PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

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MelodyKnighton
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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#16 Post by MelodyKnighton » Fri May 16, 2014 10:51 am

Do not focus on the negative feedback unless it actually is constructive criticism. You can't give it the time of day if you want to produce the best game you possibly can. It's so hard to ignore it, but you have to. The time worrying about every little comment takes away hours, even days that could be spent on the game, and the mental effort will lead to fatigue and an inferior product. Remember the quote:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"

Make it your mantra when dealing with this sort of thing. Some other tips:

-Carry yourself with grace and composure while under pressure. People WILL take notice and respect you for it, even if it's not immediately noticeable.

-Remember that the people blatantly hating on your game are NOT your customer base. Spending time to try and win them over is taking time away from people that want to buy your product. You're losing money and energy and no one wins.

-Venting is okay, but keep it private and with people you trust. Airing out your laundry is a fast way to turn former allies against you. Save the drama for imaginary arguments in your shower.

-Turn it into a good thing. Remember that anyone talking about your game, good or bad, means you've made some sort of impact. It might not be fun to deal with, but at least you know your product isn't fading into obscurity.

-If it ends up being too much and you still want to make games, take a break from the public eye. Your supporters are more likely to wait for you than the nay-sayers. Trolls want instant gratification. If you take that away they will usually move on.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#17 Post by Greeny » Fri May 16, 2014 12:28 pm

What you could also do is put a PR and/or marketing person between you and public reaction. I mean, surely the concept is not so out there? If anything, I'd argue that it's inherently too much pressure to try and deal with both development and public image. Doesn't even have to be a professional if you can't afford one. Just someone who knows how to deal with this stuff and won't affect the development process when things get heated. As long as they know what they're in for.

Nobody's going to show up at your door and make you turn in your Indie Card.

That's just a suggestion though, don't get me wrong. It's still awful that this happens and it should be that you could make games and be your own public representative and not have to deal with this, but unfortunately that's not the case.
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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#18 Post by Shoko » Fri May 16, 2014 12:46 pm

If you feel like some of the trolls have legitimate qualms about the game, take those parts from the comment and make a general newspost about those bits instead of replying to the troll directly.

Frankly, internet trolling isn't something that can be stopped. That would be impossible to do so while still retaining the amount of freedom the internet gives us today.

My advice would be to try and remember that at the end of the day, these trolls are only posting words on a screen, often uninformed opinions about someone they know nothing about. Try to see this negativity as an unfortunate byproduct of human nature and try to ignore/block the most hateful/ignorant of the bunch as efficiently as you can. Once you get into that mindset it might be easier to cut to any actually viable critique they may have, if you're interested in reading them.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#19 Post by SundownKid » Fri May 16, 2014 1:38 pm

Asceai wrote:
SundownKid wrote:Sure, uncompromising people might make better games, but this speaks to the fact that game development is still out of reach to all but the most slavishly dedicated creators. It's not a good thing, it's something that should be changed.
I'm not sure this is a bad thing. You need dedication in every other field to be successful. I mean, if the argument is that we need something for game design that is what scribbling unskillfully in an art pad is to graphic design, we already have that- there's GCSs that have lowered the barriers to entry significantly, which is why a lot of horrid trash thrown together with Unity has been appearing lately.
Dedication does not equal being an asshole though. Much of the trolling Vs. Phil Fish was exacerbated by the fact that he lashed out and made the trolling worse by "feeding the trolls". He basically tried to insult the trolls and made himself a target when the comments against him were unfounded and didn't deserve a response.

Now maybe it was because he felt he should go on a crusade against the haters because he devoted an insane amount of time to his game. But in the end it just made things way worse for him.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#20 Post by Sailerius » Fri May 16, 2014 6:27 pm

Who suggested that you have to be an asshole to stop trolls? I'm not sure who you're arguing against.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#21 Post by KomiTsuku » Fri May 16, 2014 7:04 pm

I'm sorry, but every time I hear people say to just have thick skin or ignore it, I want to bang my head. Even if they are trying to be positive in their critique, there's only so much you can take before it gets to you.

