Since Christmas Lathere has spent more time administering the guild than actually playing the game. And the topics she wants to blog about include all the bad stuff that comes with being part of the running of a guild.
When she was drafting her last post she said to me “I feel like about writing about all these things but I don’t feel right about publishing it”.
I’ve heard about people getting fired, or not being hired, because of incriminating Facebook profiles and comments. A friend of a friend of a friend blogged about their everyday life, including stuff happening in their workplace, and was fired over it. Do the same standards of privacy and confidentiality apply to publishing and guilds?
Legally (and bear in mind that I’m no expert) I don’t see how they could. First off, you sign a contract when you become an employee. To a certain extent they own your mind – and any ideas you may have – while you are an employee. If, as an employee, you publish on the internet “I work at XYZ Telecommunications and the reason that our servers went down the other day is because we all went out for a boozy lunch! Even the techies!” you could seriously damage the reputation of your company. Your damage might lead to a loss in customers and revenue.
But a guild isn’t a business. Our employees are our guild members. We have potential employees everywhere. Our competitors are other progression-driven raiding guilds. The closest thing we have to customers are the players on the server we might trade goods with, or players we might bring ask to join a PuG. We are not reliant on our customers to “succeed” as a business. We primarily do not exist to raise gold. We define succeeding as killing bosses and raid progression.
To reach our goal, we need a strong raid team – a strong team of employees.
Yes, our reputation is still very important to us. A guild with a poor reputation will have a much more difficult time recruiting players. Even very successful (progression-wise) guilds with poor reputations will have difficulties recruiting players.
If you’re having difficulty recruiting excellent players (er employees) you end up dropping your standards to recruit good players and end up with a weaker team overall. So our reputation definitely contributes to the success/failure of the raid team.
Somehow Lathere (and I) need to walk a fine line – blogging about our experiences within our guild, without damaging the reputation of our guild. Or, we could just not blog about it at all. Or, we could change our character names, remove the WoW Armory links and completely disassociate ourselves from our characters, server and guild.
The second option seems somewhat extreme. But if we had taken that stance from the day we set up Hots and Dots I think it would have been easily achieved. But we never set out to hide who we are. I like having players whisper me in game and leave a comment, in person so to speak, about an article that we’ve published.
I’m not ashamed to leave my character exposed for all my readers to poke at my gear, gems or achievements. In the same way that I lack respect for players who post on the official forums as their level 1 alt, I would lose respect for bloggers who offer advice with no way for me to establish who they are, where they come from and what they’ve experienced.
I read many bloggers who hide (unintentionally, I think) what server they play on and what their character name is. To be fair, most of them write about personal, very subjective, learning experiences – opinion pieces. And I don’t think it’s necessary to establish credibility for that kind of writing.
But if you expect me to follow your 3.3 Resto Druid Raiding Gear Guide, well, I’d want to know that you actually raid as a Resto Druid! I’d prefer to learn about Resto Shaman healing from someone who is actually, well, an experienced Resto Shaman.
I don’t think anonymity is a valid option for Lathere and I.
So should we only write about the good stuff? We blog about lots of guild achievements – when we master a fight strategy in particular. We share our guild strategies and ideas right here on the blog. I’d like to point out that this is all positive publicity for the guild which often goes unrecognized.
I think it’s lying to only blog about the good stuff. Bad stuff happens in every guild. Is it better to try and keep it private? Perhaps. Some problems and personal conflicts can blow over if you ignore them, or try and solve them in private without the rest of the guild, and the community, reading with a bowl of popcorn at hand.
When I blogged about a little bit of drama that somehow split the guild right down the middle, one 10 man group vs the other, I was extremely vague about the circumstances. I wanted to write about it and I felt that I couldn’t write any other post at the time. But I also felt that if I were to drag all the details and personal conflicts out into the open I might just be making the problem infinitely worse. So I didn’t. It was frustrating to write it like that, but I certainly don’t wish be the catalyst which makes existing drama worse just to satisfy my writer’s muse.
Lathere is in a more difficult situation than I. She is an officer and has to deal with all the complaints, dramas and conflicts that I remain blissfully unaware of 99% of the time. But on the few occasions that I’ve been caught up in guild politics or drama, I find myself shying away from publishing those articles too.
Perhaps I need to set us, Lathere and I, some guidelines. I think it would be wrong to:
- publish a story which identifies individuals by name and defames them
- inadvertently publish some new guild policy before telling the guild first
- take an opinion (we’re bloggers, that’s all we can do) and write about the details of a conflict between two guild members
Other than that, I think nothing else should be off limits.
I believe that our readers are smart enough to recognise that there is good and bad things in Vitare. Good and bad things happen in all guilds.
And when we write about them, it’s because we wonder if you might have experienced the same thing.