Good Communication?

139 posts / 0 new
Last post
One thing that I've noticed (and that I'd really like to highlight) is that WotC is communicating with us, and giving us a large quantity of information.  Since the announcement, no one has voiced and complaints about the lack of communication from WotC. 

Communication was the #1 complaint from many people for the past 2 months.  I don't want to lose sight of that while in the middle of the torrent of posts over the new char builder.  Set aside for a moment how you feel about Web Based tools, and let me know what you think about the level of communcation we've been seeing. 

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

One thing that I've noticed (and that I'd really like to highlight) is that WotC is communicating with us, and giving us a large quantity of information.  Since the announcement, no one has voiced and complaints about the lack of communication from WotC. 

Communication was the #1 complaint from many people for the past 2 months.  I don't want to lose sight of that while in the middle of the torrent of posts over the new char builder.  Set aside for a moment how you feel about Web Based tools, and let me know what you think about the level of communcation we've been seeing. 

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.



Questions, in order:

1) There is more participation from WotC reps than I've ever seen here. That is a positive thing. A lot of it is damage control. That is a negative.

2)  I would like to see this level of interaction - or, even better, more people with more communication, constantly. I would like to see regular articles in the content calendar. Etc.

3) I think they revealed far too little prior to release.

4) I think the information was released far too late. Months and months too late.
I'd be worried about setting unrealistic expectations in those people who aren't familiar with large companies and communication rhythym.

That said, I think it's great to see the level we've had in the past couple of days. I don't think there was anything wrong with how the web CB was announced. More than two weeks might have been announced but 2 weeks is far more than you get from other corporations (Apple, I'm looking at you).

Going forwards, my ideal would be to see the following:

1) Issues, forthcoming updates for the existing tools

2) What's being developed. Ideally with a timeline expectation or priority adjustment.

The problem with both of the above is that by communicating it you set up expectations and preconceptions. Customer A wants low-priority item now-now-now and so spams the forums over and over etc. If its priorty was never publicised then, based on what i've seen professionally and personally, it's less likely to come up or rather more likely to die down if it does come up.

But thumbs up on the communication we're having. I'd love to see it continue but I will entirely understand if it drops down until the next roll out of a tool/update.

I want playtesting.

Feedback after it is too late is ... too late.

thank you for posting on this topic. I believe its something that needs to be addressed.

That being said, I feel like this level of communication is not enough. It is quite apparant that the plans to replace the characer builder with the new online version have been known for some time. During this time, we were all assured that updates were coming and that new tools were being developed. It seems as though the majority of the people on these boards took this to mean that the updates coming were for the current character builder and not a new online character builder.

I think you can clearly see how people were mislead by these statements. Instead of announcing delay after delay of an update that they were fully aware was not coming (at least the update that was implied), they should have announced the new online character builder and that the updates we were all waiting for would be included with this new online character builder.

At least then, we would have been prepared for what was coming and not blindsided by this 'new' tool. I think better communication could have prevented most people into feeling mislead (intentionally or not) by all of the announcements leading up to this.
I agree with Mock... the communication is damage control.  With WotC, it always is.  It was damage control when Magic: Online went from v2 to v3.  It was damage control when these forums moved to this current format.  It was damage control after the Gleemax debacle.  It is damage control now with regards to DDI.

Communicating after the fact is not being proactive; it is reactive.  A community wants proactive action and communication.  My experience with WotC in this area has shown there to be a trend of reactionary, damage controlling communication (at the risk of my post sounding redundant).

Unfortunately, when the next round of annual WotC lay-offs occurs, the community will probably lose many of the ones who do communicate.

Regardless of NDAs, I thought that the whole point of Community Liaisons or VCLs was to help get the Company's message out?

From a PR perspective, producing this thread at this time is going to dramatically skew the results.  It might have been better to wait for the firestorm to subside.



Come join Team Apathy! or not whatever shrug.gif
 
Yo! tm  afro.gif

 
One thing that I've noticed (and that I'd really like to highlight) is that WotC is communicating with us, and giving us a large quantity of information.  Since the announcement, no one has voiced and complaints about the lack of communication from WotC. 

