RadarX: Conquering Community Toxicity like Genghis Khan

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

genghis_khan

Daybreak Games Senior Community Relations Manager Tony “RadarX” Jones seems to view community management as a war between players and developers. At this year’s Game Developer’s Conference in March, RadarX will be hosting a panel to teach other game companies how they should run their Communities. Here’s the course description:

Toxic behavior in a community can drive player sentiment in the wrong direction, distract from desired discussion points, and cripple positive engagement. Examining principles used by military genius Genghis Khan, attendees will learn how to identify and defeat this behavior.

Takeaway

Attendees will learn to identify forms of toxic behavior regularly seen in online game communities, and practical techniques employed to combat it using real world examples in the industry.

You can read player reaction to this announcement on Reddit, but please note, at least two players experienced bans from the official Daybreak Forums in response to their comments on Reddit and/or Twitter.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (47)

  • Anaogi

    |

    I’d love to see his definition of “toxicity”.

    Reply

  • Pipsissiwa

    |

    /facepalm

    So many things I want to say, but won’t. I don’t need to, we all know.

    However I do especially love the implication that the community is the enemy. Nice attitude, that.

    Reply

  • bhagpuss

    |

    The comment about DBG being “a different company” drips with irony for anyone who remembers either Abashi, SOE’s original community interface, or the bleak period when the EverQuest forums became so toxic and brand-damaging they had to be closed entirely for several months and only re-opened under the heaviest of moderation.

    Some things never change.

    Reply

  • Wilhelm Arcturus

    |

    Clearly the challenge will be to take a drink every time he uses the word “ban,” or some variation, during his presentation, and if you haven’t passed out before the end you’ll know he’s lying.

    Reply

  • Democyde

    |

    The official forums operate almost like East Germany, where anything but glowing praise is reported by blindly loyal informants to the Stasi-tier moderation staff for removal or banning. That’s probably why all but the most dedicated users stay away.

    I was unaware, however, that their draconian reach had extended to words beyond their official forums. That’s rather sinister.

    Reply

  • Katz

    |

    I find myself using the forums less and less as they get merged more and more. They are pretty much a useless mess at this point and I’m pretty tired of the “all players are toxic” bad attitude.

    Reply

  • Tulerezzer

    |

    This is hilarious on so many levels!

    Reply

  • Aardvark1

    |

    Radar.. you’re a tool and until DBG actually listens to valid points the player base will remain at odds with DBG.

    DBG and EA are both on the same level of scumbaggery to me. I love the game but hate company running it. Go figure…

    Reply

  • GriffonLady

    |

    So does this mean the trolls and elitists constantly verbally attacking people to puff themselves up will FINALLY be going to Drunder?
    On the down side, there might not be many people left on normal servers after that…Might have to add a couple more “Drunder” servers…Doesn’t affect me much since I’ve been soloing since shortly after DOV due to general toxicity/immaturity/asinine/etc… attitude of the general population, but I would like to see the game survive and there need to be paying players for the game to continue on.
    Lets face it people. General channel makes Jerry Springer Show look intelectual. :\

    Reply

    • Krizani

      |

      I’m right there with you, Griffonlady. Soloing has been my recourse as well, for about the same length of time, though I thought I’d try some grouping in CoE. What a mistake.

      I’m an EQ1 veteran who prefers text (I’m far from the only one, I’ve found) to VC and that foray into the VC world convinced me to avoid grouping. The outrageous rudeness and vulgarity was so off-putting that it stood to ruin the whole gameplay experience for me. Since VC is pretty much required for a group these days I say a big no thanks.

      I’ve turned off general chat for the same reasons and the fact that getting a reply when sending polite tells to others while questing (in order to be courteous in making sure I’m not hogging mobs in the Fungus Farm series, for example) shocks me for getting any sort of response and further shocking me if it’s polite in response instead of a stream of vitriol.

