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I work at a game company, and I was recently talking to some of our support staff, as well as research/development and game rules staff, and I learned something interesting.
They told me that the problems complained most loudly and vehemently about on our forums (which get several thousand posts per day) were rather poorly representative of our gaming base and the complaints and objections actually found to be most prolific.
It kind of surprised me, but it also made some sense, after it was also explained to me that only a certain subset of personalities are likely to take the time to give forum feedback, whether positive OR negative, and that causes those peoples' opinions to become over-represented. No doubt Blizzard faces the same issue.
It really makes me wonder much useful data a company can obtain from its forums, and its beleaguered community managers, and how they are supposed to discriminate between genuine widespread disapproval in a game feature, and a case of "squeaky wheels" or just people venting brief (if intense) frustrations.
It made me glad that (so far, anyway) my job is just programming. I've read some of the acerbic things in the Blizzard forums, as well as the ones for company I work for, and I don't know how the community managers keep their sanity!
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