[Announcement] Obsidian Portal - management team update (Aug 2015)

edited August 2015 in General Archive
Hey guys,

My name is Andrew and I’m the operations manager for OP.

On behalf of the Obsidian Portal operations team, I’d like to apologize for the lapses in communication and rude behavior that a number of you have encountered in recent months. We were horrified to discover this type of behavior towards the community and have swiftly made changes in staffing.

To help the site get a fresh start, we have ended the services of Jerry (DreadGazebo) and Travis who had been handling customer service. We’d like to thank Jerry and Travis for their part over the past 3 years in helping to build up OP.

I’m happy to announce that we have spoken to Alex, better known as alex_redeye (http://forums.obsidianportal.com/account.php?u=293955), who's agreed to and will be OP’s new community manager.

Alex will be monitoring developments in the forum and just like many of us, the forum is our preferred channel of community with you. So the stuff with having to post on Facebook or Twitter to get support or ask questions, ends now.

The OP forum will be the main channel to interact with you, report bug fixes, get site updates, as well as run promos, competitions, etc.

Going forward, I’ll be checking in on the forums pretty regularly, with Alex leading the charge.

Some background about me:
I’ve been working on OP for the last 3 months, working through the stretch goals from the OP reforged campaign with the tech team led by Adam (Schwing).

We’ve plans in place to increase the functionality of the site, as well as addressing questions raised in the forum about using OP’s features, setting up your first campaign. There’s already a lot of great resources within the forum, like the mapping tutorials by arsheesh here: http://forums.obsidianportal.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=2518&page=1#Item_0

Some stuff about me:
* I’m 42 this year and live in Singapore.
* I’ve played RPGs (online and paper-based) for most of my life and had a 100+ issue collection of Dragon mag, including the anthologies and most issues of White Dwarf till my kids came along.
* My favorite tabletop/RPG systems are probably the WH40k stuff, particularly Eldar Harlequins and Space Marine Terminators.

From the feedback I’ve seen on the forums, we’d like to help shape OP to be a more inclusive community where your feedback and suggestions are factored into our site development as much as possible.

A community without its members is nothing. So we want to earn back your trust. And we know it will take time, more than just posting an update, but seeing what happens in this forum over the next couple of weeks and months.

To grow the site, we will need your help to shape the future direction. These are positions we’re planning to fill:

OP Experts: We’re looking to recruit a “small council” of up to 5 experienced OP users (game masters preferred). Besides the King’s Hand, the Master of Coin, and Master of Whisperers are also, oh, wait, wrong forum.

There will be more information on these positions in the coming days.

Stay tuned for more updates.


  • Unknown
    Hey everyone, glad to be on board to get things rolling here - I'll be very available to you so please don't hesitate!

    Community Manager
  • Bortas
    Posts: 645
    Wow, that's rather interesting.

    I just wanted to be the first to throw a huge congrats to Alex - you may be new (comparatively) to this site, but you have been absolutely KILLING IT, from coding to just being an awesomely helpful guy.

  • Unknown
    Thanks very much Bort, it has been an awesome time here in the community (which I am still very much a part of, don't think my gaming pages are going anywhere). I am really looking forward to working with everyone to get things back into a positive light around here, and help OP become what we all know it has the potential to be! I'll still be offering a helping hand when I can with any code issues folks have as well, so just look at this as an expansion of my abilities to assist.
  • Krothos
    Posts: 230
    Alex has already been a great help on the forums, already readily assisting me with a CSS question. Thank you!
  • Unknown
    Glad to be of some service, and I see that Langy popped in on that thread with his code (awesome sauce)! I'll still try and look into getting something setup with it to put an image or some such on the bar to make it pop a little more for you - just might be a little delayed on that while I spearhead a few things around these parts. Will certainly work it in though.
  • Krothos
    Posts: 230
    Yeah, Langy was great providing that information. He (or she?) added a bit at the bottom about a "pop" on the hidden menu bar. Going to work on this over the next couple of days and let you know how it turns out. :)
  • DreadGazebo
    Posts: 218
    Just to be crystal clear: I was part of Obsidian Portal for 5 years, you'd probably know that if you ever actually listened to anything I told you. Also, Travis left on his own volition, you didn't fire him like you did me - without warning, coaching, or corrective steps or conversation at all.
  • DreadGazebo
    Posts: 218
    Alex is top notch though, you guys are in good hands. Alex if you need any info from me please feel free to email or PM me. I want OP to succeed more than you know.
  • Cernig
    Posts: 60
    I'll just go ahead and nominate my Edgrunners co-GM Langy for that "small council" shall I? :-)

    And if you don't rope in Killervp you're mugs. Just sayin'. He also has my nomination.
  • Unknown
    Awesome, I have some folks in mind as well for this (and I believe Andrew has been peeking around for that also). I'd love to hear from people directly that they are interested in this as well, will help me better gauge potential interest in embarking on something like this.
  • Langy
    Posts: 364 edited August 2015
    bq. Yeah, Langy was great providing that information. He (or she?) added a bit at the bottom about a "pop" on the hidden menu bar. Going to work on this over the next couple of days and let you know how it turns out. :)

    JYSK, I'm a 'he', and you're quite welcome.

