Today’s post can be found over at Arrens’ blog.
Today’s post can be found over at Arrens’ blog.
A touchy subject, to be sure, but one that doesn’t have a lot of attention paid to it. Blizzard does a really nice job of laying out what they determine harassment to be (read here: Blizzard’s Official Harassment Policy ), but there’s not a lot written about what to do if you are the target of a harassing player.
That said, there are some different things to consider at this point, including the different levels of harassing behavior. Not every harassing player is created equal, and the response to each one will be different.
It’s very easy to pop into town and see some new moron spouting racist, sexist, threatning, or derrogatory language, right-click ignore them, and go on your merry way. I’m not talking about that kind of harassment. On another level, we have the frequently spotted, often naked RP griefer. That’s the subject of a separate post, and one that you’ll see soon! Let’s leave that particular character behind for now as well, though, since it is worthy of a separate discussion.
Which leaves us where I want to get started.
What do you do when someone is personally going out of their way to harass you? This might be someone you know, someone in your guild or in your raid, someone in a chat channel you frequent, or just someone you picked up for RP. The key here is this:
Harrassment happens when someone contacts you in a way you don’t like (or are uncomfortable with) and continues to do so even after you ask them to stop.
By that definition, it doesn’t matter who they are, whether you’ve been in a guild with them for years or just met them in a PUG, what you know about them, or anything.
There are three key parts to the Official Annas Definition of Harassment though, each of which is important:
It’s not a complicated list, and it doesn’t have to extend over long periods of time, make you feel all skeevy, make you think about quitting the game/transferring servers, or any other horrible thing. Someone does something; you ask them to stop; they keep doing it. That’s harassment.
I want to stress, however, that you do actually need to ask them to stop, and you need to state it clearly, firmly, and in no uncertain terms. Nobody around you is a mind-reader, and JoeNoobface may actually just be a clueless noob that doesn’t know that his rape jokes are somewhat offputting. Most people, when asked “Hey could you please not do (whatever), it makes me uncomfortable and is kind of skeevy” will apologize and hey – problem solved.
If they do NOT stop, particularly if you are the target of ongoing threatening/sexual/disturbing/uncomfortable whispers, you have come to #3 on the list and will need to make some decisions. I don’t recommend being rash, but I don’t recommend putting your own comfort, enjoyment of the game, and (in severe cases) mental state below “not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings.” Temper this with your best judgment (and the help of people you trust, like your guild leader).
I would suggest, at that point, cutting off all communication with the harasser. Regardless of their motivations, whether you think they are/were a nice person, or whatever, they are blatantly disregarding what you want from a game that you are paying money to play. Nobody deserves that!
Here’s how to go about it:
These steps are particularly important if you think that the person in question is deserving of a temporary or permanent account ban – you want to have taken all the steps that you can to make yourself totally unavailable to the harassing person.
Now, that third step is particularly sticky, and I really don’t like it at all – it’s isolating, and it rewards the harasser while punishing the person who is being harassed. Unfortunately, there’s not another way to deal with it outside of getting the harassing person removed from the channel/guild. Which is why you really should speak with the GL/channel manager before dropping out. Explain to them why you need to not participate in the guild/channel anymore, state your experiences calmly and rationally, and bring along a bit of evidence (screenshots are good) of you asking the person to stop and their refusing to do so if you can.
These tools – the ignore feature and the report feature in particular – are there to give you a measure of control in the situation. Yes, they might not be fair (and in some cases they are decidedly UNfair), but they do succeed in getting your game experience free from the influence of the harasser.
Occasionally, these situations will make their way out of game – either because of guild forums or the realm forums, or because this was someone you thought you could trust and gave them an IM name or an email address (not every creepy person on the internet has a creepy name and goes around advertising their creepiness).
There are ignore and report functions on most guild forum sites (and they are both there on the realm/Blizzard forums as well) if both of you are guests. If the person is in your guild, however, you’ll probably want to take further steps. This is absolutely another time when you should speak with your GL, because most guilds are not fond of harboring people with such outright disregard for others. Whether your GM decides to ban the harassing person or not is in the hands of the guild leadership, but you can always ignore a poster even if they choose to let the harasser stick around.
