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Drama Mamas: The case of the raid leader and a guildie's wife

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.

Should inappropriate behavior always be against guild rules?
Help me, Drama Mamas!

I'm a newbie guild leader (of about two months now), but I was an officer in my guild for over a year before that. When my GM/RL retired from WoW a couple of months ago, I took over and things have been going pretty well. We're a medium-sized, active PvE guild with a core raid group. My raid leader is my only officer.

Recently, my RL (who is also a good friend) told me that one of our raiders, a woman who is married but not to him, had sent him some dirty whispers during raid. He said that she was "in a weird mood" and kept on saying sexual things to make him laugh on Vent. Her husband is also in our raid. The RL told me so that he wouldn't "feel weird about it."
First off, I'm pretty steamed that he used me to assuage his own guilt about entertaining inappropriate whispers from a married woman. But that said, now I know, and I haven't the first clue as to what to do about it. I feel very strongly that this is something that cannot happen ever again, but at the same time I don't know what measures I can take that would be reasonable and appropriate to the situation.

Regards,

Awkward Leader
Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: About 10 years ago, I used to have the next-door neighbor's two girls hang out at our house after school until their parents got home from work. There was only a year between the girls in age, and their bellicose rivalries could become hilariously (and sometimes not-so-hilariously) overinflated. Their weary parents tried to dampen the constant state of mortal combat with a rafter of rules on everything from where you could sit in the car (including how close your limbs and belongings could be to the other occupants) to who got to choose X (the movie, the first snack serving ... and of course, where to sit in the car) on any given day.

I dunno, but those rules never really did me any favors. If I was pushed into making a rule, my own kids darn well had to follow them too -- and we hated the lack of flexibility. Sometimes we wanted to do something besides plunk down for homework first every single day of the week or figure out whose day it was to get stuck in the back seat or whether we'd had sweets too many times that week already. "Please don't make me make a rule," I would beg them. "You might not like today's choice, but if we have to make a rule that covers every day, you might not like it any of the time."

I hated those rules.

Robin and I talk a lot about how making rules can smooth over all manner of awkward situations in a guild -- but in this case, I don't think a rule is what anybody needs. Now obviously, whatever happened in the situation you've written in about was enough to make your raid leader more than a little uncomfortable. But at the same time, what does it say that he laughed his way through the situation without asking her to pipe down or even putting her on /ignore, only coming to you as an afterthought?

It sounds like Mr. RL has recognized that perhaps he needs to be wary of this situation in the future. He's right -- but that doesn't mean you need to bring down the hammer. What would you legislate here? Are you going to kick every player who goofs around behind the scenes? Legislate what's merely bawdy humor versus what's over the line -- or worse, draw those lines differently for single players than married ones? You have to give your guild members a little room here to be the mature, responsible adults that you want them to be.

Keep the door open for your raid leader's concerns. Perhaps you can suggest some ways to deflect similar situations in the future. ("Heh, you're hilarious -- but I need to focus on the raid here for a while. Talk to you in a bit!") And definitely keep an ear to the ground for other signs of questionable conduct from Mrs. Hilarity. But I wouldn't "take measures" or make a rule -- not yet, anyway.

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: I agree that the wife's behavior during that raid was inappropriate. I agree that if the husband found out, things would get messy. I agree that if the raid leader really felt uncomfortable, he should have discouraged it. Instead, he had fun and confessed his guilt to you later. But is any of that against an enforceable guild rule?

Lisa and I are in agreement. You can't and shouldn't do anything. But for me, the main reason is that none of it caused any actual drama or other discomfort in the guild. The transgression happened in whispers. The confession was made privately to you. It was all conducted in a way that we have said many times was appropriate for avoiding drama and conflict.

What would have made this behavior worthy of reprimand? If you don't already have rules against harassment and airing dirty laundry in public chats, then please do post them along with what happens if these rules are broken. But if you make a rule against what happened here, you are going to set off a huge drama bomb -- and when I say huge, I mean of nuclear proportions. Your guild is obviously not a very large one, and people would probably figure out who did what rather easily. Talking to the wife directly would also be dramalicious.

So go to your happy place, and forget about this incident for now. I do recommend you increase your officers, though. If you choose wisely, they can be excellent advisers whenever anything tough arises.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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