HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Self Censored

I know, I know, my portrait on the footer is out of date. Sorry!

I know, I know, my portrait on the footer is out of date.

Since Christmas Lathere has spent more time administering the guild than actually playing the game. And the topics she wants to blog about include all the bad stuff that comes with being part of the running of a guild.

When she was drafting her last post she said to me “I feel like about writing about all these things but I don’t feel right about publishing it”.

I’ve heard about people getting fired, or not being hired, because of incriminating Facebook profiles and comments. A friend of a friend of a friend blogged about their everyday life, including stuff happening in their workplace, and was fired over it. Do the same standards of privacy and confidentiality apply to publishing and guilds?

Legally (and bear in mind that I’m no expert) I don’t see how they could. First off, you sign a contract when you become an employee. To a certain extent they own your mind – and any ideas you may have – while you are an employee. If, as an employee, you publish on the internet “I work at XYZ Telecommunications and the reason that our servers went down the other day is because we all went out for a boozy lunch! Even the techies!” you could seriously damage the reputation of your company. Your damage might lead to a loss in customers and revenue.

But a guild isn’t a business. Our employees are our guild members. We have potential employees everywhere. Our competitors are other progression-driven raiding guilds. The closest thing we have to customers are the players on the server we might trade goods with, or players we might bring ask to join a PuG. We are not reliant on our customers to “succeed” as a business. We primarily do not exist to raise gold. We define succeeding as killing bosses and raid progression.

To reach our goal, we need a strong raid team – a strong team of employees.

Yes, our reputation is still very important to us. A guild with a poor reputation will have a much more difficult time recruiting players. Even very successful (progression-wise) guilds with poor reputations will have difficulties recruiting players.

If you’re having difficulty recruiting excellent players (er employees) you end up dropping your standards to recruit good players and end up with a weaker team overall. So our reputation definitely contributes to the success/failure of the raid team.

Somehow Lathere (and I) need to walk a fine line – blogging about our experiences within our guild, without damaging the reputation of our guild. Or, we could just not blog about it at all. Or, we could change our character names, remove the WoW Armory links and completely disassociate ourselves from our characters, server and guild.

The second option seems somewhat extreme. But if we had taken that stance from the day we set up Hots and Dots I think it would have been easily achieved. But we never set out to hide who we are. I like having players whisper me in game and leave a comment, in person so to speak, about an article that we’ve published.

I’m not ashamed to leave my character exposed for all my readers to poke at my gear, gems or achievements. In the same way that I lack respect for players who post on the official forums as their level 1 alt, I would lose respect for bloggers who offer advice with no way for me to establish who they are, where they come from and what they’ve experienced.

I read many bloggers who hide (unintentionally, I think) what server they play on and what their character name is. To be fair, most of them write about personal, very subjective, learning experiences – opinion pieces. And I don’t think it’s necessary to establish credibility for that kind of writing.

But if you expect me to follow your 3.3 Resto Druid Raiding Gear Guide, well, I’d want to know that you actually raid as a Resto Druid! I’d prefer to learn about Resto Shaman healing from someone who is actually, well, an experienced Resto Shaman.

I don’t think anonymity is a valid option for Lathere and I.

So should we only write about the good stuff? We blog about lots of guild achievements – when we master a fight strategy in particular. We share our guild strategies and ideas right here on the blog. I’d like to point out that this is all positive publicity for the guild which often goes unrecognized.

I think it’s lying to only blog about the good stuff. Bad stuff happens in every guild. Is it better to try and keep it private? Perhaps. Some problems and personal conflicts can blow over if you ignore them, or try and solve them in private without the rest of the guild, and the community, reading with a bowl of popcorn at hand.

When I blogged about a little bit of drama that somehow split the guild right down the middle, one 10 man group vs the other, I was extremely vague about the circumstances. I wanted to write about it and I felt that I couldn’t write any other post at the time. But I also felt that if I were to drag all the details and personal conflicts out into the open I might just be making the problem infinitely worse. So I didn’t. It was frustrating to write it like that, but I certainly don’t wish be the catalyst which makes existing drama worse just to satisfy my writer’s muse.

