Relationship between the GMs and the community
Article originally published 18th May 2005
How come nothing heats up the conference climate as much as when certain GMs decisions, or rumours, become public? And why can't you criticise the GMs, or is that in fact possible? HT-Tjecken shares his thoughts, and also sets some things straight, in this first of three editorials around the always-current topic of the relationship between the GMs and the community.
How come certain GM decisions become so controversial, or questioned, that some people sometimes tend to not trust the people I, and the rest of the HT team, trust the most?
The answer to this is not, of course a simple one, as I think it depends on several matters, most of them hidden in the human nature. For example, we tend to not believe in things we don't have knowledge about, and if that thing is powerful we have even bigger problems believing it.
The GM world is, for many users, a secret one, which has lead to a lot of mystique, rumours and even misunderstandings during the years. For starters, I think many users don't really know what the GM task really is about, so it's not strange at all that there are rumours and misunderstandings in the relationship between the GMs and the community. Let us start this improvement process with defining the GM role and clear out some rumours, and try to understand more of the 'secret' world of the GMs to make the relationship between GMs and the community even better than it is today.
The GM role is to help our users play the game and make sure our users have a pleasant time while doing so. This is something which often seems to be forgotten, so I say it again: The main purpose of having GMs is to help users, not catch cheating users. Their main duties are to help our users if they have problems in the game, which means they clear out misunderstandings, help users in need of help, report bugs, validate new users and the like.
Secondly, they are responsible for making sure that the rules of Hattrick are respected, which means they make sure people behave according to our conduct rules and, as you all know, keep this game free of cheating. Why do we have rules then? Simply because we want to give you, the Hattrick community, the best game experience possible. In our opinion, the game experience becomes better if you have a nice time while playing and if other users treat you with respect. The GMs (and moderators) are there for your sake, to make sure everybody has a great time.
To fit in the GM role you'll have to be very service-minded and, at the same time, not fear responsibility. You'll need to have the guts to make a tough decision which may not make the affected user happy. You should, of course, also have a good knowledge of the game. Very often significant members of the community are asked to be GMs, but it's not a popularity contest. Popularity is a secondary skill; the most important thing is that the personality fit in the role.
As you might understand, being a GM is not an easy thing. Even if you try to do your best, sometimes, there are users that can't accept a certain decision – no matter how well founded the decision is. Sometimes users might even imply corruption or that the GM is only hungry for power. Well, nothing could be more false. We certainly don't pick users hungry for power for the GM task, or any other staff member role. But of course, the GM job comes with a great responsibility and with the responsibility comes some powers. But the GMs should only use their powers if our rules are not respected, for our sake, and what is far more important: for your sake.
I'll stop here for now, but I will return to this subject within a couple of days. But before I stop, let me just inform you that there is an internal GM organization, with myself on top, controlling and making sure that the GMs around the Hattrick world do their task in a correct and polite way.