    Andrew and Alex:

    It's good to see some changes on this front. I look forward to seeing what you guys accomplish!

    EDIT: As far as the council, I'd need to hear more about it before I could decide whether I could actually do it time-wise; life is getting a bit busy with random things like work, a research paper I agreed to work on with a friend, and having signed up to write some stuff that I haven't gotten around to finding the creativity to do yet.
    Post edited by Langy on
  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Hello Andrew, et al.,

    Thanks for sending along the good words! This has always been a great community, and although we don't all have the most time to post, it is comforting to know that you've got a plan to set things on the right path!

    Alex, I know we haven't got much interaction under our belts, but as we do share the same name, I feel you'll bean excellent choice to head on managing this particular herd of cats. I wish you the best of luck with that, and hope you'll get in touch if you need anything!


  • Unknown
    Man you guys are quick with the responses - loving it!

    @Langy - Awesome to know, right now I am just looking to get an idea of initial interest so I know who to approach to discuss things in further detail. You are obviously now on record of showing at least some potential interest depending on various time factors - that helps for now!

    @Rase/Alex - Thanks very much, and while we don't have much interaction under our belts with one another yet I hope to see that change as time keeps pushing on. Glad to know you are interested in possibly kicking up some additional help as well, I will certainly keep you in mind.
  • Unknown
    As an aside, I am stepping away for just a moment to go grab a bite to eat, but I will be back in just a little while to keep working with you folks. Expect a lot of multi-tasking from me as we go forward.
  • Keryth987
    Posts: 1,049
    Congrats Alex

    I second the nomination for KillerVP and can think of 1 or 2 others should be on it.

    Anyhow, good to see things shaping up here, was starting to get down bout it all

    Keelah Se'lai,
    "Shadows Over New York":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shadows-over-new-york
    "2013 Campaign of The Year":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/2013-coty-shadows-over-new-york/
    "Campaign of the Month July 2013":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/shadows-over-new-york-julys-campaign-of-the-month/

  • Unknown
    Thanks very much Keryth, hope I can help to turn that frown upside down as we move forward here.
  • Bortas
    Posts: 645
    I feel like I lack knowledge in certain areas, but I problem solve and like to help out. I'd be happy to assist on this front.

  • Unknown
    I'll be keeping you in mind, thanks for offering up!
  • Unknown
    Alright folks, I am hopping off for the evening, get myself some sleep here. I will of course be back tomorrow to field anything that rolls in over the night (well, you know, night for me anyways).
  • GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    Thanks for the kind words folks.
    First off, I will miss Jerry. I have been one of the most vocal people here for years now, and I never once found him to be rude. He was always professional, even when we did not see eye to eye.
    Travis was not here 3 years- he was not even here a year. He was limited in hours, by OP, and never got the support from the programmers- this is not to say I heard this from him, but that much is obvious.
    Alex- Congrats! You have been very active in your short time here. I hope that you can stick with it.
    To address my future involvement, I am not a programmer- I just have lots of friends who are. I am a customer service guy myself- have done that all of my working life, from restaurants to sales to well, customer service.
    So, to address customer service......
    Andrew- Welcome. As Operations Manager for Obsidian Portal for ??? time, you have a lot of work to do. If you have been Operations Manager for the last 5 or 6 months, then what exactly have you been doing? We have had no communication from the people that actually fix things- sure, "Schwing" showed up a couple of times, gave lip service, and then disappeared. Your Operation is broken! There are literally over 100 tickets that are "assigned" that have not been touched. Some of them pre-date the Kickstarter Reforge! We have people that paid money for a Kickstarter that was supposed to be delivered 2 years ago, that has not been delivered.
    Please, please, please. We have a great community here that has shrunk dramatically because of the apathy of the programmers, the operations, and not the customer service people. Please fix the real issues!! I have been a huge proponent of Obsidian Portal- I have pushed it at conventions, at game shops, etc. I was the guy who wanted the last t-shirts to give out at a convention (which I did not receive, because you wanted new ones instead.....).
    You have my support, as this is still the best for what it does, but to really grow you have to fix the problems!!
    For example, if you go to the campaigns page, you have a blank screen for systems!! ????? How as a new person coming to the site would that help?
    It would be nice to know who to go to outside of Alex, btw....

    Just trying to help out.

  • andreww38
    Posts: 239 edited August 2015

    Thanks for your frank feedback.

    Regarding your point about "If you have been Operations Manager for the last 5 or 6 months, then what exactly have you been doing?"
    I'd like to clarify that I said "I’ve been working on OP for the last 3 months"

    In that time we've been making plans and mapping out how to re-engage with the community, work on the remaining OP Reforged goals from the kickstarter and putting more development in place to build out OP.

    You are welcome to come to me direct with any frank, uncensored feedback, and to give some background, I came on board after Kaleidoscope acquired OP earlier in the year and we've been working on a number of infrastructure-level issue with Adam/schwing leading the charge on that front.

