Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The $99 feedback loop

The Jessica Video Booth - Only $99!
I feel that the CSM has made some progress in helping CCP with messaging and it's been useful in a few cases already.  So here's a good example of what happens when the CSM is caught off guard (none of us really know what to say so we can't even help) and something pretty major gets tossed on the grill:

[Dev Blog] Monetizing 3rd Party Apps

This is the main comment thread. (33 pages in about 24 hours, up to 45 now)

Here is the thread on FHC.

A couple of interesting highlights:

Even Chribba is mad: LINKAGE

Decent summary post for lots of players: LINKAGE

I think it's fair to say that the message CCP is trying to put out there right now umm... isn't working. While there are plenty of posts and comments about what's going on, I thought I'd answer a question that seems to be on a lot of people's minds:
Does anyone know what goes on in CCP when one of the shitstorm threadnaughts of rage hit? Are they vOv,  "Yawn, trivial..." or are they, "Oh fuck, there go more subs!" ?
Well, generally it's directly proportional to the subject matter. In most cases (game balance, etc...), most folks don't even bother to concern themselves if it doesn't directly have something to do with THEIR job. The 'not my problem' syndrome is a common thing in most companies, but it doesn't really translate well when dealing with an online gaming community.  The day to day lack of familiarity with the people you work for (the subscribers) can lead people to make some pretty epic PR snafus.  This becomes quite amusing after a couple weeks of rage when a 'higher up' mentions that the community is upset about something. "Huh? What? But everything is going great I thought? Look at my new lines of code...."

This isn't just a ground level effect either. It goes all the way up in the sense that upper management doesn't (understandably) have time to read threadnaughts or do as much community interaction as they would like, so they are forced to rely on others for their information flow. More often than not, the community concerns / rage are glossed over so as to appear temporary or minimal. "Yeah, a vocal minority said some stuff but we're awesome and everything will be awesome."

Part of the disconnect is that as the company has grown, they have hired a lot more people that see their work as nothing more than a way to earn a below average salary. The average CCP employee does not follow the pulse of the community and does not log into TQ to do anything other than change skills or say, "I flew a bomber last night so I PVP'd this month." There are some very good people there that do their jobs as best they can but EVE is just that to them - a job. They do what their superiors tell them to do.

So when it comes time for actual messaging to the community, these same people are writing dev blogs about some thing that they are working on with no real concept of how it might affect the bigger picture or the community at large. No one that was actively engaged in this community could read some of the past few dev blogs and not walk away thinking :psyccp: .

Our never boring CSM Chairman, The Mittani, had this to day about it all:
"I think the island culture has to do with it. It's very easy to develop a consensus about how the world works when you're in a rinky-dink town like Reykjavik (which is lovely, but it's fucking tiny) and you drink with/hang out with/bump into your coworkers all the goddamned time.

Iceland also has a very charming culture of Just Not Giving A Fuck About Trivial Shit. 'Trivial Shit' in the Icelandic view seems to include smashing glasses in the street, pissing on walls like you just don't care in front of other people, parking your car in a way which blocks traffic/parking your car on a sidewalk, and just doing basically whatever the fuck you feel like because you're on an island full of fucking supermodels and there's nothing to do but drink, fuck, do drugs and party.

It's a great island, but there's a serious cultural disconnect between Reyk and the rest of reality."
Basically, the people at CCP who want to avoid PR disasters like this one have been using the CSM as a filter recently, but this latest batch of nonsense came completely out of the blue and it shows. Hopefully they will learn from this. I've raised this issue / blog on the internal CSM forums. If anything good comes of that, I'll let you all know. I hope after the weekend we'll see some better messaging emerge.

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