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Officers' Quarters: Leaks in the ship

An Alliance ship takes fire from a Horde airship
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.

You know things are bad in your guild when a newly appointed officer decides to leak private officer information to nonofficers. This week, an officer/raid leader seeks advice for a guild that feels like its sinking.

Hi Scott

I belong to a small social guild with less than 400 on the roster. Given that a lot of people have alts the number of players is going to be a lot less than that, though I'm not sure of the actual figure. Recently the GM posted on the MotD that the guild needed new officers and could people please send him recommendations. The next day I logged on and saw 4 people being congratulated on their promotion. I'm a senior officer in this guild and I had thought that it would go to a vote before anyone was promoted. . . .

I asked the GM why we needed more officers and what their responsibilities would be. His response was "we're down to 16 and need more for advisor's and to help the guild". None of the officers currently have specific duties and everything falls to three of the senior officers, myself and two others. Most of the officers don't even attend the meetings he promoted them to advise at.

This morning I logged on to drama as the new promotion (that I'd had reservations about) had leaked some officer notes to their friends in the guild. These notes I admit weren't flattering but they were accurate of their behaviour which is why there were there.

We've also had trouble in the past of promoted officers taking a lot of items from the guild bank and selling them for personal gain. They've been swiftly demoted and/or gkicked but that sort of thing wouldn't happen with such frequency if the promotion criteria was more rigid. The senior officers have spoken to the GM about this but he doesn't listen. He just does whatever he wants and says that we're not being nice if we ever say anything critical about anyone.

I was promoted to officer when I'd only been a member a month, and senior officer followed soon after. I wasn't asked if I wanted either position. There's also the open door policy, anyone with a pulse over the level of 21 (70 for death knights) can get an invite to the guild. As a consequence the guild has a pretty poor reputation on server, it's made worse when officers also don't behave. ...

I've recently been made raid leader for the new team. I'm hamstrung as we're only allowed a raid team in the guild so long as it doesn't cause drama. This makes it difficult to enforce any kind of discipline, I also wouldn't choose half the people on the team but they were guildies so I had to give them a spot. I'm not elitist but I do expect some sort of dedication. I'm sick of putting raids on the calendar, people signing for them and then not showing. The raid leader of the original team, who does more work to keep this guild going than anyone, is also having a lot of trouble. We're both kinda questioning whether it's worth it. However, as we're in positions of responsibility we both feel that we can't walk away and abandon everyone.

What should we do Scott?

Unhappy and Stressed

Hi, UAS.

Hi, Unhappy.

First off, I wouldn't categorize a guild with 400 characters on the roster as "small," regardless of how many alts there are. That's a minimum of 40 players, but most likely a lot more.

Worst possible promotion policy

I don't blame your guild leader for wanting more officer help, but unfortunately he's going about it in the worst possible way. What he's doing is a scattershot method of promoting tons of people on the spot (without even asking them, apparently!) and hoping that a fraction of those people actually contribute.

As you can see, that has led to some very unfortunate circumstances such as the officers' notes leak. That is something that would not happen if the officers were promoted with more (some? any?) care. Your guild leader doesn't seem receptive to feedback on this policy, either, so I'm not sure if you can change it. Regardless, a much better method of appointing officers is to outline all the jobs that need to be done and then find trustworthy and enthusiastic players to accomplish those jobs.

The longer he allows his officers to do absolutely nothing, the worse the situation is going to get. The recruiting policies are likewise very questionable, and I'm not surprised that this has led to a bad rep on the server.

Take charge of your raid

Tell the guild leader how you want to lead the raid team. Tell him how you'd like to choose players to fill slots. Explain why discipline is important, why you need people to commit to a raid schedule, and how it hurts the whole team when people don't show up on time. It should be obvious, but lay it all out for him anyway. Give specific examples of a night that was ruined by someone who signed up but didn't show or a completely unprepared player who has no business in a raid sinking the entire team.

If you think it would be more helpful, write up a full set of policies and give it to him. Then schedule a private meeting once he's had a chance to look it over. Make it clear that if you can't set up your team that way, you don't want to do it. Keep a mental note of the points you're prepared to compromise on and the ones that you absolutely can't live without.

If you can reach an agreement on raiding and live with all of the other problems in the guild, then at least you can feel good about those aspects that are within your control.

Consider the future

If he won't let you lead the raid the way you think is best, then my advice is leave this guild. It will never be a successful organization as long as the guild leader invites anyone, promotes anyone, and won't enforce a small amount of discipline when it's needed for the good of the guild.

Who is going to take the officers seriously when they are promoted this way? Who is going to take your guild seriously when your recruitment is based entirely on level? If the guild has a bad reputation now, it's never going to improve as long as the guild leader continues to run it in this fashion.

Joining a better organized and more purposeful guild would lead to a much less frustrating raiding experience for you. If you're going to invest all that time and effort into a community, it should be one that you believe has a bright future. Maybe you can usher in that future. If you can't, however, you shouldn't blame yourself.

/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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