How to Give Good Feedback

How to Give Good Feedback

in Guild Wars 2 Discussion

Posted by: Mark Katzbach

Mark Katzbach

Content Marketing Manager

The Community Team recognizes that many of you wish to have their feedback heard and acknowledged. While we cannot reply to every thread on the Guild Wars 2 forums, we felt it would be helpful both to you and us to supply this guide on how to give thoughtful, well-presented and constructive feedback. Feedback presented in accordance with these guidelines will allow the developers more insight into your thoughts and opinions. It helps keep your threads on-topic and more likely for the Development Teams to be involved. It is also important to note that when you create a feedback thread, you should take some ownership on helping keep it clean. You should report posts which are off-topic, derailing, or disruptive, so the Moderation Team can help keep it clean for you.
When writing feedback, keep these few considerations in mind at all times:

  • Ask yourself: “How can I make this content *_better_?"*
  • Consider: How have you seen this particular problem solved in other games?
  • Consider: How do you think this particular element or aspect of the game could be improved?
  • Tell us why: If we ask a specific question, don’t just answer it—tell us why you answered that way.

By considering these points, your feedback will always be focused on providing solutions to problems, not simply focusing on the problems that you find. This is the heart of what we’re looking for from your feedback, and what will best result in change to the game!
Additionally – and almost as important as what you are writing – it is important to recognize how you are delivering your feedback. Your strongest points will be lost if they are lost in the tone or delivery of the post. To help you along this process (and help you get your feedback noticed by the developers who can actually make the changes), we’ve provided a few helpful guidelines below for writing GOOD feedback and some warnings about what to avoid.

Using Feedback for Good

  • Understand the topic.
    If there’s a focus for the feedback, be sure you understand it before jumping into the content. This will allow you to look for answers to the questions being asked, and it will keep your replies on-topic.
  • Set the stage.
    Good feedback lets the reader know what you were looking at, where you were, and what you did. Use common sense about how lengthy this needs to be, but always consider leading with something like, “I was playing <______> and I tried <______>.”
  • Provide details.
    Make sure your feedback is exact and detailed (without being overly long). You don’t need to provide every detail about what you experienced and your idea for how to improve it, but you must provide more than, “Make this better,” or, “This was not fun.”
  • Include the positive.
    Feedback about things that don’t work is often easier to understand in the context of things that do. This is not an encouragement to brown nose; when people are looking for constructive feedback, they will often skip over obvious toadyism.
  • Find the balance between logic and emotion.
    Be logical, but not emotionless. Be passionate, but not so full of passion that you can’t hear a good counterargument.
  • Get to the root.
    Whenever possible, try to locate the core issue. If a mechanic in the game is troubling, that can be good feedback, but if you can identify why the mechanic is troubling, that will be better.
  • Provide well thought-out suggestions.
    If you can’t think of a suggestion, you can still submit the feedback; opinions are valuable. If you are including a suggestion, be certain you’ve given it more than just a passing thought. Often, suggestions are taken seriously and implemented just because we feel it would be awesome. Think first: is your suggestion awesome?
  • Provide alternatives.
    Are there two or three good solutions to your issue? Feel free to include them all. Designers often appreciate a brainstorm from which to select their favorite ideas.
  • Give examples.
    Where appropriate, give an example of what you’re suggesting. Don’t be afraid to cite another game, but avoid relying too heavily on other titles. We can like an idea or mechanic from another game, but we need to express how that idea would work within our systems.
  • Organize! Format! Spell check!
    Put your thoughts in order. If you took a series of notes, reorder your notes so points on each topic are grouped together. Avoid delivering your feedback in one big blob. Consider grouping thoughts into paragraphs or the ever popular bulleted list. Finally: spell check. Feedback that’s easily read and understood is more likely to see action.
  • Be timely.
    Please understand that suggestions are almost always welcome, but knowing the timeline for feedback allows you to give it at the best possible time. Feedback that’s too early may be forgotten before it’s appropriate, and feedback that comes too late may uselessly bounce off something that’s already locked down.

