Campaign Trail – Communication

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION from Mynxee: We both know that communications from CCP can sometimes be unclear or less than timely. What do you foresee as CSM6’s key challenges in that regard, and what ideas have occurred to you for tackling those challenges?

This is a very good question, and one I have had to deal with, time and again, throughout my professional career.

Education

Most of the world’s population doesn’t know how to be effective when communicating negatively. Many personal relationships end because people don’t know how to work together to reinforce their relationship through adversity, finding it easier to simply ignore the issues, or lash out, or any number of other and equally ineffectual responses.

This also spills over into our business relationships. After all, who we are is who we are, whether we’re at home, at work, or in a game, right?

In the workplace, most people are terrifed of being fired, being embarassed, looking foolish in front of coworkers, etc. It’s very challenging to get someone to take responsibility for their actions, learn from it, and move forward creating better solutions for the company. The quick gut reaction is to blame someone else, ignore the situation and hope you get away with it, or any number of other and equally ineffectual responses.

This is where education comes into play. When I was in high school, I was part of the debate team. Sure, it’s dorky, nerdy, geeky, whatever you want to say, but it taught me some very valuable life skills, primarily these:

  • Conflict resolution is the ability to understand someone else’s point of view and work towards a mutually agreeable and realistic solution
  • Arguments end debate. An argument is one party’s inability to see any viewpoint but their own. There is absolutely no point in continuing a discussion once this has been realized.

And I 100% agree.

Consistency

By now, I hope you all know I’m a fitness afficianado. I workout regularly, maintain a healthy lifestyle, starting running marathons, even spent the time and money to acquire professional knowledge sufficient enough to help me earn industry certifications.

None of those things happened over night. All of those things took consistency.

There are times we all succeed. There are times we all fail. How we should measure ourselves is by how many times we keep coming back for more.

In our relevant situation, here’s the skinny:

CCP needs to educate themselves on consistent and effective communication. The CSM, and by extension, all players, simply want to have an accurate and honest appraisal of the state of the game at any given time. It’s alright to say “Our game isn’t perfect” or “We screwed up there”. We welcome statements of “Yeah, we really wanted to do that but then looked at the logistics behind what was a seemingly easy change and realized it had a trickle down affect across multiple essential systems so we decided to scrap it.” Or how about this? “Yes, we’re behind schedule. Here’s why.”

There appears to be an inherent fear in being consistent with communication to players. This needs to stop.

Busting Heads

Sure, I’d love to go stampeding through CCP HQ for a week, strong arming my way through this educational process, but that is short term thinking, although it would be fun!

I’ve already outlined the solution: consistency. CCP creating the CSM was a good step towards consistency in communication. There is continued responsibility, however, with all involved parties: CCP, CSM, players.

  • CCP needs to mandate consistent communication as a daily goal. It’s the only way to make it a habit.
  • CSM needs to work with CCP towards consistent communication. This could be through terrorist like activities, a parent nurturing a child, or any other number of approaches. The trick is finding the one that works.
  • Players need to encourage CCP’s consistent communication with appreciation, realizing that ultimately this is CCP’s game and they’re going to build what they want, not what every individual player wants. Thank God for that!

So how would I do it Mynxee? By continuing the work that became very evident with CSM 5. By working tirelessly with CCP through frustration after frustration until their education sticks and they come to realize that good business requires good communication.

Work with your players; plain and simple.

2 responses to “Campaign Trail – Communication

  1. There’s much “ra-ra Roc leads the charge” here – too much in my opinion. Roc will go and educate CCP and make them learn their lessons? I’m hearing this in your post. Remember, the CSM is there to represent the players’ opinions to CCP. So the first communication issue is getting CCP to listen. If you can convince them to share more with the CSM, super, but don’t get expectations too high.

    The mention of “busting heads”, “terrorist like” tactics, and “parent nuturing child” concerns me. If you bring that attitude to Iceland, you will be seen as arrogant and could do more harm than good. If there’s a parent here, it’s CCP – the CSM grew out of the popularity of their game.

    Don’t go there with the idea you’re going to revamp the corporate culture, i.e., teach CCP communication skills. That’s not the job. CSM does not make policy – CSM is a stakeholder and you can use that to coax, cajole, convince CCP to be more forthcoming, but you aren’t going to strong arm better culture into CCP.

    Be prepared to have CCP withhold information if it suits them. They have a business to run, and if they believe it’s to their tactical or strategic business advantage to keep their cards close to their vest, they’ll do just that. I suspect that they have a much better idea of what they are doing for Incarna than they have let on, but they have some reason to keep that to themselves until they are ready. And if they do do that, the CSM mustn’t let that sway the CSM from the job of presenting the opinions and concerns of the players to CCP. Because that is CSM Job 1!

    • I’m going to touch on a few of the points you mentioned.

      My main goal for CSM is to increase the communication flow between players and CCP via the CSM. That is the single most important aspect of this mechanism in my opinion.

      Busting heads, terrorist like tactics, parent nurturing child, was actually meant in jest. I did go on to say it’s discovering whatever method works best for a particular dynamic of people, as well as changing situations. I did start off by saying while busting heads sounds like fun, and probably what many players would envision, it’s obviously not realistic nor effective.

      I believe I’m already seen as arrogant by many, including some at CCP. Fortunately, players and CCP employees alike that know me personally know that isn’t the case. Well, not so much anyway.

      Your last paragraph describes my issues with the CSM as a whole, CCP’s misuse of it, and why I finally ran for a position. CCP is a business. At the end of the day they are going to do what they want with their business. It’s been said elsewhere that CCP isn’t asking the CSM to be a group of amateur game developers. If CCP wanted help with changing game mechanics, they’d hire people to that.

      CSM is about exactly what you’ve said, what others have said, and what I’ve said from the beginning, namely presenting the opinions and concerns of the players to CCP. I’ll take it one step further. It’s important to not just present it to CCP, but to get a response to take back to the players.

      What good is one without the other?

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate that.

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