Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guildleader chores - do bad people deserve another chance?

I had a bit of drama the other day in guild which was unpleasant and it left a bad taste in my mouth.


Last week someone asked me if they could join my guild.  I don't normally let people just join willy nilly, and I do talk to them for almost an hour (give or take a few raid bosses or arena battles) and if they're still hanging around after that after all my questions then I usually ask them to come to Flex and see what they're like.  If they're social, then I let them in and see how they go. Most of the friends of guildies get in with no issues, but it's not often we have a few solo flyers.  We have only had a few socials join that way lately, and Thohand, one of them, seems to fit in well as a social non raiding member, playing his alts and making friends with others in the guild.  Even Morz came that way - though he was a raider recruit.

Anyway, this person, whom I shall call Bob, said they would like to be social but maybe raid one day.  I told them I had no raid spots and it was unlikely they would have a raid spot in the future, unless it was just Flex (or normal, which is what it would be now) once a week as a guild group thing.  They seemed happy with that and said they were looking for somewhere with friendly people.  So I went over my guild rules of no trolling and being nice to people etc and let them in.

Over the next few days they chatted a little bit in guild, but nothing particularly noticeable or annoying.  Bob was online a lot.

I was at home getting the kids ready for bed when I got a text from one of my guildies:

"Ooooh Bob is Evilzod, no wonder I found him annoying lol"

I read that and my blood froze. There is someone on my server that everyone who knows him finds annoying and despises, and that person I shall call Evilzod for this post.  He is known to be one of the server's biggeset trolls and is whiney and annoying to boot.  Sev and I did something with him once on the Timeless Isle and we don't remember him being horrible to us, but there are others who have said that he harrasses them constantly with tells and macro spams.  Someone that I certainly don't want in my guild.  And someone that I had refused entry when he asked, and my guildies had implored me strongly that they did not want in our guild ever.

"Oh really? Dammit" I replied.  "Oh god does everyone know?"

"No just me" my guildie replied.

I was fully intent on getting online and confronting him when I got the kids all tucked in.  Boy was there gonna be hell to pay for lying to me.  I had never gkicked anyone before.

Then my guildie told me that Evilzod was doing stuff with the guildies who had strongly worded their opposition to him joining the guild.  It was not going to be pretty if they found out. Oh my god there would be an explosion.

Thank goodness said he wanted to put the kids to bed.

I raced online and logged on to see them finishing their challenge modes.  I went and did an internet search on a world of warcraft related site to verify what my guildie had said was true, and it was.  I whispered Bob and said "Tell me the truth.  Are you Evilzod?"

He said he was not.  I said that I had just looked it up on a certain site and it said that he and Evilzod were the same person or alts on the same account.  Bob said that he was Evilzod's brother and had taken his account.

Alarm bells were ringing.  But in fairness, he hadn't done any crappy things in the guild. Yet. And though I cannot condone lying, I could see what was going on.

From all accounts, Evilzod seemed young. If someone annoyed him once I could see that he would have been an idiot and trolled them back.  I am not saying this is the right thing to do.  But it's an example of the cycle of abuse and rudeness spiralling out of control - you hit me, I hit you, you hit me again, I hit you again blah blah blah.  Somehow, this kid had started attacking everyone around him, lashing out like an idiot, a stupid idiot.  Perhaps somewhere in that silly head he realised this is not what he wanted to be and wanted to start over.  Change his name, change race.  Hope that nobody recognised him and try to be a more mature player and get out of the cycle.

And now he was lying because he was found out.  Typical teenager.  God I hate to think my kids are going to be like this in 10 years.  Though I had no proof that he was lying, it didn't sound right.  I kept thinking to myself, "innocent till proven guilty" and so I wrestled with myself to give him the benefit of the doubt.  But man, I hate people lying to me.  But I tried to be calm about it.

"I don't care if you are Evilzod or his brother," I said.  "Evilzod has a really bad reputation for being whiny and a troll.  You haven't done anything wrong here yet and I would like it to stay that way. Many people here don't like Evilzod and will want you to leave."

"But I'm not him.  He's whiny and he's a kid.  I'm not like that."

"Ok," I said.  "I'll take your word for it.  But I don't want to see any Evilzod behaviour. NOT ONE. There will be no trolling and no whining.  I'm sorry but this is your only warning."

