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Despite the fact that the blog clearly isn’t configured right and not restored fully I wanted to post this [looks all good now!].

I have left the guild I was in. This cannot be a shock to anyone. Mostly because I have discussed it several times in the past. Now here is the thing, people have some strange assumptions. People often say of those threatening suicide “People who talk about it all the time never do it.” This simply isn’t true. You are more likely to commit suicide if you have talked about it at length and if you haven’t. That’s a fact, based on evidence. Yes truth is still a thing. This misconception is deep rooted and is a basic misunderstanding that psychologists have understood for decades. There is a strange correlation with my real life and gaming life here. I’ve been working a god awful, but thankfully short-term contract. I’ve been in a guild with some really great people and an officer in that guild since the start. In this job I signalled fairly early on to colleagues that I was pleased with the role (lie) but would be sanguine about the contract ending and moving on to something else (true), I would not seriously consider an extension and stay on longer than the initial three month term. In my guild several systemic things about how it operates have placed me a odds with the people who run it.

They are great people, don’t get me wrong, this is not a personality issue. To be a little more specific, the raid focus of the guild has always seemed to be at odds with the membership. We do want to progress and we do want to clear the tier while the tier is current content. I don’t think people are all happy with being driven through content in a serious and humourless way. It’s a question of emphasis, the goals: progressing, clearing content are the same. This is not the tired casual/hardcore debate as it’s been characterised. It is a question of whether adults with jobs and children really need to be driven through content, with an imposed discipline. Raiding, indeed any aspect of playing a game, is not a career, this is not my job! Someone who knows all the tactics, can shape and change the approach to cater for the group, make a decision between two options: that’s the raid leader’s job. Shouting at failure, marking someone who dies, pulls, makes a mistake, asking the question who caused that wiped/pulled/died? This is simply not necessary. There is another way. You recruit and encourage a group that self regulates and wants to do well, not for loot or progress, but for the rest of the people in the group.

I also never really understood what the hell I was for as an officer. Especially when you’re completely at odds with the other officers. “What do you think we should do about the raid, Steve?” “Er…what about it mate?” “Well, the wiping tonight and slow progress?” “Well, er…we’re progressing…people are learning the fight. Wipes are good at the start. The odd wipe is funny sometimes. Our group always pull themselves together, focuses, brings their A-game man. Booooooom! Game over man. Win. I don’t see any problem.” …is not the answer that was sought.

The last couple of weeks colleagues have said to me: “You’ll get offered an extension, you’ll take it won’t you.”, “Nah, I think I’ll just move on at the end,”, “No, you’ll accept the extension if it’s offered. You won’t leave.” Hmmm…”You won’t leave this guild Steve, you like all the people here too much.”, “I’ve talked about my problems with this guild (none of which are people) so if things do not change, I’m the only one who wants them to change so I am reluctant to fight to make them change because of that, then it’s better I just leave and find somewhere that operates in the way I like.”, “You won’t leave, you’re just being a drama queen.”, “I’ve always been a Drama Queen. Doesn’t mean that all this soul searching and discussion is just talk.” It means I’ve been considering. If I do leave, quietly one morning when no one else is online, or suddenly as difficulties come to a head and I decide, “You know what? Enough is enough,” I do not want drama or an argument, I just want to move on, the decision will not be rash, sudden or ill-considered. Quite the contrary. If my friends thought I needed to be in the same guild as them to chat, hang and do stuff on a Friday night, well, better we know that now than later.

Honestly, I stayed as long as I could. I tolerated being an officer and not being an officer, having the rank and not doing a damn thing with it or contributing to how the guild operated and was run. I tried to hand it in and step down and then it was too late. There is only so long I can sit under the bridge lobbing stones up at the goats trying to pass over before I tire and go find another bridge to sit under. There is a certain insipid brand of cultural relativism that says all points of view are equally valid. That extreme left and extreme right are equally bad and only a centrist position of balance is good. Respect should be accorded to all points of view even when they conflict and you should never cause offense if you can avoid it.

Well, fuck that idea right up the fucking arse and the fucking horse it rode in on. I reserve my right to offend.

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

[I saw hate in a graveyard — Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]”

Telling me you’re offended is simply telling me you can’t control your emotions. I don’t tolerate the intolerant. If someone is racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist or attacks people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health problems I will kick the fucking cunt out of the guild, if I’m an officer. Some whiny fuckwits find my language more offensive than some cunt saying “Homosexuals are all freaks. It’s against nature and a sin. All good Christians should shun them.”

If you think there is anything similar between the people who march and express hatred of, and solidarity with those who also hate other, often marginalised groups in society and those of us who stand in the road and fight them to prevent them freely expressing their hatred then you need to sit down and do some some very careful thinking, you fucking idiot. Freedom of speech is not an issue when white supremacists what to express their hatred for black people by marching through a predominantly black suburb. It’s not a question of free speech when the Orange Order assert their ‘right’ to parade through Catholic areas. Are you offended by these statements? So what?

We live in troubling times, but I have lost jobs and friends, been thrown out of pubs, guilds, clubs for standing up for the principles I believe in: tolerance, acceptance and fighting for the oppressed. I reserve my right to offend you if you tell me you hate homosexuality, believe women should be subservient to men and abortion should be banned. If you cite your Christianity for the root of your intolerance I hope it does offend you when I tell you Jesus always showed kindness and compassion for the weak and marginalised. He loved the sinner even if he did hate the sin. I won’t tolerate your intolerance on my manor, take it somewhere else. Many people don’t like my swearing: I do not give two fucks.

So my contracts ends in two weeks. In ten working days I will be finished. I have been offered an extension, I am good at what I do. I politely declined. I left my guild, without any real antipathy. I left because it was time for me. I left because in the end cultural relativists are so afraid of offending someone they usually end up offending everyone. Everyone wants you on their side and you can only pick one, get it right. By removing myself from the centre of the conflict I made it possible for people not to have to take a side. At the end of the day I am the only one who wants to stand on every single point of principle, however apparently trivial, and pay the price, however significant. I’ve lost jobs, friends and partners and yet I can still be rigid and inflexible after being pressed, bent and snapped so many times. Fortunately I can still laugh at myself.

“If you can’t laugh at yourself you have no business laughing at anyone else.”

[In many places – Fleetfoot, ad nauseum]

“When are you coming back to the guild, Steve?” I’m not. If that makes me a drama queen, if people think I’m just proud and can’t admit I’m wrong (after so much evidence to the contrary), if people think I’m foolish I don’t mind. After all they might be right.