Case in Point:
I went on a small gang roam last night, run by one of the really good guys I've run into -- someone who's a real pleasure to fly with and who always seems to have a fun fleet idea to try out.
Flying with him: a couple of his corp mates, and a cage of shit-flinging spider monkeys.
Now, normally, it's not that bad. The fleet members list was about the same as usual, but for whatever reason -- full moon, hormone imbalance, Ritalin shortage -- this ancillary group of pilots (from a corp unaffiliated with the FC) have been particularly sub-functional lately.
But I grit my teeth and bear it, because I want to try out this new idea the FC has. The last few roams, he's been asking for armor-tanked cruisers supported by a couple tech1 logistics ships (the exequror, which is currently a hairsbreadth above a joke setup, but receives a major facelift in a few months), and specifically asked if I could bring one of the support cruisers, which is a class of ship I'm well-skilled for and never really get a chance to fly.
Anyway: the evening didn't offer up a lot of viable opportunities. The nature of the ships we were flying (support cruisers with poor attributes, combat cruisers press-ganged into remote-repair setups) and our numbers (ranging from 6 to, at best, 10 or so) meant that our window of viable targets was a bit narrow -- potential opponents either warped away before we could get there, or seriously outnumbered us.
Still, we preserved, roaming around the war zone, looking for anything that would give us a good run.
(Side note: the tunnel vision that overcomes "healers" in any group activity is just as present in EvE as it is in any other MMO, at least in my experience. I couldn't name one system we flew through last night, aside from where we started and where we ended.)
After a slow hour or so, people were justifiably itching for a fight, and everyone was pretty happy when a scout (one of our spider-monkeys) excitedly announced he had a war target tackled. The current fleet commander called for jump and we warped to the fight.
Imagine my bemusement when the overview loaded, and all I saw were two different shades of purple on the list of nearby pilots: the purple of my fleetmates, and the purple of fellow members of my militia.
The scout (also a militia member) was shooting one of the pilots in that second group.
Apparently, the spider monkeys had had some kind of friendly fire incident a few days earlier, resulting in a pilot from some other militia corporation losing a ship. Reparations were made, but in the end, the two corps decided to use the in-game system to declare war on each other, thus making each other valid war targets.
Let me repeat that (because I for damn sure needed it explained twice when I first heard it): faced with two different enemy militia to fight (whose pilot memberships collectively numbers a bit over fifteen thousand), these two groups within the same militia decided to start shooting each other over a 10 second friendly fire incident, some name-calling, and the loss of a single frigate.
I really don't think that is how one successfully conducts a war.
Faced with this situation, I did what I'm supposed to do in a support ship, surrounded by friendly pilots taking fire: I locked up every ally I could and started repping anyone getting shot.
Yes, the "other guys" too.
I figure we were already well into the realm of Pants-on-Head idiocy, so adding a little more ridiculous behavior could hardly hurt.3
Eventually, someone decided to shoot me. I'm honestly not sure which side. Maybe both.
Upside: I got a lot of good practice flying support, and the ship loss was amusingly cheap.
And, not for nothing, having an excuse to drop fleet afterwards (when the FC called it a night) was something of a blessed release.
1 - There's also a disturbing trend wherein the forces behind Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory manifest at such a high concentration in EvE that intelligent, well-spoken people who seem immune to this phenomena (while on Reddit, for example) turn into mouth-breathing frat boys the moment they log into the game and join a fleet. I'm embarrassed on their behalf.
2 - One of the nice things about wormholes? You are generally insulated from the 90%, except in small doses. Call that a plus. In faction warfare, I keep my local channel set so I only see who's in the system (not anything anyone's actually saying), and make liberal use of the 'block' chat function make other channels marginally useful.
3 - It's easy to poke fun, but you must be careful when casting stones; stuff easily as stupid happens with head-shaking frequency throughout the game. Usually, the result is a lot more costly (which either makes it more or less funny, depending on who you ask.)