Former Guild Wars 2 developer criticizes ArenaNet boss for ‘solicitation of harassment’ and minimization of her work

    
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Former ArenaNet developer Jessica Price has just made a string of new statements on Twitter discussing some of the issues surrounding the ongoing Guild Wars 2 PR nightmare, in which she and fellow developer Peter Fries were booted from ArenaNet following a Twitter altercation that mobilized a Reddit mob. Her primary complaint seems to be her allegation that ArenaNet – especially Mike O’Brien – “escalated” her (and Peter Fries’) firing, knowing what the mob’s response would be.

“The announcement was an escalation. The company could have chosen to say ‘their remarks don’t represent the company, we don’t agree with what they said, and they’re no longer with the company,'” she writes. “That’s not what they did. They framed an interaction on my personal social media in which I told a few individuals who (I thought) were being assholes that I wasn’t on the clock and wasn’t going to feign affection for people who are being assholes as ‘attacks on the community.'”

Consequently, she argues, O’Brien effectively provoked the mob, knowing what harassment would follow after she and Fries had been painted as “enemies of the community”; she calls it “active solicitation of harassment,” using the mob as punishment and then maintaining “silence in condemning the harassment,” which she says is “profoundly telling.”

Worth noting here is that Price appears to be acknowledging her original error in assuming that the initial comments from Deroir (and others) were intentionally malicious.

Price also criticizes O’Brien for what she characterizes as “[reducing her] contribution to GW2 to one scene from one episode,” which she believes is an example of “women’s work [being] erased or minimized.” She is here presumably responding to O’Brien’s statement to Polygon, which he ended by saying, “Whatever you thought of the tweets, Jessica and Peter were also part of the team that brought you the kidnapping scene in Episode 1, which was a wonderfully well-executed scene. That’s how I want to remember their time at ArenaNet.” So, she corrects the record:

“In terms of *influence*: the entire season is mine. I led the season story breaking meetings, I led the episode outlining meetings, and every line of dialogue went through me. Everything you’ve seen of the story so far this season is my work, and you’re going to be seeing my work in it for a long time. A bunch of the content you’ll be seeing is also work led by women: female team and game design leads, female writing leads, female cinematics leads. It’s the best content GW2 has produced. Women in this industry lead, and aren’t going anywhere.”

Her final takeaway? “If you’re a dev in this industry, take a very careful look at what ArenaNet has done, and get a guarantee from your management that they’re not going to do it to you.”

We reached out to ArenaNet in light of Price’s latest statements; ArenaNet has once again declined to comment. (We had previously inquired about the company’s social media policies.)

Other former ArenaNet developers, including former UX/web designer Kate Welch and former narrative designer Angel McCoy, have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the company handled the incident. McCoy suggested the “firings feel like a heavy-handed, knee-jerk reaction in an effort to assuage player discontent,” particularly Fries’, while Welch says the problem was nothing new for ArenaNet.

“This shitty executive approach to dev/player relations existed back then [when Welch worked there], too. And I’m so sad to see that it seems to have gotten worse,” Welch tweeted last week. “It’s ALMOST like there’s someone there who loves throwing people under the bus to get some fucking Reddit attention, and who has done it with alarming regularity.”

Perhaps the worst part is the potential impact to the game itself. “When Peter [Fries] left, he walked out with a lot of knowledge that they will miss,” McCoy concludes. “Ultimately, players will pay the price.”

We urge our commenters to read our now extensive previous coverage and 1600+ comments and consider whether you can lend a genuinely new perspective that everyone needs to read about. We recommend Tina’s thoughtful column for those seeking a nuanced summary and takeaway, our podcast for an audio recap, or even our original recap, which we have continued updating with the latest developments over the last week.

Update July 12: Game Workers Unite has now issued a statement similar to Price’s, denouncing ArenaNet for “inciting further harassment.”

Further reading on the incident and ensuing fallout:

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Michael18

Don’t know GW2 very well (only have been playing for couple months after release) and no huge follower of ANet either. But to me, ANet always came across as a very pro equal rights, pro diversity, pro LGBT, etc. company. So the accusation of knowingly and willingly sending the inet mob after her and making her a victim of harassment just seems ridiculous and driven by blind rage.

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Angus Mcduff

Bree, a long time ago I made a comment you deemed to be misogynistic and I remember having to look at what I wrote and concede grudgingly and apologize.

I didn’t like doing it, it stuck in my craw and flustered me and made me feel foolish, but I was wrong and no matter how much I felt correct in my arguments, the language I chose to frame them in was wrong.

The reason Anet had no choice to fire both employees is because Price would never have apologized and that would have festered in every AMA, tweet, and community interaction. And if they only dismissed Price the immediate controversy would then be a patriarchy protecting a man and dismissing a female.

