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In which I ponder the relationship between blogs & guilds

March 2, 2010
tags: ,


Over the last several weeks, there have been questions and posts popping up regarding blogging and guilds.  Angelya of Revive and Rejuvenate asked twitter whether or not she should mention her blog on her guild app.  I thought, “Why ought she mention it on her guild app?”  I believe she got several responses voting that she ought to.

Cassandri wrote Self Censored.  I thought more about it.

Tam wrote and whoops again.  I was indignant at the unfairness.

Larísa wrote Blogging about your guild may put you in trouble.  I thought even more about it.

I’ll write my question again:  Why ought you mention your blog to your guild?

I’ve had my blog for almost a year and a half now.  In that time, I’ve been in several guilds – admittedly, two of those guilds were just a renaming and regrouping of nearly the same group of people, but way back when Lus and I did server transfer and we had to search for guilds.  I spoke with several guild leaders and recruiting officers.  We exchanged pertinent information – I wanted to know their raiding times and loot policies, their class/spec needs and general temperament of the guild.  They wanted to know our experience as raiders, what alts we had, our availability and willingness to obey guild rules.  Never once did it occur to me to share that I had a blog and neither did they ask about it.

Is it their business?

Overall, I will say no.  My blog is my blog – I use it for personal writing.  I didn’t tell my guilds about my blog, not because I was hiding it or being sneaky, but because it is a personal blog and I didn’t want guildies reading it and making fun of my attempts at writing.  That is shyness and nothing more.

Were I to quit the vanity guild I am currently sitting in today and app to another guild, I still wouldn’t mention it.  Most guilds have a questionnaire that they ask you to fill out on their forums – they ask about the things they find important to know about their applicant.  I will fill all those questions out honestly, but unless they ask straight out if I have a blog, I’m not mentioning it.  It is a personal retreat for me, a place to share my feelings and thoughts.  Yes, this “personal retreat” is available online and available to anyone who happens to stumble upon it.  I’m fine with that.  I’m not going to point a big neon arrow at it, though.

Should you tell?

I was talking to Tart last night about the whole big issue and she shared that she links her blog on apps – she feels that her potential guild leader and/or members can get a good idea of who she is by reading the blog – what to expect, basically.  While I initially thought, “I would never do that!” I can see where she’s coming from and see how it could prove useful.  (It also occurred to me that if a potential guild did look at my blog right now, the third post on the page they’d see is this one, so I’m not sure if that would work in my favor or against it…)

Anna‘s guild/raidmates know the blog is there and some of Amber‘s guildmates follow her on twitter and know she blogs.  Ophelie did mention on her guild app that she had a blog but didn’t share the link (she was too shy).  So, Matticus (her potential guild leader) did some super sleuthing and found her blog.  This intrigued me, so I asked him more about it.

Matticus views blogs as raider portfolios:

To me, if a player has a blog, nine out of ten times, they know what they’re talking about.  It’s a great way to demonstrate what they DO know and what they DON’T know.  So, I have recruited people based purely what is said on their blogs and what they write about.  If they deomonstrate excellent knowledge of their class, of raids, of whatever, then I’m more likely to take them as opposed to not.  Similarly, if someone has a really crappy blog, terrible spelling or just a visual vomit, I’ll reject them on that too.  Since I’m a blogger, I’ll usually go out of my way to access that stuff.

He views himself as the exception rather than the rule though, with this “applicant research” – he really thinks that most guild leaders wouldn’t care or go through the hassle to check into a blog that an applicant alludes to.  This brought two interesting things to light – that a guild leader could care enough to actually look for the blog, but also that you could admit to having a blog in your application but not give them the link.  (In the scenarios in my head, it was always all or nothing – not sure why.)

It’s also a whole other realm of thought about being judged by your blog by a guild leader.  I think that you can indeed tell a lot about a person from their wowblog and many of the bloggers in the community showcase their knowledge of their class/spec in their blogs, with helpful information and number crunching.  (I wonder what a potential guild leader would judge, based on my “human interest” blog, in which there is no useful class information and the only “examples” of class ability/knowledge are casual mentions in posts?)

What limitations are on you?

Matticus says he personally tells his guild bloggers they may write whatever they like without any fear of reprisal from him.  He only asks that if it’s something negative or a problem they come to him first to see if it can’t be resolved.

When I was in my other guilds, I did write about things we did as a guild – I wrote about guild first kills we had, great raiding experiences, firsts for Lus and I.  Perhaps a tough time or two, I can’t remember.  But never once did I bad mouth our guild or name names in any posts I had.  This is where good sense and common courtesy come in.  If I didwant to write about a person being difficult or dickish, I would use something discreet – perhaps only their class or race as an identifier.  I knew that a guildee could find the blog, so I exercised a bit of caution.  But shouldn’t you not point fingers anyway?

