Tips for dealing with HarassmentJanuary 12, 2009
Well it seems as though my in-game WoW harassment has stopped, or is at least in a lull for the time being.
Unfortunately for me, this hasn’t been the first time I have had to deal with harassment in the game, although the only other severe incident I have had to deal with bordered more on sexual harassment, and was taken care of when the offender eventually left the server.
I can also assume that, as a lot more people on the server know me, and know that I’m female, that this will certainly not be the last time I have to deal with harassment. Unfortunately for us WoW Ladies, this is something that most of us have to deal with at some point, and on some level, while playing this game we love.
So I have decided to put together some tips on how to deal with these types of incidents.
Get acquainted with Blizzard’s Harassment Policy.
This is probably something good for everyone to look at, whether or not you are being harassed. You may, unknowingly or not, say something that may offend someone, which can result in your account being banned. It covers everything from Racism, Violence, Religious Views, Gay-bashing, Drugs, Spamming, Advertising, and in my case, spreading Real Life Information. It also covers not just things said, but “Zone/Area Disruption”, which covers blocking NPCs and spell spamming, among others.
If its questionably, screenshot it. Yes, the GMs of today can look up everything you do, ever, but having some kind of record for yourself is valuable. Especially if you have to remember when something happened. And, unless you have changed it somehow, the screenshots get saved with the date in the name of the file. Also, there are many add-ons that will let you keep track of whispers. I currently use HeyFu for FuBar.
Put them on ignore.
Putting someone on your ignore list should be a first line of defense. Immediately putting someone on ignore will put a stop to the harassment, at least temporarily. A determined harasser will log onto other alts. Immediately put those alts on ignore as well. Do not give in to demands to remove a person from ignore. Your ignore list is no one else’s business.
Tell your Guildies.
If you are in a guild, tell your guildmates that it is happening. Chances are, as guildmates, they will have your back and will do whatever they can to protect you. Ask that in case the harasser contacts them that they let you know, and they screenshot it as well. I wouldn’t recommend that you say it in Guild Chat, but rather one on one with the people you trust most in the guild. Word will spread, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Tell your Guild Officers and Leaders.
If the harassment is happening within your own guild, let an officer or the guild leader know immediately. Their main role as a guild leader is to lead, and to make sure everyone is happy. A lot of Guild Leaders forget this, but it is still a fundamental role to make sure everyone gets along and everyone is treated fairly.
Open a Ticket to a GM.
As soon as something crosses the line of making you uncomfortable, report it to a GM. Every single time something happens, report it to a GM. If you do not report it, nothing will ever happen. Don’t think of it as a last resort. Chances are you are dealing with some teenager who doesn’t truly understand the repercussions of what they are doing, and will not stop on their own. And after all, you are paying these GMs salaries with your monthly fee, so get what you are already paying for!
Keyword: “Ongoing Harassment”
If the harassment doesn’t stop even after being reported to a GM, open another ticket every single time that it happens, using the words “Ongoing Harassment”. This will let the GMs know immediately that this is a more severe and serious issue, and will hopefully stress the importance of this matter.
Change your name.
If someone has you on their friend’s list, you will still show up even if you change your name. But it may be something to consider, especially if someone has been spreading information about you across guilds or the whole server.
Be careful where you blog.
Be careful about where you write, and also about what you write. Harassment is never anyones fault but the harassers, but limiting how much someone knows about you in any one place is something you can do to lower the chances of it happening to you. When you apply to a guild, don’t go into more detail than you have to. If you blog about WoW, only tell your most trusted friends from Azeroth. Keep your profile on forum sites limited. Also remember that you can keep Myspace and Facebook profiles private to friends only.
Call the police.
If harassments become threats, or if personal information is spreading like wildfire, Blizzard GMs may suggest you contact the police. You have a right to safety online and in game, and sometimes you need a higher power than just a GM. There are people out there who will not take no for an answer, no matter how hard you or a GM tries. There is also the threat of your WoW account being compromised if too much information is leaked. Or worse, a credit card. This should only be used as a last resort, but for some, it is the only thing that will stop the harassment.
If you are worried about your account being compromised due to personal information being leaked, purchase an Authenticator from the Blizzard Store. They are unhackable, unless someone physically steals the authenticator from you and knows all your account info. For only $6.50 it will give you peace of mind that is damn near priceless.
If you are being harassed in game, don’t be afraid to do something about it.
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If you have any other tips, please let me know and I will add them!