      This situation is disheartening. I’ve learned to just avoid other people which is a shame because the community was what was so wonderful early on. If I had encountered this when starting the game I would never have continued with it.

      And it’s totally ironic that the announcement of this topic set off a storm of screaming and wailing and ad hominem attack.

      There’s been a huge decline in friendly, civil conversation and interactions over the last 15 years, for sure. I know there are lots of people who would say “well that’s the way it is, just deal” but no, it hasn’t always been the rule of the day and watching it go down the tubes is very sad. It seems the expectation is for everyone to descend to the lowest common denominator instead of the reverse and that says a lot about things in general, I’m afraid.

      Reply

      • Nefa

        |

        Off topic.. but is there a sub community or guild that prefers type over VC? I too prefer or even Need to use type. VC isn’t an option.

        Reply

      • Mesatron

        |

        Hi Krizani,

        I appreciate your point of view. As I recall, EQ1 (in its earliest days) was a much slower-paced game in all regards, and the manners and etiquette was a natural extension of that.

        The system of establishing camp spots/camp checks was necessary as most players were not powerful enough to pull more than 1-2 monsters at once, and health and mana regenerated at a much slower rate. Don’t you miss staring into your spellbook for 10 minutes, waiting for your mana to regenerate hehehe?

        Typing to chat was a necessity, and there was ample time to chat and socialize with your fellow group members.

        EQ2 on the other hand is a faster-paced game (comparatively), and continues to be faster all the time; fast travel, fast grouping experiences (i.e. Dungeon Finder), fast leveling and so forth. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the community standards have lowered, nor does it mean that the majority of other players are helpful and friendly; behavior is now as it was then – driven by the mechanics of the game.

        I think your perceptions are shaped by different set of expectations – some of which are very important to any online community (i.e. courtesy, mutual respect etc.) while others aren’t necessarily (I feel) representative of the community at large.

        For me, the beauty of any MMO is the opportunity to meet people you would have never had the chance to encounter in everyday life. Some of the friends I’ve made still keep in touch, years after they’ve moved on to other things.

        Making friends and getting into adventures together is what makes a game fun and memorable; I don’t remember the stats on the Journeyman’s boots my friend and I spent hours getting, but I will always remember the experience :).

        I’d like you to try something for me: approach other players with a ‘win-win’ proposition. Here’s what I mean:

        Instead of:

        /tell Luvstotank,”Would you please attacking my these monsters? I’m trying to finish my quest.”

        Try:

        /tell Luvstotank, “Hi Luvs, I’m working on the fungus farm quests, would you like to join me so we can share the updates?”

        While both messages are polite and reasonable requests, the 2nd option is far more likely to elicit a positive response (in my experience).

        The next thing I want you to do is make a list with columns: Good and Bad.

        For each every friendly, helpful player you encounter, /friend them and place them in the ‘Good’ column. For every ill-tempered, abusive player you encounter, place them on /ignore and write their name in the ‘Bad’ column.

        What this does is it builds a network of friendly, helpful players you can count on later to turn to for help with questing and grouping, or to just say ‘hello’ and talk with from time to time.

        The ‘Bad’ players don’t matter – erase them from your world and don’t give them any further thought.

        This is the exact approach I took, and to my surprise, for every entry in the ‘Bad’ list, I had a good 5-10+ entries on the ‘Good’ list.

        Try it yourself and see!

        Most importantly, don’t let a few bad experiences keep you from enjoying all this great game has to offer ;-)

        Reply

      • Hoot

        |

        I found EQ1 to be way more hostile back in the day. And even today in regards to Project 1999. You have to be whitewashing history to say that wasn’t the case. Though nostalgia can do that.

        Anyone remember the death threats of accidental trains? The hours long bickering over raid spawns until a GM had to step in order to resolve it? The server shutdown freakouts in the server menu chat room? The hostility to new players since they didn’t have a clear understanding of how to play in groups?

        Look, we’re all human. It’s just the way of life on how these games work. If you really want to play solo adventures then try out Elder Scrolls Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim.

