It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to!
Last year there was some kerfluffle between Tam and his guild over a blog post, and I commented about how I felt about my own blog and my guild. Since then, I’ve moved my raiding over to a new team, and in the process, I’ve had to spend some more time evaluating how my blog can affect my guild, and in what ways I feel comfortable discussing guild business, promoting guild interests, and how my guildmates might be affected by what I decide to write.
My current guild was aware of my blog when they recruited me — it’s how they found me after all. When I was accepted as a full-member, there was some quiet discussion in my forum about the role of my blog: the guild was aware of it, the GM and RL did not expect me to change my voice. However, a link in the guild forums would be nice for blog post discussions that would benefit the guild.
Let’s just say, I’m horrible about linking.
The past couple of months I’ve spent most of my time doing what I always intended for my blog: compiling notes relevant to my characters and writing up strategies. I was tired of losing links and information whenever a guild imploded, and that was my primary motivation for starting my blog.
However, there are some things that can be considered touchy subjects. Guild management in general, a problem facing the guild (whether interpersonal or raid strategy), and all that generalized stuff that goes on in green and orange chat from day to day. I’ve begun to use my blog as a personal sounding board for how I feel about things that happen around the game. If the hamsters spinning the wheel of my brain will NOT shut up about something, I try to write about it. It helps crystallize my own feelings as well as allowing me to get feedback from other players who may have had similar experiences, or just a better solution than I can come up with!
The question is: how much is too much? Is there ever a time that sharing “guild business” can cross the line and become unsavory? And how much self-editing is appropriate?
In this, there’s a lot of wriggle room. My rule of thumb for any discussions involving my guild is to make sure someone in management knows I have a problem first. If I’ve stated I’m unhappy about something, and you’ve given me the “let’s try it” I may very well turn around and write a post to solicit opinions from others. However, if it’s a specific problem with an individual then it’s going to depend on several factors.
- Do I just not like someone? If that’s the case, I’m not going to talk about it. There’s nothing to resolve, and bitching about it to the interwebs is not going to do anything constructive except make my guild look bad.
- Do I think feedback will help? The reason to talk about many guild issues is to solicit feedback from the rest of the community. Almost everyone is guilded, and chances are, whatever issue I’m having is one that someone else has had as well.
- Can I keep the other party anonymous? It’s really hard to do this in a guild setting, particularly in a 10-man guild with a lean roster. If I can’t, and I don’t want to talk to the player about the post, then I’m obviously not comfortable with them finding/reading it. If that’s the case, I shouldn’t be posting it in “my space.”
- Can I talk about the issue in neutral terms? If not, then I’m probably too biased to elicit any response other than “omg, what an asshat!” which is not going to help the situation (although it might make ME feel better).
- Will the post help someone else? If the issue is resolved, it may be worth talking about as a “case study.” Even problems with poor resolutions (someone lives the guild for example) can provide good examples of things that work… or don’t!
Of course, you don’t always get what you expect when writing about these things. My recent post on the healing channel is a perfect example. To me, it fit into the “I could use feedback” category of discussion–I wanted some opinions from other players on whether they viewed a healing channel as necessary or not.
Basically, this is how the timeline of events occurred:
- Channel shut down
- Tells on night of event about “really, why?”
- Reasons explained
- Windsoar has overactive hamster syndrome (i.e. it’s bugging the shit out of me)
- I write a post
- Many comments later, I decide I’m not crazy, I’ll talk to the other healers
- RL was apparently out of town and comments several days later
- Next raid night get a tell from a healer in support; others undecided
- RL and I have been discussing the channel.
If you’ll notice, I didn’t follow some of my own “ethical” guidelines when talking about my guild. I expressed some displeasure when the channel was shut down, but I never really had a talk with the raid leader about it until AFTER I made my post. I also did something on that post that I rarely do: I didn’t respond to comments. Although I definitely intended to convey that I supported having a healer channel and was disappointed that the shutdown of said channel wasn’t a joint decision, I wasn’t mad at my RL. I wasn’t even angry over the decision to close it down. I felt outside my comfort zone, and I couldn’t judge whether I was just reacting poorly to change… or not. However, I received some comments that made me uncomfortable — that perhaps I had overstated my case and was seeking support instead of feedback (if that distinction makes any sense). I now felt like I had attacked a member of my raid team, and I felt crummy!
This has inspired further guild/blog discussion a bit more between myself and the management. In some ways, it’s made me really happy that I chose to be guilded with this group as this has been the overall response to the post:
I enjoy your blog and think it is a great thing. I also enjoy your shared rss feed, as an aside. Keep doing whatever you think it best and feel free to ignore anything I say or said this thread about it.
However, it made me realize that my blog space, where I speak in my own “voice” is not always as great as conveying exactly what I intend all the time. While I can’t help people forming their own opinions of myself and my guild, I can control what I share and how I share it. And since I tend to talk about issues (problems) instead of successes, I thought I’d be unequivocal in praise of things that I love about my guild.
- I am a team member, not a random class/role.
- My management does listen when I speak to them.
- My raid team is awesome.
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