Communication was the #1 complaint from many people for the past 2 months.  I don't want to lose sight of that while in the middle of the torrent of posts over the new char builder.  Set aside for a moment how you feel about Web Based tools, and let me know what you think about the level of communcation we've been seeing. 

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.



IMHO, they need one point of contact to be considered the official source of information.  Anything else should not be considered official until validated/announced by this person.  This will eliminate the predators that lie in wait, ready to pounce on any faux pax made.

Other than that, it's been one day.  This isn't even a trend, let alone a pattern.  It's a start.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
It's good to see the brakes off. It's nice to finally get some answers. I'd have like to see this a lot earlier.

I'm disturbed that the silencers are still on other areas. They have nothing to say about when we might see the Monster builder updated. It's the same old silent treatment. No info, no info on when we might get info.

They've reduced the capability of what we have but still aren't saying when we might get that capability back. That is frustrating.

When might we see file export/character sharing, even a time scale (days? weeks? months?) what the plan is after the 16th? Will we see another update a month later? sooner than that? later?

I appreciate there are reasons to hold back some info, but there can be some middle ground between "this has been announced, we can now answer questions" and "...".
 
i dont feel like i can get answers on things that arent even serious enough to warrant secrecy. i wasnt around for the 'vtt' fiasco, i started subscribing after that, but i dont think acknowledging you are aware of monster builder bugs sometime within the 4 months since you broke it is really...well lets just say hasbro enforcers arent tying their hands on it. i also wonder about the design philoophy, is it really so anti 'classic' 4e player that there is no old character sheet? i cannot stand the new sheets, it makes it much more child like. as far as online, that doesnt bother me but i would also love to get some kind of ballpark on when you will be able to export these. does soon mean 6 months? or does soon mean next month? its stuff like that. im sure they are working on 'new' things and i dont expect to know anything about any of that. but this other stuff isnt exactly 'top secret' lets get real
Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.



I don't think you are seeing fewer complaints about communication because they have gotten any better, you are seeing it because people are more upset over the changes to the CB than they are about the lack of communication.  They told us about a new product just before they are planning to release it, so nothing has really changed on the communications front.  The only thing that has changed is that there is a bigger, juicier target for peoples' anger.

Now if they were to tell us what's coming out next, or when we can expect an update to the monster builder, or anything more than they have, their might be something to discuss on the subject of 'improved communication'.  But this one announcement is just their standard operating procedure, so I can't see how one could argue that their communication has improved.



Very good communication, I'd say.  Much better than they've done in the past.  So far, they have:

  • Told us what's coming on Nov 16

  • Told us what's not ready for Nov 16 but will be part of the CB

  • Told us that integrated tools are on the way (long-term plans)

  • Answered my most pressing question, that being the status of ipad support

  • Answered the most pressing questions of others, such as export and sharing

  • Responded to the strong demand for export, and told us that it's been bumped up on priority


Really, this is exactly what they should be doing.  Dismissing it as "damage control" isn't fair.  They're reading our feedback and our rants and responding to them by taking action - action, though, that fits in with their overall plan for the service moving forward.  What more would you want?

You can fault them for not telling us about it sooner, but I really see a turning point on the communications front.  PaoloM himself has said that he wants to provide things like updates on the development of unreleased tools in the coming months.  I really do think they've changed, and saying that they're still communicating poorly because they've been under a new communication protocol for all of a day seems a little harsh.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
It is definitely nice to see them posting here. However, its a bit late, and the fact part of the board also thinks they are liars do to previous posts doesn't help them much either.

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.


The number of posts from WotC staff is higher, and getting some information from the source is certainly appreciated.  My problem is that it feels like they are only commenting now because of the huge amount of negative outcry - and for once it is fairly justified.  
Show
The news was bad.  A new web-based character builder is cool, and it should work out just fine, but that has not been the discussion, the discussion was on removing the off-line version.  The problem with the timing of the information given out had nothing to do with getting the information too soon, it was that this new tool has less functionality that the abandoned one.  Nothing anyone says will change that fact or make it sting less.  Maybe in a few months we will have the ability to organize our character sheets the way we want them, and set up proper campaign settings, and export the character files, but until then, we are trading a tool we all like and use for something that might be fantastic, but lacks key features and adds some data that was already expected. 

