Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s PR nightmare

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that two Guild Wars 2 developers were cut loose last week after a heated Twitter exchange that was initiated by narrative lead Jessica Price. What started off as welcome insight into the problems with player-character narrative development in MMOs turned into a PR horror show when the dev felt slighted by a comment received in response to her musing.

The internet is alight with opinions on the drama and ArenaNet’s response to the comments made by Price and her coworker, so in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I just had to address it myself.

Context behind the Twitter debacle

I literally don’t have the space to go over the entire Twitter debacle that got two employees fired here in all its intricacies or else I’d end up with a short book on the matter. I’ll provide a very brief TL;DR here, however, for those who haven’t managed to follow along with the updated news article. If you’d like to hear someone else’s take on the matter, there are several excellent articles listed in our news coverage, but I highly recommend watching the WoodenPotatoes video above since it is so exhaustive for less than an hour of discussion. Heck, if you ever need a detailed yet accessible summary of anything GW2-related, check him out!

The issue at hand revolves around then-ArenaNet narrative designer Jessica Price and how she used her private Twitter account to blast a Guild Wars 2 fan and YouTuber named Deroir for what she described as explaining her job to her after she used the same Twitter account to add further thoughts to a rather productive Reddit AMA thread she took part in. She made the point that MMO player characters are notoriously difficult to write compelling reactive dialogue for because of the nature of MMOs: If we design a character we feel ownership over their reactions and will respond negatively to lines or actions that fly in the face of how we feel they should respond to scenarios. The post was detailed, savvy, and professional, discussing how the commander’s dialogue is written with projection in mind to create an “everyman” protagonist anyone can become.

Deroir replied to the post with his take on what Price said about designing a PC for MMOs, disagreeing slightly and perhaps over-explaining rather simplistic concepts, but remaining polite throughout his three-tweet reply. For the record, my MMO Mechanics writer and game developer brain didn’t see much merit in his point and I don’t agree that Living World is to blame for this particular problem, but that is an entire tangent for another article someday. Suffice it to say that, from my perspective at least, I found his reply to be polite but lacking in substance and perhaps a little bit of understanding of the comparison Price was making, but I certainly didn’t think it was intentionally cantankerous or mansplainy. I saw an avid lore fan attempt to engage with a narrative lead, and even if his response missed the mark, nothing said pointed to any sort of contempt for Price either personally or professionally. Not matching her expertise in the field is not a crime by any stretch and should not prevent dialogue on the topic in and of itself.

Price did not take his musings well at all and by most accounts overreacted to the apparent slight: She replied with a “thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9” and followed that up with a standalone tweet that retweeted Deroir with the caption “Today in being a female game dev: ‘Allow me — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how you do your job.’.” This is when the issue blew up significantly: The post picked up momentum and sparked anger from both those who saw Price as a rampant misandrist and those who defended her, including her colleague Peter Fries, who also was fired as a result of the kerfuffle despite 12 years of service to ArenaNet. Price’s comments became more irreverent and rude while the retaliation she received in exchange grew increasingly brutal, which ultimately led to her dismissal by studio boss Mike O’Brien’s on July 5th.

Who was in the wrong?

I’m trusting you, fair reader, to stick with me as I sift through the blame game and try be honest about where I think this conversation and the public response to it went awry. I’ve seen the heated debates around the topic and have seen the clear divisions forming online between those who blame Price, misandry, and unprofessionalism and those who blame ArenaNet, the Reddit mob, and chauvinism, but I see a different picture altogether that I hope will become clear by the time this article concludes. What is immediately apparent to me at least is that nobody comes off particularly well in this exchange: Lessons should be learned as a result of how this social media drama has been handled so that it isn’t repeated, and our society must look at how we react to social media content to prevent us forgetting the human element of these exchanges.

