Follow

13 Apr

I recently had the joy of discovering that my Twitter account was being followed by Lufitoom, a druid authority who I had come to know and became a fan of, based on her appearance on the Raid Warning druid round table last year.  From Following her back, I was surprised to learn that her guild master asked her to make her Twitter account and her blog private, because she had allegedly said some things that may have offended people in her guild and it was apparently causing some tension.  Needless to say, the idea of a guild master asking a guild member to censor themselves is a subject that has always hit close to home for me and this seemed to ruffle my feathers a lot more than the announcement about the new Call to Arms feature that was being added to the Dungeon Finder.  While everyone else in the blogosphere was stewing over that, I was stewing over this.

On the one hand, it doesn’t seem so strange for a person to sacrifice something for their guild.  I gave up being a member of the Horde for a chance at being in a guild with Kurn and even considered giving up Herbalism if it meant getting into the guild that I just joined.  Ophelie gave up countless hours of sleep, so she could raid with her guild and keep up with their hours, which were vastly different than her own.  These are just some examples of things we would not do for just anyone, but we did because we truly loved the people we were grouped with and because it seemed like a small price to pay to enjoy our time with them.

On the other hand, Lufitoom’s situation is different in that she is not choosing to move her thoughts over to another Twitter account, she was asked to.  She was told to.  This is something she probably doesn’t feel she should have to do and may be honoring, simply because it was requested of her in a diplomatic fashion and to keep the peace in her guild.  But is it something she wants to do?  Probably not.  It got me thinking.

Is having to censor yourself, for the sake of your guild too much to ask for?

It’s funny.  We live in a world where everyone is consumed with knowing what everyone else around them is doing.  Look at the surge in tabloid style media that is everywhere right now.  The magazines, the websites, the blogs that spend every waking moment covering what celebrities really look like, what they’re eating and who they’re sleeping with.  Look at the rise of social networking sites that make money off knowing what your favorite brands are, what restaurants you are frequenting and where you are at any given point in time.  Think of the reality shows that take up the airwaves and make it more difficult for shows with real characters and actual story lines to get on the air.  All of these things exist because somewhere out there is a demand for them, a demand that we have essentially created and have kept alive.

The problem starts when people who intentionally and purposely tap into other people’s business don’t like what they see when they do.  They want to be let into your every move and your every thought, but if only if it’s something they agree with and only if it’s something that is seen as not hurting anyone.  The minute you cross that line of not giving the people what they want to see you become the enemy.  Instead of taking the logical course of action and just not looking at the things they know are going to bother them or that they know they’re going to take the wrong way, they keep right on watching.  Eventually they get so whipped into a frenzy over how offensive something is that they just can’t keep it inside any longer and it becomes much easier to lash out at the things that may have offended them than it would be to simply look away from them and not begin this cycle in the first place.

In my opinion, Lufitoom handled her situation well.  She expressed her frustrations, her feelings in ways that she felt comfortable and safe doing.  She used ways to express herself that would not immediately be available to those that she may have been referring to (i.e. her blog and her Twitter).  These are things you have to actively go looking for.  It’s not as if she said these things openly on Vent or in guild chat where everyone would have no choice but to see what she was upset about and would have to deal with it directly.  She took the high road and because some people in her guild just couldn’t stay away or got overly curious and found something they didn’t like or didn’t know how to handle it, Lufitoom and her GM had to have a talk and now she will probably have to create a second Twitter account.  Whose fault is that?  I sure don’t think it’s Lufitoom’s.

I have always had a very “love me, love my blog” attitude and I have been very fortunate to be a member of guilds that were always very supportive of my social endeavors relating to the game.  Of course, it helps when your GM and a third of your previous guild are bloggers themselves and your new GM appears to be just as plugged into the blogosphere as the one before him.  I have always been up front about the fact that I do this for fun and that I am going to be myself while doing so, which goes along with me saying or doing things that some would consider brazen or offensive.  But this is me – take it or leave it.  I think it also helps that I have never named anyone when I’m ranting on my blog, Tweets or podcast.  I usually do keep it pretty general.  Unless it’s something that’s positive or endearing, then I’ll certainly give credit where it’s due.  Otherwise, I would like to think I can get my point across without having to go there and even if I did, said person would already know how I feel them and probably wouldn’t be surprised by the admission.

