ArenaNet firings inspire IGDA to remind devs: Ask about harassment protection
International Game Developers Association chief Jen MacLean updated her company blog today with a post offering game devs a list of questions they should answer before interacting with fans on social media.
The post was reportedly written in response to ArenaNet's decision last week to fire writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries after Price posted a sarcastic response to a Guild Wars 2 streamer on Twitter, earning the ire of a group of fans.
Notably, Price has said she believes her termination was an emotional reaction on the part of ArenaNet cofounder Mike O'Brien, telling The Verge last week that "I understand being afraid when you see the Reddit mob coming for you, but if people with less power can weather it — and we do, regularly — so can he."
Thus, the IGDA post lays out a bunch of sample questions (with contributions from IGDA community members) that any dev who joins (or starts) a studio should ask if they intend to ever communicate publicly with a fan.
They run the gamut from obvious to Orwellian ("Are managers responsible for monitoring their direct reports’ personal/private social media?"), but there's also a whole section dedicated to a very relevant (if deeply depressing) question: What will the company do to protect its talent from internet harassment mobs?
"Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities," reads the post. "Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles."
If you're planning to be a game dev on social media, the full list of "Questions You Should Ask For Your Protection" is well worth reading in full over on the IGDA website.