EA: Get Your Community Elsewhere

Both Tobold and Keen & Graev have posted about the policy at EA that can result in you being locked out of not only the official forums, but also any games that are linked to your EA account.

At first blush, this looks like making EAs forums much nicer places to visit according to Tobold and the G.I.F Theory. No one will want to be a semi-anonymous jerk because they might get banned from playing their single player games like Dragon Age.

The law of unintended consequences applies here. Some players might not want to complain about legitimate bugs because they fear the EA thought-police, so useful information will be lost. Rather than outright aggressive language (which can be dealt with by mods and the community) these forums will end up with lots of passive aggressive language that can’t be dealt with, and will make the forums an unpleasant place to be. The better forum users will leave along with the helpful content they write that makes the forums better.

Draconian policies do not make a nicer community.

As far as I’m concerned there is a better option. When someone makes rules you don’t like for their playing field, just don’t play on their field. Which means in this case one of two things.

  1. Don’t play their games.
  2. Don’t use their forums.

I’m assuming that most people will ignore the first point. After all, SWTOR is looking nice, and Dragon Age 2 is highly anticipated.

But this is the Internet, where anyone with a few quid can buy a domain and hosting and set up a forum (or a blog.)

As a rule, most unofficial forums tend to be nicer places to visit anyway. Sure there are the elitist jerks and eq2flames forums that feel like a PvP gankfest, but there are other nice venues.

The other thing to realise is that forums are not the only source of gamer community. There’s all the social networking like Twitter and Facebook where fans can congregate and chat. Twitter comments especially have a short lifespan, so it always feels like more of a conversation. There’s no necroing of year old threads on Twitter.

And then there are blogs. Blogs, I think, are one of the ultimate sources of community. They are operated by passionate fans, contain lots of useful info (mostly) and provide a place for commentors. In fact on the bigger blogs, the prolific commentors are known to the whole community.

So if you don’t like EAs all-compassing-banhammer, then don’t put yourself at their mercy. Get your community elsewhere.


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