Some guilds simply go by attendance numbers; if you've shown up consistently, you're in. If you just happen to be making an appearance for farm night, you're out. Some guilds pick based solely on performance in the raid itself; if you're consistently pulling high DPS and not standing in fire, you're in. If you can't find your way out of a poison cloud with a map and GPS system showing you the way, you're out.
But what do you do when you're the one being sat?
Pugnacious Priest wrote a wonderful post about the up and downs of bench warming, both as a raider being sat for a fight and as an observer to those filling the bench. As a healer, Pugnacious Priest realizes that spots are limited -- if more than the usual healing crew shows up, someone's going to be sat. And she also pointed out the behavior of those being sat: While some stuck around, others invariably wandered off at some point during the evening.
What struck me about her post, though, was the way she quite eloquently expressed the troubles with being sat. If raiders show up, they want to raid. Nobody shows up to sit out. People set aside time specifically for raiding, and if they aren't raiding, well, why did they log on in the first place? Some farm, others run around in circles, still others alt-tab out of the game, and some leave the game and voice chat entirely. It's the latter group who are the problem. If they are needed, how is anyone supposed to let them know it's their turn?
My guild is pretty lenient with sitting, for the most part. While everyone really, really wants to be there for progression fights at the start of an expansion, interest wanes. But anyone who is sat at the beginning of the evening will eventually be rotated in over the course of the evening; raiders are asked if anyone would like to sit for a particular boss. I've sat on several occasions, voluntarily -- frankly, if I don't need loot off of a boss and there's another raider who does, it doesn't seem to make sense for them to warm the bench while I'm stabbing a boss for no reason.
As Pugnacious Priest pointed out, it's all about the attitude. She suggests sitting players not like they're being punished for an indiscretion but in order to be helpful and let someone else in. That's about how my guild approaches it, too. We're pretty good about swapping for various bosses with little to no delay in actual raiding. Players who are sat know that they could be called at a moment's notice, so they stay close by. As for me, I've got a dual monitor set up, so I just alt tab out of the game and poke around the internet or work on an article until my name is called.
How does your guild handle sitting players? Is there a strict policy involved, or is it a painless process? Are you one of the ones who's OK with sitting out when needed, or do you feel you need to be in raid all evening long at the expense of other players? Does sitting out feel like a punishment to you or a welcome break from the raid insanity of the evening?