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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Camelot Unchained - About Fans and Spamming

Default Camelot Unchained - About Fans and Spamming

May 2nd, 2013, 00:47
Penny Arcade has written an article on how fans of Camelot Unchained made sure the press would not touch it, by sending out several mails to news sites about the campaign. We've received quite a lot of mails on Camelot Unchained as well, urging us to write about it, but as we aren't really focusing on MMO Kickstarters, I've tried to ignore them.
This isn't promotion, it's harassment
This is what it looks like from our end: dozens, if not hundreds of e-mails that all say the same thing, urging coverage of the Kickstarter. In many cases the exact same wording is used. This is what spam looks like, and it takes a decent amount of time to clean it out of your tip section. I've spoken to multiple editors about this issue, and they all expressed annoyance at the Camelot Unchained spam, and this has led most of us to not cover the game. No one likes spam, and coverage sends the message that harassment campaigns work.
I've complained about this a few times on Twitter, and finally a fan of the game contacted me to explain the situation. "One of the guys involved with another successful Kickstarter suggested that we email the same places they emailed and ask for some media coverage," backer Justin Majeroni explained. "This turned into someone coming up with a pretty good email and posting it in the comments along with the list and asking for a few people to hit up all these media outlets."
During my one-on-one conversations over e-mail it’s clear that they didn't mean to become spammers, but that was the end result. Their efforts had the opposite intended reaction; the press is actively annoyed due to the flood of spam, and bombing forums with information about the game is likely to turn other communities against Camelot Unchained as well.
It’s a fine line. Our readers often point us towards interesting Kickstarter campaigns, but we’ve complained about spam in the past, and organized attempts by large numbers of people to cover a campaign usually backfire. This is especially true if they’re simply repeating some or all of what amounts to a chain letter.
After the story the fans flocked to Penny Arcade with the result of the comments thread being clopsed now.
More information.
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May 2nd, 2013, 00:47
Actually think that story did no harm to the campaign - all publicity is good publicity. In any case the Kickstarter sure took off. Currently they're +70k over the $2m target and, touchingly, the stern Mark Jacobs shed some tears when they passed the goal. Hope he gets some sleep soon.
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May 2nd, 2013, 00:57
Myrthos isn't lying there was 4-5 news alerts for this game everyday. I considered it spam. As most posters have pointed out on my posts they don't want mmo news.

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May 2nd, 2013, 01:14
I like how the CU backers/fans try and discredit the article, and try to explain to the writer that he just doesn't understand "passion". People are lulzy.
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May 2nd, 2013, 01:26
I think that the only mmo news should be on mmorpgs related to single player games. I think having news on TESO or Neverwinter should be ok but having news on Camelot Unchained shouldn't be on here since it isn't really related to the subject of single player rpgs.

PS. This article is useful though to give warning on what not to do when you are trying to support a kickstarter.
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May 2nd, 2013, 02:39
Mmm… perhaps the form under the "Submit News" link should point out what type of material you do not want to use?
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May 2nd, 2013, 05:20
There seems to be quite a bit of interest in MMOs. I noticed a lot of posts about LOTRO and GW2 recently. Also there are many common features between MMOs and single player RPGs, which can be interesting for those who like to think about the technical aspects and future of games.
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May 2nd, 2013, 11:14
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Mmm… perhaps the form under the "Submit News" link should point out what type of material you do not want to use?
Nah, too much work to keep it up to date. I just delete the mails that I don't want, like these and the ones from ad providers so I can spare you all having to watch ads about why you are too heavy or how mom made the Botox doctors angry.

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May 2nd, 2013, 11:30
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Actually think that story did no harm to the campaign - all publicity is good publicity.
Exactly, they did no harm. And thanks to the PA Report Author, they even got news coverage. There, and here. It worked. And just at the right point in the campaign.

So while the article may want to tell what not to do, it actually shows how to do it. Expect more SPAM in the future.

Funny thing is, some of the fans in the PAR comments said he could have published the article after the end of the campaign, thus avoiding damage to the campaign. The irony is, he should have done that. But not to avoid damaging the campaing, but to avoid rewarding that kind of behaviour.

(But I guess that would have raised the risk of some other site publishing a similar article before PAR. Can't have that. Right?)
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May 2nd, 2013, 11:58
Dunno about spam, but we had a thread about that game here:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19929

As it's subscription based MMO, there was no chance me pledging a single dime on it. So dear MMOers, feel free to spam my inbox, I still won't join - I got spoiled with LeagueOfLegends no subscription, no gambling, no pay2win, no monthly "taxes", no fraud model.