        Reply

  • kaozz

    |

    EQ2 players toxic? They are a tame bunch compared to most games I play, a really well rounded community IMO. DBG seriously lacks in the customer service area all around. I’d advise taking some courses on customer retention and customer relations.

    Genghis Khan? Next he’ll want to rape… our wallets? What a joke. Sorry, I couldn’t hold that back.

    Reply

  • Kong

    |

    RadarX, one of the worst “Community Herders” will be giving a seminar to other game companies how to handle their enemies, aka their playerbase? Seems legit. Haven’t used the forums for so so long and I do not plan to. I wonder where that petition I sent in 5-6 weeks ago went but they are probably still trying to have one of their two mods look at it.

    Reply

  • Amy

    |

    People are being banned on EQ2 official forums for speaking their mind on twitter and reddit? That seems extreme and unjustified.

    Reply

  • noluk

    |

    He’d have to have some experience as a manager before he gives seminars. Now Luperza..there was a great manager.

    Reply

    • SekretInfoz

      |

      His previous experience was shitposting on Flames.

      Reply

  • Maver

    |

    Krizani, you couldn’t be more wrong.
    It’s people like you, who like to point fingers on everyone else and strike everyone with the same brush, that make communities “toxic” in the first place.
    YOU are a part of the community just like everyone else so I suggest acting if you think that there’s a need for change, instead of incapsulating and cutting yourself of. It’s an MMORPG, if you can’t handle people go play Skyrim but please stop ruining our community by pointing fingers and making groundless accusations. That’s just destructive and I’m so glad we don’t have many players of your ilk on Valor, which is In fact the best most polite and mature online game community I know and I was/am in basically every MMORPG out there EU and US servers alike.

    Reply

    • Nim

      |

      Maver, I have a feeling a post like yours is precisely why Krisani hides away. You are sort of proving his/her point.

      The way I read your post, is that you say if people can’t handle other people being rude, vulgar, offensive, verbally violent etc., they should just go play Skyrim and then you claim these victims are the ones ruining the community. You claim Krizani is fingerpointing, but isn’t it you, that is pointing fingers now and making groundless accusations?

      I hope, I have read your post completely wrong and is simply misunderstanding what you are trying to say.


      But I feel in general,it is often the kind (and sensitive) people that are in the wrong on the internet and it is always the bullies that decides what is the ‘right’ behaviour?

      Reply

    • GriffonLady

      |

      LOL “People like you” ? You really should be looking in a mirror when you say that. :\ (Ohhh the irony was not missed when you accused someone of pointing the finger.) XD Destructive? Telling people who want people to act civilized to leave the community is not destructive? XD REALLY? XD My ribs hurt! stop making me laugh!!! Yes, yes… Lets keep all the vulgar assholes and encourage them to go to any extreme they please instead, shall we? XD
      Let’s help the community by telling people who don’t play your way (and instead of getting in someone’s face, they peacefully solo or play with a friend or two) Let’s tell them to bugger off and play a different game….

      See, this is just the tamest part of the insanity that drives people like us to solo and shut general off. A bunch of spoiled brats that think every one should be able to be rude as possible, and every one should do things their way or leave.

      Groundless accusations? I refuse to use headset as well due to rude and disgusting behavior. I agree with all that Krizani said. (Seriously. Being on headset was like someone personified Urban dictionary, but gave it a belligerent, misogynistic personality with no filter between it’s brain and mouth, then added several overdoses of vulgarity.

      Why is it so offensive for some of us to wish people weren’t so offensive? XD

      Reply

    • Krizani

      |

      Gosh, this is a lot like the replies I get when I send polite tells to people asking them to stop stealing my aggro’d mobs. Well, minus the foul language, thankfully.

      If you can think of some way to inspire civility in others aside from being courteous to start with, I’d sure like to hear it. How refreshing it would be to have it offered to me without worrying about being expected to somehow evoke it.