    I've been in various gaming forums, game-focused social networks, gaming guilds over the past 20 years (online and offline), and I know it is a major pain/letdown if stuff is promised then not delivered on.

    We appreciate the support of the community and delivering on what was promised before is something that Alex and I will be working on.

    We'll be starting new threads (or resurrecting) old threads to report bug fixes.

    There's really not much more to say at the moment, so do stay tuned to see what happens next.
    Post edited by andreww38 on
  • DreadGazebo
    Posts: 218
    To clarify:

    I was with Obsidian Portal for nearly 5 years (4 years 10 months).

    Travis left on his own and was not fired.

    I didn't know that I was rude to anyone here in our community, if you feel I have wronged you or was rude, please reach out privately so that I can extend my personal apology.

    Goodnight, all.
  • NikMak
    Posts: 379
    re the small council - two nominees from me who have always been helpful and honest, and should be invited IMO.



    there are others, but these two reached out and helped me most when I first came here and started in with this community... and they are still here. Well done to Alex as well; very well deserved



    "The Great Pendragon":https://the-great-pendragon.obsidianportal.com/
    "Knights of Albion":https://knights-of-albion-1.obsidianportal.com/
  • andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Thanks for all your suggestions and recommendations for the small council.

    Alex and I will be collecting a list of all the names mentioned and have an update soon.
  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Hello Jerry,

    I've always enjoyed hearing from you, if that helps at all!

    It will be interesting for sure to see the direction that this journey takes us all.
  • GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 3,001
    @Andrew38- We really appreciate your openness with when you joined, and what you have been doing. Much of the frustration in the last 2 years is simply due to the fact that we have gotten so little information " behind the curtain ", despite the fact that little has been delivered.
    I often share not just my own feelings and opinions, but many others come to me asking me to share theirs.
    I am a big fan of this site, and will continue to try to bring new people here, but we need more transparency.
    Please see the Reforge problems forum post below, and let us know what your team is going to do next.

    Just trying to help out.

  • jeremy_langill
    Posts: 23 edited August 2015

    I appreciate your openness and look forward to seeing how OP continues to develop and grow. I am relatively new to OP, but I have so enjoyed (as a GM) the resource that it provides for my campaign. I am happy to help in any way that I can, although my skills do not lie in the computer programming field.
    Post edited by jeremy_langill on
  • SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    I'm pretty much in lockstep with killervp.

    Better comm (not vague assurances) and actual progress, and I will stay the course.

    I like it here. But I'm still worried.
  • Belrathius
    Posts: 206
    I would like to chime in here and nominate my own opinions on folks that would be tremendous assets for the community council overseer people (or whatever you dub the council).

    Killervp (an obvious consideration to anyone)

    These three have contributed to the community in many ways - not just code, but in many other ways as well. For example, Wolfhound's tutorials completely changed how I viewed building a campaign site, and frankly was a major determining factor in contributing to the Kickstarter and becoming Ascendant. It opened my eyes to what was possible, which was a huge departure for someone who's knowledge of HTML was a decade old.

    There are others that have contributed significantly that I didn't mention (like Bortas and Keryth, for example), but I felt that I should select a top 3 rather than some lengthy list of potentials.

    As an aside, it may serve everyone better if we had a clear understanding of what was explicitly expected of council members. OP instituted something that might be similar right after the Reforge, with their Reforge Heroes or whatever they called their community help squad. The expectations were unclear, the processes were faulty or missing, and the whole thing failed to deliver on its promises of aid and reward even though it generally relied on the same people that were otherwise helping people in the community - the same people that STILL help others in the community with their campaign sites. Creating a council may be a great idea or a bad idea, but the only way to tell is to really build a solid set of processes that every stakeholder understands equally and can rely on.

    I also want to thank Alex for stepping up. I have a great deal more confidence in the level of communication to expect from the community manager, as his track record of communication and community involvement is already top-notch.
  • pencilneckgeek
    Posts: 50
    I've been with Obsidian Portal for quite a while now (since 2010), but pretty much just lurk on the forums. The past year, year and a half have been pretty bleak. But this community has continued to come together and tried to make the best of a bad situation. Members like Killervp, Twigs, and Alex_redeye have really tried to bring light to the darkness. When DreadGazebo announced that he was no longer with OP, I gotta tell you I felt the ground drop out from under me. I thought "That's it. It's done." Jerry been in our corner from the get-go. But when it was announced that Alex was coming in, my confidence that things were going to be okay was restored. What a bumpy ride for one afternoon!

    I love this place. It's revolutionized my game. I love reading the forums here. They're troll-free and full of people with great attitudes and love of the hobby. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. But I really hope that the new management can turn this customer service thing around and "get it" as much as the forum membership seems to. I'm cautiously optimistic, I guess.

    There. I've said my piece and will return to shadows :)

    --The Geek

    Current Campaigns:

    Shadows of the Rift : Homebrew Pathfinder Campaign (Campaign of the Month, September 2018)

    The Dresden Files: Portland

    Deadlands: Riders on the Storm

    Velvet & Steel : 7th Sea 2nd Edition

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