A few days ago, Guild Wars developer ArenaNet, terminated two writers from their team after what CEO Mike O’Brien described as failing to “uphold standards of communicating with players.” The event started when writer Jessica Price was engaged by a streamer on her personal Twitter account, which Price found offensive. You can read more details in the original story here.
Today, after a break from social media, Price decided to comment on the aftereffects of the firing rather than whether or not the firing was just in the first place. In a series of tweets, Price explains that ArenaNet erred in how they framed her termination.
Hi, everyone. I’ve got a thing to say and then I’m going back off Twitter for a bit because I’ve had a vacation planned for a while and I intend to take it to the fullest.
— Jessica Price (@Delafina777) July 11, 2018
That is the original tweet of the thread, but over the next eighteen tweets, Price lays out her case against ArenaNet’s response. The company categorized her tweets as “attacks on the community” rather than a more professional response of simply saying they disagree with her comments and that she is no longer with the company.
More than just being unprofessional, though, Price alleges that this tact directed a larger mob against her and emboldened the people seeking to exercise punitive measures against outspoken developers. She likens this to companies failing to stand behind female developers in 2014, but that this is an escalation from silence to glib endorsement.
Price encourages developers to talk to their employers and get a guarantee that a similar thing won’t happen to them. Her and Peter Fries’ firings have lead to a resurgence in the discussion of a game developer’s union to better clarify social media policy and how employers can talk about terminations after the fact.
Meanwhile, Price seems to take the most offense at her former boss O’Brien minimizing her contributions to the game as a single scene in the story. Price argues that the entire season was headed by her and her team and thinks O’Brien reducing her work is particularly egregious.
The discourse is very focused on whether she deserved to get fired or not, but Price’s point that ArenaNet went pretty far in assuring the crowd that got her fired that they were victorious in vanquishing her is a solid one. There’s probably a lot more discussion that can and should happen around this event without needing to immediately make it black and white and between good guys and bad guys.