As with any type of passionate fun on Second Life (SL), virtual modeling can be filled with drama. Some people have a natural tendency to attract it while others avoid it like the plague. If you find yourself caught in the middle of one, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you come out of the hole clean and sane.
1.) Remain as neutral as possible. Your friend may be under attack but you have to play the neutral third party for now. Emotions are running rampant and the last thing you need is to be swept away with the current. Flow with the arguments but ease yourself into calmer waters for now. Your grounded position will save you a lot of headache in the future and can help stabilize the other parties as well.
2.) Get the facts on all sides. It is very easy to side with one person’s or group’s view on a topic but in order for you to make the best decision, you will need to know the facts from all sides. Avoid opinions and theories at the moment and focus on the cold truth, no matter how brutally blunt it may be. Keep digging even after you find yourself remotely satisfied because not everyone will tell the whole truth upfront. Remember to gather the information from one person at a time so it is not tainted by the influence of others.
3.) Gather the opinions. Now is the time to hear what people are feeling. All parties should have cooled down enough by now to hear what they have to say without you going deaf from their screaming. Focus on the present and work your way back to the past slowly. The underlying problem may be many little things that add up, a sudden event or rumor or a long held grudge.
4.) Interpret the words. The difference between translating and interpreting is that the latter emphasizes on what was meant to be said. SL is worldwide and a lot can be lost in translation. You also have to factor in the writing habits and styles for each party so as to catch what what may have been taken as offensive but was really not meant as such.
5.) Stand your ground. In the end you will pick a side, even if it is your own. By now you should state your opinions over the matter and the reasoning behind them. Not everyone will agree but an understanding person should not be fussy over your decision. If you are a mediator, lay out the ground rules on what you think the parties should do to alleviate the drama. Remember, the interest lies not in yourself but in the peace for all. Be fair and impartial with your ruling and choose your words precisely during the delegation. The last thing you want is for the other parties to start attacking you for not agreeing with either of them 100%.