Building Esports Communities | Morgan Romine

Morgan Romine Dir. of Initiatives at AnyKey talks with Mark Register about building an active and constructive community.

Mark Register – How do you build and active and constructive community?

Morgan Romine – That is a really tricky question and something we would like to address with the AnyKey organization.

Most importantly our goal is to ask that particular question of the people who have lots of active experience trying to do that.

We’re in talks with people like Twitch, Riot, and Blizzard…we’re talking to those people who are trying to do that.

We have contacts at Penny Arcade Expo because they’ve been running a community for a really long time and have thoughts on how to do that.

We’re talking to basically everyone who’s willing to talk to us who has some experience managing communities to ask them in this day and age of streaming in particular and social media, how can you foster a supportive community?

I think one of the most important things is we’re trying to all get away from the wild west frontier libertarian, no censorship for anything, the internet is a space for open communication, we’re trying to get away from the idea that cultivating particular values in certain online spaces is akin to censorship because it’s totally not.

The internet is in theory an infinite space so meaning anybody can create a space of their own that champions the values that they want and if people come in there and try to ruin that or troll that, that’s ok to kick them out, these are private spaces.

We’re trying to get over that.

Getting over that hump is a really big thing especially in the game industry where people take those values seriously.

The value of freedom and freedom of expression which is great and that’s totally a thing that we also support but I think the problem is when you conflate those things.

When you conflate this idea of open expression with meaning that anybody can be a jerk to anybody in any space if they want.

No if this is our space and we’re cultivating it to be a particular kind of thing then it’s ok to say no.

So getting over that is kind of a big thing.

I think also within communities, encouraging your main culture figures, you’re most popular people to represent the values that you want to see in that community, or at least working with them actively.

Because I think on Twitch, there are some streamers who are really popular who have a great community, they do great things, they encourage their people to not be jerks, not be mean, and they still have tons of fun and do lots of videogames together…they have a great community.

Actively working with those people to maybe get them to talk a little bit more about what they do, to foster a good community, that can be helpful.

Not only within the greater community leaking out but also people are asking this exact question of how can I get my community to sync up with the values that I would like to see.

If you have those people speaking out and giving tips, that’s really helpful.

That’s what we go to the internet for, how to’s, how to do stuff, how to build a good community, the people doing it need to explain that better.

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