When Good Guildies Go Bad
This was a Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth:
“What do you do when a normally good guildmate performs poorly or behaves badly?”
Most people join guilds because World of Warcraft is a social game, and guilds are big gooey melting pots of personalities. Slapping that tag underneath a character’s name unites him or her with others wearing the same tag, joining them into one big family. But every family has that asshole uncle who gets drunk at holiday gatherings and pisses in the punchbowl. The one that Grandma Edna wishes she could punch in the head.
Guild miscreants are generally easy to sniff out. Turds, much like cream, tends to float to the top. Guilds have a size limit now, which means there’s only so many people to hind behind. Maybe that’s why I’ve only met a couple of prizewinning spaz monkeys in my guild – they have a few thousand bodies to act as their own “Operation: Human Shield”.
You see, I’m a member of Alea Iacta Est – the fan guild of the podcast “The Instance“. AIE also happened to be one of the largest guilds in North America, if not the World. How big was it? Before the great guild cap of patch 4.0.1, AIE’s members numbered somewhere around seven thousand ACTIVE characters or so. When they were forced to split up, they separated into nine smaller guilds of 700 to 800 members each. I’m not even sure how many sub-guilds there are anymore, because it’s really not that important. They have an addon that links all of the guilds together in /gchat, so it’s just like it was before – one big wall of scrolling green text.
Having that many people in a guild makes it hard to associate with any one particular person on a repeated basis unless a) you happen to be on the same raid team together, or b) you actively seek them out. Having something like one-fifth of the server’s population in your guild tends to make it easy to avoid guildmates who are behaving like drunken assclown jacked up on dipshit pills.
Every guild has that sort of person and AIE is no different. It’s going to happen. I mean, it’s a fan guild. It just so happens that, due to the size of it, there’s something for everyone. Therefore, it has to be accessible to everyone. It’s not like there’s a rigorous screening process to become a member:
a) Be at least level 10
b) Be able to fill out an online application.
c) Don’t be an asshat during your 30 day probation.
That’s the criteria you need to meet. As simple as that sounds, there have been a number of people who didn’t make it to full member status. Seriously. Since you pretty much have to be able to do the first two rules to even log into the game and get out of the starter zone, a person would have to be a special kind of douche not to be able to survive one month of not being an excessive level of jerk.
Still, I’ve had (on rare occasions, to be fair) the displeasure of running into guildmates that were less than stellar to myself and others in the group. The standard policy is when a guildmate is representing the guild poorly by word or deed (like being a raging dickhole) they are reported to an officer. End of story. It is then up to the guild officers to handle the matter however they see fit.
To keep a behemoth of a guild like AIE from devolving into a cesspool of carnage, the officers have to adopt a damn near zero tolerance policy for rule infraction. Some people might not agree with that sort of thing, using the old excuse that this is just a game, they want to have fun, and everybody needs to lighten up. That’s just the crazy talk of anarchist hippies. I give our guild officers a world of credit for the jobs they do. I couldn’t imagine having to keep the peace between a few hundred people, let alone thousands. In a guild with over five hundred people in a shared guild chat at any one time, one little spark could set off a chain reaction that would quickly turn into an inferno of mayhem. The officers have to be part UN Peacekeeper and part Judge Dredd – They are the Law.
As a player and a guild member, it boils right down to a personal judgement call. If the person is being a minor dick, I can ignore them for that one particular moment. Maybe they had a bad day and can’t help but to take it out on people online. Nobody’s perfect, and these sorts of things tend to happen. At the end of the day, they’re just a needle in a rather large haystack, and the odds are very good that I’ll never have to deal with that particular prick again (needle… prick… see what I did there?) However, if the person’s behaviour really reflects poorly on the guild tag, I’ll let the guild officers deal with it.
I play to have fun. Dealing with the drama of mouthbreathers isn’t fun for me. People need to understand that being in a guild does not make them special, regardless of what particular guild tag they happen to have. Treat everyone – guildmates and non-guildies alike – the same way you would like to be treated. Anyone who wears a guild tag is the face of their guild, and non-guildmates will form an opinion of the guild as a whole based on one person’s behavior. Stupid as that sounds, that’s the way it is. Hey, I didn’t create human nature. I just shake my head at it.
A /salute to guild officers everywhere. Yours is a thankless job.
That’s my two cents. Your mileage may vary.