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We are currently going through one of those bad patches where some people in the guild can't get along and, despite a lot of time and effort spent mediating, factions formed and departures followed.
This isn't the first time and from what I hear it happens in other guilds as well, but one of the departures hurt and I want to avoid this in future if possible.
Most guild management guides that I see stress the importance of screening new members. I try to do this but it seems that I'm not being successful, at least not in pre-empting guild dramas at the recruitment stage.
It occurs to me that the I need some better pre-recruitment questions or a better way of screen new members. Currently, I explain things like the need to maintain a nice playing environment for everyone, setting expectations about no guaranteed raid spots etc but these don' seem to be doing the trick.
What methods of recruit screening do other people use to avoid guild dramas later?
That is a pretty hard question.
In my experience you should set out your rules & expectations before a person joins so they know what they are getting into and you can always fall back on, saying something is just a rule when people complain.
Generally I find asking about the persons guild history & reasons for leaving is best. You can use http://www.warcraftrealms.com/charhistory.php to see for yourself how many guilds a player has been in and ask them about it.
Can also talk to their old guild officers about them (within reason - get permission before you speak to current guild).
But I don't think many guilds are totally drama free and often drama is caused by things that your guild has no impact on whatsoever. Like a raider arguing with his boss at work then logging on in a filthy mood, officer breaking up with his girlfriend & taking it out on some poor guy who just asked if you were raiding tonight, raid leader having a migraine & leading your raid into 20 wipes... you shouldn't feel responsible for the majority of drama that triggers, main thing is how you respond to it.
Serenal has written everything that I do when recruiting new members, and again as he/she said circumstance can often dictate peoples actions and/or moods.
An additional thing I do is I make applications open to all Guild members on the forums to discuss, this can help weed out potential troublemakers by using the vast knowledge your total Guild have about players on the realm.
No Guilds are drama free, we have had 3 Guild breaking bits of drama over 4 years but we have always come out of the other side stronger, better and much more of a family. Sometimes getting rid of the bad apples is necessary for the Guild to move forward.
I think the above answers are excellent. I'm adding some text too, because I think the topic is important, and to maybe say something they didn't (in a longwinded way).
Our way to handle recruits:
Application form on our forum. That weeds out a whole lot of people, or that is the impression I get, who can't really be bothered writing an application. That is good, if you're not bothered we're not bothered either. Reading the application also give a lot of information about the person, how much depends on the questions I guess. Sometimes you get really nice applications, where the person give a stellar first impression; and sometimes you get the opposite. This is our first weeding process.
Actually when I think of it, to post an application you have to register on our forum. It has happened once that a guy talked to me in game telling me he couldn't pass the registration on our forum. So I guess being able to pass our spambot protection questions (which was where he was failing) is really the first way we weed out recruits.
Clarity of "guildrules". Have a general policy written down somewhere and make the applicants read it before they apply to the guild, not after they are members already. Maybe even have a question where you ask "Did you read the guildinfo/guildrules?". We have a part of the webpage we ask applicants to read with this type of info on. This to make sure that they know what type of guild we are and what we expect, knowing this should reduce some drama.
Trial period. Ours is 30 days.
Recruit threads on the full member part of the forum, up for the duration of the trial period. For anyone to write their impressions in, good or bad.
Direct to full member. If you passed the trial with us you are as much of a member as someone who was here from the beginning. You're not in some bottom-feeder category where you have to work your way up, you proved yourself and thus you belong with the rest. We don't do veterans and members, we have two different member ranks to distinguish between raiders and casuals, but both groups are equal outside of raiding.
A general way of avoiding drama in a raidguild:
Clarity of lootrules and raidrules. Be transparant, or as transparant as possible, with how you pick raids, how the lootsystem works, who gets picked for doing the crappy job in the fight (if there is a crappy job), etc. Have it written down someplace as clear as possible so if anyone gets upset, jealous or feels overlooked, they can go to the rules and feel "hmm.. yeah I guess he is just following the guild policy". This obviously means you have to do your best to follow everything that is written down, but that's usually not very hard. The time you do the most mistakes as a raidleader is when the rules aren't clear, it's all up to you to be subjective, you're stressed and you want to move on, and you don't have time to think. This type of structure in the guild is in my opinion what makes everyone able to actually play for fun. The less structure the more subjectivity, and the more drama.
Personal experience on topic:
When we first started recruiting (in 2008), we accepted almost everyone. Even if it felt like we never got to know a person we would still think, oh well he doesn't seem like a bad guy he hasn't done anything to NOT deserve to stay in the guild. Even when it didn't feel like the person fit into the group we still recruited them if they seemed like an ok person. After a while we had created a us and them in our guild, us being the original members and them being the new ones (partly due to the new members mostly coming from the same guild). We started arguing on our forum (us vs them) and we made dungeon groups in whispers instead of in guildchat (this was when you had to team with people on your own server, and then travel to the dungeon) and it was a bit of a cranky feeling overall. Then the next expansion hit and the new guys stopped logging on, one by one, which at the time felt like a relief (and I don't blame them). A while later we had lost all the new guys and were back to the original team. Our recruitment fiasco taught us to not mass-recruit from the same guild, to be more mindful of who we take on board, and be more perceptive of traits and types that doesn't fit with our group; and it's the reason we are now quite picky when we screen. We have had very little drama over the years, after this initial hump. I don't know if we've been lucky, or if we screened well or structured ourselves well, or if it's just the general mood in the guild that's mellow and not promoting of drama.
Edited by Luria on 29/02/2012 22:15 GMT
I hate to say this but I don't think your experience Luria is 100% the norm, I would hate to promote against mass recruitment of members from other Guilds, Guilds fail and members want to stay together, giving people the chance to do that is a great thing, we have done this three times within FE without problems.
When we have done this we have made it clear that they all needed to apply individually to the Guild, and if there wasn't a raid spot available to them they would have to join as a social member. We encourage grouping with other Guild members and not just there own "clique" and foster a sense of unity by putting on Guild events for every member whilst their transition was happening.
Some of the members of these Guilds are now solid raiders and Officers, some have quit but all are now FE members not ex members of another Guild.
So it's not always a bad thing!
I guess I wasn't trying to say mass recruiting from the same guild is always bad. It didn't work for us in the beginning stages of making our guild be a "proper guild", if that was mostly due to us or them I don't know but I'm assuming it was a bit of a combination. What definitely played a big part was the fact that we were "beginners" in the guild business and weren't really sure of what we were doing or what we wanted. Not to mention that our gnomes weren't housebroke yet.
I didn't really mean to write anything negative about recruiting many people from the same guild, that was just a part of our first recruitment fiasco experience and that's why I mentioned it.
Break apart troublesome cliques/factions inside your guild before they rip it apart, especially if they are IRL friends/relatives or have a long history playing together in different guilds or realms.
If its friends + group 1st and guild-loyalty 2nd you've got a time bomb ticking.
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