Guild Wars 2 Writers Fired For Calling Out Fan On Twitter

After a Twitter spat erupted into a mob of fans going after a narrative designer for Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet, the developer said that it has fired two employees: Jessica Price and Peter Fries.

On July 4, Price, a writer on Guild Wars 2, published a Twitter thread on the challenges of creating a personality for an MMO player character and how ArenaNet's narrative team approaches things internally. She explained that if ArenaNet gave the player character too much personality, it might clash with players' understanding of who their character is.

In response, a fan and YouTuber going by Deroir spoke up, saying that while he appreciated the "insightful thread", he disagreed with her assessment of the situation. He said he felt like the problem could be addressed with more dialogue options that let players choose how to express themselves.

Price felt like Deroir overstepped his bounds. "Today in being a female game dev: 'Allow me - a person who does not work with you - explain to you how you do your job,'" she tweeted, adding that she'd been working in narrative for a decade and didn't need the concept of branching dialogue explained to her.

It was, Price told Kotaku in an email, a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back moment.

"By the time that guy came along, I was so tired of having random people explain my job to me in company spaces where I had to just smile and nod that it was like, 'No. Not here. Not in my space,'" she said.

Guild Wars 2 fans did not take this kindly.

In the following days, the MMO's subreddit exploded with threads about the incident, with many calling for Price to be punished or fired. Some even threatened to stop spending money on the game until the situation was "resolved" in a way they found suitable.

The issue also found its way onto Gamergate subreddit Kotaku In Action, a community that's gone after Price in the past.

All the while, people rained down insults on Price, accusing her of being an "SJW screaming child", playing "the vagina card", and other nastiness of the like.

The mob also went after Peter Fries, a writer who stuck up for Price in a couple of now-deleted tweets. "Here's a bit of insight that I legitimately hope he reflects on: she never asked for his feedback," Fries wrote.

Yesterday, ArenaNet fired both Price and Fries. "Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players," ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien said in a Guild Wars 2 forum post. "Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they're no longer with the company."

When reached by Kotaku, ArenaNet sent a follow-up statement that echoed what O'Brien wrote but would not comment further.

The Guild Wars 2 subreddit erupted again, this time in celebration. Some fans also encouraged people to give positive feedback to ArenaNet and hoped that developers won't be afraid of interacting with the community in the future.

Other people, however, were surprised by ArenaNet's decision to fire developers instead of standing by them.

"Here I thought being indie meant I was on-the-clock 24/7, but apparently AAA means just that but also being forced to take whatever shit people fling at you because 'standards of communicating with our community' and 'we make the game for you (so feel free to give our devs shit),'" wrote Vlambeer's Rami Ismail on Twitter.

Others drew comparisons to Gamergate and the precedent it set with its use of mob tactics.

"The industry didn't condemn what goobergate was doing, because goobergate closed ranks around the industry and set their sights on critics and indie developers," said activist and streamer Casey Explosion on Twitter.

"It is in this context that the actions of the company make the most sense, that they ultimately benefit from throwing their employees to the wolves in this manner."

Despite all this, Price characterised ArenaNet as largely supportive and "full of genuinely empathetic people who want to create an environment of trust and teamwork".

"I warned people in my interview that I was loud about these issues on social media and had no intention of shutting up," she told Kotaku of when she first got hired at ArenaNet. "They reassured me that they 'admired [my] willingness to speak truth to power.'"

"[CEO Mike O'Brien] told me I was going to look back and regret this because we were doing amazing work and I ruined it," Price said.

"The only regrets I've ever had, however, have been in situations where I didn't stand up for myself, not ones in which I did, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. My only real regret here is that I encouraged other women to come on board and promised them it was a safe company for them."

She said that the Guild Wars 2 community was mostly supportive. The problem, in her eyes, is that studios tend to structure themselves around the small percentage that isn't.

"I want to preface this by saying that nine out of 10 fans are fine, and that I've had a lot of genuinely beautiful interactions with individual fans in which the affection I expressed is genuine," Price said. "But 10 per cent of your fandom being toxic is still a really high percentage."

She went on to say that, in her experience, developers - especially female developers - often have to act as customer service, and this puts strain on them that most people don't notice.

"It doesn't get talked about publicly, much, but it's one of the biggest factors in the high burnout rate among game devs," she said.

"You're working really hard to create content for people who hate you... It extends into attempting to exert control over our personal lives and personal space. A few months ago, I watched one of the community people get mobbed because she wouldn't answer customer support questions during off hours from her personal social media."

Despite the fact that Price and Fries got fired, the umbrage directed toward them has yet to die down. Both continue to receive barrages of insults on Twitter, with some seemingly galvanised by ArenaNet's decision to the let the pair go.

"We can probably fire anyone on the GW2 dev team as long we make a big enough stink," wrote GW2 subreddit member 5NightsAtUndert413 in a now-deleted post.

"Nobody at Arenanet is safe from the hand of Reddit... The moment a dev steps out of line or try to talk back to a player, guess what, they will know we got their hands on their throat and we can squeeze any time we like."

Price is worried about the precedent the firings set. "The message is very clear, especially to women at the company: If Reddit wants you fired, we'll fire you," she said.

"Get out there and make sure the players have a good time. And make sure you smile while they hit you."


Comments

    Good riddance. If she's going to harass one of their game's big and dedicated community members/content partners (Derior even has an NPC named after him in game) over a polite attempt at game design discussion then I'm not surprised she got fired. Seriously, read the tweets. (Don't know why Kotaku didn't embed them like usual) Can't see how he could've been any politer, but then Price flies off the wall at him, bringing gender into it and accusing him of being sexist, mansplaining, calling him a "rando asshat", etc. I can see why ArenaNet wouldn't want toxic behaviour like this representing them and antagonising their fan base.
    And she keeps playing the victim and making it a gendered issue, when the crux of the problem is that she can't handle even polite difference of opinion in a public forum and thought her role as a professional games writer and a woman gives her the power to attack people over it.

