Before the first keystroke here, I expect it to end horribly and be downvoted to oblivion. But I'm passionate about this, and always have hope in the .0001% of chances, as I see it.

TL;DR The Social Contract is open to interpretation. I recently learned cussing hasn't even been off-the-books allowed in guilds. I'm straight up not having a good time.


A) Self Introduction
Hello, I'm Ponderance. I've loved this universe since I first laid eyes on the Undead storyline in the RTS warcraft days. I accidentally slipped into some recognition in the Wrath/Cataclysm days for and (links removed per being hosted elsewhere now.) The last few years I've been making rare selling people upset by giving TLPD and Aeonaxx kills away to beyond a thousand people. (I think I'm close to 1800, last time I tried to estimate.) I've helped people a lot in the guide channel. I love helping people in this game. In Vanilla and BC I would routinely take my dreadsteed summoning items and help fellow warlocks get their dreadsteeds without spending the gold on the supplies.

Though, I have always been in guilds that embrace profanity. And starting in Legion I passed off guild running to friends and lived a much more solo life. That started in MoP from tiring of dealing with the community in general, as I'm not really an extrovert and stretched myself thin the previous four years or so. Which has made the previously mentioned TLPD/Aeonaxx giveaways strenuous, and in waves of activity, and withdrawing to recharge.


B) Societal Reactions to Profanity
Now, this being said, I expect the thing I always see in these types of threads to be present. People who don't cuss, lightheartedly brushing off anybody who embraces profanity, saying just don't cuss lol? how hard is it lol? It always baffles me. All my life I've observed people trying to force others not to use swear words. I can't think of more than maybe a few times I've ever seen someone actively try to get someone to cuss. And not since grade school. Surely not in numbers in various social media communities. I'm sure it has happened. I'm just saying I can't think of having ever seen it. And I've been online since BBS/Telnet days in the late 80s.

I had no problem keeping naughty words to myself in public channels. I understand, trying to make a neutral environment for everyone. It makes sense. Beyond that, I understand creators large and small should be free to dictate what they don't want in their games. If they wanted nothing but uWu talk in their public channels, I wouldn't participate. I would think it was stupid, but hey, it's what they want.


C) Guild Freedom to Self Govern

My problem though, now, is that I've learned it isn't allowed anymore in private channels. Specifically, guilds. I ran multiple high member volume guilds over the years. Every time I would have to interact with a GM (back when you could get them to respond while in game and actually talk to them) - I would 100% of the time ask them if profanity was still allowed in guilds. 100% of the time they said it's fine in guilds as long as everybody coming in knows. So we made sure 100% of people entering the guild knew profanity was embraced, before they were even sent the invite.

Everything I had seen online, years ago, indicated Blizzard whole-heartedly intended for Guilds to self govern. Raid loot distribution, movement of people in and out of guild based on whatever criteria deemed appropriate by guild administration. Rules of conduct. Not to mention, these sentiments were stated by multiple GMs across multiple interactions.


D) Suspensions and Bans

My main account was on a 14 day suspension. That did shock me, as I haven't had any consequences in years, and last time it was a 7 day in-game silence because I made an admittedly dirty joke in a rather raunchy conversation I joined in a general chat back in 2021. I accept that, I was in general chat after all. I knew better. But I didn't know the way Blizzard handles it is, no matter how long since the last time you got in trouble, it goes up to the next level of punishment. And I thought corporate America was bad. If Facebook and most Corporate punishment eventually has a cooldown period where you start the process over (for minor stuff like this), and Blizzard just escalates to the next worse penalty regardless of how many years later... I would have thought that's pretty alarming. I sure didn't see it coming.