Paolo has been really good about answering questions in the mega-thread, it just isn't answers people want to hear.
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
I really appreciate the time Paolo's taken to flesh out the new tool for us, and I hope that the WotC presence continues. So long as they don't spend all their time attempting to put out all the fires started by people who are ticked off about trivial things (like missing features, or gripes about cloud computing), and prioritize the finalization and announcement of the entire toolset Paolo's hinted at, I'll be a happy camper.
Please keep posts to this thread focused on communication.  Thanks.
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Very good communication, I'd say.  Much better than they've done in the past.  So far, they have:

  • Told us what's coming on Nov 16

  • Told us what's not ready for Nov 16 but will be part of the CB

  • Told us that integrated tools are on the way (long-term plans)

  • Answered my most pressing question, that being the status of ipad support

  • Answered the most pressing questions of others, such as export and sharing

  • Responded to the strong demand for export, and told us that it's been bumped up on priority


Really, this is exactly what they should be doing.  Dismissing it as "damage control" isn't fair.  They're reading our feedback and our rants and responding to them by taking action - action, though, that fits in with their overall plan for the service moving forward.  What more would you want?

You can fault them for not telling us about it sooner, but I really see a turning point on the communications front.  PaoloM himself has said that he wants to provide things like updates on the development of unreleased tools in the coming months.  I really do think they've changed, and saying that they're still communicating poorly because they've been under a new communication protocol for all of a day seems a little harsh.



This information is too late. Thank goodness I decided to wait for the release of the Psionic Power content before updating my Character Builder. So, my CB still works fine offline. Coincidentally, I avoided all the bugginess of the last update, which I didnt avail, such as the disabling of the magic item prices. There was no forewarning they were going to change the CB so that it would no longer work offline. If there had been, more CB customers would have planned ahead and did what I did but on purpose.
Did you not read the last paragraph of what you quoted?

You seem to be missing the point.  Yes, their communication up through Nov 1 has been terrible.  Their communication in the past 36 hours has been phenomenal.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The bottom line is,

Let us know about any drastic changes *before* you make them.

See if we like it. First.
...Yes.  And PaoloM has said he's going to do exactly that moving forward.  Complaining about how they weren't communicating before Nov 2 does nothing except let you vent.  Giving feedback on the change in communication that they've been doing since yesterday is a very good thing.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Did you not read the last paragraph of what you quoted?

You seem to be missing the point.  Yes, their communication up through Nov 1 has been terrible.  Their communication in the past 36 hours has been phenomenal.



The communication has been 'phenomenal' AFTER it is too late.

They say it, AFTER they have already decided what they will do.

The feedback of the customers is irrelevant to them.
Did you not read the last paragraph of what you quoted?

You seem to be missing the point.  Yes, their communication up through Nov 1 has been terrible.  Their communication in the past 36 hours has been phenomenal.



The communication has been 'phenomenal' *after* it is too late.

After, they have already decided what they will do.

The feedback of the customers is irrelevant to them.



Really, I'm starting to believe you didn't actually read what you quoted in my first post in this thread.

PaoloM said, specifically, that due to the strong desire to see Export functionality in as soon as possible that it got bumped up to the top of the priority list of things he's going to work on.  Irrelevant feedback, eh?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I actually like the level of WotC communication here right now. I hope they keep it up
I am also glad that the answers coming from WotC are being collected into a sticky thread, but i find it sad that the threads that the answers are being posted in are so hard to sift through that the additional thread even needed to be created. 
It is getting too difficult to climb through all the nerd rage to find the actual information and not conjecture or emotion filled, knee jerk responses.
I think communication has to be a two way street. Yes WotC needs to continue to tell us whats going on in as timely a manner as they can, but at the same time we also have to listen to them and let the others in the community see what they are saying. 
 
