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Game Developers React to the ArenaNet Controversy: The Firing Had "No Dialogue, No Nuance, No Empathy"

The firing of Jessica Price and Peter Fries has many developers speaking out.

Analysis by Mike Williams, .

It's been a few days since Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet found itself in the middle of a rather large discussion. Everything kicked off when former Guild Wars 2 narrative designer Jessica Price responded to a comment from an ArenaNet content partner known only as Deroir. The fallout of the exchange saw Price fired a two days later, alongside environment artist Peter Fries who defended Price on Twitter.

"We are committed to fostering open, constructive dialogue with our community around our games. Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication, and they are no longer with the company," an ArenaNet spokeperson told us in a statement on the situation.

The Chilling Effect

The industry has reacted to the firing of Price and Fries in varying way. Some noted that developers are increasingly afraid to talk to the community at all. Online communities are more organized, meaning a developer can quickly find themselves standing alone against a wave of angry players. A similar situation involved former Microsoft creative director Adam Orth's firing back in 2013 over comments made about the Xbox One's previous always-online capabilities. Regardless, developers are talking about the fact that many are afraid to engage at all, with the firing acting as a chilling effect.

"Bright, insightful, warm, witty, kind people are shuttering their accounts now, terrified their words will get blown into a scandal. It breaks my heart to lose their voices. It's a loss to all of us. If you think I care more about someone's tone than my friends, you don't know me," said Anna Megill, narrative lead of Remedy Entertainment's upcoming title Control [Link].

Folks pointed to the fact that Deroir's comments were polite as a reason that Price should have engaged better with them. In response, some have pointed out that engagements are frequently in aggregate for developers; one conversation isn't the only one that developer may have had on social media. As such, it's better for companies to take to the time to talk with their employees in these situations, not move directly to firing.

"I have fucked up talking to our players a number of times. I've been rash, angry, rude when there was no reason to. Sometimes I had a conversation with someone from player relations who was like, 'dude, chill,'" said Riot Games systems designer Daniel Klein [Link]. "Being civil and polite doesn't make you less harmful. If a dozen people came up to you every day and very politely and with a pleasant voice pointed out they believed you didn't know what you were doing, and did you need any help doing your job, you'd snap."

"Maybe your employer doesn't like the way you talked to your customers. That's fair! They should raise this with you. Preferably, clear rules should be set in advance, and feedback should be given when you do something the employer did not approve of," Klein added.

The Problem is Management

Many of the developer comments relating to this situation talk about company management of the situation. Price and Fries were fired without any prior disciplinary actions made, which for many developers reinforces the problems with at-will employment. One former ArenaNet developer said the issue was one with ArenaNet's management specifically.

"Games culture has its problems but the power in play here was management over employees," said Night in the Woods co-creator Scott Benson [Link].

"I was at ArenaNet for four years, shipped [Guild Wars 2], and loved so much of my time there, but this shitty executive approach to dev/player relations existed back then, too. And I’m so sad to see that it seems to have gotten worse," said Wizards of the Coast designer Kate Welch [Link].

Some noted the long-time contributions of both employees to the running nature of Guild Wars 2, saying that ArenaNet threw the pair to the wolves.

"I don't think Jessica Price and Peter Fries deserve to be fired in light of everything they've done for the studio, the games, and past interactions with fans. I don't think they have done anything unseemly or illegal or offensive," wrote Gears 5 storyboard artist Jessie Lam [Link]. "It never fails to pain me when a company doesn't do its best to stand by and defend its employees most especially when they've done nothing wrong. Seen way too many devs and crews in and out of this industry who have been unfairly thrown under the bus."

Issues With Outcome

Other developers think that Price should've reacted better to Deroir's comments, but don't think that firing should've been on the table. One developer said that it's a bit off that all developers should be expected to stand "on the front lines talking to players," and most of that interaction should be handled solely by a community team.

"ArenaNet probably shouldn’t have fired these two writers. The writers probably shouldn’t have tweeted what they did. It’s not a black and white issue," said Zynga senior producer Tami Sigmund [Link]. "Just for clarification, I don’t believe either of the writers should have been fired for what they said. I think it was handled horribly, and ArenaNet are extremely in the wrong here."

There are some benefits to developers being so open to fans. One developer noted that fan feedback is frequently poor, but occasionally a developer might run into feedback that is useful.

"As a game dev you'll always hear opinions/ideas from fans. Don't get me wrong, in most cases they will be terrible, but the answer is never to lash out against the fans. Jessica Price should have handled it better, but I really don't think ArenaNet was right to fire the two devs," said Stellaris game designer Daniel Moregård [Link]. "Besides, you want the fans to be engaged, and feel like they have a more direct connection to the devs. In most cases you will hear bad ideas, in a lot of cases you'll hear ideas you already thought about 1-2 years ago, but in some cases you might actually get some good ideas."

Justified Firings

Not everyone developer is worried about the consequences of the situation. Some believe that Price's conduct was unprofessional and her firing was justified or understandable. (Surprisingly, not many comment on Peter Fries' firing in this case of justification.)

"How does anyone who claims to be a writer and narrative designer fail so miserably in basic communication, pulls off a masterful exercise in hypocrisy, confuses a public space for private, and then completely miss the center-point of the whole resulting kerfuffle?" asked Warhorse Studios designer/scripter Jan Smejkal [Link]. "While I don't believe it was necessary, firing of Jessica Price does not create 'a dangerous precedent', you dummies."

"This is what I don't understand, not only are people not criticising her frankly awful behaviour, they're suggesting that she has an absolute right to be a toxic as she likes towards her employer's customers and be utterly free from any negative consequences of that, it's absurd," said Hutch Games product owner Ian Griffiths in a comment on Gamasutra. "Being criticised is annoying, but if it's respectful and you don't like it, you can just ignore it. You don't have to be mean to be people, it's arrogant and just sets a precedent."

"I have written in both of my previous responses here that she probably shouldn't have been fired, I think a disciplinary action would have been enough," Griffiths said in a further comment. "Calling a customer of the game developer you work for an 'asshat' for respectfully stating a difference of an opinion could very well get you fired, that is not a surprising notion. Asking that developers interact respectfully with their audience does add to the gaming community."

[Writer's Note: After the publishing of this article, Griffiths has pointed to other comments he made on Gamasutra, arguing that the firing itself was not necessary. One of those statements has been added above.]

A Need for Clear Social Media Guidelines

One developer, Opaque Space, used the situation to address the company's social media guidelines in regards to private accounts. They think of the firing as a problem with industry process.

"We view the firings of Jessica Price and Peter Fries by ArenaNet as a catalyst for many companies having to openly discuss and publicly state their internal mechanisms for dealing with harassment of their staff. Opaque Space has very specific policies about how private accounts are owned and operated by our staff, and what they do in their own time with those forums," said the company on Twitter.

Opaque Space is the developer of NASA-collaborated virtual reality title Earthlight. Emre Deniz, director of Opaque Space, noted that Peter Fries' firing followed a 12 year career at the developer and his response "mild, polite and only asserted that Price was right". Deniz noted that there is a "huge message" behind both firings. Deniz is not only reacting to the situation, but messages aimed at the company about game design lead Jennifer Scheurle. Scheurle noted that she had been receiving messages on social media since making a tweet about the lack female CEOs within German companies.

"It's been 6 days of people screeching at me about talking about the lack of female CEOs in the German games industry," Scheurle wrote in a follow-up tweet [Link]. "Jessica Price's firing from ArenaNet emboldens people to ask for people like me to be lectured at best by my employer, fired at worst."

Jan MacLean, executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), backed up the sentiment of companies needing better guidelines. In a blog post, MacLean noted that developers should be asking management what are the guidelines for social media use, especially in situations where an employee is expected to make responses on personal accounts and could suffer risks for doing so.

"This incident makes very clear the perils of social media for game developers, especially when transparent and well-understood guidelines for staff members are not in place. Without clear information from an employer on social media use, interacting with people as a game developer can jeopardize someone’s job and career, and even their personal safety," MacLean wrote. "Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities. Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles."

