Monday, February 18, 2008

Somebody Set Up Us the QQ Bomb

So, obviously there was no interface post this weekend. Turns out the missus had the weekend off from babysitting, so I was playing with her most of the weekend. Lesson learned: no more announcing posts ahead of time. Lets just say the UI post will be coming "soon".

Anyhow, today I want to expand on a post Matticus made recently on Leaving Your Guild the Right Way. While he looked at it from the angle of somebody who wants to leave the guild on good terms, or at the very least someone who doesn't want to burn all the Bridges of Madison County, I want to discuss a very different type of departed guildmate. Someone I have come to refer to as the /Gquit Bomber.

A /Gquit Bomber is a person who has a score to settle, either with individual guild members, or the guild as a whole. More often than not, the target of their anger is one or more of the guild officers, but it may also be someone who benefitted from what they see as a great injustice. Such injustices range from loot disputes to raid invite favoritism to feeling slighted by guildmates, to pretty much anything you can think of. Sometimes the concern is a valid one, other times it is merely the perception of the Bomber. The only unifying factor is that, whatever the injustice, it is something important to the Bomber. In fact, sometimes people who the guild kicks out turn into the worst Bombers of them all, your turning them away being the biggest testament to your unfairness EVER!

Now, not everybody who feels they're being opressed in some way will become a /Gquit Bomber. Some may stay and work out their problems. Others will at least show some degree of maturity and simply quit the guild. Bombers, however, decide to make their leaving personal. Its not enough to simply leave the situation behind them and start fresh elsewhere, they have to make their former guild suffer for the criminal way they were treated.

The most effective way for a Bomber to hurt your guild is by getting other members, especially active raiders (if you're in a raiding guild) to leave, or to at least hinder the recruitment of new members. The former is often done by direct contact with those they left behind. New members, fringe members, and those who have experienced similar treatment (but perhaps not considered it unfair at the time) are the most likely targets. Often times, this can go on unbeknownst to the guild's leadership, at least for a while. Eventually, word usually gets out that somebody has been trying to get people to leave the guild, either due to someone ratting the person out, or sometimes due to another member following in the footsteps of the first.

Hindering new recruitment, however, is something most often carried out on the wonderful morass known as the Blizzard Realm Forums, though in-game smear campaigns have also been known to occur, especially in the equally murky swamp of the trade channel. If you have a recruitment thread, expect to see it bombarded with haterade. Either way, you're likely to also get a few new forum threads dedicated to how horribly your guild treats its members, written either by the member themself, or their favorite level 3 troll alt.

Now, if you're a member of a fairly small guild, you may never have to deal with people like this. As your guild gets bigger, however, these folks tend to get more frequent, and the fecal matter they stir up tends to get more and more. . . fragrant. The reason for this is twofold: smaller groups tend to be more tight knit, and thus people are more likely to work out their problems with their close friends, and bigger groups usually have bigger reputations, and for a Bomber to smear a guild's reputation, there needs to be one there TO smear.

Now, lets just say that you currently have a mad Bomber or two on the loose, like Prophecy does at the moment. What do you do? Well, while a guild's response has to be tailored to the person you're dealing with, as well as the guild's philosophies and reputation, the first thing you need to do is to treat this person like any other forum troll. . .


This first step is crucial, just don't respond to them at all, at least initially. This is because the bomber can't do much, if any, damage to your guild on his own. He, like any other forum troll, relies on a tactic of baiting you into responding, and then making you look bad via your own response to them. A troll that nobody responds to is about as effective as a missile without a warhead.

Now, the problem is, in a guild large enough to bother attacking like this, its very hard to keep all of your members from feeding the troll. And even if you do succeed at controlling your guild's members, SOMEBODY on the forum is going to bite on it. So while its good for the general guild membership to just leave the situation alone, guild leadership should generally be ready to combat the problem carefully (though completely ignoring the issue has been known to have some success with certain guilds).

One important thing to remember is that you're dealing with somebody who doesn't really have anything to lose. Your guild's reputation is on the line, but the Bomber isn't likely to have a reputation to speak of (or if they do have one, it is usually not a good one). Dont let them bring you down to their level, that'll just be a victory for them.

As for how to actually respond to the Bomber . . . the only hard and fast rule that comes to mind is to never fight a battle you dont know how to win, and dont ever try to lie your way out of it. Sometimes its better to ignore the troll, even when you're directly responding to them. For example, if their big argument is that there is loot favoritism, and member X has won 6 pieces of gear in the last two weeks, and member X really DID get those 6 pieces of gear, dont lie and say they only got 2 pieces, admit they got all 6, but explain why it wasn't due to favoritism. Maybe that person was the only one who needed any of the stuff. Maybe the people he was competing with on the loot got together, realized he needed all that stuff more than they did, and voluntarily stepped aside to get a guildie geared up. If you use a loot council, explain. . . well, honestly, if you're using a loot council, get used to these sorts of things *shrug*.

I guess the ultimate truth here is that you dont have to win any arguments to beat a hostile /Gquit Bomber. All you have to do is defuse their ammunition. Sometimes you can do so by pointing out the flaws in their perception. And honestly, sometimes your best bet can be to admit mistakes (if their concerns are legitimate). After all, what better publicity can there be for your guild than showing how guild leadership listens to the concerns of its (ex) members and addresses them. Just make sure you dont come off as giving in to terrorist deamands, though.

Oh, and if Prophecy's current /Gquit-Bombers-At-Large happen to read this, give it up, trolling a guild made up of forum trolls is just plain stupid.

No comments:

© 2008 The Rambling Bear. All Rights Reserved.

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®