Positivity in the RB Community

edited August 2013 in Less Rokk More Talk
There has been an awful lot of discussion about positivity and developer / community / press relationships lately. This isn't anything new, but a few recent events turned the spotlight on the subject, and I wanted to put something down here on the RB forums to get your feedback.

The first catalyst for this discussion was a set of Call of Duty: Black Ops II patch notes posted by David Vonderhaar, a Senior Designer with Treyarch. The details of the patch aren't as important as the response from the community, which resulted in a litany of insults and death threats. Our friend Dan Amrich, a notable community figure for Activision, posted this response entitled Editorial: Stop Threatening Game Developers.

The more recent story that prompted this post, is the news that Phil Fish of Polytron, the indie developer behind Fez, has announced the cancellation of Fez II in response to a recent argument with a game journalist who criticized his tone in interacting with members of the press and community. You can find more info on that exchange here, as well as excellent write ups from the press perspective, in the Polygon article by Chris Plante called Opinion: Someone Hates You On the Internet and in an especially personal write up from Patrick Klepeck at Giant Bomb entitled So, Fez II.

Finally, and most directly relevant to this community, I had a short discussion with Cipher about it on Twitter. He asked for my opinion, and I responded with a few specific thoughts about Phil Fish (which are honestly kind of irrelevant, since this whole conversation is much bigger than just one person) and a few comments on the larger topic of developer and community and press interactions. I said that I felt that the ideal, in my mind, isn't fighting the trolls and banning the trouble users and deleting all the goatse until there's no more negativity online (because that's just unrealistic)... the ideal is to build and support a community that is, by nature, more positive than it is negative, that doesn't tolerate the trolls, and that endeavors to drown out the lousy posts with good posts by a margin of 100 to 1.

Cipher asked if that was even possible in a large scale community. And I don't know! I think that we do a pretty good job here in RB, and in the Harmonix communities in general. We're far from troll free, and some channels still remain more toxic than others, but looking at where we are now compared to 5 years ago, I can see a vast improvement in attitude, relationships, tone, etc. Granted, I have a much broader top down view of the entire community than anyone else (including forums, PMs, emails, support tickets, Twitter, Facebook, blog comments, livestream chat, snail mail, phone calls, and live events in that stew... whew!), but it made me wonder what YOU in the community thought about things.

This isn't an issue that can ever be "solved". There will always be trolls, and negative posters, and people who get angry and don't know how to voice their frustrations in a rational and constructive way, but the same is true of the real world. So if it's not a thing that can be "fixed" what can we do to at least improve things for all involved? What do other communities do that you like? What would you like to see us do to improve the relationship with the community?

This whole thing, all these relationships with devs and press and community, is an ecosystem, and everything we do has an impact on everyone else. If devs are jerks, it encourages the community to be jerks. If the press holds up jerk devs, it encourages the community to look up to jerks. If devs are jerks to press, then it only makes it harder for the press to not treat us like jerks. So basically, the fastest shortcut to a more positive life is to follow Wheaton's Law, but I'd be really interested to hear what other people think about any of the specific examples above, about the RB / HMX community in particular, or about attitudes in gaming in general.

Comments

  • Cipher_PeonCipher_Peon I don't get it at all
    edited July 2013
    I'm glad that out of everything that's been happening lately, some positive discussion is coming out of this.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited July 2013
    The anonymity of the net will always cause an influx of trolls and I don't think there's much that can be done about it.

    On the other hand, developers (artist in general) do get immediate feedback, which in itself can be beneficial. Look at MS. If they had launched with the policies they had in place, it would have been a disaster. A vocal community saved them a lot of time and money fixing things after the fact.

    And I do think that sometimes developers (not at HMX) need to get a thicker skin. To throw away a project and punish your fans because of the actions of a few trolls is unprofessional. I'm sure the job can be stressful but let's put things in perspective. There are dramatically more stressful jobs out there and on the whole, having to listen to people whine once and a while is no big deal.
  • brookfieldworldorderbrookfieldworldorder Opening Act
    edited July 2013
    Probably oversimplifying the issue, but doesn't it come down to treating others the way you'd want them to treat you?

