Guild Chat: Should I quit my MMO because of in-guild bullying?

Welcome along to another advice-filled edition of Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively OP community can both offer pearls of wisdom to fellow readers and air their own guild-related issues in front the masses in the hope that I can be of assistance while also crowdsourcing further great solutions from fellow MMO enthusiasts in the comments. This time, an anonymous reader wishes to discuss in-guild bullying and whether or not he should leave his MMO of choice in order to avoid further nasty confrontations. What started as brief periods of tension within his guild has now bubbled over into full-on personal attacks and our reader in need is unsure of the best method for dealing with the bullying he now faces from his ex-guildmates. Read on for the full submission and my take on the situation facing our mystery submitter.

“This is one of those questions I’d never thought I’d ask, but what is the best thing to do when your guild (well, ex-guild, in my case) is actively bullying you so that you’ll quit? To give you some background, we were a close-knit guild, and I would have called the members friends, until recently. We all used to hang out on Teamspeak and chill together, having a laugh, doing content, but then some tension started one night, when we were a little drunk, and things went from bad to worse. I said something stupid about politics (I’m from the US, lots happened here that way in case you don’t know), this caused 3 members in particular to hate my guts. I apologized, knowing I was an idiot to bring politics into anything, especially since it was my first time drinking, but these people took it way too seriously, calling me out for being racist and basically an inbred moron for what I said, even though I didn’t mean it, since I was just trying to be funny. Anyways, these people involved the guild leader, who kicked me out without even hearing my side of the story, but it doesn’t stop there because they still follow me around in-game, whispering me, sending me hate any way they can, and generally ruining my play time. I spoke to the guild leader about it, but she blames me, and told me she supports them in this. I find this all a bit much, and am now thinking, what would fix this, if I just quit altogether? I tried sorry, it doesn’t work, so don’t tell me to do that again. I want to make it right, but not if they won’t stop ruining my fun, and getting other people to avoid me or message me too.”

Check yourself so nobody else has to

This is one of those stories that makes me wish I had the magic ability to go back in time and tell people that their actions have consequences, no matter how trivial or fun it might seem before the fallout. I’m assuming from your submission that you’re young and relatively inexperienced when it comes to more approaching more mature, serious topics sensitively: When you add alcohol and overfamiliarity due to not being able to read body language or facial expressions, it’s easy to see how the conversation might have taken such a u-turn.You certainly won’t be the first person to royally put their foot in it when under the influence, but that’s not to say that gives you a free pass to be offensive, crude, or derogatory without consequence.

A more controversial point I feel I must make is this: If you managed to cause such offense in one night that more than one person has taken it upon themselves to smear your name at any given opportunity, perhaps the views you’re expressing need checking or you need to compare the sort of person you become when drinking to your sober self. Without being on that TeamSpeak channel with you when the incident occurred, I can’t tell much about the event, what was said, and just how obnoxious you were, but I’m willing to bet your behaviour was fairly shocking if a group that were friendly with you beforehand turned against you so swiftly.

I know you feel as though their reaction is over-the-top — and after the point of guild-kicking you I agree with you — but sometimes we really can cause such a great deal of hurt and anger that we go past the point of an apology making things better. Where I feel as though the guild is being unfair to you, however, is carrying the anger on after your removal from their company: Following you around and proactively ruining your experience indefinitely is a tacky attempt at revenge for your poor behaviour that isn’t any more justified than your drunken tirade. I have some advice to help alleviate the sting on your mishap with booze, but do bear in mind that the damage is already done with your old guild and there’s no “making it right” in your case. You’ll have to do your best to move on, learn from the mistakes made on your part, negate the continued fallout as best you can, and take this a lesson for your next encounter with the bottle.

Is there a reason you can’t /ignore?

In real life, it can be most difficult to break away from a cycle of drama due to physical proximity, but in MMOs, most of the aggravation can be prevented by using in-game block, ignore, or unfriend features. If you’ve already blocked the main culprits but are still running into abuse online, you could consider placing your account on invisible or unavailable for a period of time where that is available, or perhaps you could turn off map chat if you’re being hounded in particular zones. Remember to report each instance of abuse via the appropriate in-game channels: Two wrongs don’t make a right, and sustaining contact isn’t healthy for any of you.

If these options are somehow unavailable to you, maybe because the people involved are harassing you through other channels or with dummy accounts, you could try letting the worst of their ill feeling ebb away with the passage of time. There are two approaches here: You can either keep playing throughout this rocky patch and ignore and report all abuse, or you can take a break until things are quieter. Should you choose to keep playing, it’s imperative that you don’t make the situation worse by rising to the abuse. You don’t want to justify the behaviour of your old guildmates by becoming everything they are calling you.

Prevention is far better than cure

It’s important to reflect on situations like this in order to grow as a person and prevent something similar happening again. There’s something in the wording of your submission that makes me believe that you’re quite indignant about your apology not being accepted as good enough, but unless you accept your fair share of the blame for this falling out, you’re risking repeating history in the future. If you take one piece of advice away from this entire article, my anonymous friend, make it this! You now feel victimised and bullied because these people won’t let your actions go, but try to remember that the scenario started by your hurtful actions making them feel much the same way.

In future, it’s best to cater your humour and delivery to the audience that your jokes are intended for, and that might well mean either moderating your content or choosing a different environment in which to joke around. Leave the drinking until you’re offline until you know your limits and keep your chatter game-specific if you’re not particularly friendly with your guildmates. Drunken-you probably felt both comfortable and justified in what you were saying, making it all the more hurtful to those you offended. Remember that you can always join an adult-only, mature content, anything goes sort of guild if you find containing your humour too restrictive.

If all else fails, start afresh!

