Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

10 August, 2019

Dealing with Drama
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:42 PM

Drama is the bane of communities, and this goes doubly so in RP communities. Hurt feelings get built up to a breaking part until it spills out and gets people upset with each other. I got smacked in the face with some drama today, so let’s take another look at this important topic.

The cause of drama

It’s simple: As I’ve said before, Miscommunication causes drama. When communication breaks down for some reason, this causes people to make assumptions and then hold grudges about the assumption made in most cases. As this grudges turns to hurt, it comes out explosively. Sometimes, of course, people do this intentionally to stir up problems; there are some people who thrive on the drama and will intentionally misunderstand something to perpetuate the drama.

The result is the same: angers flare, harsh words are said, feelings are hurt, people lash out.

Preventing drama

Again, the important thing is to to facilitate communication. Do what you can to keep communication going. Encourage people to be open, to listen to others even if they are saying things that are hard to listen to. Encourage people not to hide problems and build up problems in their head.

Further, I think it’s useful to build a community that has OOC respect and care as well. A community who asks how people are doing and legitimately care about the answers are the type who will listen if someone feels hurt. I think this is tough to do, though, because a lot of times online friendships can feel more distant and temporary despite feeling more personal. It takes people really caring about each other to build a solid community. This is the ideal, though.

Dealing with drama

So, how do you deal with drama once it rears its ugly head? I think the big thing to do is to get communication happening again. Get people to talk about the problems that built up, make apologizes and promises to avoid it in the future, and then move on. But this takes a very specialized skillset to handle appropriately, as it’s easy to blunder into causing even more problems from more hurt feelings.

Of course, this is complicated because sometime people live for the drama. They’re the ones intentionally misunderstanding things, or provoking others into anger. The drama mongers might play nice, say they won’t do it again, but… eventually they do. And separating out the people who made a mistake from the people who legitimately want to just cause more harm can be very hard.

The last resort

The last resort? Ignoring someone. Although it’s perhaps a bit too easy to block someone these days, sometimes this is what you need to do if someone keeps creating drama and keeps perpetuating it.

So what do you think? How do you deal with drama?

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  1. “perhaps a bit too easy to block someone these days”

    Really? I have a one strike rule: I block on the first ofence. I block people for making jokes in general chat that I don’t find funny, not because I think they’re offensive but because I don’t like hearing jokes in game, period. I block people for monopolizing general chat with long conversations that would be better suited to /tell or /whisper simply to keep the channel clear. In GW2 I have several hundred names blocked on my main account. Once I block someone I forget about it and they stay blocked forever. In seven years that has never caused me a problem even once.

    That, though, is blocking complete strangers. I almost never block people I have an established online connection with. That would be very weird. I have, in fact, left servers and re-started elsewhere to avoid people I knew who were causing me problems, but it never even occured to me to block them.

    Comment by Bhagpuss — 11 August, 2019 @ 1:34 AM

  2. I think that seems a bit excessive. Someone cracking a few jokes in global chat today might be the person who introduces you to a cool group tomorrow. You’ll never know the opportunity cost of what you’ve missed by blocking… it’s potentially low, but you’re snipping the threads of the social fabric in the game. I’d grow bored if I had hundreds of names blocked in FFXIV.

    But, I’ve run into people who just kind of suddenly decide to remove me from friend’s lists, or let something fester until it comes out as anger. Really frustrating when you try to keep lines of communication open.

    Comment by Psychochild — 11 August, 2019 @ 9:18 PM

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