Eternity's Child Versus Destructoid
This is a bit of an internet road-gawk. I picked it up from John "Naked War" Pickford over at Rllmuk. In short, blog-combine Destructoid review fresh-on-steam platformer Eternity's Child. Despite its $5 tag, both its reviewers give it an impressive 1/10 review-o-TWACK!
And then one of its creators turns up in the comments thread, has a go at the review, the reviewers and the people he was working with.
Well, the latter part's a tad unfair. He does include an emoticon, but it strikes me very much like a "Your Mother gives great head ;P" when the other person knows the first person has received great head from the aforementioned mother.
This is that bit in question, where Luc Bernard after a series of posts rolling his eyes at the review, turns his eyes elsewhere...
"and i'm going to take the blame for it, even if I wished Joshua my programmer would of listened to me about how I wanted things done
I was always against gamepad controls
but still a 1/10 is too low, but that's why I'm going to put up a demo and then let people decide
before everyone goes FUCK YOU FUCK YOU LUC :P
because if you read the review I did my part fine"
There's lots more. Go to the thread and search for "Luc Bernard" to see what he says. The post is 300 and counting, as the home-turf Destructoid fans lay into Luc's lines, so just search for his name and see exactly how terribly a developer with a misplaced desire to defend themselves can ruin their reputation. Because, frankly, this being the first we've really heard of the game, what else are we going to think other than "Oh yeah - that was the game with the guy who couldn't stand someone thinking their work was shit".
A creative's response to criticism is a tricky one. A few years back I did a presentation to an Indie-Dev conference about how to best manipulate the press, whose notes I published on my blog. When I see things like this, I wonder if there's room to write an article about basic guerrilla marketting, manipulation of comments threads and similar other nasty stuff. Because when I see a developer piss away all the good will you have from you status as an underground creator just to defend a sense of hurt feelings, it's openly depressing.
(This is a complete case of doing it wrong. If you're a name creator - Luc isn't - you can just about get away with insulting a review source. And even then it takes a really careful hand to turn a fanbase against a critic without appearing to be a complete cunt. As an unknown creator, it's virtually suicidal. However, when you turn against your fellow creators to avoid blame, even through a half-shield of irony, you are totally doomed. You're the kid in class blaming their work-mate that their homework isn't in on time.)
The saddest thing about creating something in the world is that occasionally someone who you don't think is terribly bright and is demonstratedly wrong has a swing at what you've sweated over... and you realise that to actually retaliate would only undermine your position and support theirs. You justify them by entering proper discourse with them.
The main rule of net argument as a public figure: you are not arguing with the people who you're arguing with. You will never change their mind. You are arguing with the silent horde of lurkers who are watching around the edge of this invisible ring, trying to decide what they think.
If you come across as reasonable, smart and likeable, even if your arguments are full of holes, you'll probably win in their eyes. If you come across as a bludgeoning fanatic, even if you're right, the crowd will despise you.
Indie developers, as much as they love their games, need to learn this. Be smarter.