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Drama Mamas: Don't feed the trolls


Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

When is a troll not a troll? We can't answer that one for you (when he's a Goblin, instead? /shrug) – but we can definitely tell you when a non-troll actually is a troll: more often than you may oh-so-righteously imagine. Only two weeks ago, the Drama Mamas were reminding readers that you cannot "fix" other people. This week, we must add on to this principle: You may neither "fix" your fellow players, nor may you "beat" them. In fact, when you try to beat 'em, you join 'em. The Drama Mamas explain why.


When you can't beat 'em ...
Dear Drama Mamas: On my server, there are always players that act like they know everything, make up things in channels, talk out of their azz basically. It seems like the punk kids or losers with no life stick together. So whenever I see some BS in the chat, I lend my aid. But once I do, I'm harrassed publicly by the punks in the channel! I'm know by a lot of people on my server as a good player, but what I'm afraid of is crossing some punk kid that goes and spreads rumors about me. I already have a few people that have ignored me or that hate me, that I have never grouped with or talked to in my life! ... Is it wrong to wanna teach some punks a lesson? Signed, xaospro

Drama Mama Lisa: Put simply: yes, xaospro - it is wrong to wanna teach some punks a lesson. As you've already discovered (but maybe not yet realized) from personal experience, as soon as you take it upon yourself to police the chat channels, you become part of the problem. Your "teaching people a lesson" is as much an inappropriate nuisance in public channels as the boorish behavior of the original offenders. It makes perfect sense for other players to put you on ignore and remember your name in a bad light - after all, every time there's "BS" floating around in chat, your name is attached! In this case, if you try to beat 'em, you join 'em.

We suggest avoiding spammy chat by turning off Trade and General chat channels unless you're specifically using them. If you find you simply must help "solve" chat channel problems, take action in a way that doesn't force your fellow players to suffer through your attempts:
  • Report offenders to a Blizzard GM (include the offender's character name and the server time, zone and chat channel where the offense occurred, plus a brief description of the problem)
  • Send an in-game mail or /whisper to an officer of the offender's guild (include the same information as above)
Drama Mama Robin: Xaospro, I'm sorry to inform you that not only is Lisa correct, but you're not actually teaching those punks a lesson. Most of the chat punks say things to get a reaction. They don't necessarily believe what they're spouting, so engaging them about it is pointless. But, if you really want to mock them, a quick one-liner (with no follow up) that gets everyone laughing at the punk is extremely effective.

For example, one of my pet peeves is the misspelling of "rogue" as "rouge." Rather than being a spelling narc, I just steal a line from Krystalle Voecks and say "Rouges are overpowdered." This will start the lazy readers yelling about how Rogues are not overpowered and will make the people who catch it laugh. It highlights the mistake without being annoying about it.

If you can't come up with a witty remark for the channel punk that is currently annoying you, then just let it be. You can even think of a line later and then save it for the next time, because there's always a next time. But whatever you do, stop feeding the trolls.

Where have all the girls gone?
Dear Drama Mamas: I'm in a casual raiding guild with a good group of guys. We're organized and we've got good progression. We aren't the best on our server, but we do good enough and have fun. But we're all guys! We sometimes get girl guildies, but they don't last long and I don't know why. I don't necessarily wanna get it on online, but a sweet voice on vent makes the raids nicer. We aren't a sexist group. So why can't we get and keep the girl gamers? Signed, Bored of the Brofest

Drama Mama Robin: Dear Bored, speaking very generally here, there are three types of female WoW players:
  • The Package Deal She plays to be with her significant other and she joins whatever guild he does. You get The Package Deal when you are willing to hang with couples and put up with the consequences. She may be great, terrible or somewhere in between - but she only stays if her S.O. does.
  • The Drama Queen She may try to flirt with everyone to get extra stuff. She may encourage raunchy guildchat and then throw a tantrum when you cross her ever-changing tolerance line. She'll know the encounters and have the skills, but when she feels she's not getting enough attention, all bets are off. If you really want to deal with the drama, Drama Queens are a dime a dozen and easy to find. Just invite the next one you see in trade chat talking about her most recent illness or the lurid details of her date last night. Or ask around to other guilds; they'll recommend a couple.
  • The True Gamer Girl She plays for her own pleasure and she's good at it. If you aren't attracting or keeping The True Gamer Girl to your guild - it's not her, it's you. Maybe your guildchat is a bit on the intolerant side. Maybe there is a lack of respect you don't realize you're conveying. Or maybe she doesn't really want to be the only sis in the brofest.
I'm a True Gamer Girl who joined my guild as a Package Deal, so these categories are far from cut and dried. My best advice to you is to ask the girls who have left your guild if there is anything you could have changed in order to keep them. You should get some constructive criticism that way. Then it's up to you and your guildies if you want to make the changes to become more diverse or be content in your brofestivities.

Drama Mama Lisa: Most of the (admittedly few) females I've gamed with have been as completely unconcerned as I am at the prospect of being surrounded by males, and I'm afraid that the ones who made any issue of it at all were definitely of the Drama Queen variety. Now that female gamers are more commonplace, you're probably experiencing a relatively benign situation. Unless you can pinpoint a shortcoming in your guild or a problem like sexist, mouth-breathing comments on Vent or guildchat, it's likely that you simply need to achieve a critical female mass.

No matter how cool and accepting you guys are, you've definitely established a hairy-chested vibe just by dint of being ... well, hairy-chested. Changing that is going to be a little like getting credit: you gotta have some to get some. See if you can't tempt a few members' girlfriends into joining the guild, even if only as casuals (try starting a groups of alts all at once). Open up recruiting, and keep at it until you find two to three female players; offer them tags/trials/whatever it is your guild does all at the same time. Be scrupulous about squelching crude, sexist comments in chat - no drama! - and you'll be on your way to a comfortable co-ed experience.

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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