Both Heather and Keith from the CS department are moving on to other things. I wanted to make sure the staff and the community get a chance to say goodbye to them.
I first met both of them when we interviewed them for their CS positions in the second half of 2020. Both were people we knew from the moment we met them that we wanted them on the team. They're both absolutely wonderful people, and I am sure anyone who has had to contact CS and interacted with them can agree.
I have never met anyone who was as enthusiastic about a job as Keith was about coming in to work at Paizo. It's easy to get burned out and cynical after a while when you see the donuts get made every day and see how a company goes about making them. But Keith's enthusiasm really did remind me of how cool it felt when I got hired and first started! It was nice to be around that.
I don't know that I ever expressed to Heather how much I appreciated her serenading us with her ukulele at the end of our Zoom meetings. It was really nice, and especially in more difficult times really helpful. It's crazy how fast she learned to play it so well!
Since leaving Paizo I have really missed both of them (and Logan and Austin). Best wishes to both of you in your future adventures!
kobold cleaver wrote:
I think I've been misunderstanding the meaning of the no profanity rule for a long time
It’s a very old rule. The thinking is there are children who view these boards, and because of that it needs to be free of profanity. Circumventing that rule with placeholder words is against the rules, and we do try to enforce that.
I wish you guys weren't down the 2 resident experts that would have been a tremendous help during troubling times.
Tonya has had moderator privileges for years in her role as OPF and has interacted with those tools for years. There is no reason she shouldn’t know this. Forgot? Sure. Didn’t know? No. And even if she didn’t she should have investigated options. It shouldn’t take her team, after weeks of asking for solutions, deciding they don’t care if bigots lose access to PDFs and accidentally discovering it.
Bans remove a persons access to everything, including purchased PDFs. Suspensions only remove access to the forums. Suspensions are usually timed. But the timing has to be set, if it is not the suspension is indefinite until manually lifted. If the concern was that banned posters wouldn’t have access to purchased PDFs anymore a permanent suspension does the same thing while leaving PDF access.
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Trying to balance the needs of the community with the way our software works when people are banned. Think we've found a way to resolve the issue and will be utilizing it from here on out.
For transparency, the way that was found was that the CSRs pushed back and refused to back down so Tonya has aquiesced.
To my knowledge only one of my posts has been removed. It was removed along with the posts it was responding to. It was also a bit aggressive. I feel that it was an appropriate removal on both accounts. There are plenty of reasons to be angry at Paizo, but at least for now I feel this isn’t one of them.
Some history and insight into the moderation of the Paizo forums may be helpful here.
Forum moderation has not always been a thing customer service (CS) did. Long long ago it was done by a person who had a Community Manager title. That person had a lot of other responsibilities though. Forum moderation/community management has never been a position all on its own. And it should be. Moderating the forums is a full time job, and is a full time job for more than one person. When that person left the company their responsibilities were divvied up to other people, mostly to one other person. That person didn't just have a lot on their plate, they had about a dozen plates. When they later left the company their position was filled, but especially in having to figure out their job description, which at that time amounted to "do everything" some of their responsibilities were divvied up. Forum moderation became a CS responsibility.
One of the more frustrating things in CS was how much we were a dumping ground. If the powers that be didn't know who should be responsible for a thing it became a CS thing, and if a manager didn't want to deal with a thing it became a CS problem (one of the ones I vent about the most is when someone accidentally canceled all of the GenCon vouchers right after GenCon and it became CS's problem tracking all of them down and reactivating them, the second time they did it we pushed back on how much of our time that had wasted and that person had to do it themselves and to my knowledge it never happened again). We had an internal jokes, "this shouldn't impact customer service", because we were often told that. But everything the company does ends up impacting CS and more often than not becomes our problem. That was the case with forum moderation. None of us had any experience with any kind of community management or moderation. And none of were really keen on doing it (one of my colleagues full on refused as it wasn't part of our job description, "If the job description had included this I wouldn't have accepted the job"). Our direct manager looked into getting us some training, even did all the heavy lifting of researching and finding consultants who could work with us to get us started. But that was shot down. So we had to learn on our own by just doing it.