      You covered most of what I was going to comment. A quick browse of her Twitter history shows some truly volatile tweets including a horrible one about how she was glad Totalbiscuit is dead. I feel like this may have been the final straw for Anet in terms of her behaviour, I am getting a hunch that she wasn’t a fun person to work with in the office.

      Unfortunate loss to the game now that Fries is gone but I’m sure he will find his feet somewhere else he has connections and experience. You can see on his own Twitter how he politely asked to be untagged from here on and wants to put it behind him as opposed to the playing the victim card this Price person is doing.

      I think a public apology and some behind the scenes training on customer service would have sufficed but I get the feeling Price doubled down and left management little choice.

      Agree with this. I feel sorry for fries i feel like he was collateral damage. But price deserves to be fired. This isn't a first time for her. It's one thing if she was at home watching Netflix or something and then randomly got a tweet about her work. But she posted in a public place, she got some polite feedback and she exploded. You don't want someone to comment on your work publicly don't make public comments about your work. She lacks both common sense and impulse control

    Regardless of whether this was appropriate or not (and I'm not convinced it was), the ongoing harassment both of them are getting on Twitter and Reddit is disgusting. This gleeful celebration of getting someone fired for being insulting on Twitter is supremely hypocritical, and what basically amounts to dancing on someone's grave is an intensely scummy thing to do.

      Its a consequence thing... its like when Starbucks fired that employee who wrote thst disparaging message to a coffee served to a homeless man

      When you are part of the team creating something as a service youre expected to act on a level of civility yes even to people who dont deserve it. Except the target was extremely civil AND was made an example of by Price by a followup tweet as someone of terrible character.

      If it was just a reply on the first tweet disagreeing or being annoyed thst would have been acceptable but Price basically setup said person as a target as supppsed bad behavior by escalating it on the new tweet... thats somewhat over stepping your bounds there

        Considering all the factors (most of which aren't in the article), firing her seems reasonable. She acted in a very insulting and unprofessional manner. I don't think firing Fries was reasonable based on the incomplete picture I have. But what concerns me most is how people are behaving since she was fired, which I don't think is a reasonable consequence at all. Predictable, perhaps, but not reasonable.

          100% agree.

          But Reddit and Twitter aren't great measuring sticks for this sort of thing. It's just far too easy for 12 year old boys to make anonymous accounts and vent their frustrations at polarising figures.

          I mean, look at all the disgusting stuff which gets posted underneath every Trump tweet. None of them from users with "real" names.

          People are just disgusting when there's anonymity.

          (Meanwhile.. the Kotaku comment threads are actually pretty great. We break the mould!).

            I agree they don't represent the masses, I'm just disgusted that it happens at all. Politicians always attract this kind of thing from shit stirrers, but I guess I hold the gaming hobby to a higher standard even though it's grown so much that you can't really do that any more.

              The gaming community is massive, if you roll the dice enough times you are going to find some shitters.

          I thought Fries was her leader, and if so, would make a big difference.
          Leaders are expected to manage their employees, and are held to a high standard on such things. Fueling one going on an explosive rant is the opposite of this, and would have a high repercussion.

      While I agree, the same thing occurs even on places like Kotaku whenever the person in question did something they don't like. Remember those constant articles about Palmer Lucky all because he was part of Nimble America? Or what about when a developer is accused (not confirmed) of sexism and people are ready to burn them at the stake?

      This is only a story questioning the "appropriateness" because it's a female Dev who attempted to play the sexism card against someone who was legitimately trying to engage with a developer on a game they like. If it was anyone else being abusive on Twitter nobody would care.

        Or what about when a developer is accused (not confirmed) of sexism and people are ready to burn them at the stake?

        I was ready to stop reading Kotaku for this behavior, but haven't seen much of it lately (maybe I've just missed it?).

        I did stop reading Gizmodo though.

          It's gotten better, and to be fair it's almost always Kotaku US that does it.

          Same. I stopped reading Gizmodo when they cut the comment section out. There's nothing to balance out the bias nonsense they post anymore.

          This article is a perfect example - without the excellent comment section, I would have read this article then shut down my browser in disgust.

          Our local editor (Alex Walker) does a really good job too. Actual gaming news. And unbiased reporting! *shock*

            Yeah I'm pretty happy with how Alex goes about things, even if I don't always agree; like I haven't with a couple of his comments/justifications in here, about this article lacking fairly important information.

            Cutting the comments from Gizmodo, yep that was quite annoying - I had assumed a large part of that was because of the toxic responses some of the articles were stirring up; I try not to be toxic, but I made a few annoyed comments calling them out.

            Generally I try to refrain from getting into arguments (online in particular) as I find it quite hard to articulate myself accurately without spending hours on a comment - if I reply without constraint I'd probably just yell at people like Price did. Also, I think I process (and in turn, express) information a little differently than 99% of people I come across, which frustrates me.

              im with both of you, i stopped reading giz after that, i pretty much only read morning spoilers now.

        You can thank the people who are truly sexist (racist, etc.) for this kind of mess. They keep their targets on the edge until they explode back (at either deserving or undeserving actors) while making most everybody decent else feel tempted to err on the side of not allowing impunity to a hateful creep, rather than on the side of preventing inconvenience to a potentially innocent person.

          Given that this is her definition of someone who is sexist, we can't really trust her judgement when she talks about this as a pattern of sexism. It's a shame, but she is hurting her own cause when she does explode like this.
          As for the latter part, you are talking about the tradeoff of presumption of innocence. Do you risk harming an innocent person if it could mean justice?

            She definitely hurt herself and, I'd say, the whole cause of fighting against sexism. I don't excuse her. However, the vindictiveness and harassment she earned right after, lend credence to her claims. Women can be guilty or innocent of bad behaviour; either way, there's a band of vultures watching them (especially those who are public figures or participate in the entertainment industry) to destroy them at any given opportunity.