      I did think about mentioning that I have occasionally found people to play with in my first post, but it seemed off topic a little. Also, they have moved on and the experiment with grouping that I mentioned was an effort to find new friends. It failed spectacularly.

      I actually do make an effort to reach out on a regular basis but the way people answer to the most innocent thing has been getting worse and worse over time. The friends I had were from pretty close to launch.

      I’m sorry you took this so personally, it was not intended that way. It was a relief to finally speak out about what I experience pretty much daily. I’m just glad I can turn off general chat and use my ignore list, though ignore doesn’t screen for the first time someone is abusive.

      How you replied reminds me of a bit of advice I heard once: it’s better to be thought foolish than open your mouth and remove all doubt. I offer it as very good advice indeed.

      Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      Maver, try Maj’Dul. We’ve got some terrible human beings there. Great people too, but the terrible makes me want to turn off Public chat.

      Reply

      • Ablivion

        |

        This goes for every server. You either find a guild or surround yourself and play with your friends or good players you met in the game. Pretty much what I do and probably the only real reason why I feel so devoted to this game, because of those very few people I like spending my free time with. And best part is, all that is not affected by misbehaving players or rogue community managers and I enjoy every moment of playing.

        I’m honestly baffled by people reacting to public chats. It’s a game. If people talk politics, ideology, religion, or some other topic you dislike talking about, or are just being plain rude, who cares? You ignore the chat and go on with your day. If you end up in a group of players who lack skill or gear, why name calling and ragequitting (I’ve seen this happen a lot on Skyfire)? Why not actually help them learn how to play better, guide them or at least offer some advice.

        So yeah as far as player community goes, it could use some polishing, but honestly, people are taking taking these issues so seriously it’s sad and makes them look immature.

        Reply

        • Feldon

          |

          Public chat was reasonably pleasant on Butcherblock before the mergers. And if you out all these whack jobs on ignore, it’s very confusing as you see half the conversation.

          Reply

  • Archangel

    |

    “Examining principles used by military genius Genghis Khan, attendees will learn how to identify and defeat this behavior.”
    Tony “RadarX” Jones

    “Fear will keep the local systems in line.”
    Tarkin, Star Wars (1977)

    Speaks volumes on Mr. Jone’s state of mind regarding customers.

    “at least two players experienced bans”
    Feldon

    And keep in mind it’s Mr. Jones opinion of what constitutes a ‘bad’ customer.

    And what a fine example Mr. Jones uses for his planned puff talk.

    http://www.history.com/topics/genghis-khan
    “Genghis Khan … one of the most feared conquerors of all time.”
    “Many people were slaughtered in the course of Genghis Khan’s invasions”
    “killed his older half-brother”
    “executed the leaders of enemy tribes”

    Or to sum up the negatives:
    “No one knows with any certainty how many people died during Genghis Khan’s wars, in part because the Mongols propagated their vicious image as a way of spreading terror.”

    Is Mr. Jones going for “Terror” as a customer tool? Is he aware of the phrase “Collateral Damage”?

    Yes, there are positives attached to Genghis Khan, none of which apparently interests Mr. Jones. Not mentioning these as, Mr. Jones is emphasizing what he considers military aspects.

    Were Mr. Jones not going for shock value and wanting to look ‘cool’, he’d use the traditional “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu (http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html).

    If he had any intellectual subtly, there’s “The Prince” by Nicolo Machiavelli (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm).

    Free to read Mr. Jones. It’s required reading for some.

    /*

    “Whoever has experienced the power and the unrestrained ability to humiliate another human being automatically loses his own sensations. Tyranny is a habit, it has its own organic life, it develops finally into a disease. The habit can kill and coarsen the very best man or woman to the level of a beast. Blood and power intoxicate … the return of the human dignity, repentance and regeneration becomes almost impossible.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Reply

    • Jeeshman

      |

      I’m fairly certain Radar will be using Kahn’s teachings after he conquered most of the world. Once he ruled basically everything, he focused on maintaining the peace. He is known to have said:

      “The mastery of pride is harder to subdue than a wild lion. If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.”

