The Independent Game Developers Association had called for all game developers to clarify their guidelines for social media both on professional and personal accounts. This call had been made after an incident relating to two Guild Wars 2 developers being fired over a Twitter argument.
Jessica Price and Peter Fries were fired from their jobs after a heated exchange with a member of the Guild Wars 2 community. As the incident developed on the situation regarding their expulsion, there were a number of issues that ArenaNet (Guild Wars 2 Developer) had in dealing with the situation.
Prior to their removal, Subreddits of Guildwars 2 had backlashed at Price’s tweets and demanded her expulsion. ArenaNet detailed that Price and Fries had failed to uphold to their standards in dealing with the community and fired. Price stated in an email to Kotaku about the precedence of her being removed, “The message is very clear, especially to women at the company: If Reddit wants you fired, we’ll fire you.”
This case alone had sparked huge reactions from Reddit and other organisations. Some welcomed the expulsion of the two developers, others expressed concerns about what Price was alluding to.
The IGDA Executive Director Jen Maclean warned that studios, partners and even individual developers should set out a clear guideline for situations similar to above. If not, consequences could include people losing their jobs or reputation simply because of a backlash.
She stated, “Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities. Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”
Throughout the post, she covered a number of critical points such as what a company should consider for their developers and community. The IGDA community compiled a list aimed to help companies develop their policy on these social media matters. That includes; conduct, disciplinary action and support against harassment by the community.
There are many external communities out there for several video games. However, as game developers interact with their communities, it is likely they can face some form of harassment. It would be in the interest of developers to have a plan of action to protect themselves.