I think that if you’re not naming names and dragging your guild(‘s name) through the mud, then you can blog even about negative experiences you have within the guild.  You should be able to blog about whatever it is you want to – whatever you feel like sharing, whatever could help you get things off your chest.  Perhaps you may have to leave out particular details that would be too telling, but you shouldn’t let that stop you.  You want to share your experiences and readers want to share theirs – it’s all about dialogue and relating.  It’s why we blog.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2010 10:53 PM

    For what it’s worth, I did apply to and join a guild recently, and no, I didn’t mention my blog on the app. I’m still deciding whether to mention it at all, but I might, if the opportunity presents. I don’t see why it should be kept secret – I really don’t mind if they read it and I’m not one to write QQ posts (at least not at the moment), but I’m not planning on actually advertising my blog to guildies.

  2. March 3, 2010 1:12 AM

    Oops, just realised I didn’t elaborate as to why… well, I’m shy. If I said up front that I was a blogger they might think I’m trying to make out that I’m someone important… and in Australia, that’s a big no-no. So I’ll wait and see if anyone makes the connection.

  3. March 3, 2010 2:35 AM

    I thoroughly agree with you. I don’t feel any need to mention a blog to my guild, only to people who I think might find it interesting and fun. Granted, I tend to be a little snarky in my posts and some people in my guild are kind of carebear — they’d probably take things wrong. Also, it is my venting space sometimes and if one of my guildies is pissing me off, I’m likely to write about it.

  4. March 3, 2010 2:35 AM

    I thoroughly agree with you. I don’t feel any need to mention a blog to my guild, only to people who I think might find it interesting and fun. Granted, I tend to be a little snarky in my posts and some people in my guild are kind of carebear — they’d probably take things wrong. Also, it is my venting space sometimes and if one of my guildies is pissing me off, I’m likely to write about it.

  5. March 3, 2010 3:23 AM

    I think that’s as sensible and valid as any other approach I’ve heard other bloggers taking. I don’t personally mention my guild hardly at all, simply because I know for a fact that several guildies (and ex) read it, and the guild is very small, and there’s just no way to be anonymous and not inflammatory in any way. I will say that sometimes I feel I wish I could write a big rollicking rant for someone else to read but not for the internet at large, heh. Pretty interesting that Matticus ferreted out Ophelie’s blog, I had no idea!

  6. March 3, 2010 8:59 AM

    Very much agreed with you… especially the part with the neon sign :) I don’t plan on naming names and talking about guild drama, but regardless, I still won’t advertise my blog. A few friends in the guild know about it, but that’s because they’re friends first and guildies second. And because I write about them (I even asked for permission). I did mention my blog to my previous guild, but they didn’t seem interested… though the previous version of the blog was admittedly kinda meh.And I too wonder what a raid leader/guild master/officer would think of me judging by my blog. I don’t write about theorycrafting and raiding either, because honestly I don’t understand it all and other people can do it much better. They’d see I’m a nice person I hope, but they can find that out simply by chatting to me anyway :P

  7. March 3, 2010 9:10 AM

    And, this is really offtopic, but does your blog hosting platform allow you to put a comment subscription box? I’d like to receive the new replies without having to check the page every hour :P

  8. March 3, 2010 9:46 AM

    In my next-to-last guild application I mentioned my blog, in my last one I did not. The first one was to a casual raid guild and I felt it would give them an idea of who I was and what I enjoyed in game, the last one was to a more serious raid guild and I did not mention it simply because I was afraid they would feel I was too un-serious if they read all my silly posts. They knew anyhow, I saw a link coming in from the website, so I guess I wasn’t writing too much silliness :)Now that I am in the guild, I know I shouldn’t have worried.

  9. March 3, 2010 10:34 AM

    No blog is safe from my stalking abilities!

  10. March 3, 2010 2:09 PM

    I know that I talk about my guild and our problems a lot in my blog. I think that the balance is in saying what you feel, getting it off your chest, but not placing blame and pointing fingers at people who may potentially read it. Heck, it’s a polite thing to do even if they’d never dream of reading it.

  11. March 3, 2010 6:36 PM

    I was frustrated with my guild back in december and I wrote kind of a QQ about my guild and how I had been "cheating" on them by going to other servers. Apparently my guild leader did a google search of our guild’s name and found it. Left a comment, I was incredibly embarrassed, I assumed that nobody from my guild ever read my blog. I felt like you did, Anea, shy and a little exposed having my guildies read my blog. I’m still with the guild, having 2 RL brothers, 3 RL cousins, and several other RL friends makes one likely to stay around. But I don’t mention my guild by name any longer. I wasn’t exactly bad mouthing them, but their playing style had excluded me from raiding with them. Mostly my fault. I still haven’t really spoken to my guild leader about it even though I sent him an email. He never responded.

