So you're standing in Tempest Keep, preparing for your third take on Kael'thas for the night. Suddenly, you hear a loud crash in the next room, where your husband is putting your daughter to bed. Do you tell your team "GTG" and hearth, or do you run out of the room instantly and leave your character where it is? What if it's your dog and not your child? What if it's a phone call?
There's a debate on this very subject going on in the Raids and Dungeons forum. Belak of Crimson Fury asks the simple question of whether there's any way to kick a raid member who suddenly took an extended AFK for an emergency so they can get a 25th player in the instance. The forumgoers tell him that sadly, there's nothing he can do about it. Several raiders noted that they don't believe in such things as an emergency AFK without warning, noting that it takes less time to Alt-F4 than it does to get out of your headphones for Vent.
A few members with children vehemently disagreed. Relaya relayed (ha!) the story of her daughter's dresser falling over, and noted that while her daughter was not hurt, "but had she been hurt coming back to the raid to explain would not have been on my list of things to do." The debate then degenerates into "what were you doing out of the room you terrible parent/why is your kid worth more than 24 other people/none of you have any human compassion" back-and-forth, but it raises an interesting question of etiquette.
Personally, if there was a perceived danger to someone or something I loved -- a child, a partner, an animal -- I'd be ripping off my headphones and running to the danger. Knock on the door, unexpected visitor, phone call from work? I'll take the time to tell the raid what's going on. Then again, my guild has had an MT inexplicably AFK for the night during Nef attempts because of doing too much coke and drinking and falling asleep, so I'm secure in that nothing I can AFK for will be as stupid as that.
What do you think is the proper etiquette for AFKing in an emergency? What's the dumbest AFK without warning you've ever seen?