      “[A leader] can never be happy until his people are happy.”

      “No friend is better than your own wise heart!”

      I suspect Radar’s talking points will be: be humble, don’t consider the job done until the playerbase is ‘happy’ (i.e., it at least understands the company’s reasoning, even if it disagrees with it), and follow your instincts. The title is just an attention-grabber for a talk that will not be all that outrageous.

      Reply

      • Feldon

        |

        “Be humble”. He is absolutely certain that his approach to forum management is infallible. I have had several conversations with him on Skype, to no avail.

        Reply

  • Necromancer

    |

    The lack of transparency with two different companies across a decade now is what has lead to the community to be “toxic”.

    Reply

  • Krizani

    |

    Just to be clear, this is in response to Maver. Thanks for your reply, Griffonlady – sounds like we are having very similar experiences.

    Reply

  • Shwiggon

    |

    RadarX is the kind of retard that kills your company by subscribing to the “Us vs Them” mentality.

    How has he kept his job? Any reasonable developer in the industry should know that this sort of behavior is the beginning of the end for their PR and support from fans.

    Given how little historical documents exist for Genghis Khan, it just strikes me as the sort of psuedo intellectual neckbeard stroking type comment when he claims its the “tactics’ he is using.

    Daybreak, save yourself the trouble and fire this trollop before he kills your community any further.

    Reply

    • Hoot

      |

      He kept his job in the same way that Smedley and all the other idiots did.

      Reply

  • Taka

    |

    Speaking a great community management… anyone been keeping track of Blade and souls launch and the launch events and notice [formally know as Luperza's] (note: not community manager but related) videos and tweets: https://twitter.com/MargaretKrohn.

    Remember how she used to give video states of the game and communicate on facebook, twitter, and social media and was non-adversarial and communicative was like that on the Planetside2 also.

    Is Roshen the current community manager??

    Reply

  • Maver

    |

    Kitzari, calling me foolish in your little quote there doesn’t make it better to play an MMORPG and totally avoid everyone. It’s still destructive behaviour towards a community also you are a finger pointing , groundless accusation making person. A quote won’t help there.

    Reply

    • Krizani

      |

      Maver, I think it might be a good idea for you to reread my post. Nowhere did I say I have “totally” avoided everyone, in fact quite the opposite.

      And do you have a rationale for your assertion that avoiding rude, abusive people is destructive? Of course not everyone is rude and abusive, but I think even 5 minutes of monitoring General chat will tell you that they certainly exist and often in the majority, depending on the time of the day, day of the week, etc.

      Erm, groundless accusations? I guess you can make the case that you weren’t present to see the barrage of foul language coming in on my tells that I referred to, but I assure you, it’s been there.

      I’m sorry, but until you demonstrate that you are actually reading and comprehending what others say and do a small amount of critical thinking rather than leaping in with your own accusations (baseless accusations, at that) I submit you ARE being foolish, and removing all doubt to boot :smile:

      This is my last post on this subject – I guess I should thank you for proving my point so well. Welcome to my ignore list…

      Reply

    • thait

      |

      Avoiding playing with other players is not “destructive behavior” towards anyone. If i’m playing an MMO and decide i want to play by myself or only with a few close friends it is nobody else’s business but mine.

      You seem to think you have the right to demand that everyone plays they way you want them to Maver, and if they don’t then you consider their play style to be wrong for some reason. A person who holds the view that “This in an MMO so you had better play with others” is far more ‘destructive’ than the person who quietly plays off by themselves.

      Reply

  • Maver

    |

    And in reply to Griffonlady:
    It’s always so funny to see people who think EVERYONE else is bad and only they have the intelligence to judge everybody else.
    Sorry to wake you up there, but of everyone else seems the problem maybe you should start looking at your own behaviour and things you say.