            So yeah, it is stupid to give them such easy (and indefensible) bait, but that doesn't invalidate the reality of the readiness of systemic sexist harassment.

      The mobs were crazed because it was a woman and she was talking about sexism. That’s why. That’s why it’s not just indignance, it’s obscene vengeful vindictiveness.

      If it was a man being jerky to a fan, it never would have reached critical mass.

      You can bet they went back to complaining about “safe spaces” after mobbing the person for rudeness.

        I can see you are trying to push the MRA narrative as the blame for a lot of this but I think that argument falls a little short. If a male developer had said terrible things to a fan of the game I am pretty sure it would have been met with the same vigor from the community. The Guild Wars 2 community is a pretty close with a lot of nice people, it is one of the more friendly communities I have observed when it comes to online games.

        Price made it about her gender, not the community. As far as I can see people were more disgusted with the way she was attacking the fan than her gender. Happy to be linked evidence that states otherwise though.

        She pulled sexism out of nowhere. This is derior's comment, feel free to show me the implied sexism.

        “Really interesting thread to read! [OK Hand Emoji] However, allow me to disagree *slightly*. I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story’s narrative design; (1 of 3)

        When you want the outcome to be the same across the board for all players’ experiences, then yes, by design you are extremely limited in how you can contruct the personality of the PC. (2 of 3)

        But, if instead players were given the option to meaningfully express *their* character through branching dialogue options (which also aren’t just on the checklist for an achievement that forces you through all dialogue options), (3 of 4)

        Then perhaps players would be more invested in the roleplaying aspect of that particular MMORPG. Nonetheless, I appreciate the insightful thread! (4 of 4)”

        You missed the part where Fries also got fired. Your mind reading leaves much to be desired.

      Jessica Price on TotalBiscuit's passing:

      "The kindest thing I can say is: 'I'm glad he's no longer around to keep doing harm.' "

      Let's just say she's... polarising.

        Thats pretty despicable. What does she even MEAN by 'doing harm'.

        The only thing I can think of is that he was always a very consumer-first advocate and that could rub corporate types the wrong way.

          I believe he made a trans joke once where he claimed to self-identify as a toaster.
          He recanted this, and has actually stood up for trans folk on a number of occasions since.

          A lot of developers also hated him for any disparaging comments made about their work.

          But being happy that a man in his 30's died from cancer? Unbelievable.

      Agree. Her response was definitely not professional or measured. However, seeing the reactions and the aftermath, you really can believe her when she comments about the straw that broke the camel back. Unfortunately for everybody involved (except for the gleeful, actual misogynists) she finally snapped at someone who was innocent, totally playing into the hands of the real haters.

        Yeah. I'm not unsympathetic to the long-term experience she's had, it just can't excuse this incident. I've tried to look at the situation from all the involved points of view, and I don't honestly think ArenaNet had much choice but to fire her. I wish she'd been willing to acknowledge she punched the wrong person and apologise, but I think there's a degree of ego at play driving her choice to double down instead.

        It's a sad situation for most everyone involved. The only people that got what they want were the people that specifically wanted Price gone. Even the people that didn't like her but just wanted her to ease off the accelerator just a little ended up losing here.

      I think, up close, her response was out of line.

      But step back - and contextualise it with previous and current abuse, and the response from the reddit community, and I think it's easy to see exactly what Price was fed up with. The fact that she was upfront about this in beginning her employment makes it even more curious why ArenaNet went with such extreme action.

      I still think if you ID your employer, and talk about work, you are effectively representing the company - on or off the clock. But i also think companies should be very mindful of cultural issues around their communities, and there is obviously an issue with toxic gamers.

      Finding it hard to draw a line on this issue, all up. I think the firing was over the top though.

        I mentioned in the post just above yours, I'm not unsympathetic to the broader experience Price has had in the industry. I have some experience in both the business and games development industries myself, and while I don't pretend to have a complete understanding of Price's experiences, I've seen enough to have what I believe to be a reasonable picture of how it can be.

        But it should go without saying, there are lines you can't cross in employment. It's perfectly consistent for ANet to have agreed with and supported Price's advocacy of women in the industry while at the same time drawing a hard line on attacking customers. It's not like the latter is required for the former. There was no reason for either party to believe that Price wouldn't be able to fight for her cause without crossing that line.

        In my experience in companies (as a male developer), if you cross a hard line you get one meeting. In that meeting, you either agree that you crossed the line, apologise to the involved parties and commit to not cross that line again; or you get fired. And to be clear, I'm talking about hard lines here. Crossing soft lines gets you warnings, advice meetings, etc. Hard lines are for fundamental incompatibilities between staff and company.

        I definitely appreciate that it's a difficult thing to draw lines on. I reflected on this story for a while and did my best to see things through each side's eyes before I came to the conclusion that I did - that there was little choice but to fire Price, that Fries probably shouldn't have been fired, and that nobody but the trolls win in this situation. Just because I think firing her was necessary doesn't mean I think it was a good outcome.

    No sympathy.

    This is the same sorry excuse for a person that said: 'The kindest thing I can say is "I'm glad he's no longer around to keep doing harm"', in response to Total Biscuit's passing.

    She's making this a sex issue, where it clearly isn't a sex issue. Her closing quote in this article:
    "The message is very clear, especially to women at the company..." Is disingenuous at best and incendiary at worst.

    Shame on mainstream games media for supporting her terrible behaviour, Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun and others.

    I dont understand why Price had to take quite a rather positive feedback and suggestion to something as a direct attack on her work style.

    The poster was polite even agreed with a majority of what she had said and merely suggested an option b. And then she goes and makes an example of the poster as a "mansplainer"? Exactly how are fans of a game supposed to react when a person giving feedback on how design is done by a lead member of the team gets turned into a personal dart board?

