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Drama Mamas: The trouble with unwanted sexual attention

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

My (Robin's) current obsession with K-Pop is your fault. I embedded the Run Deathwing Run machinima in a previous column, and a bunch of you commented about SNSD. I looked them up, and now The Spawn and I are obsessed -- which is why you are getting the tenuous connection of the word "trouble" with the above video. /blame
Dear Drama Mamas,

I find myself in the middle of a very troubling situation and am hoping that you can help shed some light! You see I am the GM of an extremely casual raid guild, who happens to be made of a tight knit group of friends. The majority of us have been together (in one guild or another) for nearly 5 years, and we have always taken pride in the fact that our groups have ZERO drama. When we're raiding or doing random heroics, we typically poke fun at each other in vent. But it is never anything that would make someone feel uncomfortable or mean, just good fun.


Unfortunately a situation has arisen recently that has me quite worried! One of our long time members, let's call them X just brought to my attention that they are receiving unwanted and unwarranted "attention" from another member, let's call them Y. "X" stated to me that as soon as they log in, they immediately have random & suggestive Emotes pointed at them – and that they are being followed throughout the game world by "Y". The part that has me quite concerned is because of the Sexual Nature of the "attention" that Y has been showing. It had started as nothing more than the random emotes, but has since escalated into suggestive comments over vent. Now "Y" has always been distant in the past, but never showing anything outside of the norm and is respectful of all other members of our group.

I realize now that we should have put a stop to this situation in its infancy and my gut tells me to just cut our losses and gkick immediately. If it was a situation outside of the Guild there would be no question (contact Blizzard, and let them handle a possible ToS violation), however how should I handle this situation because of the sensitive nature of the problem? Your thoughts & wisdom would be much appreciated!

Sincerely,

Troubled GM

Drama Mama Lisa: You may have let this situation slide longer than you should have, Troubled GM -- and there's no time like the present to set matters straight! You can still set this situation to rights, but you mustn't fly off the handle and start /gkicking in a panic.

But first: You have no idea what may or may not have gone on between X and Y to precipitate this state of affairs. Please don't leap into this situation based on assumptions about how this situation came to pass and who's actually done what to who.

Communication is your trump card here. You have to talk to Y and let him (or her -- but let's not play pronoun games) know that his attentions and remarks are making others uncomfortable. Yeah, we know that it stinks to be in the hotseat -- but as the GM, it's your job, man. This is something you need to take a big breath and tackle head on.

However, you don't have to approach this like some big police action. There's no need to get accusatory or personal. In fact, I wouldn't even mention X by name. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, after all, so keep a light touch. Tell Y that his flirtatious emotes and quips seem to be catching others off-guard and making them feel uncomfortable. Let him know you'd like him to dial it back.

And that's that. You've let Y know the jig is up, it's not cool, and the Eye of Sauron is upon him. You've made your point without getting into any interpersonal drama; after all, that's X and Y's business. Your business is simply the part that spills over into guild life. Hopefully, the situation ends right there. Be sure to let X know you've had a conversation with Y -- no need to give a play-by-play account -- and to get back with you immediately if the unwanted behavior doesn't stop.

If the situation persists, then most assuredly it's time for stronger action. I'm betting Robin has a few words to say about that ...

Drama Mama Robin: When I talked to The Spousal Unit about this (former guild leader of a progression raiding guild), I was rather appalled (at first) by his answer:
One of them has to go. Whoever is the highest rank and/or most valuable to the raid stays and kick the other one.
His position was as follows:
  • X could have led Y on and is now tired of Y's attention.
  • X may be the actual drama queen and is causing problems due to a spat or lack of attention.
  • The guild comes first.
Generally speaking, injustice (perceived or actual) causes the worst drama. But, as Lisa says, we don't actually know what has happened before this complaint. So is it justice to assume that X is the only victim here, since it certainly seems that Y is stalking? I don't know. But how can you investigate without screenshots and more "X said, Y said" drama? I see TSU's point now: go with the valuable player and move along to minimize the drama. But I still don't like it.

I think Lisa's solution is the right one for the first attempt to solve this. If it does persist, then you have to investigate. You are going to need screenshots (privately of course) and you should keep an eye on both X and Y's behavior. I see three outcomes:
  • If Y does turn out to be a stalker, you need to kick Y and tell X to put Y on ignore. X needs to immediately report Y to Blizzard Customer Service. Also, X needs to document, document, document. If this ends up bleeding into the physical world, all documentation will help put a stop to it.
  • If X turns out to be a drama monger (you will need strong inciting evidence for this one), then X needs to get kicked. But Y still needs to keep the sexual tone of his behavior down.
  • If it looks like they are both misbehaving, then I think The Spousal Unit's advice works. Choose the more valuable player of the two and kick the other one -- putting the one you keep on probation.
In our Zangarmarsh guilds, we have a very strict "No Drama Allowed" policy, so the third option above would result in both players being kicked. But we're not a raiding guild and I understand that progression can be hindered if a troublesome but valuable player is removed before finding a replacement.

Let this be a warning to other guild leaders. When I talked to The Spousal Unit about this, he said "I can't even imagine this happening in my guild," and obviously Confused GM felt the same way. People are flawed and it's hard to tell if the tank you really look up to is actually sending pictures of himself in his boxer briefs to your favorite healer. Drama can be bubbling beneath the surface ready to ruin the promising future of your formerly drama-free guild. Putting "No harassment" and "No false accusations" clauses in your easily found, clearly written, strictly adhered-to guild rules will help you minimize the damage should this happen to you.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Drama Mamas

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