If I’m honest it’s a fairly uncomfortable time to be a FIFA community member at the moment and that goes for us FSB reporters too. There seems to be a general theme of disappointment, anger and bemusement in the community which only seems to increase daily. But it’s getting to a point now where things are starting to cross the line in my opinion.
I began following the Official FIFA Forums extensively a long, long time ago now and at that point I never really thought about how involved I might become or if I’d even stick around at all. The only thing I came looking for at the time was an answer.
I don’t even remember what I wanted to find out all those years ago but it was probably something completely trivial about a game mode or something. None the less I needed the question answering and in time an existing forum member came to my aid and helped me on my way.
The forum back then was a pretty nice place to be actually, a lot of banter, helpful individuals and some decent debate from time to time too. It was the perfect environment for budding community members to grow and start to contribute to the wider FIFA cause. Tom and I are decent examples of that I guess as we joined the forum at almost the same time.
These days things are somewhat different. When you logon to the FIFA Forums now you know exactly what you’ll be getting each day, anger and the abuse of EA and its employees. Some would argue that the abuse is fully justified as FIFA 11 hasn’t met the high expectations we had for it but I can’t help feeling that people are missing the point somewhat.
That forum is our collective voice but if we’re all shouting “F**k you EA” what sort of message are we sending? That we’re un-happy with the game? Yes. Disgruntled? Yes. Unfortunately what it also tells EA is that as a community we’re of little or no use to them in that state. Unless a rowdy, abusive mob is what they’re after for constructive criticism that is.
The amount of new forum users, ideas and talent potentially lost in the last year due to the hostility of that environment frightens me, it really does. EA would never close down the Official FIFA Forums but we’re fast approaching the point where they begin to disregard them as a meaningful source of information all together.
FIFA 11 has been a letdown this year, there’s no denying that and if you listen to the podcasts or read any of my recent articles you’ll know I’m in firm agreement. But there are ways to go about helping improve this game and spamming the forum with drivel isn’t one of them. We need to send EA a strong united message about why we are disappointed with FIFA 11 but we have to articulate it without the aggression and blind hatred. It completely undermines us as a community and I wish people who post this kind of abuse could see that.
The Official EA Forums aren’t your only avenue to convey feedback to EA though if you are finding that environment particularly hostile. You the FSB community have been providing feedback to EA via the FSB forums for years now and with great success might I add. To compliment the forums we now have comment fields available on every single article published on FSB which gives you a second area to express your views. Quite a lot of people have already been using the comments section to great effect since the site re-launch and for that we’re very grateful.
When you contribute to the articles we publish via commenting you are actively providing live feedback to EA on the FIFA series and I hope everyone is aware of that. When we get great discussion and ideas in the comments of articles we won’t just sit on it and leave it to decay. We have direct channels to EA available to us and we will use them to get your feedback and ideas back to the development studio where possible. My recent “Art of Defending” article is a superb example of excellent FSB comment discussion.
As well as providing constructive feedback you’re also helping to drive the content on FSB itself. If you’re all talking about the same FIFA topic we’ll tailor the articles and news on FSB to reflect that. This is very much your FIFA site and we wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why it’s so important that everyone, gets involved by either commenting or hitting the FSB forum.
Maybe FIFA’s appeal has now become so vast now that controlling or focusing the community has just become that much more difficult. Would a perfect FIFA game quell the unrest we have now? I’m not so sure you know; this discontent has been building for a few years and I’m not sure whether it’s FIFA or a resentment of EA as an organisation that’s driving it, maybe both. We aren’t past the point of no return yet but it isn’t far off.
For FIFA 12 to be successful it needs strong, constructive feedback from all avenues. But some people’s current attitude towards EA and FIFA need to change I’m afraid as our credibility as a collective is being badly damaged by a subsection of the community. It’s fine to be upset and it’s fine to be angry with EA but there’s no need what so ever for the slander and at times shocking levels of abuse EA and its employees receive. At the moment the only thing we’re harming with our bickering and abuse of EA is the potential for FIFA 12 to be great.
I would also urge everyone to read this article from gaming site Kotaku. They produced “A Guide to Proper Commenting” in 2009 and the principles of it are still very relevant indeed.