In this day and age of identity politics it’s impossible to navigate through the extreme harassment on both ends of the spectrum.

I think the added problem is the systems used to debate are too unwieldy, limited by bad reporting that skips facts for speed and comment sections that are overwhelmed and impossible to navigate without a crazy amount of time invested.

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Wakkander

So, most commented on topic ever when combining the various threads at this point Bree?

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Utakata

Arktouros said:

“Oh for sure, an ambitious person can always capitalize on a situation and make it their own. However, to my point, you don’t see any of those folks in your regular 9-5 corporate job either.”

You don’t? o.O

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Geoffrey Smith

People seem to conveniently ignore the point that it was her choice of actions that lead to this scenario. Trying to make the case that “the reddit mob” got her fired when without her actions there would be no “reddit mob” puts absolutely zero responsibility on Price or her actions. You’re blaming the reaction and ignoring the action that caused the reaction.

“None of this would have happened if that woman just knew her place and hadn’t spoken up. Or instead had been nicer to the guy patronizing her”

Serrenity
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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

It’s those pesky unspoken rules that govern interactions again.

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Arktouros
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Geoffrey Smith

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……….

Yeah, my B.A. is literally in Sociology. So, um….try again?

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Geoffrey Smith

Haha! It is rather funny at times.

I mean, yeah, it is the internet. So someone could just claim to be ANYTHING or what not, but when it is the thing I actually studied for years and years, and have a degree in, and a field I have/do research in still….. just funny.

Linking to it in snark in this conversation especially was really ironic, as the second paragraph of the page lists social stratification as a focus of sociology. Hmmmm… yes. A good read indeed…..

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Arktouros

I know right? I still remember my doctoral thesis like it was yesterday. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life but all those years are behind me and I’m now and when I heard them say Dr Arktouros it was all worth it.

Personally I’m a big fan of social deviance. Ya know it does a poor job of explaining why things are the way that they are but does a fan-freaking-tastic job of explaining what the consequences are when you act in a way that goes against social norms :)

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Geoffrey Smith

Again, I am so gonna post a picture of my degree. This is gonna be sooooo much fun.

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Utakata

Lemme guess…you’re a functionalist. o.O

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Geoffrey Smith

Now that we have established the bona fides and I got some sleep…

Your understanding of social deviance is piss poor. Socially deviant behavior, as well as the the reactions to it, are often used to portray the negative aspects of the social hierarchies that have been created in a culture to maintain control over various subgroups in one.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this for you would be the civil rights movement in the American South in the 1960s. It was a movement of social deviation from the established mores of keeping African Americans as second class citizens in the South. Not only was it a cultural taboo, but it was also one in a legal sense through Jim Crow laws. Of course, no one today would suggest these acts of social deviance were somehow negative by African American protesters, yet there was still vast consequences to these actions due to the violation of established social structures.

The fact you refer to this unironically in a situation where a woman is dealing with yet another online male gamer mob is positively hilarious. It underscores what Price’s exasperation was. Having to deal with someone who was not on the same professional level as her getting basic criticism from someone who simply didn’t have the necessary expertise to level it. Add in the background of male/female interactive dynamics, and there we go.

It is part of why I empathize with her so much. Cause here I am having to listen to a Google wunderkind try to explain sociological concepts to me cause he read a Wiki page. It’s tedious.

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Arktouros

Oh common, I equally would not assume what people claim to know either. If I told you I had a Masters in Sociology would you believe me? What I told you I worked at ANet and have the inside scoop on the scenario? Of course not. There’s a literal meme about truth and the internet.

I work with what people give me and when you’re struggling to understand the basic concepts of sociology and the fact that there’s social rules and norms of behavior and what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in that society I’ma have to go with the press X to doubt.

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Geoffrey Smith

Just for the laughs, I will GLADLY take a picture of me holding my degree with a sign that says “Just for you Arky!” and post it. I think that would make my friends laugh as well.

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Arktouros

I don’t want to dig my printer out of the basement to equally make a similar post.

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Geoffrey Smith

Oh come on, do it. I would love to see your doctorate.

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Geoffrey Smith

Oh, and the guy who misused “quantify” like, 5 times in a single paragraph questioning my college degree is so fucking hilarious I legit LOL’d at my desk.

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Geoffrey Smith

As promised.

Oh, and to head you off at the pass, it states Social Science because, back in the day when I registered (Jesus, 15 years ago? 16?) their Sociology program was simply called Social Science. You can see remnants of this in how they list their Social Science department now (https://www.snhu.edu/campus-majors/social-science)

SNHU was waaaaay smaller than. So, there you go.

Perhaps you should take some of that condescending advice you have been offering to Price and take some time to think how you could have reacted differently to this.

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Arktouros

It does not show. At all.