I want to say straight up that I don’t believe that either Price or Fries should have lost their jobs over the comments made on Twitter, though perhaps not for the reasons you’d expect. This inflammatory incident that incited so much controversy should have been prevented by the policies and systems put in place by Price’s employer and the conversation should never have been allowed to spiral in the way it did in the first place. Price was at fault for being inflammatory on such an open platform, but I don’t think she is so irredeemably vile that she needed to lose her job. Neither is Fries. For a company with such a strong reputation for protecting its employees, I find the way in which Price and Fries have been treated to be rather shocking, though perhaps that is because of my geographical context on corporate grievance procedures and employee safeguarding.

On the other hand, Price refers to herself as a maenad who uses salty language, swings the banhammer often, and is anything but “demure” in her Twitter bio. From my perspective, her language is frequently cutting where there is little need for it to be and she seems to favour the provocative when it comes to choosing what to discuss and how to frame concepts in that space, seeing herself as someone who should be challenging regardless of the personal cost. Did she wade into this conversation accepting that her job was on the line, knowing she’d be hot news? Price advertises herself as the sort of controversial person who would step up even if it was risky to do so, yet ArenaNet put her forward in front of its consumers with apparent free reign. Still, her segue onto Twitter was not an officially sanctioned discourse per se, and there is great debate about whether discussing work under a non-corporate social media account automatically means that the opinions you share are that of your employer. How much damage did Price’s tirade cause ArenaNet, and did firing her actually help matters or make things worse?

Public or private: Who was represented in this conversation?

While Price’s account was her own and had no clear affiliation with ArenaNet other than mentioning that she worked there, Twitter is a strange beast when it comes to social media in that it is more of a broadcast media platform than one with well contained social bubbles in which what we share is kept within designated circles. Twitter’s very nature sets up a culture of reactivism and volatility: Immediate responses and rapid sharing cause tidal waves of knee-jerk quips and heated comments that simply wouldn’t be said in person, while tight character limits and a lack of personal connection means that the original context of these messages is lost in translation over and over with every retweet and reply. Twitter is muddy, connections between people and their employers and networks are obscured, and conversations have the capacity to travel so much further than initially intended.

Let me make it clear: Price is personally responsible for every word written on her Twitter and is not immune to the repercussions of her rants. Where I find her firing most problematic, however, is that if Price is the only person responsible for her tirade, why must ArenaNet fire her to save face? Deroir himself said he did not blame ArenaNet for her responses and did not expect an apology, so why has this transgression gone so far if it was personal and not on the company dime? It has not been made clear by Anet whether or not her actions contravened an official internal policy regarding the use of social media, which is interesting to me as I come from a country in which an internal investigation would have needed to happen before any such decision was made, even in the case of gross misconduct. Curious, Massively OP has reached out to ArenaNet to see if the company’s social media or community relation policies are publicly available, but we have not received a response at the time of publication. If we do, we’ll be sure to follow up and run an update if needed.

Update: We had asked ArenaNet to brief us on the company’s policies regarding social media guidance; ArenaNet declined to comment.

Social media and its narrow lens into personalities

Social activism on social media is a strange beast indeed: We love to showcase our kind hearts and good intentions by righting perceived wrongs and taking people to task for their failures, but I wonder how accurate our view really is when all we see is a snapshot of a human exchange on our screen. We judge people we have never met by what they attempt to get across in 140 characters or less on a regular basis: Price did it to Deroir firstly, and then the online mob did it to her in turn. What holds true in both instances is that vital context was missing from the cutting words and reactionary diatribe exchanged that day, and this is what I wanted to discuss most. How can we decisively maintain that Deroir was mansplaining to Price — or likewise that Price was intentionally fanning a fire where there was barely any smoke to begin with — when we know so little about them and anything else about what was happening in their lives that day?