If the whole experience has left too much of a sour taste in your mouth and you can find no way to end the slur campaign your ex-guild has begun against you, you might find it easier to start over on a new server, take a short break to let the heat die down, or even open a new account to give yourself a fresh start. You might even find that your particular MMO of choice has lost its appeal after your run-in, so branching out into similar titles where a silly night of overindulgence and loose talk hasn’t ruined your fun. It might seem dramatic to take such action and you’ll have a strong tendency to think, “why should I be the one to quit?” – but remember that your gaming time is supposed to be enjoyable. There’s absolutely nothing fun about online harassment and being caught in a never-ending cycle of drama and smack talk, so in some cases, you’re better making a clean break and finding fun elsewhere.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you’ll take this as a learning experience instead of as a terrible event: Virtually all of us have made similar foolish gaffes or otherwise made a complete nuisance of themselves in some fashion while navigating alcohol, fledgling relationships, or online circles, so don’t feel bad. I’d cringe so hard my face would never unwrinkle if I could hear sixteen-year-old me speak to her friends right now, and I’m sure I’ve offended and hurt more people than enough by being too quick to judge and condemn before giving my opinion more than have a moment’s idle thought. The real marker of a person is how they acknowledge these moments and use them to rub along a little better with people in future. Good luck!

Over to you!

Do you have any advice for our anonymous reader in need? Have you ever made a drunken blunder that ruined your gaming fun? Do you have any off-limits topics in your guild to prevent such offences from happening? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments.

Many thanks to our anonymous reader for this submission. If you have a guild-related issue you’d like to see tackled here, email me your submission for consideration.

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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88 Comments on "Guild Chat: Should I quit my MMO because of in-guild bullying?"

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Yuri Geinish

Poeple are the same everywhere. Leaving a game because of people-related problems makes no sense at all as other games will have the same problems. Leaving a guild though might be a good solution if you’re outnumbered.

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Byórðæįr

First if someone is stalking you or you think they are, make sure they are not in your friends list. In many games there are ways to teleport to your friends.

Second people trying to force someone from game are usually the American gold farmers the group of people that use social engineering to take over people accounts to sell the items on them to other players for real money. As long as you can long in if you suddenly notice your stuff is missing and is reported to a GM that starts a long investigation process to make sure you did not just make a mistake. I try to leave ingame emails to people I know in real life in case I get attacked. So when the GM looks into the messages they start laughing and know who knows me in real life. GMs can ask accounting if the bank account is still the same as it was prior to the attacks but they can not tell a player about someone else’s account. It prevents social engineering from getting details about a player’s account.

Most people when they make a mistake among friends get laughed at but if someone says something really offensive actual friends talk about it, fake ones don’t. People who bring back up a topic to scream about it have an agenda. Simply look at your friends outside of game do they act that way at all? They may act hurt or sullen by something a friend says but the only time you get can “he/she said what…?” and laughing is when people have trouble believing someone actually said it. It is more shock and humor. People trying to get someone guild kicked are either trying to remove a problem child, someone who is always the worst tropes in video games, the ninja looter, the begging for money, the person who is always trying to break up relationships between people who have actual person to person relationships outside of game (I really don’t understand these people keeping a woman happy is hard enough), the people who don’t need an item but roll on it not because they want it but because someone else does. Greed is normal and admitting you have it is healthy, jealousy is wanted someone else’s ice cream cone because they have only licked it once and you ate most of yours. Greed is simply wanting lots of shiny things. People play video games to amass loot. Pretending you don’t want lots of loot is stupid. The people who learn you can earn more of the loot you actual want working together than by yourself or by stealing from other players, make friends.

But really no matter how offensive someone a person says is, once you stop trying to contact them, they would naturally just go on with their life if they are healthy individuals. So just live by only to the good. I can not explain what that means to me you have to figure it out for yourself. But focus on that and life gets better, it might not get easier but it gets better.

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Raul Gonzalez

I always had problems with players the joined my guild with a XBOXLIVE mentality. Thinking it was okay to openly insult people and just be cool if they decide your nickname was TittyFace or some shit like that. Beyond Rude haha had to always kick players like that.

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panthyr

I think your intent is good and I think your approach is fine but if you’re trying to remain unbiased you’re going to have to be prepared for a few things. If you’re not worried about bias then you’re getting exactly what you signed up for. I think with the current political climate both camps are on a witch hunt and regardless of your affiliation or faction (I called it a faction on an mmo site! I want points) anytime there’s a chance its political in nature readers are going to comb for opportunity to rage. You don’t need any further proof then to read this posts comments. All sides are angry right now so its not at all shocking. That said the moment he/she identified as a trump supporter (which an argument can be made but racist/inbred seems to be the theme for one particular party to sling at another particular party) you were jumping headfirst into a swamp when you replied. I’m reserving my opinion of the original post because it in itself would spark a debate but I would say look at what we know:

He/she claimed they messed up (and acknowledged)
He/she asked forgiveness
He/she was Gkicked
They are actively being stalked

We don’t know if any of that is true but thats what we have. You can read into it, which everyone seems want to do, but then its a slippery slope of what ifs and we don’t have any way of confirming anything. For the sake of this whole post we can assume the last 2 are accurate because it’s relevant to their question. Should they quit? Most people are saying “No” (I’m currently of the mindset of absolutely, yes) and if “No” then what actions can they take. I think you address all those points on how to respond. Really anything beyond that is likely to get blown out of proportion because of the world we live in currently.

Edit: I just realized I didn’t answer Tinas question directly. “Do you have any advice for our anonymous reader in need?” Answer: Yes, quit.

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Suikoden

Starting fresh would be my suggestion. I have done it, and in fact I am playing on a toon right now that I had to start fresh. This wasn’t because of bullying so much as it was the simple fact that I played for so many years and knew so many people, and quit and came back so many times, into different guilds, and different ranks/roles, that I wanted to just log in a play with a guild and not have to worry about random tells and mail, etc. It worked great for me, and the added bonus is that everything thinks your a noob! And in my case I am playing a new class and I am a total noob at it, and everyone in my guild is willing to help.