For example people love to bring up all the myriad ways ANet could have acted in this scenario. However anytime someone suggests that Price could have acted differently they immediately jump the nonsensical, hyperbolic scenario of “knowing her place and hand’t spoken up.” No one said that. No one suggested it. And equally just like ANet could have reacted in a number of ways Price could have easily taken any number of other routes of action.

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Geoffrey Smith

It does not show. At all.

Darn. I’ll just have to go back to the university and turn in my degree. Think they will forgive my student loan debt?

For example people love to bring up all the myriad ways ANet could have acted in this scenario. However anytime someone suggests that Price could have acted differently they immediately jump the nonsensical, hyperbolic scenario of “knowing her place and hand’t spoken up.”

Yeah, uh, see… this has a lot to do with sociology, but not the way you seem to think. A sociological approach to this would look at the behaviors involved from a social stratification and interactive perspective. It would take into account both the demographic as well as social standing of such to interpret a social event.

Hence why I keep coming back to the mountain of historical evidence regarding harassment of women online, especially in the video game field. Cause there IS a mountain of historical evidence. And you seem intent on tossing it aside cause it really ruins the argument you wanna make.

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Arktouros

it really ruins the argument you wanna make.

No it’s just wholly irrelevant to my argument that Price equally had any number of other ways to react to this scenario.

Everyone loves to point out the different ways ANet could have handled this scenario, and everyone is keen to point out the different ways players could have reacted to this scenario. However the second you bring up Price’s choice of action here come trotting out the the history of man vs woman interactions social stratification and mountains of history!

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Geoffrey Smith

No it’s just wholly irrelevant to my argument that Price equally had any number of other ways to react to this scenario.

Yes, the history of harassment of women online, specifically women online related to video games, is wholly irrelevant to how a woman responded to a patronizing criticism of her online. No way that could possibly play a role. none. At all. Nope.

However the second you bring up Price’s choice of action here come trotting out the the history of man vs woman interactions social stratification and mountains of history!

Why, it’s almost as if the context of society applies itself regardless of our desires for it to not exist. That’s gotta be super frustrating.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

some have implied that her saying she has never been reprimanded for social media use at Anet should be taken at face value more or less

It’s OK, you can say I made the argument rather strongly, and you are right to point that I can’t take JP at face value and not do the same for MO. That’s a valid criticism of my argument.

But I can rescope my argument to be that it would never have been escalated to MO without the Reddit mob.

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Arktouros

But I can rescope my argument to be that it would never have been escalated to MO without the Reddit mob.

Based on what?

Serrenity
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Serrenity

1) the interaction was remarkably tame for the “Extremely toxic” label that gets bandied around

2) There are interactions like that between creators and fans every day that are just as bad, or worse than that – and no. one. cares. Her interaction wasn’t special, it wasn’t unique, it wasn’t unheard of, it wasn’t even particularly mean–in the grand scheme of Twitter it was basically “business as usual.”

It was just that it was a woman being mean to a man, and Reddit happened to see it.

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Arktouros

You see that every day at ANet? Can you point out any examples of people calling their customers rando asshats and that they’re not there to be their emotional courtesans or similar? Or worse cause you say it’s out there right? How many of those towards partnered content creators of the game?

Here’s my question on the man/woman dynamic. Is there any scenario where if the developer is female she can act inappropriately towards a man and be held accountable purely for her inappropriate behavior? At what level of inappropriate behavior are people allowed to be upset towards a person, regardless of gender, allowed to give negative feedback towards such behavior?

Serrenity
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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

There are plenty of ways that I think that happens. She gets a reprimand, there’s a social media policy document to point to, there’s a history prior reprimands for similar behavior.

For the record, I don’t think that ANet was wrong to respond … at all. I think they over-reacted in firing her based on what we know from both parties. If ANet had given her a reprimand, or asked her to apologize (which is debatable as an OK response, but still better than termination), issued a response saying it was being handled internally any of those things and this wouldn’t be the issue it is now. It might still be an issue, but it wouldn’t be the trainwreck shitstorm vomit tsunami that it is right now.

It is 100% possible to say ‘hey, she didn’t respond the best here and probably could have benefited from management help,’ and still think that ANet’s response and the mob’s response are both wildly out of sync with severity of the negative interaction.

You ask for a quantifiable number of inappropriate behavior, knowing that I can’t provide that because it doesn’t exist.

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Arktouros

You ask for a quantifiable number of inappropriate behavior, knowing that I can’t provide that because it doesn’t exist.

Now I’m a little confused by this because you seem to be able to clearly and directly quantify her actions as not as severe as the reaction she is getting. You’re also clearly clearly able to quantify Anet’s reaction as disproportionately high to this scenario as well. Now when you’re asked to quantify what behavior is considered inappropriate enough that people are allowed to leave negative feedback on you’re now saying it the ability to quanitfy such behavior doesn’t exist?

