin, take a certain measure of abuse from the customer, and do so with a crap-eating grin. If the abuse of a certain individual is too much, they should be reported/banned/whatever. At no point should the [CM] talk down to the customer. Their job is to grin and bear it, regardless of how wrong the customer is. They tell them what they want to hear (and let’s not pretend that Blizzard doesn’t do this to us) so that they go away.” (CM has been added in both instances to avoid lengthier re-posting of the original thread)
CM Rygarius initially locked the thread, but later CM Zarhym reopened it, saying that it was a broader discussion about the role of the CMs, rather than direct complaints about a certain member of staff. He also posted a lengthy response, which I’ve placed below for your reading enjoyment! Zarhym is far from the only CM receiving complaints, though, as another thread thread specifically queries some of CM Draztal’s posts’ validity.
It leads to interesting discussion. Should the CMs be considered customer service, should they grin and bear it as the OP says, and should they turn the other cheek and try to keep their own opinions out of their posts, ensuring instead that they’re relaying the corporate image? Should CMs be able to call out trolls, or people they believe are flatly wrong? Can they do so without trolling themselves? Given the recent dismissal of a developer following a forum post, how careful do the CMs have to be?
See Zarhym’s response below
“We just don’t agree with this. I’d like to avoid a semantic argument so I’ll agree that, on some level, the community team is a form of customer support, as much as we’re also a function of public relations. But, while we’re linked directly to public relations as a communications branch at Blizzard, we’re not directly tied to customer support.
“One of the biggest components of our jobs is community engagement. We can’t effectively be functioning members of the community, relate to the community on a personal level, and maintain a two-day dialog in discussions which largely revolve around subjective experiences and opinion, if our job is to “grin and bear it.”
Everyday I’m sharing with the community on the forums, Twitter, and email my view of things, even as an official representative of Blizzard. I wouldn’t love my career so much if I didn’t actually believe what I’m saying or have the freedom to share my stance on things, or if my only role was to be someone’s mouthpiece. On a personal level, I approach the forums each day hoping I can do some good, share helpful insights or new information, and encourage people to want to come to the forums for constructive reasons — to speak reasonably and frankly about World of Warcraft with other players and representatives of Blizzard.”