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The relationship between the GMs and the community - part II

2005-05-23 09:43:00

HT-Tjecken continues to share his thoughts in his second editorial about this subject.

Let me say this loud and clear, to clear any misunderstandings left out there – maybe from both the users and on the GM side:

It is okay to discuss the GMs' work in the forums and it is okay to criticize GMs as well. It is, it really is – it will not get you banned. Just like every other human being, GMs also want to improve their work, so feedback is very welcome.

However, discussions about GM work need to be kept on a general level, whether discussing how GMs are recruited and trained or what is legal or illegal in Hattrick. We do not allow individual cases to be discussed in public because that would violate the user's privacy and because it would turn the forum into a court of opinion ruled by a majority that has little information about the case in point – in short, it would be a true mess.

If you really want to get your point across, you can take it to a general level and make a constructive argument about it – that's what the forums are for. But remember, just because it is ok to criticize doesn't mean you can just say anything you want to a staff member, you have to criticize in a polite and constructive way - just like you would want to be criticized yourself. It's not allowed to personally attack or insult any user in Hattrick, and that goes for staff members too, of course.

A lot can be said about how to criticize and how not to criticize, but I hope the above covers most ways, even if I didn't go into details. There's one really bad way to criticize which I think needs some extra attention however, because it's really bad for both GMs and the community, and that's when users try to provoke a conflict. If someone succeeds in provoking, and it happens from time to time, GMs are forced to take action which of course will not be 100% successful and the provoker will "win". But what's really achieved? Nothing, I'm afraid. Nothing, except mutual irritation and anger.

Unfortunately, I'm sad to say that GMs receive harsh words and insults from users from time to time, it may be mainly from locked cheaters but that isn't any excuse. There are also cases where users actually threaten GMs personally, although they are rare.

In a recent case, for example, a user (who had been banned after receiving 10 warnings about his behavior in the forums) took things way too far, stepping not only one step over the line but several, when he took the initiative to form a group of ex-users who gathered personal information (age, street address, children, photos, etc) about some GMs and threatened to publish that information on the web, implying that banned users could contact them directly that way. Another country's GMs have also experienced similar threats in the past, which forced them to start signing their mails as a group instead of signing them personally.

Not only is it forbidden by law to publicly publish personal details, we also think such actions are an attack on the game itself. No user should have to feel threatened in any way in Hattrick, and certainly not those men and women who voluntarily help us administrate this game. To protect and back up our threatened GMs, in the case mentioned above, we took the appropriate legal measures available to us.

Don't get me wrong now. We can understand the anger and frustration from some users when their teams get locked, but we feel all things could and should be solved within Hattrick and not be allowed to become real life issues and threats. In fact, we think that is utterly unacceptable.

So, am I saying that GMs are perfect human beings that don't make any mistakes? No, it's not that easy of course – there are areas where GMs can improve just as there are areas where the community can improve. More about that next time.

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