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Drama Mamas: We hate hate

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.

The other night, one member of a random PUG The Spousal Unit was in announced exactly which bosses would be downed. He stated that any disagreement would cause something on his body to be put into something on your body -- only he used slightly more graphic words. The run was fine, because, though his method of communication was crude, it did convey a strategy that worked.

There are some, however, who are being crude and offensive in the same way that creeps in college libraries reveal themselves to solitary students. These poster children for GIFT (Note: The link for GIFT is not safe for work. But if you are not familiar with Penny Arcade's theory about the internet, you really need to go there.) aren't criminals in the legal sense of the word, but they do have victims and therefore I will call them perps. Who knows what motivates them. Maybe they are troubled teens who have terrible home lives and should be pitied. I don't know and honestly I don't care. I'm too busy spending my sympathy on Haiti to include these jerks in my monkeysphere. And besides, at some point you have to take responsibility for your actions, regardless of how horrible your environment is. This week, we talk about these GIFTed perps.

Dear Drama Mamas: Overall, I've been very fortunate in my Dungeon Finder experiences. But I just ran across my first troll and I probably could have handled it better. We were about two thirds of the way through Utgarde Keep, when the healer started making sexist jokes. I ignored it until he got to "Want to hear a joke? 90,000 women were raped last year" which crossed all sorts of lines for me. I initiated a vote to kick, but it didn't pass, so I dropped group. I probably should have tried telling him to shut up first, but I'm guessing that someone making rape jokes probably isn't likely to stop just because someone tells them to. At what point is offensive behavior grounds for a vote-kick. And what's the best way to deal with players like that? -That'sNotFunny

Drama Mama Robin: That'sNotFunny, I actually went through something similar in Scarlet Monastery on my priestess. I joined the run, in progress, and was told "hurry up and get here or I'll rape you." Only, instead of trying to votekick or dropping, I stuck with the group. No idea why I was so dumb that night, really. It's not like a healer needs to wait that long. As is typical with offensive jerks, he was a terrible player. He refused to use any mana as a paladin tank and pulled entire rooms. He couldn't hold aggro or take the damage. We wiped multiple times. I was blamed and votekicked out of there by him and his equally offensive buddies. I have felt violated ever since, but it is mostly my own fault for staying.

Here is how I think we both should have handled these perps:

  1. Write down the perp's name and server, being careful to include special characters and notice odd spellings.
  2. State in party chat that the perp's behavior is unacceptable and, if the perp doesn't apologize, call for a votekick. These bullies tend to have sidekicks and since kicks have to be unanimous, this will rarely work. But I think it's worth a try. (Edited to add room for discussion.)
  3. /ignore name-server -- This will not only ignore him but make it impossible for him to be in your future random PUGs.
  4. If the votekick did not work, drop out of the group.
  5. Use the in-game help function to report the perp.
I think number 5 is the most important step in that there should be more consequences to the perp's actions than just a decent person objecting and leaving the group. It is also a good way to spend time waiting for the debuff to go away. Hate comments of any kind are against Blizzard's Terms of Service, which says that you cannot
transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above.
When Blizzard eventually gets to your ticket, they will send you a lovely email thanking you for your time, promising to do something about it, but refusing to give you any real status due to privacy issues. We've seen evidence that perps get anything from a temporary reduction in chat privileges to permanent account bans.

It sure would be nice if this were a rare scenario, but unfortunately we are likely to meet another Horatio Hatemouth again in our PUGging adventures. Though it could be worse. At least these perps don't have thousands of followers who are actually swayed by their hatespeak.

Drama Mama Lisa: Inappropriate language comes in several flavors. There's good old-fashioned rough language ("The @#%@ing piece of @#@! cast on me before I could engage!"). There's flavor-of-the-moment douchebaggery (in fact, the term "douchebaggery" comes to mind). And then there's the truly offensive, inappropriate vocabulary employed by the clueless ("Dude, everyone knows that saying you're going to 'rape' something in game is just a figure of speech!").

There's arguing for your "freedom" to let your proverbial hair down and use mature language when you play -- and there's respecting the fact that you're interacting with other people in a shared social space.

There's railing against the knee-jerk demand that we all march in perfect, politically correct formation -- and there's being an insensitive jerk.

There's indulging in a little loose-and-free humor -- and there's using language that causes others to feel uncomfortable, offended ... or worse.

Don't get caught with your pants down. Before you open your mouth, consider the differences in the comparisons above. Are you being funny and hip -- or are you just behaving like a low-rent, disrespectful, tactless boor? Or if you're talking about "raping" mobs and other players, perhaps you've completely crossed the line? If you're uncertain, zip your lip. Your groupmates will thank you for it.

Drama Buster of the Week

People tend to live up -- or down -- to your expectations. The best PUG leader I've had started the run with "We're all pro. Let's do this!" I really, really wanted to be pro and not let him down... and we were. Try saying something positive and motivating at the beginning of a run, even if you think there's a scrub or two in the group. You may find that they surprise you and you'll avoid the drama that being judgmental and condescending brings.


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, Drama Mamas

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