So, we had to guild kick someone the other day. I don’t generally like to guild kick people because I’m a) kind of soft-hearted and sentimental and b) afraid that if I start I won’t be able to stop. We at Imposs like to use gkick as a last resort and we like to make it stick. In the past year I think we’ve only asked about four people to leave and it’s mostly been without seeing hide nor hair of the Drama Llama. Well, after the kick that is. (One of my biggest fears is that someone who has been kicked will get all disgruntled and start some serious shit. Not happened yet, but I worry. I always worry.)
We have a policy in place that details the behaviour that the guild community expects from its members. Generally, if someone is transgressing, a simple whisper from an officer is enough to get them back on the right track. Sometimes two reprimands are needed, but there’s never been a guild kick over it until just recently.
In the case of our erstwhile guild member, they decided that calling our raid leader “gay” several times over vent was an appropriate way to express their displeasure. Seeing as this was coming the day after a late-night vent conversation between this guildie and one or two others where the offender also used “gay” as a synonym for “stupid” enough times to warrant two unhappy emails in my inbox the next morning (and neither of them from any of our openly gay members, btw), our homophobic slur-slinger got a whisper from me post-haste.
“Hey, I know you’re not intending to do any harm with your word choice – but I just want to let you know that you are. There are people – real people – in this guild who identify as gay and they don’t appreciate you (or anyone) using ‘gay’ to describe something you dislike. I know that you don’t want to hurt any of the friends that you have in this guild, and I know that you’re more than clever enough to come up with another way of expressing yourself, so please do so. Thanks so much.”
That was met with a surly silence and a marked display of ‘pouty’ behaviour from our former guildie.
Later on that night (after I had logged off, tellingly) there was a rehash of the earlier vent conversation. Not one, not two but three members and three officers (not including me) told this ex-Imposs member that his language use was well over the line and that he should just stop. Please stop. Please, please stop. His response was to gquit on his alt. The response of the officers was to gkick his main. My response was to post this on the forums, under the title “The Language Police.”
Yup, they’re here. And I am them!
I think it would behoove everyone to take a look at this post again, maybe check out some of the finer points on it, including the bit that goes:
The final thing I want to say to you all here is to reiterate something I’ve posted on these forums before:
your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.
The general channels are open to any form or topic of conversation, but that freedom is granted on the grounds that it will be administered with a respect for all of the members of the guild. If someone voices an opposing viewpoint, or someone requests a change in topic or language, then – as long as those views or requests are presented in a respectful manner – they must also be respected. I don’t mean “respected” in the form of “obeyed” but in the more literal sense of treated with compassion and dignity.
Because we all live in an imperfect society, and we all drop the occasional sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise unacceptable comment through a combination of laziness, ignorance or just plain thoughtlessness. It happens, and I’m not here to scold everyone or make them watch every word they say at all times.
But when you start dropping a sexist, racist or homophobic slur like it’s on your fucking Word of the Day Calendar, and you’re asked politely by several people to stop – stop. Stop using it, and start thinking about how maybe there are actual people who are gay, female or people of colour – and who are people who don’t appreciate being compared to all that is stupid or worthless. Maybe there are people in the guild who are not directly affected by your words but who are nonetheless tired of you using them anyhow.
We’re all adults here. We’re a community here. Let’s realize that we should act like one. And acting like an adult within a community of adults means being able to use the phrase “whups, my bad” and move on when you’re respectfully asked to stop offensive behaviour.
There has not (as of yet) been one reply on the forums to that post.
The post script to this story is that over the next few days I had a series of conversations with our former member. The first conversation did not go well. It basically consisted of a non-apology along the lines of, “Well, I didn’t mean it in that way. I’m sorry people are upset.”
I’d like to make it clear that intent does not bloody well matter. It doesn’t matter if you meant to hurt someone with your words – you did. It doesn’t matter if you meant to be a douchecanoe – you did. The big boy response here is to say “I’m sorry.” Just, “I’m sorry.” Not, “I’m sorry you were offended” – which is about as meaningful as “I’m sorry I got caught” btw. But, “I’m sorry.” Period. Full stop.
I suggested to our no-longer-raider that because his offense was pretty public, and that most of the guild was hurt and or pissed off, then the appropriate response would be to make some sort of public apology. Not just to try to get your way back into the good graces of everyone, but because our ex-member had been a member for a long time. And had made many friends and many connexions within the guild. A forum apology would reach everyone and show that even though you’ve been asked to leave, you still value the Imposs community, its members and the history you shared.
Surprisingly, he did.
I was actually shocked by it. He made a real and genuine apology to the guild, and the n server transferred with quite a respectful and remorseful adieu. I was impressed by the fact that he realized his behaviour had been sinking lower and lower over the past few months and that with his homophobic rant he had finally hit rock bottom. In the end he bid Impossibilium and ThoBro a graceful goodbye.
There is a lesson to be learned here.