  12. March 3, 2010 7:31 PM

    I personally opted to inform my guild mates that I was starting a blog and that I was going to use it as a place to talk about whatever occurred to me regarding my WoW-playing situation. I didn’t give a link to anyone who didn’t ask for it and I said if anyone wanted to not be mentioned by name to please let me know and I would respect that.For the most part, I think it’s worked out well. I talk about problems I see as leadership and I’ve made it pretty clear that I write it all out there instead of at the forums specifically because I am blowing off steam in a more neutral location and nothing I write at my site is to be taken as anything more serious than that. I’m sure those of them that read my blog have seen the "OMGWTFBBQ" versions of my rants morph into more thoughtful and weighed posts on the forums and hopefully even have a better idea of how I get from A to B. I guess my whole thought about it is that if you are going to blog and it is going to be about what goes on in your guild, you should at least mention that you’re out there writing. The idea of ending up with someone who didn’t want to see their character name out there for people to read about something silly they did, even if my intention is posting about it was only say ‘Haha, this was funny,’ would frankly be a huge source for potential drama. And I am all about avoiding drama.

  13. March 3, 2010 7:31 PM

    I personally opted to inform my guild mates that I was starting a blog and that I was going to use it as a place to talk about whatever occurred to me regarding my WoW-playing situation. I didn’t give a link to anyone who didn’t ask for it and I said if anyone wanted to not be mentioned by name to please let me know and I would respect that.For the most part, I think it’s worked out well. I talk about problems I see as leadership and I’ve made it pretty clear that I write it all out there instead of at the forums specifically because I am blowing off steam in a more neutral location and nothing I write at my site is to be taken as anything more serious than that. I’m sure those of them that read my blog have seen the "OMGWTFBBQ" versions of my rants morph into more thoughtful and weighed posts on the forums and hopefully even have a better idea of how I get from A to B. I guess my whole thought about it is that if you are going to blog and it is going to be about what goes on in your guild, you should at least mention that you’re out there writing. The idea of ending up with someone who didn’t want to see their character name out there for people to read about something silly they did, even if my intention is posting about it was only say ‘Haha, this was funny,’ would frankly be a huge source for potential drama. And I am all about avoiding drama.

  14. March 3, 2010 7:33 PM

    My guild knows about my blog only because they host it. I tell my guildies about specific posts, like when I’m mentoring up and coming DKs I’ll write a DK leveling post. I try to keep guild drama out of my blog, and mostly use it to disturb and frighten the unwary.

  15. March 3, 2010 7:33 PM

    My guild knows about my blog only because they host it. I tell my guildies about specific posts, like when I’m mentoring up and coming DKs I’ll write a DK leveling post. I try to keep guild drama out of my blog, and mostly use it to disturb and frighten the unwary.

  16. March 4, 2010 1:07 PM

    I still haven’t decided where I stand on this one … I think the problem for me is less what is written but the way it is perceived by OTHERS. I mean, back in day, I wrote a few posts about various problems in the guild, why they bothered me and how they were handled – lots of people essentially interpreted that as me "airing dirty laundry" about the guild – which I don’t either I, or my guild, thought I was doing. I mean, all guilds have problems – in sharing, we learn things. I mean, even Matticus’s recent post on the subject essentially mis-represented the situation as some guild g-kicking somebody for his blog. That makes me feel terrible – especially as it’s possible to trace the story back to me, and work out my guild. Absolution would never in a million years have done something like that – it makes them sound like reactionary fascists – yet they’re now known to the wider community as the guys who g-kicked somebody over a blog. Even though they didn’t.Ouch.

  17. March 21, 2010 6:09 PM

    I’m on the same page. I can’t imagine mentioning my blog in a guild app, not so much because I’m scared of what they’ll think but just because I don’t think it’s relevant. Woot, I have a blog. Will this get me an immediate invite, eh?Matt does bring up an interesting argument, but I do feel he is in the minority. I think GMs who take time to read blogs and gauge the raider’s knowledge are few and far between; call me a cynic but I think most GMs would be "Oh dammit, bet this chick’s gonna QQ every time we wipe."I only give names if it’s in a positive light or the raider in question did something so awesomesauce that I have to contribute it to them. (ie. Something massively funny/crazy, not awful.) Most of my close guildies are great, so I think they wouldn’t mind. The others? Well, I tone down my fiery rants to respect them, but I won’t completely whitewash things.Many guildies know of my blog – my hubby told them – and they occasionally read it. If a few select others find my blog, I expect they’ll moan and groan about some of my not-so-happy-happy posts behind my back but I don’t anticipate a massive revolt from my guild.

  18. June 17, 2010 4:05 AM

    I don’t think I would include my blog URL when applying to a new guild. I think it’s more liberating, as you’re writing, to believe that the people you’re writing about will never read it.

    But my blog has so much raiding information on it. And some of that advice is really the intellectual property of the raiders and raid leader in my guild. I wouldn’t feel right regurgitating some of that stuff (which I think is so useful to the community/readers) without crediting my guild.

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