Lathere is in a more difficult situation than I. She is an officer and has to deal with all the complaints, dramas and conflicts that I remain blissfully unaware of 99% of the time. But on the few occasions that I’ve been caught up in guild politics or drama, I find myself shying away from publishing those articles too.

Perhaps I need to set us, Lathere and I, some guidelines. I think it would be wrong to:

  1. publish a story which identifies individuals by name and defames them
  2. inadvertently publish some new guild policy before telling the guild first
  3. take an opinion (we’re bloggers, that’s all we can do) and write about the details of a conflict between two guild members

Other than that, I think nothing else should be off limits.

I believe that our readers are smart enough to recognise that there is good and bad things in Vitare. Good and bad things happen in all guilds.

And when we write about them, it’s because we wonder if you might have experienced the same thing.

13 Responses to “Self Censored”

  1. I think it can work the way you do it, or in a more immersive way (like Amber at For the Bubbles) as long as axes aren’t ground too much. As long as it’s something YOU guys are comfortable with, I see no harm, no foul.

    I have made a conscious effort to keep my guild out of my blog as much as possible. I don’t sanitize against it *completely* but I try to be as positive as I can, and keep it neutral at worst.

    The good news is that none of my guildies are blog readers, so even if I slipped up and divulged more than I meant, I don’t think they would ever find out.

    The other “good” thing (?) is that my readership is low enough that in my ~9 months of blogging, I have never had any random come up to me and chat/whisp/whatever about it. Er, maybe that’s not really a good thing :-P lol
    .-= SlikRX/Balthazario’s last blog … Retpal DPS: Paint it Black, Paint it Dead =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Amber is an excellent example – she never uses guild drama or guild events to construct her topics yet if you read between the lines you can see how much what happening in her guild is affecting her. For example, I think she mentioned her promotion to Guild Master as a footnote to another post and she never spoke or complained about what circumstances brought that around.

      In today (or yesterday’s?) Bury the Corpse I think she shows that some of her guildies are complaining and glorifying the guild of the past – before she took over. We have that problem in Vitare, too.

  2. PapaNastyNo Gravatar says

    imo just think of what you’re about to publish, and if it’s something which you wouldn’t feel comfortable about if it were linked to via the realm forums.

    e.g. if it’s a really strongly held opinion, and you’d stick to your guns on it, then go for it. If it’s something which is a little sensitive to certain parties, then probably hold your tongue or moderate it a little :)

    On the whole though, you and Lath are pretty good at self moderation, sometimes issues which you raise within your blog, I’m completely in the dark regarding the specifics of who you’re talking about etc, and I’m in the guild!! (Although it could just be that I’m ignorant of some of the social circus antics lol)

  3. VidyalaNo Gravatar says

    I’m of two minds, and I do exactly the same self-censoring too. Members of my guild do read my blog, and my guild name is associated with it somewhat – it’s easy enough for anyone to armory my character name, even my alt, and know my guild and server. I wouldn’t feel right maligning them, even when I might have complaints.

    On the other hand, blogging and the community is such a valuable resource for problem-solving, and sometimes I’d desperately like to ask advice of people who aren’t directly involved with the guild or anything else. So I know how you feel. I think you could talk about some things generally, and you’d both be discreet and in good taste. Just the fact that you’re always thinking “I wouldn’t feel right publishing this,” says that you’re carefully considering what you say and to whom.
    .-= Vidyala’s last blog … But I thought this shield was just supposed to give me stats. =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Hopefully you’re right and just by thinking “I don’t feel right about publishing this” will ensure I never cross the line. I’ve yet to publish anything that’s caused me drama in-game, so maybe I’m on the right track.