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May 2nd, 2013, 12:48
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Dunno about spam, but we had a thread about that game here:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19929

As it's subscription based MMO, there was no chance me pledging a single dime on it. So dear MMOers, feel free to spam my inbox, I still won't join - I got spoiled with LeagueOfLegends no subscription, no gambling, no pay2win, no monthly "taxes", no fraud model.
The thing is that noone is asking you to join, that's why the Kickstarter was such a ballsy and principled effort on behalf of Mark Jacobs. The game is niche in at least three ways:

- PvP only
- Subscription
- No concession to casual players

That means it's aimed at a small segment of MMO players. But even if this isn't particularly what one likes, I think its still very positive that Kickstarter is allowing people to make games that don't have to be all things to all men. There are plenty of F2P games and plenty of games that have PvE already.
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May 2nd, 2013, 13:34
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
Exactly, they did no harm. And thanks to the PA Report Author, they even got news coverage. There, and here. It worked. And just at the right point in the campaign.
How do you know they did no harm and the game would not have more coverage? Who is to say that even more sites would have reported about it if they would not have send out all those mails?
Normally if someone takes the effort of sending us a mail and it fits somehow I make a newspost out of it. This was just spamming and achieved in my case the opposite effect and in the case of Penny Arcade as well apparently and perhaps other sites felt the same.

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May 2nd, 2013, 13:44
I think the article was written fairly enough. I have noticed these call to battle in many Kickstarters, and it's good that someone speaks up and tells people that this may be counterproductive. Similarly in every KS you have someone on the comments calling to "email Notch to back us" or "tweet total bisquit to make a video". I imagine that is also a great way to make these admittedly influential people annoyed.
For small KS projects with maybe a few hundred backers, this can be helpful, but with large ones it's probably generally self-defeating.
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May 2nd, 2013, 13:56
I am very glad this game got funded. Its not my type of game (only PvP) and I don't see my self playing it but it shows that there is a huge demand for "old school"/"niche" MMOs. Also it show that you don't need 100 - 200+ millions to make MMO as well. I think the total budget of Camelot Unchained is about 5 million (2 mill from KS and 3 from other sources). I hope the developers deliver on their promises and big publishers take note.

All I want now is "old school" PvE only MMO
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May 2nd, 2013, 17:16
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
Exactly, they did no harm. And thanks to the PA Report Author, they even got news coverage. There, and here. It worked. And just at the right point in the campaign.

So while the article may want to tell what not to do, it actually shows how to do it. Expect more SPAM in the future.
Very unlikely. PA Report has the right of it. If you're going to spam form letters, you're going to make more sites ignore you than follow you. Ben isn't the only one who figured this was being caused by the Kickstarter's creators, since it didn't *look* like a passionate plea, it looked like identical emails being spawned by spambots over and over.

The truth is the Camelot Unchained fans fucked up, and the studio running it encouraged them numerous times to stop it as it is harmful, and now PA Report even explains clearly why it's harmful and how to do better, and what do they get for it? Flames and trolls in the comments until they have to lock it?

I can appreciate passion but this is all exactly the wrong way to go about it. Find and contact people and sites you know are interested, and reach out to them in personalized form. Spamming form letters and flaming journalists who point out that that's stupid is not the way to go about it.
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May 2nd, 2013, 17:55
This kind of spam seems to be a trend. It also happened, on a much smaller scale, to "support" an RPG which is currently very popular here and at The Cesspool.
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May 2nd, 2013, 19:13
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
This kind of spam seems to be a trend. It also happened, on a much smaller scale, to "support" an RPG which is currently very popular here and at The Cesspool.
A common tactic used by grassroots and astroturf organizations in politics. Guess we shouldn't be surprised to see it spill over into other areas.
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May 2nd, 2013, 19:18
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
How do you know they did no harm and the game would not have more coverage? Who is to say that even more sites would have reported about it if they would not have send out all those mails?
My view is at least as plausible as the one presented in the PA article. Who is to say indeed? First off, there is no way to proof whether they'd have got more or less news coverage. Sure. Cant go back in time to try otherwise.

Still, there are reasons that made me say there was no harm done.

They got news coverage. And since said news referred to the spam mails, it was clearly news coverage that had been triggered by the spam. Thus, at least partly a success.

Also, there is no visible negative bump or anything in their gains in the last days. It pretty much looks like most other Projects of that type. See http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/138…lot-unchained/. Of course that is vague, but it definitely does not support the idea of any harm done.

That's what forms my opinion. I never claimed to have some scientific study on the topic, some form of obviously-true-knowledge or proof sufficient for court. Neither does Ben Kuchera.

Normally if someone takes the effort of sending us a mail and it fits somehow I make a newspost out of it. This was just spamming and achieved in my case the opposite effect and in the case of Penny Arcade as well apparently and perhaps other sites felt the same.
I understand. Archiving/Deleting/Ignoring those spam messages would be the right approach.

But the actual reaction I observe here is (in my humble opinion) not that. Responding to spam is the wrong approach. And an article is a very strong response.

I never tried to answer the spam messages I receive. But I'm sure, the result of telling a bot-network that I dont really need any viagra would be zero at best. At worst, I would confirm my mail adress to be connected to an active user. Resulting into even more spam. Of course that is not the very same thing, because my spam largely is produced by bot-networks, not by some viagra fan group. Just an illustration of the problem I see here.
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May 3rd, 2013, 02:30
It seems that Spamalot is officially funded:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013…d/#more-151638

Anywho…
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