The internet is a dangerous place if your less-than-stellar moments happen to gain traction, which is exactly what has happened for Price and by proxy Fries as well. Nobody is immune to taking things in the poorest fashion possible, running away with a misrepresentation of someone due to a small exchange that went wrong, or stubbornly digging in our heels when our actions are flagged as abrasive or ill-informed. Each one of us can be obstinate, extremely rude, and generally toxic, but most of us don’t end up fired over it. The danger of seeking some sort of vindication on social media when you face frustrating times at work is that you leave room for all sorts of feedback you don’t want or need and professional scrutiny from all sorts of people. Price blames this on being a woman, but as a fellow women in game dev and game journalism, I can’t give her that free pass: I really do not feel that her issue stems from “hurt manfeels” or “rando asshats” invading her online spaces without her specific invite. Having said that, I also don’t think that means she deserves the Reddit pitchforks and general vitriol she has faced since she blew her top in such a fashion. Being wrong on the internet does not equate to ruining the reputation of your company, which is entirely the point that Fries was trying to make in her defense.

We are not omnipotent and have no idea what relationship pre-exists between Price, Fries, Deroir, and everyone else who has weighed in on the drama. I do not doubt Price and Fries when they say that their extensive time in the industry has forced them to build up a supreme intolerance for (and perhaps oversensitivity to) potentially sexist comments and mansplaining; I’ve felt it myself as an indie game dev who has frequently been ignored in meetings and even important email chains where my male business partner (MOP’s Brendan Drain) is present. These comments were also made in the context of ANet’s internal culture, which is not something anyone who doesn’t or hasn’t worked there is equipped to comment on authoritatively. Supposing from our tiny snapshot on Twitter is supremely dangerous, and I believe those game developers are entitled to a clear separation between their private and working personas, even if social media does make that very complicated.

ArenaNet’s response: Reactionary tactics or decisive action?

The timing of the firing announcement is problematic for ArenaNet as Price maintains — and the timeline seems to suggest — that MO fired her because of questionable community pressure that involves sock-puppet accounts and a vocal minority of “toxic” people. O’Brien’s account, however, contradicts Price’s beliefs, pointing to the national holiday as the reason for any delay in action on his part. All sides of the debate disagree on whether or not this decisive action was actually bowing to public pressure, but I am more concerned that gaps in internal support and training should have been investigated before any such action happened, and I am left unsure as a loyal ArenaNet customer whether or not this drama was handled fairly.

If firing was the only option O’Brien saw, assuming he did have time to conduct a full investigation into the AMA preparation and all training provided for both employees, I would have liked to have seen more of an explanation as to why this was the case in his public acknowledgement of the drama. Perhaps US employment laws get in the way here and I’m simply unaware, but it seems all-too swift and extreme considering Deroir didn’t appeal to have her fired himself and he’s the injured party in all this. The decision made speaks of a more reactionary damage control measure being made rather than a fair, balanced case of decisive action, but we need more information to know for sure.

ArenaNet’s responsibilities for its employees

Mike O’Brien’s response to the backlash ArenaNet is facing from a segment of the community for firing Price and Fries is very interesting: He calls their tweets an “attack” and claims that she should have disengaged and turned to her employer for support if she felt harassed. I wonder, then, why I haven’t seen any specific reference to specific b2c social media training or at least a written policy that instructs ANet staff to seek further support that went ignored by the pair. I also question how well prepared developers are for public facing roles if they are allowed (or even encouraged, as Price says) to blur the lines so heavily between their personal social media accounts and their work personas since this simply isn’t best practice. Perhaps an entire overhaul of how ArenaNet interacts with its community is in order: I have pointed out communication issues on the PR side before, but perhaps this is indicative of a wider company-community communication issue that we’re only just seeing fully now.

If I worked at ArenaNet right now, I’d want assurance that support for non-public-facing staff would be increased in the wake of this PR disaster. It’s not enough to simply pop a developer in front of a game community and hope that his or her passion for the job will create an excellent representative for the company, and it is likewise unsustainable to make employees feel as though every sentence they utter while working at ArenaNet, 24/7 and every day of the year, is under scrutiny. Clear guidelines on when it’s safe and unsafe to let loose must exist for the sanity of everyone at the company: We all need to decompress and that isn’t always pretty.

What does this mean for future AMAs and dev-community relations?