  4. VokNo Gravatar says

    It’s a difficult line to walk. Personally, I like to blog about whatever is on my mind, however I have found myself censoring myself more often lately. The main issue, for me, is that my guild read my blog. Many of them are extremely opinionated and foreright in expressing that opinion. While I value you that in people I play with, I dislike seeing flame wars in the comment sections and I do not have enough self control to not respond to them.

    Another reason is I think it can be taken as a cheap shot. I had a massive arguement with an officer the other day, and I wrote a blog about it. It was a GOOD blog. I never published it and I won’t. Why? Because it seems to me that I’m having a cheap shot on a public level. People that will know how I’m talking about will comment, if not the person themself, then revealing who it was to everyone.

    I do like to write about the hard stuff. Internal disputes, bad raid nights, my own personal flaws, but sometimes there is a line. I’ve been tempted, for the longest time, to blog about some of the more negative aspect of my time with Obsolete but, again, I don’t want a flame war.

    My reasoning is different from yours however. I don’t want my guild to reflect badly on the blog, not the other way around.

    What I have found, though, is drama is popular. All of our biggest hits have been drama posts.

    As a reader, I hope you post everything. I like to see the internal workings of guild and it makes it more believable to see the bad as well as the good. As a writer, I know somethings are best left unsaid.
    .-= Vok’s last blog … Making a Better LFDungeon. =-.

  5. VokNo Gravatar says

    Wow at my spelling and grammar. Need more sleep….
    .-= Vok’s last blog … Making a Better LFDungeon. =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      A lot of players in Vitare read Hots and Dots – well, the players who have desk jobs or spare time to read it (and perhaps those who can’t access Facebook and Youtube from work!). I think if I didn’t know they were reading I would be more outspoken and it would be more liberating in a sense. But I love it when they comment.

      If I were to write thinking “would I be ok if this was posted on the oceanic or realm forums” I would never write anything! Who would intentionally throw themselves to the wolves?! Not I.

  6. OphelieNo Gravatar says

    It’s an interesting topic and one that I think about constantly. Shortly after I joined my guild, I had a chat with the GM about my blog and what I should and shouldn’t write about. He told me to write about whatever I wanted, that it wouldn’t change the way I would be treated. It wasn’t helpful, but at least we were on the same page.

    I, personally, portray my guild in a positive light as much as possible. I talk about the good and am very vague about the bad. I don’t see it as lying – if anyone assumes from my writing that all is always rosy and shiny, they obviously don’t know anything about guilds. When I do write about bad stuff, I write about it in a constructive tone, then wait until the storm has blown over before publishing. For example, we went through a phase were there was a lot of complaining. I waited until the everyone forgot about it, then wrote about effective complaining techniques.

    Other rules I set for myself are to never call people by name unless I have their permission, to never use my blog as an alternative for direct communication, to keep my guildie teasing very affectionate and to address all negative topics constructively: if I talk about a problem, the main focus is the solutions.

    I’m also very open my blog in my guild, and I encourage other bloggers to be too. It’s a great feeling to have guildies comment, or talk to me in game about something I’ve written.
    .-= Ophelie’s last blog … Love is in Singles Appreciation Day =-.

  7. BeruthielNo Gravatar says

    I feel your pain!

    I’ve only set one rule for myself with regards to what I blog about my guild: Only write what you would openly state to anyone in the guild.

    If I wouldn’t openly state it in guild chat, or to the person I’m blogging about, then I shouldn’t blog about it in a public venue, where anyone can read it. I will frequently change the names of people when I talk about direct instances, but I also would have openly had the conversation that I blog about with those involved. I don’t openly advertise my blog within the guild, but a fair few of my guildmates have stumbled upon it :)

    However, my one rule has served me fairly well I think. Perhaps it might help you a bit too!
    .-= Beruthiel’s last blog … It’s Been Fun, Thanks for All the Pet Biscuits UDI! =-.

  8. linkNo Gravatar says

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