However, I do encounter bullying, especially since I am learning my new class, and for some reason bullies hate it when you are learning, so /ignore is my best friend now.

In short, don;t quit because of that, the beauty is that you can always reroll.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

I don’t see how all of this couldn’t be solved by appropriate applications of /ignore, and, if that doesn’t fix it, then /report for harassment.

In-game harassment of one player by another is against the ToS of every MMO that I know of, and generally reports that involve some sort of evidence, like, say, chat logs that include harassing or threatening speech (and in most games ALL in-game chat is logged and available to customer service), will be acted upon. Customer service action probably isn’t even needed assuming that /ignore will stop everything that interfered with the OP’s gameplay.

If there is game play conduct that amounts to griefing beyond chat messaging, then /report ought to fix it. If the issue is that people are “following OP around” in-game, then removing the offenders from in-game “friends” lists generally will prevent those people from knowing when OP is logged in.

Quitting the game just seems a bit extreme when other options that could entirely solve the problem have not even been tried.

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odin valhalla

This is going to sound harsh or insensitive but 3 points I’d like to make

1. The anonymity of the web allows people to be assholes. Some of these people who say “I treat everyone like this IRL” are full of shit and we all know it. Half the things you see in MMO’s, politics, race, sexuality on and on and on most people (and I mean 99%) wouldn’t utter this crap IRL. Is it cowardice? Is it a venue to say how you truly feel? I don’t know but its ugly and I have witnessed things in my MMO life ( a woman being sexually harassed) where the guy in the end did the mia culpa asked for forgiveness. IMHO not only should they not be forgiven but as harsh a penalty as possible in the MMO context should be applied to them.

2. This seems to be symptom of too much investment into the online world. Some appear to have a great deal of personal investment into relationships with people online. Often they play with people for YEARS, never know there real name, never know where they live etc. they see a name on a screen and hear a voice. While I am not super critical of this investment, it is the choice of the person to do it. I am blessed I have a lot of people in my life, there isn’t any one online whom I am that vested in. To be blunt, if I never logged onto an T.S. or Discord or MMO again my life would be great, many people, socially, can’t say that.

3. Forgiveness is overrated. This is my personal opinion but when people knowingly try to hurt others that’s bad. There are distinctions though, there is one person who used to post a lot on an MMO forum I went too. To say he was salty would be an understatement but he repeated many times “if you don’t like what you are reading put me on ignore” In this case the person seemed to be trying to entertain himself or others and correctly advised people to ignore him. Then we have the people who gang up, pursue and follow people in game and off sending PM, emails, doxing, verbal abuse in chat on and on. Not only should they not be forgiven for this BLATANT attempt to harm others MAXIMUM penalties should be imposed in context. Kicking from a guild, yep good move. Banned from a game, yep good move. Age is irrelevant, you transgress on someone’s liberty you’re gone.

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Utakata

Without context to what the person actually said while they where…

…err, skip that. It doesn’t matter what this person said, following he or she around and griefing them is both abusive and stalker’ish. These players and their “esteemed” leader should be reported for this. And then all sent a few weeks or more all inclusive game vacation package to Suspended Isle courtesy of the respective GM. Just saying.

edangerous
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edangerous

I’d say it all depends on the circumstances, the last person I’d take as telling the whole truth is someone who says things so offensive that they get guild kicked and then plays the victim card.
Perhaps these other people are out of order or perhaps this person is baiting them via PMs or some crap.

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Utakata

It very well could be this person is gaming this for their own advantage. And there are examples of this happening. But until such evidence comes to light, I am going to give what this person says the benefit of the doubt.

Even then, there is no excuse for his or her guild that was to be playing the vigilante here – presuming that’s what they’re are doing. If the offences are such, they should be reporting this person instead, as opposed to taking the law into their own hands.

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Bannex

Clearly what she said was racist and probably extremely offensive to whomever was listening.

Sorry mana but this person offended the hell out of an entire guild and is now dealing with the consequences. She’s not a victim, she’s an asshole.

Following a person around is a bit much but seriously just put them on ignore, change servers or character names. It’s not that hard…

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Utakata

That isn’t clear whatsoever. It could of been that the person was unwittingly in a *guild full of Trumpets…and said something disparaging about their Hair Fuhrer while drunk on TeamSpeak. This person was very vague as to what he or she said…and likely not to let whatever this person said to distract from the point of the letter. So we really don’t know.

*Note: To be fair though, I suspect it was the other way around. But it doesn’t matter, guild members should not be harassing their ex-members after they left, regardless of the circumstances.

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Bannex

It is very clear. The person said that their comments were misconstrued as racist and they were called a redneck.

That doesn’t sound like the description of a hillary supporter but I understand you’re trying to be diplomatic because I’d imagine you, mana, would find little sympathy in this case if you identify this guy purely as a Trump supporter :)

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Utakata

I remember when Bree took issues with certain aspect’s of EVE’s community in a thread some years back, and she was called a bigot by a couple of posters for doing that, for example. But that’s the problem, without knowing what really went down, there are all sorts of reasons and rational that this person could of been construed as a racist under. As I just demonstrated, that word can thrown around under any circumstances…so yeah, it’s clear as mud.

And I don’t care it this person is a flaming Trump supporter or not. It does not excuse the behaviors of his former guildies whatsoever if his side of the story is true.

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Bannex

Nobody is excusing the harassment.

We’re both debating hypotheticals. Always fun poking at you mana…

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Utakata

(Off topic)

One that seems to view I would of supported Clinton instead. If I knew that my *single vote would change the Electoral College in her favor, to prevent a madman running the country then maybe she would have my vote. But if recent events have proven, both leaders are quite willing to descend into World War III madness in a name of taking pot shots at some despot country from over there…so this exercise is all academic in the end. Just saying.

*Note: I am not even living in the right jurisdiction to do this.

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GiantsBane

I’ve met quite a lot of idiots who go completely ballistic whenever somebody says anything in support of Trump, shifting from friendly towards the person talking to hostile and ready to beat their ass in the street over a difference of political opinion.

