Friday, May 22, 2009

Guild Exclusions are a Sign of Poor Leadership

(Blog Azeroth has weekly shared topics. I generally don't participate but this one interested me. You can find other posts here.)

If you look at recruitment posts often enough it is not uncommon to come across a post that says something to the affect of "No Women" or "18+ Only." Some people look at these type of rules with disdain, because they show prejudice. However, when I was looking for a new guild nine months ago, I loved them. They gave me great insight into the competence of the guild leadership, and told me I probably wanted to avoid the guild.

Now this is not, going to be a long post about how these policies are Sexist or Ageist. They are, but like it or not there is some practical reasoning behind the rules. Kids to tend to be more immature then adults. That doesn't mean that kids can't be mature or that adults can't be immature, but in general I think its true.

From a sex perspective, I do think the presence of women in guild opens the doors additional risks that would be less common in an all male guild. For one, some men insist on acting like idiots around women. It's not the woman's fault but something that has to be dealt with. Second, It seems to me like women are more likely to have an RL relationship with a guild member. Which can lead to uncomfortable situations like this one found on Worse still, I've seen situations where real life Husband/Wife drama spills over into the guild.

Like it or not, these are real issues that have to be dealt with by guild leadership. However, instituting a straight ban on women or kids is just lazy way to deal with the issue. What it said to me as an applicant is that when a problem presents itself to the guild, the leadership took the easy way out. They would rather cover up the problem then fix it, and why would I want to be a part of a guild like that?

A good guild leader would deal with the issue/person instead of making a preemptive ban. If a male member is acting like an idiot, deal with him and not the girl even if he is the main tank. If the female player isn't good enough for your content, then be honest and work with her. If it blows up, at least you tried. Plus I have to believe that there are ways to identify problem players from the application process. So, when I see a ban on a recruitment post I know the guild has management issues and would probably end up disappointed if I joined the guild.

On side note, a vast majority of the women I've played with have been great. I think they are the norm rather than the exception. By the same token it was months before I learned that a member of my guild is still in high school. He is great to play with and I would have believed him if he had told me he was 30 years old. The guild that uses bans would be missing out on great players, and are diminished because of it.

Edit: People seem to be not reading my post or missunderstanding it in mass. I want to make a couple of things clear. While I think the presense of women in raiding guilds can potential bring addtional issues to the surface, I in no way think those women are the cause of those issues or at least in a higher degree then the men. I have played with just as many if not more whiny, loot whoring, men as women. I in no way advocate a preemptive ban. In my opinion, guilds that do have leadership issues, because they deal with the stereotype instead of the problem.


Sir Nicholai said...

Personally, I would be hesitant to join any guild that allowed people of under 18 to join, not for maturity reason, but for legal reasons.

Talking to minors online can be very dangerous, not that you would ever do something, but accusations can very easily made, suspicions cast, and lawsuits raised, even if you are at absolutely no fault. I've never experienced such, but I know people who have been involved in cases where completely made up allegations have gotten someone branded as a sex offender, and it took almost a decade to clear their name.

So I think a wise guild leader might avoid having under 18 year olds in the guild for that reason.

Also, some guilds (like mine) use rough language to joke around, and while I know that's not for every one (I found a family friendly guild for my younger sister) some people enjoy that, and would like to not worry about having younger ears around. Just because they swear doesn't mean they aren't a great guild that plays professionally.

However, the women in my guild are great, and I agree with you, they can be wonderful players. (that said, I'm met the lootwhoring ones as well, but I don't think there are more or less women who do that than guys)


Anonymous said...

It saddens me to see even you slip in the "Kids to tend to be more immature then adults" line, Gray. Even if you cover it up with 'that's not *always* the case,' you are still making the statement.

I think you should ask yourself whether you're trying to defend your age group, because I see from a youth's perspective that:
1.) Youths are more skilled players (in both PVP and PVE, although I suppose adults may be better roleplayers... but there are still plenty of kids who are decent writers)

2.) I know a few annoying kids, but far less in-game than at my school, which seems inundated with them. I also know a few annoying adults, far more in-game than in real life. There may still be more 'immature kids' than 'immature adults' in WoW, but WoW attracts the more mature population of kids and the more childish adults (That is to be expected; it is a time-consuming game, not a shoot-em-up, so kids have to have some patience... but it is still a game, so any adults playing have to have some youth in them).