On Twitter, MacLean noted that most companies simply don't have clearly communicated social media guidelines for employees. Companies lack guidelines for employee protection related social media, or how running afoul of social media guidelines could trigger disciplinary action. Remedy narrative lead Anna Megill noted that companies need to figure out their strategies handling such situations immediately. Kitfox Games boss Tanya Short said that her studio had already worked out harassment policy guidelines and she was willing to share them.

Time For Unions?

Finally, the situation has improved the case of Game Workers Unite, an organization that seeks to build a unionized game industry. Apparently, firing your employees without warning or previous disciplinary actions tends to make other employees look towards protections. Game Workers Unite made a lengthy statement about the situation on one chapter of the organization noted that membership increased this week.

"It is important to understand the context in which women, people of color, and queer folks regularly exist while online, which is often a seemingly endless deluge of people commenting on, critiquing, and offering unsolicited advice on their craft," said the organization in its statement. "The game industry also has a well-documented history of predominantly women and marginalized workers being tormented into abandoning social media, driven out of their workplaces, and sometimes even forced to leave the industry altogether. Within this context it is grossly unfair to expect a veteran narrative designer like Jessica to be anything but defensive about these kinds of player and developer interactions."

"Regardless of how one feels about Price's actions and regardless of where one draws the line between rudeness and exasperation in Price's tweets, the fact of the matter is that there is an entire spectrum of responses ArenaNet could have taken, but chose not to. The company could have done anything from pulling their employee aside and discussing their behavior, to giving them an internal reprimand and offered them additional training. Instead, ArenaNet, under the clearly inadequate leadership of Mike O'Brien, made the knee-jerk reaction to fire a member of their team. No dialogue, no nuance, no empathy," the statement continued.


It's likely that the discussion around this will continue for some time. Game developers are just people and people have differing opinions. But the latter part of this discussion, talking about the nature of employment in regards to social media and protections for employees, are important conversations to have. Hopefully those will continue on long after this situation has faded on the same social media it started.

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Comments 82

  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #1 benjaminlu86 7 days ago
    Unionization unionization unionization.

    No matter how nice they may be, your boss and company management are *necessarily and by definition* not completely on your side. Every time they sign your check, they have to ask "why am I paying this amount to this person? Can another employee do this for the same amount or less?" These are the everyday questions of management and are critical to running a successful company, but this is in tension with regular humans having careers and livelihoods.

    A union is a seat at the table that represents you, the worker, and your interests. The union has power because a company can't consist of only managers---it needs workers. The worker's job is a necessary component of a functioning company and therefore a worker has the right to negotiate terms for that work. A lack of a union means the company has the ability to unilaterally decide changes in the terms of work that may (and usually do) lead to suffering workers.

    This isn't quantum mechanics. It should be obvious that companies will act to maximize profit to itself. It should be equally obvious that workers should collectively act to maximize protections for themselves.
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  • Avatar for DemiurgicSoul #2 DemiurgicSoul 7 days ago
    Mike, this is the most balanced article I have read regarding this story. You cover multiple angles of this issue and provide commentary from professionals in the industry to back up those differing viewpoints. You do so without preaching for whatever side you feel is correct, which is something I can't say about any other article I've read on it. You trust the reader to absorb what you wrote and allow them to think critically about this complex and important issue.

    In other words, this is good journalism. Very well done!Edited 2 times. Last edited 1 weeks ago by DemiurgicSoul
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #3 Monkey-Tamer 7 days ago
    As someone who has a job that puts him in the public eye I have my social media on absolute lock down. If you invite the world into your space they will tell you what to do and how to do it. They will not be rational, or guided by your years of experience. No good could ever come of it, which is why I don't engage in it. I wrote my employer's social media policy. No employee is allowed to speak for their office. Social media is not the place to conduct business. I recommend using it for distributing baby pictures, funny memes, and griping about politics (unless you're in politics).
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  • Avatar for nimzy #4 nimzy 7 days ago
    While I worked in the industry the guidelines were blunt and to the point: do not talk to the fans. This and many other incidents (Phil Fish's well-publicized meltdown remains the gold standard of "what not to do on social media as a game developer") have only re-emphasized why this is a rule. You might have good intentions. You might even get positive feedback for a while. But it only takes a single mistake and then it's all over. Leave social media to the PR team.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #5 Kuni-Nino 7 days ago
    Great job collecting all that info Mike. Very comprehensive. Unfortunately I can’t voice anything that hasn’t been said already.

    All this story does is remind me that you should always treat people with respect. Decisions about what you’ll be are made by people higher than you. Be a good person.

    Side note: thanks for also keeping the article about the industry and how it can learn from this instead of framing it as yet another culture war piece.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #6 WiIIyTheAntelope 7 days ago
    If she would have just came out made a twitter post saying something along the lines of "ok look, I acted like a dick and crossed the line. I'm sorry the incident ever happened. blah blah blah." then the whole thing would have blown over almost immediately. Instead she doubled down.

    And now that she's returned to twitter after getting fired and she's still doubling down yet again about how she did absolutely nothing wrong and everything that happened was the fault of evil men, and she has no blame in the situation whatsoever, and ArenaNet is evil and hates women.

    And then you scroll down her timeline about a year, and that's exactly the same thing she did when she got canned from Paizo.

    Owning up to your own failures shows character. Blaming your failures in life on everyone but yourself, sorry...but you'll get no sympathy from me.Edited 1 weeks ago by WiIIyTheAntelope
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #7 Funny_Colour_Blue 7 days ago
    @Monkey-Tamer dude, I had chills down my spine the moment local news channels started covering twitter for coverage - nothing good could ever come from it, it blows my mind.

    It's absolutely insane.
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  • Avatar for Mola_Ram #8 Mola_Ram 7 days ago
    A lot of companies now have social media policies. If ArenaNet didn't, then they should rectify that. I think a lot of it should be common sense, but that seems to be in short supply these days. So it would probably help to have something written down and relayed to employees.

    As for the incident itself, she did bad. I don't care how many times people have (allegedly) sealioned you, if you are a representative of a company you simply cannot respond in that way and expect no repercussions. If you can't be civil, either ignore people or block them. Or make your account private, or get off social media altogether. You have options.

    I don't know that she should have been fired for the comments. I think most people would have been fine with a simple "sorry, I screwed up" tweet. But maybe there were things happening behind the scenes, maybe she doubled down when management spoke to her about it, I don't know.

    At any rate, I don't think the incident is "chilling". Having a public social media account is like having a megaphone in a busy town square, and you have to assume that everything you say will be heard. My cousin was fired from a bank because they paid him late one time and he badmouthed them on Facebook. This is a common thing now.

    So engage your brain and think about whether you would be comfortable telling the whole world what you think. If your answer is "no", then don't say it on social media.Edited 1 weeks ago by Mola_Ram
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  • Avatar for TernBird #9 TernBird 7 days ago
    Price's firing was totally unfair.

    The guy who commented her was condescending and played up the victim card, mansplaining game writing to someone with ten years' worth of experience. I wouldn't go to Tim Schafer and say, "You should do this". I wouldn't go to Amy Henning and say "Cool, but do this next time".

    If people cared so much about visible game developers being "rude" on Twitter, even if it's on their personal pages, I wanna know right now why nobody is saying a peep over Hideaki Kamiya's constant vitriol and condescension on a daily basis. I wanna know why Kamiya hasn't been fired after drawing himself answering twitter while looking up porn. The guy's Twitter banner is a *pile* of posts where he's doing nothing but dragging his audience through the mud. He gets away with insulting randos openly, and he's practically applauded for it. Pierce tells people not to tell her how to do her job, and she's thrown to the wolves. And like the article said: not one peep about Fries.

    I call "BS". This is indeed why we need unions, and I hope Price lands on her feet. (Hell, with 10 years' worth of experience? She ought to have people lining up for her expertise.)
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #10 WiIIyTheAntelope 7 days ago
    @TernBird Do you want to know why Kamiya hasn't been fired? It's because he founded the studio. Do you really think he's going to fire himself?

