How much freedom should we have in regards to our behavior in game? Specifically, how much of a right do corps and alliances have to tell us how we should act.
A couple things recently made me think about this topic. My old corporation, Repercussus, recently announced that they're leaving Goonswarm and joining a new Fountain-based alliance headed by Canaris. I don't have much experience with him, but the consensus is that he's a good guy and a former personality in Nulli Secunda.
But it wasn't RP's leaving GSF that relates to the topic of freedom of behavior, but rather the reactions of other players. You had your "didn't want that corp anyways" members of Goonswarm who were saying "good riddance" to a corp that didn't enjoy the prospect of losing its culture to GSF. You had your "Who's RP?" crowd, which included some low-sec guys who certainly knew who they were. And you had your group who fought them before and slung complaints at them. In every case, it felt like the comments were following a script, true-to-form.
Some of those comments related to RP not wanting to conform to the Goon culture. So it got me thinking... while we all know that alliances and corps DO impose rules on their members, to what extent SHOULD they do so? And what should a person tolerate?
This also got me thinking about another corp I've experienced, The Graduates, who have a strict no-swearing policy on comms/chat, as well as an NRDS policy for low-sec only. Those points always rubbed me the wrong way, even though my opinion was irrelevant as a non-member.
In particular, what if a group decides to add new rules that shift the focus or nature of the group? For instance, FCON announced a bad behavior tax on its pilots to enforce civility. Act mean, pay the machine. This is, as you can imagine, being met with universal mockery and derision from reddit - as well as probably anyone who heard of it.
In this case, FCON is trying to remedy what it sees as a problem. While I suspect they'll deny it with "Ha ha, we're just trolling," I believe it's legit; it's in keeping with their culture. No doubt, they identified a set of behavior that's causing inter-corp hassle and are trying to fix it. I suspect tensions are rising because they're surrounded by blues and they have nothing meaningful to do, but whatever the cause, something's clearly making folks salty. Good for them to try to address it.
But, that said, something in my Western Civilization, American sentiment screams out, "Don't you dare tell me what I can and cannot say." I have a very visceral reaction to anyone telling me what I can and cannot do, since they're tactically telling me I'm incapable of matching reaction to stimulus. While no doubt some folks do act like jerks, I'm always very leery of THE ORGANIZATION deciding what is and is not appropriate behavior; no organization knows better how I should react than I do.
On the other hand, shouldn't an alliance be free to do anything it needs to do to address problems within it? I can't fault FCON for trying to improve inter-corp relations, even if I disagree with the means they're using. So, those two sentiments come crashing into each other... the desire for individual freedom above all other factors (including comfort, efficiency, or harmony) versus the undeniable right for a group to make decisions to suit its needs.
I can't fault GSF for wanting member corps to fully buy into the GSF culture and modus operendum, but nor can I blame RP for wanting to restore the good culture it had, which isn't compatible with GSF. I can't deny that TGRAD's policies seem to work for it, as strange as they appear to me (the NRDS in one area of space only; the swearing makes sense, I suppose). FCON has the right to do what it must, even if their policy would make me quit rather than pay a decency fee for an infraction.
It's one of those tensions, I suppose, that defines life and makes social change an essential fact of human history. The "line" is always shifting, always moving, and always adapting to the immediate experiences of those within each social group. There really isn't one answer, but rather a no-man's land between the positions that shifts daily like the trenches of WWI.
Anyways, it's interesting, even if I don't have a firm answer on it.