General Principle: We Excuse Undesirable Behavior for a Good Reason
Most “nice” guilds (and nice people) in WoW have this as an unwritten rule. If a person does something detrimental to the guild/raid/group, but there is a “good reason,” we will excuse it.
Example: Tank Fails to Pick up Adds.
Scenario#1: I was distracted watching porn on the other monitor.
Now, nobody is going to cut the tank some slack in this scenario. “Turn off the porn, moron” or a swift kick are going to be the responses.
Scenario#2: I just had brain surgery.
Poor Cranky Old Gnome. He had . Most of us civilized humans would forgive him for being a little “off” in the tanking department. But the jerkfaces he ran with .
Good Reason versus Utilitarian Concerns
The above (porn watching versus brain surgery) is an extreme example, but it illustrates how we immediately are willing to excuse behavior that is detrimental to the group based on a “good” reason, and condemn that same behavior based on a “bad” reason.
I’m thinking back to Tamarind’s recent post about refusing to rez a jerk in a Pug, in no small part because he was being a jerk.
Gevlon’s response that from a pure utility viewpoint, it would be better to rez the jerk, regardless of the jerk’s reason for requesting the rez.
In a later post responding to Gevlon, Tamarind acknowledges an exception that most healers would make:
if someone has a genuine reason to wait for a rez, far better for them to go afk in €œdown time € while the group is running than keep everyone standing around in the instance.
Since, however, this wasn’t the case, Tam sticks to his guns and states that refusing to rez was the proper course of action.
In other words, reasons matter to some of us. It matters whether the person requesting the rez had to attend to a crying baby or was simply too lazy to run. From a pure utility standpoint, though, the reason does not matter.
The Effect is the Same, Regardless of the Reason
Not to pick on our friend the Cranky Old Gnome, since he is my unwitting example today, but does it really matter why his tanking is suffering? He has a good reason, a very good reason – in fact you couldn’t get a more compelling reason. But does the reason matter compared to the result? Do you want him as your tank if the mobs are going to gnaw your face off? How many wipes are you willing to tolerate before your good nature gives way to selfish motives?
Responsibility to Others (the “Greater Good”)
A raid leader must also balance responsibility to the other members of the raid when rostering, and a “good reason” does nothing to fill a raid spot. A raid leader must balance sympathy to a person’s situation against the needs of the other raiders who have managed to make it for the raid in time.
Example: Always an emergency
Every guild has these unlucky folk. This person signs up for raids, but only has a 50% attendance rate because every time raid time rolls around, something happens. The water heater explodes, a kid gets sick, the boss calls – something.
Yes, this person has a good reason, a compelling reason, and we should be sympathetic. However, as a raid leader, you know in your heart of hearts that if you roster this person, you will likely be trying to find a sub at raid time. Wouldn’t it just be better to roster someone reliable? Don’t your other 9 raiders deserve to start the raid on time?
Judging whether a reason is “good” enough.
Do we really want to be in a position to judge if a reason for not making a raid or failing to perform adequately is “good enough?” One person’s “good reason” may be another person’s definition of a lame-ass reason. Some people may consider a reason “good enough” to miss the raid, but not “good enough” to miss the raid without some advance notice.
Different people have different priorities. Most raid leaders and officers prioritize WoW pretty highly in the sense that they feel a sense of responsibility toward the members and want to schedule events to ensure that members are having a good time with their playtime. Some people think of this as “just a game”, and as such, it often does not occur to them that the other members of a group or raid may have made this raid a priority and gone through heroic measures to clear their RL schedules. (When Twig was much younger, I had to grind my nightly Bottlecraft rep at warp speed to make a raid.)
If you require a “good reason” for undesirable behavior, how many people will lie about the reason? There was a former guildie who would claim “parent aggro” without fail after we had wiped a few times on content. He knew he couldn’t bail on the raid without repercussions, unless he had a “good reason,” so he made one up.
Ha ha fooled you, I don’t have a good conclusion. I don’t have an answer for this dilemma. I personally will never be the jerk who excludes parents from raiding because of the chance they will drop group due to child issues. I will suffer as many wipes as necessary for the guy who just had brain surgery to get his tanking mojo back. Some things are more important than progression.
So I’ll open the floor for comments!