Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Drama-Causing RFL Control Freaks

The title of this entry looks more hostile than this post is meant to be, so before I begin let me just get that out of the way.  It's meant to convey what something actually is, and really, there's no "diplomatic" way to describe it without offending.  In that way it's a lot like describing certain politicians and political movements.  Some people get upset when you call something what it is, and more because the notion that what you're describing really is exactly what you call it is just too disturbing to contemplate.

But I digress.  Recently someone I respect posted a blog entry complaining about another group doing a tribute event in memory of a particular person who passed away from cancer.  Because this person I respect considers the other group as rivals, he thinks it's in poor taste and was a deliberate attempt to use a dead person in order to steal traffic away from another club.

The problem with this is that no evidence is offered to prove that this was the case and not the alleged rival group genuinely wanting to do tribute to someone they knew and respected.  And that brought up memories of an incident from earlier this year involving yours truly, in which this someone leaped to conclusions that had no basis in fact.

At the beginning of this year I decided to get actively involved in a Relay For Life team.  Since I didn't have the desire or the time to be a team leader, I thought it would be better to join an existing team.  So I joined a group that was owned by this certain someone.

Here's where things went wrong: I had an off-season donation kiosk rezzed from last year in New London.  It had been in the sim, literally, for months.  I wanted to set the kiosk so it would register donations for the RFL team I'd just joined but didn't know how to do it.  And as it turns out, it couldn't be done anyway, but at the time I didn't know that.  So I asked in the RFL team's group chat how to set the kiosk.  Seems reasonable, right?

The reaction was anything but reasonable.  The group owner accused me of causing drama and ejected me from the group.  He also proceeded to eject a friend of mine whom I'd convinced to get involved and accused him of being an alt.  All this was without any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either of us — my only "crime" was in asking how to set a kiosk that had already been rezzed for a year.  This group owner now claims I was trying to hack the kiosk, which is ridiculous.  The whole time I got the impression that the real reason for this extreme behavior had to do with control, that is, the group owner went apes*it at any action — no matter how small — taken without his foreknowledge and consent.

It's understandable to enforce discipline as leader of a group.  That's how successful groups operate.  But it's another thing entirely to micromanage things to the point where even asking an innocent question relating to the group's purpose is considered grounds for ejection and false accusations.

That's when I formed my own RFL team.  We weren't able to raise much, but we raised enough that our efforts were recognized by RFL.  I hope that next year we can raise more in the fight against cancer.

The saddest part of all this is that none of it needed to happen.  The team leader I'm writing about never had to do anything except simply answer the question I asked by pointing out that off-season kiosks can't be set to record information for a team.  If he'd just done that I'd have accepted it and none of what took place after would have occurred.  I'd have happily kept working within his group to help raise money for RFL.

But what I've come to realize about this person is that while he claims to dislike drama, he is very often the initiator of it.  There's a "holier-than-thou" attitude at work combined with an extreme need to control everything down to the smallest matter, the latter of which I've seen present in enough members of my own family not to tolerate it.  Again, I actually respect this person because for all the drama he likes to create and blame others for, he seems like someone who genuinely believes in doing what's right and for the right reasons.  But his ego drives him to make everything revolve around himself and he can't go without finding fault in what other people do, no matter how innocent or well intended.

Relay For Life shouldn't be about feeding egos or claiming bragging rights.  It also shouldn't be used to press grudges against others.  RFL is a charity organization for raising money toward cancer research in hopes of finding a cure.  That is how it should be treated.  It shouldn't be misused, whether by assholes with malicious intent or by misguided but otherwise good folk.  I hope the person I'm writing about understands and accepts this, and accepts that not everything revolves around him.

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