I chuckled as I wrote this one.
It's because I started by trying to tell you how to do community management.
So I went to the stable and brushed down my high horse, donned my shiny armor and sheathed my sword. Kicked my horse into a showman's trot.
That's right folks, I haven't got a clue.
To my credit, it seems to run in the blood of game developers, specifically coders.
I'll be surfing Steam looking for gem's and sometimes I'll peruse the forums, just to see what's what and I'm reading all the nice things and then I see ...
... ooph, shot's fired!
Somebody is not impressed. But you know, it happens.
But then the next comment is nail biting stuff.
Cue: Blue lights, the shuffle of boots and associated drama.
Somebody with their orange dev tag has waded into the fray half cocked. He's got a figurative round trapped sideways in the breech. He's gone in through the front door with a jammed rifle.
A serious tactical error.
A poorly placed armed copper is one analogy, a bull in a china shop would be another.
I'm sat there thinking somebody call the RSPCA (animal control.)
"There's a developer loose here!"
"Somebody has let a coder out and he's butchered a golden goose!"
I mean, I laugh, but I've been that guy.
When somebody tries to smudge your glittering ace, one gets miffed. I mean, you've spent all day polishing it and this guy comes along with his cherished opinion.
So I leg it to the stable to get the horse, helmet under arm, chest plate flapping in the wind.
"Sword boy!" I yell, ceremoniously by default.
We're all dressed up like a hero from Warcraft 2, does this fool not recognize a knight of the highest order?
We issue a glaring rebuttal:
"How dare you address me as such lowly peon, do you know how hard I polished this shiny thing? I ought to bash you with my bastard sword. Where the eff is my sword boy. Coming at the Emperor's Royal Guard like that. Fancy a lick of my backup mace?"
Of course, that would be 'firing from the hip' as us British like to say.
I mean, the weird thing is that you'll get ten, twenty positive comments and then one hater comes in and all of that positivity is suddenly for nothing.
There could be one meter or a thousand separating you from the hater.
We feel like we're removed from the consequences of our actions because we can't see or feel the pain we're dishing out, we can only imagine it.
It's like the sad men that attack powerful women on X (formerly Twitter.)
They do it because it's a temporary reprieve of the regret associated with failure and society has lead them to believe they should be better than the recipient.
For some reason, the recipient becomes the subject of whatever anguish we have stored up and our natural instinct is to empty a proverbial magazine or two in the general direction.
You have much more to loose than they do. Break the cycle before it starts.
So you got burned.
How do you deal with the burn? Well you don't throw yourself into the flame in anger, that's for sure.
As I just demonstrated, I don't have a clue, so let's ask the man who built the biggest sci-fi presence on the Unity3D asset store and has dealt with hundreds of fans.
Let's ask Alex:
Keep it simple, remember the customer is always right, don't start arguing, and dont pick up fights. Be nice, no matter what they say to you - like a mountain.
Think of it as you have your personal Royal Clerk doing the job and also taking all the incoming face slaps for you. There's nothing personal. Abstract from it away and thank them for their time. Switch.
Sometimes its about saying what they wanted to hear if its getting hot
The most important part is to make sure you show care and understanding of their problem. Even if someone is bitching at you for no reason. Like a police negotiator, a psychologist, what would he say?
Interesting stuff. Powerful.
I mean, why didn't he tell me that 8 years ago?
So rather than kicking in the door screaming 'armed police' relishing the prospect of resistance, I should instead have been the calm negotiator who sees it as a personal failing if things escalate further.
Rather than being a crusader, a hero of the highest order carrying a sword so big they call it a bastard. I should instead have been the humble clerk who's only weapon is a quill and who's only objective is to complete the paperwork.
Makes sense I guess.
We don't shoot or chop up the golden geese, we want at the tasty egg's after all.
I've got to go, the microwave just pinged.
What's for dinner? Left-over humble pie.