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Geoffrey Smith

Now I’m a little confused by this because you seem to be able to clearly and directly quantify her actions as not as severe as the reaction she is getting

To quantify something means to put it in numeric value. What Serrenity is doing is giving a qualitative statement regarding the severity of the actions. So I can see why you are confused.

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Arktouros

Wow you always know when you’re getting to the heart of the matter when people want to play semantic games with your questions rather than answer them.

Ok.

Serrenity: Qualify what behavior is inappropriate to the point people allowed to be upset towards a person, regardless of gender, allowed to give negative feedback towards such behavior?

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Geoffrey Smith

It isn’t semantics, it is the entire point of the discussion.

You clearly did NOT understand the terminology you were attempting to use, and used it in such a way as to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the broader context. You seem to simply be repeating words you heard other people use before without knowing why.

Furthermore, your revised statement still makes no sense. You don’t qualify something to a “point” as a point is a degree, meaning a measurable amount (i.e. a quantity).

This isn’t to argue a semantics, it is changing the foundation of what you are asking. And to point out you don’t seem to be familiar with the terminology you are using. Just as Deroir thinking his playing of a game gave his criticism some sheen of expertise, using such words in a discussion with someone who does understand such really isn’t helpful to your argument.

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Geoffrey Smith

You see that every day at ANet?

Keep pushing them goalposts.

Here’s my question on the man/woman dynamic. Is there any scenario where if the developer is female she can act inappropriately towards a man and be held accountable purely for her inappropriate behavior?

Let’s answer this question with a question. You’ve heard of a truism, right? A statement so self evidently true that it serves no function or use? Your question is a truism. What’s more, it is a truism designed for derailment of a conversation.

This strawman is easily one of the most boring things that come up in these conversations. It asks for the acceptance of a truism that no one suggested for otherwise for the sake of reinforcing said truism for some greater point. It’s so useless and annoying.

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Arktouros

Where else would you draw the comparison? Should we compare the decision of a company to let an employee go for their behavior between a small 10 person company? A multi thousand person company? Couple hundred?

Oh and questions have answers and not questions.

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Geoffrey Smith

Where else would you draw the comparison?

The definition of such was already given to you; the interactions between people on the internet. You’ve attempted to narrow it (i.e. move the goalposts) in an attempt to make the argument as small as possible to avoid larger context.

Oh and questions have answers and not questions.

Questions have answers when they are valid questions. Yours was, at best, rhetorical. Also a type of question that doesn’t need an answer. You clearly weren’t interested in an answer, which is obvious from the fact you don’t even bother to argue it isn’t a truism or that it is a strawman.

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Arktouros

Speaking of moving goal posts the direct quote is:

There are interactions like that between creators and fans every day that are just as bad, or worse than that – and no. one. cares. Her interaction wasn’t special, it wasn’t unique, it wasn’t unheard of, it wasn’t even particularly mean–in the grand scheme of Twitter it was basically “business as usual.”

To which, Anet has creators and fans, by all means show away. It wasn’t special, unique or unheard of right? It happens every day. Shouldn’t be hard to find, should it?

Or…ya know…it isn’t, and there isn’t, and instead of being able to argue that point lets talk about moving goalposts. Yea that’s clever. Got ’em.

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Geoffrey Smith

Wait….. do you know what moving the goalposts means? Cause like, as the comment you quote never mentions ArenaNet, by interjecting it yourself as a qualifier, you have literally just moved the goalposts.

You know this, right? Right?

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Geoffrey Smith

Based on the sum total of tweets and interactions that never go before a boss without an amplification of said actions.

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Arktouros

You mean the tweets and interactions where she or anyone else didn’t attack anyone?

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Geoffrey Smith

2) There are interactions like that between creators and fans every day that are just as bad, or worse than that – and no. one. cares. Her interaction wasn’t special, it wasn’t unique, it wasn’t unheard of, it wasn’t even particularly mean–in the grand scheme of Twitter it was basically “business as usual.”

I’ll just re-up the other comments that go into more detail of the obvious for you.

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Geoffrey Smith

Everyone that creates content of some sort is harassed frequently regardless of gender.

I am always bemused by this as response from guys denying the reality of harassment of women on the internet. Just the obtuseness needed to think that , hey, EVERYONE is harassed, so why do women(and minorities, and LBGTQ etc.) complain about it so much.

Somedays, I wish I could be so blithely unaware of the world around me.

Serrenity
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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

Me too, it boggles the mind. It’s like saying, “Well, I sometimes get hit with a nerf dart” and pretending it’s the same thing as being harpooned with a spear gun.

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Arktouros

Jeff Freeman.

Serrenity
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Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

That sure is a name.

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Arktouros

Yea, may he rest in peace.