“When they (critics) insult you, and they become the straw that broke the camel's back and you snap at them or just defend yourself, the first thing they’ll say is “I thought you had a thick skin, you should learn to take criticism,” after they insulted you and your family. And they don’t realize they are comment number 1,000 out of a 1,000 comments that week. A thick skin is just that: Thick. It’s not impervious. It’s not invulnerable. And it’s not infinite. It gets ground down, worn away, and eroded. It needs to heal to grow back in time, and if you’re getting a constant stream of abuse you’re gonna snap, you’re gonna be sensitive, and you’re gonna get raw.”

-Jim Sterling

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#22 Post by MelodyKnighton » Fri May 16, 2014 7:15 pm

KomiTsuku wrote:I'm sorry, but every time I hear people say to just have thick skin or ignore it, I want to bang my head. Even if they are trying to be positive in their critique, there's only so much you can take before it gets to you.

“When they (critics) insult you, and they become the straw that broke the camel's back and you snap at them or just defend yourself, the first thing they’ll say is “I thought you had a thick skin, you should learn to take criticism,” after they insulted you and your family. And they don’t realize they are comment number 1,000 out of a 1,000 comments that week. A thick skin is just that: Thick. It’s not impervious. It’s not invulnerable. And it’s not infinite. It gets ground down, worn away, and eroded. It needs to heal to grow back in time, and if you’re getting a constant stream of abuse you’re gonna snap, you’re gonna be sensitive, and you’re gonna get raw.”

-Jim Sterling

Not everyone has a thick skin or can handle prolonged criticism, but it's still the truth that it's not healthy or productive to dwell on it. For example, I have to try hard not to worry about what every person thinks, but my husband can tune it all out in a second. I don't think anyone realistically expects a person to 'grow' a thick skin if it's not already their nature, it's more about identifying that early on.

If this is or will be a problem, you need to find other ways to deal with it, because torturing yourself shouldn't be an option. Like someone else said, get a pr rep or someone you trust who can handle it. Separate yourself from the situation and focus on your game/product. Let someone else deal with the rest.

I'd love to see some people offering their social media marketing/pr/advertising skills in the recruitment threads for situations just like this. : )

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#23 Post by Asceai » Fri May 16, 2014 7:20 pm

If you're successful enough, you can pay someone else to filter all feedback (email, whatever) you get. That's healthier all-round because it's easier to tell the difference between criticism that is legitimate and criticism that is personal or unconstructive when you're not the one being criticised. It's also less psychologically damaging to read it when it's not being directed at you.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#24 Post by Sailerius » Fri May 16, 2014 8:47 pm

KomiTsuku wrote:I'm sorry, but every time I hear people say to just have thick skin or ignore it, I want to bang my head. Even if they are trying to be positive in their critique, there's only so much you can take before it gets to you.

“When they (critics) insult you, and they become the straw that broke the camel's back and you snap at them or just defend yourself, the first thing they’ll say is “I thought you had a thick skin, you should learn to take criticism,” after they insulted you and your family. And they don’t realize they are comment number 1,000 out of a 1,000 comments that week. A thick skin is just that: Thick. It’s not impervious. It’s not invulnerable. And it’s not infinite. It gets ground down, worn away, and eroded. It needs to heal to grow back in time, and if you’re getting a constant stream of abuse you’re gonna snap, you’re gonna be sensitive, and you’re gonna get raw.”

-Jim Sterling
What else would you suggest be done when it's inevitably going to happen? Your options are:
1) Become desensitized to it
2) Don't make games
If you're successful enough, you can pay someone else to filter all feedback (email, whatever) you get. That's healthier all-round because it's easier to tell the difference between criticism that is legitimate and criticism that is personal or unconstructive when you're not the one being criticised. It's also less psychologically damaging to read it when it's not being directed at you.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work, either. Even people who work on AAA games where all community interaction is handled through a PR department are targeted by trolls. These are losers who have nothing better to do than to stalk and hunt down the personal information of people in order to make their lives hell. I'm not sure if you heard, but there was a story about how one of the game designers for Call of Duty had his personal information tracked down and death threats sent to his family because he made a certain gun weaker in a new release.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#25 Post by rainbowcascade » Fri May 16, 2014 9:53 pm