Like Mana said, it’s not clear at all what the person said, though obviously it was offensive to the people who decided to kick them out.

Another thing ill point out is that offense is never given, it’s always taken. Every person chooses whether or not to be offended by something, and if you’re playing online games it’s probably best to grow a thicker skin then you’ve got on facebook if you’re the type of person to unfriend people over their presidential candidate choices, and dub them an irredeemable inhuman scourge of society.

It’d be nice to have the transcript, but it’s also totally unreasonable for the player being harassed to be told they need to change character names or servers, /ignore works fine so long as they aren’t going the extra mile with new characters to harass them, at which point it’s time to involve CS.

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Notorious Rekt

Ah, yes. The voice of reason and words of wisdom that OP actually needs.

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Stropp

The biggest problem I have with this article is that most of it reeks of victim blaming.

Sure, the guy made a mistake saying what he said, and that obviously caused tension within the guild, but he paid for that by being kicked. If he learned from that mistake and moved on, it’s a valuable life lesson.

That’s where it should have ended. To be then stalked and harassed afterwards is unacceptable, and he should report it as abuse. If the devs are not willing to do anything about abuse after that, then yes, quit the game. They don’t deserve your money quite frankly. There are plenty of other MMOs out there if you want to return to that style of game.

If you’re not prepared to quit, then several options have been suggested, from renaming to changing server.

Another possibility, since you seem quite stressed about the situation, is to take a break. Leave it for a month or a few weeks and don’t log in at all. If these guys are like any other bullies, they’ll get sick of waiting for you and move on. If they start harassing you when you come back, then reconsider your long term with the game.

It also sounds a little like you’ve dodged a bullet. If your ex-guild members act like that, they’re dicks plain and simple. You’re better off being away from them. At some point they’ll have dumped on you anyway.

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BalsBigBrother

There is more than one victim in this story. The one subject to harassment and abuse after the fact (the OP) and the one who was subject to some comment (content unknown) but that they found offensive enough to justify kicking the OP from the guild plus having the guild leader agree to that.

Given that TIna isn’t privy to every party involved and not all the details of “the incident” I think she did a damn good job of addressing both sides.

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Bannex

Upon reading the article, the story writer is obviously leaving shit out and if he/she is truly innocent in this sense then use the resources they gave you to stop harassment and if that doesn’t work and these people really are stalking then quitting the game won’t help ;)

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donvweel

It’s a game not a job you need to do to survive. If it’s not fun anymore move on. Maybe take a break from that game. If you can find another guild it will take some heat off if this game is important to you.. Try hooking up through discord or pugging.

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GiantsBane

Kicking you out of a guild for espousing your political views sounds alot like these are the same types of emotional unreasonable morons who purge their facebook friends list during election season when they find out people have different political views.

You’re better off without that group of morons, but you’re gonna need to grow a thicker skin and not worry about what some random fuckwits you thought were your friends on the internet happened to say or do.

Of course some of the others are right, and while it may be idiotic to purge a guild member that’s been solid because you found out they had political views you don’t agree with one night during casual drunken conversation, that’s their prerogative and it’s obvious they’ve got their metaphorical heads up their metaphorical asses as they sit judging you with righteous condemnation from their morally superior political ivory towers.

Harassment past that fact is completely unwarranted though, and as others have said refer the douchebags via customer support ticket, and hell i’d even let them continue being assholes to you so they’ll build up a bigger case against themselves rather than ignoring them.

Just remember to be civil for your part, the golden rule of dealing with angry people is to be nice to them. I’ve always found that especially with unreasonable and emotional angry people that operate in the feelings over facts world, that being nice in the face of their angry onslaughts tends to just enrage them more, making them act many times more reprehensibly than they would of if you justified their condemnation by acting angry back at them as they’d expect.

TLDR, they’re assholes, kill them with kindness, and never let some shit piles make you quit any online game if you actually enjoy the game (and weren’t just playing because of your guild presence.)

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Serrenity

I agree with most of the rationale folks around here. Whatever you said got you kicked from the guild and that is 100% their call to make. Harassing you afterwards is utterly ridiculous and you should def involve CS. You might have lots of opinions that I don’t care to interact with, but that doesn’t give me the right force you out of the game.

As for the “think skin” bullshit – yah eff that noise. There’s dealing with some stupidity now and again and there’s flat out batshit crazy stalking. This is the latter and the thicker skin arguments don’t apply

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Bannex

On one hand have some accountability.

On the other hand have some thick skin, if you’re thinking of quiting a game because of something stupid you did while you were drinking I have no sympathy and you might want to get help for that.

No I don’t feel bad for this person and they have many tools at their disposal to deal with these people.

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Utakata

Skin, no matter how thick cannot protect you from the ravages of abuse. It’s skin after all, which by nature can be easily broken.

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Bannex

You have no idea what this kid said. You don’t know if he/she is a bastard troll griefer herself.
You don’t know if they’re in a guild that does this crap to other people and it’s full of scumbags.

All that aside, have some thick skin. If that doesn’t work utilize the tools the developers gave you ie block, report, contact customer service or turn the tables andstalk them…

Debate with me all you want but words online are no more deadly.

Grow up, don’t be an asshole and if you are then deal with it. This chick or dude is not innocent in this circumstance I guarantee it.

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Utakata

I have to agree to disagree on the skin business. Though I am all for this person taking his or her ex-guild members before the Game Master “tribunal” to settle this dispute.

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Roger Melly

I imagine the people who bully in a guild online really can’t have much going on in their real lives . To act like that shows how cowardly they are too and if it goes unchecked it shows how bad a guild it is .

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Jack Pipsam

I don’t know what was said to cause such outrage, but I do know WHATEVER it was, literally anything from worst of the worst, that is no excuse for players to keep harassing someone once they have left (or been removed from) the guild. It’s quite creepy to e-stalk someone and keep on sending them a tirade of hatred, it’s very problematic behaviour.