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Geoffrey Smith

*a mountain of historical evidence related to harassment of women*

Well, here is this one dude….. so TOTALLY EQUAL!

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Arktouros

How many corpses do you require?

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Geoffrey Smith

Hmmmm

Well, since his brother said it wasn’t related to his harassment over SWG, I am not sure you even get this “one”.

But hey, if you wanna be melodramatic, we can call it synonymous when we get a few millennia of a matriarchal society where males are kept out of the power structures of politics and business.

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Arktouros

As I said below, you’re never going to convince me that the answer to inequality is more inequality.

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Geoffrey Smith

It is true that two wrongs don’t make a right, as we love to point out to the people we have wronged. But one wrong doesn’t make a right, either. People who have been wronged will attempt to right the wrong; they would not be people if they didn’t. They can rarely afford to be scrupulous about the means they will use. They will use such means as come to hand. Neither, in the main, will they distinguish one oppressor from another, nor see through to the root principle of their oppression.

I’ll just quote someone way smarter than me with a far better understanding.

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Geoffrey Smith

The point, here, isn’t to convince you. The point is simply to show that “inequality is not the answer to inequality” is an empty platitude offered by those who have benefited from inequality to those who have suffered from it.

You can make the decision to accept that or not, but the truth of that stays regardless.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

Tis a bit mellow dramatic. I’m not here to make the point that men never get harassed unfairly – again we can look at g*merg*te to see that’s not the case. But it’s quantifiable, observable that women are treated differently in games, technology, and fandoms than men.

But this goes to more my point than yours – that the Reddit mob mentality is the problem here, not anything she or anyone else (female or male) has done. It’s just demonstrable that it happens more often to women. Hell, you can look at the coverage linked on the first article in this change to see that WOMEN are being targeted at other studios.

This isn’t a zero sum game. Saying that women get harassed more in games than men does not mean that men don’t get harassed.

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Arktouros

But this goes to more my point than yours – that the Reddit mob mentality is the problem here, not anything she or anyone else (female or male) has done.

You’re complaining about the fire burning the house down I’m still looking at the person who lit the match. Now you can make the argument that person just lit a candle and it wasn’t no big deal, but that candle led to the house burning down. Blaming the fire when there’d be no fire without the person lightning in the first place just don’t make sense to me.

Now my point about men also getting harassed is not to show the case for a zero sum game but rather that to imply this solely happened because she was a woman isn’t accurate. Men have made plenty of mistakes and equally have the capacity to be roasted for them mob style.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

I think we are arguing about the arsonist in this situation. Fundamentally, you see JP as the responsible party, I see the mob. We aren’t going to move the needle for each other.

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Geoffrey Smith

You’re complaining about the fire burning the house down I’m still looking at the person who lit the match.

This is a horrible analogy. A match has a specific purpose to light fires. A comment on Twitter does not automatically create a mob.

However, for the sake of following the analogy, you are looking at the match and entirely ignoring the accelerant.

Blaming the fire when there’d be no fire without the person lightning in the first place just don’t make sense to me.

“If this woman would just know her place, none of this would have happened”

Men have made plenty of mistakes and equally have the capacity to be roasted for them mob style.

Equal capacity, not equal results. Women are FAR FAR more frequently the target of harassment of men. Especially in the video game industry. Which is even more telling given their smaller representation.

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Bryan Correll

I think that, at this point, Ms. Price would benefit by laying low on social media for a while. There’s literally nothing she could say that her detractors wouldn’t read as negative.

I’m not saying she should just sit back and accept things. I frankly don’t know enough about her and her work (I’ve never played GW2 and and had never heard of her before this blow up) to have an informed opinion on who’s in the right here. But I don’t think it benefits either her or her former employer to keep fighting in public.

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draugris

She should be a bit more silent in her own interest. I really wonder what company is interested right now in hiring her. She is just a walking time bomb.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

I think she probably has a lot of interest right now. She’s high-profile, and no company is going to look at this situation, the exchange and the response from the Reddit mob and the resulting fallout and say “Yep, she was the problem.”

She was the spark, the catalyst — but she is most definitely not the problem.

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draugris

Hmm, i find that hard to imagine. She is so vocal and her name is all over the place that a company must be deaf and blind to not have heard of her. Why should any company take the risk of she escalating again. I don´t know where you are from, i come from germany and here recruiters check facebook, twitter etc. at times to get a feeling who the possible candidate might be.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

US here – my recruiters check as well. If she applied to be on my team (which is unlikely as I’m not in games, but I am in development), I would consider the scope of the situation and arrive at the same place I have now–it wouldn’t impact my decision.

If I made her an offer, it would be contingent on setting some guardrails around social media use and make the expectations super clear.