I am naturally making the same mistake as you, defending my own group without any statistical evidence. But as to my own evidence... I was 4 when Starcraft first came out. I began playing immediately, due to my older siblings. By the time I was 7 (still a small, small child, in 2nd grade) I played on every day. As a little test, once I had known each of my online friends for a month, I told them my real age.

Only 1 person ever believed me. The rest thought I was in my 20's.

I was in 2nd grade.


Magusx said...

Hi Gray,

As a guild leader, recruiting officer and raid leader (lots of hats) for my progression raiding guild, I can sympathize with this scenario.

Although our guild does not have a strict ban on players based on age or gender, I certainly find myself raising the bar when evaluating them. Call it discriminatory or what-have-you, but trying to recruit a target demographic is smart for a couple reasons.

1. Each guild has its own culture - ours is a mid-late 20s, dirty jokes, more fraternal environment. While we have a couple women raiders, and two raiders either younger than 18 or older than 40, historically the 20-somethings guys have just fit in better in the guild.

2. Recruiting people who have stability and control over their lives is a plus for long-term prospects - this is the largest drawback with much younger/older players. When you're right out of college and unmarried, you have a LOT more time to dedicate to a game like WoW than when you have kids or need to do your homework for that algebra final.

Anyhow - I agree with you that straight up bans are dumb. At the very least, you're cutting your guild off from a potential pool of applicants. However, there are reasons some guilds tend to be skeptical towards women, and those reasons shouldn't be immediately dismissed as bigotry or idiocy.


Anonymous said...

For once, Graylo, I disagree. Our guild has an 18+ policy (although we sometimes take younger players after a chat in-game).

We are a close guild, we've been together for two years and despite some hairy moments, we're as strong as we ever were.

Now, because we feel so comfortable with each other, Vent chat can get some what risqué; and it's certainly not something we want to expose younger players to.

So, yes, we have an 18+ exclusion policy, but not because we think younger players are poor or immature. We simply don't want to upset or even - god forbid - corrupt minors.

Kring said...

> Second, It seems to me like women
> are more likely to have an RL
> relationship with a guild member.

Are you talking about woman-woman RL relationship?

Otherwise I cannot come up with a solution how it could be more likely for a woman than for a man... last time I checked you need two for a relationship. :-)

Rob said...

Nice post. You hit on a lot of good points.

@anon: I don't think it should come as any surprise that children are labeled immature, and I seriously doubt guilds exclude minors because they don't have the skills. The issue is mostly in the atmosphere. older players have life experiences that aren't available to a lot of younger players, and many of those are part of "growing up" so until those are available to you, you are, unfortunately, immature.

That being said, most of your argument is 100% right. WoW is a game, so it attracts some immature adults, and endgame is hard, so it attracts some mature kids.

I think you ended up in the right place, but no matter how you slice it, kids are more immature than adults. I was also one of those kids that online I could have gotten away with late 20s to mid 30s, even when I was in elementary school, but looking back, there were still a lot of life experiences that I didn't have that would have made me socially awkward sometimes in a group of 20 somethings. As far as excluding from recruitment, though, part of maturity is being able to get along with different kinds of people, so excluding children could be seen as a sign of the guild's own immaturity.

David said...

kids shouldn't be playing video games hardcore. that defeats the purpose of growing up. if i had started playing wow when i was in middle school or high school i would have missed out on so much. its just not worth it during those crucial years. go play a sport.

Diermaker said...

We have a few women in our Guild. All great players but they do add a bit of new things to deal with. Men always treat women different than men.

Phil said...

@David, my brother is socially awkward. He began writing code on computers before we had a monitor, printing out hundreds of lines of code to find out he made an error on line 345 out of 590. He now works for apple an is a multi-millionaire, don't judge the socially different times are a changing...

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Graylo said...

@Sir Nicholai & Anon2

I hadn't really considered the 18+ rule from a legal/"parenting" perspective, and you have a good point. However, I still think it is a little over blown.

First and for most it is up to parents to parent their kids, Not Guildies. I have a good ingame friend who is a mother of 4. She monitors their play time, when they were allowed to join a guild she monitored the guild periodically. If she didn't like something she made them quit. It's not my job to prevent them from hearing explicit language or converation on explicit topics.