    It's adorable that you're trying to say Deroir is playing the victim card though. He's been nothing but complimentary to her, before and after the incident. meanwhile, she's done nothing but go on and on and on and whine to the shit tier rags like polygon about how the evil men are out to get her.

    I'm not sure you'd know what a victim card was if one were stapled to your forehead.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #11 VotesForCows 7 days ago
    @Ohoni Curious comment about gamergate there my friend. So you're suggesting that writers like Mike should not write articles in the way that they choose (in their own website), because doing so may spark a movement of doxxing, death threats, and harrassment? That seems disproportionate.
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  • Avatar for docexe #12 docexe 7 days ago
    @Monkey-Tamer I can understand why people use social media for PR or to engage with fans and customers: For good and for ill, they are the form of media with the widest reach in this post-Y2K era we live in. And yet, most of them are really unsuited to have any kind of meaningful conversation and just exacerbate and polarize topics that are already controversial.

    But yes, this incident just reinforces my life-long commitment to keep those social media accounts that have my real name on them locked to private, and the only account I have public set to a pseudonym and devoted almost completely to fandom related things.
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  • Avatar for docexe #13 docexe 7 days ago
    @WiIIyTheAntelope Price actions and behavior were indefensible in the context they happened and she deserved to be sanctioned, yet I find it troubling how you are taking so much glee in dragging her down (and anyone who speaks in her favor). Then I remember you were also the guy who protested about that IGN editor who was fired for sexual assault allegations.

    You present some very fair and rational points, but your biases are also extremely obvious. Yet you don’t mind trash talking other people for their biases. It seems unfitting to be throwing out rocks when you live in a glass house.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #14 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    I agree with the person who said Mike did a good job on this article! I felt like it was appropriately balanced.

    Personally, I think Price's comments were a bit toxic. It's inappropriate to throw around accusations of sexism just because you get a little criticism and you don't like it.

    That being said, I don't think she should have been fired. Perhaps she violated company policy, but Mike is right that this kind of firing can have a chilling effect on dialogue. Honestly I'd prefer to live in a world where people are allowed to speak out, because we may as well get these unpleasant feelings out in the open so we can deal with them. And let's be honest, we can all get defensive and be assholes in a moment of weakness. I would have preferred for her to be given a chance to apologize rather than to be fired.Edited 6 days ago by Flipsider99
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #15 Fourfoldroot 7 days ago
    Still this? She insulted a customer for no good reason. She did so publicly. There was no defence.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #16 WiIIyTheAntelope 7 days ago
    @docexe I don't actually find any joy in the situation. It's actually a bit old tbh.

    The difference between the IGN guy and this is that he was fired over nothing but allegations. I don't believe anyone should be fired just because somebody makes an unsubstantiated claim about them. If there's evidence to support the claims, then by all means they should be sacked. Whatever happened with that anyways? Did anything ever come of it? Genuinely curious as I haven't heard anything about it since, and completely forgot about it until right now.

    Price on the other hand made her thing very public. I still firmly believe if she would have just given Deroir a token "sorry for being an ass." tweet the whole thing would be over and she'd still have her job.
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  • Avatar for docexe #17 docexe 7 days ago
    @Ohoni I think you mean the months’ long harassment war between the most irrational part of the gaming media against the most irrational part of the gaming community that still keeps people on edge to this day.

    To go with another historical analogy: The Axis powers committed all kind of atrocities, but the Allies did so as well. It doesn’t matter who or what started it, it’s disingenuous to pretend in this kind of conflicts that one side was the more “righteous” one, when in truth, both displayed the same kind of nastiness.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #18 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    @docexe I feel pretty much the same. That whole gamergate thing was awful because it felt like both sides were full of toxicity. It reminded me of the movie War Games... the only way to win that game was not to play.
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  • Avatar for docexe #19 docexe 7 days ago
    @WiIIyTheAntelope My point is that you are being unnecessarily nasty while paradoxically condemning other people for the same thing:

    “…shit tier rags like polygon…”

    “I'm not sure you'd know what a victim card was if one were stapled to your forehead.”

    Really? Was all that vitriol necessary?
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  • Avatar for docexe #20 docexe 7 days ago
  • Avatar for Mooglepies #21 Mooglepies 7 days ago
    What a crappy situation for all concerned - hopefully at least this prompts more places in the industry to get their houses in order around social media policies. It should be transparently clear to both management and employees what is and is not acceptable behaviour when out in the wild, whether on work time or their own. As other commenters have also pointed out, greater unionisation would also help on that front.

    It's very easy to cut yourself on the double edged sword of social media, no matter how you choose to use it.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #22 TernBird 7 days ago
    @Ohoni

    I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story's narrative design; (1 of 3)

    Sure. Tell someone talking about their job that their problem isn't the thing they described having difficulty working with, but something else. Totally not mansplaining, look at how polite he was. Look, being polite with condescension is still condescending, and handwaving something someone is talking about to a professional of over a decade is still really rude.

    If we're gonna establish some kind of bar of standard and insist that there is no protection for people, then I wanna see it implemented on everyone. Regardless of whether you know them or not.
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  • Avatar for docexe #23 docexe 7 days ago
    @Ohoni Ok, I did saw some funky things happening while refreshing the site, so I’m going to take by true what you said about your account being hacked and quote your previous reply here:

    "I'm sorry if I hold the games media to a higher standard than rando trolls. I expect trolls to troll. I don't like it, but there's little I can do to stop them. I expect better from people in the games media, they are ostensibly professionals, so when the games media starts trolling the game community, I get rightfully upset by that, as did many others, and that was the whole point of gamergate to the vast majority of people who were even aware of the issue."

    That might have been the original intention of the “organized movement” part of gamergate, the whole ethics in gaming journalism motto, and it can’t be denied that some gaming sites acted really improperly during the whole fiasco. Nevertheless, the movement quickly got co-opted by those rando trolls you mention, and many people got out of it as soon as they realized what kind of people they were rubbing shoulders with. That part can’t really be downplayed and, again, is disingenuous to do so.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #24 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    @TernBird Hey, could you stop using the term "mansplaining"? Whether you read condescension or not into his comments (I don't see it,) there's no reason at all to genderize it. The entire point of that term seems to be to shame men who dare to disagree with women. That's unacceptable. Part of being a professional, whether you're a man or a woman, is having a thick enough skin to accept some disagreement. It's pretty toxic to turn every disagreement into a gender war.
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  • Avatar for docexe #25 docexe 7 days ago
    @Ohoni From what I saw around in some sites, some online forums and some parts of social media, no, they weren‘t.

    You are welcome.Edited 6 days ago by docexe
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #26 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    @Ohoni I think you can't really get anywhere debating about the amount of trolls; let's say they were only a tiny minority. Even if that's the case, the problem with that movement was that it was based mostly on anger and it was unfocused. Even if I agree that they have something to justifiably be angry about (in some cases I do,) that sort of reactionary movement was never going to have a chance to accomplish anything. In the end it only made things worse.
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  • Avatar for docexe #27 docexe 7 days ago
    @Ohoni Fair point, but the volume can still allow them to dominate the conversation and color the entire thing. It reminds me of how the Pareto principle works: “For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”.

    There is also the fact (and it has happened in a lot of social and political movements that might have started with good intentions only to deteriorate later) that once the loud minority of assholes gets hold of the conversation, they start pushing the more fair-minded people away until they are practically the only ones left in the movement. I frankly think that’s what ultimately happened with Gamergate. A lot of people are still disgruntled with gaming journalism, but they no longer identify as part of the movement.

    I might also add, that several gaming sites did become way more transparent as a result of the movement, and that not every gaming site was openly hostile against Gamergate.