I would imagine that the message being sent to the development team at ANet by the firing of Price and Fries is to keep their heads down in case they get cut off! They could well be reluctant to take part in the AMAs or keep up large online followings, just in case one day their behaviour doesn’t meet the standards it should (and normally would). This is the biggest shame for me: ArenaNet had a sterling reputation for caring about representation, individuality, and equality, and even though the drama was far from clear-cut, I can already see the effects O’Brien’s decision is having on the community’s perception of the company. I feel as though ArenaNet’s reputation has taken quite a knock, not only due to Price’s initial outburst and the people it offended, but also because O’Brien thought that the answer to a staff member genuinely feeling completely seconded and belittled was to remove the problem from his vicinity.

“I feel as though ArenaNet’s reputation has taken quite a knock, not only due to Price’s initial outburst and the people it offended, but also because O’Brien thought that the answer to a staff member genuinely feeling completely seconded and belittled was to remove the problem from his vicinity.”
What I want to see going forward is a clear and public protocol that makes clear where the line shall be drawn between personal personas and representing the brand. The team at ArenaNet are as varied as they come and that diversity necessitates a fair, transparent, and support-focused plan for community engagement. I have noticed how many game development studios  — and heck, the wider STEM industries too — tend to push female developers into community engagement positions. Imagine taking on the unfiltered criticisms and raw ramblings of the masses when you are responsible for only a small fraction of the work they are complaining about, knowing that other colleagues on your team don’t face the same stressful workload. If you’ve ever worked in retail or service, you’ll understand how powerless, overwhelmed, and frustrated you can feel at times, but then, we just happen to be lucky enough to snark or melt down at people in real space, right?

Price and Fries are not marketing, PR, or community specialists, and I can make no assumptions about their comfort levels in undertaking these tasks, but if I were a superior of Price’s and knew her Twitter bio all-out admitted she can be volatile, I wouldn’t be popping her name in the hat for community relation building. There are ways to share the brilliance of these staff members with the community without opening them up to the public, and ArenaNet employs many of them and knows how important they are. Why not leave the AMAs and resultant follow-up social media contact to those who have the training and tolerance for the inevitable frustrations of the role?

Over to you!

Life is not Dungeons and Dragons and we do not wield our alignments as core personality traits: No one is totally inherently evil or entirely good in the real world. I adore the TED talk in the video above because it forever reminds me to keep in mind how fragile the truth is on social media and how abstracted online information can become from its source. What snapshots do we accidentally put out into the online world for all to see? I know that I can’t honestly say my social media presence has been squeaky clean, and I doubt very many people can. Price overreacted and Fries was dragged along for the ride, and the resulting fallout was a PR nightmare for their employer as well as for them. A good employer would move on from the snafu swiftly, realising that all sensationalist disasters blow over eventually, and a great employer would have picked its floundering staffers up by their bootstraps and actively helped them iron out the dents in their halos.

“Maybe there are two types of people in this world: Those who favour humans over ideology, and those who favour ideology over humans. I favour humans over ideology but right now, the ideologues are winning, and they’re creating a stage for constant artificial high dramas where everybody’s either a magnificent hero or a sickening villain, even though we know that’s not true about our fellow humans.” — Jon Ronson

If a game company cares more about its reputation than the wellbeing of its staff, the community learns that the interaction it receives from its staff are superficial and meaningless. People come before ideologies and we are inherently complex creatures who display nuanced moods and opinions, and sanding down the edges too much just leaves a bland, blank canvas. While Price’s attitude undoubtedly stank, I also see the frustrations that clearly feed into the toxic inner working model she put on display on Twitter, and I don’t think her ex-employer did all they could to prevent the meltdown from happening in the first place. Lets not allow it to be the case where being voiceless is the smartest way to live. Those who wrong us never learn temperance by feeling vindicated by our ire, especially if we’re a meaningless internet stranger who only sees a snapshot of their character in a random Tweet fest.

