Monday, September 08, 2008
Virtual lynch mobs
Over at Mark Jacob's blog the man is complaining about the threats and insults that the GOA account fiasco evoked from some customers. On the one side Mark certainly has a point: People say things on the internet that they would never dare to say to your face. I had my share of that, and I can feel his pain.
On the other hand Mark should be happy that his customers react in this irrational way, by posting foul language on some forums to blow off steam. Because the alternative would be customers reacting in a completely rational way and cancelling their pre-orders. MMO players *are* crazy like that, they complain in the most extreme form possible, but keep on paying every month. Most companies would be happy about customers like that, because in the end customers voting with their wallets hurt a lot more than any bad insults.
And of course the situation was made worse by Mythic's "we don't need no steeenking official forums" policy. At one point on Saturday this very blog was the place with the most up to date official information on the subject, even if it was a statement that community manager Iain probably regrets now, that nothing could possibly go wrong. Sorry, there aren't that many people reading this blog. Official information about what is going on belongs on an official site. If you get all the discussion about what is going wrong on your own forums, you can delete the most excessive threats and insults. Mythic's way to make official posts on forums they don't own takes forum moderation out of their hands, while still giving those forums enough officialness to become the target for all verbal attacks.
Anyway, I won't allow any virtual lynch mobs on my blog, against anyone. It is okay to be angry and to vent it, but not by using excessive personal attacks and threats. Calling GOA "incompetent" and threatening to cancel is totally okay. The anonymous "DEATH TO GOA" post is certainly *NOT* okay. There is quite a lot that can be intelligently said about the hubris of GOA without resorting to virtual lynching.
And GOA promised the account servers would be up in 20 minutes from now. Fingers crossed.