I have a lot of questions stemming from the 14 day suspension. I dug through various posts on the forums and Reddit, among other places online. I had never heard of someone actually getting suspended for general profanity in WoW. I had only heard about it when people were on racist or otherwise targeted bigoted tirades. And good. That's what came to mind when I first saw the social contract. Good, keep that stuff out of the game. Not only did I find a lot of people have picked up huge suspensions for just cussing, but people claim to have been banned for just cussing as well. I know how it is though, people often lie about not cussing, not attacking so and so, not botting, not hacking, not glitching, etc etc etc. So I take it all with a grain of salt. Well, I did more so before I got 14 days for minor stuff when contrasted against racism/bigotry/hate speech/vigorously attacking someone.

Which reminds me, one of the sellers I've been dealing with over the last couple years has tried to report me countless times for whatever they can think of. They sneak toons into communities I used to use to invite people to TLPD/Aeonaxx killing groups, where they allowed profanity as well, and scrolled up, reporting everything of mine they could find in scrollback on multiple accounts. They attempt to tell campers I'm a long list of things I never have been (I know this from screenshots from campers I've helped, who relay it straight to me.) They disrupt gameplay in the immediate vicinity, bombed and spammed our discord (i know, Blizz can't do anything about that.) And funny enough, said they were getting me banned from the Secret Finding Discord. Which, after discussing it with an admin there, I learned they're banned from there on all the accounts they know of. I compared notes with them to see if we had all of the accounts blocked between my server(s) and the SFD. The harasser even sent stuff to my cell phone. I do business online and I rarely have any issues, because I don't put myself out there as a target or a source of grief. But the harasser is always online, still doing all the things.

So again, catching 14 days for simply cussing shook me. Of the 3 examples i was given, 2 of them were in a channel with a conversation that was rather wild (I know who reported me based on that, which, again, just frustrating.) - and one was, fine, a much more mild comment than the one I got 7 days mute for, but still something I shouldn't have said.


E) Warnings, Context and The Social Contract

One thing that further rustled my jimmies, was the fact that multiple people, including blue posts, stated that nobody can see what the in-game warnings were about. Nobody can see what the reason for getting these warnings is. What caused it. They can't see anything until it goes to the level of punishment in front of the GMs. And even then, it sounds like they can't see all that much. Certainly not context in which things were said.

It's all about context. Everything in life is about context. Not just within the context of a guild that explicitly allows and embraces profanity, but in the context of multiple times I've seen people get baited into doing things that end up in consequences. Myself being one of them back in wrath. Dude who trolled me and I kept on ignore forever, was standing next to me talking nicely in /say, asking questions, etc. But they had me on ignore. I didn't have them on ignore on that toon yet, so I could see it. Seemed like he was being nice for once. So I went to another toon to be like hey man, I can't answer you because I'm on ignore. Boom, 3 hour suspension (that started right when we were forming up for a raid the next day.) ... Ok. I fell for that. I learned not to go around ignore, even if it looked like ignore was in error. And that, as well, ignored the context to land me the consequences. It wasn't logical. Any chat log would have shown what happened.

As I said, when I first read the social contract, what I interpreted it as was an agreement not to be a long list of things I had witnessed over the years. Also including trolls who would just set out to anger people in trade / lfg / barrens chat - then resume pushing the buttons that previously worked the moment they saw someone they previously aggrod in said channel. It made sense to me.

The part of the social contract which states "Harassment, threats, or abusive / derogatory language and behaviors" I took as exactly what I talked about witnessing. Racism, hate, attacking people, intentionally trying to enrage people, etc. I didn't take it as no cussing in any way ever. Profanity isn't inherently abusive / derogatory.

What seems the strangest to me about the social contract, is the following bits
" Azeroth is a living world full of people like you – other players with different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and histories who have all come together to play World of Warcraft. Every player deserves to have a world that they feel safe in, so please take a minute to read our Social Contract." "It’s a big world out there, with all sorts of people in it."
"Together, you can help us make the World of Warcraft a safe home away from home for everyone. "

Unless, apparently, your group of players feels most comfortable among others who include a set of words and phrases that are seen as lude/vulgar/profane. Not you. And yes, it feels exactly like that.