    Before you send that condescending tweet or spam a forum with profanity, would you say the exact same thing if the person you're directing those remarks to was standing in front of you?

    There's no easy answer -- anyone can use social media and some choose to hide behind anonymity and cause trouble, just because they can. You can always track down their IP address and report them to their service provider, I suppose.
    Lawdog1521;5028842 said:
    And I do think that sometimes developers (not at HMX) need to get a thicker skin. To throw away a project and punish your fans because of the actions of a few trolls is unprofessional. I'm sure the job can be stressful but let's put things in perspective. There are dramatically more stressful jobs out there and on the whole, having to listen to people whine once and a while is no big deal.
    Totally agree with this.
  • edited July 2013
    Lawdog1521;5028842 said:
    And I do think that sometimes developers (not at HMX) need to get a thicker skin. To throw away a project and punish your fans because of the actions of a few trolls is unprofessional. I'm sure the job can be stressful but let's put things in perspective. There are dramatically more stressful jobs out there and on the whole, having to listen to people whine once and a while is no big deal.
    While I do agree that some people online (devs, press, and community alike) can be overly sensitive, almost to the point where it seems like they're looking for drama, the amount of hostility can be inexcusable. Check out the Giant Bomb article I linked to in the OP for Patrick's comments about users making light of his father's death. Check out the Gamer Fury Tumblr tracking the absolutely disgusting tweets sent to the CoD dev for changing load time on a weapon by 1/10th of a second. I've received death threats over hardware availability.

    Being able to process negative feedback and constructive criticism is a necessary part of being an effective Community Manager, but "get thicker skin" isn't a reasonable response to the personal attacks, the physical threats directed at spouses and family members, the racial slurs, etc. I don't care how thick your skin is, that sinks in after a while and it only makes it harder to deal with the members of the community with valid feedback who really matter.

    And for what it's worth, PR has consistently ranked in the top 10 most stressful jobs for the last 5 years, placing right alongside police officer, firefighter, and surgeon.
    brookfieldworldorder;5028843 said:
    Probably oversimplifying the issue, but doesn't it come down to treating others the way you'd want them to treat you?
    Most definitely. But how do you get people to do that? How do you get people to want to do that? And how do you enforce it? Should it be enforced? What communities handle that kind of peer to peer management well? What devs have great relationships with their communities and how can we learn from them?

    There are a lot of really interesting questions coming up right now, and I'm really curious to see what shape they take. There's no one right way to answer them and what works for one community / poster / press outlet won't necessarily work for all of them. But thinking about it and trying to make an improvement is a step in the right direction.
  • ThisnameislameThisnameislame Rising Star
    edited July 2013
    Aside from the obvious fact that the internet will always have plenty of immature people with horrible attitudes, (and sadly one of the primary reasons the RB community has improved is probably simply because the games stopped being at the forefront of public attention) there definitely seem to be some problems specific to the game industry right now. I think right now there's just such a huge disconnect between the average gamer and the people that work in the industry. A lot of it has to do with the complexity of game design compared to other mediums (it's very common for gamers to collectively think they want something in a game that's very different from what they'd actually want), but I think a growing problem is the greedy and out-of-touch image that a lot of publishers (for the most part deserving) have, and by extension project onto developers that work with them.

    I think what helped Harmonix a lot with Rock Band is that MTV Games seemed to have a relatively hands-off approach (at least as far as the community could tell) and allowed folks like Henry and John Drake to be themselves and interact with the community, rather than trying to build an iron PR curtain like the bigger publishers will do. Even though a lot of them still have designated community staff, their actual presence in the community is just a fraction of what it is for at least half a dozen HMX staff members.

    Now obviously, in the case of Fish, he doesn't have a big publisher to worry about and did most of his community interaction himself. I haven't followed him too closely, but I think his problem is that, with his holier-than-thou attitude he still made himself just as distant from those playing his game as an Activision or an EA would, he just did so without a trace of the professionalism a big company would mandate.