    But there was a lot of “groupthink” and “if you are not with me you are against me” in both corners. Many people in the gaming press immediately jumped to the conclusion “if you say anything remotely positive or in favor of Gamergate then you are evil”, just as many people affiliated with Gamergate also jumped to the conclusion “if you make any social justice critique of a game then you are corrupt”. That’s why I’m saying the whole thing was ultimately a war between two incredibly irrational segments of two different and larger groups.Edited 2 times. Last edited 6 days ago by docexe
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #28 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    @Ohoni I don't think you're wrong. As I said, I agree that there were some things in the press to be legitimately angry about, and still are. But I think the bigger picture is social media itself, and how it tends to enflame our worst instincts, and turn movements based on good ideas into something toxic.

    What's interesting is that you can see this happen on both sides. There's a lot of similarity between Gamergate and the Me Too movement, for example. There's something about movements started in social media that take good ideas and turn them toxic, take people who want change for the better into angry mobs, and create movements which are only counter productive to their own causes.
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  • @Ohoni
    While Price certainly could have responded nicer, the point she’s trying to make is that it’s not upon her to be nice to everyone who wants to tell her how to work. She was demonstrating her belief that women get more unwanted advice than men do, and have less room to tell people to screw off for it.

    Personally, I think social media is a net loss for all creators, regardless of gender. Other social spaces can be much worse to women certainly, but Twitter doesn’t care who it flames. I’ve been following the Destiny 2 saga, where a bunch of devs interact with fans while male, and are repeatedly get told that their game sucks shit and is dying. I would say the old “gamers are just the worst” line would apply except everything in life seems to be on fire because of social media accounts. Even global security today is at risk because prominent global leaders give forward-looking policy statements on a platform that enforces posts below 500 characters and has no edit button.

    Don’t make Twitter an extension of your job. It’s almost a social ill at this point, and journalists trying to use it as an extension of their job have been trolled into a news hellscape by it. About the only corporate business that belongs on the site is Public Relations.Edited 4 times. Last edited 6 days ago by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Also, while I think the tweet was incredibly rude, AN could have done the following:

    “The views of this employee do not represent the views of ArenaNet, Inc.”

    ...and that’s be that. They fired people, reshuffling their organization’s creative hierarchy and putting people out of work, when they could have done what I did right there. The firing of a male co-worker who defended her right to tweet her opinion on her own time seems designed simply to protect the company from discrimination suits.

    This was just nakedly bad management, and it’ll cost them in future departures and a lower-cut crop of recruits.
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  • @Ohoni
    Nobody is owed visible reprimands. Businesses handle their shit privately for a reason. One of the things that keeps a business humming along is the understanding that employees can be themselves when off the clock, so long as they are not representing the company. This is why you see a lot of “my views, not my employers” style disclaimers in bios.

    The amount of onus people put on companies to babysit their employees after hours isn’t healthy. Nobody outside of politicians sanitizes their entire life to be company endorsed.
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  • Avatar for heaterhands #32 heaterhands 7 days ago
    To those of you who thought ArenaNet were justified in firing Price and Fries, and who think the reaction to parts of the GW2 community on Reddit and other social media was appropriate given the perceived offense, I really recommend seeking out this Twitter thread streamer and youtuber Beaglerush (John Teasdale) wrote, dissecting the controversy.

    Like you, I was initially a bit taken aback by the way Price conducted herself in the initial interaction with Deroir, at least the way her conduct was recounted by various gaming news outlets. He was just being polite, and she got mad and played the gender card out of nowhere, right? Well, it turns out, none of the news outlets really managed to convey the original flow of the conversation properly in the way it actually played out on Twitter, which Teasdale digs into in his thread. If you read and parse the Tweets the way -- and in the actual order -- they were written, Deroir's passive aggression becomes a lot more apparent, and Price's reaction easier to understand.

    Note that Teasdale's thread does escalate a bit toward the end with rhetoric that might be hard to swallow for those who think Price transgressed in a big way, but his meticulous, forensic deconstruction and explanation of what actually happened is extremely valuable regardless of how you stand on the larger issues involved.

    Again, I urge you to read Beaglerush's thread, it might hopefully go some way in explaining the reactions of both Price herself, and of the people who have criticised the way in which both ArenaNet and parts of the GW fan community handled this thing.

    Also, big thanks to Mike Williams for this article, I hope UsGamer keeps following this story. I desperately hope the press is able to stay on and keep digging into this thing beyond the first news cycle. It's an important moment, it feels like, and I don't think games media at large can afford to botch its responsibilities again, like it did in 2014/15.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #33 Ohoni 7 days ago
    @heaterhands
    "The tweets between Price and Deroir are so overtly that of Deroir "well, actually"-ing her thread, Price calling that out fairly tamely, and then Deroir spending the rest of the time passive-aggressively playing the victim."

    Here's where Teasdale gets it wrong. He incorrectly makes assumptions about the nature Deroir's original post, and spirals out of control from there. It only goes downhill from there.

    "Well, it turns out, none of the news outlets really managed to convey the original flow of the conversation properly in the way it actually played out on Twitter, which Teasdale digs into in his thread."

    The flow of the conversation supports the original description, she behaved inappropriately. Only through the lens of Teasdale's unfounded assumptions that Deroir was "up to no good" does any alternate conspiracy start to form. It's nonsense.

    I do think that everyone should read all the tweets, in their original order, which is how I first encountered them on the GW2 subreddit, but Teasdale's editorializing about motives is nonsense.Edited 2 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for pdubb #34 pdubb 7 days ago
    My simple comment is thanks Mike for a great piece. May we have more gaming sites learn from your ways.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #35 yuberus 7 days ago
    Mike's article is solid, but really I expect no less - he does great work on any sort of heated subject.

    But also, all I'm gonna say about this trainwreck of a comment thread defending gamergate is that anyone who seriously thinks gamergate was and is about anything other than harassing women out of the games industry is living deep in denial. It started on a lie about a developer, snowballed into harassing and threatening numerous other women (and their friends) and lying about them, and hey! It's still going on to today, and has spread out to comics, books, and freaking Star Wars. Is it a vocal minority of fandoms? Absolutely, but it's still a toxic and frankly dangerous one, and pretending gamergate involved anyone but those people is silly. If you bought into the lie that it had anything to do with "ethics in games journalism" well, you were duped and you should feel bad about it.
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #36 Iliya-Moroumetz 7 days ago
    Of course, the same number of dumbasses come out of the woodwork to show how little they care about the big picture because she wasn't polite and nice 24/7.
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  • Avatar for Talraen #37 Talraen 7 days ago
    Thanks, Mike, this is probably the best piece I've seen on this story in the gaming press to date. That's why I keep coming here!

    I'm torn on this story in a number of ways. When I first heard that Price and Fries were fired, I assumed they had either been warned previously or were asked to apologize or get off social media and refused. However, nothing to that effect has come out, and it certainly seems that this was a first-offense firing. I do suspect the company may have had issues with some of Price's older tweets, but even if that were the case, they owe it to her to say so. Being on final warning without knowing you're on final warning is totally unfair.

    I've also seen no real information on specifically why Fries was fired. I don't think what either writer did constituted a fireable offense in and of itself, but I can at least see some possible argument for Price. Not so much for Fries, leading me to believe ArenaNet likely overreacted across the board here. (Or was trying to cover itself against accusations of sexism, which is no more defensible if so.)

    I don't think anyone wants to live in a world where stepping one toe out of line will get you fired. If Price had apologized to Deroir, even while still making all the points she made, I'd like to think this wouldn't have blown up - but I don't know that.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #38 Roto13 7 days ago
    @yuberus I would personally punch every member of gamergate in the face, one at a time, if given the opportunity. But if gamergate came out against ingesting cyanide, half the games industry and the people who cover it would be dead within a week. "But gamergate is against her" is not a good reason to defend someone who doesn't know how to interact with people.
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  • Avatar for AceOfCakez #39 AceOfCakez 7 days ago
    Well written article here. The only thing I want to add is that we're not seeing the full picture here as observers. I can tell you that working from HR, sometimes we have crappy employees but can't fire them (due to laws and such) because they didn't cross a line yet. Not saying that this is truth but what if Price was a crappy employee and this situation gave management a reason to finally get rid of her? Just last week, someone in my company got fired because he sent a scathing email criticizing and lambasting one of our biggest clients. At the end of the day, sometimes being good to the customer is the highest priority in some businesses.
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  • Avatar for ian-g #40 ian-g 7 days ago
    I think you've somewhat misrepresented my opinion. You write,
    "Some believe that Price's conduct was unprofessional and her firing was justified." And then quote a comment from me.

