Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pilot Freedom

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.


  1. I think it's really hard to draw a line once you start trying to enforce rules like these. At what point does your desire to reduce tension cause more tension? It's a fine line that is easily crossed, and it needs a very delicate touch from the people in charge of enforcing it.

    Do I understand the desire? Absolutely. A good friend of mine has a young daughter who often listens in when he is on TS, I understand that he gets upset when the swearing escalates. On the other hand swearing, especially in fleets, is a very common occurence, a sign of frustration or success, a way to get the adrenaline up right before the fight and calm down after. He knows that, he knows what he is potentially exposing his daughter to.

    I think any group, organisation or gathering needs to limit the freedom of the participating individual to a certain extent. Rules are essential to achieve anything working together. The trick is, I believe, not falling into the trap of bureaucracy, when the written rule overrides common sense and humanity.

    In other words: Have a guideline, and talented, smart, passionate and compassionate Individuals in charge of dealing with problems that arise.

  2. Guess what, I was so busy making my point I actually forgot the reason I typed the comment in the first place:

    All the best to RP, from the time I spend with them on TS I never believed they were all that comfortable within GSF. I hope the move turns out to be everything they hope for. I wish them the best of luck in Fountain, and if you guys are reading this: Come roam to Fade, I'll throw up a Fleet and will try my very best to murder you all.

    Sorry for the doublecomment

  3. In New Eden, I believe any organizational change's goal is geared at responding to internal issues in order to maintain the current leadership in place. Said leadership benefits from the taxes of their pilots, as well as the top down passive incomes like moons that are protected by the numbers of meat shields the organization can field, as well as diplomatic agreements to maintain economic stability (thus participating to blueing anyone that could threaten said incomes).

    Such organization are pyramidal structures that mostly benefit the leaders. Unless the organization has taxes set to 0% and gives a junior accounting role to all its members so that everyone in it can see where the top down income are being used for, there is no other goal for any organization than to maintain the income and status of their leaders.

    If they decide to make a change, and do not have 0% taxes and junior accountant role to all their members, it is because they believe those changes will help maintain the highest level or membership in their structure for their own benefit.

  4. As with govenment bodies before it, the introduction of rules as you mention is just another form of control, so people in positions of so called power can feel good about themselves and feel powerful in how they try to control others.

    Decent people will act decent whereever they are, loud mouth idiots will be just that, be it on comms or on a forum

    1. So your point is that people self regulate? I think there are lots of real world examples of that not actually working very well, the financial service industry being a good one from recent times.

      I get the sentiment but like it or not rules should be made for the good of the group by people who are looking out for the good of the group.

    2. "I think there are lots of real world examples of that not actually working very well, the financial service industry being a good one from recent times."

      In theory, the self-regulation of financial services worked perfectly: businesses which were economic failures failed. The banks which operated cautiously survived.

      The issue appeared when outside forces got involved: the governments stepped in to stop them failing. The idea 'too big to fail' is, in market terms, a lie.

      Of course, the businesses were left to self regulate because the official regulators were captured or weakened by a lack of regulation.

      So, what really happened was that market adjustment wasn't allowed to properly complete, because the government couldn't allow it to fail.

      And I guess this was basically unrelated to the initial article, but it's a fun diversion, right?

  5. And then there's Signal Cartel and our (by EVE standards) restrictive credo. We also have a "keep it PG-13" policy for all our comms channels in game and out.

    We see surprisingly little backlash against either of these behavioral requirements. Partly that's because those requirements are communicated publicly and applicants must agree to conform by checking a little checkbox on our Web based app before we will even process their in-game app. So coming in, they already know what the standards of acceptable behavior are. The other part is that leadership and quite a lot of members don't hesitate to gently call out those who step out of line. We like our pleasant corp culture and aim to deliver what we promise in the ad, so to speak. People who fail to conform to our social / corp culture requirements are shown the door.

    Interestingly, at least two corps have consulted with us about adapting our credo for their own use sans the "no PvP except self-defense" part.

    Attempting to change a corp culture in midstream is a lot more challenging than doing it the way we did with the restrictions in place from the start. It's easy to understand why there would be resentment and even rebellion in such cases. Culture change is difficult.