7 August 2009

The art of politicking

I'll be brief, because I'm aware that I'm at risk of appearing rather bitter on this subject, but I can't let this pass without comment.

The normally well-informed and always readable Alex Ziebart of wow.com has just published his review of the priest Q&A shadow section. His review is articulate, reasonable and balanced, as always. But he makes the mistake of taking the Q&A at face value.

People who work in public-facing roles are often asked questions that they don't want to answer. It is their job to resolve this dilemma, and they have evolved a barrage of decoys and evasive manoeuvres to aid them.

We all like to think we're savvy to such manipulations, but the truth is we fall for them all the time. This is simply human nature, and testament to the skill and ingenuity of the people we are dealing with. Our only defence, which is an imperfect one, is to be aware of the techniques and be on guard for them. Ask yourself: is this the question I asked? Does this answer address my subject? Is this what I want to know or is this simply what they want me to hear?

I like World of Warcraft, I value what community relations we have with Blizzard and I think Ghostcrawler is an extremely talented and likable person in a challenging job. But Blizzard is not in the business of pandering to every emo appeal they receive and sometimes they are asked questions they do not want to answer.

So you can choose to take the priest Q&A at face value. Or you can see for yourself the range of questions put to Blizzard by the community before you judge the output.


crysana said...

Thats a very good call - i got the exact same impression when i read the Q and A. Questions chosen that they wanted to answer, not the communities, and the answers they provided filled with fluff and evasion. Thinking back to it, there wasn't anything concrete provided at all - no fixes, nothing on the horizon. My extreme disappointment with the whole thing hasn't subsided on iota in the last few days...

Anonymous said...

Allright finally got myself to read up on that Q & A. First impression, why did i waste my time reading that crap.

Now a question, did blizzard really get the chance to pick the questions themselfs ?


Merlot said...

"Now a question, did blizzard really get the chance to pick the questions themselfs ?"

Exact quote from the thread is: "As a part of our class Question & Answer series, we are looking for any questions you may have concerning your class and ask that you post in this thread."

So in theory, no, we submitted the questions. But they obviously couldn't answer all questions directly, so they first collected, summarised and combined what they received. And in the process, rather artfully edited, misunderstood and downright ignored the key issues.

Anonymous said...

Cant agree with you more on that!

Point for effort to blizzard, now lets take the point away for turning all the questions to their own gain.


Cassandri said...

There is an intermediate body choosing and posing the questions to the developer. Although how closely the "Community Team" is to Blizzard is anyone's guess.

I think pretty close simply because most of the questions are phrased with "we".

"Q: While we had previously reduced the range of ... do we have any plans to... ?"

As someone who has worked in marketing and customer service I can read pretty well between the lines and be OK with the answers that were given. I most enjoy hearing the big picture stuff "what are priests all about?" and the design decisions that have been considered and abandoned such as the frost spell they mention.