Blue poster Nethaera
took some time earlier today to answer a few questions posted on the official forums regarding the chain of command between community managers (CMs), developers, and of course, everyone's favorite crustacean, Ghostcrawler
(Greg Street, lead systems designer). While Nethaera couldn't answer every question posed, she was able to give a few insights into the interplay between the various departments running the scenes, as well as a few tips about giving constructive feedback.
What examples are best to use to give GC and the Devs an accurate depiction of what has/has been happening?
Information about your class, your playstyle, the types of issues you're running into such as whether you're using a certain spec or certain spells and abilities when you're running into issues. The more specific you can be, the better really. Numbers are good on one level, but sometimes the numbers don't say whether you're having "fun" or not.
Follow us after the break for more insights.
When you aren't allowed to talk about things, is that restricted to what the devs are doing (like "They are looking into it, and that is all I can say") or is it more like a complete gag order?
This is an odd one to address. We have methods to the madness and all things have their time and place. We try to work toward finding that right time and place based on a variety of variables. It's what we do as Community Managers. There is more to what we do than simply following "orders" and we actively work cooperatively with a variety of teams to discern what the right time and place should be. We work as an entire entity and respect each other as professionals.
How can we make your job, GC job, and Devs job easier (possibly suggestion format etc)
Post as constructively and clearly as you can. Abide by the Code of Conduct and Forum Guidelines. Have patience with the process. When you're concerned about something, don't be afraid to tell us. Understand that sometimes, we won't have an immediate answer or one that you'll love. Let us know when we're off the mark and on the mark both. It helps us greatly to understand what your personal experiences are.
How much time is spent on these forums?
Lots. As much as we can, but we have other duties too that can sometimes take us away from them.
Is there a mandatory time spent?
No. We don't mandate the time spent. It's just not necessary since it's a part of our jobs. We spend what time we can so that we're on top of the current topics and discussions.
Does each (group of) CM(s) have a specialty?
Define specialty? We all pitch in on a variety of things and while one of us may have more experience on one thing or another, we try to learn from each other as much as possible so that we're all on the same (relative) footing.
If you can't answer simple questions without giving vague answers or answering questions with questions, please don't waste our time and reply. It really isn't hard to give a direct answer to any of the above questions. Out of all the things that are asked, we atleast deserve simple answers to simple questions : /
I did. The problem is less about my answers and more about the fact that despite Community Management being a growing field, many people still misunderstand what we do or can't fully understand unless they're in our shoes. It would take me far longer than a simple forum post to go into the intricacies of what we do and even then, unless you're on our side of the fence it's very difficult to truly gauge it in proper context. That's not to say that I don't think you are smart enough to get it, it's just that there really are no "simple" answers that I could give you that wouldn't lend themselves to even more questions.
There's a lot of intuition, people skills, writing ability, game knowledge, design and processes knowledge, and more that goes into what we do. Like I said, it's a much larger conversation and I'm sure there are resources beyond these forums that go into the job a bit more than I could here that could at least give you a perspective to go by.
In addition to answering a few questions, Nethaera was also quick to point out that the chain of command isn't quite as linear as people presume. Ghostcrawler is actually in charge of a lot of the design, so he doesn't report to developers. Instead, he takes things to his team to discuss. Rather than a straight line of command, ideas and feedback are bounced back and forth between the various departments.
All in all, it's a fascinating glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process at Blizzard and well worth the read. Check out the thread in its entirety
for more from Nethaera, and be sure to thank her for her time while you're there.