F) My Reaction

After seeing the previously mentioned examples of multiple blue posts saying it doesn't matter if it's in guild, whispers between people who cuss, or anywhere - any cussing anywhere will get the same consequences as cussing anywhere else. I don't know what to do. I already heavily and easily censored myself in public channels. Now I'm learning I don't even have a safe space in guilds to interact with others who are like minded, in ways we're all comfortable with. There are so many guilds across all the servers I play on which make it clear they allow profanity. But now I wonder how many people are catching punishment for others reporting things in guild.

The guild I just joined prior to this, when I left to isolate and debate what to do, they pressured me to come back because they're cussing right then. They've been cussing all day. They're going to cuss forever. That's fine, but if I can get consequences and I have no clue what will happen if I get reported again for cussing - even in a guild that allows it.

I made the mistake previously of adding up everything I've spent on WoW since I started, in various bank and credit card statements. Thousands. Because I love this game. And it's even more awesome for me since dragon flying entered my life. I've always loved flying, but this new amazing thing where physics is more involved and it's crazy fast? Awesome. AND it's not just in dragon isles anymore? I'm so extensively pumped. But I could face being banned and losing all the work I've done on all my toons? Because of just bad words?

I think it's crazy, the social contract talks so much about making a place where everybody feels comfortable. While at the same time, a whole section of us isn't even allowed to express ourselves how we feel appropriate inside the privacy of a guild? And on the official wow forums, it's cool to openly mock anybody who thinks they should be able to cuss in guild? And when a blue poster comes to the thread, they lock it, begin with an exasperation about that being enough of that, back up the people gaslighting me with ridiculous stuff, and I can't even enter a short discussion because it's locked? Surely I'm not going to start another thread and also risk being banned from forums I lurk frequently for a variety of information, from troubleshooting to server issues, guild progress, stuff about rares, and on and on.

So now I've moved all my characters into a guild with nobody else, for easily moving money around and storage. I've left all public chat channels on all toons. I very, very sparingly respond to anything, or say anything in party or raid. And I cannot imagine changing it.

Typing this I remember countless times "Well how about just don't cuss lol?" Sure. That sounds super. However, all my life, every single job, all my friends groups of every type of people, even church groups, everything. Almost everybody cusses. My current job? EVERYBODY. cusses. From the president of the company all the way down, every level, everyone. It's honestly one of the factors in why I chose the place when I was job hunting. Comfort. And we do a great job. So I will not expect to flawlessly come on the few hours a day I have free time, or less, to play WoW, and expect to not slip up and cuss. Or say something that fits into a conversation, especially in a guild full of others who aren't scared of consequences for cussing, and not say something reportable. Especially with my previous experience with the specific mount seller slipping into communities specifically to report any profanity I've used in the community. Surely they'll get a toon into the guild I was in who invites a lot of people - it's a big guild.

Speaking of that guild, the guildmaster said not to worry because she won't let anyone report me. Profanity is allowed in guild. But this is the issue, because we cannot stop that. I would have made serious changes to the guilds I ran if I found out people could get in trouble for cussing. I am strange like that, and would have never continued claiming to be completely free to use profanity in guild, if I knew it could catch people consequences. I would say, you can cuss here at your own risk, but if someone gets mad or doesn't like you for whatever related or unrelated reason, you could be reported. And we cannot stop it. Reports don't travel through guild administration before exiting the guild to Blizzard. It goes straight to blizzard and we're not informed. So we cannot claim to guarantee they're not going to get in trouble for profanity in guild, if that's what Blizzard is also punishing for.


G) Reflection

I feel like I'm just going in circles. I don't know what I want to accomplish with this post. I just feel desperate to go back to a world where I could exist comfortably in a guild without worrying about everything I've done in WoW being banned forever. Feels bad man.