And from the legal stand point I understand the worry, but I still think it is overblown. For one, blizzard keeps track of chat converstations for at least a little while. If there is a problem they should be able to find it if it happened recently. I'm big proponent of innocent until proven guilty.

finally I will argue again that you can probably catch the problem members with a good application process.


By the very definition of the word kids are more likely to be "immature" than adults. I will agree that the kids who are successful at endgame raiding are probably more mature on average, but thats because they have to be. Plus the immature kids have already been weeded out and can't find a quality guild for long.


There is a difference between having qualitative criteria and subjective criteria. For instance lets say you have a job that requiers the employ to lift large amounts of weight manually and regularly. Therefore you establish the criteria that the applicant needs to be able to lift 200 pounds. Naturally, your going to find more qualified men for the job then women because on average men are stronger. However, that doesn't mean your not going to find qualified women.

The trick is for a guild to find good criteria for evaluating applicants. Do interviews. Make sure they can meat your schedule. Thats not prejudice. Thats fair evaluation.


I don't have any statistics, but in my experiance in end game raiding there are more Male players then female players. If there are more men then women then it would be easy for women to be in relationships at a higher rate then men. For example lets say your 25man raid has 7 women and 5 heterosexual couples. Therefore 71% of your women would be in RL relationships but only 28% of your men.


You know, I've never understood this arguement. What is the prejudice against video games?

I agree that sports have the potental to provide lots of positive experiances for kids, but there are negitive aspects also. The only real difference between sports and an MMO is the physical activity, and that can be pushed to far. Sports are not for everyone. Video games are not for everyone, but neither is superior to the other, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Ok, the comments about women, I find incredibly sexist, as a woman who plays WoW myself I have to say something.

Kring said it best when they said "It takes two". You think it's ok to completely exclude an entire sex for "guild harmony", last I checked majority of guild conflict has nothing to do with sex. It's usually someone being a douche to someone else.
How is a woman more likely to have a RL relationship with a guild member? Guild members have "relationships" all the time, whether is be friends of romantic relationships, it makes no difference as far as drama goes. And from my experience from my 4+ years of play, guys can be just as "catty" as women as far as drama.

The three main "dramas" that cause loads of problems that I've seen time and time again are:
A.) Politics
B.) Religion
C.) Loot Distribution

The members gender has nothing to any of these topics.

There are the occasional "Drama Whores" that come by, but it's the guild members fault for humoring it. (and plenty of guys are the same way from personal experience.)

Also, there are PLENTY of awesome female players, probably more than you think that, like me, don't like the let anyone know they are female because of conversations/guild rules like this. It's belittling.

The drama occurs when people humor whatever the conflict is and take sides. It's a society thing, not a gender thing. Don't stereotype and entire gender for "being known to cause drama".
I don't think that's what you set out to do when you wrote these thoughts, but it did come at that way to me, and it could to others as well, so had to add my two cents in there.

Daniel said...

Banning women from a guild is a stupid solution to a non-existing problems. And not talking here about sexist aspects or can girls play video games(yes they can. some of them can be extremely good players. one even beat me on Quake 3). Its stimulating for the rest of the raid - when you hear female voice on vent you want to be the alpha, you want to top the DPS meter, you want to be able to last a second longer when you are tanking that boss. all cooldowns are burned at the right time and so on. women are great at calming the raid and helping squeeze one more try tonight before calling it. And make excellent raid leaders. As a bonus the flirts that are going on, help lighten the atmosphere as a whole. So the more women in a guild the better.

Minors a whole other thing. Not because of not being mature(this is filtered easy) but because they dont have complete controls over their life and phrases like "if I DC my dad pulled the plug off because I have to be in bed", "my mom is calling me for dinner" and few more. They have problems with committing enough time when it is needed. So I can understand why some guild leaders are trying to avoid them.

Graylo said...

@Little Goldfish

First of all please read my post before you start calling me names and making judgements on my charicter. If you go back and read my post I think you will see that I am arguing agrainst straight bans based on sex or age or anything.

I agree that guys can be just as big of an issue as women if not bigger. This is a opinion I alluded to in my post. And yes it does take to to be in a relationship, but when more men play/raid then women then what I said can be true.

The fact of the matter is relationships can cause problems for the guild and sexual relationships can cause even bigger problems, because if you have a problem with one then your likely to have a problem with both. I'm not saying those problems are caused women. I'm not saying anyone should be banned for it. In fact I'm saying good guild leadership deals with the issues as they arise instead of preemptive bans.

