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IGDA asks studios to "clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use"

ArenaNet firings show how "interacting with people as a game developer can jeopardize someone's job and career"

IGDA executive director Jen MacLean has advised game companies to lay out clear guidelines for employee behaviour on social media, in light of the firing of two ArenaNet writers over an altercation on Twitter.

As today's news has shown, the debate between Jessica Price and Peter Fries and their former employer has not yet finished. However, the IGDA believes the incident has highlighted the need for more transparent and consistent guidelines around employee behaviour on social networks.

"Often, game developers love engaging with their player base, and the interactions can be very helpful for both the developers and players," MacLean said in a blog post. "However, without clear information from an employer on social media use, interacting with people as a game developer can jeopardize someone's job and career, and even their personal safety.

"The IGDA strongly encourages its members, both as individuals and as studios and partners, to clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts."

MacLean placed emphasis on the way "members of underrepresented communities" are targeted for harassment, and said that all companies should know how they intend to support their staff should that happen, to ensure, "safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles."

To help with the process, the IGDA has compiled a list of 20 questions with the help of its members, all of which fall under one of five categories:

  • What are the rules for staff about engaging in company controlled online spaces?
  • What are the rules for employees' personal social media accounts?
  • What will the company do to protect its talent from internet harassment mobs?
  • What are the calibration/discipline/monitoring procedures?
  • Are employees allowed to play the game (if the game is multiplayer)?

You can read the full list of 20 questions here.

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.

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