Steering Clear of the Dark Path

  • Avoid abbreviating.
    Short, unexplained opinions are not as useful as detailed responses.
    NO: “Movement sucks.”
    NO: “+1,” “/signed,” “Agreed,” “Seconded,” “Quoted for truth,” etc.
  • Turn down the negative tone.
    There’s a difference between being critical and being negative. Learn this difference and avoid the latter. Select words that show you’ve thought about the effects of the problem rather than simply presenting your gut reaction.
    NO: “I can’t see around that ridiculous ball of puke-colored light.”
    YES: "The light around this character obstructs the view from most camera angles and is an unpleasant shade of yellow.
  • No one knows best.
    Avoid taking an inflexible position or positioning yourself as the authority. Proposals should be accepted on their merits and practicality. Disagreements should be settled after careful consideration. Using forceful, pretentious language hurts your point. If your argument is “You need to do it my way because I know best,” then we probably won’t because it seems you don’t.
    NO: “I’ve played games like this since I was ten. Trust me: you have to include polearms.”
    YES: “In games I’ve played with polearms, I’ve enjoyed the variety they provided in attack speed and length. I think we could use that.”
  • Don’t speak from inexperience.
    Avoid making suggestions for things you didn’t try or ask about. If you suggest there be an error when trying to equip a hat on your feet, and that error already exists, your suggestion will be taken as seriously as one from a person with a hat on their feet.
  • Avoid inaccuracies.
    If your feedback includes information that is inaccurate, the recipient may discard it whole. If you mention how the character can equip only a sword when it’s also possible to equip an ax or bow, the reader may stop reading before getting to your awesome suggestion about new sword attacks.
  • Known issues are just that: already known.
    There may be a time and place to discuss well-covered issues, but if it’s not explicitly pertinent to your feedback, avoid bringing up other known issues.
    NO: “Then we crashed again. There was another crash. There certainly was a lot of crashing today. I think the game would be better if we had fewer crashes.”
    Note: This is not to say that you can’t echo suggestions from other people, nor is it to say that you need to drop an issue once it’s been responded to.
  • Hyperbole is the worst possible thing in the whole world.
    Use measured language, particularly when explaining your dislike for something. Conversely, if you love something, you can say so without excessive fanboyism. Whether positive or negative, if your feedback is overly hyperbolic, the recipient will quickly learn that you aren’t serious or can’t accurately gauge quality.
    NO: “The art for that makes me want to gouge out my eyes.”
    NO: “I’m so amazed by that model, I just want to quit my job and worship in the art department.”
  • Sarcasm in text is never sarcastic.
    It doesn’t matter how many smileys you include or how many words are italicized, sarcasm doesn’t work for conveying feedback. It will either be misread or interpreted as an insult. Write down exactly what you mean, not the opposite.
    NO: “The fire effect is super impressive. It’s the most amazing fire I’ve ever seen. Really.”
    YES: “The fire effect could be more impressive if it was larger and if it shimmered more.”
  • Your words have your name on them.
    Your behavior is your own. Echoing the bad behavior of others is not excusable.
    NO: “I agree with Aquan, only morons enjoy this obviously broken underwater combat.”
  • This isn’t about “you.”
    Insults and attacks have no place in your feedback. Your comments should always be about the work itself. People found to be openly antagonistic or rude in their feedback may receive infractions. Repeated offenses can negatively affect your forum account with punishments up to and including temporary suspensions or a permanent ban.
    NO: “If you can’t see how this isn’t fun, then you’re stupid.”
    NO: “Whoever designed this [particular feature] should be fired.”
  • This still isn’t about you.

There is no need to feel hurt about the reception of your feedback. Your feedback is given due consideration, but that doesn’t mean your proposals will always be accepted. The final call is ArenaNet’s, and if your idea doesn’t exactly mesh with the rest of the game, or if there just isn’t enough time, don’t let this discourage you from providing feedback in the future. If you receive a response to your feedback from other players that you consider rude or offensive, please use the report flag to alert the moderation team of the post.

(edited by Mark Katzbach.9084)