I cleaned up my guild roster this past week – “housekeeping”, I call it. We have a guild policy regarding inactivity which states that all toons (including alts) may be kicked if they’re inactive for more than 30 days. This is as much to ensure that we keep an active roster as it is to ease the headache of knowing who is who. With more than 100 alts running around the guild, many of whom are abandoned after a short fling, keeping track of which alts belong to who gets pretty complicated. I have half a dozen alts myself in the guild that I play regularly, either for regular pve/pvp, professions (daily dailies!), or just banking duties (one guild banker, one personal banker), and still I find that even long-time members don’t always know that a given alt is me (despite a public note that says “The Captain”). So keeping a fairly clean roster is helpful to a community like ours.
Still, I didn’t kick everyone that I could have, per that policy. I’ve loosened the restrictions on the activity requirement quite a bit, actually, specifically due to guild reputation. With such a painfully long grind to reach Exalted reputation with your guild, I’m reluctant to boot people so quickly for something as benign as inactivity. While there might be fail-safes in place – if you log on to find that you were kicked while gone, and don’t join any other guild, for example, you can supposedly regain your reputation if you rejoin your original guild – we’ve never actually tested this and I’m not certain it works if, say, you’ve been out of the guild for a number of months because your account has been inactive. Regardless, I’m hesitant about kicking people for inactivity because of the reputation issue.
As a result the process has become fairly subjective, with the rule as serving as a guideline rather than a cast-iron policy. I’m more likely to remove people who disappear without word, have been gone for many months, and were never social to begin with. New members who disappear within a few weeks of joining are kicked without regard once they hit the 30-days-absent mark. I’m less likely to remove players if they tend to have long periods of inactivity followed by months of being active again, which seems to be a trend in the current climate of WoW, anyway. I’m more likely to keep those who were highly active and social while they were here, even if they disappear without word. And of course I will keep toons around if they’ve told me they’re leaving WoW but will probably come back and would like to remain in the guild. Creation of a rank that has no bank access allows me to safely keep closed or inactive accounts around, without worrying about hackers. So now my housekeeping is as much about moving inactives to that rank as it is deciding who to kick or not.
With this latest round of cleaning, however, I included a few members who are actually active (more or less) but have been a bit of a headache in the past few months. This is a first for me – kicking people proactively. The reality is that the experiences of my tenure have left me far less tentative and worried about what people might think, and rather more decisive about excising the trouble before it grows into something chronic and painful. There is no anger here, nor any vindictiveness in my decision; there is only careful resolve. If someone doesn’t like my policies or me, they’re in the wrong guild and should find someplace that will make them happier. This is common sense. But where I used to waffle and wait to let people come to this conclusion themselves, I have become far more assertive: if you can’t make that decision on your own, I’ll help you do it. I don’t need to spend weeks discoursing with my officers over it, though I do still ask their opinions often. I don’t need to subject the guild to drama nor spend nights tossing and turning, wondering how to problem-solve in a way that everyone will end up happy. The inevitable conclusion is that I’m not going to change policies that serve the needs of many just to satisfy the selfish desires of one or two. The disenchanted need to move along so that we can all get on with our fun.
So, why kick these three in particular? There was a long series of events that, taken individually, were no big deal, but when pieced together presented a worrisome picture. It included an attitude of entitlement, manipulation, and vindictiveness. And though I wasn’t positive about any of it and primarily based my decision on what could be viewed as circumstantial evidence, there was enough of it that their excuses and rationalizations just felt a little too convenient. So I kicked them. Honestly, if I find myself spending hours trying to understand and justify someone’s actions, there’s something going on and that person probably needs to just go. And whereas before I’d have chewed over the issue for days or weeks until I had real proof and had stressed all of my officers out, now I just act on it.
In the aftermath of kicking them it became clear that I’d made the right decision. Though one of them was possibly caught in the crossfire, the other two were definitely involved in malicious activity while in the guild. One of the questionable events that had come up was the withdrawal of a large number of expensive gems from the gbank. When I changed bank permissions and addressed the issue, the member in question was angry. He felt he was owed the same free access to the gbank as anyone, despite the fact that he didn’t speak to anyone in gchat, kept himself isolated from the community in general, and had stopped attending RBGs after being denied a spot in our raid roster (despite the fact that it had been closed for months). In other words, he gave nothing to the guild and felt he was owed whatever he wanted – and definitely as much as the ones giving the most are getting. Uh huh. Been there before.
I asked him why it was that he wanted to remain in the guild – what he actually got out of being with us, and got no answer. What I did get was ganked – well, it was an attempted ganking, anyway, because my mate and I walked away with eight new honor kills while the Horde got none. The point is, I was attacked by three Horde in a surprising location, and one of them had a name that was almost identical to the name of his toon in our guild. But clearly they had planned to outnumber us and take me down. Unfortunately for them, I don’t die easily and my mate is positively allergic to it. And we’re always together. If you’re going to attack us out in the world, bring an army – three is not enough. The thing is, I couldn’t prove it was them, though my Spidey-senses were tingling and all the evidence pointed to it.
After I kicked them – which I did with no warning – one of them logged on during our raid time and demanded I stop what I was doing and give him the explanation he was “owed” for why he was kicked. I told him I was busy and would be happy to stick around for half an hour after the raid to chat with him. He told me that that “wasn’t good enough” and that he was more important than raiding. I wanted to tell him that most children grow out of that attitude at age five when raised properly, but I simply repeated that I was busy and he could come back later or not, as he liked. His attitude after the raid was no better. Still, I listened for awhile, warned him that I was not going to continue to listen if his attitude didn’t improve, and eventually agreed to possibly give them another chance (there was reason enough, in the end).
And then, on a whim, I mentioned that ganking our guildies on Horde toons is a kicking offense. I didn’t expect him to own up to it. I wasn’t even positive it was them. His response was that it was “just a little fun”. Riiiiiight. I had closed the bank tab to him, which pissed him off, and a few days later he’s ganking me in Feralas with two of his buddies for “just a little fun”. More like just a little vengeance. As a result, I rescinded my offer of any more chances. He told me he hoped I’d someday discover something more important and fulfilling than a game (he was very snarky about it, of course – righteousness and a sense of entitlement tend to go hand in hand), which further proves that he simply doesn’t belong in our guild.
WoW itself may be just a game, but the community is so very much more; the guild makes it personal and our connection to each other makes it very important and fulfilling. It is a family of individuals who, while they may not actually physically know each other, nevertheless care about each other, coordinate their lives and schedules so that they can do things together, and promote harmony, integrity, and respect amongst themselves because they value these things. If you don’t get that, you’re in the wrong place. If you can’t figure it out yourself, well… that’s what I’m here for. I keep the house in order.