So what do you guys think?  Would you give up your blog’s privacy, your Twitter, or something else if your guild asked you to?

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25 Responses to “Follow”

  1. Achloryn April 13, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I’m very lucky in the fact that my guild is very open-minded in general… and we’re a very blogger-heavy guild as well. I know that my GM would never “censor” me, per se, but at the same time I wouldn’t say anything extremely offensive about my guildies out of respect for them as well. If I had a problem or issue with a guildie, I would go to them first before bringing it up on my blog or twitter. For that reason, i’m very non-descript when I mention certain things, but I digress…

    I’ve known Lufi for quite a while as well, and I hadn’t heard that she was asked to “hide her twitter” (probably because I follow way too many people to keep up at all times too), but I know her well enough to know that she wasn’t being disrespectful to her guildies or abrasive, cause that’s just not her way. If some people didn’t like what she had to say, that’s all fine and good, but I don’t think they have the right to TELL her to privitize her opinions.

    The fact that Lufi did what she did without doing more to ruffle any other feathers just proves what a class act she really is.

  2. Zinn April 13, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    If my guild asked me not to talk about them, I actually would. It’s not an important part about what I write, I’ve made perhaps a handful of posts which were about my guild specifically, except when I’ve mentioned them in passing by. The same goes if a person asked me not to talk about them. They have to be able to decline being talked about, I know I hope I can. I think it is important to respect peoples, and guilds wishes about privacy. I don’t own the right to throw them all over the internet.
    But if they’d ask me to shut down my blogging completely… well that would be out of the question since they have no right to dictate what I do in my spare time if it doesn’t affect them.

  3. Lufitoom April 13, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Actually, it was another guild who was upset, and then I was asked if I could take the comments (some weren’t even about them) private or to a place where they wouldn’t get all panty bunched. The censoring issue is still censoring.

    I have found that on an RP-PvP server emotions really get warped between game and reality. In some ways that is great because it allows for some amazing rivalries and interactions. Unfortunately, I found some of the most emotionally unstable people.

    People either love me or hate me, rarely an in between. In life I am rather aggressive and a perfectionist and that carries over into the game. I certainly didn’t help situations with my trolling of the forums, but the other GM involved had his facts so screwed up.

    I loved the meaning in your post and it is rather insightful to see someone else’s views on this.

  4. Lufitoom April 13, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Also, this wasn’t about my guildies. This is just a guild we are aligned with who have a few people who just can’t handle fun or reality. It’s ok though, that guild has a lot of fantastic people and I play with them often and did throughout the drama. I knew things were nuts when I was accused of being condescending when I congratulated them on Realm First Level 25 when I meant it. Sigh.

    • Oestrus April 13, 2011 at 8:01 am #

      I spent time briefly on an RP-PVP server and in my experience, it was very drama free. However, I was amazed at how connected everyone seemed to be. It seemed like the everyone knew everyone else and if you made one wrong move the entire realm knew about it. I was impressed with the comraderie, but it also kind of scared me a bit, too. I felt like all eyes were on me – more so than usual.

      I also have a very polarizing personality, so I can relate to how you feel about certain things.

      I apologize for getting confused about the initial details of your situation. I was under the impression that it was your guild, that your toons are in that was asking you or telling you to do this. I wasn’t aware that this was a guild you were just allied with. By extension, it could still be seen as your guild so I would like to think I wasn’t too far off the mark.

      I’m glad you stopped by and grateful for you being cool enough to let me make light of your situation in a public forum like this. I really appreciate it.

      🙂

  5. Ceraphus April 13, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I don’t necessarily agree with the censoring. But it got me thinking as the GM of my guild, I ask my members that when in public chats (in game) and on the realm forums to remember you are an agent of the guild and we would like you to conduct yourself that would not paint the guild in a negative light. Now there have been instances where we have had guild members talking negatively about the guild which we later removed. Am I censoring them? Not sure because if they are frustrated by something they can come talk to any officer or post on the forums to prompt a discussion.