GOD where were other officers when I needed someone to talk to DAMNIT.

"Have I done anything wrong?" asked Bob.  "I haven't done anything bad in guild have I? Has anyone complained?"

"Nobody has complained." I said.  I could not fault that.  He hadn't done anything wrong that warranted a kick yet.  I feel bad, but I was itching to find a fault.  Lying should have been the reason for it, but I could understand why he did it, but I didn't condone it.  And I started wondering if maybe he was trying to be better.  Maybe he wanted to change.  How could I not encourage people trying to get back on the right path, because if I just booted him maybe he wouldn't head on that path to being better and go back down the idiot path again. Oh by the earthmother, what do I DO.

And then... it started.

I got a tell from the Frostwolf who was with him in challenge modes.

"Why did you invite Bob to the guild?"
"He's social."  Fuck, he knows.  Everyone will know now.  For 2 minutes I thought I might be able to help this kid.  That time was about to be over.
"No.  WHY did you invite him.  DO YOU KNOW WHO HE IS?"
"Yes," I wasn't going to lie.  "I know."
"Why did you invite him when you knew?"
"I only found out literally just now.  I didn't know when I invited him."
"I want him out of the guild. Do you know our reputation has just taken a huge hit?  We are the laughing stock of the server!"
Now that was a bit extreme.  What the hell do I care what other people think for me making a mistake?  "For doing what?"
"For helping him with his challenge modes.  Nobody would take him because he's a troll. And now we just did."
"Why did you take him?  He's only been in the guild a few days!"
"He paid us."
I rolled my eyes.  "You took his money - so you took money from an idiot.  That's his problem."
"I want him gone."
"I can't kick him till he does something bad.  I have already discussed this with him.  One Evilzod move and he is gone."
"I am really unhappy about this Navi.  We are all really upset."

I decided to ask Luxy, who was the nicest person in the guild, what she would do.  She never trolls, she hates being mean.  She never swears.  She gives things away.  She likes helping people. Even she said to kick him.  Or maybe just encourage him strongly to leave.

I whispered Bob.  "They know who you are."
"But I haven't done anything wrong," he said.  "Are you kicking me?"
"No."

But I wanted to.  But my conscience was burning me.  I could have helped him.  I could push him to be better. Maybe all he needed was one person to be nice to him.  Or maybe I'm just kidding myself.

It was raid time.  Officers were getting online now and I told them what was happening.  Neither Morz nor HK knew who Evilbob was.  They don't read trade chat enough.

"Just wait and see," they said.

So I'm trying to concentrate on Heroic Paragons and I start getting tells.  Another guildie has found out who Bob was.  And telling me to remove him because he hates him.  Not only guildies.  Other people I know are whispering me, asking me if I know that Evilzod is hiding in my guild.  Word travels fast.

I should just kick him.  But I can't.  Not yet.

Suddenly in the middle of raid, there is yelling in guild chat.

"I AM EVILZOD! I LIED ABOUT WHO I AM!  I AM EVILZOD I LIED!"

I actually don't know if there was anything else said.  There must have been something bad because people didn't like what was said. The screen was panning too fast for me.  HK said in officer "I'm kicking him" but Bob left the guild on his own.  Phew.  That drama sorted.

Naturally, now there were lots of people asking questions in guild chat.  Who was that, was he hacked?  What's going on?

Some of the guildies started to enlighten the guild by saying he was a douchebag troll who had lied to get into our guild and so that he could get challenge modes done.  I was already cranky and I did not want to see all this crap in guild chat.

"That's enough. Nobody talk about it!"  I said in guild chat.  "I don't want to see another word about this in guild chat,  It's over. If you have any questions you can whisper me personally and I will explain it all to you."

Well, that silenced guild chat. I had a few whispers but I think people asked the others what was going on.  I explained what had happened, but everyone now thought what an idiot Bob/Evilzod was.

I whispered Bob and said that it was a very immature thing to do.  I said he didn't have to do that. He said he left because "I thought you were going to kick me anyway."  I said I hadn't definitely thought about doing it, but after that outburst, it was inevitable.  It kinda reminded me of the "I'll quit first before you fire me" defence.  "Everyone hates me anyway," said Bob.

