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.