Mand, as you yourself say: 'You can fault them for not telling us about it sooner.'

   Guess what. I can and do fault WotC for not telling us about it sooner.




WotC must announce any drastic changes long before they happen, and have content playtests and tools betas to see if we like it BEFORE they become official.
I like the level of communication from Paolo about the features of the new CB.  That still leaves a lot missing, but from that one source about that one topic it has been good in the last 36 hours.
Mand, as you yourself say: 'You can fault them for not telling us about it sooner.'

   Guess what. I can and do fault WotC for not telling us about it sooner.




WotC must announce any drastic changes long before they happen, and have content playtests and tools betas to see if we like it BEFORE they become official.


Lol.  Must huh?  Whatever you say, bud.  They are not beholden to you.  Not beyond the $10 a month you pay... oh wait.  WotC doesn't owe you a thing.
A business 'must' make sure their customers are happy.

A playtest has nothing to do with me personally. If WotC publishes a playtest, and most players like it even tho I personally dont, then they 'must' go with the playtest version because that makes as many customers as possible as happy as possible. Meanwhile it is good public relations for me. I understand that many customers get more enjoyment, and I dont begrudge it.

On the other hand, if many customers have difficulties with a proposed change in a playtest, its possible to tweak the change or create alternates, long before it becomes official.

So I would like to ask those of you who have been cancelling your subscriptions.  Would you have cancelled knowing that the delays are because of this tools system?  If they had come forth 2 months ago and said, "we aren't updating the offline CB because we are working on a new online format" would you have cancelled?  I wouldn't have.  How many of you are cancelling because of this new feature?

I believe that WotC needs to stop keeping everything a secret.  Yes, there was a problem 2 years ago and that is over with.  I feel like I have been punished twice.  Once for not getting the VTT and again for not being told what the money from my subscription is being used for..   I joined DDI to help with the the development of the Online Gaming Table.   I want to know what it would be used for if I signed back up today?   They have said that the online character builder is but the second feature of this system.  I have to assume the Monster Builder would be the third.  What else?  So far we are not where we were 3 months ago and won't be until the Monster Builder is added.   I want to know what comes after that's caught up.  Just a 2 weeks notice is rediculus.

I remember when it was announced that Master of Orion 3 was not going to have turn based combat.  There was a big uproar about fans not wanting RTS in MOO3 after that announcement.  Could the developers have done anything about it?  No, not really.  They had already been working on MOO3 for months if not years.    So to me, it would be in WotC's best interest to get feedback from their Insiders as well as give us something to look forward to. 

I bet that had they told us about a web based character builder two months ago , they would have found out how much we want that export feature and could have gotten it to us on release.


So I would like to ask those of you who have been cancelling your subscriptions.  Would you have cancelled knowing that the delays are because of this tools system?  If they had come forth 2 months ago and said, "we aren't updating the offline CB because we are working on a new online format" would you have cancelled?  I wouldn't have.  How many of you are cancelling because of this new feature?



I would have cancelled two or three months ago if I would have known that this "new" release was going to be a web version of the CB.  I was under the impression (expecting) something new to add to the toolset, not something we already have in a different form.  So yeah, I'm out $20-$30 as a result.

I'm not upset, just disappointed.  I understand and like that this is the direction that they want to take it, but I would have liked to have known at that time.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
Of course communication is up, they have a thread that is 24 hours old with over 1200 replies, 90+ % of which are written by enraged customers threatening to discontinue their subscriptions...
79189613 wrote:
Of course what you guys say matters! But there are some things - like the offline access option - that are not possible, sorry.
Speaking of timely communications, you guys might want to update your insider webpage.  Right now it still only has information about the downloadable version of the character builder.

Edit: and I think the communication is fine over the last day or so.  I more care about lack of communication in the errata forums if anything.  Even a "we see this is a concern, but the change was intentional" or " we will look into this" would be nice.  It happens sometimes, but not enough and makes me think legit concerns of players are being ignored.
One thing that I've noticed (and that I'd really like to highlight) is that WotC is communicating with us, and giving us a large quantity of information.  Since the announcement, no one has voiced and complaints about the lack of communication from WotC. 