"I don't hate you," I said.  "I am very disappointed in you lying to me and also for the childish outburst just now.  But you've not done anything wrong to me."  And I meant it.

Everyone is glad he is gone. I am glad too.  I don't need the stress - it felt like a timebomb waiting to explode.  But inside I have the small niggling of guilt, because I might have been able to make a difference.  All of my guildies would say that he's not worth it, he will always be a little shithead, and he will never change.

But what if I could make a difference? Shouldn't I at least try?

So I sat down to write to him about what he should do if he really wants a new start. For one, he would have to not indulge in any of that crappy behaviour and he should be honest and upfront with any new guild he wants to join.  Tell them that he had a history of being difficult but is willing to make a change.  People like honesty, and it's even better if you manage to keep being honest.  No more lying.  It only undermines your integrity and resolve.

Secondly, I thought he would do better on a new server.  No matter where he went here, people would know who he was and it wouldn't surprise me if they continued to troll him like he had trolled them before.  Also, telling his new guild of what he was capable of, "warning" them, wouldn't surprise me either.  Bad reputations stick like shit to fur.

Thirdly, I said he is welcome to talk to me if he wanted advice on stuff.  If he was really a total asswipe he would just ignore me and tell me to F-off.  But it's no skin off my nose if he wants to talk and ask about something.  As long as it's not begging for a run, gold or an item, and not asking to come back to the guild, that's ok.

But I do understand that most people would think I am wasting my time on him, as he acted so poorly in the past.  The only difference is that he didn't act poorly to ME.  I didn't see proof of what he did to others, but I don't disbelieve them.  If someone was truly all bad, then surely it would be in everything they do.  I can imagine them reading now and thinking "I wouldn't care if he died."  What a horrible sentiment.  But people who were hurt by him in the past want to hurt him back, I understand that. I just don't agree with it.  And what if he did die - as in he killed himself because everyone was mean to him all the time?  Would I and should I feel guilty about that? I think I would feel guilty.  But I can see the general reaction.  "What an idiot."  "The world is better off."  "He won't be missed." Does that sound familiar to you?  Doesn't it sound like bullying?  Is bullying him back when he bullies others the right thing to do?

I don't know why I am spending time thinking about this.  I'm sure that he will not change. I'm probably wasting my time and he was just using me to get places. But maybe, just maybe he might have been going the right way.  And if he did, then it would be all worth it.  Because even one person redeemed is worth it. Sigh, I think that's what is bugging me, is that maybe I could have helped, but I failed.  Or was too scared to try.

Gawd I sound like a bloody missionary. Enough of the goody goody talk - back to business as usual with bug squishing and alliance smashing.


13 comments:

  1. I believe you did the right thing by trying to help. It's a shame that as you said "shit sticks to fur" it is often hard to change other people's opinions, especially when rumours of what they did start. Having been a supervisor of people for many years, I've had to work with people that had really bad reputations. One guy is actually my best friend, but he had a bad rep, that was unfounded. I always let people work on their own merits and if they're dipshits, they'll show. If they're not, you may find a really good person, who'll become a lifelong friend. I'm sad that so many guildies came to you complaining and he hadn't done anything at that point, except pay some of them for a challenge run. Which, by the way, was a bit hypocritical of them to accept the money then complain. People make mistakes and are often punished for them the rest of their lives, like your friend you posted about the other day. We all need to be more tolerant and give those who really want to change a chance. If they won't change, you'll see it soon enough and then you let them go.

    Ayelena

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    1. He has still been hassling guild members apparently, so maybe he hasn't turned over a new leaf after all.

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  2. Firstly .. do people have to pay to join in with stuff in your guild? I've never heard of that before ..

    Secondly .. you did the right (and only) thing you could. You did your usual method of recruitment/pre-recruitment assessment and he passed that, on his initial behaviour alone, before people knew who he was, he was just a normal new guildee. It was only when people started to suspect, that things started falling apart.

    I think there was probably a high chance that this guy is young. Young people do sometimes act stupidly ... yet most of them grow up. It is unfair to simply assume the worst of someone when they've not displayed any bad behaviour.

