or, How I Learned to Love the Forums

Blizzard’s Customer Service Forum is a wonderful resource for World of Warcraft players. It’s moderated by Game Masters, frequented by players who truly want to help other players understand the game and its rules, and generally free from trolling and inane posts that are so common on other forums.

Of course, there’s a tradeoff. The forum is poorly named – it should be named “In-Game Assistance Forum” or something similar, as the GMs are unable to assist with many issues that people deem to be ‘Customer Service’, i.e., suggestions, refund demands, complaints. It is also not a means to circumvent the in-game petition system. While the forum allows you to explain to a GM in more depth what your issue may be, they are still limited with how much they are able to help you without being in-game with you. It’s best used for policy questions, or other issues that can be better addressed out-of-game.

Still, with how much the forum is able to help people, it’s incredible how little some players are aware of how to be helped in the first place. So I present to you:

Tchann’s Handy-Dandy Guide to Getting an Answer on the CSF! (better title pending)

Step 1 ) Are you lost?
The CSF is not always the best place to go for an answer. It is best used to help solve in-game or policy issues. Questions regarding macros, multi-boxing, PvP, complaints, the color of your gnome’s hair, are all better asked elsewhere. If you genuinely cannot find the appropriate forum on your own, however, the CSF regulars will be able to point you in the right direction.

Step 2 ) Did you look?
Once you know that the CSF holds the answer for you, take a few minutes to try to find it yourself. There is a plethora of stickies on the board, several of them with answers to oft-asked questions. Skim through them first to see if your problem’s been addressed before, and give the search function a shot if it’s working.

Step 3 ) Do you know your question?
Now that you know you need to ask your question, try to pare it down to the bare essentials. A short and sweet question is less likely to be misunderstood than a lengthy novelization of your troubles. Keep the important information, but things such as opinion and speculation are best left to replies later on.

Step 4 ) Are you literate?
I understand that everyone has different levels of writing ability, I truly do. But there’s a certain basic standard that, if adhered to, exemplifies a level of intelligence that people are far more likely to respect. This means proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and a significant lack of cuss words or other inappropriate speech. Writing your question in this manner greatly increases your chances of being taken seriously.

Step 5 ) Wait.
Wait. Sit back, take a nap, gain a level in Diablo II, read a webcomic. Just take a breather from the forums and give people the chance to respond. Don’t take a whole day if you can help it, but give it at least half an hour before checking back. If your post goes off the first page without a single response, you can bump it – but do so with more than a simple ‘/bump’. Restate your question, add further detail, express concern that there have been no replies, just make it so that the new post has some manner of content included.

Step 6 ) Review.
You’ll most likely have a smattering of replies, from both white and Blue posters. Posters with white text are players just like yourself, however, the CSF has a high concentration of players who want to help others with information they might already know. Many of them have been reading the forum for quite a while and may know the answer to your question immediately. Don’t discount them for their text color, and don’t accuse them of wanting green text either (we really hate that). Go through the replies and check for consistency among them. A Blue response is a Game Master response, and that will most likely be the final word on the issue.

Step 7 ) Assist.
Sometimes your question won’t be easily answered without further information. If you’re asked to provide more detail, do so as soon as you’re capable. The extra information will help the posters better assess your situation and supply you with an answer.

Step 8 ) Accept.
When the question is successfully answered, accept the answer. Yes, even if you don’t like it. If it’s a policy you believe needs changed, then you can head to the Suggestions Forum to suggest a change. If it’s something that affects you to the point of not wanting to play anymore, then you can cancel your account and list the issue as your reason for quitting.

Bonus! Step 9 ) 11 Things NOT to do in the CSF
- Troll. The CSF is the most highly moderated section of the forums, and trolling is against the forum code of conduct.
- Address a question ‘to Blues only’. A Blue will answer your question if necessary.
- Resort to ad hominem attacks. People, for the most part, are there to help. Treat them with respect and they will reciprocate.
- Suggest a change. The GMs are incapable of passing along suggestions. That’s why the Suggestions Forum is there.
- Request moderation. Forum moderation beyond the CSF is the domain of CMs, not GMs. Hit the Biozhazard symbol to report a post.
- Post private information. This includes account name, password, secret question/answer, real name, credit card, etc.
- Cuss. Against the code of conduct, and just bad manners overall.
- Use masked profanity. Just because you shouldn’t cuss doesn’t mean you can hide it with stars, symbols or acronyms.
- Use all CAPS in your subject title. It’s equivalent to shouting, and once again, bad manners.
- /bump unnecessarily. Give a post time. Thirty seconds is not enough time. Neither is ten minutes. Wait until it goes off the front page.
- Make public accusations. Informing the GMs of another player’s indiscretions is what the petition system is for. On the CSF, keep the names out of it.

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