Wait, do we need any Effing officers?

A few months ago, as you might recall, Eff the Ineffable moved to a structure where we brought in officer-type positions in order to help ease the burdens of a guild grown suddenly larger. Two months down the road, we are a little bit smaller and I broached the topic again on our forums.

One of the points of having the officer positions was to ease my workload. Another was to have a whole panel of people to whom concerns, questions and problems could be brought.

The bank management has certainly been well taken over and having a recruitment officer prompted us to have a discussion about the recruitment process – which is a democratic event, as most things in EtI are, and not dependant on any one person. But raiding was another thing altogether. In fact, the raid leader stepped down after a few weeks and the only other person who had volunteered for the job was out of pocket for a month.

So I took over the rostering and calendar end full time. Fortunately, I don’t have to actually lead every raid as there is a small handful of capable people who are willing to pitch in there. What looked like it was going to be a disaster actually ended up resolving itself into a decently parceled out sharing of duties.

The perspective of how little things have changed prompted me to ask whether the experiment of us having officers was a success. From my point of view, it actually failed. Which isn’t to say that anyone neccesarily performed badly or that I am overly bogged down again, but that the other half of the duties in the leadership structure we had set out wasn’t being exercised. In short, all the problems or concerns or spats between people were still all brought to me.

One could argue that I mishandled things by not telling people who came to me to tell it to someone who cared take it to the whole panel of officers by sending an email as was discussed. I wouldn’t say anyone making that argument was entirely wrong, but neither would they be entirely right.

For most of the conflict that was happening at the time, it was right that I should have to deal with it because I’m the GM. I’m not sure I can put into words exactly what I mean by that. It’s more than just being the person in charge. It’s also that EtI is mine and I have a duty to everyone in it to make sure that there aren’t any broken areas where there is no structure and guidelines for how to behave in a certain situation. I can’t pass that buck. If I do, I have no right to be the GM.

So I had to fix some structural issues.

Being an emo whiner when I feel like it (which has been often lately, I’m ashamed to admit), I spent some time QQing that I was still not able to log in without getting slammed by other people’s QQ. It’s not fun, true, but if I am being honest, it was partly my fault because I hadn’t addressed certain areas as well as I should have done.

I wanted to run from that and I wanted to make other people deal with it, but instead pep talked myself into just laying some things on the line. I think I had more awkward and painful conversations with more people in those few weeks of turmoil than I had in a year in the old guild.

And now things are calmed down. Some people have moved on. Others have buried their hatchets. I’m not getting completely overloaded with complaints when I log on. Things are better.

But when I brought up getting rid of most of the officer positions (because my rule of thumb there is that if I can’t tell why someone is an officer they ought not to be one), someone suggested again that I might designate someone to deal with the QQ so I don’t have to. My first thought was that it wouldn’t be a very humane thing to do to someone else.

And now I’m thinking that I volunteered for this when I started the guild. I knew it going in that I would be the most obvious person to have to deal with any drama or problems that might arise. I still think there is a place and purpose for telling people to work minor crap out between themselves because one person cannot referee every relationship between every other person in the guild, but one person can step in when things are getting more intense.

All in all, I have a great group of people who are willing to talk and work things out like adults. Yeah, we had a rough patch a few months ago and it was rough indeed, but I took good lessons away from it and I hope other people did as well. And while I’ll more than likely never have this whole leadership thing even halfway figured out, I think that arriving at a better understanding of what it means to own EtI will have a majorly positive effect on my outlook the next time trouble rears its ugly head.


Wait, do we need any Effing officers? — 1 Comment

  1. Something I once suggested to another group (not EtI) was that of “Ombudsman”, basically a first line of defense for QQ issues. It has to be someone knowledgeable and who has a consistent view of things with the GM – and someone that can quickly dispatch real issues to the right people as fast as possible.

    Having never seen that in action, I can’t say it would or did work. But I’ve seen it plenty in other venues, such as the military.