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Subject: Designer Bullies rss

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James Crawford
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Over my time on BoardGameGeek, I've had a few game designers messaging me, disparaging me for disliking their game, or wanting me to explain why I rated it so low. Even after I've explained my rating I've had devs unwilling to accept my reasons, I've even had them blame me for not understanding the rules or playing "wrong."

I would like to call this out for what it is, bullying. They're trying to bully me into rating their games higher.

I'm not very active on BGG and I've only had an account for a few years, so if this happens to me it must happen to other users. Honestly I was kind of amused when it was only 2 or 3 messages I had received from designers who can't handle an anonymous netizen giving their product a poor rating when surely I'm in the minority. A quick geek-search will show that the average rating across all games is 7-8/10.

The number of these messages I've received in 2016 has risen to 7.

This is unacceptable. I don't have to explain why I don't like something, perhaps I should, the geek gives the option to write full reviews. But no one should be bullied, period, especially not over something so inane as a numerical rating on the internet.

I think it's about time to call this out on a grander scale.

I don't believe we should call out the devs and users who are guilty of this, not yet anyhow. But I believe we, as a community, as BGG users, should shine a big ol' spot-light on this. There are plenty of games I've played but haven't rated because I'm worried about getting more PM's telling me "We worked really hard for 3 years on our game! It's better than a 3!!!" Well, sorry, not to me it isn't.

So, please, sound-off below if you've also experienced this.
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Matt Brown
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I'm going to assume this is from small time designers.
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J J
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I've never been geek-mailed by a designer like this (I don't rate games, but I do make negative comments in the forums), but I have seen this reported many times, and I've seen the equivalent behaviour in the forums. Yes, it is unacceptable and must be opposed.

I encourage you to name these people (and also report them to Octavian), if only so that I can add them to my shit-list of companies and designers I want nothing to do with. Please also quote the geek-mails (and ignore the automatic wailing about breaches of etiquette and what-not, which are merely another way to protect and perpetuate this behaviour).
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Brent Gerig
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JasonJ0 wrote:
I've never been geek-mailed by a designer like this (I don't rate games, but I do make negative comments in the forums), but I have seen this reported many times, and I've seen the equivalent behaviour in the forums. Yes, it is unacceptable and must be opposed.

I encourage you to name these people (and also report them to Octavian), if only so that I can add them to my shit-list of companies and designers I want nothing to do with. Please also quote the geek-mails (and ignore the automatic wailing about breaches of etiquette and what-not, which are merely another way to protect and perpetuate this behaviour).


I agree, to an extent. But I think there's a difference between a designer asking you "What were the reasons behind your rating?" and telling you that you're wrong, or that you should rate it higher. The first could very easily be a desire for constructive criticism, in order to make better games in the future. If you don't write a review giving your reasons, then the only way they can find out is to ask. And looking at negative feedback is a much more effective way to improve than looking at positive feedback. In my opinion, a designer personally asking for feedback on a game you didn't like is a pretty cool opportunity for you.

But yeah, if they're just trying to convince you to change your rating, that's a problem.
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Liam
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Sorry to hear this, I'd recommend contacting the Community Manger:

Matthew M
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Have a lovely New Year!
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Curt Carpenter
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I've seen designers/publishers defend their games in forums, but never in private unsolicited mail. It's hard to have a public discussion about this without any data. There are a lot of questions around what game, what designer, how they came to know about your rating, etc. Given that most games are rated by hundreds/thousands of users, it's hard to understand why a designer would zero in on your rating.

I'm not ready to declare a state of widespread bullying by designers. We can't shine a light on what we can't see.
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Carl Frodge
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Yup, bullies.

Best thing you can do is bring it to light. Call them out (by name). Let people know who they are, and how they're acting.

Just like any other form of bullying, let people know about it.

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John Smith
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It's not happened to me, though I don't have that many low scores. It's tricky to comment without knowing the full context but I think it would be poor form to take issue with someone not liking your game.

