Please do not use the collective pronoun "we." You aren't speaking for all of us, and I assure you that you do not represent my views. No I don't "know" it will turn into an ugly affair that will hurt rather than help. I believe quite the opposite.
This is just plain denial, and if you actually believe the opposite, why bother saying:
You act like the forum staff would be surprised at what they see.
The staff who peruse official boards for feedback are not setting foot on the internet for the first time. They know what forums are like, and are prepared to handle it. They expect people to overreact and make "I'm quitting <game> forever!" posts. They expect people to make fake legal threats. They expect there to be utterly stupid complaints. It's part of the job and they deal with it.
Isn't it funny that I'm not allowed to say "we" to speak for members of a forum which I have read quite regularly for years (and subsequently feel I have a good understanding of their collective and differing opinions), but you're allowed to speak for the non-existent FFXIV Official Forum staff?
Maybe I would have believed this argument if FFXI had official forums, and we could gauge how well SE forum representatives have dealt with the moderation of garbage and forwarding of insight in the past, and apply that to how they would do on an official FFXIV forum. But last I checked, there was no such thing. Yes, it would be great if we could have civilized official forums where moderators sifted through the crap and sent all the good stuff to the devs, but look at our own forums here at Alla. It's a low percentage, but you don't have to look very far to find someone saying something stupid and unfounded about FFXI and SE. These forums stay in check because it's mostly just fans of FFXI (and diligent moderators, of course), but an official forum undoubtedly sees a much higher concentration of non-fans and first-timers who are quick to complain about everything. Don't you think the absence of official forums says something about their ready-and-willingness to handle it? They can barely keep up with the POL blog and newsletters as it is. I'm just applying logic and observation when I say official forums wouldn't help (at least no more so than premier sites already do).
If you were a teacher, and on the first day of class you discovered none of the kids could read, would you be surprised? Would you report back to the principal that the kids were atrociously undereducated? You might say yes initially, but have I mentioned yet that you are a preschool teacher? Suddenly it is not so surprising.
The teacher analogy is off-base. No preschooler has well-thought suggestions for how their teacher can improve the curriculum. SE is more like a high school teacher, working with a mixed bag of mature teenagers looking forward to the future and delinquents who might as well be preschoolers. Isn't it better for everyone when the whole classroom can settle down and act like responsible adults to make the teacher's day easier? You can't seriously mean to tell me that SE should just expect a bunch of preschoolers and deal with it. The whole reason we're having this argument in this thread is because there are people who act like preschoolers and think they should get their way first instead of the people acting mature about it; as one of the latter group, I'd hope my voice stands out.
I disagree. The relationship between SE and the player base is exactly that of a company and a customer. We aren't equals, we aren't required to eat the same meal. Businesses serve customers. Customers pay businesses. It is not the customer's job to pat a business on the back and cheer it on.
No. SE is not an individual person; SE is a company. They don't cry when they are yelled at. They don't get their feelings hurt. They have staff sift through all the yelling, type it up into neat reports, and send it to the dev team for analysis and implementation.
Sometimes the yelling is very helpful to game companies. When a lot of people seem quite upset about an issue, then that sends a message to the company that people greatly care about this issue and believe it to be urgent.
You're certainly right, our job is to give money to SE and SE's job is to deliver a product and a service. That doesn't mean we should just keep kicking dirt in their faces until we get what we want, and then we'll kick some more dirt, because their job is to deal with it.
How can it possibly be a bad thing to cheer on the dev team? SE might be a business, but it is made up of humans, and it seems to me the devs are probably the most human of them all. If you understand the Japanese work ethic, you'd know a little praise can go a long way, because they are bred to work hard for the sake of the company rather than for the sake of themselves. Do you really think that some encouragement and a reminder that their fans appreciate the job they do wouldn't help? FFXI is a game crafted lovingly for its players, and despite its imperfections, almost every little thing the devs do they do for us
Now by all means, you don't want to pile on the praise when things go wrong. I certainly agree that yelling can be helpful, but not for every single issue that comes up. When an issue is so severe that enough people yell to get noticed, this includes people who otherwise would not be yelling. The drive for the devs to quickly fix a severe issue comes when the usually dissident minority very suddenly becomes the dissident majority, and the SE PR people go, "Whoa, that's way more yelling than usual, we'd better get this to the devs fast." Of course their response time and how appropriate the response is a different issue, but my original point was that a good handful of people yell as if every little problem is a humongous one, instead of taking the hint from the people who only yell some of the time. Endless complaints can be just as bad as endless praise, and while only a handful of people really take to either extreme, these people are definitely what I'd consider "flying off the handle".
You can't change the player base. You are attempting to treat the symptom rather than the disease. People complain for a reason. If you want the complaining to stop, then don't try to stop the complaining; stop the source of the complaint.
I never said we need to stop complaining, and I'm definitely not suggesting there's nothing to complain about. What needs to stop is people complaining about things as if SE is just out to ruin their lives and make FFXI the worst experience possible, as if they are intentionally trying to alienate their entire player base. Of course SE makes stupid decisions and limits the devs in ways we'd prefer they don't, but that's why we need to intelligently guide them along the right path instead of kicking dirt in their faces. Yeah, it's their job to eat the dirt we kick, and we have every right to kick that dirt, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to get what we want. And as stated before, playing too nice doesn't always work either, but SE and FFXI's player base have been slowly harmonizing over time, and it seems the people most vocal about speeding up that process are also kicking the most dirt. They'll need to embrace a better way if they really want a better relationship with SE and the devs, whatever that way may be.