Friday, November 7, 2008

As The Guild Turns

I have posted before about some of my views on guild drama and the challenges of being an officer. A recent post over at Mystic Chicanery inspired me to relate my own recent story.

First of all, GJ to Nibuca over there for sticking to her guns. That can be a lot more difficult than it seems sometimes. On one hand, you hate to lose people or be the cause of drama. On the other hand, rules are rules. You made them for a reason. You have to enforce them. People are not always going to agree with this. The bottom line is that Guilds are NOT democracies. We're spoiled into thinking we always have a "vote". The truth is, when it comes to WoW guilds, you just don't. Good officers and GMs will listen to their membership, try to be fair, and try to make everyone happy. However, they don't have to.

As officers, we are appointed, not elected. Usually by the GM. This means we absolutely do NOT have to cater to whiners and asshats. They don't get a vote! However, it also challenges us to separate those who truly care from those who truly wear a rear-end as a hat. Sometimes that is more difficult than it sounds.

Which brings me to my recent personal story.

To set the stage, member 1 shall be related to members 2 and 3. Until very recently, all members had been pretty decent. Member 1 had shown some good leadership qualities and really helped pull raids and events together. In short, member 1 had shown caring for the guild. Members 2 and 3 played nice for the most part and attended events. They weren't going to pull stuff together for us, but they would do their job. A guild needs those people too, and so all was well.

I have recently developed a saying that I believe has truth to it: Want to see adults act like children? Just add politics.

This is not a judgement on either party or any side or whatever. There are just people that feel very so strongly about their politics that they lose rationality and composure in discussions, and feel the need to degrade whomever does not agree with them. The concept of a "difference of opinion" does not exist here, that other person is obviously "ignorant and stupid".

(Aside: I find people often are called both ignorant and stupid, which makes me chuckle. In my experience, it is hard for one to be both ignorant AND stupid. Stupid implies you know better, but choose not to acquiesce to rational thought. Ignorance implies a general lack of knowledge. Thus, it would seem to be one or the other... not both. Also, if you don't like where this article is heading, stop now, I would hate to upset you, and check out these shoes).

This sets the stage for what I'm sure was a common occurrence in the last few months: a political brawl. This one just happened to take place in guild chat. While we're on a raid. Lovely.

Member 2 was offended by a remark that was not in any way racist, but this member chose to let us know that we were ALL racist and promptly left the guild. I find this humorous on one hand because, well how can I be racist in this game? First of all, the majority of the membership was raiding at the time, and thus not participating in guild chat. To call EVERYONE racist is just unfair. Secondly, even if I've heard your voice on vent, I'm pretty sure I don't know what race you may be. I could guess, but I don't really know; I can't see you. I guess if I were complaining about how Night Elves's voted in the last election, I could understand.

Member 3 decided that they were going to "stand up" for their relative and put an ass on their head, sending a hateful message and immediately /gquitting. For the record, I really dislike this method of confrontation. If you're going to be an asshat, at least be an asshat to my face and let me respond to your asshatery. Spam and run is the WoW equivalent to calling someone a "doo doo head" and then going to hide in a closet. It just does not scream to me "I have a valid concern". I don't know what people who use this method expect to occur: "Oh well in that case, please can I change every rule to cater to you?"

See paragraph too about WoWocracies.

This brings us back to member 1. Member 1 is not caught between a rock and a hard place. I mean, we all know family members can do stupid stuff, but they're family. You can't just cut and run on family, at least not in my opinion. Thus member 1 was obligated to follow the family as they left. Member 1 did not agree with the family, but had to go anyways. Were it up to member 1, this person would remain friends with everyone and continue to help.

This presents a dilemma as an officer. On one had, I'm not gonna deal with asshattery. Members 2 and 3 saved us the trouble and removed themselves. Thankfully, the rest of my guild didn't take the bait, and we just said "kthxbye". Don't let that door knock off your hat.

The challenge for officers then is to separate the feelings toward members 2 and 3, and see that member 1 still wants to be friends. This can be extremely tough on both ends. Thankfully, in our case, member 1 sent apologies to those involved and has really made an effort to remain friendly, despite the family members. Hopefully, this will allow us to not lose a good friend while getting rid of drama.

No one likes a nighttime soap opera while raiding.

The point of all this is just that things can often be a lot more complicated in the World... of Warcraft than we admit to. A lot of people spend a lot of time on here. We must all take care not to "throw the baby out with the bath water".

I posted before about the importance to not burning bridges and fostering friendships in our diverse community. Remember that just because someone runs with a group that chooses to wear a funny hat, they might not subscribe to the same sense of style. For officers, this is extremely important to separate the chaff from the wheat... the good from the bad. You may miss out on a good friendship because you looked only shallowly at a problem.

Clear heads and calm hands almost always prevail over knee jerk reactions and condemnations. Don't ever be too quick to judge, and hope that if you ever get caught in a messy situation, that you may be shown the same compassion.

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