(Edit: Please scroll to the bottom of this post to read my additional clarifications, as well as read my responses to the comments.)
So I was going through my search terms and found this:
“what guild is madrana in skywall”
Not cool, guys.
Is that my bad? Maybe. I mentioned the server names to differentiate between the Hyjal and Skywall guilds I applied to. It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together, but my issue with this is that I deliberately went out of my way to prevent mentioning the guilds. I didn’t do it just for kicks, I did it because I have respect for the two guilds.
To have someone googling to find out what guild I’m in is a sign of disrespect to me and to my guild. It deliberately goes against my wishes to keep my guild tag relatively anonymous.
So knock it off.
If you already know my guild name, I ask you to please respect my privacy. Please respect my decisions to leave out bits of information like the name of my guild. Please don’t mention them here. Please don’t make me pay $10 for a name change. Please don’t contact me in-game because I WILL tell you to stop and if it continues, I WILL report your ass. I have no problems with that.
If you don’t already know my guild name, I will respectfully ask you to let it go and not go looking for it. If you like my blog, my writing, my thoughts, my holy paladin tips and tricks, you will respect my wishes in this matter.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to think a bit about posting anything else that’s at all related to guild stuff and my personal raiding experiences. And let me tell you something — that’s not cool. To have to think about censoring myself on my own blog because some creepers out there just HAVE to know what guild I’m in? Definitely not something I ever wanted to experience.
Edit, June 25th
Okay, I’ll admit it was unsettling to see a Google search term so very dedicated to finding me in WoW. I may have overstated my discomfort because I was definitely unsettled.
I also made a few mistakes.
1) In my previous guild, my character’s name was not Madrana. Some tool already had “my” name on that server. So I added a letter to it. As such, I tried hard to refer to myself as “Madrana”. This obviously allowed people to find me much more easily once I transferred, because I reclaimed “my” name. Had I been smart, I’d have used a whole other name entirely, but I was SO GLAD to get “my” name back that I didn’t really think about how many times I’ve used “Madrana” on this blog.
2) Apparently, I misjudged this thing called “popularity”. When I did realize that I was using the same name in-game as I was using to identify my paladin on the blog, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. Who the hell wants to track me down? I’m just some outspoken, opinionated holy paladin. You’d think that looking at my traffic stats would help me realize that I actually speak to a lot of people every time I post. But no, apparently 5131 visits and 9551 pageviews in the last month means absolutely nothing to me. :P
3) I posted about my discomfort. It was a natural instinct. A reaction of “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” and then a decision to write about it to the very people who were reading the blog and subsequently searching for me.
Doing so probably only exacerbated the issue — and this edit probably will, too.
So what am I going to do about this?
Well, the first thing I’ve already done is poured myself a great big cup of “CALM THE FUCK DOWN” and chugged that. :P
The second thing I’m doing is editing this post to reflect my thoughts on the matter now that I’m calmer, and I’ll be responding to comments as well.
The third thing I’m doing is this: explaining, in greater detail, why it unsettled me and why I would appreciate it if you didn’t look me up.
I go to what I feel are pretty great lengths to protect the identities of the people I talk about in my blog. I rename everyone, except pretty much Majik, because he’s just a DK and they’re all noobs. ;) (Thank you for that search term, whoever you are.)
If you were from my former guild, you would know who I was talking about when I said the main tank, the raid leader, the other holy paladin. But the general public wouldn’t know without a LOT of homework and digging. To me, that was acceptable. That showed my former guildies (if they ever came across it) that I wasn’t out to share insider information about the guild or anything like that. By masking my identity, to an extent, and by doing what I could to rename everyone else, I was, in my mind, creating a safe place for me to talk about the trials and tribulations involved in raiding, without ruining anyone’s reputation, without calling people out behind their backs, without all that drama.
It was about me complaining about X person or Y situation and it wasn’t detailed enough to draw identities from it, in my opinion.
The situation suddenly, overnight, became “crap. How do I protect my current guild from identification the way I did my old guild?”
When I say that the GM is an amazing healer, I mean it. When I say that I absolutely adore one of the raid leaders (and still quite like the other), I mean it. But what happens if I were to comment on something else that isn’t quite so awesome?
I was free to do that in the previous guild situation. I felt that 95% of people didn’t know my toon/server/guild name. (Don’t disabuse me of that notion if that’s not the case, please. :P) Now, not only do I actually have guildies reading, which is a whole new dimension for me to deal with, but now some people, probably about 40% (again, don’t disillusion me) of people reading know what guild I’m in. Probably by my complaining about that or asking you NOT to look it up, that number has grown.
Someone who commented on this post yesterday noted that the publish button is called “Publish” for a reason. And it’s true. A lot of bloggers forget that once it’s out there, IT IS OUT THERE. And there’s no real taking it back.
I’m not going to go back and edit out my name or the name of my server. I’m not going to go back and erase this post. I’m not going to do that. Because even if I did, it’s still out there. People have still learned the information.
So it’s less about me being creeped out by being contacted by a random creeper (although please don’t do so. :P) and more about protecting the people I’m playing with. I LIKE these people, you know.
I’m comfortable with my guild identity being a relatively open secret. But that’s the kicker — secret. Any references by others to the name of the guild or any members of the guild will either be edited or deleted, depending on how patient I’m feeling. Let us all ascribe to the rather unlikely concept that I’m in a guild that no one knows anything about. :P
Oh, and possibly what annoyed me the most is that someone GOOGLED that shit. Guys. Really. Google? That’s what the armory is for. Use the armory for your stalking purposes. It doesn’t leave any search engine terms for me to gape at and your curiosity is satisfied and I’m much less creeped out. :P I’m a regular armory stalker and have much less issue being armory stalked by people than someone specifically googling to find out my guild name.
So, once again:
If you already know my guild name, I ask you to please respect my privacy. Please respect my decisions to leave out bits of information like the name of my guild. Please don’t mention them here.
If you don’t already know my guild name, I will respectfully ask you to let it go and not go looking for it.
If you want to know what my character’s gear is, down to gems and enchants, ask me. I’ll tell you. If you want to know what my glyphs are, ask me. I’ll tell you. If you want to know any of my character’s stats, ask me. I’ll tell you.
Let’s just leave my guild out of it, all right? <3