Communication was the #1 complaint from many people for the past 2 months.  I don't want to lose sight of that while in the middle of the torrent of posts over the new char builder.  Set aside for a moment how you feel about Web Based tools, and let me know what you think about the level of communcation we've been seeing. 

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.



I try not to be a negative poster, partly because I post here so infrequently.  My overall answer to your questions is that this feels very much like damage control, for something they knew was going to set a lot of people off.  While I appreciated some of Paulo's communications yesterday, I was surprised that he was getting into fairly petty detail (Microsoft vs. Apple, really?).

I'm not certain they could have said anything to improve the mood of those who feel misled.

"Damage control" can also be interpreted as "clarifying a pretty vague press release with actual answers from the guy who worked on it"
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Ok, here's what I've got from your feedback clearly.

1. This level of communication is 'acceptable'.  More would be nice, but this works.
2. The more drastic the change, the sooner we want to hear about it.
3. We would prefer to see a shift from Damage Control to requests for feedback about planned changes. More Proactive. Less Reactive.

If you think I got the wrong message about any of that, let me know.

Here are some things that remain unclear.  Hopefully you will clarify for me.

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies and broken promises?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?
AsmodeusLore D&D Insider News Guide Follow Me


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

I only pointed out that some of it is damage control, which is always a negative thing to see (it's probably an inevitable thing, but nobody likes to see it). I have no trouble with the recent communication. 


So I would like to ask those of you who have been cancelling your subscriptions.  Would you have cancelled knowing that the delays are because of this tools system?  If they had come forth 2 months ago and said, "we aren't updating the offline CB because we are working on a new online format" would you have cancelled?  I wouldn't have.  How many of you are cancelling because of this new feature?





I would most certainly not have cancelled (or terminated autorenewal, at least), or even requested a refund, if they'd told us in September. I would have sent emails to my group to say "hey, set aside a few bucks because check this **** out!" They most certainly would have had people bitch their heads off. I think they would not have had an 1100+ post screamfest.

Perhaps I'm being pollyannaish. 

I think the online CB is a fantastic idea, it looks swanky, and it has huge potential. But I don't feel like I've been a part of any of this, even what little part a customer might have, since Moment 1. So I'll ride out some or all of my subscription, but nothing encourages me to pick it up again. Yet. 


Here are some things that remain unclear.  Hopefully you will clarify for me.

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?



And, to address this:

1. Early on (way more than 2 weeks), in no uncertain terms, and with an explanation of how it will benefit the customer. Preferably, with hard examples of already working functionality that can show us how it will benefit the customer. If you can't think of any ways it will make things better for the customer, then...as dbmeboy says...cowboy up and say it anyway, say "we know you won't like this, but it is how it is." Just do it early enough that people are not going to be blindsided - or feel blindsided - by it. 

2. There was a very good post on proper communication and couching somewhere else. There probably just needs to be a lot more forthright why going on in the announcements, while adhering to the guidelines about communication (never say an absolute that isn't, never make a promise about the future that doesn't say "at this time the plan is...", always state when the next status update will be and never miss that date, etc.).

3. Both. Inaccurate (within reason, don't say "We're making a video game" when the plan is "build a food processor") news way early - big ideas, strategic moves, etc - early on, and then regular updates with constant refinement.  
One thing that I've noticed (and that I'd really like to highlight) is that WotC is communicating with us, and giving us a large quantity of information.  Since the announcement, no one has voiced and complaints about the lack of communication from WotC. 

Communication was the #1 complaint from many people for the past 2 months.  I don't want to lose sight of that while in the middle of the torrent of posts over the new char builder.  Set aside for a moment how you feel about Web Based tools, and let me know what you think about the level of communcation we've been seeing. 

Does it feel adequate to you?  Would you like to see this level continue?  Do you think they revealed too much before the release date? Do you think the information was released too soon?  Any comments about the level of communication we've seen this week is welcome.

