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Officers' Quarters: Gold rush

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Once your guild purchases all the bank vaults you need, your bank will start accumulating gold without a clear purpose for how to spend it. As the donations and requests from members roll in, it's up to us as officers to decide. The author of this week's e-mail is concerned about the way his fellow officers are using the gold.

I recently became a low-ranking officer in a guild after demonstrating utility in knowledge, generosity, and helpfulness to my guildmates. When this occurred I decided to take a proactive approach to the guild and began lobbying for a new guild tab to open up to the lower ranking members. Everyone seemed supportive of this until I started digging into the financials. It seems as if the current state of the guild is members deposit, and the main officers withdraw it fairly quickly. For example in the last week or so 11 members (including myself) deposited a total of about 37 Gold while 4 officers withdrew over 50 Gold.

I approached an officer about this and she claimed that whenever an officer withdraws a large amount, it's to help a guild member with various things such as new gear or skills. While these seems plausible, for some reason it seems fishy to me. Do most guilds operate this way, and thus I'm being paranoid, or could there be a genuine cause for concern here. Is there any way to get to the bottom if this? I feel bad as I've withheld depositing my normal amount in the past few days because I'm not sure if I'm little more than a personal financier for the guild officers' twink fund.

Thank you for your help,
Anonymous WoW Player

For your average guild member, donating gold to a guild bank is sort of like paying taxes. Whether your guild asks you to contribute a certain amount or you do it voluntarily, you do it in good faith that the officers won't use the cash to line their pockets. You expect that cash to be used for goods and services that will help the guild and -- whether directly or indirectly -- help you.

What those goods and services are depends entirely on the type of guild you're in. If you're in a twink guild and your success depends on how twinked everyone else's twinks are, then spending that cash to help someone out with an expensive enchant seems like a reasonable thing to do.

If you're in a raiding guild, buying consumables and resist gear, paying repair bills, and so on might be perfectly acceptable uses.

For a guild that does some PvP, some casual PvE, and some raiding, the waters get a little murkier. If not everyone raids, is it fair to use that money for post-raid armor repairs? If not everyone PvPs, is it fair to use that money to set up an arena team? This is the category my guild falls under, and so far I haven't used the bank gold for squat outside of buying new vaults. We're thinking about using it to help tanks get resist sets for upcoming encounters we'll be facing, but it's something I'll have to mull over, and I may even ask the guild to vote on the issue.

For the most part, our policy has been to fend for yourself when it comes to the incidental costs of gearing up your toons, buying skills, obtaining recipes, repairing, etc. Of course we all help each other with such things, but that's a "private citizen" helping another citizen, not the "government" giving a handout, which is what using the bank gold amounts to. I still believe in this policy. We have too many members for the bank to fund everybody.

However, we do have this growing pile of gold and we're starting to get requests for it. Recently someone asked if they could use the gold to buy the Solid Star of Elune design. This is an incredibly important gem cut for both PvE and PvP. If we didn't already have two people in the guild who could cut it, I would have given out the gold for that purchase. That's a good example of an item that can help everyone in the guild.

As for the e-mail above, the officers say they are using the money for new gear and skills. That seems okay, but several questions spring to mind. Is the gold available to everyone to use for such things? Is there a limit to the amount that can be spent? Is it for main characters only or alts, too? Why is no official record kept of who's getting what gold for what purpose? Are people honestly having trouble paying for new skills on their own?

So yes, I agree that the whole thing is "fishy," as you say. Bank gold is "public funding" and as such the "public" has a right to know exactly what it's being spent on. As a new officer, I wouldn't tell them to stop doing what they're doing. I'd just ask for more information about it. Volunteer to be the official bank record keeper if you like. It's a system that's ripe for abuse, so if the gold is being spent that frequently I don't think it's too much to ask for a list of who's getting what amount and for what purpose. I may be mistaken, but I don't think most guilds throw their bank money around so casually like that.

For most of us, as our guild's fortunes grow, so will the number of requests to spend that gold total sitting tantalizingly at the bottom of every vault window. Do your guild a favor and spend it wisely. Remember that the gold belongs to every member who contributes, not just those with the highest rank.

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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