    I made it clear in numerous comments on Gamasutra and elsewhere that while I think Price's behaviour was poor, I don't think she should have been fired. Here are some links:

    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/321512/Guild_Wars_2_writers_dismissed_after_Twitter_spat_with_streamer.php#comment302459
    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/321512/Guild_Wars_2_writers_dismissed_after_Twitter_spat_with_streamer.php#comment302501
    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/321512/Guild_Wars_2_writers_dismissed_after_Twitter_spat_with_streamer.php#comment302461
    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-07-06-arenanet-sends-all-the-wrong-messages

    I'd appreciate it if you didn't misrepresent my opinion, I am available to contact had you just reached out.
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  • @Flipsider99 As a male developer, would you feel comfortable working with Price knowing that even politely objecting to her opinions would be construed as "harassment" and "mansplaining"? I would not, and not because I am sexist but because I treat sexism very seriously and do not want someone who is mentally unstable making an allegation that could end my career (even without evidence).

    Game developers, even game story editors like Jessica Price, work together under high levels of stress for long periods of time. Crunching for 80 hours a week is stressful, and people are imperfect. You're never going to express yourself perfectly, so having someone around who might take a poorly expressed remark as a personal insult is a dangerous liability to a team. If this situation hadn't played out directly in public on Twitter, but instead was one ArenaNet dev's word against Jessica Price's word, how would this play out? Every single male developer would basically shut up around Jessica, and that is no way to have to behave in a job workplace that is supposed to treat people equally.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #42 MHWilliams 7 days ago
    @ian-g Links to further quotes added to the article itself. My apologies for the error.
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  • Avatar for ian-g #43 ian-g 7 days ago
    @MHWilliams thank you! I appreciate that I'm arguing that the behaviour was poor but I really don't think that Price should have been fired, nor Fries of course.
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  • Avatar for Concession #44 Concession 7 days ago
    Oh boy. Someday videogames will enter the real world where not everything is run on startup culture.

    Your company has a PR department. Let them handle what PR stands for and if you decide to take it upon yourself to represent the company you better act like a PR person. Basically telling customers to F off will never ever be acceptable.

    Anyway, back to my real job where if I speak to customers I'll talk through those in PR or customer service and certainly will never relay anything in a negative tone to them. That's because I'm a professional.
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  • @yuberus This is an illogical and slanderous take on a broad group of people. I hope one day you are able to see the error of your ways.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #46 jimbergevinjr14 7 days ago
    @Flipsider99 The problem was and still is, is that she had plenty if chances to apologise in the last week. Instead, as Willy said, she continued to double down and exacerbate the issue throughout the whole ordeal. Her most recent Twitter postings only prove the point that she accepts zero responsibility for her part in all of this. She claims that Anet's statement is a call for open harassment upon her and Peter, conveniently ignoring the fact that the (uncalled for) harassment had already begun before she had finished her Tweet-storm on the 4th, but still used it to say it was the reason she was fired the following day.

    She took a fan of the game, and an admirer of her work and decided to use him as the sacrificial lamb on her ongoing Crusade. She thought by doing it off the clock it would protect her against any repercussions by her Company, but she left her company no real alternative when she continued to attack her company's customers in subsequent tweets.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #47 jimbergevinjr14 7 days ago
    @heaterhands I actually did read that Twitter thread after he posted it. The problem is, he like others, attempt to read more into Deroir posts than is actually there. They neglect the fact that Deroir admired her work, and saw this as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue on a subject that they are both passionate about. He was not only rebuffed, but then "named and shamed" as a sexist. Quite frankly, I don't think my response, had it been me, would have been quite so tame.

    Also let's not forget the fact that gamers make suggestions like these on a regular basis, and have done so for as long as a game has provided an outlet to do so. I can go into any number if gaming forums and find suggestions that are worded virtually verbatim and are directed not only at the dev team as an entity, but also individually to both male and female devs. However, I would be hard-pressed to find responses like Jessica's to those suggestions.Edited 6 days ago by jimbergevinjr14
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #48 Iliya-Moroumetz 7 days ago
    @jimbergevinjr14 What's there to discuss? He was talking down to her about a subject she had already gone over in the thread!

    And frankly, this whole discussion, regardless of where it was, is akin to someone speaking on a podium or in public, and what'shisface barging in with an opinion no one asked for. Just because he was polite did not mean he was owed any respect.

    It's why I don't have social media. If I want to talk to someone, I do it face to face or directly.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #49 Roto13 6 days ago
    @Iliya-Moroumetz I can tell you're not on social media, because you clearly don't know what Twitter is for.
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  • @Flipsider99 Consider the example of James Damore, who in 2017 made a very thoughtful, sober, and scientifically-backed memo (which was written, it should be added, at the request of his employer). When political ideologues saw Damore's memo, they leaked it to the press and stirred up a hate mob, which then subsequently gave Google cause to fire him.

    That was actually a case of stirring up a mob to fire people, and businesses failing to stand up under pressure. In the case of Jessica Price, the issue is public pressure demanding basic and fundamental civility, and a small clique of industry insiders trying to circle the wagons in order to prevent themselves from being held to any sort of minimal standard for professionalism.

    If citing scientific research is enough to get you fired, then Jessica Price's unrepentant sexist attacks on customers should definitely be enough to get you fired.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #51 jimbergevinjr14 6 days ago
    @Iliya-Moroumetz Like I said in my previous post, this is how the interaction between gamers and developers work, and has been such for longer than Jessica has been in the industry. It is nothing unusual. What is unusual was her response it.

    She did it on a public forum that encourages comments and as a perceived representative of her company.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #52 jimbergevinjr14 6 days ago
    Deleted 6 days ago by jimbergevinjr14
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  • Avatar for docexe #53 docexe 6 days ago
    @Ohoni I think you make a fair point about how several gaming sites are acting improperly on this issue by trying to frame it as if Price was an innocent victim, but I also think you are off the mark in several respects.

    First, ArenaNet didn’t act in a completely fair manner, and not necessarily because they fired Price but because they fired Fries as well. From what I managed to see of the whole twitter conversation, he came to Price defense but acted with complete decorum and didn’t deserve to be terminated with no possibility to appeal. As other commenters have mentioned, it seems they fired him along with Price in order to avoid being seen as sexist, but the firing still reflects badly on the management.

    Second, we don’t need more gaming journalists who speak in favor of gamers, because many gaming journalists already do so as they ARE gamers themselves. I have seen articles in different gaming sites highlighting the good things that different parts of the gaming community do, for not mentioning how most gaming sites last year were not shy in excoriating EA in particular and the whole gaming industry in general for the whole loot box fiasco. That is speaking in favor of gamers both as consumers and as a community.

    What we actually need is for more gaming journalists to exert better judgement about the topics they cover and how they cover them, not to mention to avoid falling into the traps of groupthinking and overgeneralization. Price identifies as a feminist so many gaming journalists who also identify as such feel the need to speak in her favor because they think they have to “help the cause”, despite the fact that her actions were ultimately indefensible. By the same token, while I think it’s possible to highlight the fact that female developers are indeed treated more unfairly online than their male counterparts, they can’t really use Price as an example of that in this context because, again, her actions were indefensible and she was the bad actor in the incident. They might even cause more damage to “the cause” by using her as an example.

