The People Shan't Be Silenced
The title is completely for Ful's entertainment. I know that after reading this he is going to picture me running around burning bras and shrieking like a hippie or something.

How should officers respond to a loot drama/ninja QQ/zomg-i'm-disconnecting-the-internet situation that breaks out all over their forums?

The next time you and your wife start having a screaming argument, I want you to test out a theory for me. Take a big piece of duct tape and put it right over her mouth. There! Argument over! After all, if you can't hear what she's bitching about anymore, doesn't that mean she's NOT bitching?

I give you about a 99% chance of this backfiring horribly, and you being kicked in all your naughty places.

So why would freezing or deleting a forum thread in which people are complaining be any different?

Back in my LiveJournal days, I used to be in all these LJDrama communities that would ridicule other communities for how poorly they reacted to and festered dramas. The number one way to get your community featured on LJDrama was to delete comments, lock threads, or delete entire posts. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Own your words. Possess them. lovingly caress them. Whatever. If you're going to take the time to type it out, take that time to calm yourself down. Read it after you type it folks, and consider carefully before you post it - because once you post it, it's out there, and deleting it does not mean that no one read it (or screenshotted it, for the record).
  • If you delete a thread, you delete the source of FACT in the drama. If the thread in which people were acting like an asshat no longer exists, you can no longer quote from said thread and show it as evidence of your argument when someone is being a dbag. It merely becomes more he said-she said. In internet drama situations, the only thing just as important, or possibly moreso than what people DID is what people SAID.
  • Freezing a thread says "We don't want this to be discussed anymore" while inadvertently encouraging more people to discuss it, just privately. Is that better or worse than it being discuss publicly? I guess it depends on the situation. People QQing in private usually ends in waking up one day with half your guild gone, and not knowing why. If you play the heavy handed forum nazi, you just won't KNOW what people are bitching about - but it doesn't make them stop bitching.
And I'm a complete hypocrite for the record - I can remember one time in recent history where I made a post pointing out a problem, I was shot down by a fellow officer, and in my anger, hurt, and humiliation, I deleted my post. No one seemed to care anyway, but I felt really guilty about it afterwards.

I also understand why officers may delete drama-infested threads. Putting all the drama out there in public discourages drama-reluctant, rational people from raiding with your group if they see it going on in your forums. Deleting it reduces the chance that people will see it and be turned-off by it. But it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Same goes for locking threads. You might lock a thread that is no longer constructive to the greater whole because it will just inspire more drama. I do get that, I understand why we do it - but if you look at it from the other side, from the viewpoint of the individuals who do not have the power to lock or delete threads, that is NOT what it looks like. It looks like someone is being shut up because they were questioning your authority. I am not at all saying this is, in reality, the case. I'm just pointing out, for better or for worse, that's what it looks like.

And in addition, who decides whether or not a thread is constructive any longer? Just because you don't think it's constructive doesn't mean that another person in that thread isn't learning something or getting something important out of it.

When it comes to deleting threads, just remember this: Maybe you have a right to delete your own words, but once you start deleting the words of others, you have now stolen their voice. It's a slap in the face. For some posters, maybe they need a good solid slap in the face. But it's happened to me, a thread in which I've been commenting has been deleted, and it pissed me off.

I'm not criticizing the officers who choose these sorts of actions, so don't get ticked at me if you've done it. I see the reason behind doing it. But I do cringe when it's done, even if I know there's no better alternative. When you are trying to get control of a situation, I guess sometimes you have to do stuff like this. It's easy for me to criticize it, but to be honest, I really don't know of a better alternative. That's the thing about drama, there's no way to get yourself completely out of the black hole.

I do, however, sympathize with the non-officers who feel insulted by threads they were reading or to which they were contributing being deleted or frozen. Unfortunately, there's no politically correct way to tell these people that all of this effort is more than likely simply an attempt to shut one annoying individual up. You know. That Guy.

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6 Responses
  1. Fulguralis Says:

    First of all, I have to support anything that advocates bralessness, whether directly or indirectly.

    Secondly, I get what you're saying about the whole duct tape thing, but it's sort of an extreme example. For instance, isn't this what my wife does when she just leaves the room, effectively ending the conversation on her terms. And it works... sometimes.

    That's because allowing for a "cooling off" period is a valid approach to conflict management. This is essentially what a lock *should* be used for, IMO. It's not a "I don't want to hear any more" button. It's a "let's all take a step back and just chill for a second". Unfortunately, due to the nature of the decision, this cannot be a democratic action.

    Sure, two people *could* agree to cool off, but more often it's one person leaving the conversation. You can't take a vote on whether or not to lock something, it defeats the purpose which is just just take a break. If individuals decide to go discuss it further amongst themselves, fine. You're still taking a recess from "court", and that's not always a bad thing.

    I totally agree that deletions aren't very effective, as far as that goes. The only case I would advocate using them is if something is blatantly inappropriate. Like, of the type that offends a lot of people to see. Not just like some random whining and cussing, but like racial slurs and naked pics.

  2. Jessabelle Says:


    Naked pix should totally be okay.

    In regards to using thread locks for a cooling off period, what I mean is that while that may be what is intended when a thread is locked, unfortunately, that is very rarely how it is perceived by those who are not able to lock threads. Instead it breeds a sort of resentment.

    I'm not saying I know of a better alternative, btw. It just really sucks to have to do it, and if there are better alternatives, I would happily use one. I don't really like pointing out the problems with certain actions unless I have a proposed solution, but I just wanted to address it regardless. It just sucks, plain and simple.

    As someone said in trade channel today, "why can't we all just get a lawn?"

    <3 trade chat

  3. Fulguralis Says:

    True, but only if the picturee is attractive. Naked ugly people are bad for business.

    It doesn't have to breed resentment, though it often does. Still, someone has to be the officer and someone has to be the member. Everyone can't be administrators or we'd have chaos. Too many chiefs not enough Indians and all that jazz. I think the larger issue with the folks who resent it is that they resent the reality of their roll for the given situation.

    My counterpoint is just that locking isn't "inherently" bad, as you seem to argue. It is what the person brings to it. If you're a bra-burning-hippie-liberal-democratic-for-the-people-yelling-type, for instance, you'll probably feel a lot more resentment than, say, a rank-and-file-suit-wearing-inside-the-box-thinking-laid-back-idontwannahaftamakedecisions sort of person... or something like that. AKA some people are wolves and some people are sheep. The sheep don't chafe at being told to shut up because they're sheep.

    And being a sheep isn't always bad. And you're not really all one or the other. There are times when I like being a sheep and times when I want to be the wolf. It really all depends on your current state of mind. Principled people such as yourself may always chafe at such an action, but I argue that such a response isn't necessarily indicative of the masses. You, my dear, are a rare breed.

  4. Fulguralis Says:

    And I'm not sure that I even WANT a lawn. Then have to mow it and junk. F-that. /logsintoWoW

  5. Fulguralis Says:

    *I* have to mow it. *I*. wtb comment edit button.

    If someone else were mowing it, hell yes I'd want a lawn. Think the boy down the street will accept in-game gold? It's worth a try amirite?

  6. Frankling Says:

    Like you deleted my post :[.

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