Sanya Weathers at Eating Bees wrote in her seminal piece on the five things that will tank your community ‘(4) if you are a community manager that is ignoring the eighteen whiners on the boards ignoring them will hurt the community when all eighteen of them are saying the same thing. You are the one who is wrong, not them.’ But, what is ‘not ignoring?’
There are a few shades of response a community manager or a developer can write, and unfortunately the most common seems to be something along the lines of “your concerns are noted, and have been passed along or considered.” In my opinion, as a player, this response is only marginally better than being ignored. I don’t understand why the responder does not employ one of the most basic of management techniques: active listening. Repeat the players’ concerns in a condensed, polite manner, and some of the most acidic of criticizers will melt. “Hey, this dude is on our side.” Shocker, I know. Plus, many community managers have to digest and reiterate player concerns to the developers anyway; might as well double-dip on the work already done.
Orion, a developer for Lord of the Rings Online, did just this in his most recent blog post. He reiterated in a condensed version the complaints about hard mode/radiance gear/radiance gating in a few short paragraphs. My kinship went bananas. One of the guild leaders wrote “if he told us after [the active listening response] that it was ‘working as intended,’ I would’ve still been happy because they understand our problem.” Well of course. They have understood our problem all along. Certainly there are varying levels of detail in the response, and I would submit that the more detail in the response that mirrors the actual complaint the more soothed the savage beasts will be. Active listening in a super-condensed manner might not give the full result.
till Max said “be still”