I have been playing an online mobile phone game for about 3 years now. The game is about building a castle, an army, and you go and attack either other players or computer generated targets. In the very beginning, I had my own alliance and encountered a problem-player, someone who exhibited unacceptable behavior online. Rude remarks, constant belittling and verbal abuse from this player towards everyone in the alliance (but especially me) eventually led me to kick them from my alliance (which is the only way of blocking them from chat) and block their personal messages (which I have kept blocked since 2016).
A few months after that I gave up my own alliance and with the rest of my members joined a bigger one, so I could count on more assistance when building and defending my precious online castle. This group was (and still is!) awesome. We're all either Dutch or Belgians in an age range from 13 to 76. They taught me how to play the game most effectively, and we meet up once or twice a year for a barbecue.
The problem player recently joined the alliance I'm currently in. I've immediately warned the current alliance leadership of my past problems with this player (they know all the details), yet we agreed that we would give this player a chance nonetheless based on recent in-game behavior indicating a change for the better. In the first few weeks, everything seemed fine.
But now this player is becoming a problem again, in both chat (which can't be blocked, but at least other people can 'defend' me there) but also by other behaviors towards me in the game that can't be handled by either the leadership or other players. Both the alliance leadership and I agree that their recent behavior is a problem given our past interactions, yet no-one is really sure how to handle setting the boundaries for this player only.
As they're not a problem towards the rest of the alliance (yet?), we really like to try and set, and consequently enforce, a boundary specifically for them. The problem with doing this, however, is that some of the behavior I won't tolerate from this player, is okay with me when coming from others I don't have the same past with (because then I know it's just a joke, or will be followed up with constructive feedback for example). It's a bit like creating a boundary allowing one of my brothers to tell me in the most insulting way they can come up with that my hair looks really bad today, but at the same time disallowing the other brother from even looking at it.
I have already tried telling them to stop what they're doing again, but it was received with a 'You're just being a drama queen, you're singling me out, if someone else is allowed to do this, I demand to be allowed to do this too. You're seeing malicious intent when there is none, leave me alone and take your grievances someplace else'.
That caused quite a disturbance in the group chat, most regular players are willing to help me without knowing the full story of our past. The leadership knows about my past, and they all want to help me set and enforce a boundary too. Yet there is a minority of people that definitely feel like I'd be wrong setting this boundary for this player alone (including the player, there are about 3-4 very regular players in this group, who are not necessarily more 'vocal' than others).
- Everyone in this group is used to be treated equally by the leadership. We've never had the leaders (or other players) set boundaries/rules for a single person. Setting the boundary will indeed single this one player out,
- The alliance leadership definitely wants to set and enforce this boundary for this single player too, is keen to help me, but wants to keep the confusion and discord within the group to a minimum,
- Rules and decisions made by the leadership are generally received well and obeyed without question since their rules/decisions are applied to all players equally. In this case, not everyone in the group feels it is fair to set this boundary for a single person, and people have already protested as such,
- Kicking the problem player from the alliance will be done, but only after an attempt at setting and enforcing the boundary has proven to fail as well,
How to deal with setting and enforcing a boundary for a single person within a group that's used to be treated equally?