As people may have guessed, I'm not one to stand in the crowd and listen to things I don't agree with, and not say anything. I also work in an environment where we encourage and foster feedback - positive and negative....why? Because things only improve when you deal with those things that aren't right. I like to improve things, to get things done - better than they were before. It's what drew me to science (which in effect is asking difficult questions and finding the answers, including testing if the answers really hold up), and what appeals to me in Kaizen, Six-Sigma, the Toyota Way and all the other various process improvement, redesign and LEAN tools there are available today.
So let me talk about Spartan Games.
I've been a member of the community since - well, since before the current community even started - I was present in the old forums before they came crashing down in a a great cataclysm...so a long time...about 7 years I guess. I've always been vocal, had some great discussion and got involved with SG because of that.
That seems to have changed now. My prior account was deleted after they gave me a warning point, which was fair enough - I was being provocative, but then they aren't answering the questions the community is asking. I had another account, so used this to wade back in - I watched from the sidelines for a good while before making some corrections to some BS that Spartan Linde was spouting about the former FFG and "bias" or some such. An hour or so later and I find the account is deleted - no warning, no interaction, just deleted.
Is this really the sort of community Spartan are trying to foster? One that cannot take any criticism, one that re-writes the past 1984 style to suit its current members and thinking? If that's really the direction Neil is taking the company, then things really are worse than I feared - he really has lost the plot.
You can't force people to be quiet - the world of social media, blogging, podcasting and more has been around for quite some time now, and is quite established. You might not like what people like me say, but the way to deal with it properly is to address the points sensibly, not just attempt to gag people - that's the sort of lunacy that North Korea attempts (and fails). All that happens is the rest of the world look at you like you're a nutter.
I guess at the end of the day you have to look at what you get out of this - for me, I love Firestorm Armada, it's a great game. I haven't played it for a while now, however, because of the association the game has for me with Spartan and their raft of broken promises and lug-handed "management" (if you can call it that). Looking at the activity (or lack of it) on the "community", I can see that others are equally as turned off as I am...threads go by for weeks or months without being updated, and most of the activity seems to be the batch of new moderators for which involvement of any sort with a games company is still shiny and exciting.
Now I get that I'm now an insurrectionist in the eyes of Mr Fawcett (who can't see over his own ego, or the books of mine he still has) but in business you need to get over yourself and get on with what is best for the game. Business is about application of good practice and process, not hot-headed reactionary emotion. I'm no longer involved in his business, so I get to call the emperors new clothes whenever I like now, which is remarkably liberating. At least talking to a wider audience, someone will realise Spartan's new promises are exactly the same as their old ones - and just as genuine.