    I think if developers and especially publishers made more of an effort to actually relate to their audience instead of just constantly speaking in paper-thin marketing speak to try to justify everything they do, then their communities would start seeing them as real human beings instead of faceless, soulless slaves to their shareholders. That would lead to more good will and more civil communities, especially among the more hardcore fans (who are the loudest voices).
  • RockBandRockerRockBandRocker Love Is A Battleship
    edited July 2013
    Well, having forums that aren't stretched out would be a good way to start. ;):p

    Anyway, to answer the question at hand, I think it's all an unfortunate side-effect of the internet/"gimme" culture. This article from Scientific American looks at why people on the internet are always angry.
  • BlasteroidsBlasteroids Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    For those who are being negative for the sake of it, then I always thought that encouraging them to join in a valid discussion with facts is a good start whilst always remembering to be calm and try to pay them a compliment to keep it positive. Just remember to never lower yourself to their level which they will then latch onto and become more aggresive.

    I'll admit I've been negative before, and it's generally down to lack of communication or just plain mis-communication. But I could never see myself ever needing to get to the point of actually threating anyone. That's just plain schoolyard bullying. If it ever gets to that stage then that person needs a time-out and a pointer to a anger/stress management support line.
  • brookfieldworldorderbrookfieldworldorder Opening Act
    edited July 2013
    Blasteroids;5028859 said:
    For those who are being negative for the sake of it, then I always thought that encouraging them to join in a valid discussion with facts is a good start whilst always remembering to be calm and try to pay them a compliment to keep it positive. Just remember to never lower yourself to their level which they will then latch onto and become more aggresive.
    Well said.
    hmxhenry;5028852 said:
    But how do you get people to do that? How do you get people to want to do that? And how do you enforce it? Should it be enforced? What communities handle that kind of peer to peer management well? What devs have great relationships with their communities and how can we learn from them?.
    By trying to rise above the situation and approach it in a calm, rational manner and not stooping to the lowest common denominator. Set the tone, lead by example and hopefully others will follow.

    That's easier said than done, granted. At some point, someone will have to realize when enough is enough and it's time to cut your losses and move on. Enforcing common decency on the Internet is like trying to stop a waterfall with your bare hands.

    "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." - Michael Caine in The Dark Knight.

    There are plenty of examples on these forums where peers and developers have interacted positively with the community. Perhaps others can learn from that.
  • MunnchyMunnchy Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    Bringing it back to the RB forums specifically, I think you're all doing a great job of managing it.

    Honestly, after thinking about it a lot, I've got to say that the RB community is one of the est gaming communities around. Sure, we have our issues here and there, but it's a far more supportive community than most, and a great place to socialise in general.
  • bigmfbigmf Tiny Hulk Smash!
    edited July 2013
    You guys are all full of crap.



    No, I'm just kidding you guys are great.
  • bigmfbigmf Tiny Hulk Smash!
    edited July 2013
    The COD community can get a little salty because it's a rated M game with a large chunk of people under 18 playing online. It's competitive rather than cooperative putting people into an adversarial state from the start. Rockband is purely cooperative, rated T consistent with the community playing it. I'm not surprised it is a little easier going.

    As far as Phil Fish is concerned, no one deserves to be struck by lightning, but you shouldn't go golfing in a thunderstorm. Don't feed the trolls, but more importantly don't fill a trough with feed and put up a sign saying "troll feed here". I won't go into the exact details of how he has interacted with others online, but it has been deplorable.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited July 2013
    hmxhenry;5028852 said:
    While I do agree that some people online (devs, press, and community alike) can be overly sensitive, almost to the point where it seems like they're looking for drama, the amount of hostility can be inexcusable. Check out the Giant Bomb article I linked to in the OP for Patrick's comments about users making light of his father's death. Check out the Gamer Fury Tumblr tracking the absolutely disgusting tweets sent to the CoD dev for changing load time on a weapon by 1/10th of a second. I've received death threats over hardware availability.

