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Hypnos' Blog

In Conversation

Ahoy and welcome, bloglodites!

It is a beautiful day in San Francisco. Those of you who do not live here may not know this, but while our temperature range is fairly narrow (it does not snow or freeze here, or get hot) the majority of days are overcast, windy, and damp. It's a rare sight to see sunshine pouring down through the window.

Of course, if one has to be inside, it helps to work in a cool office with really nice people, and to be blogging to an awesome audience, while eating a blueberry pastry. So I'll sigh wistfully once, and turn back to the computer. (The cream cheese is good, but it needs more blueberries.)

Something that was on my mind last week that I didn't get to writing down was an interesting situation that crops up from having your oceanmasters act both as in-game support and as community managers that run events and hang out to chat- people see you as other human beings rather than support drones.

This is of course better for one's self-esteem in the workplace, but a place where it crops up very often for me is in petitions. People don't instinctively put down all of their information or describe a problem their having and then send the petition off. Perceiving another person at the end of the petition line, they do what normal humans do: they start a conversation.

A good chunk of the petitions I receive each shift say something like "there's a problem" or "I need to talk to you" and that's it. Some folks eschew the petition system entirely, perceiving it as a robotic system and instead shoot me multiple tells, asking me to come and talk about the problem "face to face." It takes a few back-and-forths before a lot of folks are willing to describe the problem in its entirety in the petition form.

This isn't to say I don't want to talk to people. I really enjoy chatting in Puzzle Pirates, and one of my favorite parts of this job is that I've gotten to meet so many friendly and interesting people on all of the servers that I would not have met otherwise. The problem is that when I'm on duty and receiving petitions and complaints from three oceans, a friendly stop-and-chat can easily run 10-15 minutes, leaving me quite far behind, and leaving the oceanmaster who comes on after me with a backlog in the support queue. So too much chatting while on duty is definitely out.

I think the "please come" "please come I need to talk to you" "i have a problem, help" "hello" "hi i have a problem" "please come talk to me" this is a variant of behavior we see with automated phone systems. NOBODY likes automated phone machines. I know I don't. They never understand what I'm saying, they start speaking to me in Spanish, they're loud, they take forever, they cause me to sit there slamming the 0 button on my phone over and over, and so on.

Unfortunately in the case of petitions, it would greatly speed the process and efficiency of service of people did put down all of the details of what happened and sent it off in one go. I'm not sure how to encourage that type of behavior, though. Some sort of instructions are out, because a lot of people aren't visually oriented or ignore printed instructions. Collective wisdom- people learning what to do because it's a common behavior and they get reinforcement and instructions from everywhere in the community- takes time and isn't reliable. Any thoughts, or am I thinking too much about a relatively insignificant aspect of my job that doesn't run super-smoothly?

Comments:

Posted by Deedeeiam

Do you think it's a need to talk to a higher power? lower English standards? lack of education in the yellowing process? I'm feeling a little left out because I hadn't even thought of submitting a petition so inane as to read, "Talk to me."

I can't stand the petition mechanism - it's always stupefied me. There's no status check! I sit there staring, wondering if "the ball's back in my court" or "Wait! I explained that wrong. Oh, they closed it." I would love to see the petitions supported via webpage on the user's side. I want to search other tickets for my answer! I want my independence; I don't want to admit when I'm wrong! I want a spell check.

It's the insignificant part of our days that make up the majority of it, no? Those stupid, silly repetitive things that make us pull our hair and scream, "OMG! I do this every day and I'm freakin' tired of it!" No, you’re not thinking too much. Welcome back to the human world great god :)

August 27, 2008 at 03:09 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by Kettlecorn

I think probably the biggest cause of this problem for you is that people want to associate with someone powerful. Frequently in the game people brag about having friends that run a big crew, or how they have powerful connections. Many people consider Ocean Masters the ultimate in power and fame. Its like how everyone brags in real-life about celebrities, and how they saw an orange peal that the celeb might of actually touched! You can observe this human characteristic in action by watching the docks flood when an OM goes to one. This problem won't really go away, its human nature. However if more people understand the OMs and their purpose, than this type of behavior might become less frequent. When I was a greenie I felt the desire to talk to and OM once. It was New Years, and I sent "Happy New Years" to the OM on duty. People can be weird.

August 27, 2008 at 04:59 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by IVdripper

Does this mean I can't ask Demeter for Smarties anymore?

IV(who goes off to sulk in the corner)

August 27, 2008 at 06:46 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by Onyxgem

I think I'm just the opposite. When I have made a petition and the OM came, I felt like I SHOULDN"T start a conversation with the OM because I didn't want to take up their time. It probably came across as unfriendly.

Although I live close to SF, I don't get the nice weather. I live out in the boonies where we burn up half the year. I could live with the fog year round if I didn't have to have 100 degree weather in the summer.

September 15, 2008 at 08:39 AM PDT | permalink

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