So next time you get all pissy over one of my posts reread it before you comment. That way you may realize I'm arguing the same thing you are.

NotNewHere said...

Staying anonymous on this one to avoid potential drama... you might recognize me but so might some others. ;)

I totally agree with you Graylo - on all counts. I wouldn't so much enjoy being in a guild that restricted membership based on age or gender... but I can see some of the issues that cause people to want to do so.

One of my raiding guildies is a father, and his young teenage daughter also plays. She's a non-raiding member of our guild, although she has several level 80 characters and participates in PUG raids and does very well. She's never caused problems due to her age... but many of our other members habitually say offensive things in guild chat that her father would prefer she wasn't exposed to. Heck, I kind of wish I wasn't exposed to them myself, to be honest.

He has at times considered gquitting and taking her with him. Most of the time he just instructs her which of our guildies to put on ignore so she's not subjected to their sexual jokes, racist and sexist "humor", etc.

As for women causing problems in guilds, not all of them are an issue.... but there are some who are. Again, one of my guildies is a female who has had RL relationships with three guys in my guild since she joined - the most recent two (including the current one) have been officers. I can't say that she receives any sort of extra benefit from her status as so-and-so's girlfriend, but she does perform quite poorly compared to others of her class, and very few people actually enjoy raiding with her because she tends to be whiny and snappish more often than not.

As I said, I don't really think she received preferential treatment, she's not in the raid every single night by any stretch, but I do wonder if people put up with her behavior more than they would for other guildies because of who she's dating.

Ana said...

Having run an almost exclusively adult raid guild for a few years now, this post feels to me like it glosses over a few aspects of accepting children in to raid guilds.

There is a cost to accepting children, and often that is officer time. We've had a couple of awesome under 18s, but on average our experience has been that they consume more time than adults. It's not reasonable to suggest that leadership is incompetent, or officer's are lazy, on the basis that adults have sense enough to place a value on their limited time.

Secondly, as touched on by others, having children in a guild changes what is appropriate. I have a conscience, as do my guildies, and I can't justify a line of reasoning to the effect of "I'm not responsible if my behaviour in inappropriate for minors, it's their parent's fault if they're being exposed to an objectionable environment.". We enjoy our adult environment and it's not fair on the other guild members to take that away for one person, who in terms of a minor apping to the guild isn't even a guild member. Adults are entitled to adult only environments to socialise in.

Thirdly, children generally have different commitments to adults. Adults are generally speaking more at leisure to set their hours, whereas children are generally speaking subject to the whims of their parents. It's not fair on my guildmates if I put the raid in a position where it can't raid because X is grounded, has to do homework, has exams coming up, it's bed time, etc.

Fourth, my guild like many others places expectations on our raid members, in terms of preparation and research. These expectations require the member to expend time outside of the game. Again, in good conscience, I don't want to be a part of consuming a minor's time when they should be at studying / sleeping / etc. We've had some who are responsible and can manage their time fine, I know of others who haven't been able to, and for my part my conscience is a lot clearer if I know I'm not placing temptation in their way.

Phil said...

This is a HoT issue.
I am glad that my guild is ran the way it is. We don't like to have the >18 year olds for the simple reason of maturity, but if you are >18 we don't care if you pass the probationary period. (I guess a better way of putting it: we don’t recruit for the >18 year old crowd)
My GM does a good job of seeing who is mature about in game communications and actions. Our guild is one not bent of endgame but enjoying the game for what it is. We have one player who will raid with her kids almost in her lap and she rocks in game.
I have found that helping people learn about the game and how to better play their spec or up their professions is rewarding. (I have had much help from them and from reading you blog, thanks Graylo!)
We have a family environment in game and that really helps. The only issue I have seen is the #3 looting, that gold_fish brought up. I think the old guild we were spit due to a RL skyping all the gear for himself but I haven’t seen it now.
I have a secondary guild I run with which I feel is better for loot distribution due to the counsel type he does. Guild Manager, left unnamed, looks everyone up on the Armory and inspects to see who needs the stuff and who is lying about it. For example if a good cloak pops, I have a 25 man Naxx cloak and another player has a 5 man blue, if its not that much of an upgrade for me and I win the roll I might not get it. It just feels like your bettering the guild that way. Loot is a ruff issue for me because I want to be the best, but I understand that if I don’t get it when a guildie does. (So we win anyway.) I just don’t like the fact that you can be a member of only one guild so you can’t see how others are run really with out ditching your own.
We have the calendar and we set up raid days if your qualified to raid you raid, if not and we need some one you raid anyway and end up with a butt load of gear, for the most part. We try to be good about distribution but sometimes things are missed.

