/mutters incoherently…young little…whippersnappers…new fangled…empty3s…i-toons…*
Screw you all! Kestrel knows what I’m talking about!
We had our guild meeting. I think it went well. I think the ultimate source of all our recent problems is and was communication. And I’m not just talking the negative jabs and misunderstandings that have occurred; although that’s ultimately the part that everyone sees. I’m also talking about the expectations, goals, and views of members and officers alike. Because it’s very easy to see how when all of those expectations, goals, and views don’t mesh well, things can get a little out of hand.
So where did it start to go wrong?
Pointing The Finger
On Thursday unfortunately we weren’t able to field a 25-man ICC. We had a record number of cancelled signups due to real life. But the positive is that we had CANCELLED SIGNUPS!!! I for one was ecstatic! I’ll save that for another post though.
So we pugged a few people and plowed our way through ToC25. Then we decided to hit up Ony25 without pugs. And in true BoO fashion we wiped the first time. Although I wonder if that fight was a little bugged because I was nowhere near the tail or Ony for that matter. In fact I was in the middle of a pack of people off to the left side of Ony when I got blasted through the air straight into a whelp cave…
Suffice it to say that a couple of people started to point fingers. Given our recent drama, the fact that we were having a pretty damn good night, and the only reason that I was even in ToC25 or Ony25 was to support fellow guildies there was NO WAY IN HELL I was gonna let a couple of upstarts ruin the night by bitching and pointing fingers! So I said something sarcastic about pointing the finger and blaming each other which got everyone to shut up and we downed her with no problems on the next attempt.
But if I were to point a finger at the problems we’ve been having, I’d point it at the officers.
But I’m An Officer!
I’m a big believer in if you’re not a part of the solution; you’re a part of the problem. And that goes double for officers! Officers have the power and responsibility to keep things in check.
So where did we go wrong? Where to start?
Up Front Expectations – Officers
I’m going to pick on a few of our guildies that came over en masse and Amber. I wasn’t part of that recruiting. So I know very little about what expectations from our side and theirs was communicated. And who’s to blame? I am.
I remember one night running 5-mans or just hanging out on Vent when our lobby filled up with potential recruits from another server. Amber and a couple of members (non-officers) jumped over to talk to them. I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if I should jump down there too? Naw. Amber’s got it.” And that’s where I screwed up!
No, it wasn’t a screw up because I don’t trust Amber. It was a screw up because I like to make sure certain things get communicated when recruiting. But I didn’t know if those were the same things Amber likes to communicate. To appease my own curiosity and concerns I should have jumped down or at least talked to Amber and I didn’t.
How do I know those items weren’t taken care of? Well because of some of the fallout that occurred shortly after they arrived. I remember putting up a post regarding ranks, raid invites, and DKP as a reminder to all of the older members and in hopes of making the newer members feel at ease. I was very concerned about several older members seemingly coming out of the woodwork now that viable 25s were on the horizon and I wanted to protect the new recruits interest and rights to raiding when we wouldn’t have had to recruit if the older members hadn’t disappeared in the first place! But what I did was scare the shit out of the new members!
It finally dawned on me why this happened. I don’t think any of us talked to them about our use of DKP for 25s, the use of ranks, or several other items specifically related to raiding.
But all of this information is on our website!
Um yeah, but is it coherent?
Take a look at this screenshot.
This is pretty much what you have access to before becoming a member. Additional forum access wasn’t granted until after they had already made the server transfer. But all of the information regarding ranks and dkp is there, right? Right.
But is it coherent?
Take a look at our Rules/Policies Forum.
Under Announcements, Brotherhood of Oblivion Raid Rules and Etiquette last updated on Jan 20, 2009: here you can find our rules regarding raiding and it’ll tell you we use random rolls and sometimes a loot council.
Go under the Topics section and you’ll see BoO DKP Rules (As of 04/13/2009). Here we talk about the use of DKP for 25s!
Can you say fail?!
We say two different things roughly in the same place. One appears to be given higher priority by being listed under Announcements and yet it’s older…
It may not be a big fail, but it’s still a fail. For most people in our guild it’s not a big issue. But there might be that one person that really, really doesn’t like DKP and refuses to be a part of it. In that case, who failed?
Make sure the expectations you communicate are clear.
How about failing to stop drama as it happens? There were times drama was occurring in guild chat and we as officers failed to do anything about it until it escalated a little too far. Doesn’t that make us just as guilty as the people that started it?
How about the person who continuously pushes the boundaries? Is it not our responsibility to find out why they keep pushing, to help them understand where the boundary lies, and ultimately ask them to leave or remove them?
I’m constantly reminded of a hunter that Amber had to ask to leave. I remember the name. I remember the hunter. I cannot for the life of me remember why or when, but ultimately it was decided that perhaps BoO wasn’t the home this hunter was looking for and he was asked to leave.
Although we were constantly running 10s, did we communicate that we are in fact a 25-man guild? Did we define what BoO classifies as “hardcore”? Do we still really believe our Mission Statement as it is listed in the forums?
It’s very easy to become complacent when leading an established guild. You take it for granted that all the information is there and that all the members, recruits, and officers understand and accept that info. But it’s rarely the case.
Make It Clear
Making it all clear up front does one of two things for you to make your life a hell of a lot easier.
First, it keeps everyone on the same page. This happens by keeping those who are looking for something else out and avoiding the drama that entails when they aren’t happy. It also serves to keep understanding, acceptance, and the happiness levels of current members up.
Second, it allows people to shoot themselves in the foot.
Being in contracting I’m all about mitigating risk. If I can’t control it, put the risk on someone else. In a guild this means that if I can’t control the member, put the risk on that member.
What the hell does that mean? It means I give you all the information, expectations, promises, etc. to you upfront. I do everything I can to let you know what I’m willing and capable of giving you. When I fail to live up to my end of the bargain, then I fail. I cannot penalize you for my failure.
When you fail to live up to your end of the bargain, I feel no remorse in being able to point out that you were given adequate notice up front and you signed up for it. So if you don’t like it, feel free to leave. I can now sleep well at night knowing full well that I did everything I could and apparently there was nothing I was going to be able to do to make you happy anyway.
The point is whatever you do, make sure you keep those lines of communication open at all time. And good luck!
* I kid you not. Just the other night one of our guildies makes a dirty joke that includes a bobby sock. (Trust me, you don’t want to know.) At which point several people ask what a bobby sock is…INCLUDING THE GUY WHO MADE THE JOKE!!! *sigh* When the hell did I get old?!