Final Fantasy XIV: Having Been A Mentor and Running
Freedom of speech does not entail freedom from consequence.
However, I have to agree with the OP. This is a topic regarding real world conflicts of interests that really have no business being in the Novice Network. It is not unlike a linkshell, where you can selectively invite players and can thus enforce a type of filter. IE: Everyone can talk about feminism, the state of censorship, gender issues, hunting, dissection of animals, murder, crude humor, food preparation, etc. because said things are tolerated topics of discussion in said linkshell. Currently, and I know this will be changing come mid January, you can just be shadow-invited into the Novice Network and many new players don't know how to leave it once they've been invited. Someone who immediately feels alienated or intimidated will not speak up and ask these people how to leave. Especially if they fear simply asking them will now make them a target of comments like assuming as to why they would want to leave. Especially if they saw how OP was treated, which regardless of which side you are on, is rude and highly disrespectful.
Despite the GM saying that the Novice Network is "just another chat channel" is also incredibly false. Other chat channels are policed, albeit by other players. If one player begins to police the Novice Network, that player runs into the risk of being reported for harassment which may or may not have grounds to stand upon. There is zero policing in the Novice Network other than the obvious do-not-say listed in the ToS. I rather think this is more of a blanket stance for GMs to stand behind for their own protection from petty disputes that would otherwise pull staff from actual matters at hand.
That being said, it's not really so much about if it's off topic so much as they type of topic going on that should really be addressed here. I've also witnessed novices get more involved and asked questions about things mentors were talking about. These were "off-topic" that became "on-topic" because it incited curiosity that grew into understanding. People talking about hunts, the Gold Saucer, Savage raid progression and gear and stats, how to weave oGCDs- these are all "on-topic" to me because they are all related to the game that the novices will learn more about as they stay and play.
Then again, after having been a mentor and running into this issue myself many times:
- Witnessed players in dungeons that basically say, "You don't pay my sub so you don't tell me what to do," yet fail to do their expected baseline tasks. Sometimes, they hailed from the very Novice Network I was helping in but ultimately just want to play they game how they want to and that's it. They wanted an extra body to make the queue faster and not actually have a mentor;
- Been kicked out of Novice Network for explaining to multiple people how macroing your GCDs were terrible and resulted in DPS loss that got bigger the longer the encounter was. Sometimes, entire skills and rotations won't even trigger due to lag, breaking the macro, or hitting the macro one time too many and cancelling it out;
- Breaking the spread of misinformation, especially when AST was considered trash by a large population of players (and what spawned my URL in my signature). I've been kicked for this too;
- Explaining how using certain skills should be an expected norm, or at the very least a good idea, and won't decrease things like DPS (but may afford your tank to increase their DPS). This was an especially hot topic when discussing the use of Quelling Strikes;
I had long ago come to the conclusion that in the end, the Novice Network was an abysmal idea and ultimately unnecessary. Hell, mentor roulette has more of an impact than the Novice Network.
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