    Meanwhile, calling out the rando trolls for their bullshit is not by itself a bad thing to do. While you make a fair point of how doing so might add more fuel to the fire by giving them attention, I think it is necessary to, at the very least, demarcate that they don’t speak for everyone in the community and to not fall into the same trap of groupthinking of tolerating or even defending terrible individuals just because they happen to be part of your same social group. The thing is that you have to do so without falling into overgeneralizations or blanket statements. The gaming community is not a homogenous group at all (indeed, is probably even wrong to describe it as a single group rather than as a collective of several different groups), you can call out the people in it who act badly, some might even argue that you should, but you can’t paint all the other members with the same brushstroke. That’s the sin that all the gaming journalists who penned “Gamers are dead” articles committed and that many gaming journalists still keep repeating to this day: They keep lumping the rotten apples with the rest of the bunch and throwing out the whole basket to the garbage in the process.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #54 Ohoni 6 days ago
    @yuberus

    "But also, all I'm gonna say about this trainwreck of a comment thread defending gamergate is that anyone who seriously thinks gamergate was and is about anything other than harassing women out of the games industry is living deep in denial"

    No, that's the problem, many media outlets at the time pressed that exact statement so hard that many people bought into it. The "harassment against women" element of gamergate was a tiny fringe portion of it, a fraction of a percent, but it's all the media would focus on because it was a story about the media and they wanted to distract from actually doing anything about their own. The "harassment against women" element was essentially the "what about Hillary's emails?!" side of the gamergate situation.Edited 2 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #55 Ohoni 6 days ago
    @docexe

    "First, ArenaNet didn’t act in a completely fair manner, and not necessarily because they fired Price but because they fired Fries as well. From what I managed to see of the whole twitter conversation, he came to Price defense but acted with complete decorum and didn’t deserve to be terminated with no possibility to appeal. As other commenters have mentioned, it seems they fired him along with Price in order to avoid being seen as sexist, but the firing still reflects badly on the management."

    As an outsider, I am not 100% behind them on that either, I too fail to see why his actions would be deserving of firing, but 1. the media doesn't seem to focus on that element either, and 2. I can't say with certainty that they were wrong, because I don't know what went on behind the scenes there. If that was all he did? Then no, I think they over-extended on firing him and it would be nice if they could come to some sort of arrangement and bring him back in, given his long time with the company. But given that they did fire him, I have to think there was more to the story than the public has seen.

    Second, we don’t need more gaming journalists who speak in favor of gamers, because many gaming journalists already do so as they ARE gamers themselves.

    And yet the touchpoint of gamergate was the "gamers are dead" article, which many other media outlet lauded and seconded. Pretty much all gaming journalists play games, but many of them also seem to make an effort to distance themselves from gamers as a group, to take "a higher road" as they seem to see it. (read as a snooty Victorian fop) "Why yes, I play games, but I'm not one of those filthy gamers." We need more game journalists that are proud to be a part of this community.

    "What we actually need is for more gaming journalists to exert better judgement about the topics they cover and how they cover them, not to mention to avoid falling into the traps of groupthinking and overgeneralization."

    That too.

    "Meanwhile, calling out the rando trolls for their bullshit is not by itself a bad thing to do. While you make a fair point of how doing so might add more fuel to the fire by giving them attention, I think it is necessary to, at the very least, demarcate that they don’t speak for everyone in the community and to not fall into the same trap of groupthinking of tolerating or even defending terrible individuals just because they happen to be part of your same social group. "

    I certainly make no effort to defend the trolls, I just don't see how signal-boosting them is effective at anything. We can't shame them into stopping, nothing we say is going to get them to go away. The only way to remove trolls from the equation would be enforcement action on the part of Twitter. Short of that, they are just a "natural disaster," and there's no point arguing about it, we should all just filter them out of the conversation and dilute their impact as much as possible, rather than putting a spotlight on it.Edited 3 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #56 donkeyintheforest 6 days ago
    For all of you who keep saying things like no employee has the right to tell customers to screw off have never had the experience of kicking people out of a store for harassing your employees. Saying things like "No matter how nice they may be, your boss and company management are *necessarily and by definition* not completely on your side" shows that you prefer greed over the well being of your employees.

    I know this is the standard libertarian (and neocon, neoliberal, capitalist blah blah blah...) thought process that money flows where it deserves to; but seriously reconsider your priorities. When you respect your employees and strategize with them to make the work environment more productive, everyone benefits!
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #57 Ohoni 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest

    I agree with what you say, but not with how you apply it to this situation. Yes, an employee has the right to be rude in the face of significant rudeness, but that has nothing to do with this situation, as the employee in question was behaving rudely with no provocation. This was not a barista kicking a customer out for swearing and throwing a fit, this was a barista just randomly cursing out a random customer and then flipping the entire place the bird.Edited 3 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #58 VotesForCows 6 days ago
    @Ohoni I think its fair to say we have a different perspective on those events, but I'm happy to leave it there mate.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #59 jimbergevinjr14 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest That's a fair point. I have had the pleasure of kicking people out of a store for completely improper behavior that negatively affected the business as much as an employee acting like Jessica acted would have. We also see it all the time in the gaming industry. There are plenty of people who get banned on gaming forums or banned from a game because they are toxic to the community and therefore toxic to the health of the game and the business.

    However, that's simply not the case we have here. Deroir is a respected member of the ArenaNet community - to such a degree that he is a Creative Partner with the company. I have a similar relationship and role with another development company. It is a sign of respect on the part of the company and it is a role with a certain level of responsiblity on the content creator. That's what makes Jessica's reaction all the more troubling - this wasn't just a random player of the game. This was, in essence, a business partner of the company she went ballistic on, for no other reason than he did what millions of gamers have done over the course of the last three decades - make a comment/suggestion on information that a developer of the game he
    plays posted in a public forum as a representative of that company. He did so without any apparent malice or attempt to "goad" a reaction that a toxic player might try to do. She chose to react in an unprofessional manner and has suffered the consequences of her actions.Edited 6 days ago by jimbergevinjr14
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #60 donkeyintheforest 6 days ago
    @Ohoni I never applied it to the situation, I applied it to the generalized statements people are making about the relationship between employer and employee (and customer). I can't apply it to this situation because I was not there when the firing happened, nor do I know if there were previous events were that led to the firing behind the scenes.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #61 Ohoni 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest I don't know that anyone was making generalized statements about employer/employee relationships that were not specifically focused on how it might apply to this situation. As to this situation, the pertinent information is all a part of the public record.Edited 2 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #62 donkeyintheforest 6 days ago
    @jimbergevinjr14 "I have had the pleasure of kicking people out of a store for completely improper behavior that negatively affected the business as much as an employee acting like Jessica acted would have."

    Fuck just worrying about behavior negatively affecting the business; a customer repeatedly coming in and buying stuff from a specific employee and showering her with unwanted sexual comments is not harming the business, it's harming the employee. Private business has tricked people into thinking that the pursuit of money is more important that well-being of good people.

    "However, that's simply not the case we have here."

    I never said it was. There is no way for us to know that. We were not there for the firing, nor were we there to see what let up to it behind the scenes. We can make guesses based on what's been made public, but there is just not enough there to know for sure. What I do know is that justifying this behavior because money from customers is more desirable to Arena Net than backing up their employees or conducting a review is the wrong approach.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #63 donkeyintheforest 6 days ago
    @Ohoni "I don't know that anyone was making generalized statements about employer/employee relationships that were not specifically focused on how it might apply to this situation."

    Literally a quotation from one of your comments:

    "No employee, regardless of gender, has the right to "tell customers to screw off." "
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #64 Ohoni 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest

    Sorry, I assumed that the circumstances of this situation were implicit in that comment. Yes, an employee at a hardware store, when asked "how do I detach this board from this other board by means of a helictical fasting device?," that employee would be permitted to tell that customer to take the "screw off."Edited 2 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for riot-50 #65 riot-50 6 days ago
    Deleted 6 days ago by riot-50
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #66 jimbergevinjr14 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest What I do know is that justifying this behavior because money from customers is more desirable to Arena Net than backing up their employees or conducting a review is the wrong approach.

    As a generalization, that is a fair argument. However each situation like this is going to, by necessity, be handled differently based upon the actual situation that happened, and the nature of the company in which it involves.

