Iain_C, Represent!November 11, 2008
Today the EU community received a new CM at GOA, Nic. While another voice from the staff of WAR is always welcome, it reminded me of that unanswered question: whatever happened to Iain Compton, the old GOA CM who was one of the most vocal presences on the forums up to the period shortly before launch?
We might recall that GOA’s open beta week was nothing short of a disaster — which, happily, they’ve pulled away from once launch hit and beyond. The first day or so of the fiasco was absolute insanity, with on-the-edge EU players lashing out at GOA with angry and sometimes hate-strewn posts. The GOA CMs, Iain included, tried to keep up with the information flow and situation, but it was clear they were clearly overwhelmed and outmatched by the vocal output coming from the community. This all culminated with Iain’s infamous “there is something wrong with you” post — a kneejerk reactionary post written in response to some of the more insane threats on WHA’s forums. Some found it an appropriate defense, and some thought that no matter what the circumstance, a CM should never lash back at the community.
The last official word we heard on Iain was a blog post by Mark Jacobs on September 8, in which he said “I have read IanC’s post on the situation and I have just communicated to GOA my thoughts on it. I’ll simply say this, I do not agree with what he said, I do not support what he said and his comments were, in my opinion, way out of line.” GOA’s David Petit also backed this up by stating, “We don’t support the views expressed in the last part of this post. They are the words of a single individual, written at a time of intense stress and fatigue, and were never discussed within the team. Although the comments were directed to a very small minority, these kind of remarks are clearly not a testimony of the professionalism you are entitled to expect from GOA. The community management team and I sincerely regret these comments, and I can assure you that we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.”
Whether these comments were an appropriate response of higher-ups about an underling’s performance, or what some saw as “throwing Iain under a bus”, I guess that’s up to you.
But since Iain was such a high-profile figure in the community, his sudden absence after his post and Mark’s comment led many people to assume that he’d been canned from GOA, or moved to another position out of a CM role. People have wondered, as have I, if one snappish post is enough to warrant a CM’s boot. Would people have forgiven Iain if he’d come back and apologized, or would that post haunt him no matter what he did afterward? Was the community, GOA and Mythic too harsh on him for one slipup without regarding all of the positive work he’d done?
It reminded me of World of Warcraft’s own Tseric, who likewise posted a very curt comment aimed at internet jerks, and was quickly and quietly canned by Blizzard.
I’m not trying to air GOA’s dirty laundry or rehash a very old subject at this point, but Nic’s new position as a EU CM does make me wonder what restrictions a CM has on what they can and cannot say. Obviously, they have to be tremendously careful what they say, because their words are taken as Law by the community — a conduit to the devs’ mouths and minds. They also play a scary balancing act between interacting with the community and not upsetting the community, the latter of which can happen for perceived issues as small as posting on too many “fluff” threads and not enough substantial threads. For what it’s worth, you could not pay me enough to take a CM position with any MMO company.
As for Iain, he’s definitely been silent as a sub running stealth over the past couple months, whether or not he’s been fired. His LinkedIn page still has him listed as a CM for WAR and his blog hasn’t been updated since August. I hope wherever he’s at, he has a solid job and is doing well.