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Officers' Quarters: DPS the vote

The Council of Three Hammers
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.

As some of the insane political tactics in recent weeks remind us, we're less than a month away from election day in America. On. Nov. 6, nearly all Americans will have the opportunity to vote. Guilds don't often work that way, but should they? This week, one officer wonders whether his new guild leader is giving too much voting power to the masses.

Dear Scott,

I recently stepped down from being the leader of my guild due to obligations outside of World of Warcraft.

Before I stepped down, I placed a new system in effect that is very similar to a city council at the request of the existing members. I selected our five current officers and myself as councilmen.

I appointed a trusted friend of mine as the new guild leader/council chairman, and he has some pretty colorful ideas as to how our guild's structure should work.

My friend feels that our guild should allow members who have been active to become councilmen, like us, giving them an equal vote on all issues.

Quite frankly this scares the heck out of me.

As the Guild Leader's Handbook mentioned, a guild should only have as many officers as it needs to manage all the tasks of running a guild.

With his idea, members who are active on teamspeak and have attended two council meetings can be promoted as a councilman if they show interest in it.

In my experience, having a limited but solid and diverse officer corps is a great way to run a guild. With the new GL's proposition, any number of members may become equals to us just by showing interest and jumping through a couple hoops. In my opinion, this could create too many chiefs and not enough indians as well as dilute the influence that the trusted and accomplished officers of the guild will have.

He wants me to present my ideas against his in our next meeting. I propose to allow all members to attend the public council meetings to speak their minds and share their opinions, however, I would like the final decision-making power to rest with the core six (or more as the guild's needs grow) guild officers/council members.

What are your thoughts and how would you do it?

Thanks,

Rick

Hi, Rick. I don't blame you for being concerned. Under your friend's system, the new officers could quickly outnumber the original six, leaving the most trusted members of the guild as a minority vote on every important decision.

You are also correct about the issue of having too many officers. Unless they have specific tasks to accomplish within the guild, why elevate them to the same level as the people who do?

It's not Congress

It's tough to run a guild like a democracy where everyone gets to vote. The problem isn't that the guild members don't deserve a say in how the guild will operate. Of course they do, and their input is vital to a healthy, successful community.

The problem is rather that the officers carry out a greatly disproportionate share of the work. If members vote in a brand new, highly complex loot system, it's the officers who will have to manage it. This isn't like the U.S. Congress, where people who serve get healthcare, life insurance, pensions and retirement benefits, tax deductions, and $174,000 per year for their trouble. Your officers are all volunteers.

The other issue is that officers are often privy to information that the average member wouldn't know, such as drama that a particular member caused in whispers, or the real reason someone quit the guild.

None of this means your friend's system won't work at all. I just think it needs to be implemented in a different way.

A junior compromise

If he wants to encourage participation in how the guild is run, he could promote nonofficers to a rank that's somewhere between officer and member. Let's call it "junior councilor."

Junior councilors could vote, whereas regular members wouldn't have that privilege. However, the votes from your junior councilors and your six "senior councilors" don't have to be equal. The majority of the junior councilor vote could count as one officer vote, or even as a tiebreaking vote, if necessary. Or their votes could count as 49% of the vote, with the officers' votes rounding out the total. That's the magic of math -- you can adjust the proportions however you like!

(In fact, that's actually kind of how presidential elections work in America, too. Because of our wacky electoral college system, one vote in Wyoming equals about three and a half votes in Ohio.)

Involving more members in the decision-making of the guild can be a good thing. However, the people who are going to do the work should be the ones with the ultimate decision-making power. It's not exactly democratic, but in my opinion it's fair. If they are good officers, they will vote for what they believe is best for the guild.

/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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