    Then again all I have to go off is that tweet and subsequent one by Price. Perhaps that person has been constantly posting on Prices tweets annoying her but none of that is mentioned here.. all i see 1/4th of an article explaining the start of the drama and the rest painting a natural response to an uncalled for reaction as a representation of "toxic mobs" at work and then throwing more mud at ArenaNet for doing what any employer would do to an employee that would unfairly attack a customer

      Had a quick browse. Looks like Deroir doesn’t post annoying tweets to her on a regular basis, in fact by calling him some rando asshat is shows she had no clue who he even was. Guess she finally bit off more than she could chew.

        I was trying to give Price the benefit of the doubt when i typed that up..

        I wasnt too invested anyway... but judging from the information coming out about her actions and the person she singled out its looking even more vindictive and petty for what she did

    She was being a bit of a dick to be fair. The guy who was talking to her was super polite and apologised profusely as soon as she mentioned she wasn't happy about his comments. Also yeah, the concept of a 'private' twitter account is so oxymoronic it makes my head hurt.

    But, the subsequent pile-on and brigading is unsurprising and appalling in equal measure.

    Unless there is more to his statement like a super clear middle finger to her, I don't understand how she thought this would end any way other than poorly. Regardless of whether people within the studio deal with her in an inappropriate manner, a customer is allowed to voice their opinion.

    All these events occured (regardless of gender) because a dev thought they were somehow above critique or suggestion.

    Forgetting the mob outrage, she attacked a fan because he said he believed that extra narrative choices could have been a better way to not interfere with a players pre-conception of their character rather than underwriting.

    Irregardless of what she has experienced before within the workplace, this is unacceptable to any company. I would be fired for it at mine, as would many others. It is also the height of unprofessional to take out your internal or personal company grievances on a customer.

      Forgetting the mob outrage, she attacked a fan

      You’re going to “forget” the mob part and make a post about banal Employee Code of Conduct platitudes? The mob is the story here. Their actions are ominous. The specifically said “we can get anyone fired if we act like a mob.” Someone specifically talked about “hands around throat” and “squeezing”.

      Now look in mirror and ask yourself why you’re harping on an individual person’s rudeness (also known as free speech) and banal workplace guidelines and why a crazed mob is far less of concern to you.

      And you even used the word “attacked”.....for the person getting mobbed.

        Its telling that this is the sort of comment getting the downvotes.

          The problem is she has a history, when totalbiscuit died (a reviewer/critique) she tweeted "I'm glad he's no longer around to keep doing harm"
          I'm sorry but tweeting your happy about some ones death on that day. Doesn't win you to many points in the good person department.

            I guess people should just lie and say they’re sad that someone that caused harm to people they care about had died?
            Nah. The dead are dead and you don’t have to respect someone who didn’t have your respect.

              Wow. No.

              In those instances, you keep your mouth shut. 'Not respecting' someone and 'disrespecting' someone are extraordinarily different.
              To do the latter in the day of someone's passing is despicable.

              I'm glad she's out of a job.

                Why is it despicable? Because you liked the person?
                Death doesn’t mean anything except the person is not around anymore. People Don’t have to coddle your feeinns over someone they had issues with.

                  You mustn't have much love in your life if that's your attitude.

                  Death is the final and absolute separation from the loved ones around you. To phrase it in such a trivial way as you have speaks volumes.
                  I thought you were a jerk before - now I just feel sorry for you.

                  It's despicable because it shows a complete absence of tact and empathy. Plenty of people that loathed TotalBiscuit showed the basic human decency to not shit on his grave the day he died, plenty said "we disagreed on a lot of things but his passing is nevertheless a sad day", plenty said nothing at all.

                  Nothing stood to be gained by attacking him on the day of his death. It's not like speaking out would have changed anything for the better. All it does is hurt the people he left behind who loved him, are suffering from his loss and suffer even more hearing strangers on the internet say "it's good he's dead". I'm frankly surprised that you don't have the empathic awareness to understand why saying things like that unjustifiably hurts people.

                  That kind of bullshit isn't brave, it's socially defective bordering on sociopathic. It inflicts pain on innocent people just because someone didn't like the guy. That kind of total absence of tact and empathy aren't praiseworthy, they're to be condemned.

                  A person is not defined by one or even a handful of their actions. If one is so incapable of acknowledging the good he's done at a time when the people who cared for him need to hear that, then the correct thing to do is say nothing at all. Being negative about a person is absolutely inappropriate close to their death.

              Each to their own of course - pick on someone who can't fight back if you feel like that is the appropriate course of action - but the consensus has always been that it's socially inappropriate to speak ill of the dead. I think an even larger majority would agree that if there is criticism to be leveled at someone who is dead, it's preferable to wait until the initial mourning period has passed at the very least. It's incredibly tasteless to jump on the news cycle of someone's passing to give them shit.

                She didn’t pick on him so...

                  As in, speaking ill of the dead is picking on someone who can't fight back...

        Look, two wrongs don't make a right, and brigading is fucking abhorrent. However, I do not believe the 'brigade' influenced ArenaNet's decision about this, and nor should it have done. If they took action, it would have resulted in bad press for them from the mainstream media (such as this article). If they took no action, it would have looked bad from the perspective of the dedicated GW2 community, who felt attacked and mistreated. Clearly ArenaNet had policies in place regarding how to interact with the general public on social media. I have seen companies fire men for similar behavior, so this makes perfect sense. The idea that this is a gender issue is only relevant in the sense that this is a broader issue from the perspective of Jessica Price, who has surely endured gender bias in the video games industry for over 10 years, because the industry is a masoginisitic cesspool. HOWEVER, that being said, she acted poorly. Her firing is unsurprising, and makes perfect sense with or without the weight of a piece-of-shit boys brigade.

    Yeah I normally side with the devs on this sorta thing but in this case Price is completely in the wrong. She posted in a public place that is designed to invite comments, then when someone politely commented with an alternate opinion, she went off like a crazy person, complaining of sexism and offensive comments where they weren't asked for...