    Our main intent is to not let our members act like dbag 5 year olds that would make someone not want to join our guild, so I think in a way I might be censoring my folks but I also actively encourage my members to blog, post on twitter, forums etc.

    so honestly not sure now

    • Oestrus April 13, 2011 at 8:06 am #

      I can agree with the opinion of asking your guildies to watch how they behave in PuGs or Trade chat or things that inherently tied to the game like that. But I think if people have a Twitter or a Facebook or a blog, I’m inclined to think that the line should be drawn there. Without sounding too dramatic, I find those things to be extremely personal, despite how public they often times are. That’s our place to go and our thing to call our own. I think it’s perfectly normal to request that certain things not be brought up there, but that doesn’t mean the person has to necessarily honor that. It’s their place to go and their place to turn to. How much influence other people should have on that is questionable.

    • Zinn April 13, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Let’s look at how it works outside of WoW. In countries that have complete freedom of press, that doesn’t mean that anyone can write in to a news paper saying just anything about someone. There is still something called slander, which is a statement made without proper backing. Just claiming the swedish princess was pregnant gave some german news paper huge sums in fines. I don’t think anyone denies their guildies to discuss issues in a constructive manner, as you say, even if it is outside of the guild or on a blog/twitter/etc. But going around saying “omg this guild sucks” or “that guy is an asshat” is really just slander.

      • Oestrus April 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

        But what if the guild really does “suck” or that person really is an asshat? What if the person who made those comments feels they could back those statements up properly? Then it may not be seen as slander. They may simply be upset and not voicing their dislike in the best way possible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. What happens then?

        Everyone deserves to have an outlet for how they feel about something and I think we can all agree that we would hope people would channel their frustrations as maturely as they can and to “do the right thing,” but things don’t always turn out that way.

        • Zinn April 14, 2011 at 8:13 am #

          Whenever you talk badly about someone or something, there has to be a point to what you’re saying. I don’t mind people venting frustration over a guildie or guild, I’ve done it myself. But if you do it you should keep in mind that you’re not unbiased, there are probably thousand ways to interpret the situation and the sole purpose of the story can’t be “he’s an asshat/they suck” because that’s not very contructive (or interesting to read). It’s the trash talk I’m against, not the instructive story.
          “What are you trying to tell us with your story? That the guild sucks? Why do we need to know this? So that we don’t join them ourselves? What are the reasons you think they suck?” Etc…
          If a person can’t have a mature attitude to their frustrations, I understand why a guild would want to censor them or kick them. A problem is rarely black or white and anyone who tries to portrait them that way is probably a nuisance.
          So tldr: It’s not so much what you say, but how you say it.

          • Oestrus April 14, 2011 at 8:56 am #

            I can see that being a good rule of thumb in a blog style format, where we sort of expect people to be more thoughtful about their feelings and opinions. Blogs would be mighty boring to read if they were just single sentences or a couple of sentences that were fractured.

            I think with a format like Twitter, where you only have 140 characters, it’s more accepted to use it as a stream of thought type thing and use it to throw out your thoughts as they happen. It would be impossible to expect such backstory from such a restrictive format. I think that should be taken into account, when trying to decide what should be expected or what kind of decorum should be followed regarding how people choose to vent or communicate.

  6. ladyerinia April 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Instinct? Hell no! I would absolutely refuse to censor myself. Buut….I don’t really advertise what guild I belong to and neither do guildmates know my twitter or blog.

    If they did, I might make a more conscious effort to censor myself, but probably not. I really do have the right to say what I want on my twitter and blog…but I don’t abuse that right.

    • Oestrus April 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

      I really like that you used the word “right” in your response, because to many it is seen as a privilege to have such outlets and I have always disagreed with that.

      I agree wholeheartedly with what you said and I’m glad you stopped by!

  7. Ophelie April 14, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    My stance is very “love me, love my blog” as well. If I were asked to make my blog or twitter private, I would probably answer with a finger and a /gquit.

