Thursday, March 18, 2010

We can only do so much

Yesterday TMN posted snippets from StevieFischer's Angry Face thread, and it really intrigued me. I found it today (didn't realize it was in Ideas & Feedback) and posted some points (way too much, I know):

quoted by StevieFischer: The more we all rollover and pretend nothing wrong is going on here, the less of chance we will be heard. Someone needs to get up and say something about this, beecause something needs to be done.

I feel the exact same way, and that's why I HAVE gotten up and said something. No one seems to give a damn, though, so I'm starting to feel like "why bother".

Last month I made a post in the "Why did I get reported" thread about my own ban which I felt was COMPLETELY unjustified. I went through all of the official EA procedure for disputing the thing, and after days and days of back & forth communication, messages, letters, live chat, and being given the runaround, I FINALLY got an official statement from an EA Rep saying that someone had "overreacted" and that my ban was a mistake. He claimed that he'd make a note of it on my account.

I mentioned the incident a couple of times on the forum, and in the "Why did I get reported" thread SGHydra finally poked in:

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This was my response to that:

"Thank you for responding, SGHydra. This is the first I've even heard about different Gurus for different tasks (though it makes logical sense). We really need more open communication like that around here so everyone can know what's going on.

My question is: do we post info on these bans here in the open forum? For example, if someone had been banned for linking to a site that he wasn't supposed to link to, should he come out on the open forum and mention the site name, thereby subjecting himself to another ban? Or do we use hints or abbreviations or what? What if it's something a person wants to discuss privately with an official? Where do we go for that?

Is there any way that the Customer Support Gurus can give us some sort of...I don't or list or anything detailing what sites we can and cannot link to? I have heard that we aren't even supposed to tell someone to do a Google search because we aren't supposed to mention Google. If that's the case, how are we supposed to KNOW that for CERTAIN -- so much information we have is rumor and hearsay, and no one really knows concretely what we can and can't do (aside from the few clear-cut official rules that are posted). Most of us don't want to break any rules on PURPOSE, but we're being punished for violating terms that we didn't even know were applicable.

There are obviously certain sites that are known taboos because they feature...things that I shouldn't mention because I'll get banned. ((sigh)) But what about sites that don't have any inappropriate content, but have large, visible LINKS to those taboo sites? And as far as Google, you can find out about any vile, inappropriate thing on EARTH doing a Google search, so wouldn't that be the ultimate site taboo to link to?

Whether EA likes it or not, there are definitely some 3rd party sites that have really helped people with game issues. How can we tell other simmers about these sites if we get banned for linking to them? We can't do it privately because there is no messaging system, and some people fear giving out their email addresses in a thread for fear of violating the 'no personal information' policy. We're naked in the dark here, or at least those of us who don't really know what's going on from one minute to the next.

I know you personally have no control over the forum policies, SGHydra, but the atmosphere around here is pretty restrictive and confusing, and morale continues to dwindle day after day with all these bannings. People feel that they literally can't say ANYTHING for fear of a ban, especially a permaban. If it's true that some people have been perma'd for simply bumping a thread, then I don't understand that.

If one of you could pass on our grievances to the CS Gurus, it would be a start -- we have a fatal breakdown of communication here (maybe there needs to be a bit of office shuffling - some people may just be better at moderating the forum than others, I don't know). There is NO format for us to ask questions (that actually get answered) or get any information other than the same old bland canned answers from the 'Help' pages or the EA site. If people had a way to contact someone directly and ask if linking to a certain site was okay or if posting certain content was within the rules, then there would be a great deal less bannings. The EA Rep that I talked to in Chat told me to contact the 'forum admins' to discuss my banning further. Very funny. I told him that I didn't have access to that sort of info, and he said he'd get it for me. He then told me to ask a 'friend' to contact the admins FOR me because he couldn't fine the information either. I literally lol'd at that -- how, I asked him, could this "friend" contact the forum admins when neither I NOR HE, an employee on the EA payroll -- could get a hold of it? He pretty much shrugged his shoulders after that.

I think what most of us want some format for communication and more concrete guidelines as to what constitutes a violation of policy and what doesn't. This was an invaluable resource on the TS2 site (whenever someone would take the time to answer, which they generally did). Some violations generate warnings while others receive straight bans. Which do and which don't? Being a first-time offender doesn't seem to matter because I know I've never been officially warned about anything I've ever said or done on this site. How are we supposed to know? That's my ultimate question -- that and why do we have such a closed forum for getting the answers we need.


Lady Em, Darkslayer, and many other people were posting in that thread and gave heartfelt, honest responses to Hydra, to which she responded again:

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Again, we all thanked her for her help and expressed our gratitude for FINALLY having S O M E O N E listen and offer us a platform to vent these frustrations.

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quoted by roflmaoxsarah: Wouldn't it just be easier if they had a thread JUST for complaints about banning and other stuff and make it a sticky? That would be so much easier, I mean, all the separate complaining threads are taking up the whole forum! It's ridiculous!

It was after that and several other posts from other concerned simmers that we got Hydra's sticky thread about the bannings. SO many people contributed valuable information in that thread, some people who rarely ever post or normally only post a few lines were practically writing BOOKS on their experiences and asking questions. WE TRIED. WE TRIED HARD. Marx summed it all up VERY well:

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In the end, no one was sure what would come of it, but at least all the effort was acknowledged by a Guru:

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And a follow up on March 10th:

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So to anyone saying that people are whining too much about bans, you can see that people have been doing MUCH more than just making noise -- we've been trying very, very hard to get someone to listen and implement some change. No, we don't always make the gossip pages, but people really are trying.

And to anyone saying that EA can do whatever they want and that they're not entitled to care, well, that's true I suppose, but I do NOT think they will shut this forum down anytime soon. I mentioned it a couple of days ago and still think it's true -- this forum is an ADVERTISING PLATFORM for EA, one of the best they have, and they are NOT going to abandon it altogether. If a bunch of regulars and old-timers leave, they don't give a darn as long as the money keeps rolling in, and like Jarsie said, there will be plenty of people in line behind all of us waving cash in EA's face. But make no mistake, they keep this forum running for a reason -- it's added revenue for the corporation.

That still shouldn't keep us from trying. I'm not the type of person to lay down and get bent over a barrel just because -- I'm going to try to do something, and there are plenty of people here who are the exact same way. It's all we can do, but at least it's SOMETHING. Lately, though, it's feeling more and more discouraging.


  1. I like your responses, they're usually well thought out, detailed, and you get your point across clearly. Unlike someone (ahem) who makes me not even want to read her opinion because its usually not nice. You can still get your point across without being nasty.

    I've decided not to respond on that thread though, just wanted to let you know I liked your response.

  2. Thank you Evie -- that means a lot coming from you. I really appreciate it. :)