    Thought it was pretty obvious at this point, if you can't handle differing opinions, don't use social media.

    Ah right, this must be that "free speech" the right keep going on about.

      Free speech stops you from getting locked up because someone is offended, it doesn't save you from being horrible to someone and trying to make it a gender issue because your position is shit.

      As "the left" say every time "the right" whines "but free speech!", freedom of speech does not free you from freedom of consequences.

      And here is Price's (quite accurate) view of free speech in america:
      Shdn't have to keep saying, but 1st only protects from gov censorship. Social/financial consequences are FREE SPEECH WORKING AS INTENDED.(https://archive.fo/qnRGu)
      We have it slightly different in Australia, as you cannot be fired based on political belief. However one can still be fired for attacking/insulting customers.

    When reached by Kotaku, ArenaNet sent a follow-up statement that echoed what O'Brien wrote but would not comment further.

    "Nine out of 10 fans are fine, and that I've had a lot of genuinely beautiful interactions with individual fans in which the affection I expressed is genuine. But 10 per cent of your fandom being toxic is still a really high percentage."

    Okay, I know this is an article about not telling people how to do their job, but...

    Putting that quote without attribution after stating that ArenaNet sent a follow-up statement is very confusing. Only a dozen paragraphs later does it make sense.

      100% agree. I thought it was a quote from ArenaNet as well and was confused until later reading it was from Price.

    Not the hottest take I was expecting but still pretty warm. The effort is clearly there.

    I can't say with 100% sureness that she deserved to be fired, but at the very least ANet should've put a clause in her contract saying that she's forbidden from using Twitter as a representative of the company/game (but okay as a nonrepresentative). Hopefully they do that with any of the other twitterphile employees with poor tweet histories.

    Between acting this way at a player (a really big player, not just some casual) and that TB tweet it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy. Was it worth Fries' job trying to defend that kind of character from the innocent attempted discussion that Deroir was trying to have?

    One last thing, I find it odd that Kotaku would quote Rami Ismail. If I recall correctly, isn't he that rather racist guy with just as bad a tweet history as Price? I could be mistaken.

      A quick note: Ismail's one of the most thoughtful, educational and gentle developers in the indie scene. KiA tried to label him a racist because Ismail, a Dutch national, discusses racism in the Netherlands and has described Zwarte Piete, the Christmas tradition of black facing as Santa's helper, as a racist construct.

        That wasn't what I was thinking of, but I can't find what I was thinking of, so I guess it must be someone else. I just remember a bunch of tweets with some unpleasant rhetoric.

        Not quite true. Ismail has organised dog piles on people that disagree with him, and even went after their place of education to get at them.

        Everything indicates he's part of the same ilk as JP.

          If that's true and not twisted for political purposes, I'd be quite disappointed. Also not conducive with what I've observed on a regular basis.

    No sympathy for Price. She took a completely innocent reply from a major community member and then attempted to turn it into an issue of sexism to claim a non-existent moral high ground - and it backfired spectacularly. If she didn't want to engage with people, don't post on Twitter, or just block or ignore replies. Instead she decided to be vindictive and she deserves to be fired for it.

    Is the constant online harassment warranted now that it's been dealt with? No, no way in hell. But attempting to paint her as some kind of victim is ignoring that she instigated the conflict. We don't really extend this privilege to others who say dumb shit online, so I don't see why someone maliciously attempting to paint an innocent community member as being sexist or toxic should garner any sympathy.

    Thanks for the link to the Kotaku In Action subreddit.

    A lot of eye opening threads in there.

    Grayson is STILL defending her on Twitter and blaming reddit for this mess.

      So pretty much nothing has changed from "the great saga"?

      Kotaku US is gross.

      This site is pretty much sustained by Jason Schrier and, for us, Alex Walker.

        I can't say Alex has been doing a great job since Mark left. I mean, have we had ONE porridge article since?

        Just had a peek at the comments of the same article over there. Polar opposite sentiments to our mothership. They could use some Aussie reasonability.

    Wow it's always interesting reading the comments of the Aussie site compared to the US comments section of these kinds of articles.
    I think pretty much 100% time we pick completely different sides.
    Just interesting.

      Its because we don't have alternatives. Kotaku US is an echo-chamber of lunatics.

      Non ultra militant left-wingers in the states just use one of the many other US gaming website.

    The mobs would never have been so vindictive if it was a man dev. It’s a woman talking about sexism and gender and her experience as a woman, while being rude or jerky to a fan, that is what set off the crazed internet little man mob.

    And you see it in comment section right here. It REALLY makes men on the Internet angry or indidgnant if a woman talks about sexism (supposedly in error). The rudeness is irrelevant beyond “Employee Code of Conduct” platitudes. Men on the internet think it’s the worst crime in the world to (“mistakenly”) talk about sexism. They might have piled on a rude man, but it wouldn’t have reached critical mass as a vendetta.

    In addition to that, we have quotes from a mob member talking about “hands around throat” and “squeezing”. But of course, the heroic legion of Smart Rational Fair-Minded Commentators here are much more disappointed in a woman talking about sexism, than in the concrete documented display of mob rule and closet psychopathy.

      What do you hope to accomplish with this comment? I can’t see it leading to a healthy or civilised discussion.

      I cannot believe you don't see the irony and contridiction in your replies.

      1. If the tweets were posted by a male dev and they brought gender into the issue then doubled down on their rhetoric to as a way gain leverage you bet your ass they would have been fired.
      2. If you remove the mob the issue is still problematic and goes against the unwritten rule of "don't be an asshole" and probably breaches their code of conduct
      3. That mob you don't like is using the same tactic that sjw mobs use to get people fired. Just this time it's someone from your moral/ideological ingroup.

      Don't fall into the trap where group identity and supposed victimhood blinds you reason, critical thinking or empathy. Life isn't us Vs them, people grow bitter and twisted with that mindset.

