The following examples of shifty behavior are only some of the situations that you may encounter. In fact, you may recognize some of it in yourself!
Fishing and the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza
There is some debate as to whether or not it is acceptable to start casting into a pool of fish or wreckage that another player is already fishing. In the majority of cases, doing this is a quick way to make people very angry.
Fortunately, most of my fishing experiences have been very pleasant. Players often end up with silent 'buddies,' sometimes from the opposite faction, who will fish near you, with an unspoken agreement not to get in the other's way.
The tournament on the other hand, can be quite nasty. I've heard of entire guilds that will kill other players, mount on the fish pools, and do whatever they can to hinder every single contestant except the one guildmate who is actually participating.
People will dip into the pools, regardless of who made it there first, and factions will turn against themselves.
While seeking ore veins or herbs, many players seem to beef up their /ignore lists.
When a character is leveling through Outlands or Northrend, and is incapable of flight, older, wealthier characters sometimes take advantage. I've seen players kite mobs onto lower players, race others for the first hit, and steal the contents of the node that a player has been painstakingly clearing a foot path to.
Once, in the mines of Netherwing Ledge, a same-faction cat druid noticed that I was clearing the mobs around a Netherwing Egg. I backed over to it, in the hopes that he would go along his way, as I would if the situation were reversed.
Instead, he went around a corner, stealthed his way behind me, took the item, and then whispered me saying that he was already exalted with the Netherwing, and simply intended to destroy the soulbound item.
Many other players speak of leaving junk items behind in the ore veins that they mine all over a province. Farmers following after would not find respawns, but would indeed find a much-needed node filled only with vendor trash.
As for skinning, I know that many skinners will watch to see if a player is going to skin the corpses he or she is making, or simply leave them behind. When in doubt, skinners have been instructed to avoid looting any of their corpses until they have the time to skin them. Other times, skinning one corpse in front of a rival skinner is enough to signal that the player should move along.
On the other hand, many skinners enjoy ninja'ing from others. I've had rogues stealth in the middle of a large mob that I'm killing, and then skin the corpse the second I've finished looting. I've also seen players follow other players around, allowing them to kill the beasts and then attempting to skin faster.
Attacking a mob will "tag" it for you and any of your party members. Non-party members might help you kill it, but will receive no chance of loot, and no experience.
When farming for dropped reagents, such as Frostweave Cloth or Crystallized elements, is it fair to deliberately tag mobs that other players are clearly attempting to tag for themselves?
Many farming expeditions go quite smoothly. Again, there seems to be an unwritten rule that states that you should keep to your own area, and avoid tagging anything that another player is eyeing.
Of course, we all "slip up" now and again. Intentionally or unintentionally, that is different from players, often hunters simply because many of their talents are suited to tagging multiple targets from a distance, who will make an afternoon of deliberately tagging mobs in an area in an effort to force other players out.
Tailors in a Northrend group or raid
The etiquette for handling one's Northern Cloth Scavenging with other grouped tailors is still being written. Personally, I find that if I don't silently, or "nonchalantly" stand in a group of corpses with my Auto-Loot ready, other tailors don't seem to "pass" on any of the bonus cloth drops.
I've tried chatting about my tailoring during a raid, or even stopping to make bolts of cloth, but it still seems that no matter how nice your raidmates are, you'd be best served to look out for your own interests.
When looting is set to a need/greed system, people will inevitably make mistakes. Some players seem to make them more often. Whether it is over a choice recipe, gem, or orb, there are people out there who will roll unfairly and cry accident.
Flooding and undercutting in the Auction House
There are several ways to do business. You can be the Wal-Mart of your server, or you can try to sell your goods and attempt to keep a healthy market in the process. There will always be differing opinions about both tactics, claiming the first is greedy, selfish and destructive, while the second is naive and ineffective.
Tipping is a source of drama, and full of grey areas. Expectations may differ between the parties involved, and the particulars and details often change the numbers. Insider Trader has previously explored tipping etiquette in depth, as well as how to earn fair wages.
Certain professions may net you bonus items when crafting, such as Perfect gem cuts or extra elixirs or flasks. Does the paying customer, who only supplied the mats and/or fees for say, one item, get to keep a valuable extra item for free, when it is the seller who leveled the profession?
Is it fair to try to hide your procs, or inform the customer about your proc policies after you've already gone ahead and taken their materials and money?
This channel is a place to chat about goods and services, although sometimes you might not think so. There are many ways to use and abuse the trade channel, including making or breaking your own, or another's, career.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. Check out the Best of WoW Insider, with highlights from the column's entire run to date.