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(Respectfully!) leave your thoughts in the comments below: I spent plenty of time decanting my thoughts into something vaguely coherent despite how messy the situation is, so I hope you’ll consider your responses in a similar fashion. My summary is far from exhaustive, so I’ll return to the comments as often as I can to give clarification and check in on your musings on the topic. I think our knee-jerk reaction will be to either demonise Price for her belligerent tangent or spit vitriol at ArenaNet and Redditors for dropping the pair without even letting the dust settle, but both responses seem too reductive to me. I hope that ArenaNet uses this latest drama as a massive learning experience even if it never discusses it again publicly, and I hope that Price and particularly Fries move on to new pastures and aren’t haunted perpetually by one day on Twitter in the middle of their promising careers.

Tina Lauro has been playing Guild Wars 2 since it launched and now pens the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles column, which runs every other Wednesday and covers everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see covered, drop a comment Tina’s way or mail her at tina@massivelyop.com.

Further reading on the incident and ensuing fallout:

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132 Comments on "Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s PR nightmare"

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Santiago Draco

Appreciate all the thought in the article but…

What it boils down to is this. Opinions are fine. Disagreements are fine. Being a couple off asshats and attacking people who have a different opinon of you… is not. But then again welcome to the Trump era where asshattedry is the norm of the day.

Both of these people, indirectly, represent their employer because they are publicly known. They USE their jobs as a part of the private personas, as a shield and weapon, to reinforce their positions. By their own actions they have attached themselves to their employer and as such MUST observe a reasonable level of professionalism and ethics in their behavior. Both of them, and especially Price. They demonstrated douch-baggery and have paid the righteous price.

As for myself I applaud Arenanet for taking action and hope that others will as well. If you demonstrate yourself to be a poisonous individual you should not expect to be employed long at a company that cares about the moral behavior of their employees.

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Brown Jenkin

First and foremost, I really appreciate this thoughtful and reasonable article on the subject. It is nice to see one on the subject that doesn’t firmly fall on one side or the other of this ongoing argument.

Personally, although I’d agree that both devs were in the wrong, I think the response was irresponsible and sends precisely the wrong message to everyone. From fans of GW2’s penchant for inclusivity who may walk away feeling betrayed to alt-right and gamergate folks who may feel emboldened, this is the wrong message. From game developers across the industry who (reasonably) might now feel they should be careful in any public engagements, to game players who might feel they’ve influence over the hiring and firing decisions of gaming companies, this is the wrong message.

You’re super-right about he expectation for greater clarity on public and social media engagement. My work is fairly public facing but followed by folks nowhere near as volatile as gamers, and we have some pretty thorough and clear guidance and training on social media engagement. It is amazing to think that this wasn’t an issue nipped in the bud by ANet’s internal policies and I’d agree wholeheartedly that they share a chunk of the blame for the whole fiasco.

In the end, the whole thing is just disappointing. Even though I *firmly* disagree on how the devs initially handled this engagement. Even though I *firmly* disagree on some of the root/underlying sentiments about how stories must be written in MMOs. I walk away from all of this feeling gross about one of the few MMO companies I actively tried to support. Where previously I was looking forward to the upcoming anniversary as an opportunity to spend some cash and support a game I love, I now find myself wondering instead if I’m comfortable ethically supporting ANet right now.

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draugris

That´s a very good article and again MOP took a neutral stance on the matter.

Could Arenanet have handled the situation better ? Imo yes, Layoffs should be handled with the most discretion and the most protection of the former employee. Imo it would have been enough if MO said that “the situation will be dealt with internally” He should have not made it public that somebody was fired and he should not have responded to anything JP wrote afterwards. But tbh maybe taking her “twitter career” into account, the hr department who hired her should have put out some rules regarding interacting with the community prior to her employment. Maybe Arenanet learns from that incident.

Regarding “private” twitter accounts, idk. First, if you open your twitter account to the public you have to be prepared to get responses from anybody. If you don´t like that,make it private and communicate only with friends. Second, if you make it public who you work for, you have to be careful. On one hand of course you do not represent the company officially but on the other hand the things you say can reflect something back, for the good or the bad. I would never ever state where i work online, not on twitter, not on facebook, not anywhere.