If I was personally in the position where a bunch of people were stalking me and causing me grief, I’d block ’em and try to move my character to as random location as possible and/or switch characters for a short while, hoping they’d either forget or give up the pursuit.

django857
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django857

Yeah i noticed that the Trump election in the u.s. has turned some guilds into fight clubs. I feel that anyone that brings politics in any online game is looking for trouble. I remember when i played Star Trek Online all the racist chat when Obama got elected. Racist chat in a Star Trek game was unreal to me. This is why i solo or only play with real life friends in these games now. 75% of the player base in online games are ass holes.

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Duane Does not check email

Maybe it’s me but I play games to escape real life politics, religion and sex topics. If the guild wants to talk volatile subjects and act like 13 year olds I have allready made a mistake and wandered into the wrong place.

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GiantsBane

Yea, it’s probably why i haven’t found myself getting much involved in any online gaming guilds because I realized from a young age that I had no real interest in playing politics, either within the guild or otherwise.

It’s a natural result of american standard political strategy though, and the Trump election pushed that demonization of the opposing political party propaganda / hate mongering to a whole new level. That’s why I personally hate partisan politics, because the mindset of “with us or against us” holds our nation back so much in getting shit done on the national level, but I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

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Fenryr Grey

Starting with a positive note: I’m very impressed how people actually bound ingame (even find true love in mmo). I personally never managed to find a friend or something more then a guild m8 to run a dungeon or two. Same applies to any kind of social media.

With this background I’m even more surprised that people get offended or let themselves be bullied online. Unlike in real-life its very easy to simply turn away/ignore the offenders. I don’t really get it, honestly. I would get it if the guild has ties to RL, but otherwise: no I can’t understand it.

miol
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miol

/ignore doesn’t help against players following you around.

Things like WoW’s API allows different websites to track you, even realm transfers!

Here is what a prominent WoW player had to do to be left alone, in the hopes there aren’t any other sites out there tracking too, and bear in mind it’s NOT for free either:

As an ex-member of a few Top 5 US guilds who wanted to get away from it all:

Hiding from most websites:

Log on to each of your characters. Interface > Display > check “Display Only Character Achievements to Others”

I know Guildox tracks

Step 1) Register an account on Guildox.com

Step 2) Go to your character page.

Step 3) Click “[Hide My Character Migration and Alts from all visitors]”

Step 4) Now hidden!

I know WoWProgress tracks

Step 1) register on wowprogress.com, type in main characters name at registration process

Step 2) Click link in email, you’ll be told that “Activation has been completed successfully.”, and given a link to “Your Profile”

Step 3) Click Your Profile link and click the “Confirm” button for your character.

Step 4) You’ll be asked to unequip certain pieces of your gear. Log into the game, do so and log back out, then click “Check”

Step 5) Go back to Login Form :: WoWProgress – World of Warcraft Rankings

Step 6) Check “Hide Transfers”

Step 7) Done

Transferring:

Step 1) When you transfer, make sure the option I talked about in the first section is checked.

Step 2) On your destination realm, have someone on another account take your character name so you’ll be forced to name change

Step 3) Rename all your battle pets that you’ve given names.

Step 4) Remove Battletag/Real ID of all people you don’t want to know your alts, or you think would tell people you don’t want to know your alts.

Step 5) Transfer to realm of your choice.

Step 6) If any ex-guild members or anyone you want to get away from whisper you, IMMEDIATELY ignore them and DO NOT REPLY. If they make an alt to whisper you again, that’s now considered harassment by Blizzard, and by ignoring right away and not replying, you’re following the standards they set out and you can report them.

Enjoy your trouble-free WoW life.

For bonus points, race change.

http://www.ownedcore.com/forums/world-of-warcraft/world-of-warcraft-general/481802-how-start-fresh-wow-post3087440.html?s=32a63558100384f78dcbfcb894717c55#post3087440

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Fenryr Grey

I did not know how easy it is to stalk people in wow. sounds like something blizzard should change.

But it is still easier than avoid conflict in RL. Then again, I don’t know since I go unnoticed.

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ket

Modern day American politics has long since decended into a theater of the absurd.

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McGuffn

Society hasn’t been like that for decades, perhaps a century or more. It just depends where you draw the line.

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Rottenrotny

Leave any guild that has an shitty, immature or otherwise rude atmosphere.
If they’re whispering you, /ignore them. If they persist, report them in-game for harassment.
That being said, I’d recommend contacting your ISP and just cancelling your internet all together if you can’t handle some unpleasant text pixels on a screen.

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Bryan Turner

Screen shot and report, I’d go a step further and see if there are any online bullying laws in your or their jurisdiction

(that is if you know where they live) and scare them by having the cops knock on their door)

(does wonders, had a friend get a new cell phone with out telling me and I wind calling this psychopath’s girl friend instead, he harasses me by calling me non stop so after one night of drunkenly screaming at him I got the police involved; well he must have had the crap scared out of him because he started blowing up my phone for days desperately trying to make amends until he disappeared only to get voice mail from his girl telling me he was back in jail on a parole violation :D ).

Moral to the story is you never know that online harassment could theoretically land some one in the slammer under the right circumstances.

styopa
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styopa

I had a bunch of comments that occurred to me to say in response…but by the end of the article you’d already hit them all.
Nice job, good column.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Nothing is stronger than the pull of wanting to be part of a group. Not just acceptance but status within the group. Jokes, sarcasm, ridicule are all tools used to get and maintain acceptance, status and even domination of the group.

People laughing at your jokes is the most immediate and gratifying form of acceptance. People like people who make them laugh. But there’s a trap in there. You’re on a roll and you just want another round of laughter, that terrific glow of acceptance, so you keep reaching for yet one more and then suddenly you’re toast.

