World of Warships’ hiring of a new North American community manager for has sparked controversy after his anti-police “ACAB” views were discovered by players.
The controversy began on January 4th when Reddit user /u/gankmeoniichan took to the /r/WorldOfWarships subreddit to voice their concerns over the game’s new North American community manager “Konception,” who was brought on in the wake of tensions between users and official forum administrator Ahskance over complaints about the in-game carrier’s stats [1, 2, 3].
“So after the recent Ahskance drama that happened a new NA CM appeared,” gankmeoniichan posted to the game’s official subreddit (archived here). “You would think after all the drama in NA they would double-check stuff, but no – this time again they didn’t.”
He then explained, “Fine if you are trying to support minorities but ACAB in a Twitter bio while also proudly boasting about being a CM… I don’t know. The 2 recent CMs that were introduced to NA don’t seem to deliver the message COMMUNITY MANAGERS are supposed to.”
An acronym for “All Cops Are B—–ds”, the term has historically been used to protest corruption and bias in law enforcement, but in recent years has been co-opted by calls to abolish police forces after the death of George Floyd.
Archives of Konception’s Twitter profile reveal that, sure enough, his bio once voiced support for both Black Lives Matter and ACAB.
However, these references have since been removed, with Konception’s profile now reading, “Opinions are my own, not the views of my employers.”
In one example of his political leanings, after learning the Brooklyn Center Police Chief blamed the death of Daunte Wright on a police officer pulling a gun instead of a taser as they intended, Konception tweeted “Wow, it’s like cops in this city aren’t properly trained or something!”
“This is so infuriating,” he added. “PoC are dying because of racist incompetents. I mean, come on. This is happening during the trial of another cop killing a black person in this city? Throw it out. acab BLM”
After /u/gankmeoniichan’s original Reddit thread sparked a wave of complaints regarding Konception’s political beliefs and his lack of experience with the game, moderators removed several replies for violating the subreddit’s “toxicity rule,” while moderator Tsukiumi-Chan made a call for civil discussion.
“This post itself is in compliance with the rules,” Tsukiumi-Chan explained. “However, it is obviously of a sensitive subject. Please keep all comments civil and clean- we will be closely watching this thread.” The thread was later locked.
Nonetheless, Konception seemed to be initially warmly welcomed by the World of Warships community at large, but once his political beliefs became known at large, the community quickly turned against him.
“ACAB? Seriously? Where do you find these idiots?” complained fourteenfour before later deleting their account. “We do not need Community Managers who espouse the idea all cops are bad, while normally ACAB comes from the skin head culture years ago linking it with BLM just shows how ignorant this CM is and he does not represent the community”
fourteenfour’s post subsequently triggered a discussion about how individual members perceived their local police forces – some having little faith, but glad to hear forces in other places were more respectable [1, 2, 3].
Others, like ‘Lieutenant Commander’ Saiior_Moon, were more concerned about Konception’s experience with the game. Despite the community manager’s own introductory admission that he “had not really picked up the game at all prior to starting my position here with Wargaming,” Saiior_Moon was still shocked at how little he’d played the game.
“Politics aside, that’s not even the biggest issue!!” they exclaimed. “I said ‘welcome to WoWs’ earlier to Konception in this thread as a friendly gesture, right? No problem! Positivity is good, but I didn’t think it would be so literal…. This guy has played only 101 random battles. 101. He hasn’t even got to Tier VIII yet!!!!”
Saiior_moon further lamented, “Talk about ‘welcome to WoWs’, this guy has BARELY played WoWs!!! And HE’S a freakin’ CM?! HOW?!?!
Arlskandir, who had previously expressed concerned over their own local law enforcement, defended Konmception’s account being less than two weeks old and averaging 50 matches a week as “reasonable“.
“I usually pull between 20-40 a week and I play almost every day,” they argued. “Be patient.
“Yeah, but….CM though??” Saiior_Moon replied. “Again, don’t you think more veteran players would be a teensy bit more viable for such a position? At least Ahskance, as controversial as his hiring was and his views on things in WoWs may be, has like 9355 battles under his belt, y’know?….”
Other users also showed disgust and disapproval over Konception’s hiring.
“Wow, ACAB? Really? This is who you want representing you, WG?” jediknight120 posted. “Not the kind of thing I’m inclined to support financially.”
“Yeah, no more money from me,” intr3nsic declared. “What a pick. There is a large demographic of LEOs and ex-military who play this game. You can’t help but think they’ll be hesitant to put money towards something that has a figurehead who actively hates them for what they do.”
Discussing the controversy, World of Warships YouTuber NoZoupForYou surmised, “A lot of people that I know play the game are [in] law enforcement. Or, should I say, ‘used to play are [in] law enforcement,’ because more than a few have actually deleted the game after this came to light. It’s not a good look. It’s not good at all.”
While some other users in the official forum outright stated they would take their money elsewhere, a few continued to argue that Konception’s politics would not affect his work as a community manager, as politics are not touched upon in the game.
Senior Volunteer Moderator LancerUlysses attempted to put an end to the outcry, writing “I’m going to post this once. We don’t care about politics on this Forum, This is a place for discussion of the game, ships, tactics and history. We don’t sift through folk’s twitter or facebook in order to attack them for their views. Do not continue to post such attacks.”
As judged by the 15 “meh” and 2 laughing emoticon reactions, some did not take the volunteer moderator’s post seriously.
This is the second major controversy for World of Warships in five months. While the game is a free-to-play title, players recently felt that its aggressive monetization, as well the recent offering of the USS Missouri – previously removed from general sale due to it offering too high a bonus on premium currency – in random Summer Sale 2020 loot boxes was a step too far.
At this point, relations between Wargaming and the game’s community contributors were already fractured, primarily due to a fan-ship designed by a beloved member of the community arriving in game looking nothing like what was submitted. While several community contributors left after this initial incident, the aforementioned Summer loot boxes reportedly caused an even more widespread exodus among their ranks [1, 2].
What do you make of the backlash to World of Warships’ new North American community manager’s public support of BLM and ACAB? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!