    There have been many similar "Tweet-storms" that have resulted in people being fired, the results of which were publicly announced. In "normal" circumstances, a company (at least the ones I have worked for) would never announce that an employee was fired to a customer. In many instances, it's not even announced to the other staff of the company - it is heard through the grapevine. In the situations with these companies in which I was at least privy to the fact that an employee was fired, the circumstances were almost invariably different in each case. In one case, an investigation was required so facts and statements could be gathered over the course of several days. In another case, an employee was fired literally 30 minutes after he started his first day of work. In neither of these cases, or any of the others in any of the other companies, did I ever feel that the company didn't "have my back" in terms of the work I did there.

    The point being, the circumstances of someone being fired are going to be different based on the situation and the circumstances of one does not necessarily need to be applied to all others. At the end of the day, each and every firing was ultimately because it was in the companies' best interests to not have that individual be an employee any more. Every instance in which a company has to fire an employee ultimately boils down to a financial reason for the company. A business as an "entity" must always put the bottom line first and foremost in the list of priorities. Doing so does not automatically preclude the ability to also ensure employees feel that the company has their back.

    The fact that ArenaNet, and every other gaming company exists solely based upon their ability to sell their product to a customer means that the customer must be ensured that they are going to be treated fairly by the company and representatives of that company. Part of that includes the ability to maintain a regular dialogue between the customers and the company. In the industry today, that is a very integral part of being a successful developer and publisher of games. Anything that jeopardizes that dialogue must be taken seriously.

    In this case, no review was really necessary. The facts were all there, literally for the entire world to see. I can only speak based upon my personal experiences, and based on that I have no issue in how this situation was handled by ArenaNet. If anything, an argument can be made that Peter was a victim of mob mentality based upon today's societal climate and the nature of the other person involved in this incident (Jessica Price). Other than that, I feel that ArenaNet was completely justified for putting the needs and bottom line of the company before the needs of these two employees.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #67 donkeyintheforest 6 days ago
    @jimbergevinjr14 I agree with most of what you said and it sounds like your personal experience is pretty normal.

    I can't quite agree with the statement "A business as an "entity" must always put the bottom line first and foremost in the list of priorities" because it's just too vague. Fox new let a serial harasser stay on (Bill O'reilly) because it was in their financial interest. You can argue letting him go was for money reasons as well, but that implies that you should keep people like that on and only removed once they become a financial liability. I can't stand by that kind of behavior or decision.

    As to you claiming "In this case, no review was really necessary. The facts were all there" is ridiculously overconfident. There is no way to know what went on behind the scenes. And for you to follow that up with "If anything, an argument can be made that Peter was a victim of mob mentality based upon today's societal climate and the nature of the other person involved in this incident" really undercuts your position that "In this case, no review was really necessary." You can't have it both ways.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #68 yuberus 6 days ago
    @Ohoni whatever lies help you sleep at night, bro.
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  • Avatar for jimbergevinjr14 #69 jimbergevinjr14 6 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest I can't quite agree with the statement "A business as an "entity" must always put the bottom line first and foremost in the list of priorities" because it's just too vague. Fox new let a serial harasser stay on (Bill O'reilly) because it was in their financial interest. You can argue letting him go was for money reasons as well, but that implies that you should keep people like that on and only removed once they become a financial liability. I can't stand by that kind of behavior or decision.

    Nor can I, but just because a business must put the needs of the business first doesn't mean that those in charge of the business always make the correct decisions when it comes down to that. Otherwise, no business would ever go out of business. Obviously, one of the arguments being made now is whether or not ArenaNet made the correct decision. Regardless, no matter what decision they made, it ultimately comes down to "what's in the best financial interest of the company?"

    As to you claiming "In this case, no review was really necessary. The facts were all there" is ridiculously overconfident. There is no way to know what went on behind the scenes. And for you to follow that up with "If anything, an argument can be made that Peter was a victim of mob mentality based upon today's societal climate and the nature of the other person involved in this incident" really undercuts your position that "In this case, no review was really necessary." You can't have it both ways.

    In terms of the review, I am speaking about the evidence of the situation that ArenaNet needed in order to make their decision. The only review that is necessary is to read the Twitter exchange - which was already done by ArenaNet executives on the 4th. We will never know what happened behind closed doors in the two meetings that involved both people being fired - except for Jessica's slanted version of the events. But the information needed to determine the punishment for Jessica and Peter was available for all to see without needing any investigation to uncover anything further.

    For my case of argument in Peter's situation, the evidence points to a much more calm and reasoned approach in his discourse than Jessica took. Again, based on my experience, and just taking the tweets from both of them, and all else being a vacuum, I would have fired Jessica on the spot and reprimanded Peter. That has nothing to do with gender, but simply the degree of which the communication from each was inappropriate. Jessica's was much more inappropriate and inflammatory than Peter's was, and it was she that continued to escalate the issue throughout the day.

    Unfortunately, this does not exist in a vacuum, and given Jessica's past history and personality, coupled with the current "SJW" and Politically Correct atmosphere that permeates today's society, it almost becomes inevitable that Peter must become a sacrificial lamb to prevent an even worse media witch hunt than is already targeted against the company.Edited 6 days ago by jimbergevinjr14
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  • Avatar for fowl-owl #70 fowl-owl 6 days ago
    I think I am okay with treating women like equal adults. Treating women equally means firing her and letter her deal with consequences of actions like any other adult...
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  • Avatar for funktron #71 funktron 6 days ago
    I've been trying to ignore this on the grounds that being online during gamergate was miserable, and I have no interest in being in a mob, regardless of how righteous the cause. Suffice to say, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that she was probably unprofessional, and the company completely mishandled things, and on scummy message boards people are celebrating and coming up with lists of people to provoke so they can get them fired.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #72 donkeyintheforest 5 days ago
    @jimbergevinjr14 You're not making a lot of sense. From claiming that " just because a business must put the needs of the business first doesn't mean that those in charge of the business always make the correct decisions when it comes down to that. Otherwise, no business would ever go out of business" (you're overgeneralizing; tell that to film developing companies) to arguing on behalf of Arena Net while also saying they made the wrong decision (you say wouldn't have fired the second employee) to saying you wouldn't stand by Bill Oreilly while also saying a business should because it makes them money.

    My original post was about being against improperly generalizing things and explaining that there is more to employer/employee-customer relations that purely financial ones. You're obviously thinking about this stuff a lot, and that's great, but you don't have a consistent position. I can't engage with you in a meaningful way if you keep going in circles. Thanks for staying civil and keeping the USG comments an interesting place for discussion.
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  • Avatar for docexe #73 docexe 5 days ago
    @Ohoni Well, I get what you mean with the snobbism of some gaming journalists (which is the reason why some writers that I used to follow lost my respect and I tend to avoid their work more often than not nowadays). But I think the causes for the rift between the gaming media and the gamer community are more complex, even if snobbism and impropriety in the media did played a part in it.

    Truth of the matter, the riff already existed before “Gamers are dead” and Gamergate happened, with those incidents only exacerbating it to the boiling point. It started with bad actors on the side of the gaming media, what with media outlets being just way too cozy with the industry they were covering in potential detriment of the customers, for not talking of things like the “Doritogate” scandal or when Jeff Gerstmann was fired by GameSpot. That resulted in the gaming media losing the trust from a good segment of the gamer community.

    Nevertheless, the rift was also fostered by bad actors on the side of the gaming community, who acted in a really improper manner at times as well. After all, if a reviewer gives a low score to a much hyped and anticipated game because it turned out to be subpar, or a reporter brings to task a certain videogame company for their bad practices, only for the most hardcore fans of said game or company to start harassing them, and that cycle repeats over and over and over again through the years (as it indeed did just too many times during the late 90’s and the 00’s)… well, in that respect at least I can understand why some journalists started to distance themselves from their readership and why some even started to actively hate them. It’s no justification for the snobbism and antagonism of some journalists, but explains why gamers and journalists are at each other throats so often these days.