The double-edge about jokes is that they often are a veiled form of attack. How many times have we heard, “But I was just joking!” as an excuse for the hurtful thing someone just said? Or how many times have a person’s weakest, most vulnerable attribute been used to ridicule them, how funny they sound, their stupid hair, their freckles, their parents, their dorky siblings, icky neighborhood, ancient phone, ugly car, weird beliefs?

So, yeah, it’s funny and most of you are laughing and maybe even the person you’re attacking with your jokes is laughing (because, really, what other choice is there?). And maybe that’s the way you think it works, because you’re high on being part of the group. And maybe the dudes laughing and pointing at the target of your humor are just a lot of jackasses.

Or as W.C. Fields famously said, “Comedy is tragedy happening to someone else.”

Others have already given you the best advice for in-game, but I’ll add this for any time: Joking around is serious business. Remember that. Do it with care and class.

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emu_john

Some people can see the humor in a bad situation. Offence is taken not given.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Seeing humor in a bad situation, say having your ice cream fall down your shirt front into your lap on your first date, is not the same as ridiculing someone for an attribute that have no or little control over.

Offense may be taken, but insult is given.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Well, context means everything. You don’t have to explain it further here, but keep in mind that what you said and when you said it and to whom is something that amplifies what may be from your point of view a simple mistake into something much, much bigger than that.

So, you have apologized, but some times you can’t fix things like this. You just have to accept it, learn from it and move on. In lieu of that, why are your choices limited to leaving the game? Are there no server transfers? Can you not simply move to another server and start fresh, as it were?

Their harassment when they see you online is not ok though. If they grief you, or follow you around berating you or that type of thing, you should report them. Look, it sounds like the bridge is already burned. Discretely report them and stay away from them. It’s over with them and that guild. No need to prolong it or hope for some forgiveness. It will never be the same even if all is forgiven. People don’t forget.

And, well, playing games is about having fun. If you are not having fun there is no point. If there is no alternative, no moving to another server, no way to just keep them away from you while you play, yeah, you may consider not playing. This is not a situation or confrontation you have to win. Choose to play something else. It is a choice between having fun or making yourself miserable.

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NeoWolf

Bullying is never acceptable..EVER.

If they are hassling you in game, report them there are rules against harrassment in EVERY mmo’s TOC’s and CoC’s.

Leaving a game because of bullying I would say not.. though you could consider transferring to another server to save yourself the hassle. However I know how experiences like this can stale your enjoyment of a game, which is likely why your considering dropping the game.

A possible fix is to take a break, have a month off the game, let things die down, they can’t hassle someone who isn’t online. Block them so they cannot see you online anyway is probably a good idea. Either way don’t do anything rash, don’t let a stupid moment and peoples harsh reactions to it ruin the enjoyment you have for a game… it is afterall a game, fun is the point, not grief.

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Leiloni

I agree the biggest point here is they are harrassing him in some extreme ways and he needs to take action. Blocking and going invisible is a start but he should contact customer service and have them resolve it. See where it goes from there. He shouldn’t have to pay for a server transfer because others are causing him grief. It doesn’t matter what he said, there is no excuse for their actions. See what the game’s CS does and if necessary, ask them to give him a free server transfer. It’ll make their lives easier. But it’s also likely they’ll give all his friends temp bans as well for their actions.

Further, we don’t even know what he said. It’s entirely possible what he said was completely fine and they overreacted because that’s how the political climate is in the US right now. People are often not rational and hatred and words like racist or inbred are thrown around because politicians on tv are saying it. People often throw around these words when there’s no basis in reality, but it’s simply said because they disagree with a person politically. I see stories every day where people try to express their views to a friend or someone they know, only to have that person completely turn on them. Again, when no inappropriate words were said. I see more outrageous and irrational things lately than I do the opposite, so frankly his friend’s actions don’t entirely surprise me. It’s why I’m tending to assume that he didn’t do anything wrong, because most things lately have shown that to be the case in my experience.

So I think we should take a step back and not make any assumptions about what OP said because the reality is, we have no idea if he was in the wrong or not. All we know is their reactions are uncalled for, regardless of what may or may not have been said. And that is not ok.

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deekay_plus

honestly the stuff i’ve said in political discussions online that has had people reacting with some of the most hateful language possible has been rather mundane moderate and downright reasonable stuff.

outrage/callout culture is peaking right now and it’s kind of insane the shit that people will go on witchhunts and harassment campaigns over even when discussing rather centrist and moderate positions on things.

hell we got a resident shit poster on this site that thinks i’ve got some kind of association with gamergate because i watched it go down in real time and commented on it a couple times during the episode and takes every opporunity to flame bait me over when said person has clearly not even read anything i’ve actually said about the damn thing in his memetic talking point attacks on me over it.

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ket

Discussion is unacceptable! Reason is not acceptable! We must scream and shout obcenities, and throw a fit, or ELSE!

/sark :P

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Tithian

What they’re doing is harassment, if they’re whispering and stalking you in game, sending you hate and insults. Keep the logs and send them to a GM. It should be enough to get them suspended for a while, or even banned. They’ll hate you for it, but it seems they need a timeout anyway.

And don’t feel bad. Saying sorry did not work, because it seems they are on a crusade to make you miserable, nothing will get through them. Cross them off your friendslist and move on.

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Robert Mann

This. You made a mistake you can learn from, but they are in need of some feedback that you cannot provide on your own.

Don’t do anything else to them, no mean actions or words. Simply move on, and if they harass you report it, with logs. They either learn or they don’t, and it isn’t your problem.

NEVER give in to bullying, that just encourages the idiots doing it to be jerks to more people.

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starbuck1771

You can always ignore them and if you need can report them for harassment.

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Paragon Lost

Do a name change and next time keep in mind that politics and religion tend to be hot button scenarios that tend to blow up in your face. Morso if your politics tend to be controversial. I don’t condone their behavior btw, that was a step too far. Booting you from the guild, yeah I’m all for that.

quark1020
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quark1020

Better to change servers then change name, in that order. I have a suspicion that they’re keeping him on their friends list just so they can follow him around for abuse, and his name will update with the change.

