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Von Calisson,

Hi, VisconteDimezzato!
Thank you for telling a bit more about you today. The community hardly knows who works inside T9A team, hidden behind their avatars, and any such opportunity is golden.
So could you tell us what are your real life professional skills, and what application may they have for the benefit of our project?

Hi there, guys!

I’m a professional in Intelligence, Counterintelligence and Business Security. Don’t think about contractors and wannabe Rambos, that’s not about it: we are in the third millennium and business security means many other things. At today I work for the three biggest European insurance companies and for some of the biggest Italian corporates in both common and luxury goods, oil&gas and others. What is all this about? Making a company avoid whatever kind of problem can have in delivering a product and gaining something in exchange.

Ok, but we’re talking about toy soldiers here, our hobby, a community driven project and no business, no people harming the income of a company.

Which is true. Nonetheless, principles are the same: we are creating a product and we should deliver it to the community. The very same principles of the market should be applied to The Ninth Age: product management, marketing, communication, distribution. If we ignore such a reality, your today’s favourite game would collapse in a couple of years and all of your armies wasted (along with the hours you spent building them).

Come on, this is a free product, it doesn’t cost anything, so there’s no need for a “security” approach or an information policy.

This is not true. Before reading the rest of this document, please try to promise to be honest in looking at what we as a community are and what people really is, and how the world really works. In writing this document about information security, I’m investing my competence as a security professional and consultant. A very similar document (written less passionately) would cost a serious amount of euros to a company. Every illustration you have seen in the 1.3 rulebook would cost from 1 to 5 hundreds euros. Every 8 hours spent by one of our legal guys would cost up to 1 thousand euros. While you look at this project as an hobby, the total of the worked hours behind it by real life professionals and their cost exceeded by far almost all the cost of the other rulebooks made by companies. Please remember: this is not a fan made product. This is a professional product, which is free for you, not for us. We invested in it our time. Money? You can get somewhere else. Time? Noone is giving it back to you. And we don’t want our time wasted.

-=-=-

Impressive! And what advice could you give to T9A and its fans, as a professional?

As a professional, I am regularly shocked to see how lightly some people consider the issue of leaks.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about it, and explain you how much it can hurt our hobby.
Yes, leaks that you may downplay as menial are a serious problem. When I say serious, well... it can kill T9A.

Oh, come on bro’, we’re talking about some WIP documents leaked and some chit chatting about what the community want or doesn’t want, we’re not wasting your time nor ruining your life. Also, if you involve the community in the decisions and make the documents open to everyone, then you got no problem at all!

Unfortunately, this is not true. I will avoid discussing about “direct democracy” from Plato to fascism, since it would be an off topic. Let’s talk practical, then: there’s nothing in this world that can work if everyone can have a saying in it. As you can probably note about your country, whichever it is, it is already hard to agree on a decision in a hundred people parliament. Not to mention how difficult is to make EU countries to agree on a decision in the European Parliament. Not to mention the UN Assembly. Do you really think that a community of more than ten thousands nerds (yep, that’s what we are: thousands of nerds!) can agree on a decision in one day and keep working? No, it’s not going to work. If we stop every time someone does not agree, than there would be no project at all.

That’s not the point. When we say something it’s because we perfectly know the community agrees! You don’t need to listen to everyone, but just some of us!

No, that’s your bias. And your bias is built upon how you look at things with the filter of your daily emotions, the emotions of the people around you, and your local point of view. Companies spend hundreds of euros to know what their customers really think, and yet they often miss the reality; also, your bias can be altered.

Practical example: a Steel company that harmed the public wealth of an entire city can spend hundreds of thousand euros to create websites talking about their new investments in green Energy. This way, if you look at google, for the first three pages of results you will only read people talking good about them, while they are criminals.
Summary: you cannot talk for others. Do not pretend to understand other’s opinion on a statistical level if you never really applied statistical research instruments. The fact that a few members of the community constantly and overwhelmingly state their opinion on the forum doesn’t mean they represent the community.

Ok, but I still don’t see the problem in sharing documents with my friends. Why are you keeping everything secret?

We don’t really keep anything secret. You know what we are used to say in the Italian intelligence community? Secrets doesn’t exist, but Pulcinella’s secrets do. It’s a way to say that you cannot really keep a secret. And in fact, we don’t ask our staff to keep infos secret: we ask the staff to avoid sharing WIP documents. Why? Because communication and the context in which you comunicate a product are extremely important to succeed.

Practical examples: do you know some of the most successful military products of the last 30 years? Colt M-16 and the General Dynamics F-16. Did you know that both of them had very serious problems at the very beginning of their carreers?

That’s obvious, it’s about engeneering, prototypes and evaluation of a product in progressively more stressful situations. That’s because we write the rules, we test them internally, and then we test them publicly.
What happens if we instead present them in a WIP version?

Another practical example: the Lockheed Martin F-35. Since its production, it showed several problems. Obvious for a Weapon Systems expert. But not for the medias, nor common citizens. So, even if F35 would prove the best, Italy decreased its order of new fighters because of some leaked documents from the Pentagon. Translated: Italy will have its strategical projection capacity in the Mediterranean decreased by approx. 30% for the next twenty years.

How does it apply to our context? Easy to say. Imagine that one of the leaked unfinished ABs doesn’t match with the tastes of some very vocal minorities because they cannot really put the AB in its context (which is the new rulebooks and the new point costs), and they start talking dirty about the staff and the new beta version: if we’re lucky, 10 to a hundred people playing that army will be pissed off before seeing the completed version and some of them will stop playing even before that.

Also, pissed off nerds are very dangerous people (be honest: you perfecty know what is nerdrage). Being insulted, offended, or simply stressed by people on a forum seriously harm the staff capacity to operate and already brought many people to quit their activities, leaving the project in dire need of specific competences. And while there are thousands willing to have the above mentioned professional product delivered, there are only a few willing to spend their free time in delivering it. Also: we don’t want some staff to use leaks to make their opinion weigh more than the common democratic procedures based on reasoning we apply inside every team. To work better, our staff need a pacific, reasonable and unstressfull envinronment. That is why we prefer spoilers to be handed by our PR team instead of every staff member on his/her own.

Ok, now I can understand better, but I didn’t know a discussion with some friends on a doc can do such a damage.

And it didn’t, for now. We perfectly understand people being passionate about what they do and willing to share their passion (and their contribution to the project) with their friends. This is why I’m here explaining again why we need an information policy not to be a secret society, but to keep the project safe and deliver you a better product (and avoid stressful situations to a lot of us): we prefer to explain and communicate, to make the community aware of some needs we understand can be uncomfortable (come on: do you know I’m a member of several teams and still I didn’t see anything from the new rulebook? I really want to, but I can’t).

In the end, we really don’t ask you, staff and community members, a lot: give us the needed time to complete things, and try to be satisfied with the spoilers we manage to give you. Remember: We’re not doing this for ourselves, but for a community.

-=-=-

Wow... Did not thought about that. So, as a summary...

In a few words:
a- a leak in a single gaming group in the Internet era automatically reaches the whole community,
b- a massive leak harms the project,
c- the consequences on the project reach inevitably everyone's local community.
Face it, to be loyal to your gaming community in the long term, you should also respect the integrity of T9A project and its staff.
No leak!

Thank you Visconte!
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