    As to the trolls, there is admittedly no effective way of dealing with them (outside of Orwellian measures from government and corporations that will only make everything worse). I’m just not comfortable with trying to sweep them under the rug, because a) From what I have seen, ignoring them in many cases doesn’t really makes them go away; b) Even if they are only a small fraction they are still part of the gaming community, and their actions are detrimental to everyone else, so I would like to see some form of “accountability” (for lack of a better term) for the bad actors in the community as well. That last part might be a pipe dream, admittedly.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #74 Ohoni 5 days ago
    @docexe

    "a) From what I have seen, ignoring them in many cases doesn’t really makes them go away; "

    Not entirely, but it does limit their impact. If a tree falls in the woods, can you hear it? If a troll barks on Twitter, and nobody comments on it, then the minimum number of people will hear that voice. If a dozen articles include that post in their body, and all the people who go to those sites therefore read it, then that troll post has had a lot more reach. It may still succeed in reaching the original target, but it would have a lot less impact as a "terrorist attack." It's the same reason we shouldn't say the name of mass shooters in public, we don't want to signal boost them.

    Now as for people who are the direct targets of this sort of harassment, unfortunately the best advice there is to take on a secondary agent for social media, at least until it blows over. If some second party, less emotionally attached to the identity in question, can sort through the media and remove anything offensive, it can limit the damage it does. Not ideal, but functional, and I believe that's what Price has been doing.

    b) Even if they are only a small fraction they are still part of the gaming community, and their actions are detrimental to everyone else, so I would like to see some form of “accountability” (for lack of a better term) for the bad actors in the community as well.

    But again, they are not accountable to the community. The community has no means to stop them. This isn't some case where "if the community cared, they could make trolls stop." No, the community largely doesn't condone their behavior, but there is no means by which the community could curtail it. The best we can do is to ignore it and reduce the spread of its impact, but that's about it. It's not like a crowd where if one person is acting up you can wrestle him out of the situation, it's like a crowd full of annoying ghosts, no matter how annoying they might be, there's nothing anyone in that crowd can do to shut them up.Edited 2 times. Last edited 4 days ago by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #75 Iliya-Moroumetz 5 days ago
    To you people defending this, I hope you realize that female developers who are not even related to this are getting harassed again.

    Good job, assholes. This is why we can't have nice things.
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #76 Iliya-Moroumetz 5 days ago
    Deleted 5 days ago by Iliya-Moroumetz
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #77 Ohoni 5 days ago
    @Iliya-Moroumetz

    "To you people defending this, I hope you realize that female developers who are not even related to this are getting harassed again."

    And I really hope that you realize that defending one has nothing to do with defending the other. Nobody here is defending ANY sort of harassment against ANY devs, female or otherwise.

    It was right that Jessica Price was let go, or at least we know enough to know that ANet had cause to take this step if they believed it to be appropriate. That is not "harassment," that is an employer making a reasonable decision due to the position that employee chose to take.

    If trolls decided to crawl out of the woodwork again and bother people, well, must be a Saturday on the Internet. They'll always find some reason, we can't allow them to control our behavior.

    Maybe check out this thread on the GW2 sub. It was started by another female dev at Arena Net, who wanted to highlight that a lot of great women work there, and for the community to show their continued supports for the ones that don't treat players like garbage.
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  • Avatar for docexe #78 docexe 4 days ago
    @Ohoni I get some of your points (especially about media not linking the posts from the specific harasser in question), but ultimately, we are going to disagree on this matter.

    I’m just not comfortable in general with the idea that, because bad people exists and they will continue to do terrible things and there is no effective way to stop them for good, we should not do anything at all about them and simply let them be (and I get that’s not message you are trying to convey, but it’s frankly how some of your comments read).

    At the very least we should openly and emphatically condemn their actions. It won’t make them stop for good, yes, but at least it will make it clear to the rest of the world that not every member of the gamer community is like them and that we don’t condone their bullshit either; not to mention signal to the rest of the community that certain behaviors are not OK and should not be emulated.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #79 Ohoni 4 days ago
    @docexe

    "I’m just not comfortable in general with the idea that, because bad people exists and they will continue to do terrible things and there is no effective way to stop them for good, we should not do anything at all about them and simply let them be (and I get that’s not message you are trying to convey, but it’s frankly how some of your comments read). "


    But seriously, what's the alternative?

    I mean I totally understand that feeling of helplessness when something bad is happening and there's literally nothing you can do to stop it, but that's where we are right now. There is nothing you can do to stop it. They will do what you can do, and all you can do is look on as it happens, because no other options are available to you.

    All engaging with them does is encourage them to do more. All "calling them out" does is publicize their efforts, upsetting more people than they could manage alone, bringing their views to the attention of more like-minded people, and perhaps creating copycats. All the possible things you could attempt to do are things that will only make the problem worse. If they are a small open flame, the only tools you're armed with are a bottle of gasoline and a bottle of alcohol, what should you do with those tools?

    "At the very least we should openly and emphatically condemn their actions. It won’t make them stop for good, yes, but at least it will make it clear to the rest of the world that not every member of the gamer community is like them and that we don’t condone their bullshit either; not to mention signal to the rest of the community that certain behaviors are not OK and should not be emulated."

    We've been trying that for years now, and yet the media, event he gaming media, still reports that "gamers are all pieces of ####." You have articles like this one highlighting only the worst voices, the people trying to tear gamers down, tear ANet down, and ignoring how much positive support ANet's been getting in all of this. It's not a tactic that is showing any positive results, so why keep attempting it? Why not try something different? At the very least, focus on showing support, rather than on "firing magic missiles at the dark" and hoping to kill it.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #80 donkeyintheforest 3 days ago
    @Ohoni magic missiles hit automatically, so even firing them in the dark is ok. If more people did it, it's one of the few spells that would guaranteed work.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #81 Ohoni 3 days ago
    @donkeyintheforest I said firing them at the dark, because the dark is scary and apparently firing anything into it is better than just allowing it to remain ignored, even if by doing so you end up hitting a lot of perfectly innocent creatures that the dark prevents you from seeing.
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  • Avatar for Marge-H #82 Marge-H 3 days ago
    Unfortunately, many people are missing somethin


    The developer's reactions weren't just rude or unprofessional - they weren't just yelling at an "annoying person"
    their attacks built on gender bias and gender discrimination.
    As a marginalized gender identity myself, seeing cis- / binary- gendered people go there creates an EXTREMELY UNSAFE environment for marginalized people like me
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  • Avatar for docexe #83 docexe 2 days ago
    @Ohoni I never claimed that I had a better solution in mind. I have acknowledged in other posts that there is not really an effective way of combating and eliminating the trolls for good. But again, on a personal level I’m just not comfortable in general with simply remaining idle and letting them be.

    Now, you say that the only tools I have will only add fuel to the fire? Well, in my own personal experience (both in real life and of what I have seen in certain corners of the Internet), those unattended tiny open fires can later become large catastrophes precisely because they were left unattended. “Ignore the provocateur and it will go away” is not really the perfect path in all cases, because ignoring bad actors sometimes doesn’t make them go away. Some idiots even get more emboldened to cause further damage precisely because people aren’t paying them attention, and if they think they have something to prove they will go to further extremes in order to get that attention.

    But at the end, neither of us will probably arrive at a perfect solution for this issue and we have reached an impasse again: Nothing you say will convince me of coming to your position, and nothing that I say will convince you of coming to mine. So, it’s probably better to end the conversation here.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #84 Ohoni 1 days ago
    @docexe

    "But again, on a personal level I’m just not comfortable in general with simply remaining idle and letting them be. "


    So instead you choose to offer them your support. I'm sorry, I would rather that you just come to grips with your own discomfort rather than for you to give aid and comfort to the trolls just to make yourself feel better.
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  • Avatar for docexe #85 docexe Yesterday
    Deleted 23 hours ago by docexe
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  • Avatar for docexe #86 docexe 23 hours ago
    @Ohoni Well, sorry for not living up to your expectations, neither giving you comfort or aid.
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