For those who are not already aware, recent rumblings on Twitter have caused many in the gaming community to go into a frenzy. Although many sources have already covered the event in greater detail, we’ll give you a quick summary to catch you up to speed:
A streamer contacted an Arenanet employee and quest writer with an open suggestion about how to improve on the diversity of a certain set of interactions in Guild Wars II. In response, the employee attacked the streamer, tweeting the following: “Today in being a female game dev: ‘Allow me–a person who does not work with you–explain to you how to do your job'”.
A few minutes later, the same employee tweeted the following: “like, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me–as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a fucking DECADE, I have never heard of it–is getting instablocked. PSA.”
The streamer replied to the attack by emphasizing that he meant no offense or aggression by his statement, and the employee retorted by accusing him of sexism and targeting her because she was a female employee. Another male employee at Arenanet entered the conversation, defending his fellow employee, and stating that perhaps his co-worker’s aggression comes from stress about being lamented about the quality of her work on a personal Twitter account, something she does not want to be connected with her life as an employee.
Later, Arenanet responded by firing the two employees involved in the discussion for inappropriate engagement with the community.
This whole incident has kicked up quite a bit of dust for gamers everywhere, with people on both sides: Some believe that Arenanet ‘folded too easily’ and have given the community too much power over the development team; If, they argue, this incident is to be used as an example or Arenanet policy, the community can do whatever they want to Arenanet employees, and Arenanet employees can’t do anything in return because they know they might lose their jobs. Others believe the response by Arenanet was justified for an unnecessarily violent and cruel response to a fan who simply wanted to offer critique on a game he enjoyed.
Still others bash the firings because the employees were off the clock when they made the statements they made, and were not divulging inside information or doing anything against the company. They were simply expressing themselves on their personal social media accounts, and some believe that this should not lead to their employers taking action against them.
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) issued a statement in the form of a blog post by IGDA member John McLean regarding the recent indecent. In the blog post, McLean encourages developers and companies to be more open and clear about their requirements for proper engagement with fans.
“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. The IGDA strongly encourages its members, both as individuals and as studios and partners, to clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts.”
John’s statements seem to concur with some of the statements mentioned by the first group of aforementioned individuals, specifically, the group of fans who now believe that they now hold Arenanet and all their employees on the ropes because this incident shows what will happen if employees fight back. In his statements of how he believes company guidelines for fan interactions should be laid out, he includes a section for how, in the eyes of a company, it is appropriate for employees to defend themselves against internet attack mobs.
This is a question that has been the talk of many concerned community members following the Arenanet events, and hopefully will be addressed soon by many different companies in greater detail.
Featured Image Via Flickr / Iljya Karzakov