    However, I am open to comprising.

    If I’m writing something that might be read the wrong way, I’ll run it through the people involved first. If something I write makes someone uncomfortable, I’ll edit it. I want the people I play with to be at ease around me and not worry than any kind of faux pas or disagreement with me will end up plastered across the internet.

    It actually happened the other day that I said some things on Twitter that made guildies uncomfortable. They came to me, we talked about it and worked on a solution so that it wouldn’t happen again. I appreciate that they were honest with me and that we were able to find a solution everyone was happy with and that didn’t involve me hiding my Twitter.

    I wouldn’t want to be *forced* to watch what I say, though. I’m cautious because I care about my guildies and because I wouldn’t want to read about *my* shortcomings on someone elses blog or Twitter. Having a blog and a number of readers who’ll instantly back me up on anything I say is a pretty powerful weapon. I don’t want to use it to hurt the people I play with. I’m caution because I *want* to be, not because I *have* to be.

    • Oestrus April 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      It’s funny that you mention that. I threw up a post on my current guild’s boards about how I’m looking for ways to encourage them to use Lightwell more and one of the rogues said something to the effect of “Oh great. O’s going to blog about how we don’t use the Lightwell.” I’m sure he meant it in jest and I certainly got a laugh out of it. I re-assured him that wasn’t my intention and I have been continuing to try to keep that thread positive and proactive.

      😛

  8. Matticus April 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    First, wtf O, your comment form is slightly off when I look at it in Chrome. The alignment for the name box and “Name” is fine. The line for EMail is parallel to Website, and the line for Website is one line below the actual word website.

    Sigh Chrome.

    Second, in this day and age, players just need to keep it in the back of their minds that their remarks and comments are always going to be public. You never know who is watching or listening. Comments may not seem harmful to players individually but could reflect poorly on the guild as a whole. It’s up to players to weigh that risk.

    Scenario: I’m really pissed off at my guilds lack of progression. I blog about it blasting players left and right. I complain about it on Twitter. All the while my GM is oblivious and is still working hard on recruiting players. However, said recruits just happen to be social media savvy and stumble across my blog and twitter and see the unhappiness I’m sporting. All of a sudden, they withdraw their application causing the guild to continue its perpetual downward spiral because they didn’t want to join a bad guild when that applicant may have been able to contribute to turning the ship around.

    To that end, I’ve created a set of non-restrictive social media guidelines for my own guild members to keep in mind. I have no plans on restricting or censoring their efforts. But I’d be pretty darn pissed if they randomly spammed and trashed some guy’s blog.

    http://www.nerzhulconquest.com/smguidelines

    • Oestrus April 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      Ha! Now you know how I feel when I’m at work and can’t view the comment section correctly on your site, because of graphics collision and such.

      I agree with a lot of what you said and I really liked the social media guidelines that you posted. You understand that having a place to go and rant is a right and at the same time, you’re not asking for anything from your guildies that could be seen as taking that away or compromising that. It seems very “have your cake and eat it, too” and I think any guild wondering how to handle this trend (because who isn’t connected these days) could take something away from the guidelines you have created. I think the general consensus so far has been that it’s not what people say, it’s how they’re saying it and as long as it’s done correctly, there’s no harm in it. It’s only when people go about it in poor ways that people get offended and officers have to intervene.

  9. Hestiah April 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    It’s funny because I was blogging way back in the day before there was a desire to write about anything other than what our own lives were filled with, trivial or otherwise. And I had people in my real life searching me out and getting pissed off because of the things I said. I never use the real names of people unless I have expressed permission to refer to them outright. But they went on a rampage to try to use the things I wrote about on the internet as a means to control or manipulate me in real life.

    I even lost a job because of the things I wrote about on the internet.

    So I’m of the opinion that as long as you’re not specifically calling someone out by name or toon, there’s no reason why anyone should have to hide aspects of their life. I think it’s up to everyone else to be adult about it. If you don’t like what you see, don’t read it. Stop following. Stop being a damn troll and manipulating people because you’re a delicate little flower.

