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CM? CS? GM? PM? What??

Written by Cipsoft on Monday 04 June 2012
Letter The abbreviations CM, CS, GM, PM are widely spread in Tibia and in our office, too. We use them in our communication among each other, and also publicly. But what do they stand for? What do they mean and who do they refer to?

Let us start with PM, this is the easiest one to explain. PMs are product managers. They are basically the decision makers, apart from the managing directors, who you might know under the names Guido, Stephan, Durin and Steve. For Tibia, the PMs are Craban and Skyrr.
The next abbreviation, GM, has quite a historic connotation in Tibia. Probably everybody knows that GM stands for gamemaster. The term gamemaster, however, is not very clear. Players often use this term to refer to the former voluntary helpers, who were indeed the real gamemasters. That term is also often used, though, by players to refer to CipSoft employees, be it customer support members, or community managers.
The real gamemasters, the voluntary helpers, were recruited from the community, and supervised and monitored by CipSoft employees. They were patrolling the game worlds ingame, keeping their eyes out for rule violators, and assisted players in conflicts whenever possible.
The first employees of CipSoft also joined the crew of voluntary gamemasters with ingame gamemaster characters, besides their other tasks. Ingame characters of gamemasters were marked with a "GM" in front of the character name, which might be one of the reasons why that abbreviation is the one most widely spread to refer to anybody who could help with a problem.
At the end of August 2010, the era of volunteer gamemasters came to an end, and the only GMs that you might come across today ingame are paid employees of CipSoft, who work in the customer support team. And actually, only the employees who have been working for CipSoft for quite a while already are still in possession of the abbreviation "GM" in front of their character names. If an employee, no matter at which department he works, creates an official CipSoft account for Tibia today, there will not be any abbreviation in front of any character names any longer. So the term "gamemaster" is really a term of Tibia's past. All existing official CipSoft accounts can be seen at this overview.

In September 2008, a new department was formed in CipSoft. The community management. From this point on, it was internally distinguished between customer support (CS) and community management (CM), and the working fields were divided among these two departments.

What do you expect from a CM?

An interesting fact that we learned from your feedback in the feedback form What do you expect from CMs? is that many players do not differentiate between CS and CM. In this particular feedback form, we wanted to know what you, our players, would expect from a community manager. We read all your feedback entries, and categorised them. An overview over these categories and the percentage of feedback entries that related to each category can be seen in the picture below.

feedback categories klein

As you can see, the largest part of the feedback referred to customer support and in particular, the rule enforcement. The most frequent comments referred to the lack of a form of ingame rule enforcement, somebody who you can turn to ingame in case you come across a problem. The most frustrating situation in which you would wish for an ingame rule enforcement is when you come across a player who is using a bot and occupying a spawn and killing all the monsters. Now this feedback did not really come as a surprise.
Other situations that were mentioned in which you wish for help ingame concern power abuse issues, and other unfair behavior of other players like luring and thieving

what players thinkHaving somebody ingame to talk to is not only important for rule enforcement or conflict situations, though. Many players also told us that they would like to see more events and contests, also a better support for ingame events created by players and somebody who would simply log in from time to time for a chat. These fields actually do concern the community management of CipSoft. We will, of course, keep this feedback in our minds to try to find a way to offer you something more in that direction. However, addressing this will be difficult, for the mere fact that there are 77 game worlds we would have to attend to at the same time, and we are only three community managers.

The third top category of your feedback referred to collecting feedback and working with proposals. This process, collecting and evaluating feedback, is actually the main focus of a community manager's daily work at CipSoft.
Many participants of the feedback form also asked for an improvement of our work regarding proposals. And we are happy to say that this is already on our to do list and you will see some changes on the proposal board, soon. Unfortunately, joining player discussions about a proposal, as some of you suggested, will not be possible, but a better way of informing you about the status of your proposal is planned.
Something several players have asked for, concerning the feedback process, is to receive more information on what happens with the feedback. You not only wish for information on what will be decided, but also information on how the developers reacted, for example. We will also try to keep this in mind when communicating about feedback, however, this will not be possible in each and every situation.
All in all, concerning feedback and proposals, we will keep in mind to try to return more feedback to you, feedback about what happens internally. Many of you defined correctly in the feedback form that a community manager is a link between CipSoft and the community, we community managers are your voice within CipSoft, and we are also the voice of CipSoft, when it comes to communicating back to you. It is understandable that some of you are kind of fed up with the sentence "thank you for your feedback, we have forwarded it" and that you would like to receive further information about what follows. We try to communicate as much as we can, however, we often face the situation that we do not have much to share back in a timely manner, since some things are put up for discussion, a discussion that will take place at a much later point in time.

what i think i doAs a closing comment to the feedback form, we would like to say thank you to everybody who participated and submitted feedback. There were many valuable comments that we can use to improve our work.

Now we have written a lot about the customer support and the community management departments, without saying in detail what each of them is responsible for. We are aware of the fact that a customer with a concern, problem or request simply wants a competent dialogue partner and that it does not really matter which department that person is actually working for. It is merely important that there is somebody who can solve your problem, will listen to your feedback, or answer your question, or assist you in any other matter that you might need assistance with in Tibia. However, knowing who is responsible for what might also help you choosing the right way of addressing a matter, which might ease the working process and provide a quicker result for you.

Both departments, customer support and community management, work in the field of customer relations, however, the support team focusses more on single player problems or questions, while the community management team is focused on communication addressed to a broader audience. In detail, this means:

Customer Support

Our customer support team can be contacted in case you have a problem or a question. This can very easily be done via sending an email to support@tibia.com, or in case of a billing question, to billing@tibia.com.
You can also sometimes find answers from customer support members on the public support boards, for example, the billing support board or the technical support board. However, these boards are mainly monitored by tutors who do a great job answering questions from other players there. The support team conversely answers questions that tutors come across and cannot answer themselves on the Tutor Main board, to which all tutors have access.
Further, our customer support team also handles the rule enforcement, like board reports, statement reports, and name reports that you submit.
A word that describes the work of the customer support team best is the word help.

Community Management

The community management department mainly collects, evaluates and forwards feedback, including proposals. This is done through polls, feedback forms, our forums, as well as the forums on supported and promoted fansites.
We inform with news, newstickers, featured articles, posts in the auditorium and via Facebook.
We also support ingame events organised by supported and promoted fansites, and offer a form of support for ingame events with the public event board. Also, we organise contests ourselves from time to time.
The coordination of fansites is also a task in the community management department.
Words that describe the community management best are: information, feedback and events.

what i really do

We know that abbreviations, even though they are often used, are just as often confusing, and not known by everybody. We hope that with this article, we were able to shed some light on what we refer to when we use the above mentioned ones.

Thanks for your feedback!
Yours Community Managers