On the occasions when I do speak publicly, however, I’m certainly not going to trash-talk decisions made by my company or my team that I happen to disagree with. Not only is that unprofessional, that’s highly suspect behavior. For one, I was there. I know how that decision got made. I’m aware of the issues that went into it, the ugly stuff and all, and once that decision’s made there’s really no point in continuing to bitch about it or airing dirty laundry in public. If we operated like that, we’d never get anything done… we’d be a group of squabbling children constantly pulling the project in multiple directions. Great for fan forums, not great for actually getting the project shipped. Secondly, whoever I’m talking about, whoever made those decisions, won’t be present to defend themselves. People outside the team would be listening to my opinion, getting half the story and bringing their own agenda into their interpretation and leaping to conclusions— which would probably be wrong. Some people might find it informative, but my experience on the Internet has been that a great many posters have the reading comprehension skills and self-awareness of a toddler. So that would be incredibly unfair and back-handed criticism to expose a co-worker to.
Then again, it doesn’t take much for fans to think that anything I speak on involves either my personal support or my personal condemnation (see above comment regarding reading comprehension on the Internet). If I say “this is what we’re doing and why”, that will be taken as me personally thinking it’s awesome, and that it was my idea. And the company is awesome for agreeing. And if you disagree with that, you’re a bad person. That’s actually pretty rarely the case. Sometimes I think these are good ideas and superior to other approaches, and I will say so, but usually I’m just explaining. Most times a given approach will have its upsides and downsides, and whether the upsides make it better overall really depends on the context (both of the given project and its other features as well as the preferences of whomever is reading). But I’m aware of this, and the fact that many people will equate me with BioWare itself regardless of whether what I’m speaking on is even something over which I have any control. I am the big, bad Godzilla rampaging over their sensibilities. Oohhh, run in fear!