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Feature: 'How BioWare Makes Game Communities Work'

In today's other main feature, part of Rusel DeMaria's write-up from the 2005 Serious Games Summit, he covers the session of Jay Watamaniuk, who runs BioWare's community ...
In today's other main feature, part of Rusel DeMaria's write-up from the 2005 Serious Games Summit, he covers the session of Jay Watamaniuk, who runs BioWare's community web presence, and who described the benefits and drawbacks, challenges, and rewards of running a fan-based community. In particular, Watamaniuk sings the praises of capable fans who can help bridge gaps in online gaming community, commenting: "Fans are the greatest resource. “The work I do pales in comparison with what the fans do.” Fans work as communication facilitators and content creators. When someone rises to prominence within the forums, they make them Advisors. Rewarding active and helpful fans not only elevates them, but encourages other fans by showing that the company responds to what the fans are doing. “We encourage their participation and take the time to get to know them. Through them, we get some control over the community. They are a microcosm of the whole, easy to talk to and a moderately trusted part of the community. It's important that you can trust their judgment.” Ultimately, some Advocates can become moderators, where they have access to a special forum just for moderators. This forum is also valuable to BioWare as it allows the company to understand what the moderators are facing and to learn more about how the forums are working. “It's easy for me to pop in and see how things are going.”" You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, with more information on this excellent lecture (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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