    Being able to process negative feedback and constructive criticism is a necessary part of being an effective Community Manager, but "get thicker skin" isn't a reasonable response to the personal attacks, the physical threats directed at spouses and family members, the racial slurs, etc. I don't care how thick your skin is, that sinks in after a while and it only makes it harder to deal with the members of the community with valid feedback who really matter.

    And for what it's worth, PR has consistently ranked in the top 10 most stressful jobs for the last 5 years, placing right alongside police officer, firefighter, and surgeon.

    I absolutely agree many people post things that are inexcusable I didn't mean to imply otherwise. People feel free to say horrible things online because they know you can't punch them in the face. And it's not just developers. Just browse the comments section of a random CNN article and it becomes clear some people are monsters.

    The trick to remember is that when things are going good, people don't feel the need to comment. The bad apples however always feel the need to spout off. When I worked the Sheriff's office here's something we noticed. You could spend all day making felony arrest, stopping crime, saving cats in trees... yet almost nobody ever calls up or writes a letter thanking you or saying "good job". However if you write someone a ticket they don't agree with, they'll be on the phone in no time wanting to speak to a sergeant.

    Here's how you deal with it though. You're not doing it (putting up with the hassle) for those people. You're doing it for the ones who appreciate you and what you do. They're out there even if you don't hear from them.
  • dog037dog037 This Many Days Since Last Ban:
    edited July 2013
    Can I get a job at HMX.
  • M_Robbins5M_Robbins5 Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    First I'd like to say that I agree with a lot of what is being said in this thread already.

    One thing that I feel is important for all of us to remember and I'm sure you've seen it too Aaron is that the complaints will always be louder than the compliments. I see it on many online forums even the most popular of games will seem to get more complaints than anything because the whiners are more likely to complain than the people that like the game are to say good things about it.
    Of all of the people that complained frequently about the RB DLC releases how often did those same people say good things about DLC they liked? I bet very few did.

    It's not even limited to online, there are many professions out there where people are the same. You don't get thanked much for doing your job, but the second someone has a complaint all hell breaks loose.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited July 2013
    dog037;5028886 said:
    Can I get a job at HMX.

    They already gave you one but you're banned from starting it until 2025.
  • edited July 2013
    Thisnameislame;5028857 said:
    ...sadly one of the primary reasons the RB community has improved is probably simply because the games stopped being at the forefront of public attention...
    While it's true that we aren't at the forefront of gaming discussion at the moment, we still see huge volumes of online activity. The users that are still most active are the most hardcore users, who can often be the most demanding, so I don't know how closely the two are related. I prefer to think that the state of the community now is more reflective of 5+ years of constant conversation to establish tone, removing bad users, and elevating good users.
    Thisnameislame;5028857 said:
    I think if developers and especially publishers made more of an effort to actually relate to their audience instead of just constantly speaking in paper-thin marketing speak to try to justify everything they do, then their communities would start seeing them as real human beings instead of faceless, soulless slaves to their shareholders.
    This is a huge part of our Community / PR philosophy. We try our damnedest to treat our community (fans / players / users / customers / whatever you want to label them) the way we want to be treated as gamers. I learned pretty early on that you can't BS your users. To paraphrase Lincoln, you might be able to trick some of them all of the time, or even all of them some of the time, but you can't dupe everyone all the time. Gamers are too smart for that, and I pride our community on being some of the smartest, most well informed of the lot. I've always looked to Sean Baptiste, Dan Amrich, Stepto, and the Giant Bomb guys as stand out examples of that attitude.

