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News & Features Discussion  » General: AGDC Panel: Community 101

10 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  9/11/07 9:45:35 AM#1

MMORPG.com's Community Manager, Laura Genender, attended one of the AGDC panels headed by: Cindy Bowens, past Community Manager for Sigil and current Consultant for Seashadow Consulting; Craig Dalrymple, Community Relations Manager for EverQuest II and today's panel moderator; Kelly Knox, past Community Manager for Lineage II and current Community Manager for Sony Online Entertainment; Victor Wachter, Online Community Relations Manager for Cryptic Studios; and Sanya Weathers, Director of Community for Guild Café.

Just think of it as an "anything I ever wanted to know about Community Managers article!

One of my favorite topics at this year's AGDC had to be all of the great community panels - not only is it my job, but it's a growing role in the evolution of our industry! In the panel, Community Management 101, we hear from some of the best minds in the business about what, why, and who does the community management for our games and websites.

The four person panel sported some long time community managers: Cindy Bowens, past community manager for Sigil and current consultant for Seashadow Consulting; Craig Dalrymple, community relations manager for EverQuest II and today's panel moderator; Kelly Knox, past community manager for Lineage II and current community manager for Sony Online Entertainment; Victor Wachter, Online Community Relations Manager for Cryptic Studios; and Sanya Weathers, Director of Community for Guild Café.

What makes a good Community Manager?

Sanya jokingly replied, "Don't hire people like us!" On a more serious note - you are looking for someone with no ego, a sense of humor, a genuine desire to serve, and someone who is articulate enough to reach their community in a professional and legible manner. "I tend to think that girls do it easier," Sonya remarks - this is one of the few departments where ladies represent a majority.

Kelly adds that you want someone who "won't take the bait." When working with volatile forums and (sometimes) angry emails, a Community Manager needs to keep their cool. Kelly also looks for impeccable writing skills and a whole lot of patience.

To Victor, it's vitally important to have a strong sense of judgment - sometimes "best for the company" is not "best for the players," or vice versa. The Community Manager has to be able to present the situation to both times in a non-aggressive way.

Cindy agrees with the above points, but adds in that a Community Manager needs to have a thick skin. CMs are the people who receive the angry emails from players who want more information, fewer rules, different rules, face-time with the devs, etc.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7104

9/11/07 10:26:26 AM#2

Definition of a community manager:  Front person to put a good spin on all the problems while they have little influence over what the designers do.

The sad thing is they probably have a better idea of what the playerbase wants, but are largely ignored.  Fancy that.

Take Sanya for example with DAoC.  She well knew that the Trials of Atlantis was a major disaster, yet the designers completely ignored her when it came to toning it down.  I hope she writes a book someday about how not to ignore the community manger.

  Taera

Community Manager

Joined: 6/02/05
Posts: 1072

9/11/07 10:30:33 AM#3
Originally posted by Ozmodan

Definition of a community manager:  Front person to put a good spin on all the problems while they have little influence over what the designers do.

The sad thing is they probably have a better idea of what the playerbase wants, but are largely ignored.  Fancy that.


They're starting to get some notice from developers :) 

Laura "Taera" Genender
Community Manager
MMORPG.com

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7104

9/11/07 10:34:07 AM#4

I truely hope that is true Taera :).

  User Deleted
9/12/07 7:38:11 PM#5

Interesting read, always nice to see what happens behind the scenes ...

 

One thing I was curious about, though, is how they deal with the daily abuse...

 

  Steakpuncher

Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/04
Posts: 258

9/15/07 9:58:53 AM#6

A community manager is probably like the "tank" in the gaming world, the person who has to keep everyone else in check while they try to make themselves heard and make an impact (aggro) and when something goes wrong, they are the first to get all the flak for it.

Id say the worst thing a gaming CM would have to deal with, is when they are asked to address the community and give them some "cool" info that doesn't make it into the launch/game, because the users go straight for the messenger with their "But CM*name* said it was going to be in s/he was wrong, its their fault"

As for how people deal with abuse, I guess everyone handles it differently, when I ran my own forums I would get abuse from a lot of people, many of them friends I had made who didn't like being asked to stay in line. Most of the time I would try to ignore it, because you know most people don't mean what they say, and just say it because they are angry about something. Focusing on how you will feel after you succesfully resolve and defuse an issue not only helps calm you down, but also gives you the motivation to deal with the situation.

 

  Beatnik59

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2269

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

9/15/07 1:33:48 PM#7

As an MMO consumer, I don't want to be "managed."  If they want to manage me, they can pay me.

__________________________
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
--Arcken

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  Flummoxed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/24/07
Posts: 592

Make a WORLD,
Not a Game.

9/15/07 10:38:35 PM#8

Managing a Community is a Marketing and Public Relations job.

Which means that they're going to be 'managing' ie manipulating opinion in a direction that's favorable to the company employing them.  Corporations hire such people to spin news and events in a particular direction, not just dispense neutral facts about the product or service.

Example - Karl Rove was the "Community Manager" for the Bush administration. 

  Domenicus

Novice Member

Joined: 7/09/05
Posts: 302

9/18/07 12:35:03 PM#9

Who is Karl Rover?!?!?!

Although I do know Bush (the guy who looks like Alfred E. Neuman and which Peter Sellers based his ´Clouseu´ character)

  Wankler

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/31/03
Posts: 60

9/24/07 11:53:39 AM#10

"Victor tries to keep the developers off the boards altogether"

I think that's part of the problem with today's MMO's,  by the time the developers see it, it's been washed and sanatized through a Community Manager, The Marketing Department, and various and other sundry non-developer types.

That's been  problem I've seen with MMO's as of late.  The developers don't seem to be plugged in to what the players want, so things that really need fixing don't get the attention they need,  and instead we as players,  get un-needed features or complete re-writes, in some cases. There are a few exceptions.

If the developers were more plugged in to the communities, we'd have much better games coming out.

IMO a community manager should be more of a facilitator than a filter.

I would make the forums required reading for the developers.  I think allowing developers to respond freely is another topic altogether, but I would add to the list

* Make sure that the development team understands clearly what the community wants.

 

My 2 cents.