If that’s more money he’s willing to spend, he could always just re-roll a character. That’s, of course, assuming he’s not in some kind of account wide friends list, like WoW’s battle.net account friends list or similar. There is anonymity on the internet for a reason. Use it.

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Paragon Lost

That’s why I refuse to use the battletags system. You can see everyone that someone is battletag friends with, on their list. I noted that and so the only people on my list are my family. Not a real big fan of Battletag friend list.

quark1020
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quark1020

Ditto

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Nordavind

No. Quit the guild. Unless you’re really just looking for a reason to leave the game as well.

quark1020
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quark1020

FYI, the tittle of the article is not 100% representative of the situation in the article. The bullied person was already kicked from the guild, so its more about quitting the mmo due to ex-guild bullying.

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Dystopiq

Leave the guild. Block/ignore/blacklist the users. Find a new guild.

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Arktouros

People be crazy. Just that simple. No amount of logic or reason will sway most people. There’s an emotional element there that can’t be easily addressed. It’s best to just not dwell on it and move on.

If they are taking it further (continued harassment) use in the game tools (ignore, blocking, customer service if necessary, etc) to handle it and that’s that. If that don’t work, then getting right back in their faces and flipping it on them usually works just as well.

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ket

“Right back at you” only works if you really enjoy that kind of thing.
Otherwise, it is just stressful. Focusing your energy and attention on a feud just makes the feud a more prominent part of your life, this is only worth doing if you are somehow uplifted by the experience.

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Arktouros

I don’t think I’d necessarily enjoy something like that but if it’s the most pragmatic solution to a legitimate issue and my other options are not working I wouldn’t have any issues with it.

By sitting back and doing nothing because you don’t want to “stoop to their level” you can just as easily end up emboldening people to continue such harassment.

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Robert Mann

This is why many of us suggested keeping logs/screencaps and reporting. There’s no reason to get even, just give the authority (in this case the GMs) the evidence and let those who want to be jerks deal with the consequences of where they hung their hats.

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Arktouros

Bit of a double edged sword though, no?

If you put them on ignore, you can’t see what it is they are saying and respond if necessary. For example if you put something in global chat or looking for group and someone you ignored says, “Don’t group with Robert he’s a ninja looter and a racist Trump supporter.” you would never know because it’s on ignore and there you are just wondering why you can’t get a group.

Most GMs will, typically, give this kind of automated feedback regarding harassment to use in-game tools but simply put they can be woefully inadequate. If someone is really going out of their way to be a pain your ass sometimes you just gotta sock that bully in the nose and show them what’s what.

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Rheem Octuris

In addition to all the things listed in the article, I would also suggest looking into seeing if your game offers name changes. This basically would mean a fresh start, but without having to change servers or start over again.

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Dystopiq

Depends on the game. Sometimes the account is what’s added to the friends list, not the character.

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Rheem Octuris

Usually in these cases the friendship has to be mutual for people to find you though.

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A Dad Supreme

“…when we were a little drunk, and things went from bad to worse. I said something stupid about politics …”
“…but these people took it way too seriously, calling me out for being racist and basically an inbred moron for what I said, even though I didn’t mean it, since I was just trying to be funny.”
=========
Sounds like the confession right here to me.
Claiming that you said something (without elaborating on what exactly it was) while drunk, that obviously offended the mass portion of the people who heard it, and then turn it around on them and say they “took it way too seriously” says it all.
I can make a joke about “Jews running America” while drunk as a “funny” to a group of Trump voter/players and more than likely based on the Brietbart stuff, I bet they would get the “joke”. I can say the same thing to a bunch of Bernie voters and they wouldn’t see a “joke”; they’d see something else more disturbing.
Sounds like you thought these people were in your “camp”all along so you finally let your hair down, spoke from your truth and got a rude awakening.
That said, they should not harass you at all. They should not have any contact with you at all. Both sides should be glad to get away from this with just a /guildkick.

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Tandor

In these circumstances /ignore and /report are usually the best options. Don’t try and reason with your critics, don’t take it to public chat, and don’t be harassed out of the game by it.

Avoiding getting into such a situation is obviously desirable but no longer a relevant consideration in this case. There is no excuse for harassment regardless of what led to it. We don’t know the specifics of what led to it in this case so let’s not even begin to assess its severity. Suffice to say, however, that there are plenty of people who will take offence at anything or nothing.

There is in any event no level of severity in the initial actions that would justify harassment which is likely to be against the game’s terms of service and may in certain circumstances and certain countries even be a criminal offence in real life. Even if the original action was horrendous, the appropriate response from offended guild members is to kick you from the guild and for them to put you on /ignore, not to pursue you relentlessly throughout the game. That is indeed harassment and you shouldn’t put up with it.

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Matt B

If you managed to cause such offense in one night that more than one person has taken it upon themselves to smear your name at any given opportunity, perhaps the views you’re expressing need checking

Or perhaps not. In the past few months I’ve had a political argument arise from saying “good morning” to someone. Some people are wound a bit too tight these days.

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McGuffn

How did this happen? Did they say, “Actually, it is night here, you eurocentric $%#!”

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A Dad Supreme

It’s not one person though like in your case.
If this person says this to several people and most (or all) were offended, that says that the person wasn’t too perceptive from the start to know that people they’ve been spending hours a day for months thought this way all along.
If “they took it way too seriously”, that says to me they hadn’t been taking things that seriously previously, or they would have known not to say it in the first place.

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Leiloni

I disagree. If the group is all on the same side of politics as each other, then mob mentality can quickly get out of hand.

That seems more likely to me than him saying something so outrageous that they all went off the deep end. I can’t fathom what he could have said that would genuinely cause people to all go so far, other than them already being a bit on the edge and emotional about politics, as many are right now, acting often irrationally about it.

