"The 'community manager' role is a fraud and a farce"


#1

Came across an interesting rant about Community Managers in the Open Source world and was wondering how much of it applied to the FGC.


#2

I mean, the dude isn’t entirely wrong, just kinda being pessimistic about it. The Community Manager is basically just the bridge between the “community” and the company. Of course a community manager would want people to be interested in the company he works for regardless of what they do. Everyone in every company wants that. That’s how businesses work. It’s kinda negative to act like the community manager is some sleezeball con artist who’s trying to market something to you that you don’t want when the business in general is doing that anyways. What the community manager does varies from company to company, but being in the marketing team is rarely one of the items listed in the job description. Now, the community manager may be at an event and may be interviewed about something or may be known as the “face” of the company, but they don’t go door to door pushing flyers or something. Basically his view is kinda skewed.


#3

I guess that is all pretty applicable when it comes to free software. When it comes to paid software though, the community managers seems to act more like a buffer between the devs and the fans. That is probably a good thing these days, because a poorly chosen comment can cost these companies money, and even cost some people their jobs. I know if I was a dev, the last thing I’d want to do is deal with the gaming community. Charisma and people skill should never be a requirement for being a dev.


#4

Well, look at how SFxT and SFII HDR turned out toward the end. You had s-kill telling us “I’ve yet to see evidence that Akuma should be rebalanced”, when it was basically clear as day that he was not fit for tournament use. It basically reeked of Capcom trying to avoid having to spend resources to rebalance the game. Same with SFxT toward the end of development. It got so silly that it was even cringeworthy to listen to Seth speak about the game because you basically knew he didn’t entirely believe what he was saying, but he had to because it was his job.

Now, I don’t think this guy is saying that Community Managers are frauds, con-artists or bad people per se, but it’s just the role is at best nothing more than a marketing strategy, at worst a con-job.


#5

S-Kill didn’t understand what he was undertaking and you don’t understand what type of job he took on himself. You’re better off appreciating the things he was able to give us than mad at those he couldn’t prevent. His job wasn’t to make the games; he wasn’t a producer or a director. He was there to prevent them from fucking up too bad. Sometimes he did it, others he couldn’t. So it goes in a big business.


#6

Again, it’s not about the people who undertook the role - it’s about the role itself. You’re basically there to hype up the community, listen to them, allay their fears and make promises that you know are beyond your control. So when things go south, you’re the one that ends up looking bad.

Look at the backlash Combofiend received for USFIV. Glitches, unblockables, stealth nerfs… all his fault, when chances are he was just repeating what was told to him by devs and higher-ups.


#7

The only people mad at combofiend are those that don’t understand what his job is, how he goes about accomplishing it and what the limitations are of it. Combofiend isn’t the only person at the table and servicing the community isn’t the only concern there. There’s only so much he can do; which is a lot better than nobody vouching for us. Yeah, sometimes he has to shill a product he doesn’t agree with but that’s the price for having access to the decision making process.

Community Managers are there to be shills for the ability to hopefully fix catastrophic fuck ups before they happen. This whole thread = shrug.


#8

Combofiend has got a lot of respect within FGC. Now they’ve got him saying stuff like “yeah we know this character is ass but it just means that winning with him will be more fun”. It’s hard NOT to get mad at someone for saying something like that when you know they don’t really believe it. In other communities he’d be labelled as a sell-out. It’s strange that this doesn’t seem to happen in a community that is as vocal as the FGC. Now many people understand that as a “Community Manager”, it’s part of his, or s-kill or Filthy Rich’s or whoever’s job. But how long do you keep the cognitive dissonance up?

Many people on here hate on Capcom or whatever company for their fuck-ups, but they will also support other members of the FGC who get promoted to positions of influence within these companies in the hopes that they can do something positive. However, if the role of Community Manager is recognized to be a synonym for “Corporate Shill”, why support or encourage it?


#9

Because people, for whatever reason, don’t believe that it is completely a synonym for that. Even though it probably is.


#10

It’s probably not something unique to fighting game players but people seem to be particularly credulous towards the altruism of people who work for Capcom, Madcatz, w/e else. Even top players in my experience look at rank and file fighting game players as people to get donations from, sell their extra sticks to, or simply as pot contributors. Us nobodies are just their customers at the end of the day, not their pals.


#11

Saw the original article, thought it was stupid. It’s a pedantic jihad overly interpreting the word MANAGER to define all relationships.

As someone who has made significant community outreach on behalf of his employing company over the years, I get what he’s saying at the core, but it’s a pretty limited and pointless interpretation.

hype: if you need to
listen: great plan
allay fears: great plan
make promises that you know are beyond your control: not if you’re doing your job right. More probably you only promise things after you’ve been promised them, and if you get fucked over by those people you get fuckheads thinking it’s your fault and yet it’s always been pretty completely outside your control.

