Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guild Relations Forum

Sometimes you can find a treasure when you are not really looking for it.

Several months ago, I was bored and browsing the World of Warcraft forums, when I stumbled on a forum I had never seen previously, entitled "Guild Relations" forum.  As I started to read the topics, I realized this forum was one unlike any other forum on the website.

The main focus of the Guild Relations forum is to help those with questions relating to guild management.  At the top of the forum is a sticky with a Table of Contents, directing questioners to threads containing material already discussed or outside websites with content relevant to the topics.  The headings include everything from "How do I start a guild" to "How do I find a guild," with topics relating to guild finances, guild rules, loot systems, and so forth.  More recently, a Guild Relations Wiki was created to consolidate some of this information and make it easier to access.

Unlike many forums, it is perfectly acceptable to post on a low-level, cross-server alt.  In fact, in some instances, it is recommended.  Questioners post on alts to avoid drama in their guilds, and those who assist them post on alts for similar reasons.  Some who have been particularly good in their advice had found themselves swarmed on their servers, interrupting their play time, and so chose to post on alts from that time forward.  Someone unfamiliar with the forum who may question the validity of advice offered by an alt will find themselves put in their place by those who have come to respect the advice of those long-term contributers.

Also unlike many forums, drama is kept to a minimum.  Posters maintain level heads, and the occasional problem which arises is quickly reported.  Contributors address the issues at hand, rather than call others names.  It is this tone of civility which encourages many questioners to go ahead and ask their questions, rather than lurk, wondering what sort of "flaming" they will be forced to take for their trouble.

These are good things, but what I really have enjoyed about the Guild Relations forum is the wealth of good leadership advice available to the casual reader.  I have learned a lot from people whose wisdom and experience show in their posts as they discuss the general principles of leadership and how they apply to running a guild.  Every so often, even I have been able to reasonably contribute.  (I have long figured that my lessons learned do little good if I cannot use them to help others.)

I believe these resources may be useful to anyone who participates in a guild, even if not currently in a leadership capacity. For one thing, good leadership and organizational principles are valid whether you are talking about an in-game guild or a real-life situation.  Also, it can make decisions made by guild leaders seem more transparent, as you understand the probable reasoning behind many of them.  And I've found that it is a handy place to refer people who start asking questions about searching for a new guild.  (How can you know what to search for if you haven't taken the time to learn about guilds and the kinds of variations there might be?  Why waste the time to learn everything the hard way?)

There is one other good thing about lurking on the Guild Relations forum:  having read there so much, I already know the answers they would give to just about any relevant question I have.  Saves time.

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