So a little while back there was a kerfuffle in our guild (as an aside…I LOVE the word kerfuffle. Such an awesome word that I so rarely get to use). Any who…issue. in the guild. person.quite.upset.scandalous!
So what transpired was spoken about way back then by some of the folks involved, but honestly not ALL things were truly brought to light. Am I rehashing it all here and now? No, but I am touching on it as a moving forward point to my next set of posts.
The 1st issue: “I am bothered by what this person says.” In this case it began with the vocabulary used by a member of the guild…specifically 1 sub-set of words used to describe something moronic or dumb you might do, but also used to insult a mentally challenged person in a rather crude manner.
The 2nd issue: “They came to my home and I couldn’t tell them to stop saying that word(s).” Specifically for some inexplicable reason the person who you already don’t seem to like was then invited to your house to spend time with you there. Color me confused on that one.
The 3rd issue: “I am upset about something in game, now I am MORE upset because YOU aren’t upset too!” Blizz implements something that this player did not like, found offensive, and subsequently wanted removed from the game, but seemed more outraged by the lack of other people not being outraged as well.
Now, all 3 of these things on their own are not really a problem. You can debate right or wrong, acceptable or not all you like. Point of fact: these issues taken individually are normally easily enough resolved without incident. We’ve all had to deal with other players we don’t like, grate us, use language we might not agree with, etc. This is life folks…everyone doesn’t see eye to eye all the time. We’ve also all had people in our homes or personal space we may not want there, but for reasons beyond our control we might not have much choice. Normal example, Holiday gatherings! That weird uncle you can’t stand, perhaps a cousin who you would rather just never have met. And lastly…well…lets be honest. We have all been offended at least once in our lives and would want it changed. And being angry at someone for not sharing your outrage is actually normal! How many times have you found yourself outraged with a family member, spouse, significant other simply because they are indifferent to your outrage! Nothing new in any of this…but not so fast. All 3 of these came to a head, and in one place.
The trick here is NOT avoiding these things, its how you deal with them. And YES…there are good, better, and BEST ways to deal with these scenarios. If you are about to get all angered and outraged that I am going to TELL you how you should handle these scenarios, then feel free to not continue reading, because I am going to tell you.
Scenario 1: Did you talk to the person? Did you inform them that their language bothers you? Did you give them a reason as to why? Perhaps there is some history there that they may even share with you if you merely opened up a bit to them. Certainly not applicable in all situations, but in the case of it being a guild mate, it is. Also, is it possible that you are being too thin skinned around the use of language? Freedom of speech means just that, and yes it does sometimes defend “Constitutionally-speaking” abhorrent language. Did they mean to offend you? Or were they using perhaps what they deem common language for them? We may use what we consider standard curse words that someone of an Orthodox faith might find repugnant. There is certainly a common use for the most notorious of hate words amongst the popular culture that many people find wholly offensive. Point blank…you cannot ban a word. You can ask them to not use it. You can ask for them to accept and understand your side of things. They can show you respect and abide by your wishes, or choose to ignore you.
Scenario 2: Why is this person in your home? Its a guild mate….not a family member. There was some social arrangement for dinner, not a gathering like a wedding or party of some kind. You already have established your discomfort with this person, so if they had to be there, why were you? Could you not leave? Now for myself…I would not leave. I would stand firm in MY home and tell the person “You have 2 choices…either abide by my wishes and respect me in my home and not use that language, or you will leave the premises.” That’s it! IT IS YOUR HOME! If you do not feel comfortable enough and strong enough in your own home to stand up for yourself to a visitor, well…I’ve said this before…seek help. You need counseling from a professional that can help you find that within yourself. It is one thing to stand up to someone who shares your home with you; that can be difficult and sometimes seem impossible. BUT…but wholly another story when they are a stranger/visitor to your home.
Scenario 3: Sure enough being irked by something in the game is common place. Being offended by something in the game is a bit less common, but it has happened. But being angry at someone else because they don’t share your outrage…well, come on now. Seriously…trying to cry “I am offended by you for not being offended at this” is a ridiculous argument and completely irrational. There is no grey area here. Be pissed at the game developer all you want, but don’t get pissed at me because I wasn’t pissed in the first place. Its a game…hey, its a game…in case you aren’t understanding me on this point: it.is.a.game.
So…here’s the issue with all of this coming to a head, and yes I am getting to the ultimate point, bear with me.
Doing all of this. Raging at all of this. Crying afoul that you are being marginalized, offended, and unsupported…well…it reigns hollow when your favorite thing to say was “Let me fist you. Hey I fisted everyone already!!” then in your next breath you are disgusted by someone suggesting that shark porn is an acceptable release. Look, if its funny enough for NBC prime time, its funny enough for raiding. The issue here is you cannot build glass walls around you then start hurling the stones at others. No. You cannot! Additionally, you cannot say you were only trying to fit in, but then balk at how far that might mean you have to go. In other words, trying out for the boxing team means you are going to have to hit someone. You can’t scream that you are a pacifist and refuse to pop someone in the face. Yes folks…its all or nothing. IT IS all or nothing in this case! (psst…the point is actually next)
This…playing in the game, playing WoW…this is NOT REAL LIFE! You have a choice here. You are paying to play this game, just like everyone else. just.like.everyone.else. They are subjected to the same stipulations that you are. Don’t like the people in the guild, find a new guild. Don’t like the storyline for a certain quest, don’t do the quest…skip it. Don’t like raid mechanics, don’t raid. Don’t like those jerks who /spit on everyone in PvP battlegrounds, don’t PvP. If you do not like World of Warcraft…this is a revolutionary idea here folks…DO NOT PLAY World of Warcraft!!!
So where does this lead us to now? Find an in-game home that suits you. If you are a 15 yr old kid who likes making momma jokes or generally being crass, then find a guild with other like-minded 15 yr olds! Do not join a primarily adult guild then balk that everyone finds you to be a twit. If you are a very quiet person who likes to keep to them self, then find a quiet guild to play in, they are out there. If you do not want to raid hard core then don’t app to Vodka. Want something very large and social then perhaps AIE would be good for you. If you have a sociopolitical viewpoint that embodies your life so much that even when gaming it comes through loud and clear…then seek similarly minded people to play alongside.
Get to know the people. Listen to their conversations. Listen to their words, their tone. Learn what their collective sense of humor and demeanor is. Feel out their boundaries. Then if it doesn’t seem like a fit, exit gracefully, “Hey folks. I thank you for the opportunity, but this is simply not a fit for me. Good luck in the future. peace out.” They may not have liked you or also felt it wasn’t a fit, but will hold you in higher regard than you might think for the simple fact of you walking away and not making any waves.
I’ve gkicked people for making waves. I have left guilds so as not to be the one causing the strife. I know sometimes this is hard to do. You feel like they are wrong…”Hey, they shouldn’t talk like that or act like that.” In some cases you feel as if you can help, educate, get them to learn that what they are doing is wrong. There is the issue. You haven’t considered that they do not think its wrong. They are fine with what they say, how they act. Because you deem something wrong, does not mean they do as well. In real life you can draw battle lines. In real life you can take a stand and fight for something you truly believe in as right or wrong. But this? This is a video game. Its a virtual world and community that if and when…yes WHEN, cause it will eventually happen…Blizzard turns the power off? It all disappears. It goes into oblivion.
My advice, find a place to play where you are happy. Don’t try and change people in a game. I am not saying it cannot be done, its possible. Its just very, very rare. So much so that 99% of the time it causes the one simple thing we all should be avoiding in this virtual world…drama.
Avoid the drama.