I think you under-estimate the negative impact of Reddit here in the states. People are biased against most things that come from Reddit communities because it has a reputation of being a toxic, hate-filled place (whether deserved or not). The layperson will look at this situation, see a Reddit brigade was involved, and assume reddit was in the wrong.

We have a bit more nuance because we are in the weeds with it, and I still think that she was pretty strongly mistreated and I think she should speak out about it.

My opinion obviously, but I really think Reddit being involved at all means that laypeople are more likely to side with JP without all the information. I just also happen to think that it’s the right conclusion to draw.

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draugris

Maybe, in Germany Reddit is not so much a thing. I go there once in a while but regarding toxicity, I found it as toxic as anywhere else, but I am not a Reddit expert, maybe the subreddits where I go are more civil.

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Arktouros

That’s very standard here in the US as well. First thing they do is check for them on common social Media websites and look for any red flags.

However as I mentioned above a company could equally look to exploit her infamy by hiring her. There’s still an element of fame there and she certainly has her fans/admirers as a result of all this. It’d be worth it for a smaller company to gamble hiring her and potentially attracting her fans as new customers. I mean “best case” scenario whatever trolls do continue to harass her follow to that company and that smaller company gets a PR boost in the spotlight as being under attack which could further drive revenue.

Of course if that doesn’t work out like that you now have a toxic employee on your hands that you can’t trust to interact with the public. Not really worth it at a larger studio but something a smaller one could for sure.

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draugris

Interesting, hiring her to profit from her drama queen potential, i never thought about that, haha.

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Arktouros

You’re forgetting a few factors here.

She’s not high profile, she’s infamous, and that’s a big difference. The only reason she’s in the spotlight at all is because of a negative interaction with people on social media. She continues to be in the spotlight for trashing her old employer. That’s not a good look in any cases.

Any company has a huge vested self interest. Even if companies came out in support of Price, which to date I haven’t seen a single major studio do, it’s an entirely different matter to employ that person. I mean right off the bat you have an employee where if things don’t work out you know they’re going to trash talk the shit out of your company. It’ll be a big gamble of will her infamy attract more customers who support her vs the cost of any potential new issues she might cause.

Most importantly though while people might casually dismiss this whole scenario as the “reddit mob” between negative feedback on the official forums, reddit, twitter and even in stream discussions for GW2 there’s a clear case to be made that this wasn’t some random effort to take down a female game developer. No company is going to ignore an issue when every avenue of feedback is telling you it’s upset. Especially when there’s a history of it from her job before ANet as well.

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Geoffrey Smith

It’s not surprising, really. It has become abundantly clear that the video game community has a general sense of ownership over these things that they expect developers and companies to bend the knee.

It has become extremely frustrating for sure.

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Arktouros

I’ll be sure to remember to bring up this viewpoint the next article on lock boxes.

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Geoffrey Smith

I was trying to be a bit more, uh, diplomatic, but yes. This.

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Arktouros

That’s just semantics.

Your “harassing specific women out of game dev” ignores the facts, ones you’ve clearly stated before in other replies, her error in this scenario. People didn’t just random pick her name out of a hat and say, “ya know, lets get her fired today” as you imply.

False equivalence is implying that every time a female developer makes a mistake and gets fired it’s just another gamergate harassment campaign by the reddit mob.

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Geoffrey Smith

Strange how that happens to far more women than men, eh? Almost as if a large group out there have a specific agenda towards them. Hmmm.

But sure, just like, you know, lockboxes.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

But you can’t extrapolate the mob. The MOB is the reason she got fired. Right – she didn’t get fired because of a Twitter interaction because if Reddit hadn’t gotten involved, it would have ended there. Derior didn’t want what happens, JP definitely didn’t.

Reddit took what should have been just a cold conversation between two people on Twitter and turned into a rallying cry against yet another woman in game development.

She’s now being referred to extremely toxic (no evidence to support), anyone who comes out in defense of her is being shouted down for ‘white nighting’ her, people are making shit up about her past, treating it as gospel and using it to say, essentially what I did before, “B*tch got what she deserved.”

Fuck man, you can replace JP’s name with Zoe Quinn and this entire situation is just carbon-copied G*merg*te. Full stop.

This situation is 110% the fault of the Reddit mob. JP was rude, whopdie.fucking.do. people are rude all the time, every day and this doesn’t happen to them. The are far more rude over far less and they don’t lose their jobs. Other creators on Twitter are far more dismissive and rude to fans and surprise – this doesn’t happen.

This happened because a woman in game development had the audacity to not be 100% unfailingly polite to a man. That’s it.

The initial interaction between Derior and JP is completely immaterial to where we are now – and has been since the second Reddit started calling for her head on a silver platter.