      Lastly, yes sexism does exist but not everything or everyone is sexist or racist and you don't jump to that conclusion as a defence for your ills. Its actually pathological and the victim mentality shows similarities with paranoid personality disorder.

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201210/strategies-deal-victim-mentality

      Rant over.

      Last edited 07/07/18 3:41 pm

    I'm not officially working, so I won't be diving through this throughout the day, but comments implying utter garbage about the author and over incendiary remarks can piss right off. Similarly, anyone suggesting that Price deserves the amount of abuse she's copping after everything is myopic beyond belief - take Price out of it, apply it to a developer you like or appreciate, and see if it holds water - and your replies can also get in the bin.

    Everyone can acknowledge that how this all played out is a crying shame for all parties involved; developers have said far worse, and far more inflammatory things on their Twitter, and kept their jobs. A public apology would have been best and everyone could have moved on. Moreover, any change Arenanet makes that the community doesn't wholly agree with might be extra difficult to sell without a response being hyperpersonal (because hey, it worked here, so why not brigade in the future).

    It's hard to see how much worse this could have played out, honestly.

      Oh, while we're at it, let's acknowledge something.

      If people want developers to be accessible, to react directly and have open conversations with the community, there needs to be some leeway in that discourse. People aren't perfect. They might lash out. Make an accidental typo with a cbomb or something. Say something that comes across the wrong way or is just sloppily written.

      It's not compatible to expect people to suck it up all the time and stop being human, while also wanting them to be accessible and take on people's opinions, unprompted, at all hours of the day.

      That accessibility makes for a better environment, in some ways. But everyone needs to understand the give and take that comes with that, and that people don't stop being human.

      So far all I’ve seen are people discussing the volatile Twitter history of Price and advocating against further abuse now that the matter has been laid to rest. Perhaps you deleted comments I haven’t seen but I would respectfully like to suggest an option b with how you speak to your consumers. This comment feels a little too strong like it is more of a threat than a disclaimer of how we should direct discussion.

        Nobody is being threatened. We can all comment and chat without lobbying indefensible hyperbole against writers, the site and others. That's all. (And I can still see all deleted comments, for the record)

        As another aside, everyone is adult enough to know how to have a polite, respectful conversation. Calling authors or the site racist is total garbage and I'm not having it.

          Interested to see how someone could come to the conclusion that Kotaku or Grayson were racist from this article alone.

          Being unable to see what vitriolic comments have been deleted I will just have to take your word for it. I’m usually one of the more vocal members who speak against the majority on this site but I am having a hard time imagining people calling the site racist. Sure Grayson has had questionable articles in the past with not disclosing personal relationships but I didn’t see issue with this article. He linked to other sites that allow the reader to look into and make their own informed opinions which to me is a step in the right direction.

            i saw a few posts about grayson and his writing that got deleted.
            But i havent seen a single one claiming that she deserved the hate thats coming from mobs.

      No @alexwalker.
      You dont get your writers writing this BULLSHIT trying to frame the narrative against someone else when Price is the one to blame for all of this while advocating shes an innocent victim and saying that FACTS AGAINST grayson and his writing is "utter garbage" speaks volumes about yourself.
      NO ONE is suggesting she deserves the abuse, Nor the other person who got fired, not a single person here is claiming that despite your claims.
      But dont you try and double down and blame the backlash and claim people in this thread are approving of the utter crap being thrown at either of them when Price is the one who started this whole godforsaken mess.

      The fact that in your second post, you are STILL defending her and the bullshit she said which has FORM claiming shes human, while removing posts having a go at the author and his ridiculous take on this incident, speaks volumes.

        Well... my previous comment was refused for no reason despite being articulate and in no way attacky of anyone.

        It was simply: Article is biased (they didn't even mention what Price said). I gave an analogy to a Coles worker saying the same exact same thing as Price's tweet, but about bagging groceries. In which case the Coles worker would be fired. Our anyone else in any situation.

        An employee, in public, using an account that mentioned she worked for her company, personally attacked a customer of that company who did *nothing wrong*. Saying that she puts up with stuff all the time didn't make that ok. Saying it is her personal Twitter account doesn't make it ok (see above: her account said she was an employee of the company, and her insults were directed at a customer, and it was public). Anyone, in any job, that did the same would be fired.

        You seemed to have missed the point, several times. I wasn't talking about Price specifically - beyond the nonsense that she absolutely deserves to continue to be dogpiled on after losing her job - but more the environment with which we operate in.

        Now, let's address the rest of the above.

        Remember - I can see all comments that are deleted. So if there's something that's gone that you can't see, I can. Shit gets deleted for a reason.

        As for my writers: I don't control what the US writers produce, so if you have a disagreement or you'd have written something from a different point of view, then there are ways to communicate that. Losing your cool at me, who is taking time out of my weekend to respond to this as politely as I can, will not help.

        Simo pointed above that Nathan reported this pretty straight up and down. There's links all over the place if you want to see how the discussion has played elsewhere. Nothing's been hidden.

        My point was that everyone in the gaming community is human, and it's a better place when we can have this open discussion. When it closes down, because people are scared of saying something untoward or being brigaded, everyone loses.

        I'll be keeping your comment up, even though it crosses the line in having a go personally.

        (this is to @m2d2, not the comment immediately above)

          "Simo pointed above that Nathan reported this pretty straight up and down. There's links all over the place if you want to see how the discussion has played elsewhere. Nothing's been hidden."

          Apart from the actual tweet that got her fired:

          "like, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me--as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a fucking DECADE, I have never heard of it--is getting instablocked. PSA."

          Or the initial tweets by the fan, which were completely harmless.

            The initial tweets and that thread was linked above, although the rando asshat tweet wasn't, but it's still up for all to see and easy to find through the linked threads.

              Thats a bit disingenious though... i would have never known about the asshat tweet had someone not brought it up...

