How I feel as (Interim) Guild Leader

So for those who aren’t in BBA or know about it, our guild leader is delinquent. Today afternoon will be the time when the usurp function becomes active.

To be honest I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I’m almost relieved because then I can perform guild leader duties that she has been neglecting for the past two months (and frankly, longer than that). I won’t have to constantly be sending in update reports to do this or that. I’ve always hated nagging people to do things (who doesn’t like that??) and preferred to just do things on my own. This will give me a chance to properly promote officer alts (main reason) and clean up the roster that way (no, I won’t be booting or anything like that).

On the other hand, I have my own conflicting feelings about this, as well as everyone else’s feelings. We all don’t like the fact that it had to come down to this. Joli probably did not really perform the duties of a typical guild leader, but she is a great player and a friend we all enjoy hanging with. Despite the deal we made when we convinced her to join, it seems that she too, perhaps, has moved on.

Nothing wrong with being really busy with real life or moving on, of course. But it worries us when the last we actually heard from her was 2 months ago and there has been no word or contact – not even on the guild website. We are all dearly hoping that nothing serious has happened to her. This is kind of the similar case with the SD guild recently, and Ang’s taken charge of leadership there. Almost scary on the timing.

However, I plan to just crown her successor. I think the others from Beholder_Chatz made a good point that if I were to name someone else as successor, it would only cause problems and misunderstandings. Until I can contact her within the next few months to a year or so, I will wait for her. Then, we can discuss the future of the guild and how to move on from there if she plans to quit or severely limit her play time.

As much as I want to talk about what happens if she doesn’t come back for good or what to do next, or what if this, what if that – it is probably a sign that I can be controlling. I hate to do things without a plan, but I also don’t want to overexert power to control everything. That is the last thing this guild should be about – the whole reason we formed this guild. Organization and teamwork is key.

But, since this is a personal semi-private blog… let’s dissect those ideas. I’ve been doing lots of thinking ever since two weeks ago when the message first appeared about Joli’s delinquency – even before then, when her inactivity stretched over a month. It was so unlike her to be missing that long – she was one of the regular players, after all, and to suddenly fall out like that. No doubt it caused a lot of worry for the others. There were already so many players who were either on and off activity or just left the game for good. Now that I speak of it, it is kind of sad that there is so much focus on Joli compared to the others who left or are inactive. Maybe it is because she holds the crown, most likely it is because of her actual presence as a player and friend. But if it is the first, it makes me sad almost because some great friends and players have left the game.

Barakias, for one. He was a Spanish player I believe – great person, father, player. But because of real life, he left the game. I remember I was the only person online in the late (early?) hours of dawn. He had logged in that night to say goodbye to whoever was on, and I just happened to be online then. He hadn’t planned to wait for anyone it seemed, and that he would just slip away quietly. Had I not been online, perhaps no one would have known. After he had deleted his entire account, I was left in the quietness and somber of the rising dawn. Even now, I still really miss him. All of the people who left, whether physically from the game or by long term inactivity – I remember them and I feel for them. I miss them.

But I can’t forget the people I have now. The current guild, which is always still growing. The folks from Beholder_Chatz. Even the strangers around me – just being in company (or at least perceived company) of others is comforting when I think of the sad memories of people leaving. I think that a lot of people who dwell a lot in the past can’t seem to remember that there is still a path ahead. For me, there are always things to do, achievements to take hold of, and on a more deeper note, people to meet. I’m not the most extroverted gal out there – but quietly, I like to learn more about people.

This is all the more reason why I’m determined to take on the role of guild leader (even if it is just an interim position) and the reason why, if it comes down to it, I am prepared to fully usurp. I hope Joli, in the end, will understand my intentions and feelings. I (and many of the other officers) am constantly worried that she might get the wrong idea and react badly. At the same time, knowing Joli all these years, I am also of the mind that she will understand completely from a reasonable point of view, keeping the guild in mind first as opposed to just her own. That was the entire reason why we reformed and came together as the founders. So while I understand the others’ worries, I think that we should have more faith in our guild leader than to think of her as some tyrant who must have the crown at all times, regardless of the situation. That in itself would disqualify her as the leader anyway, simply based on our guild identity and philosophy in togetherness.

When the game gets back up, I will have a lot of work to do. Transitioning into guild leader does not necessarily mean more responsibilities for me particularly as I have been performing them in her place since, pretty much, Day 1. After all, the guild was once my own. The only thing differently I will be responsible for is the ability to promote, which I have been eagerly wanting to finally clean up. The inconsistency of officer alts who are not promoted yet just totally drives me insane. We also have some officer nominations, so I think it would be great to have more officers on board. I may have to reiterate officer promotion guidelines and maybe even add/clean them up together with the other officers.

It would also be nice to hold weekly guild meetings. This would give us a greater sense of togetherness and responsibilities as ranked members of the guild.

I need to be careful not to overwork the others or myself for the sake of that cause though. Too much activity and organization means less play time, which is what we are all here for. Generally, for the most part, we are good about the latter since we tend to have half organized half nonchalant attitudes (not sure how else to describe it but it is a good, healthy combination in my opinion). But I sincerely do hope to change things around the guild, as we have already begun shifting our ideas around as new guildies join and more people contribute. That alone makes me proud as current (as of this writing) guild successor.