You have paid your money. You are entitled to your score and opinion. In general one low score is usually zip anyway once there are hundreds of scores.
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Diane Close
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matthean wrote:
I'm going to assume this is from small time designers.


I've experienced this same behavior, and it's been big name designers. It's one of the reasons I didn't participate here as much for a while. I've talked to a couple admins about it, but the behavior has never met their definition of crossing the line. What I think/feel about the experience apparently doesn't matter, though that was years ago and things might have changed since.

I will say that one of the bigger ones engaged me with a lengthy back-forth (which was an opinion about design, that he had misinterpreted as a personal slight against the game's mechanics and thus his work), and we came to an understanding that lead to him warmly asking me to look him up next time I'm in Essen.

So my advice is be polite, stand your ground if you feel strongly, push back respectfully, and don't be afraid to ask them to leave you alone until they calm down and can think more rationally. Creating something is a deeply personal act, and it's really easy to get very emotionally involved in the results. I know, I've done it myself with my art, so I can empathize. That doesn't make it acceptable, it just help to explain why it happens.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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pdclose wrote:
matthean wrote:
I'm going to assume this is from small time designers.


I've experienced this same behavior, and it's been big name designers. It's one of the reasons I didn't participate here as much for a while. I've talked to a couple admins about it, but the behavior has never met their definition of crossing the line. What I think/feel about the experience apparently doesn't matter, though that was years ago and things might have changed since.

I will say that one of the bigger ones engaged me with a lengthy back-forth (which was an opinion about design, that he had misinterpreted as a personal slight against the game's mechanics and thus his work), and we came to an understanding that lead to him warmly asking me to look him up next time I'm in Essen.

So my advice is be polite, stand your ground if you feel strongly, push back respectfully, and don't be afraid to ask them to leave you alone until they calm down and can think more rationally. Creating something is a deeply personal act, and it's really easy to get very emotionally involved in the results. I know, I've done it myself with my art, so I can empathize. That doesn't make it acceptable, it just help to explain why it happens.


I was remembering this incident that happened to you when I read the OP. Glad to see you here every once and awhile. I agree that it is unacceptable as we are all entitled to our opinions - regardless of whether they are positive or unpopular.
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Ben Draper
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I've had it happen to me three times in the past few years. All three of the messages were fairly polite, but the act of sending the message itself felt like intimidation.
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Jonathan
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I've had it happen to me, coming from a well-known wargames designer. I can understand how a designer could get so emotionally invested in their work that criticism of that work could be taken personally. Life is short. I didn't let it bug me.
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Derry Salewski
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Though you're also either:

A) Not using the rating system very accurately.

B) Not very good at knowing anything about your own preferences.

C) Pretty good at wasting your own time doing mediocre things.

*shrugs*

There's a block button.

Until they start making sock puppets to harass you after you block them for being obnoxious, I don't have that much sympathy for someone who doesn't utilize all the site's features very well.
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Diane Close
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scifiantihero wrote:
Though you're also either:

A) Not using the rating system very accurately.

B) Not very good at knowing anything about your own preferences.

C) Pretty good at wasting your own time doing mediocre things.

*shrugs*

There's a block button.


To use your own analogies against you, if you actually knew how to "utilize all the site's features", then you'd know that you can't block email on this site. Best you can do is not have your account forward it. You can only hide posts. BTW, talking about blocking someone or even joking about it is a bannable offense, always has been. Ignoring people is often the best option, and get in touch with an admin if things get too much. Unfortunately, I've often found the admin responses to be less than helpful, much the same as yours. Zing, btw!
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mark w

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board game designers are regular people and some people just do not take criticism very well. This is one hobby where if you want to interact with your fav designer/publisher it is easy unlike other areas like movie stars ect. and that has its ups and downs i suppose.
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Derry Salewski
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pdclose wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Though you're also either:

A) Not using the rating system very accurately.

B) Not very good at knowing anything about your own preferences.

C) Pretty good at wasting your own time doing mediocre things.