              And thats a very telling and incriminating tweet that changes the context of Price just snapping to escalating it further. And again the main sticking point as everyone has said was the disproportionate vitriol Price aimed at the other person who even profusely apologised after Prices first annoyed reply... its very inapppropriate

                Agreed. The article was presented in a clever way to present a certain point of view while also attempting to appear unbiased by including “links all over the place”. Not including incriminating elements while including elements that serve your own narrative is considered bias and not “pretty straight up and down”. Nathan’s continued dialogue on Twitter only proves this point.

                All the data is there. Here are some cherries I've picked.
                Acknowledged, not every piece of information can be added to a story, but for a smoking to go missing....

          Wait, how many people in these deleted comments are actually saying she deserves to continually being harassed(let alone harrassed in the first place), because that is absolute horrible behaviour and thoughts.
          Nobody deserves the hate mob here. NOBODY.
          No you dont control Kotaku US. But defending graysons viewpoint and his writing style who has tried to make her seem like an innocent victim, while taking peoples viewpoint that this all comes back to gamergate for some reason and deleting posts having a go at graysons take on that is something you can control.
          Yes, everyone is human, obviously.
          But look at it this way Alex, (you, a human) handled my response (also a human), who was i admit alot more filled with vitriol than i would have liked better than she (a human) handled a polite critique from someone (also a human) while claiming that its all about gender.

            @m2d2 - Replied to wrong person, my bad sir.

            Alex, IF it was you who deleted my comment... My apologies for preferring that all facts be taken into account when one wants to act like they're a journalist of any nature.

            My comment was no more inappropriate than you defending the people leaving out facts of certain situations.

            Ridiculous.

            Last edited 07/07/18 4:05 pm

              First paragraph was fine. Second was way too much of an attack on the authors character. You can say, hey this stuff happened here and it's relevant and should have been included without bringing someone's integrity into question. Play the ball, etc.

          Actually I feel you crossed the line Alex. This is an honest critique. I think all the comments bar the ones we obviously can't see now have been pretty polite if not a tad passionate. But I've seen no one imply she deserves to be hounded post being fired? That's crazy.
          Telling people they can piss right off then later saying you're replying politely as you can.. uh okay. I think you've escalated the energy of the comments, now replies to your comment are matching that new energy level you've set. So don't be surprised is I guess what I'm saying.

          In my job I have a public persona and a personal one. If I mentioned my work and said anything that's not the usual dry customer service reply publicly, I'd get fired.

            Sure. The comments were heated before I remarked, but I see what you're saying. And ideally, this is how we chat about it. If the discussion doesn't start from that point, it's always good to try and bring it down where possible.

            Firing two staffers doesn't accomplish that, and that's the general gist of what I'm saying. There were other options.

            Or put another way: many have suggested Price act more diplomatically - Arenanet could have done the same, too, and they'd have given themselves more leeway going forward if there's anything divisive they need to work through with their community.

              How Alex? How were the multiple options?
              From what ive read elsewhere, (huge grain of salt here) she was already on notice after what she said about totalbiscuit, something that other developers also said at the time, some of whom were also fired.
              Then she had a go at an offically partnered streamer for giving respectful criticism, and then multiple times doubled down on her bad behaviour, claiming sexism on a public platform to the point it made waves and got to the higher ups.
              She has form. This isnt a one off incident.
              Even after she was fired and her boss told her it was her fault, she refuses to accept that and the author of this piece, as well as yourself, keep on trying to find ways to excuse her bad behaviour, all because why? absolute assholes on the internet enjoyed that she got fired and keep on harrassing her after she was fired? I mean is that where the line is?
              If you(in this case, you, nathan and herself) believe SO MUCH that she hasnt done anything wrong, what kind of discussion can be had here?
              Wont it just go in circles?

                Ugh, my phone has got garbage reception so having to do this all over again. So I'll just address the first part.

                Another option: a chat with a line manager? Maybe an internal review or investigation, an official warning from HR? Any of those, actions that normal customer-facing companies have taken in the past, was an alternative.

                As a thought experiment, put Price to one side and imagine you're the manager for Peter Fries, who was also fired.

                Were there still no other options?

                  Well im not sure a review or an investigation would have been much use, considering everything is online clear to see. When the CEO made it clear to her she was in the wrong.
                  We had people getting fired after posting negative things about TB, weve also had a few people over the years been fired from bigger video game companies for opinions and attitudes to their fans, we also had someone from netflix get fired because they used the N word when describing words not to say.
                  Im not sure how many 'normal customer-facing companies' there are anymore.
                  Both were fired because they had a go and talked down at their customers. I actually feel for both of them, but they both had the opinion their social media presence and their opinions on them would not affect their job, hell fries even thinks his social media is private.
                  They were wrong and the CEO made that clear that their behaviour would not be tolerated. Peter blamed the person giving his opinion and claimed it was mansplaining and unwanted in a PUBLIC post. So in turn he also attacked the community, just not as massively as Price.
                  Maybe you personally dont want someones opinion/behaviour on twitter to impact their job, and it might be the right idea, but im not sure many companies are with you there, not ones with a public face when its clear to see the employees were in the wrong.
                  All i can gather from the CEO himself coming out and saying their behaviour cost them their jobs, is that the behaviour of Fries and Price isnt acceptable to ArenaNet and im not sure how many companies would be "oh we will just give them a warning" when they start attacking innocent customers.

                  I work in retail and if ai said anything close to what she said I would literally be fired on the spot and I've seen it happen to colleagues, what Price said was inexcusable and beyond a simple HR meeting.

                  Considering these types of exchanges in her past. I suspect she might have already been warned internally in the past. This was the final straw that got her fired.

                  https://i.imgur.com/QRsWRf3h.jpg

                  The woman has a history of being abusive to polite people who disagree with her. There are different genres of movies, videogames, books etc for a reason. People like different things.