    Yes .. he lied to you, and consistently denied lying to you .. unless you had proof, or he did anything else wrong, then you had to give the benefit of the doubt .. and I would have explained that to the guild members too. That they were all there to help keep the guild a happy and safe place and, if someone messed with that, then they should report it. But simply having a bad reputation but not living up (or down) to it, is not cause for dismissal. That should be cause for celebration.

    Unfortunately it seems like your guild members created a self-fulfilling prophecy .. they discovered who this guy was, decided he would cause drama in the guild because of that, and then caused the drama themselves in order to push him out.

    For all they knew, the guy could be making a real effort to be a better person, and they shoved it back in his face.

    Of course .. he could just simply have been out for what he could get and was intending on causing all sorts of mischief once he got it ... in which case drama would have ensued ... but at least then the drama would have been caused directly by him and not by the rest of the guild ..

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    1. Nah, my guildies sell runs, and this guy was new to the guild so ordinarly they wouldn't have taken him on a cmode run (because they take long term guildies)r, but he offered to pay them so they did, and gave a guild discount. They were pretty mad about being tricked I think, because they didn't want to take him because he's mean.

      It's hard to blame them for being mean to him - he was probably mean to them before too. As I said, it's a self perpetuating cycle and sometimes you can't blame people for "an eye for an eye".

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  3. For what it is worth, I think that you are the only one beyond reproach in all this. I am with Sprowt here. You went through all the processes that you had to, and any one of the new recruits you interview could be deceiving you. That is what trial periods are for. Your guildies are the ones who caused the drama. Yes, as it turns out there is a good chance that Evilbob would have eventually made enough trouble to get himself kicked, but that is purely hypothetical - the fact is that he didn't cause any drama until he assumed he was going to be kicked anyway.

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    1. I think it's weird both ways. Like, I feel bad for trying because people think I"m silly for wasting my time, and yet I also feel bad for my guildies who had been hurt by him before. It is tough. And I was bad because I was itching for him to do something wrong....

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    2. You should never feel bad for trying to allow people to prove themselves. If you were still a mere officer, would you have been one of the ones baying for his blood before he did anything wrong?

      In a way, you were in a stronger moral position once you knew his identity and that he was likely lying about being his brother. You warned him that he would be held to a higher level of behaviour, so his future in the guild was purely in his hands. There is nothing more you could have done on that front, If he screwed up, your conscience was clear. It's not like you were completely unaware and were going to give him massive access to the GB or a raid spot.

      You were itching for him to do something wrong because you didn't like your guildies being angry with you. I don't think that is bad. I try to follow the doctrine that people can only be held responsible for their own actions/decisions. In this case, that means that I think that if you kicked him for some bogus reason in order to appease your guildies, then you would bear some responsibility for the fallout (and any conflicted feelings you might have afterwards). As it is, I think all your actions and decisions were in line with what I see as your moral code. Once the news got out, the sad fact is that your guildies would have frozen him out of the guild anyway, but that would not have been your fault.

      Sorry, rambling.

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    3. But not one of your scarier rambles :P

      I would not have acted differently had I been an officer. In fact, I have saved multiple people from gkicks (including one of our current officers when he offended our GM at the time with an offhand comment many years ago) so I would like to think that I have always been a reasonable and fair person.

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  4. My general response to "I am brother and am using his account" is "I'm sorry, that's against the Blizz Terms of Service, and we can't allow that in our guild. If you create a new account we can talk." Because, as evidenced, they're usually lying anyway.

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    1. That is a good approach and probably one I should have adopted.

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  5. I'd have probably gone with something along the lines of what Grimmtooth said. I would have told him

    "If you're his brother and using his account, that's violating the Terms of Use and that's not allowed in the guild. However, if you're lying about that, actually ARE Evilzod, and come clean about it now you'll be allowed to stay in the guild unless you act inappropriately. This is your ONLY warning about that kind of behavior, though, don't waste this chance."

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    1. That's a good way of putting it. To tell you the truth Balk I would have expected you to be easy more harsh about it.

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    2. I've taught first and second graders in summer camps as an undergrad and TA'ed freshmen as a grad student. I've seen a lot of people make mistakes when they're younger and don't know any better.

      ...and I've made my share of mistakes along the way as well and benefited from second chances myself. Mind you, they weren't the "I was a complete jerk" type of mistake but still...

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(