There weren't really rules beyond 'don't be a jerk' and while over time some things got codified it remains mostly a 'don't be a jerk' thing. There was talk about setting out better guidelines from time to time, but those never came to anything. There was some amount of belief that if we made guidelines we would be handing the community ways to game our moderation, and for a community that is accustomed to gaming rules it was believed that would be bad for our forums. Even without clear guidelines we do get plenty of people who challenge the moderation by demanding specific rules be cited so they can point out how they didn't violate those rules. So it largely remained our judgement what should or shouldn't go. Banning forum users was a more delicate thing. That involved having lots of receipts to present as a case for a ban as well as a trail of suspensions showing the behavior wasn't changing. Really long periods of time between suspensions basically reset it. Super egregious stuff could skip straight to a ban but that was usually not the case (as an example there was a Trans Day of Visibility blog several years ago where I woke up the morning after it went up and found that someone was posting some utterly vile stuff about trans people on that thread, so I still sitting in bed I banned them without consulting anyone, and that was ok for me to do in that instance).
All of this was really time consuming and pulls CS away from their primary job, which means that in times when we really need to hunker down, like when there is a big backlog we need to work through, forum moderation tends to take a backseat. It also means that while making mod posts is something we tried to always do when a post is removed (in cases like a thread hasn't been posted to in a long while we may not because we don't want to necro the thread, but in active threads it is something we always want to do), I do acknowledge that there have been times where I answered a phone call, or got pinged by the warehouse, or any of a dozen other things and lost track of the mod post. So yeah, there are times I removed posts and didn't leave a mod post. It was never intentional and I'm sorry it happened.
I was the primary one doing the moderation for a while and it was having a pretty big impact on my mental health. The bulk of most of my days were devoted to it and in addition to being mired in all that negativity and problematic stuff all day I also felt like I wasn't contributing enough to my actual job and my teammates were having to pick up my slack. By the time my boss was given the ok to add a 4th person to our team I think it was pretty clear that I was rapidly approaching a breaking point. While interviewing for that 4th position we made forum moderation the primary thing we talked about to candidates (and it WAS part of the job description from then onward). I trained her on everything we do but we especially focused on moderation, and I think in her time with the company she was the best moderator we have had (Sara aside). I have been the one who has trained all of the CSRs on forum moderation since then, and my qualifications for doing so are just that I did it for a while. With this most recent batch of CSRs they were hired while we were dealing with a huge backlog and the goal was to get them up to speed on dealing with that. So the moderation training they got would have been by someone largely unqualified in the first place, but was pretty sparse on top of that.
So I think it is valuable to remember that when you talk about 'the forum moderators' you're talking about a group of people hired to do webstore customer service and then told to do this other, unrelated full time job that they don't have experience with and aren't really trained for. As I said earlier, forum moderation if a full time job of 2 or more people but the company leadership has traditionally been unwilling to accept that. The customer service team does the best they can to juggle that in to all their other responsibilities. It's also valuable to remember that the CSRs are all hourly and aren't able to work beyond their 40 hours without exec approval, meaning they can't legally moderate over the weekend. The customer service manager is salaried and can. While I don't think anyone should be expected to work past their 40, weekend moderation in particular is one of the most clear and upfront responsibilities of that position. So if someone collaborated to steal the CS manager's job and then fire them for no reason, well then that someone is going to have to do that job. Forum moderation over the weekend is the bed that someone made for themselves (typically we would have locked the problem threads and left a mod post saying we locked it and will moderate it and unlock it when we're back in the office, I'm not sure why that wasn't done in this instance).
First, I appreciate Aaron coming in to comment. I do wonder why the new Director of Community isn't the one doing that though? It's kind of their job. It shouldn't fall to other staff to throw themselves under the bus when there is a person who's job it is to deal with this stuff.
The other is about the leadership team. There IS a PoC who is highly qualified and frankly deserves the promotion on staff. The person currently running the tech team is a woman of color and has done wonders for the tech team and the company. Vic, the CTO, stepped back in the first half of 2020 and since then she has run the tech team. She was the tech team manager before that but since then has stepped up in that void. At the time I left in September there was no CTO in place and the plan was to hire a new CFO and that person was going to double as CTO. It's mind boggling to me that they were choosing to double up those roles rather than offer it to someone immensely qualified and competent. That even in looking to expand the leadership team they still didn't consider her is pretty telling.
