Every once in a while, I get messages and/or read posts from players that are concerned that I’m not answering forum posts fast enough, or that I might be ignoring problems/complaints - and this makes me sad! I have replied in the past to various forms of these posts with relevant explanations, but I thought it might be helpful if I posted something more concrete and easily findable. Hopefully this post will serve as a living reference point for you all if you’re ever wondering the best way to ask me for help, when I’m around, and my philosophy one when I step in to threads or conversations.
Work Hours - when I’m (officially) around
10:30am - 5:30pm PST Mon-Fri
As some of you know, I tend to bop around earlier and later than that on occasion, but this is the time when I’m actually checking the forums regularly and, most importantly, that’s when the rest of the team is usually around in case I need to answer questions about tech issues or other game questions.
I do my very best to not check work stuff on weekends
I do sometimes, but you should absolutely never expect it unless there is a major major catastrophic game error.
Office Hours - when I’m specifically on the forums
11a-11:30am Mon/Weds PST (when available)
4pm-4:30pm Tues/Thurs PST (when available)
I’ll be creating an Office Hours thread right after this. This thread will allow me to come in and focus on forum stuff. You’re all welcome to join me in this thread and have fun, or ask serious questions! Basically it will function as an AMA. I’ll do these whenever I can, but if someone schedules a meeting or something, I’ll have to take that. I’m also still around outside of these times, but this is when I will focus on the forums instead of hopping in and out like I normally do.
Why don’t you answer every question asked?
There are a ton of you! And what I tend to do is make sure to wait a little bit just in case someone else in the community can answer your question, before I pop in. Also, sometimes I see the same question asked over and over (in the same thread) - or like, asked in a different way, but essentially looking for the same answer. I read nearly everything that is written on the forums, but I don’t read it as soon as it’s posted. I was just catching up on a 5 day old thread last week.
Not all questions are created equal
This is a bit of a follow up to the last one, but I don’t answer every question because sometimes I’ve answered a question before. Other times, the question being asked by 1-3 users would require way more time for me to answer than it took to ask the question, and I know the answers would lead to more questions. Because I know how conversations unfold, I have to prioritize what things I can answer. The key will always be - if it affects a large portion of the playerbase, that gets priority. If I have time to deal with questions that only affect a small group of people, or one person, I’ll answer those.
Can I ask you to help with Support issues?
The short answer is yes, you can ask, but I am not on the Support team. I am on the team with the Support team, which might be a little confusing – and I work with the Support team to handle certain larger ethics/morality issues. I also bring general support concerns to the Head of Support, my counterpart on the team…
So… can I or not?
YES, you can. But here’s what I do when people ask me for help with their support tickets: I check on the ticket number and make sure that someone is not being ignored. That’s basically all I do. And if someone has waited for an answer for awhile, I’ll drop a note in the ticket. On very rare and special occasions (most of you will not have one of these, individually) I’ll chat with the Head of Support about a specific decision – but this is rare, and I usually make that decision on my own, not because someone asked me to.
What do you do again?
I am the communication bridge between Pocket Gems and you, and you and Pocket Gems. I tell you what PG says, and I tell PG what you’re saying. I handle all forms of outgoing external communication beyond marketing materials. In-game mail, forums, social media, livestreaming, Player Faction management and comms, some support messaging, website copy, etc. By “handle” that means I write most of it or work with the folks that write it to make sure it can be safely and easily consumed by you!
Are you important/do you have any power?
Depends on what you think importance and power is, really. My job is to be the subject matter expert on the Community. Teammates come to me to pick my brain on how the community might feel about content/gameplay, I’m involved in ideation/brainstorming meetings, I’m asked to problem solve stuff, I get involved in creative meetings about new content, etc. I cannot make unilateral decisions that affect the game, though.
You don’t act like I would expect an employee to act?
Fair enough. In addition to acting as the primary information conduit between players and PG, I am also here to build the community (this is my favorite aspect of the job!). It is my philosophy that, in order to best help folks, that I have to be an actual part of the community.
You will discover that I’m not like your average community manager - I tend to be around more often, I tend to be more personable, and I make a real effort to be as genuine and authentic as any other member of the community. That means I will joke around, it means I will openly agree and disagree with people, I will share my personal opinions about the game, and I will talk about my personal life. This approach is surprising (and even jarring) to some people who expect employees of a product they use to be more like customer support agents, or deferential, overly apologetic, etc.
Sometimes, you’re kinda sassy
That’s true! If someone is going out of their way to be overly rude, discourteous, or disrespectful to me or another member of PG staff, or another user - I have no problem sending some mud your way. The internet has made some people way too comfortable being crappy to other humans from behind their keyboards without fear of reprisal. Some people also have the mistaken belief that employees of companies have to sit and take abuse from customers. I will not.
Do you code/can you fix glitches
No, but if an issue is clearly laid out for me that helps me get those things fixed. You also need to submit tickets. I know some of you hate that, but I can’t do anything with forum posts in a quick manner. Tickets tickets tickets.
Do you play War Dragons?
Yes, but my experience is far different from the normal player. I’m zooming through ranks so I can make sure to understand from a practical standpoint how early/mid/late game players experience the game’s content. That way I can check if Lockjaw’s Iron Wind is broken myself. I’m probably not a very good player and I don’t know how Atlas works just yet. We have team members that specifically work on Atlas and I rely on them for information.
Are you going to ban or suspend me if I criticize you/PG/the game?
I hate suspending or banning people, however, if someone is constantly negative - that is harmful to the community - my job is to build the community to be a fun, informative, and helpful place. The reason I suspend or ban people the most usually are because they violate these issues from the Code of Conduct:
- Personal attacks
- Lack of civility
- Lack of constructive conversation
I also do not tolerate discrimination. I can usually tell if someone is doing this on purpose or not, and I will not hesitate to ban offenders from the forums, and I will make strong recommendations to my counterpart that offenders are banned from the game.
Sometimes you’re wrong about stuff!
Yes, this is totally true, and I’m sorry ahead of time when I make a mistake. I know that many folks follow my answers and take them as the gospel, so when I say something I need to be sure that what I’m saying is correct. A few tips for you dealing with a human that is bound to make mistakes:
- The most accurate pieces of information are blog posts. Those have 3-4 review the copy before they go out… but yes, even those have been known to contain errors from time to time.
- Always know that any in-game content is SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT WARNING. I know that warning is lame, but it’s the most honest answer I can give. We make changes for a variety of different reasons, and I don’t always have time to tell you about it, and in some cases, I don’t even know about it. I am working as hard as I can to make sure that these situations are as infrequent as possible.
- You can always ask me why a change has occurred, or why a mistake was made, and I’ll tell you to the best of my ability.
Will there be more of you?
Well, I hit my growth spurt in Middle School - but I think I’m more or less the same… oh, not MORE of me… ahem.
There are other CMs incoming, and I’m excited for you to meet them. They’ll be working under me and will help answer technical questions and reporting! Also, the PMs and other War Dragons team members hang around the forums, too!
If you have other questions along these lines, ask in my Office Hours thread. I hope that I’ll be able to Livestream some of those - maybe once or twice a week!