A new(?) Jumpstaffer going by "HardToTame" has joined the likes of Scrappy on the Neoboards, making appearances and answering questions and even taking requests. Like Scrappy. And there's been much rejoicing. And there probably should be much rejoicing, it's nice that they're coming out to see us, let alone answering questions and taking requests. So we should be happy and grateful. But... on the 27th of Relaxing, HardToTame put up a thread on Board 7 titled "We Hear You!" And she went on to do her usual explanation of various issues. "We Hear You!" was the title. Implying there is/was a sentiment going around that Jumpstaff does NOT hear us. That they don't know or care what we want. So these threads and appearances that these Jumpstaffers are making, they're to address these concerns and show that they DO care. To say "Hey, don't think that we're not listening, don't think that we don't care, because we are listening and we do care! And as a gesture of good faith, here's this thread."
And these gestures, they're nothing to sneeze at either. Going into unprecedented levels of transparency, they're spilling behind the scenes details about how the day-to-day specifics pf their jobs, as if we were their bosses. Going into things like "We haven't done this yet because of this specific executive or this specific lead engineer and this specific task we're waiting to get finished." I can't remember a time we got this kind of transparency before, and that's what's got me thinking second thoughts about all this openness. I wonder if maybe all this openness comes from feelings of frustration within Jumpstaff.
Jumpstaff is going to unprecedented lengths just to prove to us that they care. Is that fair to them? That we demand they turn over their work like this just so they can get our approval, and the credit they deserve? They reveal discreet details of the management of the site, they cave to playerbase pressures, all this, just for "Okay, NOW we believe you care. NOW we can give you credit." With HardToTame shouting from on high "We hear you" I can't help but feel Jumpstaff isn't getting the credit they're due. We just assume they aren't trying or that they don't care. HardToTame says this because we do a lot of complaining and saying that Jumpstaff doesn't care. And why? Why do we say this? Despite the fact that they've explained in the past that they DO care? Is it because things don't happen a certain way? Is it because Jumpstaff makes mistakes? Maybe a lot of mistakes? What people maybe forget is, this is a new scenario. A new team facing new challenges in a new environment. Like HardToTame said in one of her earlier threads, they never stop learning here, seriously. Of course mistakes will be made, and of course patience and understanding will be required. We can spare some understanding, can't we? But even if we weren't patient enough to let Jumpstaff learn and understand that mistakes will happen, what we can't deny is that they are trying. It's just some of us don't care.
On top of that, do we hold Jumpstaff to a double standard? We get antsy when Scrappy or someone else starts to slow down their Neoboards appearances. But it wasn't like this for the old staff. The old staff made appearances on the Neoboards too, but not like this. And we didn't bury them for it like we do Jumpstaff. We say that Jumpstaff doesn't address glitches or issues. We crack wise and pick on them about their light spirit in the New Features because grr, we want a plain English rundown of exactly what's wrong with the site and in deep detail and a timetable for when it'll be fixed. But the old staff got away with this exact same thing. People say Jumpstaff wasn't informative until HardToTame started spilling all these details, but before HardToTame started doing this I still couldn't find where all of this supposed dereliction was, if the standard we held the old staff to is still in place. All it took for them was "Hey, Meepits are fiddling with the thing again, we'll get on it." But when Jumpstaff says it, they're somehow avoiding the issue, because they didn't tell us how and why the thing in question got broken. They're somehow making too light of the situation by not going into deep detail. And if we were driving the old staff crazy? They could say so. Take this quote for instance, from the Editorial of Neopian Times Issue #442.
Believe it or not we DO listen to your feedback. Constructive feedback, that is. Ranting and raving about how awful we are because we're not doing something the way you personally want it to be done is not doing anything but wearing your keyboard down faster. We have several people who compile both positive and negative feedback from players so that we have various opinions on what players do and don't like.
A wholly unapologetic laying down of the law by the old staff. Explaining that even though they're not necessarily gonna be able to show up in person and shake every hand and kiss every baby, and take one thread of vocal opinions as the direction they should take their content, they are listening. Even when things were hugs and kisses with the old staff they weren't afraid to tell us we drove them bonkers (Editorial of Neopian Times Issue #394). We don't get this from Jumpstaff. When they do try it, they back down. Because if Jumpstaff was to try and stand up for themselves, or explain that they can't just take random requests from the threads they show up in because one thread isn't an accurate reflection of the opinions and feedback of the whole playerbase, or just tell us that we're being ridiculous or fickle like we usually are, we would never let them live it down. A double standard we didn't hold the old staff to.
I like hearing from Jumpstaff. But it's kind of a cold comfort to look back on them trying their best with so little, and us Neopians brushing that aside so callously, only for us to suddenly be in love with Jumpstaff as if these recent Neoboards appearances are the first time they've made an effort. Only now is Jumpstaff worth our praise? That's not fair to how hard they've worked over this last year, shouldering the burden of the Wraith Resurgence. And I like when Jumpstaff is upfront and transparent with us. But how upfront and transparent do they need to be? Do they need to show us that they care and are aware of issues and are working on those issues? Because they did that. Last year Scrappy, verbatim, came by to "level with" us and let us "know what's the deal." But all she got in return was frustration that the plot wasn't happening fast enough. And only now is Jumpstaff worth our praise? Why? The old staff also had their content delayed, but for some reason we were more understanding when they ran into unforeseen hurdles. Holding Jumpstaff to double standards compels me to say something. Jumpstaff being more transparent than we've ever enjoyed before is nice, but when it comes from feeling underappreciated, that's bad. And when they're so desperate that they'll do anything if we would just please understand and accept that they're trying, including sharing information with us that they ordinarily wouldn't share? That's even worse. There were reasons the old staff didn't give us a rundown of who was late to work at the office and the specific capabilities of the team. And those reasons are probably still in place today. But we're forcing Jumpstaff's hand now. Getting upset about cookies in the Editorial when this has been going on for years before Jumpstaff took the stage.
Maybe I wouldn't hurt so much for Jumpstaff if I knew they were getting the credit they deserve. If the prevailing attitude nowadays was "It's nice that Jumpstaff is explaining their workday to us like it's our business, but I don't actually need that level of transparency. I would still be happy, as long as I heard it from them that they're aware of the issues that face them and are working on them. I can understand that they're learning. I can understand that sometimes people will confuse one Neopet species for another. All that really matters to me is that they're trying, and I know they're trying." Because this kind of wringing, to only be shown appreciation after jumping through all of these hoops? It can't be good for the soul. Neopia needs all of the able hands it can get a hand on, and even staffers need encouragement. And who would stick around just to get kicked around? I don't know what it'll take. But one of these days enough good will between staff and players will be built up that a glitch will happen or a delay will happen or someone will misspell Zafara or someone will say "XD" in the New Features, and there won't be a ridiculous amount of fallout. And I can only imagine there'll be a kinda bittersweet feeling amongst some Jumpstaffers, that it used to be they couldn't do any of those things without an angry mob kicking up. And now it's like, for no reason, Neopia just decided to stop being so crazy. So what was it all for? The suffering Jumpstaff went through in the past? For it to all just go away? Will they have suffered for no reason? It's up to us to make sure that doesn't happen.