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Officers' Quarters: Suggestions for drama

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Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Some members, whether by their attitude or their behavior, don't give us much choice but to kick them. That doesn't mean their complaints are always wrong. This week, a guild leader wonders whether a recently kicked member might have had a good point about her guild.

Hello Scott,

First of all, thanks for the awesome and informative blogs!

Lately there have been some issues in my guild. The issues have been solved now (I hope), but I'm wondering about something.

The member that has been causing the issues has been known for being dead-set on getting a position as an officer. She had been there from the start and each time the previous GL promoted someone to officer, she'd whisper him with words like "Next time you're promoting someone to officer, it's me!" She never got that promotion for obvious reasons. Last week she caused an uproar in the guild about not being happy with there being a 'Supreme Ruler' (the guild leader) and gave the previous GL and another officer an ear bashing about it . . .

I tried to reach out to her by asking if she wanted to discuss something. She snapped at me and in the following conversation (it didn't end well) she stated that she did not like the way the guild was run and mentioned that normal members have no say in what's happening. She's wrong about that, as we're open to any suggestions - nobody ever contacted us about it though. It ended with her removing half of her characters from the guild ('I am going on a break from YOU'). I discussed the matter with the other officers, and as she has said a lot of hurtful things about the officers in her chat, we decided we could no longer trust her in our guild, so we decided to remove her remaining characters as well and restrict her forum access . . .

However she did mention a suggestions forum and how she had wanted one. I have never been in a guild that used such a forum, so I was wondering whether it's a wise decision to create such a forum? From her point of view I can understand why she wanted it. She wanted desperately to be an officer, but never got the position, and still wanted a say in how things were run.

In my opinion, a suggestion forum can be a positive thing, where members can suggest things or raise their concerns about a certain feature of the guild. But I also fear it will be prone to drama...

I hope you understand where I'm coming from.. How should I handle this?

--Lyaera
Guild leader of The Revival on Vek'nilash EU

Hi, Lyaera. Wow, this person sounds like an incredibly drama-prone guild member. You have to appreciate the irony of her complaining about the fact that none of the officers listen to guild members right after you've offered to listen to her.

Consider the source

Some people cannot be appeased. Some actually enjoy causing drama, as weird as that may sound, and she seems like she might fall into that camp.

I wouldn't take her behavior personally or her criticism to heart. If you heard the same from others in the guild, then maybe she has a point. But if she's alone in her dissatisfaction, then most likely the problem rests with her and not the guild.

I've known people like that before, and I've had them as guild members in the past. You dodged a bullet by declining to offer her a leadership role. In my experience, those who want to be promoted that desperately are often exactly the people that should never be officers.

A forum isn't the answer

I'm a firm believer in communication between officers and members of all kinds. Members should always feel like the officers are willing to hear them out when they have a complaint or a suggestion. We often run our guilds undemocratically. Most guild leaders and their officers make decisions without calling for a guild-wide vote. Thus, it's important that members know we respect their needs and opinions.

That said, I think designating an official suggestions forum is a bad idea. If it's empty, it makes it seem like no one cares about the guild. If it's full of complaints or of suggestions that the officers have nixed, then you're creating an area of your site that will horrify new recruits. Members who are drama-prone will flock to it and use it as an excuse to stir up trouble. There are just too many ways it can all go terribly wrong.

Instead, encourage your members to talk to officers when they have ideas. Make sure your officers are available for that kind of conversation. Then post about those conversations, when appropriate, in a private officers' forum. That way, all of the officers will have a better understanding about how the community feels on certain issues.

Every once in a while, you could create a thread asking for suggestions, but I wouldn't dedicate an entire forum to it. It's just asking for drama.

/salute

Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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