First of all, thanks for the awesome letter, Rodrigo! That's definitely the first all-Spanish-speaking guild I've heard of on American servers, though I'm sure there are others.
He also presents an interesting idea about guild management. You rarely hear about guilds holding elections for their leaders, but why not? So I started thinking that there are just as many ways to run a guild as there are to run a nation. Let's talk about a few here.
By far the most common style of guild governance, there's nothing fair about a dictatorship. As your parents probably told you, "My house, my rules." Like the infamous leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, the dictator's word is law. He or she appoints all officers to be the eyes, ears, mouth, and various other anatomical parts of the one true leader. Loyalists are rewarded. Dissidents and undesirables disappear in the quiet hours of the morning.
Pros: Unified vision; stable leadership; no messy elections or trials; secret nuclear programs
Cons: Voiceless, disenfranchised citizens; may be parodied by South Park creators
Say what you will about it, it's a system that works for many guilds. What's the point of doing all the work and going through the hassle of being a GL if you can't run the guild the way you think it should be? A lot of GL's out there have a good deal of experience under their belts, both from WoW and other online games. Their members may not always like what they have to say, but the ones who have been doing it for a long time are right more often than not. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions. The flip side of the dictatorship coin (you know, the one with your august profile stamped on it) is that if you don't make good decisions, your guild will quickly tank. Unlike most countries governed like this, Warcraft players are free to vote in at least one way: If they don't like the way a guild is run, they can leave.
I like to think of my own guild as such. Does that make me Queen Elizabeth? In a certain sense, yes. In this type of government, the monarch rules the kingdom, yet does not hold absolute power. A governing body deals with many of the day-to-day details of running the country. The monarch may exercise a prerogative over the government, but he or she must act according to existing constitutional laws and precedents. The monarch also serves as the symbolic representative of his or her kingdom and plays a large social role, among both the populace and other world leaders.
Pros: More representative than a dictatorship; leadership is stable but not godlike in power; it's good to be the king
Cons: Easy to become too symbolic and lose all voice in government; paparazzi
This style is a good choice for guild leaders who are willing to be more considerate of their members' wishes and opinions -- but who don't want to turn their guild over to just anyone who wanders in off the street and causes a fuss. It's a good compromise: You're sharing both the power and the responsibilities. However, you can't be dethroned on a whim. No one questions whose guild it is. At the same time, you're willing to listen to your "subjects" and magnanimously -- always magnanimously -- address their grievances. Don't forget to keep the family jewels polished!
A democratic republic is the place where "All men are created equal," according to Thomas Jefferson. I like to think that, had he lived in our time, he might have been a bit more p.c. with that statement. In this system, all leaders are democratically elected by the citizens (or their electors) and must be reelected on a regular basis in order to stay in power. They can be removed from power if they break the nation's laws. Citizens have rights to privacy, free speech, fair trials, and so on.
Pros: All citizens have a say in who will lead them; new leaders can bring a fresh point of view or a needed change in policy; comforting sense of smug superiority toward other counties' forms of government
Cons: Leadership can be unstable; citizens may choose ineffectual or corrupt leaders; Carrot Top
I'm intrigued by this idea. How many of you would be willing to hold an election for the GL and officer positions in your guild? How many of you think you would win? I think I'd win, but maybe I'm being naive. Or maybe no one else wants the job . . .
How would you implement a system like that? Private messages and in-game mail can be counterfeited. Web sites can be hacked. Votes in guild chat could get awfully messy -- and they'd be awfully public. It's fun to think about the possibility of guild members lining up to trade one impartial member either a Linen Cloth, a Copper Ore, or a Peacebloom to cast their vote.
And what happens when the current administration gets voted out? Do they stick around to advise the new incumbents, secretly hoping the whole operation will come crumbling down without their steady hand to guide it? Do they return to "civilian" life and join another guild as ordinary members, free from all cares and burdens?
Could it be set up like that drinking game (NSFW) we all played in college where the new "President" gets to make up just one new rule? As you can see, I'm very curious about this and I'd like to hear from other guilds who have tried this Great Experiment.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more forms of guild government in Part 2 next Monday!
Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!