When I saw that Cryptic had introduced a Star Trek Advisory Council yesterday, I had no idea that it would lead to so much hubbub around the web (in retrospect, how could I not? It’s Cryptic after all!) I figured it was just another idea the devs have concocted in their efforts to improve Star Trek Online, and thought to myself “Keep up the good work, Cryptic!” and moved on.
Even when I saw the Massively article on this topic that has now garnered so much attention, I was like, “Touchy STO forum dwellers getting their panties in a bunch again? What’s new?”
But then I read Adventurer Historian’s latest post on his blog on the matter, and that’s when I finally realized, “Holy crap, there might be something amiss here after all.” You see, when I first saw the announcement on the Cryptic website, I hadn’t bothered to click any of the links. A quick glance showed me that the STOked guys were involved and I also caught a glimpse of a link leading to a site called TrekMovie.com. With that, I brushed the whole thing off as a kind of marketing ploy/publicity stunt.
Good old AH’s post, however, brought one particular link on that site to my attention.
Before I go on, I just want to point out that I actually quite like the idea of an Advisory Council. Despite accusations that this will lead to one group of fans getting more input than anyone else, I actually don’t think that will be the case. Based on Cryptic’s comments I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like they intend for the Advisory Council to replace other modes of fan communication such as the website’s main forums. It’s simply an extension of it, if you will, a way for them to represent and reach out to other pockets of their fan-base, not just those who frequent the message boards.
But if that’s the case, what part of the STO fan base, pray tell, are they trying to represent with the likes of Berlin Niccals and the eyebrow-raising content on her site (though to be fair, it’s a reblog)?
Cryptic hand-picking their representatives instead of having them elected by the community will probably score them a lot of negative points, but it’s a quicker and more efficient process, so I get that. Hiring a social networking group to decide for you also feels a little impersonal, but all in all it’s a smart way to go and so also cool in my books. But seriously, how did that particular site get past the vetting process? I can’t look at anything on that page without getting an F-bomb dropped on my face.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against swear words and cursing. I swear all the time when I’m at home or out with friends. I just don’t do it on any social networking outlet for the sake of civility, and not if I want my opinions heard or taken seriously. It’s all about perception. I could care less what Niccals puts on her personal site, that’s her prerogative. My problem is not with her, it is with Cryptic. Do they, as a game developer, really want stuff like that associated with their game (based on a family-friendly IP, I might add) or their company? Saying inappropriate things and cussing are bannable offenses in-game and on their forums, so I don’t understand how this person’s webpage got the company’s endorsement and linked directly from the official site. Hmm, *checks calendar* nope, way too late for an April Fool’s Day practical joke.
Update: It appears that Cryptic has removed her name and site from the official announcement.