We have always looked at Monolith as a family. We celebrate successes together, we struggle through difficulties together, and we grow as a group together. Like all families, we have people who will grate on your nerves, like your annoying Aunt Martha who thinks that the only way to do something is her way, and will tell you about it until you feel like you are going to puke. Sure…you want to tell her to just shut the fuck up, but instead you politely smile and nod as she speaks, as if you really care, all in an effort to keep the family peace.
Why, you might ask, am I talking about my Aunt Martha? Well, we had to let someone from our family go last night.
I’m sure you are thinking “so what, people get kicked from guilds all the time”. That might be true for other guilds…but we really do view our members as part of our family. We have not guild removed anyone outside of their trial period in…well, it’s been so long that I can’t even recall when the last time we did it. It was a difficult decision to make, and one that saddened me quite a bit. However, when all is said and done, I really think it was probably for the best and that ultimately we made the right decision.
Let me spin the tale of Chas (I have changed the name of my guildmate for purposes of this post).
I would like to start off by stating that I liked Chas very much. I felt that he was a reliable member of the guild, always willing to help and frequently provided things like fish for feasts above and beyond most of our other members, with his only downfall largely being that complained about anything and everything constantly. It saddens me greatly that what has occurred has transpired.
For a number of months Chas and other members of our guild have had an ongoing, semi-public, conflict. I do not the exact details of the conflict, other than it was “personal” or why it remained on going, only that all parties involved were having difficulty letting go of it. What I do know is that for the most part Chas made a great effort to remove himself from the conflict, but was unable to ignore what he perceived as hostility that was still coming from other members of the guild, and it caused him great personal distress. I will also state that Chas was also extremely sensitive, perhaps too much so, and that a spat of thicker skin on his part would have helped alleviate a good number of the problems. In the vernacular, I suppose that you could say Chas was “emo”.
The leadership spent months trying to smooth over this conflict, and all parties involved were spoken with ad nauseam in an effort to resolve it to a point that people could at least be respectful to each other. It quite literally got to the point that a tell, or PM, from any of the parties involved made me want to log out of the game, and it was sucking the fun out of the playing for me because I had to spend more time mediating the conflict than actually, you know, enjoying the game. The leadership tried to remain a neutral party in the conflict and work towards a resolution that would let all parties involved at least co-habit in the same guild space, even if it meant they had each other on ignore and never interacted with each other whatsoever.
Again, if Chas could have just thickened up his skin some, and let things slide off, and if Chasesta wasn’t such a bitch who went out of her way to be…well, a bitch, things probably would have turned out quite differently and our efforts to resolve the issue would have been at least moderately successful. In some part, our willingness to try to mediate the situation to an amiable resolution was probably our biggest fault. In hindsight, we should have just come down harder on the bullshit. We did in fact finally get so sick of it that we said “all of you can be respectful to each other, or you can get the fuck out”. However, that action was a day late and a dollar short. In essence, we had just been too damn nice, harboring false hopes that we were working with a group of reasonable adults rather than playing “principal” in a Jr. High School full of irrational 14 year old, hormonal kids.
This conflict came to a bit of a head on Tuesday evening with our alt run, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I will take partial responsibility for it, because perhaps it could have been avoided had I been clearer in lying out down expectations with regards to our alt run, expectations that I had assumed everyone in our guild would just follow by default. This is a standing run of all guild mates, where 90% of the people play the same alt every week. We have a few people, myself included, that like to vary which of their level 80 alts they bring to participate in the run. Now, our expectation was that you would use some modicum of decency and common courtesy with regards to loot when you brought in your second…or fourth alt. That is to say, if you had won a big item on another alt, such as a trinket or weapon, you would naturally use some discretion if that item dropped again and you were on an alt that didn’t have the item yet.
As I said, these are all guild runs, and quite honestly, I never in a million years would have expected one of my guild members to 1) roll on an item that they had already received in a prior run, against others in the raid without the item; or 2) question our request that they use some discretion when rolling for an item. Clearly, I don’t know some of the members of my guild as well as I thought I did :( And I apparently didn’t set out our expectations as clearly as I should have when people asked me if they could bring a different alt into these runs. I will accept the responsibility for that.
Now, a decision was made in Tuesday’s alt run by the leadership that required Chas to show respect and courtesy (as described above) with regards to a rare item that he had already taken on another alt in a previous run. While I do not normally believe this to be a problem for Chas, as he tends to be a reasonable guy, he was a bit incensed because he was asked to do these things for someone who he felt (see comment above about stated emoness) outwardly disrespected him and never showed him the courtesy that we were asking him to now show. I completely understood his frustrations and how he felt, and I do not fault him for being frustrated at being asked to be respectful to someone who appeared to make little effort to do the same in return.
