So, I had another piece almost ready to go up when in came this email:

[Mark,

It’s good to see you back. I was wondering how you were doing since you fell off the radar. I’ve always loved how involved you were with the community, but at times I wondered – were you TOO involved? One thing Blizzard does well is make you feel like you are yelling into an abyss. People don’t really know where to direct their anger there. I kind of felt like you stepped into the line of fire unnecessarily. At least your CMs can honestly say, “It’s not my fault!” and people will agree. I think it will be better for your health in any future endeavors LOL

Kind words for me removed for brevity's sake.

All The Best,

Aikau]

And this got me to thinking whether Aikau was right or not.  Now, Aikau isn’t the first person in the world to tell me the EXACT SAME THING but my response was usually either “But if I jump in I can talk about things that the CM can’t and quickly calm things down” or “I don’t want my CMs taking abuse.” I do think that what Aikau says is absolutely correct at some level, I do know that by being there I both put myself in the cross-hairs and that my presence, at times, made things worse.  I do also know that the opposite is true as well and for extra goodness, I also know that early in the development process by talking to the general player base that I helped build a fairly large number of people wherever I spent a lot of time talking about the game(s).  We’ve seen the same sort of phenomenon with sites like Myspace, Facebook,etc. for other people in different industries as well.   What I need to figure out was which was the better system for my company, my enjoyment and of course, my stress levels/quality of life/etc.

Over the years (and especially over the last 15 months), I’ve looked at issues like this one to see where I made mistakes and how I should avoid making them going forward.  While I have figured out a lot of things, this is one issue I’m still not sure which is the right way to go (and some people I have talked to have, of course, completely different opinions).  While there might be a middle ground, anytime I think of trying to walk down the middle of a path, the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi comes to mind “Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later… get squish just like grape.”  OTOH, maybe you get squished anyway no matter where you walk?  Maybe there really is a truly no-win scenario. Sorry, just watched Star Trek last night for like the 12th time, I love that movie. :)

No matter what though, thanks for the note Aikau, it is certainly something to continue thinking about, a lot.

Mark

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