If you've been in the game industry long enough you'll come across the dreaded "armchair" game designer. This nasty bit of work doesn't make games, of course. They play them. A lot. Even though they don't know a thing about making games they seem to have an opinion on everything under the sun when it comes to game design. They really love to tell you about it too. And they try to sound authoritative and instead come across sounding like real dumb-asses to people that know about the one thing they don't: making games.
These folks piss me off. I must be getting old because I'm becoming less tolerant of these folks with each passing year.
There's a problem with being angry with these folks, though. They're really vocal. Taking a huge dump on those folks is bad for business. And they generally pick a game and give it lots of attention. It's the love of their chosen game that really drives them to influence its design or implementation. You'll never catch me berating such a person when they show up at one of my game communities. Bring it on. But, for some reason, when I see them elsewhere on the Internet I just get pissed off. I guess that's the difference between professional detachment and personal web surfing for entertainment.
I try to put myself in their shoes but fail miserably. Must be because I've been making games for so long that I can no longer imagine what life is without those skills. What rubs me raw most of the time is the fact that they're literally speaking out of their asses whenever they raise a point. They also seem unable to recognize that they are completely without skill or experience in game design and, as such, have no reasonable reference point to argue from.
I understand the passion they have for a particular game, but why the snooty "know it all" attitude? Why is it that these folks think they know something when they are so obviously ignorant? It's bewildering to me!
Let me back up a second and clarify something. Just because you have an idea for a feature or some feedback about a game doesn't qualify you as an armchair designer. Feedback and sharing ideas is always welcome. It's the folks that write long obviously flawed diatribes about game design that are the problem here. I know you seasoned developers out there have seen this and have wanted to choke those folks out. You don't have to admit it, but I know you're out there! :)
I've become really good at working with these folks out of necessity. And, to be honest, they do raise valid points from time to time. But there's a real danger when trying to work with these folks. Validating their ridiculous viewpoints through attention can set you up for future bad blood. I mean, let's say an armchair designer writes a diatribe about XYZ system in your game. Cool. What do you do? Oftentimes you'll see other users rally behind such a diatribe because it really sounds good on paper. So, as a developer, what do you do? Do you argue with the armchair designer and point out the obvious flaws in the design? Or do you pay lip-service to them and ultimately ignore their feedback? It's a tough call.
If you argue with them then you're gonna piss them off. Armchair designers are know it alls, and you'll never convince them of the flaws in their thinking. If you piss them off then they'll sow discontent in your community. Hmm. That's not a good thing, right? So most developers pay lipservice to their concerns and summarily ignore them.
So, these folks piss me off because they're community ruiners. Their tendency for negativity when disagreed with puts the brakes on giving positive feedback to others within the community who have good ideas. So, you'll see developers making general statements about feedback received. I think this is a terrible outcome because there are so many really insightful users that should be interacted with in a more proactive way.
If you want to find these folks, look no further than your favorite Kickstarter campaign. Armchair designers flock to that service like roaches to trash. You can't miss them. What's worse is they are empowered by their monetary contributions to the project and end up making unreasonable demands. It makes me sad.
So, on the off chance that you're an armchair designer and you've read this far... please take a moment and self reflect. Realize that your attitude toward development is poisonous to community. Realize that you're also full of shit. Unless you've made some games then you actually have no idea what you're talking about. I can't say that enough: You have no idea how to design a game until you've actually designed some games!
Give all the feedback you want. Most developers love it. But, for God's sake, shut up when you don't know what you're talking about. Just shut your pie hole and let the people willing to actually put their asses on the line to build the game do their jobs!