Path of Exile's forums have been live for over three years. The community has swelled considerably from the early days of a few hundred posters to the current set of 50k or so active posters (representing about 3% of our active players). With the forum population bolstered by our release in October, we've noticed that a few very hostile community members are drastically poisoning the experience for our community, new users and even the developers. We are making some adjustments to the posting policy to make sure that the forum remains a friendly place for discussion of Path of Exile going forward.
Right at the start of the forum, we decided not to censor people's views. We never deleted posts/threads (unless they were vastly inappropriate) and we let people say whatever they wanted. We were completely happy for people who had problems with Path of Exile to post critical threads and discuss the various merits and flaws of the game. These threads spawned great solutions to many problems and helped us understand our product better.
In the last couple of months, a few dozen users have started posting extremely negative hateful comments in threads, completely derailing them and either encouraging other users to personally attack them or jump on the vitriol bandwagon. We found situations where the current forum rules were causing the people defending our game to get probated, rather than the user who was just trying to stir trouble.
Our adjusted policy is: The Path of Exile forums are for civil, constructive discussion of the game. Hateful posts will be removed and the users who posted them may be probated. Please note that this is a substantial enforcement change from our current policy. If you post a thread called "Path of Exile is shit and GGG are evil" then you will get probated. If you post in a thread about a new skill saying "in before you nerf this too", don't expect the post to stick around.
There are appropriate ways to discuss concerns like this. If you feel that the game is terrible and that our company is evil, please discuss it in a constructive way. If you have a problem with us rebalancing the game, please lay out your concerns with how it affects your gameplay. Passive-aggressively accusing us of being bad developers is not useful to anyone.
On that topic, developers have feelings too. I care about the health of my team, and that includes their mental health. Some threads recently have honestly been incredibly hurtful and horrible to read. I have a thick skin, but I will not tolerate the forum causing my developers to feel upset about the reaction to the hard work they're putting in. They love constructive feedback on their work and really like hearing the good and bad points that you've seen in it.
I understand that 99% of users on the forum are absolutely wonderful people and are already going above and beyond their obligations to give us constructive feedback with a smile. Thank you so much for that.
To the other 1%: We really value what you feel about the game, especially if you had a bad experience. Please post it in a constructive way though, so that we can actually have a conversation about it in a way that doesn't involve name calling.