                  I do feel sorry for Peter Fries, none of the stuff I've seen from him in public due to this has been firing-worthy in and of their own. But I believe he was a fairly senior, long serving employee? They may have been stricter on him, because they had higher expectations. It's like the difference between a McDonalds part timer swearing at the Wendy's twitter account on twitter, compared to a McDonalds regional manager swearing at the Wendy's twitter account on twitter. The part timer would get disciplined internally and maybe less shifts temporarily, but that manager I would expect to get fired.

                  The other possible angle is that he may have been also fired because if they didn't also fire him, Price would've then complained that Arenanet is sexist, as she seems to do that at the drop of a hat on just about anything.

                  Again apologies Alex but that thought experiment is thoroughly a red herring. Was Fries injustly fired as collateral damage.. judging from the ONE tweet ive seen its most likely. But again im not seeing the full side on that story, no one has dug up his side, nor am i that thoroughly invested to dig further back.

                  BUT we are not talking about Fries or even Price as a person here. We are talking about the *actions* of Price. And if Fries did the exact same thing? You bet we would all still be reacting the same way to Fries and if he had followed the same options as Price of not de-escalating he would have also been terminated

                  Heres the thing Alex. There was was ways Price could have taken this had Price not decided to double down. All Price had to do was reread the very civil responses (and apology by Deroir) that was given before the final asshat tweet. Realise you messed up and own up to it. It takes a certain amount of maturity for that which people respect more. Higher ground does so much more than plain antagonism.

              Dude, IT'S BECAUSE SHE'S A GIRL. Look at the people commenting. You've moderated enough threads where these dudes totally.lose.it everytime anything with gender comes up.

              If the guy making the comments was a bearded macho dude, they'd be all WOW FREEDOM OF SPEECH and TOUGHEN UP HE'S JUST SPEAKING HIS MIND.

              But a woman, slapping down someone who patronises her about doing her job?

              Are you kidding me? I'm surprised these boys aren't calling for the death penalty based on their previous form.

              Why yes, I remember what you all had to say during Gamergate much as you pretend it didn't happen.

                You missed the part where a guy got fired as well. Read the article again.

                Did you even read the tweets that started this whole drama?

                I dont know how you can construe Deroir's tweet as being patronising? Deroir was apparently a fan of Price because of the AMA she did about the writing for GW2 a day or so before she tweeted about what she said on the AMA.

                Heres Deroirs twitch discussing how much he loved Price and her approach - https://clips.twitch.tv/CrypticMistyStingrayDxCat

                Thats the sad irony of this situation. Deroir was a genuine fan wanting to discuss with Price.

          Just on that part about ways to communicate, for future reference is there an email or link we can use if we think there is a story worth covering etc? Happy to wait till Monday when you're officially back on for a reply.

          edit: I just noticed the email icon on the side. I usually view on my phone so I hadn't noticed before. Doh!

          Last edited 07/07/18 3:43 pm

          It is perhaps a bit confusing, Alex, to read your initial comment, which is clearly frustrated with a number of deleted or blocked posts? It feels like we, the public without mod rights, can only see half of what you're talking about, while you're raging at conversational ghosts that demonstrate more unpleasant elements of the Kotaku demographic. Because your initial comment does come on very strong, and very divisive. It sounds like you're calling out anyone who disagrees with the author's op-ed perspective.

          I think the fact you can see the deleted comments and we can't is why people are reacting poorly to your comment. On first read it did feel a little like you were attacking the comments you left up, not the ones you've deleted. I think you're doing a good job keeping the coments section civil though, it just comes across a little weird for those who missed the rubbish you had to delete.

      I disagree Alex... yes devs had said stuff that are putting their foot in their mouth and some have snapped BUT youre conveniently missing out the context and events here. A majority of those snaps and anger are usually to prolonged verbal poking/abuse or arguments or just general steam venting.. heck everyone looses it at one point.

      I have yet to see anyone do what Price did here... which is not only snap at an obvious positive and constructive comment but then continuing to antagonise and flat out bad mouth said person in public and try and crucify said person. Thats just ridiculous and ANYONE would be fired for doing that to a customer

        I imagine it's because he knows Greyson. Makes it personal.

        But Nathan's article was hot nonsense. And Alex's initial response was very disappointing.

        On the plus side, his articles are always a top read. So swings and roundabouts.

          I know Nathan professionally, but not personally; we've never met or spoken online outside of work for any period of time. Let's try and keep the personal assumptions out of it, if we can.

      While i agree with what you are saying generally speaking. I disagree with the last comment about people who have said and done worse things. All of those people men and women both who have said and done worse things all deserve to be fired. To argue that price doesn't deserve to be fired because worse people kept their jobs is like saying OJ Simpson got away with murder so everybody who has killed less people than OJ also deserve to get away with it.

      As for unprompted feedback. She initiated the conversation by making a public post. That is prompted. If she wants to complain without getting feedback from fans, don't complain in public.

    "She explained that if ArenaNet gave the player character too much personality, it might clash with players' understanding of who their character is. "

    When I played Guild Wars 2 at launch one of the things I didn't like about it was how my character had a set (and frankly annoying) personality that I felt was very prevalent in main story missions. Did the expansions change that and make them more of a blank slate?

      Yeah they did away with the cutscene conversations and now you sometimes hear your character reply during banter in the world. I liked the idea of picking your background at the beginning, it gave you a unique start but once you completed that and eventually became the Pact Commander it all became streamlined.

    Alex, the fact that commenters constantly attack the writers on this site, and basically any woman involved in gaming is deeply saddening. At this point you might as well close the comments section full stop, just like Gizmodo.

    The only time this site sees longer comment threads outside of TAY is on subjects that can be used to attack women. And always in such a bizarely childish, celebratory fashion.

    Gamers are toxic. Kotaku commenters are toxic. Shut it down.

      Any chance we can see some of the posts attacking women that got past the mods?

      It just seems unlikely, given the hard approach this site takes towards moderation and the comments I am reading.