I made a petition yesterday. I sent it to people I know IRL, who I know curse, who I figured had a good chance of at least signing the petition. 32 views, 12 signatures. Not a good start. Through the course of the day today, I thought about this a lot. I thought about the fact that every server I've played on, horde and alliance, there's a universal joke about Blizzard. Whenever things are taken out of the game that people enjoyed, the line is "Blizzard found out we were having fun, and they don't allow fun." "Fun police saw we liked it, and took it away." And so on. It's widespread, and I suspect every single person who, for whatever reason, has read this far and plays the game, has seen this said or has also said it themselves. Sarcasm or not.

So I thought, what if I focused a large chunk of my life on this, outside of my full time job and family, and got this up to even 500k signatures? Guaranteed, it would be among the other petitions that accomplished nothing. What about a million? 4 million? I have serious doubts even 4 million signatures would elicit any kind of a response beyond "we're aware of it." And all I would even ask for, is allowing guilds to dictate what goes on inside their guilds. /gquit takes but a second to type and execute. Being told what the guild environment and joining anyway if they don't like it? Nobody's problem but the person who joined knowing it wasn't exactly what they wanted.

Beyond that, I would dream about a world where we can see what we did that got reported, so we can have a clue what it's about. All but one of the times I got a "Warning - Communication: your recent communication behavior is not in line with how most World of Warcraft players communicate", it was met with a "..... huh?" from me because I legit had no idea what I could have said to be reported. One of them i suspected it was when I was tired and grouchy and fed a trade chat troll. Fine. I got it. I know better than to feed trolls. But the rest, most of which I received literal hours after I was even in a conversation with someone. Or often, when I logged in after not having played for days. The equivalent of someone walking up to me on the street and saying "hey, don't do that. Be good." how do you even react to that? besides "uhhh, ok? sure?" ... I've been a supervisor multiple times out in the real world. Just observing those around me, before I was even a supervisor I was well aware that you cannot do anything with redirection, without having specific action points. What you did, how you could have done it better, and how to improve going forward. You can't just be like "you messed up, do better." do better how? what did i mess up? "Just, do better." It's fruitless. You will likely never get the improvement you are looking for. You must give examples. Especially if they literally have no idea what they could have done wrong to illicit the hand slap.

But as the previous wall of text paragraph began - I would dream. Because if we've gone this long, and even blue/GMs can't see what the warnings were about... and it hasn't been fixed? I have no hope it will improve. And to bring up Facebook again - at least they show a screenshot or display the text of what you're getting warned or punished for. Nothing you can do about it usually, but at least you have a clue for future reference. AND you can access it any time in your dashboard, without having to put a ticket in which will likely be closed with a copy/paste form response. And no information you requested.


H) Closing

I suspect I'll just go forward only talking to people in game on outside sources, being on discord talking there, with minimal typing in game. For fear of being banned for something most people in my life would say is completely innocuous. I don't think it's right at all, but I don't see any other way to feel safe from being banned.

My best friend left wow years ago because he could see where it was going. He calls my continued return to WoW "going back to the abusive girlfriend again, eh?" But I love her, and we have a long history together.

Hope all of you are well, even those I'm sure will respond negatively to this. And hey, a lot of the negative response (if any, to such a wall of text) may just be warranted and accurate.


I) Note

I put this under Discussion because I couldn't find flair that better fit "desperate crying and longing"



i clicked post.

immediately, this:

I mean, it was there when the page refreshed in less than a second after clicking post. i lurk reddit 99.999% of the time. i've never seen or heard of this happening the second it got posted. sure, later, when moderators take it down. but not instantly. i'm jsut going to edit it into all my WoW related fansites and fucking walk away. can't even vent about it on reddit, the place where everybody cries and gets mocked? fucking nonsense. this was removed the second it was posted? automation? what? I expected it to be downvoted to oblivion, but I did not expect it to bounce back the immediate second I clicked post. ok.


Anyway. Isolation it is. Don't know if I'm going to be helping anybody ranodmly much anymore. Either a favor to a friend or a friendofafriendbro, or paid up front. or REAL LUCKY I bumped into you when I saw something. haha. whatever. sorry things didn't turn out better.