I don’t want to see your dirty laundry, but…
This is rarely problematic as most of the posts are raid threads and contain nothing but lines akin to “I’ll be 5 minutes late” or “sorry I can’t make it, good luck in there!” or “here are the stats for the night”. Occasionally someone will post a funny link. Nothing embarassing, nothing incriminating.
Then, out of the blue, something less….dull…. will happen. A person will disagree with another. Or several people with several others. Discussions start, tempers get heated, the texttypers post something illegible and so on. Oh the horror!
Officer emails suddenly abound (the officers in my guild correspond by email) and the team devides itself into three groups :
Group 1 : OMG close the offending thread and bury it! Delete it if we can!
Group 2 : We can’t censor people or I really don’t care what the world sees
Group 3: What thread?
Are disagrements always bad and embarassing? I don’t think so.
Some types of conflict (read: drama) are better off hidden from the world. Heck, the guild itself doesn’t need to watch personal conflicts explode. Equally, threads containing “I worked so hard for you guys and in return you stab me in the back and now my life is ruined and you suck and I hate you all” or its modern cousin “i wrkd so hard 4 u giz n in rtrn u stab me in teh back n no my liefz rund n u sukc n i h8 u all” might not be helpful for recruitement. Just saying.
But what about something along the lines of “I’m not sure I agree with this rule for reasons X, Y and Z. I would like to propose changing it a bit to the following…”? Is that harmful? I mean, if a few people in the guild don’t like this rule, the guild must be awful and we should never apply or associate them. Obviously, in order for a group to have a good environnement, everyone must agree with all the rules all the time…. And anyone who thinks that way has yet to experience kindergarden. Or at least experience a group with a positive environnment.
As soon as you have a group of people, some will disagree on something at some time. Thats just how things work. Is that bad? Of course not! By disagreeing, you’re introducing a new perspective, you’re opening the lines of communication and you’re showing that you’re comfortable enough to take an emotional risk. Now, the frequency of disagreement, the topic of disagreement, the way the disagreement is expressed and the way the disagreement is received make all the difference.
I can’t say I shop for guilds on a daily basis. However, I do frequently have to choose to be around various groups of people, be it in a professional, acedemic or recreational setting. And yes, I like to know how often people argue, what they argue about, are they respectful and constructive in expressing their dissent and are dissents in turn accepted in a respect and constructive manner. In real life, we rarely get to see conflicts within a group until its too late. However, when browsing guild forums, we often do get that chance. And should your guild forums have the rare thread where people are constructively discussing in a grown-up, mature fashion varying points of vue on a perticular rule, I believe it may play in your advantage.
Besides, a guild composed of members and officers with good conflict resolution skills is nothing to be ashamed of!