    In the long run, it has always proven more beneficial to educate rather than obfuscate. We've tried to be as transparent as possible regarding sometimes dicey subjects like licensing, DLC production pipelines, artist / label relationships, authoring choices, etc. I would rather arm members of the community with the info that they're asking for so they can circulate it to new members when they ask questions, rather than spend the rest of my days answering why we don't have this band, or why we picked this song, or why we stopped releasing DLC. A well informed, honest community is the best kind of community.
    RockBandRocker;5028858 said:
    This article from Scientific American looks at why people on the internet are always angry.
    This was really interesting. Curious that they attribute the majority of online hostility to anonymity when, from my experience, the least anonymous channels have been our most toxic! Comments on our Facebook page, for example, are much more caustic than comments on our forums. I have always attributed it to the fact that our Facebook audience is much more casual and generally has a less than complete understanding of how game development, or DLC, or consoles, or hardware works, but it's still baffling that the most awful comments come from the users identified by their real names.

    On the other hand, the idea of uninterrupted rants was really interesting to me. The idea that you'd have to converse with people in person and allow for opposing viewpoints or counters (or at least a pause to catch your breath) definitely makes sense. I wonder if it would be worth exploring something similar in a forum setting with a stricter character limit on posts to discourage wall of text rants, and encourage shorter bursts that drove more back and forth conversation. Hm. Thoughts?
  • CubecubedCubecubed Washed Up
    edited July 2013
    Patrick Klepek from Giant Bomb (legitimately one of the best in the business, but so many on the internet seem to hate him for whatever reason) wrote an excellent article about his feelings on this.

    It really can be depressing how negative the internet can be all time. *Looks at reddit and glares*
  • BachiGBachiG Inconceivable...
    edited July 2013
    Cubecubed;5028906 said:
    Patrick Klepek from Giant Bomb (legitimately one of the best in the business, but so many on the internet seem to hate him for whatever reason) wrote an excellent article about his feelings on this.

    Hmmm... That article looks really familiar for some reason... Like I've read it before somewhere. Oh yeah, it was here:
    hmxhenry;5028838 said:
    ...and in an especially personal write up from Patrick Klepeck at Giant Bomb entitled So, Fez II....

    :)

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand:

    The closest thing I know of in the RB forums that is most directly related to the CoD example (there may have been others, before my time here) was the nerfing of Blitz power-ups during tournament time that came to be in a not-so-well planned out (or executed) fashion. Even in that example however, posters in this community expressed themselves in very rational and thought out comments, with very little immature name-calling or outright threats. Of course, as stated earlier, a music based game will certainly attract a different core user base than any shooting/fighting/war based game, but even so, the trolling was minimal, even taking into consideration the audience in RB type games having a less confrontational "attitude" than other game types.

    Still, even as good as HMX' PR department is (probably the best of any corporation, gaming and non-gaming alike), that example, as well as some others (the Fender Strat issue, and the issues with XMB booting come to mind) do show that even if you offer up as being one of the most open/sharing developers, there will always seem to be "some things" that could be addressed even a little more directly/immediately.

    I think it will be interesting to see how this community (re)acts as more of the secret projects that are being worked on come to light. Overall, even though the announcement/reveal so far for Music Evolved hasn't seem to draw great praise in here, it seems a good number are still holding out hope that HMX will deliver that next great "thing" and with RB becoming more and more distant, will this community (or whatever community arises with those new games) remain relatively troll free, disappear, or become a "more typical" Internet mix of the relatively few positive members with the majority troll mobs?

    I don't have anything to suggest to you guys to help keep the former and avoid the latter other than keep up with the good work you do and try to remain as forthright with "behind the corporate curtain" info as possible.
  • rkbdgurlrkbdgurl Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    Threats of any nature should never be tolerated. It's a game!

    Having said that, I haven't seen any threats here, but some rather nasty flame wars on rare occasions. Some of the worst things I've seen, have been mostly on weekends when there hasn't been much oversight. This community has for the most part, come to terms with the way things are in the game, and the trolls that used to be here, have lost interest, and moved on. It's hard to pick a fight with happy people. We're basically happy people here because...well.. Rock Band. :) This community loves Rock Band, and wants everyone else to love RB too. (The more people to rock out with.) Occasionally someone comes in here that really doesn't belong, but the community generally runs "em" out of town, thankfully.