    /digress

    I guess I don’t understand why people insist on trying to control others in an environment where we should be allowed to say and do what we won’t. I also don’t understand this idea of hiding. I tried that route once upon a time. And I hated it. I instead decided on full disclosure. There’s a warning on my site. Read it or leave me alone.

    • Oestrus April 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      I had a situation similar to that when I first started blogging on Livejournal, back in the day. I would get friends who would read my entries that I wrote at 2 in the morning on December 6th, 2005 and think that I felt that way on January 21st of 2006. They didn’t understand that an entry that I post one day may not reflect how I feel another day. That’s how I felt about something at that time. I may still feel the same and I may not. I also don’t write things hoping someone will read them (i.e. I really meant to tell Hestiah she was not healing enough last night), because that’s just tacky and passive aggressive. Like I said, I think the real problem is that people go looking for things. They weren’t reading my blog because they were my friends and they wanted a laugh at my life and to enjoy my stories. They were reading it looking for something. They wanted me to bad mouth them. They wanted something to take the wrong way and by golly they were going to find something. Blogging is not for everyone and even more specifically, reading blogs is not for everyone. That’s what I took away from that whole experience.

  10. entropiawow April 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    WoW is a game, I’m paying to play it. With an actual job, of course I’ll watch what I saw. At my first actual, real job, I made a comment on Myspace that my boss wasn’t exactly happy about. I’ve since learned to keep my mouth shut online when it comes to work.

    When it comes to WoW though, I can say whatever I want. I generally won’t single out people or name names if I’m going to bitch and complain but if I’m having an issue with people in the raid or whatever I feel I should be able to air my grievances somewhere and Twitter serves as the perfect platform for that. It’s a bit different now that the guild I’m in has a lot of people in Twitter, but my last guild I doubt half of them knew what Twitter was or even understood it.

    If a GM tried to control what I do outside of the game, I’d tell them to fuck off and I can do what I want. I’m generally pretty vocal about dealing with this in game, and I’m not one that likes to be censored. Unless the GM wants to pay my subscription fee then I’d keep my mouth shut.

  11. Kuri April 15, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    I can’t think of a time when targeting specific people or groups in public rants was socially acceptable behavior.

    If you have a problem with friends, you don’t MMS your entire contacts list (or Facebook Status it). If you have coworker issues, you don’t put them on the announcement board. Yadda. Doing so is a fine way to ostracize yourself as being socially inept.

    It’s perfectly fine to craft complaints phrased generally and non-specifically to rant. But when you’re singling out people or groups, those complaints are best kept to private channels and entrusted to friends. That’s what friends are for.

    You need to know your audience. If you’re talking to the WoW community at large, targeted attacks are a no-no. Imagine if JMTC blogged about really annoying undercutters or bad Auctioneers by calling them out. Or, imagine if WoW Insider just randomly picked Armory profiles for what-not-to-do posts and linked someone’s profile as an example case. If you’re posting on a private Twitter to 10 friends you’ve picked up over the course of raiding, it’s a different situation, albeit still chancy if your tweets aren’t hidden.

    It’s also not wise to post due to the fact your words and behavior reflect your guild. The complaints won’t probably go directly to you- they’ll go to your GM and Officers. People will also form opinions of your guild based on your individual opinions by association. Unless you’re playing by yourself, speaking for yourself, and are the only victim of any resulting flak/fallout, it’s a very inconsiderate thing to do.

    I’m guilty of these targeted posts and direct attacks myself, albeit not on my blog. I’ve said stupid stuff in the past that ended up getting out there. But after having to deal with the other end of the stick as a GM, I can totally identify why the behavior is so discouraged. People are fully within their right to have their opinions and voice them. But because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

    • Oestrus April 15, 2011 at 7:36 am #

      I can certainly agree with your examples of how openly discussing something negative could be seen as harmful and generally not OK, with the exception that I feel that people could stand to be more direct when it comes to their dealings in the blogosphere.