Liraven
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Liraven

This is a really interesting and thoughtful article Tina. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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stigma

I don’t get why there is any form of controversy in this matter. Based upon Price’s response to Deroir and Fries’ subsequent response it should not of been a far stretch of the imagination that the two them would be gone from Arenanet. Much like the #dealwithit fiasco that Adam Orth brought upon himself when he was discussing the always on xbox one on twitter. Lest we forget that the internet was in an uproar about that to.

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furoshiki

I suspect that, if it hadn’t already been reached, this JP tweet was the point of no return:

“Since we’ve got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I’m not on the clock here. I’m not your emotional courtesan just because I’m a dev. Don’t expect me to pretend to like you here.” – JP

In addition to her doubling down on making it about gender, when it clearly wasn’t, she basically implied that she doesn’t care about the GW2 community and only pretends to during working hours. It is also begs the question, especially after PF got in on the action, of if that is a common feeling within the company.

Her subsequent poor handling of the situation in the aftermath – continuing to insist on making it about gender, having zero apparent introspection about how she handled it, basically saying that she would respond the same way if she had it to do over, etc. – are all good indicators that Arenanet made the right call in letting her go.

This is a pattern of behavior with her. She had a run with another GW2 content partner just a day or two before this happened. Which was started by her posting a tweet attempting to ridicule someone for providing feedback on something else. Her post came across as very gatekeeper-ish; which is ironic as she is on record complaining about gatekeeping (but apparently it doesn’t count when she is the gatekeeper). When the GW2 content partner asked for more context, she again brought gender into (though not as strongly), somehow construed his clear request for more context as a denial that the event occurred, and then, it what appears to be her normal method of responding to people who aren’t simply heaping praise on her, said:

“Sure, dude. Now get out of my fucking feed with your assumptions and your entitlement to my time.” -JP

I think people who think that she should have gotten a hand slap and some training are forgetting that such efforts can only work with people who are willing to recognize that they are mishandling situations. All indications are that she has no awareness of her tendency to seriously misread interactions, which leads her to overreact, see gender issues in situations where they aren’t a factor, and treat well-meaning people like crap.

As for PF, his mistake, besides getting involved in the first place, was lending support to JP making it about gender when it clearly wasn’t, and suggesting that her mistreatment of the community was reasonable. He has long since deleted all of his tweets from that episode, but they are archived in various places.

I’ve also heard it suggested that PF was JP lead or supervisor. I don’t know if that is accurate, but if so, it would make his being let go all the more justified. To his credit though, he has dealt with it with grace and professionalism; things which JP seems to lack.

Final thought, simply flip all the genders. Say a female community member responded to a series of tweets posted by a male game dev, who immediately lashed out and then publicly lambasted the female community member, implied sexism, etc. No one would be having any conversation about whether or not a male dev deserved to be fired for reacting to a female community member commenting comparably to how JP responded to Deroir’s comments. Everyone would simply say good riddance and move on. We should do the same here.

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Sorenthaz

Well put. This whole thing sounds like it needlessly turned into a gender issue when for some reason Price either felt slighted or didn’t have any other way to ‘win’ the discussion/argument/etc. without pulling the gender card.

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athiev

This entire situation makes me sick. Yes, there is a good argument that Price escalated unnecessarily and misinterpreted Deroir. But the first couple of tweets from Price just weren’t that big of a deal. If there hadn’t been a literal mob at that point, nothing would have happened. Or if some ArenaNet folks had stepped in to rebuke the mob, all would be well. Not! ANet has now explicitly sided with the mob, so gross.

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Eamil

People’s initial responses were to point out, with varying degrees of politeness, that Deroir wasn’t being at all rude or condescending and that perhaps she was overreacting. There wasn’t a “mob” until she’d spent a considerable amount of time doubling down on her initial rudeness and viciously attacking anyone who disagreed with her.

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athiev

“viciously attacking” citation needed. Throughout this controversy I consistently find that Price’s actual words are about 1% of what they’re represented as.

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Santiago Draco

Just read her responses. If you can’t see the attacks then you are a part of the problem we have right now in social media.

