Positive Interactions

Plus one.

So I chased yet another student out of OUCH yesterday.  I never really intend to, but it happens. Sometimes, I think I’m just plain mean.  

Well, that’s not very nice, Bren.

Understand that any one time there at least 50 students in the OUCH program.  It takes effort to keep track of each individuals progress, so we have each student maintain a personal training record on the forum.  We call it the Student Folder.

Now maintaining 50 or more Student Folders is an administrative challenge, so, of course, we’ve got some procedures and guidelines that ultimately make it easy for the staff to audit folders, determine progress, graduate students and expel inactives.  And, of course, both students and instructors conspire to make our lives difficult by dreaming up new and improved ways to help us out

Just trying to do our part.

Now the reason I ended up chasing yet another student out of the Open University of Celestial Hardship yesterday is because we disagreed over how to record a date.

The date?

Yep.  In the years that OUCH has been running, we can’t seem to get Americans and Europeans to understand that a simple thing like the date can be recorded in a manner that can be misinterpreted by the reader.

Simply enough, 04/05/13 does not mean the same thing to all people.  Some people think that’s May, some people think that’s April.  If you don’t understand this, then you probably have limited contact with people outside of your country.  So we tell people, type out the name of the month, or put the date the way your computer would read it, 2013.04.05.  

Seems reasonable to me.

Now, our Chief of Staff notices that a student has recorded the date ambiguously in his student folder and asks him to fix it.  The student chooses not to fix it.   So we, staff and student, end up in a feedback loop on the forum where we ask him to fix his folder, and he doesn’t.  We have limited (Read: No) contact with this student outside of the forum.  As Eve players, we naturally understand the tendency of another Eve player to assume that they are the smartest person in the room, despite the uncertainty of that being Truth, so the Chief of Staff shows him, with some good humor, how he can be misinterpreted because, well, he and his audience might not be reading from the same page.  The student eventually makes a note explaining to us what his date format means, but does not change it.  

I’m sure we can make a case for the concept that if you can’t follow directions on the forum, how can we depend on you to follow directions in fleet, but that’s not the point here.  Instead, I, nice guy that I am, upholder of the downtrodden, trainer of newbies so bitter vets cannot take advantage of them, respond by doing what any bitter vet Eve player would do to anyone that was wasting their time.  

I ridicule him on the forum.  I point to the instructions and pretty much I ask him if he’s illiterate (which I know he cannot be), ignorant (which I hope, but rather doubt that he is),  just plain dumb (which I find hard to believe) or trying to piss us off (which I don’t think he’s really trying).

Even saints can sin I suppose.

Several weeks pass.  He finally returns to the forum, he fixes his post, and responds with a fifth choice.  He tells me that the instructions that I pointed him to were not available on the forum when he posted his remarks.    

This confuses me for a minute.  I check my post.  July 17, 2012.  

I don’t get it.  

Ohhhh!  He thinks that post was written July 17, 2013!

Gleefully, I post on his student thread that he is WRONG ONCE AGAIN and thank him for playing.  I also thank him for finally fixing his original post.  A few hours later he leaves the corp.

So what’s the point of this story?  You’re a jerk just like everyone else in Eve?  Don’t play “OUCH the Board Game” with Bren?

No.  It’s just that forums (and corp chat for that matter) are terrible places try to make friends.  I’ve posted about this on the OUCH forums in depth.  You can’t really get to know someone on the forum because the reader hears the tone they want to hear when they read your words.

Have you ever read the words of a famous person and hear their voice saying those words?  What if you never heard their voice?  You still imagine what they would sound like, and it’s not always positive.  

OUCH gains and loses students everyday.  The ones that succeed are the ones who get into Teamspeak and hang out with us.   The students that you care the most about are the ones you get to know.  The ones that we get to hear their voice.  The ones who laugh at our jokes and we laugh at theirs.  The ones who ask us for advice, listen to our stories and share some of their own.    The game we play is best played with other people, and voice comms go a long way in building relationships with the people you play with.  

And the students that don’t make it, well, we don’t miss them when they are gone because simply enough, they are strangers to us.  They never become voices that we know.

Hey new guy? Can you fix the dates in your student folder for me please?  Make them a little less ambiguous?  There’s a post on the forum shows you how. It makes it easier when we need to audit them later.  

Sure thing, Bren…  There you go.  

Thank you.

Hey, Bren, do you have a good Coercer fit?  

Well, that depends.  What are you going to use it for?

Minus one.