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Robert Mann

Eh, I’ve got to agree with Matt B here. I’ve been called names and attacked by people who’s point I was supporting, just because I’m not one of ‘them.’ I’m often upsetting both sides of politics, as somebody who is unaffiliated and finds flaws with arguments on both sides. I’ve accepted that comes with the territory.

I would say in this case that there was likely a comment that should have been avoided. The person knows that. It doesn’t ever justify harassment like this. It doesn’t mean the person needs to never express their views. Attacking that freedom is just as wrong as this harassment, and that should be something each and every one of us can agree on.

Now, saying that the person should choose their words (and times of inebriation) more wisely, and avoid intentional problems… that’s another matter.

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mistressbrazen

I agree that the guild’s behavior after the player was kicked out was inappropriate. However, I am going to point out that some players are routinely subjected to racist, misogynistic or homophobic treatment within the games they play. There is nothing more disturbing for a gamer of color, for instance, to be in voice chat with players whose company you have enjoyed in-game and then be subjected to a “drunken” racist tirade. After that, your attitude to the offender is permanently changed, you cannot play with that person again in the same way. Some guilds have strict rules about conduct in their application form, and expect all members to abide or get kicked out. It is not a question of having empathy. It is a matter of creating an environment of comfort for all of your guild members to have an enjoyable gaming experience, without being subjected to hateful comments based on who they are.

Now, having said that… if they continue to harass after he or she is kicked, they should be reported to the GM’s. I am a big fan of reporting players who break ToS rules for community behavior. Ignore is also good.

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Leiloni

You’re assuming here that the guy actually said racist things and we don’t know that. We don’t know what he said. Just because someone is insulting him by calling him an inbred racist, that doesn’t mean they have any basis in fact for those insults. It just means they’re upset. Let’s remind ourselves that we have absolutely no clue what he said, and try not to attack him with such a lack of knowledge. It’s not quite fair, especially when he’s already having problems with harassment and bullying. He doesn’t need more from us.

The focus needs to be not on what he may or may not have said, but on the inappropriate actions of his guildmates and how he can resolve that problem. Because that’s the only topic we have enough facts to discuss, here.

miskav
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miskav

It’s a game.

Just block them or contact GM’s, this isn’t really an issue.

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BalsBigBrother

When you screw up or say something offensive when you didn’t mean to (or didn’t realise it was offensive) all you can do is apologise, which it seems you have tried to do. Then you have to hope the other party are mature enough to accept that and move on.

Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case here for you. They may have been justified in kicking you from the guild for what you said but they do not have any justification for continued harassment or bullying beyond that.

If you cannot use an ignore feature then I would consider reporting the harassment to a GM but be totally honest, explain the conversation that caused this, the circumstances and what has happened since. Don’t leave any details out and be totally up front about what occurred. If the GM team is doing their job then they will deal with every party involved in an appropriate manner.

OP, I hope you are able to move past this and get back to enjoying your mmo but I also hope you learn from the experience too so you don’t find yourself in a similar situation in the future. Good luck o7

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Loopy

Although i agree with the core theme of the article (don’t do stupid things, they have consequences), i feel it’s missing the key point here – harassment is wrong, regardless of how much somebody got “offended”. If the person in question here said something immature, bigoted, racist, or whatever – kick him out of the guild, done deal. To continue with the daily harassment is never ok, and never justified.

To the person who submitted the question: There is a harassment reporting button you can use when you get an in-game chat message. In-game messages are always logged, so they’ll have plenty of evidence when reviewing your case.

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Leiloni

I agree, reading the article I was quite surprised and a bit annoyed. It felt like the writer was joining up with the bullies and trying to attack OP for something he did wrong. Not only do we have no clue what OP said, it doesn’t matter. The focus here absolutely needs to be on the bullying and harassment. Under no circumstances is that sort of behavior ok. NONE. I’m saddened that the writer and some of these commenters are making it seem ok, or at least not giving it the focus it deserves here. That’s the point of the article for me and why the writer is asking for help to begin with.

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BalsBigBrother

After reading Tina’s comment she posted I can see where she is coming from and why she has said what she said in this article.

Non of the parties involved are seemingly totally clean and in the clear. Everyone involved seems to have pushed past certain boundaries of one sort or another. I say seemingly because we are lacking details here which are somewhat crucial to the whole episode.

So you have to try for a balanced approach to any answer you offer that favours neither side but still offers some useful recourse to the person who wrote in. Yes the is no justification for the bullying or abuse of any sort non at all and they should totally not be subjected to that.

However you cannot just focus on the effects of an action without addressing the cause of it. So the OP should also take this as a valuable life lesson too so that they don’t find themselves in a similar situation in the future. Which is what Tina looks to be aiming for with her article the life lesson part.

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gelfred

I feel the article focuses too much on ‘you should not have said that!’. Really, he didn’t harass anyone despite what he said (provided his story is true). He said something that was received to be offensive, but he did not repeat this thing or aim to cause further offence after this single occurrence, he never aimed to hurt others.

The guild members certainly are harassing him, and I would suggest talking to a game GM about it, they may not do anything, but its worth a shot if it has happened many times.

antheriel
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antheriel

I’m sorry this is happening to you, question-asker. There is so little forgiveness in this world.

Something similar happened to me not too long ago: I stood up to some homophobic bullying in my guild, people didn’t appreciate that, so I thanked everyone for the good times and left. I was pursued across the gameworld whenever I logged in, being PKed every time members of my old guild found me. Like you, I considered quitting.

I decided not to quit. I didn’t want that sense of victimization in my head. Instead, I took a short breather (a few days), then changed servers and found a better guild. It made all the difference in the world. I checked to make sure that the policies of the new guild were congruent with my values. I’ve had a great time ever since, and the bullying has stopped (it doesn’t hurt that my new guild is a very powerful one!)

I hope your situation improves soon and that you are able to stay with the game you love. I definitely agree with Tina that you should rise above: don’t bully you old guild-mates back. Simply move on.

wpDiscuz