In my guild forums, I just read this reply. It struck me. We’d been talking about how the official forums are a fairly pointless place to post, or to try resolving anything, or to complain even.
I wrote this:
You can’t win fights on the internet when its a forum full of people who want to bully others.
A guildmate Rotnronnie replied:
Why is it that we have to go to external forums to interface with the intelligent yet non-elitist subset of the wow community?
Does forum moderation need to be run as an autocracy?
Can’t it be decentralised to an entrusted group of regular posters?
What struck me is that question: why hasn’t Blizzard delegated some moderation of their forums to the community? You could allow people some moderation rights, such as locking threads. You’d have some policies around behaviour, maybe trolling too, and simply get it to be enforced by a larger team than the official community managers.
It wouldn’t be simple at all. Setting it up would take a right proper effort. Policies devised, that’s visible to us, but hidden would be the policies for moderators: how to moderate, what’s acceptable, what’s not. How to complain to official Blizzard staff if you think the volunteer moderator was wrong, and so on.
Blizzard could do that though.
So, they’re smart. They’d have thought of this and decided against it. Why haven’t they done it?
- they think the forums are fine as-is (unlikely)
- the cost/benefit equation doesn’t stack up (likely, no tangible benefit, all cost, only intangible gains)
- their forum technology has weak permission structures, so doesn’t delegate power well (likely)
- they will do it in the future (possible)
- they do not want volunteers to be subjected to the vitriol of the official forum-trolls (very likely).
I don’t know the answer. It’s an interesting question though.
Another reason this question comes up is because of my recent foray into Allods Online. I still really like that game, and they fixed the cash shop pricing, but I’m not playing it at the moment because I got into my druid alt.
Allods’ botched the PR of their initial cash shop pricing is the worst PR disaster I’ve seen, or heard of, for a product of significant value (~$12M or more). Not only did they get the pricing wrong, they didn’t announce the pricing was coming, then when it was atrocious they were silent for days. They’re just silent, no official voice even saying “we’re working on it” for days.
They do have delegated forum mods (called ‘Astral Scholars’) on the Allods’ official forums. They’re volunteers. They too got torn a new one when the pricing was bad, as if somehow they were (a) to blame (b) complacent or (c) implicitly retarded because they asked everyone to calm down.
Allods’ might have given a private briefing to the Scholars, but I don’t think so as there was no evidence of it, so the poor buggers were left out on a limb to try calming down the screaming geeks.
Fascinating. Organisations so easily fail at the basics.
On the subject of customer interaction, I had to get my authenticator unlocked yesterday. I’d done too many wrong passwords somehow, maybe international keyboard or something screwy. The queue was an hour long. I had to hang up a few times. Third attempt, whilst building lego with my four-year old son the phone at my side on speaker, I finally got through. They have been flooded with compromised accounts (not mine, I’m OK) because the phishing attempts are so plentiful now and that clever man-in-the-middle hack would have got some results too.
The chap was really helpful and friendly, fixed me up, made sure I was able to log on before dropping the call. My son got a bit impatient; we hadn’t finished building the Power Miner yet.