Russell Sherwood Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Over the year’s I have played thousands of games against hundreds of opponents and 99%+ have been reasonable, nice, interesting people.
Many have become friends and with some, I have enjoyed varied and interesting conversions, despite (or probably because of) our varied backgrounds. This leaves a tiny percentage of rather unpleasant people who you occasionally cross paths with. I can add to this small list with similar characters when I have been acting various administrative roles.
I can only stress these people are very rare but it is unpleasant when you come across one.
So what to do? We can broadly classify the incidents into two groups:
The first group come straight at you with offensive content – there is no likelihood of a misunderstanding, their intent is to upset and provoke a response. In many cases, you could suspect that they would benefit from professional help.
With these cases, the main rule is: do not engage with them, that generally what they are seeking. Instead, complain to the Tournament Director, They will review the message history and assuming they agree with you, either warn your opponent and/or set silent mode Should your opponent offend again they will follow procedure, escalating the disciplinary measures, ultimately resulting in possible suspension from all games.
The second group tend to develop from conversations that get out of hand or where the meaning has been lost in translation, so a message not intended to be offensive turns out to not to be intended to be.
My advice to avoid these kinds of issues is to (a) avoid subjects such as Religion and Politics and (b) Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. I recall as a young Supply Chain Manager than a number of my staff got annoyed with their opposite numbers always using the word demand rather than ask. A little bit of investigation showed that the French word for Ask is Demander..........
I have had many interesting conversations (including ones on Religion and Politics) but only with people I knew fairly well and both of us were aware of the robustness of our relationship but unless you know your opponent well avoid this path.
In these cases, the first action should be to confirm if it is a genuine problem – or has been lost in translation. If it’s an issue, complain to the TD, otherwise either continue to enjoy your conversation!
Don’t EVER suffer from an obnoxious opponent!