    I like to think that we look after one another here. We have a common interest, and we like this community. It's home for many here, and yeah, families can be dysfunctional, and sometimes we are, but then we pick up our plastic gtrs, mics, and sticks, and have better things to do than argue and beat up on the very ones, who've made our lives richer. Our developers. Our HMX. After all... there are songs yet to be conquered.

    I think our mods, and you henry, have kept a good balance here. Allowing people to share opinions, but not letting it get too out of hand. Giving the "haters" just enough rope to hang themselves, without kicking the horse out from under them.

    It's important that new comers to RB always feel welcome, and think of the forums as a safe place to get answers, even when the answers aren't necessarily the ones they wanted. ROCK ON!
  • RockBandRockerRockBandRocker Love Is A Battleship
    edited July 2013
    M_Robbins5;5028887 said:

    One thing that I feel is important for all of us to remember and I'm sure you've seen it too Aaron is that the complaints will always be louder than the compliments. I see it on many online forums even the most popular of games will seem to get more complaints than anything because the whiners are more likely to complain than the people that like the game are to say good things about it.

    This is true outside of the realm of video game forums.

    I'm a member of the Muse message boards and there can be a lot of complaining over there. For example, the fact that the setlists the band play are rigged with little to no variation from gig to gig. The irony of the situation is that those who are complaining the loudest still pay money to go the concerts and are some of the more hardcore fans. They feel that since they've invested time and money in being a fan that they're entitled to complain when they're not happy (even though there are people not complaining).

    In some ways, the idea of "investing" is true in the gaming community as well.

    I'm not really sure how to finish this train of thought without making a sweeping generalization, but I think there's something special about the Rock Band community that doesn't exist in other game communities. When you think about it, the game has been "dead" (depending on your point of view) for over 3 months, yet people are still posting here, checking out the livestream and listening to the podcasts. What has the GH community been doing since that game closed shop?

    I think the folks at HMX who help run things here have done a great job over the years and that there are enough "veteran" posters here that self-police in order to make sure things don't turn sour.
  • CubecubedCubecubed Washed Up
    edited July 2013
    BachiG;5028921 said:
    Hmmm... That article looks really familiar for some reason... Like I've read it before somewhere. Oh yeah, it was here:


    :)

    That's what I get for not reading the whole thread, haha.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited July 2013
    RockBandRocker;5028928 said:
    people are still posting here, checking out the livestream and listening to the podcats.

    They got pod cats? OMG that sounds so cute! I wanna see the pod cats! ;-)

    Seriously, though, though I've been through my share of tiffs, trolls, and straight-up obstinence from time to time, I fully believe that the RB community is one of the better communities I've seen in general, and that the HMX community team past and present have always been great at providing the company with a human face, one so likable that I still follow with utter devotion those who were shown the door or walked out of it. And that helps dramatically with actually forming bonds with everyone else--because if the people you're here are cool with someone or somebody, you can be cool with them too. :-)

    I believe the HMX community team has done a tremendous job encouraging good posters and discouraging bad ones, and that makes a significant difference. They've managed alchemy--taking something that could be a giant weight on their neck and made it into something golden.

    Except for the Facebook page. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.
  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    hmxhenry;5028903 said:
    We try our damnedest to treat our community (fans / players / users / customers / whatever you want to label them) the way we want to be treated as gamers. I learned pretty early on that you can't BS your users. To paraphrase Lincoln, you might be able to trick some of them all of the time, or even all of them some of the time, but you can't dupe everyone all the time. Gamers are too smart for that, and I pride our community on being some of the smartest, most well informed of the lot.
    The only way this works is if you truly believe in the product you are selling. Which [the vast majority of] you clearly do. Harmonix makes games that people (including Harmonix employees!) love to play. The games and features that we want, you want too, and so we get them! ... whenever feasible.