My big three with guild members and how it’s ran:
1. Loot distribution
2. Have fun it’s a game it’s meant to be fun (an understanding that RL is more important than the game.
3. Know your roll, do your job. If you don’t know exactly how ask, that’s what a guild is for, build each other up and become better players. (If a DPS is pulling too much agro don’t yell at him ask him to check his Omen and back off. If a healer is missing a curse or a poisen, tell them don’t ‘WTF ur a GD Paly get the diseases…’ Ease ur tone maybe they are new, or just don’t see it. Things like this blog help me so I share with my guild and help those that I can.

How do you help your guild members?

~Gargen of Vek’nilash (Sorry if I have run on, it’s a big issue)

sonak said...

As Guild master of a raiding guild I have always prefered to be restirctive for how old are my guildies mostly for maturity.

Also because I consider that a young person (below 17 specialy) has something else to do, school work and sleeping, then to play wow all night.

If you are 21 you can assume what you do, not at 14 !!!

I love to have women anyway in my raids - they often put a different emphasis on social playing then pure "loot and kill" style. And they are as good as men after all.

I am just clear with guildies : "no sex talk, no rude word, no discrimination during raids".

I love diversity :)

Anonymous said...

Our guild application has a question that states "Our leadership team consists of two men and two women, both of who will provide direction at any given time. Is this something that you are OK with?"

You would be surprised how many men actually do have difficulty taking direction from strong women, and this is one of the reasons we put this information is in our guild application.

While we don't have a "don't aply if you are under x age", we definately do consider age to be a factor when we recruit. We run a bi-costal guild, which means that we start our raids a little later than most, and we run them until Midnight.

One of the reasons that we scrutanize on age is that we want to make sure that our raiders don't have to "go to bed" because mom is yelling at them. If it was my kid, I certainly wouldn't want him up until 12 on a school night.

Another reason is that we are about 80% working adults with a median age of late 20's, the remainder of our guild are college age students.

No matter how mature a kid is, and we have given a few the benefit of the doubt, very few of them really do fit in and mesh well. We do not make their age public knowledge, unless they opt to do that themselves...but more often than not it is quite obvious that they are much younger than our core of players.

While we WILL consider younger players for membership, we are very careful about reviewing them before offering memebership.

Additionally, I will admit that we may discriminate a bit how you present yourself in our application. If it starts out somthing along the lines of: "i rly wnt to join ur guild bcase i wnt 2 raid n c endgm", it is highly unlikely that you will even be granted an interview. If you can't type in such a fashion that doesn't cause my eyes to bleed, this isn't the place for you =) Just go to our forums and try to use "u" instead of "you". ;-)

Raysa said...

for alle the german readers:

for the rest:
this article is talking about the announcement of SK-gaming, that Hafu (the girl on the photo) is the beste wow player in the world. She is playing in the legendary Battlegroup 9 and is on pos. 1 in 2on2, pos. 1 in 3on3 and pos. 2 in 5on5.

so think about recruiting no girls. ;)

sonak said...

On my former guild I promoted as co GM a girl for her social approach.

To be honest this promotion was not easy due to "huge male conception" but anyway she was a great co leader.

Anonymous said...

Hello Gray,

I pop here to see what you have brewed up about weekly. Good stuff, and thanks for making me a better Moonkin. Never comment on anything. Now i will.

We have a "no minors" policy cause of us, the rest of the guild. Our avarage age is about 25 (18-48 if i recall right). Thou we are a raid guild, we promote relaxed, good natured, sometimes dirty talking but still progressive and fun raiding. Lot of our guildies drop online douring weekends to drink and talking shit with friends while doing fun stuff like alt raiding, pvp , what ever. We have fair ammount of women too, and sometimes the good spirited nagging might get a bit rough (sexually related). We can handle it, and we have a lot of fun while at it. We are(again) going to spend a weekend drinking like sponges at a summer gottage we rented. Our "spirit" is prolly the biggest reason we exist.

We feel that our company is not a suitable enviroment for a minor to spend time in. Thou you might judge our life style, dont judge our leadership ;)