Thank you.



I really appreciate that Paolo is posting back to the thread and answering questions from folks.  However I am not convinced that he should be.

I do think that WoTC could work on it's overall customer service skills.  Something that seems great to them, apparently isn't to many of us, and it might be because they know about other things that can't be talked about yet with everyone else.  There are ways to get people excited about new products, or evolving products, without upsetting many.

We have a rule in our IT shop... the programmers don't get to talk directly with the end users Smile  Not meaning to knock Paolo, I am sure he's doing his best, but you really need someone with people skills and experience dealing with internet forum based customer service to be doing the front line work.  You can say one thing and tick off a bunch of people, even if you had the best of intentions and totally not realize it until much later (if at all).

It would also be nice to know if there is more in the offing.  I believe this has been hinted at, but if we had even a vague idea that things are being worked on, it would be nice.  No dates, not even a quarter or year... but if we heard "Hey, were dropping the client version of the CB for an online one, and here is why... we are working on a suite of integrated tools and the changes we are making are a needed step", goes a lot farther than "Hey, we have a new version of the CB, and it's online only... yay for Mac users".
Ok, here's what I've got from your feedback clearly.

1. This level of communication is 'acceptable'.  More would be nice, but this works.
2. The more drastic the change, the sooner we want to hear about it.
3. We would prefer to see a shift from Damage Control to requests for feedback about planned changes. More Proactive. Less Reactive.

Here are some things that remain unclear.  Hopefully you will clarify for me.

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?



I'll do my best.

1. Suck it up and say it clearly.  If it's going to be unpopular, it's going to be unpopular whether they announce it clearly when it's known or wait until the last minute to let people know.  I'd much rather know it was coming than not.  Also, make sure all communication about it is accurate, even worse than being surprised by the change is being misled about the change.

2. Tell the truth and tell it plainly.  For instance, using supplement to mean "replace something you already have with a version that has less functionality initially but we plan to make better in the future" does not go over well.  There will be nerd rage no matter what if it's something they know will be unpopular.  I might also add: if you know it's going to be unpopular, don't tease with statements like "I'm excited about it and I think you will be too."

3. Both.  Give news sooner clearly labeled as to what is certain and what might change.  Then as there is more accurate information, keep us posted on it.

Ok, here's what I've got from your feedback clearly.

1. This level of communication is 'acceptable'.  More would be nice, but this works.
2. The more drastic the change, the sooner we want to hear about it.
3. We would prefer to see a shift from Damage Control to requests for feedback about planned changes. More Proactive. Less Reactive.

Here are some things that remain unclear.  Hopefully you will clarify for me.

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?



1. make an announcement as soon as possible and give people plenty of time to react to the situation. give us time to voice our concerns and respond to those concerns in a timely manner (like what seems to be going on after the announcement yesterday). If you know something is not going to be popular, give people the opportunity to try it out for a while before forcing it on them. don't hold things back that people are expecting to have (and believe that they should already have) as an incentive to use the new product.

2. again, make an announcement as soon as possible. don't just tell us its coming soon. never state something as absolute if there is a chance that it won't happen.

3. I would prefer accurate news sooner. If you can't deliver accurate news, give us as much as you can but still keep it accurate news.
 

1. make an announcement as soon as possible and give people plenty of time to react to the situation. give us time to voice our concerns and respond to those concerns in a timely manner (like what seems to be going on after the announcement yesterday). If you know something is not going to be popular, give people the opportunity to try it out for a while before forcing it on them. don't hold things back that people are expecting to have (and believe that they should already have) as an incentive to use the new product.

2. again, make an announcement as soon as possible. don't just tell us its coming soon. never state something as absolute if there is a chance that it won't happen.

3. I would prefer accurate news sooner. If you can't deliver accurate news, give us as much as you can but still keep it accurate news.



