This was a post originally put on the forums by a retired staff member, Zarry. Feeling that it provides timeless, relevant advice, it is being reposted here.
This is a post I've written and smacked up a few places, just as a reminder. Hasn't been much of a problem here, but just in case, let's all keep in mind to try and make peace with each other. :3
This is about avoiding escalation and negativity.
First of all, there are rules in place regarding conduct meant to guard against issues ever arising in the first place; however, we all make mistakes, and even without meaning to, we may say something that someone else takes issue with.
- When you find an action or statement offensive, do not assume malicious intent. More often then not, the opposite party intends no offence. Whether it’s a post on a forum, someone cutting you off on the road, or a comment made in a conversation, your negative reaction does not automatically mean the action was meant to be received that way. Even in cases where it may seem obvious that the other party is trying to offend you, a mistake or misunderstanding may be at work.
- Inquire if offense was intended; ask for clarification. Do so calmly; do not respond with the same malice you perceive coming from the other side. If you are calm about it, then further escalation can often be avoided. In most cases, the opposite party will explain that their intention was not to offend, or that their statement was misunderstood.
- If you are being asked or told that you have offended someone, be respectful and sympathetic of his or her feelings. We all know what it’s like to be angry, offended, or impatient. In most cases a simple apology at this stage can completely deflate the possibility of the issue escalating.
- If some sort of disagreement has been discovered, both sides should do their best to respect the perspective of the other. In many cases, it’s perfectly fine to agree to disagree. In such cases, it’s also important to agree to be more careful in the future about both saying something offensively and taking statements negatively.
- If un-pleasantries continue on one or both sides disciplinary action may be necessary.
This is not to say that there are never cases where someone intends offense or wants to start an argument. This is just to say that in any given situation, there is a responsibility on both sides (regardless of who initiated the issue) to act in a way conducive to defusing the issue, and in general behave.
The one way to almost guarantee that an issue is going to escalate is to act in a way just as ‘bad’ as you perceive the original action as being. It’s natural to want to treat someone as badly as you feel they have treated you, but it’s not conducive to peace and progress. Be the first one to start being nice, and you might be able to stop a problem before it even begins.
PS: Try to take care of stuff in PM's, whether it's in game or on the forms, before hashing it out in public. It's a way to spare both you and the one you're having a disagreement with humiliation, and a way to keep others from getting sucked into the issue.