What is Drama?
Drama can be many things to many people.
While there are “Official” definitions of the word Drama, to outsiders looking in, it seems to be the uncontrolled, public disagreement between 2 or more people, where each party tries to recruit others into taking their side in the disagreement.
It’s often accompanied by public arguments between users, seemingly to win approval from bystanders for each of their viewpoints, it is typically is driven by the egos of each party, it always results in a hostile atmosphere, it puts one’s emotions on full display to the world, exposes one’s immaturity, exposes one’s vulnerabilities, and usually results in each party trying to force those around them to take a particular viewpoint as it seems those involved often think the more people they can recruit to their side, the stronger their argument and therefore they should be the clear winners. Drama can kill friendships, can kill groups, can kill communities, and can kill a grid.
Often times, as adults, we often encounter “things” which others do which upsets us. These “things” can be real, or can be perceived, but either way it affects us in similar ways.
Whether perceived, or real, these “Things” causes each of us to react differently as we are all different people, with different views, values, egos, etc.
When something upsets us, if it happens where nobody else can see it, it is usually handled much differently than if others were to witness it.
Often, if it happened and there were no witnesses, we form an opinion of what happened and we decide how to deal with it. Most of the time, as adults, we deal with a disagreement with another in a civil manner, we explain our “fair” position, explain how we “feel” about it, and we “look” for a resolution. Most of the time, we don’t involve our egos, we simply want to put the matter to rest in a way which is fair and respectful and when this position is taken by both parties, the “issue” can and is “usually” resolved, but things change drastically when others are around to witness. When there are witnesses, often, one or both parties feel disrespected, and since there were witnesses, they feel embarrassed and this brings their egos into the equation which often results in one or both parties taking a position of defense and later, attack.
As the witnesses watch what is unfolding, they form differing opinions of both sides, sometimes they will take one side of the argument over another, and sometimes they will remain neutral and watch the show. As the argument grows, more and more people often will join the argument and before you know it, a small disagreement has turned into a full blown war between many users.
Being involved with the OpenSim community since 2007, I have witnessed many of these disagreements and they all go very much the same way and are often very predictable.
Sometimes, this drama can be stopped in the early stages by a 3rd party helping to mediate, or sometimes one of the parties involved are smart enough to see what is happening and they work to diffuse the issue.
If the issue has not been diffused, it will always “Grow” like a cancer. This cancer spreads to other users and it can tear apart friendships, communities, and it can kill a grid.
A grid relies on the social connections of it’s users in order to thrive. It doesn’t matter if the grid is a free grid, or a commercial grid, if people aren’t getting along, and the atmosphere is hostile, people won’t want to be there. If people don’t want to be there, they leave. If they leave, it cuts the number of events, the number of builds, the number of stores, the number of potential friends, and it can “Snowball” to the point where the community continues to shrink, and the reputation of the grid within the community is destroyed and much of the community would rather avoid the grid than tolerate the drama.
We’ve seen several instances of this happening in our grid over the past 4 years and we’ve all seen it happen in others.
We’ve survived them, but they are damaging none the less. Friendships are hurt, reputations are hurt, and it always takes time to recover.
We had a disagreement between 2 individuals last year which had grown into the “Drama” like we spoke about above.
In the beginning, we tried to mediate a “Common Ground” between both parties, but one party was not interested in finding common ground. They took the position they were right, the other party was wrong and they wanted nothing to do with them. Just like we talked about above, both parties continued to attack each other in public. One side was pretty direct, while the other side’s attacks were more subtle, but an attack is an attack. Other users chose sides and before you knew it, we had a war on our hands.
While trying to mediate a solution to find common ground, both parties indicated to me they both were looking out for the best interests of our users and for our grid and both thought I should do something about the other party to make things stop. Both indicated they loved our grid and felt the other side was hurting our grid.
One party had decided to leave, but continued to seek “Followers” by continuing to voice their opinion in other public forums.
Both parties had tried to have me ban the other, which is often the popular solution with some as it’s the easy way for them to “Win”.
I had chosen not to ban either party as both parties are very good people and I think both bring a different value to our community. Many of the supporters of each side didn’t know the backstory and didn’t seem to understand and/or care there are always two sides to every story.
Supporters of both sides continued to “fight” mini battles with other users and those directly involved in the dispute and the “Battles” Continue to be waged.
In the “Fallout”, many had lost friendships, the grid lost many users who had chosen to go elsewhere to avoid this drama, and with each user who decided to move on, the community grew weaker, the choices of events grew smaller, the shopping variety lessened, and the areas to explore were also lessened.
Both parties said they were only looking out for the best interests of our community, individual users, and the grid.
This drama began to destroy all they had claimed to be fighting for. If they really cared about the users, they should have removed the drama. If they really cared about the grid, they should have removed the drama. In the end, the fight they were fighting really wasn’t about the community, the users, or the grid as they had claimed, instead, it was all about each of them as both wanted to “Win”, but they were both losers in this and in the process they hurt everything they had claimed to be fighting for.
In the end, both parties were able to resolve their issues and put them behind them, but the damage had already been done.
Often times, during a disagreement, a supporting party to the argument will choose to ignore the fact that each party has a right to their own views, opinions, thoughts, and feelings. While each side may not agree, both should respect these basic rights of both sides.
I believe there are never “Winners” in drama, only losers. With resolution, both parties win and all supporters of both sides win as well.
To those who might find themselves supporting a specific side in an argument, you should always remember you are only hearing and seeing what your side wants you to see. Your opinions are formed disregarding the fact there are always more than one side to each story.
Contributed by Butch Arnold @ DigiWorldz