    Reply

  • madrat

    |

    I would like to say the US vs Them mentality is what got us to the current location of the game as it sits right now. It is not good anytime a community manager treats it’s customer base as the enemy. When you do folks will eventually get tired of it and go elsewhere. This cost the company money, and impacts the resources they have available to keep the game going.

    Reply

  • Hoot

    |

    SoE (DBG w/e) lecturing other videogame developers??? Ha! They haven’t been relevant in the industry in ages upon ages. Nobody is going to listen to them.

    Honestly, the EQ2 forums are so dead and only very few people post on them. I wonder whether or not the ‘trolls’ are just people who have opposing opinions or say in a manner that hurts someones feeling. That’s just how the world works. I have never in my time playing EQ2 ever put someone on ignore. I like to treat an MMO like real life in terms of a community. I don’t go for the pansy idea of a ‘safe space’ and will openly accept whether or not someone curses or disrespects me.

    Honestly, the people who support this are the same type of people who are absolute control freaks. DBG are full of control freaks and so are some of the community members. Look, if people upset you so much in an MMO then play a non-MMO with friends. Plain and simple.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      I’m no longer participating in the EQ2 forums. What is the point?

      Reply

      • mizgamer62

        |

        Bless your heart Feldon. You have tried so hard over the years to support the EQ2 community in a positive way and have tried to get through to the powers in charge many times. I sadly feel that DBG is more interested in any $$$ they can squeeze out rather than overall customer satisfaction and a quality product. I personally feel that the sunset is around the corner for this game and that is such a shame. Any way thank you for all you have done and try to do.

        Reply

        • Deveryn

          |

          They’re scrambling for cash because it’s been so poorly handled in the past.

          I’ve never been one to agree with the sentiment, but having been through other sunsets, I also feel like one is on the way. There’s further breakdown in communication. There’s the way they handled the merges and the problems resulting from it. Support is just atrocious now. Characters are broken and they’re worried about TLE (the members only lounge with a plethora of issues).

          Reply

          • Mizgamer62

            |

            Agreed.

            Reply

      • Hoot

        |

        My comment wasn’t directed at you Feldon. It was more so just in general about the community.

        Reply

  • Kitten

    |

    Kind of rude to make it an us against you thing. You yourself should consider yourself a part of this community as we feel a part in the forums. Take a deep breath and relax. This should be a Positive time for all of us. We have to move beyond the past and into new light but a War Picture and saying: Genghis Khan, seems a little silly.
    or personally attacking SOE employees noted at the bottom-this is out dated, I think it should properly say Daybreak.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      I need to update it. And I have no problem with people confronting RadarX’s negative anti-customer behavior. He’s kicked open the door to that.

      Reply

  • Rezikai

    |

    ::shakes head::

    Moorguard and Blackguard are rolling over in their graves. (not that their dead… maybe on the inside lol)

    When a company is sold and bought like SOE was customer service should be one of if not THE #1 priority for customer retention. Since the product being put out must have not been enough to keep the cost viable… I’ll leave it at that.

    Anywho as someone who occasionally visits the forums but has long since quit playing the game I don’t have 1st hand knowledge of the current broken and upsetting things in EQ2 but it was a main reason I quit long ago when it was terrible then.. I can imagine how it is now. However in regards to RadarX’s comments on Genghis Khan… and giving a seminar to other game companies… ahem…I find that amusing. I’ll leave it at that.

    Oh and I’m old school Krizani hating since like 2006… hehe.

    Reply

Leave a comment

- Name (required)
- Website (optional)
Please post your comments without flaming or insulting other players or personally attacking SOE employees. Comments from bogus e-mail addresses may be deleted. If you wish to have an Avatar picture, feel free to create an account on Gravatar.com. Once you sign up for a Gravatar account, then any Wordpress-powered blog you comment on will automagically show your avatar.

Powered by Warp Theme Framework