      I have openly fought with a couple of bloggers (i.e. Self-Righteous Orbs) and I feel no shame in doing so. I admit that I may have gotten a bit too intense with them, but there is a general sense of being afraid to disagree with others or ruffle any feathers in that regard. I have never felt that way and I would like to see more disagreements or debates between bloggers and I feel it’s normal and can be healthy.

      I also have mixed feelings about judging a guild based on how one person (specifically a blogger) behaves. I can see why people would do it, but it rubs me the wrong way for some reason. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      P.S. Don’t mind the lack of avatar. For some reason, WordPress is being difficult with comment ownership and things like that. Sorry!

  12. Middle of the Forest April 15, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I had an experience similar to Hestiah when I first started (personal) blogging (wow, back in 2002). I’ve seen several ways to handle it in the intervening years.

    Some folks put up disclaimers “I’m not talking about you!” but then they’re so specific in describing the behaviors that it’s quite obvious who they’re talking about even without names.

    It’s difficult to shroud something in enough mystery to not call out specific people, but have enough detail to avoid writing “I hate it when people suck. The end.” And sometimes when we think we’ve done a great job, we discover that actually we’re too far on one end or the other (which is when you look at the comment section and wonder if it actually belongs to another post; I mean, I was PERFECTLY clear).

    My rule of thumb is that if I wouldn’t read what I wrote (exactly) to the folks I have in mind when I’m writing, then I won’t post it.

    And even then, sometimes I’ll try to talk to them privately somewhere beforehand (which sometimes means that I don’t need to post by the time we’ve finished discussing; perhaps I misunderstood the situation or we’ve come to an equitable understanding).

    I try to ask myself “what’s the purpose of this post?” Do I want to vent? Generally personal communication to trusted friends is better for that. Do I want to change someone’s behavior? Generally personal communication to the person who’s annoying me is better for that. Do I want to inform and/or teach? Write a blog post.

    I believe that following rules like this, I won’t ever be asked to censor my blog (which I have not told my guild about, but I’m not exactly hidden either).

    So, I disagree with people who claim “if you don’t like it, don’t read it” as a personal self preservation strategy. I can prevent myself from reading stuff that I find offensive (and have in the past), but I can’t control other people, and they don’t necessarily know if it’s offensive until they’ve read it anyways!

    (We all know that putting up a sign “This may be offensive” is really just an invitation to read further… human nature, train wrecks, etc).

    Sorry for the long comment. I have a lot to say on this topic; perhaps I should write it on my own blog!

    • Oestrus April 15, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      Hey there, MotF!

      I’m really glad that you stopped by and I loved your comment. I think you definitely have enough on your mind to write a post on your own site and I would certainly hope you send me a link so I can read it and follow up on your opinions with you. Keep me in the loop, if you decide to do that!

      Regarding your feedback, I realize that “don’t like it, don’t read it” may have came across wrong and could be worded better. I guess what I was trying to imply is that people should mentally fortify themselves for what they may run into when they proceed to read something that could be considered personal, like a Twitter feed or a blog. You don’t know what you’re going to find and you need to be prepared for that. I don’t think it’s realistic to go into a situation such as that and expect that person to have a layout that you like, thoughts you agree with, etc. I think people should consider how they might deal with that if it comes up.

      The immediate reaction is “Ugh, hate, bad, ack!” but did the person try to see where the other person was coming from? Could they put themselves in their shoes? Is the person doing something for comedic effect or do they state it’s a rant and they’ll be over it soon? There are so many questions that could stand to be asked, instead of the initial reaction of overreacting or immediate offense to something. I think things like that deserve a bit more thought than people realize.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Social Media + MMO’s = Trouble? « Guillin's Ramblings - April 25, 2011

    […] Now in my opinion both of these are perfectly fine. The venting and the frustration is still going on BUT there is no comment about who it is aimed at. People might have their suspicions but as there is no concrete proof, then I don’t they have room to manoeuvre. Regular Tweeter Lufitoom mentioned a few things recently, none of it named and shamed but certain people found offence and complained to her guild officers. I wont go into detail on that particular topic as the wonderful Oestrus made a very good post on her blog on April 13th about this topic. Her post is called “Follow“. […]

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