Context and Content
I was planning a post today about how to turn on your "Spidey-Sense" and know when you are flying into a tarp in Eve. Which is a process about recognizing context and being able to act on it. Which, in light of yesterday's post, seems like a much bigger topic than just a simple guide. It is apparent that many of my readers are struggling to grasp the concept of context versus content. As always, I am here to help.
Let's use me as an example. I am a content driver in Eve Online. Both in and out of game I drive content. I create content. Lots of it. As both a member of the community and as the leader of an alliance, pirate, and notorious risk-taker. That is my style. Yesterday I lost eight ships over a sporadic day of playing Eve on and off again. I don't play like that every day, but sometimes it is fun to just plow ahead and have a blast. Yesterday I decided to take on every opportunity available, some worked well and some did not. This kind of day, while rare, is not unusual for me. This is well known. Anyone looking at my killboard from yesterday would be forgiven for thinking certain things about me, eight ships lost for only nine killed? Guy is an idiot.
While I may or may not be an actual idiot, the framework around that assumption is missing context. A bigger picture reveals a different story. It wouldn't take much work to realize that within the context of my entire Eve experience, yesterday was part of an overall pattern that goes back at least four years. If not seven. A well-managed pattern that I control. I obviously know what my own limits are and work well within those guidelines to provide a positive and amazing Eve playstyle for myself and those around me. A pattern that generally sees me come out on top 78% of the time. A rate I am more than happy to live within. That is my own context.
I play like that because I personally find it the most fun way to play Eve. Over two years ago I decided that I would create a place where anyone could come and play the same way. To have fun without rules, or cares about what type of ammo you have in your guns. At the time I had no idea if anyone would come or not, but they did. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Which is awesome. Obviously Eve was missing something for a lot of people and I created a place where they could be themselves. Naturally I and my fellow pilots take a lot of pride in this. It became so popular that people that don't even live the Pirate lifestyle wanted to be a part of it, which is why I created the Alliance. So everyone could have a similar experience, no matter what they do.
That is also context.
The other side of that context coin is the knowledge that some people want to see me and my corp/alliance fail. This is also known. I won't go into specifics, but we've had more than our fair share of betrayal, trolls, spies, alts, thieves, and even one stalker-level hater. That is also context. We have to live with that knowledge as well. Generally speaking we don't give a fuck, but we do like to avoid drama when possible. Believe it or not.
Some decisions I have to make quickly. As a leader I am prepared to do so. I can do so comfortably because I know my team and I can count on them to back me up because I know them so well. But most of the time decisions are made by leadership, the directors and CEOs of the other Corporations. Our corp/alliance has a history and a set of general guidelines against which most situations can be judged. This is also context.
In over two years of our Corporation NO ONE has been removed because of anything that has happened on the killboard. NO ONE. Ever. Yesterday I derped an Apoc Navy Issue into a fleet of 12 Destroyers with links, why? Because it was fun. Our pilots do things all the time because they are having fun. I encourage that. It is, after all, the entire reason we exist. There are times when something strange happens and I, or one of our Directors, will convo the pilot involved. We like to keep track and make sure someone isn't having problems. That is also part of the process.
Another part is honesty. And involvement. And communication. We are an active Corp/Alliance, on forums, on Slack, on Twitter, and in-game. People helping people. We are a fun bunch that likes to enjoy playing a game. Being a part of that experience is a personal choice, but one that is extremely important.
Choosing to not be a part of that experience is also a personal choice. Choosing to ignore advice, choosing silence, choosing to lie, or falsely make claims, these are all choices. Choices that each person is free to make. Indeed, I support anyone's right to make those choices for themselves.
In light of all of that context, sometimes it is in the best interest of the group that those personal choices be made elsewhere. It can often be a difficult decision, but one that the Directors and I are willing to make. The consensus among leadership yesterday was clear. It was not a decision I made alone. It was clear that more was going on in that specific situation than was known to us. And that it would be best for everyone if those choices were being made outside of our group.
It was a decision based purely on context. Simple.