*shrugs*

There's a block button.


To use your own analogies against you, if you actually knew how to "utilize all the site's features", then you'd know that you can't block email on this site. Best you can do is not have your account forward it. You can only hide posts. BTW, talking about blocking someone or even joking about it is a bannable offense, always has been. Ignoring people is often the best option, and get in touch with an admin if things get too much. Unfortunately, I've often found the admin responses to be less than helpful, much the same as yours. Zing, btw!


That's not an analogy.

Talking about features in the abstract is not a bannable offense (though possibly features that don't exist?)

I kinda wondered about that after I posted it. People in the women complaining about stalking threads always talk about blocking so I assumed it existed.

Should it not be, I'll offer another proposal: have a little fun with it. troll the shit out of their stupid asses. Swear at 'em a little. If they're attempting to bully you, they really can't complain about whatever you provate message them back!
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Robert Wesley
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pdclose wrote:
I've experienced this same behavior, and it's been big name designers. It's one of the reasons I didn't participate here as much for a while. I've talked to a couple admins about it, but the behavior has never met their definition of crossing the line. What I think/feel about the experience apparently doesn't matter, though that was years ago and things might have changed since.

I will say that one of the bigger ones engaged me with a lengthy back-forth (which was an opinion about design, that he had misinterpreted as a personal slight against the game's mechanics and thus his work), and we came to an understanding that lead to him warmly asking me to look him up next time I'm in Essen.

So my advice is be polite, stand your ground if you feel strongly, push back respectfully, and don't be afraid to ask them to leave you alone until they calm down and can think more rationally. Creating something is a deeply personal act, and it's really easy to get very emotionally involved in the results. I know, I've done it myself with my art, so I can empathize. That doesn't make it acceptable, it just help to explain why it happens.
Where is any photo imagery of the STUFF-non bribe-that 'moi' sent you? The "Pink FUTU-Mobile" is especially what this is 'concerned' upon. whistle
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No designer has ever messaged me about a bad rating I've given....smart. devil
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Curt Carpenter
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I think I'd be flattered if any designer cared about my opinion enough to debate me about it.
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J C Lawrence
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BennyD wrote:
I've had it happen to me three times in the past few years. All three of the messages were fairly polite, but the act of sending the message itself felt like intimidation.


I get such contacts now and then, but it isn't common -- maybe once every few years, but some years have had a handful. I suspect my general ratings pattern and posting history dissuades most such contacts.

I've also contacted more than a few players variously about their ratings comments or something they mentioned in a post. In general this has been for clarification, such as what (and I quote) "This...accentuates my bungee jumping...style" meant in practice. In this, as at any time, my interest is in their reasoning and where applicable, the source and identity of any confusion (eg uncovered case, rules error, ambiguous statement, poor phrasing, rule not where they looked for it, etc). What numbers they might use or how they feel about it is not of particular interest to me.
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K S
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matthean wrote:
I'm going to assume this is from small time designers.

Am I the only one who thinks it would be hilarious if people like Chvatil and Rosenberg were hunched over obsessively monitoring BGG for negative reviews to harass strangers over?
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Charles Boyung
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I really want to start rating games actively now, just to see what kinds of messages I get.
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David Turczi
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matthean wrote:
I'm going to assume this is from small time designers.


When my first game came out, it took every ounce of my self restrain not to do what OP described, so I can understand where the designers are coming from.

But it is clearly rude, a bit petty, and very entitled, so I'm happy I did not do it And now I'm secure enough that I'm fine with some people not liking one or more of my creations
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Robert Wesley
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curtc wrote:
I think I'd be flattered if any designer cared about my opinion enough to debate me about it.
LACK with "Krispy Kreme"-kind for FINEST worthy "rolling doughnut" portion as some "opining" 'adage' of 'moi'! You're welcome Colin K.? thx! C
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Designer Bullies on Designers even
googoo Well, L@@KIEE there: justblankshocked laugh
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