There is no path for career advancement at Paizo. Jim’s VP position was created for him, it was not something anyone was able to apply for. Staff didn’t even know it existed until we were informed he was hired. Likewise the position Mike is in was not one anyone was able to apply for, it was created for him when he was hired.
And as far as promoting upwards in the company, well after nearly 5 and a half years and still having an entry level title despite doing things like managing the satellite booths at GenCon, and training new hires (all of the CSRs currently at the company weren’t only trained by me, I was also the one who went through their applications, and set up interviews, likewise for some that are no longer with the company) I asked for a promotion in December 2019. After 3 months of leading me on, in March 2020 I was informed I didn’t NEED a promotion. I did finally get one a year later in January 2021, but that was because they had to, not because they wanted to. Incidentally before Paizo I was the front end manager at a Harbor Freight Tools for 2 and a half years, and before that the warehouse manager at a Borders for several years until the company liquidated. So it’s not even that I was unqualified for a leadership position.
There is no getting promoted up through the ranks at Paizo. Either you’re a friend or contact of Lisa or Jeff’s and you get hired straight into leadership positions, or you’re not and you have no career advancement options.
For what it is worth; I was pretty disappointed that the person handling these blogs wasn’t going to have one at all initially. Shortly after I left the company a new person took over the responsibility and that person was determined to get one out. At that point Hispanic Heritage Month had already started though, and there was no groundwork for a blog even begun. That means the turn around time was considerably shorter than other blogs had been. A blog still goes through a lot of the same processes as a book, so it has to be fit into the editors schedule and all that.
In the first half of 2020 I put a lot of effort and energy into getting these kinds of blogs to happen, and it was really disappointing to me that the one that reflects me and my people was missed 2 years in a row (I am also disappointed that the one that celebrates Native American peoples has been missed 2 years in a row). I am grateful to the person who took over for making sure this one got out, even if it was late.
Luis and Joseph are wonderful, and deserve so much recognition! Thank you both for everything you bring to the game and all you do to insert what you’re able into the products. I was so happy when I saw Luis’ volume in the Tyrants Grasp AP! I might have got a little teary eyed! I can’t wait to see what else both of you bring to future products!
To illustrate the toothy bags point here’s some info.
When the new HR person is hired Paizo will have had 4 HR people in as many years. Only 1 lasted a full year. One didn’t even last 4 months. When I started there was a joke that the soda machine was HR. It even had a sticky note on it that said HR on it. You tell it your issues and it may or may not give you a soda. It’s never just worked. You put in your quarter and maybe you get a soda. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you get 5 sodas. Maybe you get your quarter back. Maybe you get 15 quarters.
When there was an HR they were under the CFO, who was let go in early 2020. The biggest problem was that he was really problematic. Some staff had issues with him. He had no respect for CS or anyone who would work that job and he came by our area nearly every day to let us know that. He was directly responsible for a member of our team quitting. But there was nothing we could do because he had access to the HR email address and did monitor it. I called that number Jeff mentioned once. They told me that in order to investigate they needed my name. So at least at that time it wasn’t anonymous. The way they investigated was by calling that CFO, passing all that info to him, and asking him to investigate. He mentioned to me later that he got my complaint about him.
Since the most recent HR person left in January Jeff has been in charge of HR. The company president being HR is just…
The executive team is 5 people. Lisa and Vic are co owners of the company. Jeff is the company president. Erik is the publisher and also CCO (chief creative officer). The CFO (chief financial officer) is also an executive. Paizo has had a temporary one named David since May 2020. He will be departing any day now while the new one, Ryan, takes over. Ryan will also be in charge of HR (when the last HR person left in January they never replaced them because David was temporary and they wanted any new CFO they got around to hiring to be involved with the hiring process since they would be in charge of that person). He will also be the new CTO (chief technical officer).
Oh, I agree. While I’d love for the leadership to put actions to their words about wanting to work with staff for a better work environment my experience is that it’s just words, and this will end up going to vote. I’d like to be wrong on that. Do the right thing, Paizo.
And thank you! I wish it didn’t have to go the way it did. The staff at Paizo is wonderful. I’ve met so many good people, and not just on the staff but in the community as well. I miss it all. I believed and still do that I did what was right, but damn if it isn’t hard to let go.
