Community Series – Community Managers, Fighting The Good Fight You Never See

calvin-and-hobbes-huggingToday is Community Manager Appreciation Day, which means that tireless, sleepless, slightly insane Community folks the world around get to have their tiny little day in the sun. Sure, CMAD isn’t really as well known as any of the other work-type holidays out there (you should see the loot that our Secretary folks get on Secretary day for example) but the way, I see it, better late than never, right?

I think some people get wrapped up in the things that they actually see when they interact with Community Managers. They talk about what the Community Manager tweets about, what the Community Manager posts on a forum, and even, sometimes, what the Community Manager has for lunch. It’s safe to say that whatever a Community person says and does externally is under a microscope and gets taken apart.

But what about what the Community Manager does that people don’t see? The things that you might not know about the Community Manager’s job that aren’t really necessary for you to know, but which go on every day? My partner in crime Kristen has a really great post about how Community people assimilate content, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg and just one of many things Community teams do. In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, here are some things you’ll probably never hear regarding Community Managers:

  • The patch notes you are currently tearing apart and devouring were lovingly baked and put in the oven through many, many revisions and edits and last minute changes by a Community Manager who may have wept at how many pages it was in Word.
  • The night before a big day for the Community or a milestone, the Community Manager didn’t really sleep. They probably edited a document, put out a fire, made sure a developer was available early morning, or wrangled with the press.
  • 20 threads about that one annoying issue were read, catalogued, filed, and pored over for sentiment by a Community Manager. And then they put on their battle gear and went to war for the change with the developers.
  • That developer post you really liked and thought addressed your concerns was curated by a Community Manager who understood what was common sense to the community, and thought needed addressing.
  • Compromise? Rollback? Even refund? If something that was done got changed, a Community Manager was there, beating down developer and executive doors behind the scenes, pointing to your feelings and sentiment.
  • Dissatisfied feedback reports, bugs, or people who are suffering through mistakes? The Community Manager was mailed about it, notified it was an issue, and quietly escalated it to be resolved quickly.

and perhaps most of all…

  • The specific things you probably that probably get you mad, annoyed, happy, passionate, sad, and dissatisfied with are the same things a Community Manager gets mad, annoyed, happy, passionate, sad, and dissatisfied with. And that’s because they love and hate the product or game or service as much as you do.

Community managers are more than just a public face. They are your knights in shining armor — despite how often you might dislike them and make that fact very well known — who always are ready to strap on the armor, pick up the halberd, and charge into the fight for you. And despite how caffeinated they might be at the time, they are tireless commanders who are always there to make sure you are enjoying every moment of your game-playing experience. All of the things I’ve listed are things that we Community folks do, but would probably never outright tell our communities we do – and that’s because it isn’t about us. It’s about the people and the communities we serve to represent and listen to every day. It’s about making sure that at the end of the day, people get what they want and are satisfied and content. It’s about being advocates not just for people, but for the feelings and ideas and experiences they want to have.

But maybe now you know a little bit more about what else goes on. So keep that in mind the next time you go to talk to a Community person, yes?

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