I agree with this, with the addition that announcing what you plan to release and when you plan to release is handled by those in the video game industry all the time. So instead of saying the dreaded "soon," say we are planning on releasing this tool in the spring of [insert year here] and then update us as you know if that time frame is changing in either direction.
I think same thing if you replace  a feature or tool.

If you think I got the wrong message about any of that, let me know.

That all looks about right.
1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies and broken promises?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?


  1. Two months in advance of the actual negative event.  With some form of actual apology for the pain (2 months free DDI?).  But I'll mutter more below, because I believe the question is slightly wrong

  2. Communicate quickly (at least 1 week before the expected due date).  With a forward looking revision/plan.  And more peace offerings if required.

  3. News around 2 months out, as accurate as appropriate for that time frame.  Directional statements, not concrete ones.  Plans, not dates.


Ok, back to question 1:
In this particular case, the (IMHO) correct approach would have been
  1. Three months ago:
    1. "Hey, we're working on a web-based character builder.  Here's some early screen shots.  Here's why it will be better than the existing one.

    2. Yes, this means the existing off-line builder will stop getting supported.  But no worries yet, we're gonna keep updating it for the next few months.


  2. Last month. "Ouch.  We've slipped the new builder a month.  We're not going to be able to get essentials into the legacy builder, so we'll give current subscribers a free month to make up for it.  Sorry.

  3. This month: "Hey, new builder's ready for beta testing.  Remember, this is the last update for the old builder we're doing, and we're not going to add essentials support: the code's just too crufty."

  4. Next month: "And the new builder's live.  Thanks guys.  I hope you like it as much as we do"

That gives you the "export/I hate lock in" feedback a month ago, when things are a bit more fluid.  And then hopefully next months has the relevant support.

So my point is, with respect to your "how do you announce an unpopular decision" is "they didn't have to.  They could have come up with a transition plan that would have been popular."

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?

Immediately and honestly.  Yeah, the reaction sucks, but a reputation for honesty and trying to work for customers, not against them, does wonders.

Moreover, unpopular decisions should include some form of compensatory feature or information.

2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies and broken promises?

By posting immediately upon those plans changing, and including some form of compensatory feature or information.  "We know you were expecting A, but it turns out technical|business|whatever considerations mean we can't do that.  So we're going to do B instead, and we'll do our best to see if there's a possibility for A again sometime soon."

3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?

Yes.  Both.  Possibly-inaccurate news sooner, with statements of non-absolute intent, then accurate news later, with statements of completion.  But both need to be long before launch of the effects of that decision, if it can't be quickly changed back if need be.

Most importantly, we should never, ever have to be told about a feature change we might be unhappy about after that change has taken effect (e.g. RPGA monster/item removal from CB, addition of magic item rarity to CB); that should have been resolved long before that actual update.


Here are some things that remain unclear.  Hopefully you will clarify for me.

1. When WotC has made a decision that they know will not be popular, but has to be made anyways, how should they present it to the public?
2. When plans change after an announcement has been made, how can WotC communicate this in a way that doesn't provoke 'nerd rage' or accusations of lies?
3. Do you prefer to hear news that could be innaccurate sooner, or news that is more accurate later?



1) Honestly and with explanation. I've drawn parallels with magic before. Maro doesn't just explain what changes are coming, but why they think it's for the best, sells the upsides *and admits to the bad sides* and tries to talk us around on those points. There is still very little of this here, nothing saying sorry to those losing offline utility who value it for instance.

2) I think the biggest thing is setting the expectations in the first place, and continuously managing those expectations. Saying there is a delay is bad. Saying there is a delay and explaining why is less bad. Saying there you are going to miss your delayed date is worse. If you explained why you are in a better position to explain why and garner some understanding. Keeping people updated as you go is even better, as people will be able to understand better why.
I appreciate this needs to be balanced versus corporate interests and rules, but in this instance those caused a lot of a damage, what ever can be done to mitigate this choke hold next time (and even this time and now) needs to be done.

3) Inaccurate earlier. *with enough explanation and caveats that we understand how inaccurate it may be*.
The more often they update the more fluid peoples expectations will be. The more truthful and upfront they are the more people will trust them.