We’ve had a couple of new recruits unceremoniously crash and burn due to making completely inappropriate comments in guild chat.

The problem is – every guild culture is different.  Our members definitely flirt with the line, but they know where the line is.  I’m not sure how a new member is supposed to know where the line is. The obvious answer is to shut up and listen for a while – and if you’re not smart enough to keep your head down and do just that, then you’re just too dumb for the guild!

I was trying to explain it to the husband, and finally I came to the conclusion that it is OK if the off-color statement stays in the game world, but is inappropriate if it is directed against a specific person or references RL too much.  I’ll give some examples:

OK: Jokes about in-game features

Example: “Look at my Giant [Penance]!  You have [Penance] Envy!”

Example: (on twins) “There were two balls coming right at my face!”

Example: “The boss’s crotch was right in my face and he didn’t buy me a drink first.”

Example: Racism against gnomes or other in-game races.

Not OK: References directed at harassing or insulting any given person or group (that get too “RL”).

Example: “Prove that you’re a girl!  Boobiepxplz.”

Example: “I’d be happy to show you what I’ve got (in my pants).”

Example: “I bet you’re one of those people with the stupid (insert opinion here) bumper sticker on your car.”

Example: Racist comments against real races (not gnomes, tauren etc)

Where does your guild draw the line?  How do you communicate that “line” to new recruits?


Where is the line – and how do you convey that to new recruits? — 5 Comments

  1. Back in my old guild, we had a guild policy about being respectful towards others, both in and out of the guild. Especially in-guild:

    "While moderate use of profanity [in guild/raid chat] is fine, there should be no comments or quips or jokes that target a minority group. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include (but are not limited to): racial slurs, use of stereotypes or insults used against a social or religious minority and casual use of the word "rape". Bottom line: if an officer tells you to knock it off, knock it off. Period. "

    It worked very well, too. I remember one night we were working on Archimonde and someone said something on Vent like "man, that fire is totally gay", which violated our policy. I stopped doing whatever it was I was doing and took the opportunity to explain that that kind of perjorative use of a word (equating gay with stupid/dumb/etc) wasn't acceptable in our guild, reminding them of the policy in question, and that if they wanted an environment where that WAS acceptable, they might be in the wrong guild.

    "Wow, I'm sorry, I really didn't mean it like that."

    "That's okay," I said. "Just please don't do it again. Now, let's all finish buffing and get ready to pull, please."

    My officers and I really found it best to have a defined policy in order to help encourage the guild culture that we had already created. We figured it would be best to have those policies available to the public so that applicants would be able to read them and see if they thought they would fit in with us. We really only got one or two people who didn't really get along with us after posting those policies publicly.

    My two cents! :)

  2. We go by common sense in the real world and in game. Most of the people in our guild have RL friends in the guild. Lots of inside jokes and that makes it hard for outsiders to get it sometimes. Most of the people in the guild are "older" so mid 20's and up so we have sarcastic, lame, mostly mature, senses of humor. We will give most people a couple strikes and pull them aside if they are getting obscene. Innuendos are ok that’s what she/he said is ok, Anything that would be offensive to 95% of the general population is not ok.

  3. There is a very good reason why there are only 8 people in my guild.

    We have a line, but it's somewhere out in Alaska, and we passed it long long ago.

    Guild chat is where we test out our newest most offensive statements to see if anyone else can out-do us. There are no words that cannot be thrown at one another.

    The difference is, we know each other in real life. Most of us grew up together (myself excluded) and developed their sense of humor together as kids… so anything goes.

    But there is a very good reason we don't invite anyone into our guild! We are incapable of censoring ourselves in guild chat.

  4. Our guild is built with the idea that (especially during the day and early-evenings) there may be very young kids on. Many of our officers are parents who have their entire family playing.

    Our general rule of thumb is no swearing in open chat, stay respectful, and don't say anything outright adult in nature. Off-color is okay as long as it stays in the PG-13 realm.

    First offenses are handled with a whisper, second with an open admonishment in whichever channel the offense happened. Beyond that can lead to a Penalized status (in the guild, but no privs, including chat) or even a gkick.

  5. I think it's important that people understand that it's not just in guildchat that they need to stay on this side of the line, but in any public venue where they are representing your guild, be it pug raids or trade chat.

    Just last night I saw one of our inactive memebers being a jerk in trade chat and called him out on it, I think he was quite embarassed about it, but it's just not accpetable behaviour!