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ArenaNet cuts ties with Guild Wars 2 writers after Twitter spat

UPDATE: "We are committed to fostering open, constructive dialogue with our community" reads ArenaNet statement

Guild Wars 2 writers Jessieca Price and Peter Fries are no longer with Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet following an ill-fated Twitter exchange with a community content creator.

After sharing her thoughts on the process writing a playable character for an MMO, Price -- a narrative designer of ten years -- became embroiled in an exchange with streamer and YouTuber Derior, accusing him of condescending behaviour.

As reported by PC Gamer, supported by her colleague Fries -- who has been with Arena Net since 2005 -- Price issued a number of remarks directed at both Derior and other members of the community who piled in on the debate.

"The next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me--as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a fucking DECADE, I have never heard of it--is getting instablocked," she said in one Tweet.

Derior later apologised for his comments, saying he only wanted a "dialogue and discussion", and had "meant no disrespect".

However, as is the nature of a Twitter frenzy, things quickly spiralled out of control and the Guild Wars 2 subreddit filled with comments attacking Price.

Shortly thereafter it was announced that both Price and Fries had left the company.

"Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players," said ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien on the Guild Wars 2 forums. "Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they're no longer with the company.

"I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you."

Update: ArenaNet has provided the following official statement to GamesIndustry.biz in response to this event:

"We are committed to fostering open, constructive dialogue with our community around our games. Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication, and they are no longer with the company."

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Latest comments (4)

Daniel Trezub QA Analyst, Ludia16 days ago
"Their attacks on the community"? WOW, have you read the comments FROM the community?

And this statement on the Reddit thread:
"When you publicly attack someone who was simply engaging in a discussion with a professional simply to give insight or seen an opportunity to interact with a professional and suddenly that person is shut down, only to turn this into a gender issue which HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, you better know that you lost any sort of professional credibility and all respect."

Failing to recognize a gender issue (mansplaining in this case) is bad, denying it outright like this is even worst.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 16 days ago
When dealing with a community, a developer cannot take for granted that the gender of the person presenting an argument is equal to the gender of the person who came up with the argument. That goes double for Guild Wars, which always had a lot of active female community members.

But I get it, social media tools makes drumming up peers to exact social pressure easy. Creating the same amount of pressure/reach with counter-arguments is hard, particularly due to a lack of tools which do for good arguments what hashtags do for social pressure aggregation.
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Ian Griffiths Product Owner, Hutch16 days ago
Having read the tweet, Deroir praised Price and then gave his opinion for what works, and it seems pretty valid and reasonable. Deroir wasn't offensive, it wasn't an ad hominem argument, it was just about the topic in question. Price, seemed to struggle with criticism of her approach and lashed out.

Should Price have been fired? No, that's definitely an overreaction.
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Show all comments (4)
Sorry for Miss Price and the possible harassment that she had to hold, but I support the company on this case.

Community managers are a kind of customer service position, yes, they must collect data, write periosical summaries of the community situation and interact with that community to keep it active and healthy. (So they keep buying/ using the product). A community manager hasn't got the same necesity to sell than a shop assitant, but still the CM is projecting an image, and not just for itself, but for the company as well.

If Price or any other CM staff gets harrased (something quite easy to believe due the toxicity of the community), I think that they should try other mechanics tools like reports, bans, remove messages, or in internet, the powerful "IGNORE", but entering in an arguing, independetly of who has the reason, is not a good procedure. Perhaps when she were on her free time and not representing the company. (She could have used different pseudonims to avoid those problems).

Sorry for what happened to her and her partner, and yeap, Arenanet could have taken another action (the discipline talk, help to manage conflict with fans, wage reduction...) But I see the dismissal justified.
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