I’m fairly active on Twitter, and I follow a number of game developers both big and small. While some of those accounts I follow are the official accounts for the developer as an organization, a fair few have been individuals. Never in all my time interacting with those individuals have I ever seen one of them react negatively with something I, or anyone else, has had to say.

Even in the fair few instances when someone outright attacked or mocked the individual in question, I’ve never seen an unprofessional interaction.

They’re People Too

Obviously, I’m referring to the interaction recently between Jessica Price, an ArenaNet writer and Deroir, a Guild Wars 2-focused YouTuber. It’d be difficult to be on Twitter at all without at least hearing about the interaction in passing. I don’t want to provide any links to the thread where the interaction took place. The fact is that while I don’t agree with the way she handled the situation, she isn’t deserving of the attacks she’s been facing.

She was rude, but she’s also human.

Chances are, even if you’ve only worked one day in your life, you’ve experienced what it’s like to have someone attempt to explain something about your job to you. In retail, it usually entailed someone trying to tell me how my workplace policies and procedures worked. In food service, it was customers explaining alternative methods of production or offering suggestions that simply wouldn’t work. Other professions experience the same thing, like with police officers, judges, and lawyers being told how the justice system should work, or information systems specialists being told how to properly network a workplace.

In all of those situations, it’s really easy to become upset and have a bad reaction, but you can’t. In some situations, it’s a well-meaning individual who doesn’t know any better, but yes, there are times when it’s just an ignorant fool trying to get their way. Regardless of the intentions of the offender, it’s generally not considered to be a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you, especially when your company relies so heavily on its interaction with its community.

Clauses

I violated company policy at a previous job (big shocker right?); the social media policy. I complained about my shift at work, about how I had worked longer hours than the rest of my coworkers and stayed longer than my supervisors even, all because the person who was supposed to take over for me forgot their schedule. While I still disagree about my complaint being a violation of company policy considering that I didn’t provide names and never disclosed my workplace, I was still written up. A manager of mine saw my post, and I was written up the next day.

Young, dumb Shelby learned an important lesson that day: What you say on social media sites, is there for the whole world to see. For better, or worse.

Since then, I’ve made great strides to ensure that I never cross my social media with work. As much as I’d love to brag about my workplace and proclaim my pride in my work, I know that I can’t be 100% sure that I’ll never say something that might be conflated to be from my employer in some way.

That’s where the subject of this post made her mistake. Had she not disclosed her association with ArenaNet, she probably could’ve gotten away with her outburst. However, as with most companies these days, ArenaNet certainly has policies dictating individual conduct on social media platforms. That just comes with the territory in this day and age. The fact of the matter is that you can’t wear your workplace like a badge of honor and still act like an asshat on social media.

Furthermore, I’d venture a guess that she wasn’t fired only for making those replies, though they definitely played a role.

“I was given no opportunity to argue my case… The whole thing was highly unprofessional,” -Jessica Price, Narrative Developer

Her statements on the subject sound eerily like my own following the confrontation over my social media post, and ensuing write-up. I only sought to defend myself, expressing little interest in seeing things from the perspective of my managers at the time. I feel as if she backed herself into a corner, given her apparent attitude regarding the subject. She’s a very passionate person, and I know that works in her favor when fighting for causes she believes in, but that doesn’t work well when you’re being reprimanded by a superior. That pride and passion can quickly get you in trouble.

I’ve met similar people in my time in the service sector; she expressed her disdain for the community which formed around the game. Whether she feels that disdain is deserved or not is irrelevant. She’s not the type of person you want interacting with the community evidently; something ArenaNet discovered far too late.

Based on the interview I’ve read on the subject, ArenaNet saw her Ask Me Anything post on Reddit and Twitter thread about narrative design to be professionally linked, because she publicly displayed her association with ArenaNet on both sites, and discussed Guild Wars 2 content with fans on both sites.

She was representing the company. The expectation was to behave professionally and respectfully, or at least walk away. -Mike O’Brien, ArenaNet President

As I’ve said before, publicly displaying your affiliation with your employer is often a double-edged sword. She obviously loved her job, and was clearly good at it. However, this is ample evidence to prove that you can’t expect to reap the benefits of being acknowledged as a member of an organization while not also suffering the consequences of poor social decisions.