Sailerius wrote:
If you're successful enough, you can pay someone else to filter all feedback (email, whatever) you get. That's healthier all-round because it's easier to tell the difference between criticism that is legitimate and criticism that is personal or unconstructive when you're not the one being criticised. It's also less psychologically damaging to read it when it's not being directed at you.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work, either. Even people who work on AAA games where all community interaction is handled through a PR department are targeted by trolls. These are losers who have nothing better to do than to stalk and hunt down the personal information of people in order to make their lives hell. I'm not sure if you heard, but there was a story about how one of the game designers for Call of Duty had his personal information tracked down and death threats sent to his family because he made a certain gun weaker in a new release.
Now that's the kind of insanity I'm talking about! How in the hell do you knock out trolls like that?! If only there was a way to trace back to life endangering trolls because that is a crime right there.

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#26 Post by Mad Harlequin » Fri May 16, 2014 11:39 pm

I'm sure when the harassment goes that far, there are ways to try to stop it, like tracking digital fingerprints and IPs or something.
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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#27 Post by papillon » Sat May 17, 2014 12:30 am

Strategy for avoiding this sort of thing? Well... as a "girl on the internet" for a lot longer than many of you (I'm not that old, you're that young) I was told repeatedly for years and years that this nonsense would descend upon my head in waves if I drew attention to myself online. So I deliberately keep my head down. I'm a bit cagey about my personal details, I don't post about how awesome and rich and successful I am, I work to defuse situations as much as possible, and when I gotta vent I try to make sure that it's done in a way where it won't get back to the person I'm ranting about, to avoid drama. This means I don't get press coverage, because I am not 'interesting'.

Nasty things are still said but they're usually said more about my games and less about me.

Of course, I manage this through serious paranoia that is in its own way just as much of a pain as some people's actual hatemail is. :)

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#28 Post by Greeny » Sat May 17, 2014 11:57 am

Sailerius wrote: If you're successful enough, you can pay someone else to filter all feedback (email, whatever) you get. That's healthier all-round because it's easier to tell the difference between criticism that is legitimate and criticism that is personal or unconstructive when you're not the one being criticised. It's also less psychologically damaging to read it when it's not being directed at you.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work, either. Even people who work on AAA games where all community interaction is handled through a PR department are targeted by trolls. These are losers who have nothing better to do than to stalk and hunt down the personal information of people in order to make their lives hell. I'm not sure if you heard, but there was a story about how one of the game designers for Call of Duty had his personal information tracked down and death threats sent to his family because he made a certain gun weaker in a new release.[/quote]
It may not be bulletproof, but it helps. You have to remember that CoD has a truly massive fanbase, with possibly an exceptional high percentage of trolls within that fanbase. Of course there are going to be more people with that kind of time on their hands. If you're careful, you can still avoid all but the most dedicated attacks. The more famous you are, the more dedicated they are.
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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#29 Post by EwanG » Sat May 17, 2014 12:06 pm

There is nothing you can do in life that won't subject you to criticism. I've been riding a bike to and from work since December, and almost daily I hear from drivers that I should be on the sidewalk (illegal in my city and many others), that I should get a car so I can keep up with traffic (if they'd care to pay for my SO's replacement leg I'd be happy to), etc.

My books - both self published and through major publishers - always get a few good zingers. On a couple of the books where I was one of many authors I kind of agreed with them. When I was doing scanlations of a particular manga I was first criticized for "stealing" it from the prior person (who disappeared a few months before and hasn't been heard from since), then criticized for the quality of my work, then criticized when I decided to drop it - by some of the same people who were earlier suggestion I shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

And you only need look for my published game threads on here to see how universally I am loved :lol:

My point is that you probably can't go outside your bedroom door and breathe without someone being offended or bothered by something you're doing. Sometimes because they're upset and you happen to be right there. So I'm not sure there is really a "solution" for this except to try to make sure you're not contributing to the problem. If you can't say something nice about a work, maybe silence really is the best response...
Working on something... might even be something good :D

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Re: PR nightmare: When indie devs are attacked

#30 Post by Hyraculon » Sat May 17, 2014 10:48 pm

As much as there is to be said about taking criticism with grace, even that of the "entitled jerks on the internet griping just to gripe" variety, the gaming community can get really toxic. Trolling turns into legitimate harassment all too often. It's seriously distressing when the only real advice anyone can give is basically just to lay low.

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