SOE Plans To Protect Devs From Fan Harassment And Threats!
SOE plans to take Dev harassment seriously and to have “zero tolerance” of abuse.
Dev harassment has been a big topic lately in the community. I recently wrote about how one Call of Duty Dev received death threats over a minor change to the Patch Notes for CoD; and just last week Polygon posted a long article looking at the overarching issues of Dev harassment. This spawned a number of conversations about the topic on twitter which also lead to the following tweet from David Bass, which is a pretty crazy example of harassment:
Oh, also there was that one time a guild sent me a photo of the outside of my apartment. That was kinda scary.
— David Bass (@doctordake) August 15, 2013
Linda “Brasse” Carlson, director of global community relations at Sony Online Entertainment, addressed the issue of dev harassment during a presentation at GDC Europe. She explained how SOE is taking harassment seriously and is planning on cracking down on it by increasing reports of abuse against devs and banning people who harass any dev. However, Carlson was also careful to not lay everything at the feet of players. She went on in her presentation to explain as a community manager she has some basic rules for developers to help prevent issues in the first place and help the devs deal with things better when problems arise.
With so much focus lately on how players are bad and post bad things, it is sort of nice to see someone suggesting developers can actually do things to improve relations. According to Carlson effective communication is key. One important thing for devs to remember is that players aren’t one group. It can be hard to remember that the player base of any game varies quite a lot and is actually pretty diverse. Reaching out to everyone is impossible, but connecting with a few will radiate out into the community and make a dev feel more like a person instead of a faceless being who is messing with their game.
Carlson also pointed out often developers will get to the point where they think players are out there look for any reason to bash them, while players can get into the mindset of thinking devs are trying to ruin their favorite game. Obviously neither case is an accurate representation of reality. Remembering the individuals is important, for both sides.
She goes on to outline more ideas about how to help lessen the harassment of devs online which range from getting more players involved in the process of development so they can understand changes better, reminding developers to be interactive and empathetic but to also remember players are not their friends, and that companies and devs both need to do a better job of protecting their personal information. You can read more of Carlson’s thoughts on the subject in this Gamasutra article.