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Alex Donne

A very thoughtful, balanced piece, which is a refreshing change after having read a number of deeply biased examples of ‘journalism’ covering this story …

I have to wonder if Deroir’s role as an official ArenaNet partner fed into the decision to fire these devs. Anet makes a big deal about the player base functioning as marketing for the game, and official partners are a big part of that – they not only play the game but actively encourage others to do so as well. It’s also worth noting Jessica Price’s recent Twitter exchanges with two other official partners, Inks and Jebro, which mirror Deroir’s in the fact that civility and politeness was met with unwarranted vitriol from Price. In the case of Price at least, was opting for some kind of reprimand even an option? She does not strike me as someone who backs down easily, and based on the interviews she’s given in the wake of all this she seems openly unapologetic and in fact oblivious to the notion that she actually did anything wrong.

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Zariarn

Although she was completely in the wrong and misrepresented her company, I don’t think a firing was the best decision. (unless there was more going on that we don’t know). I believe a weeks suspension, demotion, loss of pay, etc. would have been a better fit. Peter picked the wrong battle to fight and I also believe he shouldn’t been fired.

Bottom line….fired, no. Reprimanded…absolutely.

Tired of seeing the feminism card being played here. I’ve seen downright evil things spoken to devs many times to both genders. Women aren’t an exception to the rule. Besides, the original discussion wasn’t even offensive. She lost control of her emotions on a rather silly thing.

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Anthony Marsh

“but it seems all-too swift and extreme considering Deroir didn’t appeal to have her fired himself and he’s the injured party in all this. The decision made speaks of a more reactionary damage control measure being made rather than a fair, balanced case of decisive action”

I’d argue it means the opposite. It wasn’t damage control or simply a reactionary act to fire her.

No matter how people try to twist the situation it doesn’t change the fact that she very publicly attacked the character of and insulted what is essentially an official business partner of the company she works for. In any industry this is grounds for immediate dismissal even without all the publicity this got.

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Bionicall

This highlights one of the problems with a situation like this. There are very few actual facts, and a lot of “views”.
2 Facts that I can discern are:
1. A personal twitter account was used to express an opinion.
2. Two people were fired over this.

If it was a fact

… that she very publicly attacked the character of and insulted what is essentially an official business partner of the company she works for.

then you would hope that there were indeed repercussions for the individual involved. As you say

grounds for immediate dismissal

. Emphasis here would be a baseline/grounds. If it was clearly a situation where you were just attacking/defaming someone, then this would not be so much a

reactionary damage control measure

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imayb1

When you state fact 1 as “A personal twitter account was used to express an opinion” that’s not the whole truth. When Anet’s AMA on reddit was officially over, she moved discussion of her work over to her personal (public) twitter account and fans followed her there anticipating an extension of insights into narrative design.

I think it’s simplistic to say ‘her personal twitter account’ when the account is public, she uses it to address fans about her work, and she publicly posts and promotes herself on that account as a narrative dev working for Anet. You can use all kinds of privacy settings or just avoid talking about work, keeping private spheres private. She didn’t.

Personally, I don’t think this was a firing offense but I can see why many people do. She was a representative of Anet at that time and place.

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Bionicall

I do realise that it is more nuanced than my simple statement, but the nuances are all dependent on information I have no actual facts for. Is it for example, a fact that ArenaNet policy stated that use of a public forum, represents them, and should be respected accordingly?

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Eamil

That in itself may not be a “fact,” but it’s a fact that she made the choice to discuss her work on her Twitter account in a way that directly addressed the community.

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Kickstarter Donor
Bionicall

That may well be the case, I haven’t seen the line on the reddit thread that would link the two, and make it factual(evidence based). My point was directed @Anthony Marsh, for claiming it was an established fact that it was an “attack”, and while @imayb1 made a very good argument for being a “representative of Anet” there was no evidence, just a logical assumption.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

It is not a fact, nope. ArenaNet declined to comment on its policy or indeed even confirm it has one when we asked.