Whenever I can, which is mainly when he is on break, I play “Call of Duty: Black Ops” with my brother, who is a college student.
Since community management is what I do, I often relate things to the practice.
Having spent countless hours playing online multiplayer, there are traits that I often see in players that would not translate well, if those players wanted to work in this field.
I’m going to call these traits the “Call of Duty” test. If you play “Call of Duty,” and you play the game this way, then you may not be cut out to be a community manager.
Responding to Offensive, Inflammatory Comments
Or, as some could call it, “feeding the trolls.” When you play online, you encounter a lot of nasty people who say things that are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive and mean. At times, it seems like half of the people who have microphones are idiots.
Do you allow these people to bait you? Do you argue with them and waste time conversing with them about the offensive thing they just said? About the name or the slur they just called you?
As a community manager, you’ll be called every name in the book. Hitler, Stalin, Gestapo and soccer mom are the clean ones. They get vulgar and more threatening and offensive. You have to be able to brush this off, see it for what it is and go back to work.
If you feel the need to respond to every person trying to anger you and waste your time, your effectiveness will be drastically reduced and you will not be able to focus on what is important.
Playing Only for Your Kill/Death Ratio, Regardless of the Objective
In “Call of Duty,” there are different types of game modes. In some, you win by killing the most people. In others, you win by planting a bomb, capturing a flag or accomplishing some other task based objective.
There are players who opt for a task based objective and then ignore the task. If you’ve played much of these, you’ve been on a team where one or two people don’t want to finish the match because they have a big lead and, instead, they want to get as many kills as they can and just toy with the other team for a while.
Personally, I believe that is poor sportsmanship and won’t engage in it. I’ll finish the objective, even if someone is telling me not to. I’m not here to treat my opponent disrespectfully. If they are over matched, fine, let’s get the objective and beat them. Let’s not rub it in their face by dragging it out. Yet, there are people like this.
Community managers are concerned about objectives tied to the quality of the community. They shouldn’t be concerned with collecting the most brownie points or getting more praise than anyone else. Their job is to make sure that the community stays on track and that the environment matches with the goal of the community itself. Much of that work happens behind the scenes, where credit and praise will be sparse or non-existent.
What Other Traits Do You See?
I hope no one takes this too seriously. Of course, I am not advocating that a video game be the test of whether or not you will be a good community manager. There are extenuating circumstances and even if you have these traits, that doesn’t mean you can’t change.
That said, if you play “Call of Duty,” what other traits do you see that a community manager can learn from? Please let me know in the comments.