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John Kiser

MO said it wasn’t the reason she was fired. If we are going to take Jessica’s word she was never reprimanded we have to take MO’s word t hat it wasn’t because of the Reddit mob. You don’t know the internals of what all went on. Jessica has done this before and hasn’t even been at ArenaNet for a solid year (she started sometime after october of last year)

Serrenity
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Serrenity

My point is that if you take the situation and pull the Reddit drama out of it. If it had really just been that one interaction between JP and Derior – a total of what, 8 tweets — that ALL of this would have still happened. Without the Reddit drama, would MO have even known? Would anyone else even have cared.

I hemmed in my argument from before – you are right if I’m taking JP at face value, I have to take MO at face value too. But if Reddit hadn’t gotten involved, I don’t think it would have escalated to something MO would have even ever known about.

It hasn’t seemed overly contentious to say that MO knew about the exchange only because of the meltdown on Reddit. Whether he made a decision or not based on that, I can’t say.

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Arktouros

The MOB is the reason she got fired.

Right off the bat this is a false assumption. Mike O’Brien clearly stated why she was let go from ANet.

The initial interaction between Derior and JP is completely immaterial to where we are now

And this is really where this debate lies. People seem to conveniently ignore the point that it was her choice of actions that lead to this scenario. Trying to make the case that “the reddit mob” got her fired when without her actions there would be no “reddit mob” puts absolutely zero responsibility on Price or her actions. You’re blaming the reaction and ignoring the action that caused the reaction.

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Geoffrey Smith

This has literally nothing to do with anything being discussed in anyway.

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Arktouros

So customers provide angry feedback towards the action a developer takes is asking them to bend the knee.

However customers providing angry feedback towards the business direction of the company is a valiant fight against predatory business models.

I just don’t see the difference other than what side you’re on.

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Arktouros

I am not.

What I’m comparing is people holding companies responsible for their choice in business decisions (lockboxes) and people holding companies like ANet responsible for the words and actions of an employee who was representing the company.

Furthermore I wasn’t substituting words of what Drior said. In fact I wasn’t referencing Drior at all, but rather the numerous posts on the GW2 official forums, reddit and other sources with their negative feedback regarding the actions of an employee at their company.

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Geoffrey Smith

What I’m comparing is people holding companies responsible for their choice in business decisions (lockboxes) and people holding companies like ANet responsible for the words and actions of an employee who was representing the company.

Emphasis added for clarification.

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Geoffrey Smith

This is a ludicrously false narrative.

One of these is related to exploitative business models designed to prey on specific market factors. The other is related to an online mob mentality more often than not directed at women.

But sure, yeah. Basically the same.

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Arktouros

I still don’t understand this

There are unspoken rules within our society on the proper way to behave and interact with one another. You’re not going to go to jail if you don’t follow them, but you do risk being ostracized by portions of society as the result. Not trash talking your former employer in public settings is one of those rules.

Now if you feel you have an obligation to tell people your view of events then again no one can or will stop you from doing so. However you’re basically martyring your career for the cause of trying to get things to change. Being a martyr doesn’t usually let you walk away for free even if you’re morally in the right (and that’s still hotly debated).

I mean if you wanna see the difference you don’t have to look any further than Price’s reaction vs Fries’ reaction. Holy shit what a class act. Now I have zero doubt that in private Fries is a damn storm of anger. However he has enough social aptitude to know there’s a time and place to express such feelings.

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Arktouros

This is the part I don’t understand.

You’ve made the assertion “Silencing her is what they wanted” but according to whom? Where or what are you basing that off of? It’s like people have lionized her into this plucky hero fighting the good fight against some force that wants to “break her” and what not.

Sure there’s some people out there with ill intent, without a doubt, but those are your same people who say stupid shit like the player base can make the devs do whatever they want and other ludicrous things. That doesn’t reflect the whole. People are more recriminating her shitty behavior as being shitty than anything else. Her doubling down on that and bucking what most people accept as norms in which people interact within society just furthers that. The only possible case I could see being made at resentment towards her is the fact that people know they can’t say shit like this and get away with it so why should she be able to?

As for whether or not it’s good or bad to work at ANet I dunno. I think Price made an excellent case at the kinds of steps that ANet takes to internally make sure it’s a great place to work for. That doesn’t mean you can go out and publicly fuck up and say, “Well that’s just me! Deal with it!” And that’s the problem with finding someone to “handle her” as you say. She’s also made it pretty clear who she is and has zero interest in being a different person. That just isn’t a very hireable attitude.

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Geoffrey Smith

That doesn’t reflect the whole.

#notallredditmobs

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Arktouros

Now by reddit mob do you mean the GW2 official posts? The tweets on the matter? The twitch streamers and youtube content creators? Or just, specifically, the feedback on reddit?

Because from all sources, it wasn’t all positive nor was it all negative.

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Geoffrey Smith

You can split all the hairs you wish. Tilt at that windmill if it makes you feel better. But you know full well the sexism embedded in this.