However, we strive to be fair and honest, and the leadership did not feel that it was appropriate to permit “double diping”, as it were, regardless of the situation, on a run that is regularly scheduled and generally attended by the same group of people. We had erroneously made the assumption that those expectations were a given to those few members of the raid that like to rotate which alts that they brought into the group, and that they would use some discretion and courtesy when rolling for loot. We were at fault for perhaps not communicating that expectation as clearly as we should have to those switching around alts. But, we also were not going to throw our known reputation for fairness out the window, either, and addressed the situation.
When I reminded Chas that we had fairly high standards, he basically laughed in my face “lol, it’s just a stupid alt run”. So I asked him if he thought that meant we should throw our standards out the window…and sadly, he indicated he thought it was a joke to have standards in an alt run. I’m sorry, it’s not “just an alt run”. It is a Monolith raid, and it will maintain the same standards that everyone in, and out, of our guild have come to expect from .
Ultimately, Chas was displeased with our request that he show respect and courtesy to someone who frequently failed to offer him the same in return, and I suppose, ultimately, with what he felt our inadequate handling of resolving the conflict. As a result, he asked to be moved to an inactive status as he felt that the best way to resolve the conflict once and for all would be to remove himself completely from any interaction with the parties that he had the conflict.
Now, we generally have no issues with members requesting to stop raiding, and are generally happy to move them to an inactive status and let them continue to play casually in our friends/family rank. I was saddened by his decision, but everyone has a right to make such decisions.
Unfortunately, this request opened up a whole new can of worms as Chas has been running some server wide GDKP runs. I, personally, had participated in a few of these, and upon Chas’ request helped lead them so that they went smoothly. But, I had received a steady stream of complaints regarding these runs from any number of guildmates that didn’t care for the runs for one reason or another. While Chas was an active member of the guild I did not have a problem fielding the complaints and supporting Chas. However, for someone who, in a bit of a huff wanted to become inactive, it now because a bigger issue. Why? Because we had a good number of active raiders who were unhappy with the runs…which were now going to be run by an inactive member of the guild.
One of the concerns that was voiced by a number of people to the leadership privately was “what if something goes wrong, and Monolith has to deal with the downfall”. While I honestly do not think that Chas would sabotage his runs, or purposefully cause something to go afoul, those that addressed the concern did bring up a valid point. There was a risk by allowing the runs to be run under the Monolith tag and utilizing resources provided by Monolith, such as Ventrilo. While it was not advertised as a Monolith run, all perceptions are that it was a Monolith sponsored, or at least approved, run while Chas was wearing the Monolith tag.
Unfortunately what that means is that should there ever be some sort of downfall with the runs, not that I honestly expect that to happen, Monolith would then be “left with the bill” as it were, and would then have to work to protect our goodwill on the server. Again, I didn’t expect that to occur, but nobody expects things like that to happen. This was a risk that I was OK taking while Chas remained an active member of the guild, but became a risk that I didn’t want take for an inactive member. Not to mention that I have a number of active members indicating that they were displeased with the runs. When push comes to shove, I need to give more weight to our active members than our inactive members. We are first and foremost a raiding guild, and one of our priorities is to maintain a roster that is conducive to progression raiding.
This left us in a very difficult position because we now needed to weigh out my personal, albeit waning, likes for this member as an inactive member against the desires of our active members. So, our hands became a bit tied. We had to advise Chas that as an inactive member he could not continue the GDKP runs under the tag due to a number of concerns, and explained those concerns to him. We kindly requested that if it was his desire to continue to host the runs, that he deguild himself, until such time that he had decided that he wasn’t going to run the GDKP runs anymore, and then he would be welcome to return as a friends and family member. He refused.
Ok…at this point, I’m going WTF. You have spent MONTHS bitching at me about how certain people in the guild make your life miserable. You have spent MONTHS of my time trying to make me fix what apparently was an un-fixable problem. And then you refuse to leave a place that had apparently become so volatile to you that you felt you could no longer raid? And of course he told us to “do whatever you think best” and then immediately logged off.
That left us in the un-enviable position of having to remove a member from our guild, something that we probably have not done in over a year. And then explain to our guild what transpired, as we rarely remove people so it’s a big deal when it occurs. But it also did something else, and this pisses me off a little bit: it put Chas in the position of claiming he was a victim and was kicked from Monolith. So be it.
While I was sad to see it transpire this way, I was learning some things about Chas through his behaviours and mentalities that were causing me to grow less fond of him. And in the end, his removal from the guild was probably for the best, even if it was an unfavorable result. It eliminated a great deal of stress from me, in having to deal with the constant stream of drama and try to keep it under control and itt solved the problem of guildmates being unhappy with us permitting the GDKP runs under the Monolith name.
As for the others in this tale, they have been told that if we ever see so much as a hint of this behaviour from them again, they aren’t going to get so much as a courtesy “have a nice day” before they are removed from the guild.
I suppose sometimes you’ve just got to make those difficult decisions.