    It's that "whenever feasible" part that some people get so angry about. It seems there's a [VERY] vocal minority that reacts very poorly to not getting their way. Some of that is because, yes, the internet is a perfect storm of features for expressing rage. And some people are just, uh, wired differently? This site does as good a job as is possible for minimizing antisocial behavior. And that job is made easier because the less-vocal majority is able to see that Harmonix has such a good track record of doing everything feasible to do right by gamers.
  • sillystousillystou Headliner
    edited July 2013
    Hi! I'm selling these fine leather jackets!
  • edited July 2013
    We have a huge advantage here in that the competitive side of this game is still pretty dang friendly.

    As far as these forums. I hand the state of things to it's members.

    I have held the hammer for many forums and none, ZERO have been used as little as they need to be here.

    The fundamental issues with the internet have been addressed so I wont go into it.

    We are a huge exception to a brutally lame rule on the interweb grid and I am dang proud to be a part of it.
  • BallisticJunkfoodBallisticJunkfood Headliner
    edited July 2013
    I always felt that this forum was the most friendly that I've ever been to. I wonder why I ever left.
  • edited July 2013
    Lawdog1521;5028885 said:
    The trick to remember is that when things are going good, people don't feel the need to comment. The bad apples however always feel the need to spout off.

    Here's how you deal with it though. You're not doing it (putting up with the hassle) for those people. You're doing it for the ones who appreciate you and what you do. They're out there even if you don't hear from them.

    It's most definitely understood that the negative voices are the vocal minority, but I'd be lying if I said that sometimes that lack of visible balance doesn't take it's toll.

    The best way I've found to deal with it, more so than focusing on the quiet, happy good apples, is to encourage and empower the good apples to speak out. The good folks should want to be as vocal about their good experiences as the rotten folks are about their negative experiences. That certainly helps strike a more balanced output, which keeps both the devs and the community on more even footing.
    BachiG;5028921 said:
    The closest thing I know of in the RB forums that is most directly related to the CoD example (there may have been others, before my time here) was the nerfing of Blitz power-ups during tournament time that came to be in a not-so-well planned out (or executed) fashion. Even in that example however, posters in this community expressed themselves in very rational and thought out comments, with very little immature name-calling or outright threats.

    Still, even as good as HMX' PR department is (probably the best of any corporation, gaming and non-gaming alike), that example, as well as some others (the Fender Strat issue, and the issues with XMB booting come to mind) do show that even if you offer up as being one of the most open/sharing developers, there will always seem to be "some things" that could be addressed even a little more directly/immediately.
    Re balancing the Blitz power ups is a great mirror to the recent CoD patch on a number of levels. The community, for the most part, was completely justified in their frustration and most of their comments. There was definitely some hostility that was over the line (either those comments or posters have been deleted... if we're doing our job then most posters shouldn't ever see the worst stuff), and I got a few threats via PM and email, but on the whole it was MUCH better than the CoD community, which I am forever thankful for.

    We obviously could have handled things better, or at least differently. But I'm glad that we were able to have that dialogue. We built tools into Blitz to allow for easier changes in response to fan feedback on RB, we were able to make those changes based on in game activity we were able to see, we followed community feedback opposing some specifics of the changes, and then we were able to change some of them back. The system worked, and while it was a bit of a bumpy road, I think the final destination was a good example of community and devs working together.