Most instant messaging and email programs also have ignore or block functions (in gmail, that function is done through creating a filter) – however, do not throw away emails or conversations if you can avoid it. Once this kind of situation progresses to out-of-game contact, particularly if the harassing person went digging for your email or IM that’s posted in a guild forum, the situation changes from being in-game harassment to being on-line harassment and potentially on-line stalking. (Yes, it’s a scary word.) On-line stalking, if it gets very serious, can be grounds for contacting another person’s internet provider and/or the police.
Throughout any situation like this, remember that someone else choosing to harass you is not your fault.
It doesn’t matter if this is someone you’ve known for a long time and the conversations just kinda got weird, and then they got really weird, and now you’re uncomfortable and freaked out. Someone who is your friend, when you tell them “please stop” will do so. Common courtesy. It’s like finding out that one of your friends really doesn’t like being hugged. If a good friend said to you sincerely “Please don’t hug me, it weirds me out and makes me uncomfortable,” you might feel a little embarrassed, and you might not really understand, but you’d also probably not run up and hug them all the time either.
Above all, don’t be afraid to take whatever steps are necessary to remove a poisonous or harassing person from your gaming time. You deserve to not have your feelings hurt, to not be made uncomfortable, and to enjoy the time you spend in game. If someone wants to stomp all over that, there are ways to deal with them that are quick and effective. Take advantage of those tools and don’t let other people ruin your game.
This isn’t a light subject, nor is it a particularly fun one to talk about. Please be gracious in the comments – especially if someone chooses to talk about a past experience with this kind of thing.
I’m back, at least for a week, and then I’ll be off into the great vast realms of AFK-land again. Here’s a bit about what’s been going on.
A reminder that if you’ve got ideas, I would love to have a guest post from you for next week when I’ll be gone again! You can email me at toomanyannasATgmailDOTcom if you want some help turning a vague something into a post to show here – and, of course, if you’ve got a blog, I’ll be linking back to it!
Today’s post is brought to you by the awesome Tami, who will introduce herself here in a minute (as I am still out of town). She’s an awesome writer, and you may have once known her as The Egotistical Priest. She’s filling in for me today with a little bit about the actual /process/ that is writing. Sometimes I get asked how it is that I write every day, or how I get something finished (either blog posts or RP stories or other stories). Tami’s got your answer.
Hello, Anna’s readers! I’m Tami, from TamiMoore.com. Anna sent out the call for guest posts and asked me to give her readers a little tough love on the subject of writing.
Blogging, magazine articles, short stories, novels, non-fiction books, diaries, role-playing …
No matter what flavor of “writing” they do, a lot of writers are looking for the magic bullet – the missing piece that will solve all their writing problems.
“What problems are these, Tami?”
Well, I’m so glad you asked! Let’s take a look at a small sub-sampling, which naturally has no bearing whatsoever in my own personal writing problems and issues, because any one person having THIS many writing hangups might seem unhinged …. *coff, coff* Moving on.
Those are fun, eh? Any of them sound familiar?
I am going to teach you the secret to writing. It answers every single one of those problems and more.
Furthermore, I’m going to give it to you absolutely free.
*waves you in closer* Are you ready?
That’s the secret.
I can’t imagine why you should be. If anything, you should be filled with hope and a renewed fervor.
I’m being serious here. You, in the back, stop it with the scoffing.
If there were some magical secret to writing, that would mean that some folks had an advantage. That no matter what you did, you might never write as well as they can until you got your hands on their magic bean/pill/potion/prayer/thingy. “Powdered writing skill, just add water!”
Happily, that’s not true at all!
Write. That’s it.
Work. Practice. Do. Take action. Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard – WRITE.
But, but, but, how can that possibly address all of those problems?
Whether you have novels inside of you, yearning to be written or you’d really just like to update your blog more often, the answer is the same.
WRITE. No excuses.
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