There's been a lot of talk around the blogging community about flaming other bloggers and respect. It's gotten me to thinking. I've seen the F-word (fair, not fuck) dropped many a time in these conversations. Everyone tries to be fair outwardly, to each other and to themselves, but it seems to me that it's not possible to do so successfully all the time. No matter how hard you try, you're going to piss someone off, and guess what, someone's gonna do the same thing to you. Sometimes this anger comes out in a flame, sometimes a well-thought retort. The problem is that each blogger is an individual entity and none of us really have anyone to answer to. I suppose this is different for the people at WoW.com, who generally get paid for their information and time, but the rest of us are our own boss, legal obligations and website terms of service aside. In that way, we're sort of responsible for holding each other to standards; it's also the job of our readers to keep us humble.
Now, I don't condone trolling by any degree, but I fully expect for someone to let me know if they find some information in my blog wrong. However, I trust that such people will do so with a well-thought-out argument written in a calm argumentative statement. I know what you're thinking; "Gypsy, you're delusional, honey," and I know it. Look at the shit people wrote in comments in reply to my post that was linked on the meta-blog. There were several people who wrote some nice arguments against the what I was bitching about, but there were far more who decided to call me a whiner and not even give me the reason they thought so. I even got some lovely zings about my spelling.
I thought long and hard after that about whether I wanted to keep up with this or not. I know more flames are likely to follow, even if I never get linked again. I'm a sensitive person most of the time, but in my meditation on my future in blogging, I decided that the worst thing I could possibly do was to quit. Life isn't fair and neither is blogging. So I say to my fellow bloggers: "Write what you want to, but be ready to defend what you write. Expect the negative to come with the positive and deal with it as it comes with a deep breath, a lot of thought, and (if you're old enough) a glass of wine."
As for the game of WoW, I've had any number of experiences in which the phrase "Life isn't Fair" applies. When it comes to raiding, I've generally (with much bitterness and negativity) adopted the motto "Fair Does Not Exist." My guild has a rather unique system in which they choose who gets to join their 25 man raids. We're currently progressing (sometimes) through ICC and while there is a group of core raiders, the attendance is iffy from week to week. Everyone is allowed to sign up for our single day of 25 man raiding so long as you're 80. There is no enforced standard for gear, enchants, gemming, spec, DPS, or preparation. Some days we're reaching for people, even so far as to bring PUGs from outside the guild. Some days we have to sit 3 or 4 people so that we don't go over the allotted 25 members. I have been sat twice before. I understood the first time, and I got royally pissed the second time.
The way the system works is they first ask for volunteers. Depending on how nice people are feeling on a given day, or how unmotivated, that reduces our numbers by one to two people, usually officers. Secondly, the raid leaders get up in the super secret vent channel and talk about what they should do. New guild members are automatically either sat or put in the roll off group. Other classes are often separated into specific types, ie casters, hunters, melee, healers, tanks. "Essential members" or generally special people (often healers, raid leaders, and tanks) are exempt from the terrible experience of using a random number to assure you a spot in the 25 man. I'm not kidding. We /random roll for spots.
You could totally be the top DPS in the whole damned raid and still have to sit out so some newb who doesn't know their rotation or is the 7th hunter in the raid can go. Please note that I am not the top DPS in my raid, nor do I have the best gear. However, I think it's disrespectful to a player that despite the time and effort they put into gearing up, enchanting, gemming, learning what to do, and spending hours on progression beating their head against the wall each week, you may have to give up your spot to someone who is there for the shiny purps. This raid has also made me very bitter towards hunters because we never carry more than 4 and the last time I was sat, there were indeed 4 hunters and only 2 mages.
It's a flawed system. I made this known to the raid leaders. I was pissed. I vented to a number of people in whispers and wished the guild insincere luck in raid chat before leaving and going to Target to get a copy of Mass Effect 2 so I could blow up aliens and pretend that they were some of my raid colleagues. In hindsight, I know that this was not directed at me and that it could have happened to any one in the raid. I still know it's a flawed system, but the raid leaders seem to have faith in it and think it's as fair as they can make it. So while I still think it's fucked up that there was a parade of hunters and certain people were exempt from rolling, I've mostly moved on and accepted the event as a "WoW is Not Fair" moment.
There's been a number of other incidents to match as I disagree with our loot distribution system as well as the ethics of other raid members in taking loot. I got called out today by one of the guild loudmouths for taking a 25 man cloak with spirit on it for my resto/ele shaman, so I know it's not just me that feels it. It stressed me out for a little bit and I felt KIND OF bad, until I talked it through with some of my peeps and looked on EJ's BIS information for resto shaman, where said cloak is listed above every other 25 man ICC hard mode drop besides Valithria whom we have not yet attempted successfully. I justified it to myself and while I still feel a little guilty, I've already gemmed and enchanted it so there's no going back now. I'm certain I'll get flack from certain people for scooping up gear on my shammy since I have basically no one to roll against, but I've been on the other side. I've been a mage sharing cloth loot with every other caster class. When people complain, I kind of want to sit them down, give them a hug and a cookie, and remind them that "WoW is not fair."
So let's say you're a raid/guild leader and you're dealing with this. Let's also say that cookies are short and internet hugs are just not potent enough to do the job of a Mom-hug. How do you deal with this "fair" business? (Most of these also apply to a number of other situations, including blogging :) )
- Stand by your decision. Hopefully before hand you've thought out how you're going to make it and have a damned good reason for choosing what you did. Everything in WoW has the potential to create drama because WoW is full of players who are human beings and are fallible. If you doubt yourself before making the decision, then speak with the players involved before you make the decision. Let them know your thought process. It'll help them understand better in the end.
- Listen to and acknowledge what others have to say. You don't have to agree, but you do have to listen to it and you do have to consider it. An open mind and a good listener are two major requirements of any good raid leader or guild officer. You may not make people happy immediately, but they'll be more likely to support you later if you at least lend them an ear.
- Be creative with your solutions, but be consistent. I'm all for a new solution to the problem. I love problem solving. But it's also important to treat each situation in similar ways, as different as they may be. If you change it up every time, not only will you confuse people, but they'll never know what to expect. When people don't know what to expect, people get scared. And when people get scared, people get defensive and freak out, leaving you a bigger mess to clean up than what you started with.
- Set down rules and standards from the start. If it's raiding, there needs to be set attendance rules, loot rules, and preparation rules. These will hopefully eliminate the people who aren't willing to put in the effort to do their best along with the privilege of getting the purples. And of course the most important part of rules is to make sure that you ENFORCE THEM in an as unbiased fashion as possible.
- Consider past incidents as well as the present. If someone is consistently getting screwed because of a rule or a system, maybe you should consider a change. If a single person is doing the screwing, maybe you should consider how important they are to the raid/guild.
- Remember that WoW is not fair. It's more than likely that you'll end up with the short straw at some point or another. People are going to abuse the system and you're going to be on the other end of it or the one that has to deal with it. It's going to suck, but that's part of what your job is as a leader.