Gordon Walton Talks About Community Management

Remember Gordon Walton? He gave a keynote earlier today at the Game Developers Conference Europe’s Community Management Summit, where he talked about how gaming communities have evolved.

If you don’t remember Gordon Walton, he’s worked on Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, and until recently, on Star Wars: The Old Republic for BioWare, before he went to work for Playdom. During his UO days, he was Vice President of Online Operations during The Second Age, Renaissance, and Third Dawn.

His nickname was “Tyrant” and having interacted with him on the old UO.com forums, it was a well-deserved moniker.

It sounds like he learned a lot from working on UO and SWG:

“Communities are smarter than us. They will figure stuff out, they will figure out what is really going on,” said Walton, stressing that a community manager should never lie, because they are “not politicians.”

As the designated voice of the entire company, everything a community manager says will be dissected and taken apart by a community, so Walton stressed the importance of working closely with both PR and marketing to make sure messaging is concise and on message. A good community manager must resist the urge to “feed the trolls,” he says, acknowledging that it’s sometimes difficult to ignore situations that strike an emotional chord.

“What you should do is ignore things you don’t want and reward what you do; it’s a well-understood way of training mammals,” he said.

Full article: Gamasutra

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