    Even at that point, by the time Blitz launched, we had a pretty established community that was comfortable with the tone. The earlier days, RB1 or RB2 launch, were much rockier. Delayed EU / Canadian launches, temporary console exclusivity, hardware availability, EU pricing, anger at cover songs, ONLY releasing 10 songs in a given week, etc. A lot of community work is setting expectations over time, so those early days were especially tough because there was nothing to compare it to, no common awareness of licensing difficulties or DLC timelines, no reassurance that "oh, this is how it worked with the last release, so it'll probably be similar this time".
    BachiG;5028921 said:
    I think it will be interesting to see how this community (re)acts as more of the secret projects that are being worked on come to light.
    I'm excited! We saw some community crossover with DC, but for the most part the communities mostly keep to themselves. That is, a lot of RB posters don't usually frequent the DC forums, and DC posters don't usually comment on the RB Facebook. But it's been important to us to build the Harmonix community rather than further divisions between titles, and I think we see a good mix in livestream viewers, podcast listeners, and live event attendees.
    rkbdgurl;5028927 said:
    I think our mods, and you henry, have kept a good balance here. Allowing people to share opinions, but not letting it get too out of hand. Giving the "haters" just enough rope to hang themselves, without kicking the horse out from under them.
    Thanks so much for the kind words! Thanks to everyone, in fact, for the positive feedback. It really means a lot, honest. I still love cranking on the community stuff, and we've got some really cool plans for things we can do in the future.
    LoopyChew;5028936 said:
    Except for the Facebook page. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.
    Yeah, I don't know what's going on there. They're much more vocal about their displeasure, and the way the comments are laid out make it so much more difficult to engage in actual conversation. Oh well, it gives us something to work on! ;)
  • MunnchyMunnchy Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    hmxhenry;5028993 said:
    Even at that point, by the time Blitz launched, we had a pretty established community that was comfortable with the tone. The earlier days, RB1 or RB2 launch, were much rockier. Delayed EU / Canadian launches, temporary console exclusivity, hardware availability, EU pricing, anger at cover songs, ONLY releasing 10 songs in a given week, etc. A lot of community work is setting expectations over time, so those early days were especially tough because there was nothing to compare it to, no common awareness of licensing difficulties or DLC timelines, no reassurance that "oh, this is how it worked with the last release, so it'll probably be similar this time"
    Yeah, that wasn't pleasant, but i'd like to think the audience reaction was justified for that one. I mean, yes, some did act out too much. I'd like to think I reacted fairly, but come on! RB2 was £37 pre owned. That's what a brand new copy should have cost! Regardless, you sorted the issues, and apologised/made up for some of the issues. (The EU bonus songs for RB1 was a very nice touch)
    Thanks so much for the kind words! Thanks to everyone, in fact, for the positive feedback. It really means a lot, honest. I still love cranking on the community stuff, and we've got some really cool plans for things we can do in the future

    If you need help with those future plans, give me a shout!
    Yeah, I don't know what's going on there. They're much more vocal about their displeasure, and the way the comments are laid out make it so much more difficult to engage in actual conversation. Oh well, it gives us something to work on! ;)

    2.8 million followers on FB, just short of 90,000 on twitter. Of course, you're gonna find most of the trouble there. I've seen the stuff that goes down there.... It's not pleasant. Just stick to twitter, where the cool kids are :p
  • OSweetMrMathOSweetMrMath Road Warrior
    edited July 2013
    Some thoughts:

    1. I am a fan of active moderation. The moderation here has always been on the side of keeping the conversation moving forward, and it has worked. Thanks, mods!

    2. Environments which are set up for conversation are better than environments which are not. Facebook and YouTube comments don't feel like a conversation. People are not committed to the idea of conversation, so they are more comfortable with just yelling insults.

    3. Twitter can be good for conversation, but it doesn't have enough protection against abuse. Blocking individuals can be effective for stopping individual abuse and for ignoring individuals who are disrupting conversation, but if a large group targets someone for abuse, there's no way to shield yourself from that.

    4. COD is a game where the goal is to defeat the other players. That mindset carries over into the community. Rock Band is never directly that competitive, so the community is less inherently aggressive.

    5. It's not strictly true that you get back what you give out. You can be perfectly polite and receive abuse in return. However, if your behavior is aggressive or abusive, there's no reason to expect anyone to treat you any differently. HMX has always treated its fans well, which encourages us to treat you well. People like Phil Fish's game, but my impression is that he may not be too likable personally. That makes it easier to excuse not treating him politely.

    6. It's ultimately about community standards, which have to have an enforcement mechanism. If Twitter (the company) decided they want to stop abusive behavior, they could. Short of that, tools at the individual level are not strong enough to control behavior. I've seen some interesting attempts at community controls on Twitter, but what I've seen so far doesn't scale.
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