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AGDC Panel: Community 101

Posted Sep 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

AGDC Panel: Community 101

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.

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