Hello, all. Some of you might remember me from my relatively short time in CH about five years ago. If so, you probably also remember the bizarre, bad behavior that came to be associated with my account / characters in late spring 2014 (around the time I left CH) through 2015. While I wasn’t directly responsible for most of happened, I did make the extremely bad decisions that led to it, and for that reason I accept all of the blame.
Because the situation was very complex and developed over several years, this message will be quite lengthy. I apologize for that. I’ve tried to keep it as short as possible, though, and also to keep facts about specific CHers vague to protect their privacy. If you were around in 2014-15, I hope this post helps to clear up some things – and that you’ll accept my apologies for everything that happened back then.
*takes a deep breath* OK, here goes, from the very beginning (so my / others’ motivations are perfectly clear): CH was the first modern MMO I ever dipped my feet into, and, back in 2014, when I first joined an active version of CH, I was overly concerned with the “correct” way to behave in a kin: how assertive to be with making suggestions, stepping up to run events – even chatting in the kin channel.
The trouble started, strange as this might sound, when my husband tried to convince me I had no reason to worry about being accepted by my kinmates. By the time I’d been in CH for a few weeks or so, he’d watched me play enough to recognize most of the kin’s core / active members. To allay my fears, and to add levity to a situation that made me anxious, my husband started to suggest, teasingly, that several male CHers not only didn’t dislike me, but had actually been flirting with me. I was skeptical, since every conversation I’d had with my kinmates had been patently non-flirtatious – even in the totally innocuous way many MMOers “flirt” with one another pretty regularly. While none of my husband’s teasing convinced me that anyone was flirting with me, specifically, it did get me laughing, at least.
Around this time, my husband and I learned, somehow, one of two facts: that a particular CHer either lived in our local area or worked in my semi-obscure former professional field. In a killing-the-cat sort of way, we googled this person and found something which was frankly none of our business (a fact which I didn’t appreciate enough at the time). In any case, though, the information fit this CHer’s (harmless, as far as I know) reputation in the kin and disconcerted me slightly, since I’d chatted with him once or twice.
This was all my husband needed to hypothesize, only half-jokingly (one of those “you had to be there” sorts of situations), that the CHer in question had ulterior motives in his interactions with certain kinmates. Incidentally, we’d also stumbled upon whichever of the two personal factoids above – i.e., the CHer’s location or occupation – I hadn’t already gleaned through hearsay or random chatter in the game. This made the other info we’d found seem more salient, somehow.
To find out for sure what this person was up to, my husband and I started looking for “clues” in his behavior. For reasons I can’t remember very well at this point, we decided the CHer in question had extra, “secret” characters in the kin, and that one of them had been hanging out on the game at ~2 a.m. (US EST), when I was often the only other CHer logged in.
It was around this time that we told some online friends (one of whom we also knew locally) about my LOTRO adventures, Concerning Hobbits, and, at my husband’s insistence, the CHer who lived in our city.
The group was amused by three things: first, that I, a non-gamer, was playing an MMO like LOTRO so heavily; second, that I was worried about minor social ambiguities found in nearly all clans in online games; and, finally, that there was a local CHer who was up to no good in some vaguely comical way. The group soon established some in-jokes about all of these things. In these jokes, the CHer my husband and I had “doxed” became a serial “stalker” who had dozens of “fake” characters in the game (for spying, maybe?).
This sort of humorous mythologizing went on for about a week or so. In the thick of it, my husband (when I was out of the room – on crutches, since I’d broken my leg in a car/bike wreck a couple months – yes, months – earlier) posted to this website a rude joke that wouldn’t have made sense to anyone but us – and our friends, if they’d seen it. I was extremely embarrassed, of course, and quickly tried to fix what he’d done.
A bit counterintuitively, my husband’s action functioned as a sort of “point of no return” in my attempts to fit in with a group that frequently had me baffled. (“Counterintuitively” because I should have seen my husband’s post as a warning not to let his and our friends’ involvement with my LOTRO playing get out of hand.) Also, to some degree, I was actually convinced that there was some truth to my husband and our friends’ semi-facetious insistence that the CHer we’d “doxed” was misusing the game. I also felt he was getting a “pass” for this behavior from the kin’s leadership – the same people who didn’t like it when other (newer? more socially anxious?) members of the kin showed up late to a party, for instance.
One evening I rashly shared my concerns with a CH officer in either the kinship or hobbits chat (without naming any characters, of course), who I assume passed them on to both the CHer in question and the person I regularly saw online at 2 or 3 a.m. (At the time, remember, I believed there was some chance these two were one and the same person.)
Shortly after this incident, at my request for moral support, my husband restarted playing LOTRO, which he’d tried and hadn’t liked a year or two earlier. He wanted to focus on crafting, but he also agreed to quest and deed with me. About half the time we were both logged in (and some of the time when just one of us was), we’d use each other’s accounts, so that I’d be playing one of his characters and he one of mine. We even attended a CH party this way. I realize now how utterly unconscionable this practice was, but, in an environment where I still felt like an outsider, I was especially susceptible to social pressure from more familiar quarters: having fun with my husband in a way he’d suggested outranked being honest with my kinmates.
Lyndall: Just posted pics from last Thursday's kin party, so have a look!
Lyndall: Fixed the links to the Yule party pics!
Lyndall: The thumbnails link to thumbnails, though - fixing this later! :)
Lyndall: Hello, all! Uploaded some pics from last night's party :)
Lyndall: "Last Post" says "No posts yet," even though they're all still there. :|
Lyndall: Oops - deleted post from member forum and it confused the site...
Mugwumper: Hello people online
Mugwumper: Who called out a Halloween themed party? I know I mentioned it but now it's in MotD too, should we have it during the fest?
Frodaswinda: Good fun with the Picnic raid! Hope there will be raids at future festivals!
Mugwumper: Had fun hunting snow rabbit.
Frodaswinda: Ridge Racer title run next party! Thursday, 6/14
Mugwumper: Hunting yes but take it from my alt (some tall fella) they are not good eating
Ivymoss: Good morning and happy (orc) hunting
Mugwumper: People - shout about something!
Sageflower: That's the original tweet, but you can see, if you scroll down far enough, @LOTRO retweeted it at https://twitter.com/lotro
Mugwumper: Retweeted what? No I had no idea. Where do I find it?
Sageflower: Did you guys see that LOTRO retweeted a pic of the kinship at the pub party? You're all famous now!
Mugwumper: Hello Dehllea, not much happens here but I'm trying to get Honeydove more involved in the kin site. Don't tell her I said that.