But there’s a big difference between “a game so good no one needs to complain” and “a game where players feel silenced if anything goes wrong.” If there’s a problem we can address, we’d rather hear about it while we can still do something about it.
We’ve been working on handling complaints more effectively. (Our policies are here: How to File a Complaint.) We want to be able to respond to complaints well.
We want your help with this! If you’ve got a complaint, please send it to us! Here are some guidelines:
1. Put it in writing! We can do a lot more with a written complaint. A PM to Staff is probably the best way to do it. Catching one of us in written chat might also work if we are available, but really a PM is best. We want to have a written record of these things. If you bring up a complaint in person, we’ll probably ask you to write to us.
2. Make it explicit that you’re making a formal complaint. We’ll react very differently if something is a formal complaint, rather than just blowing off steam. Say it! “I have a formal complaint.”
3. Say who the complaint is about. If the complaint is about Staff, it’ll get escalated to the Head Storyteller. If the complaint is about another player, we need to know who or we can’t do anything.
4. Tell us what you want to happen. You may or may not get it, but it’s a great place to start. This can take a little work to write.
5. Be brief and factual. An ideal complaint is under 100 words. In those hundred words, we hope you can express what happened, and what you want to see next. If you need more than a hundred words, you’re probably venting, and maybe you should hash it out with friends before sending a complaint to Staff.
6. Be specific. If you say something really general (“I feel like everyone but me is cheating”) we can’t do much about it. If you say something specific (“In a combat scene, Ted said he has both Celerity 5 and Temporis 5. Can you look into it to see if he was cheating?”) then we can do more about it. If your problem is that Staff is doing everything wrong, the game is toxic, and all the players are terrible, there’s not much we can do to help you. Maybe you should find something else to do instead.
7. Complain for yourself, not an unspecified crowd. If you send in a complaint on someone’s behalf (maybe they’re shy), we’ll probably just talk to that person to follow up. On the other hand, we sometimes receive complaints with an added claim that dozens of others agree, possibly to sound more convincing. We’re more likely to be convinced by a person writing for themselves (or a dozen people each writing for themselves) than claims of an anonymous crowd of supporters.
8. Be polite. Or at least as polite as you can. Pleases and thank yous go a long way.
9. Remember we’re not getting paid for this. Staff runs this game because we enjoy it, and we hope you play because you enjoy it too. Have patience. This is a hobby for us too. Don’t expect us to interrupt our jobs or lives; don’t be abusive; don’t be nasty. To put it bluntly: We are not your therapists, nor your punching bags; we reserve the right to ignore abuse aimed at us, even if framed as a complaint.
10. We’ll follow up. Typically, this means we’ll talk to those involved, talk among ourselves, figure out a response, then communicate back to you. This can take a few weeks depending on what’s needed. Patient reminders are great if needed, but keep in mind we may take some time to answer. If you have a particular time constraint, please let us know.
To conclude: an ideal complaint would be brief, factual, polite, and actionable.
Some examples of good complaints (none of these are actual complaints we have received, and all use Ted as an example because he’s such a jerk* the author):
Hey, I just posted a Lit about all my secret Sabbat allies (here’s a link), and now suddenly Ted knows it in-game and is using it against me. I suspect metagaming. Can you please verify he has an IC way to know this, and if not, fix it? This is a formal complaint, BTW. Thanks!
I have a complaint about a thing that happened last game. I think the Narrator got Obfuscate wrong, because they let Ted’s character use Ob to hide from my security cameras. I’d like a retcon, or at least an apology for the mistake. Thanks.
I don’t get along with Ted because of OOC stuff that I’d rather not talk about. I don’t want to make this a Big Deal, but I do need help. I plan to avoid him as much as I can. Can Staff please make a note to help avoid situations where we’re alone together? Thank you.
I think this needs to be a formal complaint. Ted and I got into a screaming match OOC last game. I don’t know what to do, but I’d like Staff to follow up and help somehow. I don’t know if anyone cheated, but it sucked. Can I please talk to a Staff member about this to figure out what we can do about it? Preferably before next game?
If you can’t do something like this -- you’re too angry for words, you don’t know what to say, or you just can’t express yourself well in writing -- we still want to hear your complaint. But please do try. We can’t guarantee that you’ll get what you want every time you complain -- sometimes we disagree with you. But the more brief, clear, factual, polite, and specific your complaints are, the smoother the course we’ll have addressing your complaints.Ted ran up and head-butted me out of the blue. What the hell? I don’t come to game to get assaulted. This is a formal complaint: he needs to be kicked out of BAM immediately!
*Ted is not a jerk.
the rest of staff