Rules: Bent, not Broken

*** Disclaimer:  This post is about a guild related issue, and I believe both parties acted in their best interests; by that I mean, no one was wrong. ***

Yesterday, a request was made by a guild member to add a child of another guild member to the guild.  Our guild policy is to have everyone apply to the guild, even friends and family.  Our main reason for this particular rule is to prevent our guild from becoming a spam-invite guild, to weed out people that don’t fit our guild philosophy, and to provide information to all of our other members about the applicant.  When the request was made in gchat, I explained that we don’t invite anyone to the guild without an application.  The members response was that he “wasn’t going to make a 12 year old fill out an application.”

Our application is fairly simple, with a few questions about your character, and about why you want to join, etc.  The average 12 year old is more than capable of filling out the application; they can probably complete the task in less than 5 minutes.  How do I know what 12 year olds are capable of?  Well, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a teacher, and I teach students from ages 5-13.  Most, if not all of my students from age 10+ know almost as much about computers, email, and the Internet as I do; given that I both maintain a blog and a guild website, that’s saying a lot.  Besides, if they can play and understand WoW, they can handle a few easy questions.

After denying a request to ginvite the child without an application, the member pleaded his case through a whisper, and provided information as to why he was acting on behalf the parent.  The parent would have asked themselves, but they are ill, to the point that it is life threatening.  The member acting on his behalf is a good friend, and promised to watch after the child, a 12 year old boy.   I still told him that we would not invite him without an application, and that the officers had agreed that we do not make an exception to this policy.

I might seem rather cold-hearted after denying the request, but I assure you, I did not enjoy telling him no.  It’s a matter of principle; making exceptions to rules merely opens precedent for more trouble down the road.  If my sister decided to start playing today, I’d make her apply too.  As a group of officers we created a few simple rules that we refuse to break.  What I did do is offer is to bend them.  I offered to automatically accept the child into the guild, if an application was simply filled out.  I would have even gone so far as to accept an application written on his behalf by the guild member. 

The aftermath was that he and his wife left the guild shortly thereafter, and if I was in his shoes I would have done the same thing.  If at any point you’re in a guild and the philosophy of that guild doesn’t line up with yours, it’s time to abandon ship.  I hope they find somewhere that works out better for them, and I hope that those of you who do pray will join with me in praying for that child’s father.

– Sam

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