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Community Relations Is Hard

For those following the Tseric saga, he was apparently let go/resigned this week.

For those not following the Tseric saga:

Tseric was a forum moderator/community person for World of Warcraft. His main job involved gathering feedback from players on the official forums. There are words for jobs like this. Note: there are also other words.

Late on Sunday, Tseric gave what I like to call the Roy Batty Speech. This is a speech that everyone connected to a community on the internet gives at some point if they either (a) lose perspective about their life causing rampaging self-pity, (b) undergo a significant amount of stress causing rampaging self-pity, or (c) get so drunk they have an attack of rampaging self-pity but unfortunately not so drunk as to be unable to type into a web browser. (I have given several variations of this over time.) The Roy Batty Speech is something wildly dramatic, overwrought and self-indulgent. Note that Roy Batty had an excuse for being wildly dramatic and overwrought: He was a robot, he was Rutger Hauer, and he was dying. Unless you are a dying robot named Rutger Hauer, you don’t have enough reason to give the Roy Batty Speech. Tseric’s version of the Roy Batty Speech is preserved forever, because this is the Internet.

Posting impassionately, they say you don’t care.

Posting nothing, they say you ignore.

Posting with passion, you incite trolls.

Posting fluff, you say nonsense.

Post with what facts you have, they whittle down with rationale.

There is no win.

There is only slow degredation.

Take note. It is the first and only time you’ll see someone in my position make that position.

You can be me when I’m gone.

It went on for a while. Apparently posting on the forums has nothing to do with being teargassed in anti-globalization protests, just in case, you know, you were unsure. Also, you don’t understand what it’s like dealing with forums. Also, trolls suck.

The dirty not-quite-a-secret is that everyone even tenuously connected to the oversight of online games, or other internet communities, have said much these same words in various combinations. The difference is that we didn’t actually, you know, tell the customers these words. We didn’t give The Roy Batty Speech while we were on the clock. Because while blowing off steam is important, and necessary, it’s also something you by necessity do behind closed doors. Otherwise it’s not just venting steam, it’s merely venting. And that has its own connotation, and it’s an unpleasant one.

And that’s why Tseric is “pursuing other opportunities elsewhere”. Because part of having the fancy coloration in your name when you post is understanding that, no, you can’t just dive into the muck and root around with everyone else. You lost that privilege when you got the fancy colored name. You have to be different. You have to set the standard. And yes, that means you take a lot of unjustified punches. It comes with the territory of, as the Penny Arcade comic put it, eating bees. Sometimes the bees sting, and what are you going to do? Dude, you took a job eating bees. It will happen. And you’ll bitch about it to your friends off the clock constantly – but not on the clock. Not to the customers paying your way. It’s not how communities are run.

Anyway, it’s not really that important in the scheme of things. Well, it’s important to Tseric, since he’s LFG, but for the rest of us, it’s just another inappropriate context for the Roy Batty Speech. And it’ll happen again. People being human and all.