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Geoffrey Smith

“Unspoken Rules” is a euphemistic way of saying that different classifications of people are held to different standards.

If you can say that with a straight face, then deny the power dynamics in play here with a female developer, then I am not sure what else could possibly be said to you.

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Arktouros

No it’s just describing the acceptable behavioral norms governing interactions between people.

Yea, like I said below, not really going to address anything else you wanna tack on. I mean you can say I’m saying something all you want but I’m not going to address it cause I’m not actually saying it.

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Geoffrey Smith

“Acceptable behavioral norms” are what create social stratification and power dynamics between groups. I shouldn’t have to give analogies, but I certainly could if for some reason you want them.

You are saying it, however, you clearly don’t realize you are. It makes sense. You have viewed these things through one lens and that is how you understand it.

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Arktouros

I certainly could if for some reason you want them

I don’t even want you to reply to me lol…

As for the rest, I’m not saying it. What you’re doing is you’re fabricating words and meanings to create points that you can attack. However because those aren’t my words nor are they meaning behind my words I have no inclination to address your fabrications.

So, again. There’s social norms and acceptable behaviors. You wanna say that they’re wrong or bad and need to change or whatever. Good luck with that. Doesn’t make them any less real or any less applicable.

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Geoffrey Smith

You clearly missed the sarcasm, funny.

I literally quoted your words, I didn’t fabricate your usage. I used direct quotes. It is rather telling you are pretending otherwise.

That last paragraph is the best though. The logic there really just underscores the whole thing. “Yeah, sure, maybe the social norms are horribly degrading to women and women in tech, or whatever. But thats reality so deal with it!” I couldn’t create a caricature of that opinion if I tried.

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Arktouros

I literally quoted your words, I didn’t fabricate your usage. I used direct quotes. It is rather telling you are pretending otherwise.

It’s not the words in the quotes that I had a problem with, it’s the assigned meaning you then fabricated after my words that I take issue with. That you continue to laser focus in on a portion of what I say rather than the entire message is equally telling.

I couldn’t create a caricature of that opinion if I tried.

Are you sure? Cause man your inability to not assign additional meaning to everything I say is pretty much the best caricature I’ve seen in a long time. I didn’t say a thing about horribly degrading or women in tech or otherwise but oh look here you are to insert your own issues into my words.

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Geoffrey Smith

You literally said fabricating words. I didn’t fabricate anything. And you are correct, I am quite focused on the way you have ignored all the underlying historical context for female developers in order to push ideas about ” acceptable behavioral norms” and “unspoken rules”. That you don’t see the connection between these two things is the story here.

And, again, you literal comment was

There’s social norms and acceptable behaviors. You wanna say that they’re wrong or bad and need to change or whatever. Good luck with that. Doesn’t make them any less real or any less applicable.

What’s included in those social norms and acceptable behaviors, here, is the idea that women shouldn’t speak up against those being critical of them. This sort of behavior against women who do so has a loooong background. And a very well known one in the video game community. So yeah, you saying even if they are bad, they are still applicable, is exactly you telling women to do deal with it.

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Utakata

Those “unspoken” rules can be pretty subjective though and highly distorted when politics and ambition come to play. As well as there are many examples of folks who excelled up the echelons of society by breaking those rules. What is one person’s firing is another making $50 k plus a month on Patreon, for example.

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Arktouros

Oh for sure, an ambitious person can always capitalize on a situation and make it their own. However, to my point, you don’t see any of those folks in your regular 9-5 corporate job either.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

But that’s what her detractors want. I take the opposite approach and say it’s super important she keep fighting in public because it’s uncomfortable — because we shouldn’t be able to ignore the whole situation and just it doesn’t exist.

I mean, look at the fallout here – https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/321979/Opinion_Its_past_time_to_get_serious_about_social_media_policies.php
and here – https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/12/the-indiebeat-arenanets-firings-heighten-concerns-about-company-policies-and-harassment/view-all/

As the Reddit mob tries to force ALL women developers out of gaming because ANet capitulated to them.

In some ways, its not even about her anymore. It’s bigger.

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Bryan Correll

In some ways, its not even about her anymore. It’s bigger.

My advice (not that she’s likely to see it within the sea of vitriol) was intended purely in regard to her personal career. If she considers it more important to stay in the trenches fighting the good fight that’s her decision.

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J

I’ve come and gone from GW2 up through the Heart of the Thorns material. I have no idea who wrote what parts of GW2. I will say that I find GW2’s story through that point, to be average at best.

I want my MMOs to have good story. I want my MMOs to be a “complete” package. GW2 only ever had solid combat going for it in my book. Everything else in the game was so-so-.

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Blaaznar

Don’t care about gender or race or dietary preferences but I found the story of GW2 very naive and flat.

Hope it gets a chance to improve soon with some new talent.