There are some important things to take away from this:

  1. Don’t stick your neck out and act as a representative of your employer if you want to mouth off to people or fly off the handle without provocation.
  2. People like Jessica Price don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of targeted harassment. She made a mistake, and was extremely rude, but she’s not an evil person. The people attacking her and celebrating her firing need to lay the hell off.
  3. It’s easy to sit back and armchair quarterback, saying a company should stick up for their employees regardless of their behavior.

But that’s just my takeaway on this. I know there are those out there that feel she has been unfairly treated as a consequence of being a woman. I myself can’t see any indication that the events that unfolded were a result of an attack on her sex or gender, unless it was so expertly veiled that it required thorough scrutiny of writing between the lines. Then again, I’m male, so I get the feeling I’m not the authority on the subject.

What are your thoughts on the situation? How would you feel in her shoes? In the shoes of ArenaNet? In the shoes of someone sparking up discussion?


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Posted by Shelby "Falcon509" Steiner

I'm just a gamer that enjoys talking about my hobbies. I do a little more than that too. I love cooking, grilling, being outdoors, going target shooting, etc.

8 Comments

  1. I’m aware of nothing regarding this situation beyond the fact that something happened. Social media vs. work is an interesting thing these days as there’s very little you can do about crossing the two. In fact we look people up on social media when we get applications to see if they maintain somewhat professional standards.

    It’s even tougher as a teacher as the kids tend to look you up. In fact I know I few have found my blog and read it from time to time. Thank god they don’t comment!

    At any rate, you shouldn’t stand in the middle of a town centre and yell slurs at someone so everyone can hear. You probably shouldn’t do it online either considering the size of the audience.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. The whole thing is a giant mess. There’s a ton of blame-placing on both sides, and people seem content with being on the extremes.

      She crossed her personal accounts with work, and made some questionable decisions. I’m not surprised something bad came of it. Her behavior sounds an awful lot like she’s trying to evade accountability.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  2. I’ve read a lot into this and wrote my own thoughts about it over on my blog. I don’t really feel bad for her. She’s proven time and again that she’s not a very good person. At least not on social media anyway. I hope she learns from this situation and move on, but I totally disagree with her yelling sexism because a man had a different opinion than her.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. I’ll head over and read your post here when I get a chance. I’m also of a mind that you can’t just shout “oppression” when someone disagrees.

      Like

      Reply

  3. Have no IDEA about this situation nor have I heard it (Thank goodness) but I agree with you: You have to be careful on Social Media. ESPECIALLY if you have a company attached to you. You have to have great decorum and essentially ignore a lot of negative stuff. If it is a rude question, you have to work around it and be diplomatic. It is…
    It feels like basic knowledge these days purely because we see it time and time again. And most people on social media have mob mentality. And know when you become a figure, you tend to not be seen as a person anymore but a source of entertainment which means higher standards.
    It is insanity.
    Good topic. Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thank you for reading. I’m certainly not enthused that social media can be volatile for personalities, especially when it’s so easy to associate individuals with their employers, but that seems to be the way things are. If you’re going around making statements that can be assumed to be officially sanctioned by your employer, even if you don’t perceive it that way, it should be understood that you may end up dealing with the consequences of it.

      I do find it interesting that her perception was to assume the commenter was arguing with her because of her gender, yet she’s upset that people assumed she had been responding in an official capacity when discussing narrative in games.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. It surprises me that people DON’T think like that. If you are known for something like that, then just – it seems like common sense to me.

        And I definitely don’t want to see what happened if she resorted to saying it was because of gender. Things get messy QUICK when things like that are thrown in. Nope. No thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

  4. I have actually not heard about this, but as a general rule, there’s really no separation between the parts of our lives anymore. You have to be so careful what you say and do, and while this can be great for ousting terrible people (re: bigots), it can also go extreme (as everything can potentially do), punishing people who might have gone a bit too far, but not to the point where they should lose their jobs/livelihoods.

    Like

    Reply

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