Interview with Carly "LadyMOI" Staehlin-Taylor
Online Community Manager, Origin Systems, Inc.
by Brent Sienna
Graphics Director, PvP Magazine
[PvP] What exactly do you do for Origin Systems?
[LadyMOI] I am the Online Community Manager.
[PvP] Wow! What does that mean?
[LadyMOI] Basically that means that I establish relationships with the people who run the fansites... I try to keep them informed of the latest changes to our website, and our service. I look for new content for our website, for instance.. the spotlights and the screenshots of the week.. the tips of the day.
[PvP] So you have a direct hand in what sees the light of day on owo.com?
[LadyMOI] Yes... at the end of the day, I'm responsible for all the content on the site. But I don't personally create it all. I also keep close tabs on what happens on the fansite boards from day to day. Internally, I share with the other members of the service what the hottest issue every day is.. and how the players are reacting.
[PvP] You try to keep your finger on the pulse of the player base?
[LadyMOI] Exactly. If the players care enough about it to talk about it, then it's important for us to know it.
[PvP] How do you feel about fan sites that deal with rumors, and rants?
[LadyMOI] I think they're highly entertaining!
[PvP] Do you feel the help or hinder the selling of the game?
[LadyMOI] Well, I don't have any direct evidence on how they impact the sales... but... in my opinion, it demonstrates a true passion for the game. There is a thin thin line between love and hate, and at the end of the day, I would prefer the extremes than some kind of ambivalent neutrality.
[PvP] Today's main story on the website (the content of which you have a hand in creating) was in regards to the termination of an Origin employee. Why run that story?
[LadyMOI] There is a great deal of trust that must exist between a company, its employees, and its customers. We're dealing with a service here that is based on that trust. Origin is unwilling to tolerate people who abuse that trust, and Origin is committed to the continual improvement of our customer support. I've been running a story every week on how we're doing that... I started with a story about the upcoming patch, followed by the companion program, followed just today by the new Ultima Messenger.
[PvP] But the Lead story for most of the day read "Ultima Online Customer Service Employee Terminated".
[LadyMOI] I ran the story on the termination because I felt that it demonstrates how seriously we take this committment to customer service.
[PvP] Don't you think that's a little sensastionalistic?
[LadyMOI] What would your recommendation have been, had you been in control?
[PvP] That depends on what I was trying to acomplish. If I was trying to get reader interest up for the day I would leave it as is.
[LadyMOI] My intention was to make it as devoid of emotion as possible.
[PvP] If I were commenting on an important company policy such as how seriously we take Customer Support....
[LadyMOI] Oh, I see where you are headed. No, I can tell you with utter authority that the story was not run to generate hits.
[PvP] It seems more like you were trying to make news, rather than report news. Okay, moving on....
[PvP] What Hollywood actress do you most resemble?
[LadyMOI] Hahah! I'm told Neve Campbell. Her and... the girl that plays Joey on Dawson's Creek. Katie Holmes.
[PvP] Have you ever seen Wild Things? If so did the last scene make you uncomfortable?
* LadyMOI cackles.
[PvP] Okay... that's a stupid question.
[PvP] Have you ever wanted to sneak in on Raph Koster while he was sleeping and give him a shave and a haircut?
[PvP] Don't answer that. My girlfriend took over the keyboard for a second. I ran her off.
[LadyMOI] You may want to wait till you see a picture of me before wondering if I can criticize anyone else. Really... my main focus at Origin is to help people understand what we're doing here.
[PvP] Do you feel that Ulitma Online will ever be free of the controversy that seems to make up it's existance? Is that an image that Origin wants to distance from?
[LadyMOI] There is a lot of stuff that we can't say, because of company policy, and so forth. But there is a lot we can say, and a lot of good relationships we can build, in a community that built itself. That's what I'm interested in. ;) Controversy.... interesting question.
[PvP] It just seems you can't go a week without one popping up.
[LadyMOI] Ultima Online is made up of vibrant, excited human beings. This is magic. I am constantly amazed at what the members of this world come up with. Yes, people like to discuss things rather vehemently. Human beings like a good conflict and they'll center around them whey they occur... There are a lot of really wonderful things happening in UO. But, people don't hang on to good news like they do on bad news.
[PvP] Boy is that true. One time this girl accused me of...well, danm! I'm trying to get out from under the shadow of that. It was a dark time and I would rather not discuss it.
[LadyMOI] heehee... On our site, we're really trying to showcase the incredible player contributions... the spotlights are all about that... and we only choose one or two stories out of the hundreds we receive... We started giving out Lord British awards recently... Every month we give out at least 4 awards to people who are making a difference in UO.
[PvP] Why have you never spotlighted the incredible contribution of the Samwise Comic Strip and or PvP?
[LadyMOI] heh. Shameless plug?
[PvP] And would you have if I was hosted by the UOvault.
[LadyMOI] Actually, I did put a proposal together for highlighting the comics creators. It's in the channels now.. you may hear from us yet. ;)
[PvP] Do you ever catch one of your graphic artists reading a screenshot comic, like...say Killed On Sight and then weeping uncontrolably? Don't you think it's unfair and somewhat illegal for a person to take a screenshot, edit it and call it Cartooning?
[LadyMOI] Hrm. If I were a lawyer I might be able to comment on that. There was that artist who created "found art"... he just picked up old stuff and signed his name on it. Like toilets.
* LadyMOI shrugs.
[PvP] Yeah, but he's considered to be a real Cheeze-dick in the art community. Honest.
[LadyMOI] Hah hah.
[PvP] One last question and I'll let you go
[PvP] If I did a character sketch of you, would you make PvP the official Online Comic of the Online Community Manager?
[LadyMOI] Would you make me pretty?
* LadyMOI grins.
[PvP] Hell, I do sketches of myself all the time and I make myself thin....why not?
* PvP takes bite of a cheeseburger
[LadyMOI] Hahah! Well, we can definately see!
[PvP] Okay. Hey thanks for being a sport. I know I get silly sometimes.
[LadyMOI] That's okay.. I like silly. I have been accused of being "indescriminately silly."
And before we wrap things up, here were the questions I sent to GM Darwin. GM Darwin has yet to answer these questions.
1.) What Hollywood actor or actress do you most resemble?
2.) Did your sales on eBay help your friend out of his situation?
3.) Does your friend know what you did to come by the money?
4.) Was it his idea or your idea?
5.) If your friend had come to you and let you know that his debt had been payed through another means, would you have cancelled the current auctions at eBay? If not, what would you have done with the money?
6.) Have you ever xeroxed the front and back of a dollar bill, glued them together, then tried to get tokens with it at Alladin's Castle? That works!
7.) While you were a GM, did you ever get any requests from players to help them place a house? When you told them that GM's were not allowed to help with that, did you feel dirty? Did you even appear to them in game when you responded?
8.) Tell us the best thing you did as a GM where you DIDN'T get caught.
9.) If, through abusing GM powers afforded by your employeer in confidence, you could really stick it to Dr. Twister, would you do it? Would you regret your actions later?
10.) One time I worked at Things Remembered® in the mall. We engraved pens for people. If we messed up the engraving we had to throw the pen away. We were not allowed to keep or give away any of these ruined pens. If I told you I had a pen that read "Happy Birthdag" would you think less of me?
This is Brent Sienna reporting live from the field. Back to you, Lum.