My vision for the guild is nothing more maintaining current guild functions and operations – the one main thing I plan on exercising is officer promotion, as of this time period. Perhaps as a guild we may begin to shift our gears into doing other things, I don’t know. Officer promotion is vital to a guild’s growth in that they are the ones who ultimately decide to invite potential recruits. They are the ones who maintain guild functions, such as event organization and ship buff restocks. I owe everything to our current team of officers who have worked to help maintain and build the guild to what it is today. And it is the officers who provide the precious input as the voices and representatives of the guild in final decisions. Any leader who fails to acknowledge officers fails to acknowledge the health of the guild. I don’t mean that in an offensive way – it is the truth that I have arrived after being a long term ranked member of a total of three guilds in my 5 years of gaming time on DDO. And there is nothing against Joli in that statement – in the time she has been around, she has always sought officers for their input. Never once did she try to take matters into her own hands that would affect the guild as a whole dramatically. That is how we founded this guild with that philosophy in mind – I remember she called the government system somewhat that of a benevolent, representative oligarchy (or something?).

In any case, for all we know, she may be back after downtime. She may be back tomorrow. Or perhaps she might not return at all – maybe she gets married and has like 5 children to take care of. The one thing I do know is that no matter what, I will be here today, tomorrow, and many days after those to take care of Best Beaches Around.

PS: Once I have successfully retrieved crown as interim guild leader, I will be releasing an official statement on the Guild News tab of the guild website for further information, as well as a statement to Joli specifically in case of any misunderstandings (so as to address that).

The Problem of Avoiding Drama

So I had a random thought hit me today when I was prefacing what our guild was about to a recruit – and one of those things included a “tendency to avoid drama” and other good stuff. But I thought to myself suddenly right after I pressed the enter button, is it really a good thing? I thought more critically about this and I came to the conclusion that a guild or a player who avoids drama isn’t really a good thing at all at its core.

There’s this stigma around drama both online and in real life – that it’s just a pain to deal with it because the assumption is that everyone’s had gone through countless drama filled experience and it is not pleasant. And that is true all in all – they really aren’t joyful experiences and indeed rather a headache. We’re so tired of hearing about them and facing them. No one wants to stay up late worrying about friends fighting with each other (or you in a dispute with someone else, whatever the situation is). But the truth is, no one can escape “drama.” There’s no such thing as a drama free guild because that implies absolute freedom from such experiences, and we as humans know inherently that that is just close to impossible. Perhaps there are exceptions to the rule – solo guilds or small guilds composed of family, real life friends, or folks who just agree on close levels and have that common understanding of boundaries. But to me, it feels like 90% of the guilds, especially ones that are “public” (meaning open recruit for the player base that is a conglomerate of various kinds of people), face at least some kind of drama in their time of activity.

It is the inevitable, and so my conclusion is that we should acknowledge it and face it – to work through them and arrive successfully at a point of ease. The phrase “to avoid drama” is basically synonymous to “don’t start anything in the first place” – which is a very good practice. But the part I am getting at here is that the possibility of failure to doing that is always there – and to ignore that is to be ignorant of imperfect natures. Most guilds who promote a drama free policy boot as a result of failure to comply with the policy. It makes sense at surface level – but the more I think about this, the more it seems wrong. So I ask, what then do people really learn from this “rule”? This social stigma that drives guilds to be so harsh in regards to dealing with drama? I think we place too much emotional value behind this seemingly laughable, easily dismissed issue.

We should be teaching others by our actions that it is OK for some drama to happen. Sure, there is indeed a limit on how much drama is too much drama. But sometimes, people don’t reach a greater point of understanding until they make a mistake and then learn to overcome it. It is especially important that people who join a guild are capable of doing just that (or even willing to). To me, it feels as if the current way of things is paralleled to a time bomb – a temporary fix, bound to ruin. Would it not be better to learn to disable the time bomb instead of moving it to another place? Essentially, we aren’t doing people a favor when they are booted because of drama reasons. From firsthand experience, I have seen it, and would never want to resort to that ever again.

So then, why do I still feel like I’m obligated as an officer of this guild to offer that as an explanation or reason for joining the guild? Perhaps I too have fallen in this trap, the socially acceptable idea that all (social) conflict is poison. Or perhaps one could argue that this rumination doesn’t establish a true grasp of what drama means – its subjectivity however is another topic.

Nonetheless, I’ll apply the same idea to my own conclusion: to work through it all the way to the end and arrive at a point of clarity. Who knew I could turn a totally random, laughable thought into an essay!

I just wanted to close saying that BBA as a guild is fantastic. Well, in my opinion that is an understatement honestly, haha. I mean, I can’t say that there was no drama, but there were very few cases, and only one that ended without much of a solution. As much as I want to think that the guild is all good and all perfect, it would be foolish to claim so. Many people would think so, but every guild has their own problems. Not that I am saying this guild has problems inside at all, and not particularly now (it is rather the opposite of that – lack of people playing the game/active in guild means nonexistent “sparks”) – no, that is not why I made this post. I felt strongly about this particular matter because of cognitive dissonance – the new conclusion resonates with my thought of logic and beliefs. BBA as a guild has done so much for me, and in turn I do the best I can for them. I’m amazed at how well the guildies click, as if it weren’t purely coincidence/chance in the recruiting process. It truly speaks a lot of our officers’ recruiting abilities, and even of their own values. After discussing guild stuff with the officers in a meeting today, I can’t help but want to continue to strive for better and help the guild grow.

This post is best understood by where I’m coming from and the kind of person I am. There’s nothing more anxiety inducing to me than when there is a sharp dispute or atmosphere among people, not even just friends but with anyone in general. Social harmony means a lot to me, so anytime there is a conflict that threatens that, my first instinct is to try and resolve it myself. I know that to be one of my greatest flaws as a person online. But to organize my thoughts in this post/ramble, this is where I am coming from – just as another person striving to understand others the best she can.