A curious reader writes:
This isn't actually an advice question, more a curious query. I've noticed some topical overlap between the Drama Mamas column and the Officers' Quarters column on WoW Insider. Do you guys ever punt submissions over the fence to one another? What criteria should people use when deciding which column they should send their request to?
Guild drama is everywhere ... But yes, there is a method to divvying up all the madness! The Drama Mamas have invited along Scott Andrews from Officers' Quarters this week to help explain how and when they share reader letters. We'll also look at ways to increase your chances of getting a letter published, plus what really happens behind the scenes when Robin and Lisa disagree over a particular letter.
Drama Mama Lisa: Hi, Josh! Robin and Scott and I pass questions back and forth behind the scenes not infrequently.
Poor guild management or a lack of policies and oversight all too often turn what should be a straightforward guild management issue into guild-wide drama. When the problem stems directly from mismanagement, Officers' Quarters is clearly the better home for the issue. Conversely, when a player is more concerned about an interpersonal situation, the Drama Mamas can scrutinize those angles more appropriately.
Bottom line: If you're unhappy because of something that happened due to your guild's structure or practices or something that the guild leaders or officers did or approved, it's probably best addressed by Officers' Quarters. If it's he-said-she-said, behind-the-scenes mess that's been created by people doing or saying things that probably shouldn't have happened, that's probably more likely to be something the Drama Mamas can help with.
Either way, don't hesitate to send your letter to either or both of us -- we'll gladly nudge it over to the other if we feel it's not something we can effectively address.
Scott Andrews, Officers' Quarters: Thanks for asking, Josh! I can see how this might be confusing.
Lisa described the breakdown here rather well. Officers' Quarters is about leadership. That can certainly involve drama at times, but I also cover the broader topic of running or helping to run a guild and all the details that encompasses. If it's a leadership question, OQ is the right place for that. If it's drama that involves leadership actions or decisions, from either an officer's or a member's point of view, then OQ is usually the proper home for that as well.
Drama without a heavy leadership component belongs in the capable hands of the Drama Mamas.
- Officers' Quarters: Loot drama because an officer changed the policy
- Drama Mamas: Loot drama because a boyfriend is rolling for both him and his girlfriend
Drama Mama Lisa: So what happens if a question lands solidly in the Drama Mamas laps but Robin and I disagree? Do we end up throttling each other? In truth, just the opposite -- we've been writing the feature so long that when one of us says something the other vehemently disagrees with, we're absolutely delighted at the opportunity for a juicy debate!
Any throttling is more usually tied to reader comments. I love it when readers disagree with what we've said (more opinions mean more options for the letter writer, right?), but I get completely frustrated with commenters who misrepresent what the letter writer or Robin and I wrote and twist things to their own short-sighted end. (But even those comments are educational, as they're pretty clear manifestations of the commenters' own issues and rationalizations.) What really steams me is when we hear back from letter writers themselves who then share some key detail that they "neglected" to mention in their original letter -- and which changes the whole tenor of the situation. In those cases, I think throttling could definitely be the order of the day ...
Drama Mama Robin: If you would like a better chance of getting your issue on Drama Mamas, here are a few tips:
- Keep it as concise as possible. Sometimes it's necessary to go into a detailed history. Leaving out an important piece of data can severely skew the advice we give. But the longer the letter, the less of a chance we can fit it into our column. So do your best to keep to the most important facts.
- Ask a question. We get a lot of rants. Most of them are completely legitimate -- I'd be upset, too! But if you are only ranting and not getting around to an actual question, then we can't answer it. Captain Obvious smirks in agreement.
- Only email us if you want it published on WoW Insider. We just don't have the time to answer private requests. We also get a few letters that are then followed up with a "never mind" -- so you might want to sleep on it before writing in to make sure you really want a public airing of your drama.
When we answer a letter, we are of course trying to provide a solution to the letter writer. But we have an equal motive of trying to help everyone else in a similar situation. Everyone has his or her own side of the story, and we may not be getting the truth -- but that is really not the point. Really, unless we get chat logs, screenshots or phone taps, how are we going to know what actually happened?
The Drama Mamas discuss the issue as it is presented so that more players than just the letter writer may benefit. If it turns out the letter writer was actually the dramamonger all along, we're still helping the readers who see our answer as a solution to their own drama.
Dodge the drama and become the player everyone wants in their group with advice from The Drama Mamas Drama-Buster Guide. Got a personal question for the Drama Mamas? Email Robin and Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.