What the fuck is he supposed to say to absolutists? A community manager is there to communicate with the community and offer the product they’ve been handed off by others. A critical voice isn’t necessarily a good career plan. You can discuss what ya got, listen to what peeps say, but at the end of the day you’re not writing the game so the only good you can do by stating that you feel “this character is ass” is to fuck yourself over in your chosen position.

Those sound like stupid communities. When you start asking no-win questions to someone who feels forced to answer you, don’t you expect stupid answers?

What cognitive dissonance? Sounds like anybody in that role has to ride a super-tricky line, and if you look at the publicly released documents from internal conversations on previous games, it looks like there are super-tricky lines people have to work with. (I’m guessing you’ve never done any serious business with other large teams or countries… you need to do some serious finessing.) If you’re asking them to ass-fuck themselves and their ability to help you so that they can say that Character XXX sucks so bad – even though the game lifecycle hasn’t really had a chance to breathe and prove that – that seems really abruptly short-sighted.

How about this twist: why deal with absolutists such as yourself? As someone who’s done significant amount of outreach, it’s always beautiful seeing the few loud confused people who demand pointless and illogical checkboxes to be filled in order for my work to have been meaningful. There’s markedly more to the job than a few pointless choice sentences or decisions extracted from months of work.

Why be that guy? Why encourage others to be that guy? Recognize that everybody has limitations in what they can do for or offer you, and they’re doing the best they can. Much as you are probably doing the best that you can. :tup:


#12

What’s your point? Are you following the actual discussion or just quoting me for the sake of quoting?

Saying that paint your employer in a negative light can jeopardize your position. That’s some brilliant insight you have there.
Someone who works for a company that regularly fucks their customers over won’t tell people that. Who denied that in the first place? The discussion is about whether or not the role this person plays is, for the sake brevity, relevant or not to the community, or if it’s just another name for a shill.

The fact that someone feels FORCED to answer a supposed NO-WIN question is the problem here. If situations like that exist as often as they are observed within our own community, then it’s a question of whether or not it’s a no-win ROLE.

Someone who chooses a job where they have to sell shit disguised as diamonds to customers also has to ride a super-tricky line. That is beside the point. It’s got nothing to do with the person themselves, it’s got to do with the ROLE.

As someone who doesn’t care about what you may or may not have done in your life, why not stop making assumptions about my world view or personal philosophies?

This entire diatribe is because you think I have a problem with the way Combofiend is doing his job? Seriously?

All you need to do is read:

And before you start painting me with your absolutist brush again, yes I do know that people like Combofiend have other roles at the company as well, like organising/attending events etc. But more often than not you’ll find that it’s the role of the Marketing or PR department at other companies, not the so-called “Community Manager”.


#13

Following the actual discussion and pointing out the insertion of an unrelated and false claim in your listing of job duties. Everything else, sure, I guess.

If you’re starting from a highly prejudiced position, as you seem to be repeatedly, we’re probably not going to have a very intelligent discussion. Hence my need to excise a prejudiced point from an analysis of duties.

Why would anybody say that ever? Why do you feel the need to qualify that statement?

That seems like a stupid discussion. “Let me validate calling this person a poopy name because they don’t shit upon something I dislike!”

Of course it’s a no-win role with people demanding agreement to their own points of view and disallowing the fact that others might not see it that way.

If we ignore those people, the role is excellent and win-win.

Please don’t mistake online rabble for the voice of all people everywhere.

O_o

If you’re saying this is shit disguised as diamonds, walk away. There’s really no value to being a malcontent. Go be happy about something else. If you cannot find a game to play in this current gaming nirvana, where both current and past games can be played offline and often online, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Just because you have your panties in a bunch doesn’t invalidate someone else’s person or their current career.

Just dealing with the words you type, which is one of the ways we meaningfully interact online.

No, it’s an example you gave, and I’ve been discussing it. If you don’t want to discuss an example, don’t bring it up and discuss it. This isn’t rocket science. Plus or minus this is … FGD, and thus we discuss your discussion in that context. If you don’t want it to be taken within that context, don’t post it in FGD.

And we get back to what I said at the start of my first post in this thread: “[this is] stupid. It’s a pedantic jihad overly interpreting the word MANAGER to define all relationships.”

This conversation is pretty retarded and has nothing to do with fighting games. I try to carefully curate the meta threads in FGD, and this doesn’t pass bar, especially in that it has now devolved into a) “if a dude working for the company doesn’t shit on things I dislike, he’s a shill!” and b) “the role of Community Manager is inherently non-valuable”. Both notions are flawed, and your discussion thereof has been nigh narcissistic. Your blog post is duly noted, and this thread is now closed.