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Of the 75ish total employees when I left, 30+ eligible employees is in fact a majority. In fact it’s a super majority. People managers and some middle managers aren’t eligible.
Complete just means that we have shipped out the order, not that it has been delivered. This order shipped out on August 19 and had up to 36 business days in transit to you. On the long end that would have it arriving on or before Tuesday, October 12. If it has not arrived by then please let us know.
What you're seeing is sort of a display issue, but just kind of. There are a lot of items we have to get from a supplier when an order is placed for them. Those items usually show a longer shipping window, like 11-20 business days. Our own items, or items we do keep in our warehouse have a much shorter window, usually 1-7 business days. But lately every item has been showing the long shipping window. Since Secrets of Magic is one of our products it has an estimate of 1-7 business days.
I checked in with the skitters and 2 of them we quite healthy. But the purple one hasn't got to us yet. The others 'helped' me track it down, but for now we just can't get it on its way to you (we're out of the purple ones and waiting on the supplier). If you'd like I can get the other 2 on their way so you can start making mon... helping, and get the purple one on the way when we find it. Otherwise we can turn them loose in the warehouse to 'help' the raptors until the purple one arrives then get them all on their way together. Let me know what you prefer.
(And also, we don't choose posts, the posts choose us)
I took a look and there were some items that were causing problems with the order. It was 4 of the faction pins (Dark Archive, Exchange, Liberty's Edge, and Silver Crusade). I had to cancel them to get the order fixed. I have asked the webstore team to look into them and help figure out what is wrong with them. In the meantime do you want me to get the rest of the order out the door and send them later, wait until they're ready to go and send it all together, or get the rest out the door and leave those cancelled?
I have removed some posts. Let’s keep the bickering out of this thread.
I will take this moment to remind everyone that receiving a PDF before street date is not a benefit or perk of the subscriptions. That it sometimes happens is a happy consequence of the way we ship subscriptions in order to try to get the physical books into the hands of subscribers as close to street date as we can.
I have removed some posts. While it seems this thread may be a reaction to another thread, I am leaving it open because I think there is a discussion to be had about how alien and different from humans most of the playable species in Pathfinder are and how that translates to how we may roleplay them. But let's try to have an actual discussion and not snide sniping.
I have updated the payment method attached to your subscriptions to use the new one you added to your account (you had added the new card to your account but hadn't attached it to your subs on the My Subscriptions page, so they were still trying to use the old one). I also removed the expired cards from your account, so you shouldn't be able to see them anymore.
I have set up a replacement that should be shipping out along with your next subscription order.
It looks like the original order was part of a widespread shipping issue we had that was later resolved. A refund for the difference in shipping has been issued to your original payment method.
Just as an update. It is currently 11:15am and is 99 degrees. The forecast is that we will hit 113 degrees in a few hours.
I am from New Mexico and am accustomed to this kind of heat (although it is more humid here which I can't deal with). But in NM we have plenty of ways to deal with that heat, ranging from AC/swamp coolers, to buildings made of adobe and stucco that insulate really well (keep the place nice and cool in the summer and nice and warm in the winter), and to a number of DIY things we can do. But all of that relies on a very dry climate and doesn't really work here.
Up until this past weekend it had only hit triple digits here 3 times in the last hundred years. Today will be the third day in a row to do so. When I moved here the summer was upper 80's and everyone talked about it like that was a new thing (I understand that summers in the upper 70's were the norm at that time). I was also horrified to see that apartments just don't have ACs or anything like that. Heat is just something this region has not had to deal with until recently, and the entire area is tremendously unequipped for it. As it is that warehouse is an oven, and it is just going to get hotter throughout the day.
Several posts have been removed, and this thread has been locked. It will not be reopened both because there is already another thread discussing this and because it is clear this topic is not possible to have without petty bickering and attacking others.
Customer service is not able to answer rules questions. Any rules questions should be asked on the forums, which is where customer service will redirect any sent to us.
Some posts and the replies to them have been removed.
There are a variety of reasons a person may not be comfortable going into a heavily crowded area, fully vaccinated or not. Let's not attack people for that.
I am tentatively opening the thread again. If it becomes clear we are not able to have a discussion without attacking or bickering it will be closed again.