Casual Guilds Are Not Easy! is a weekly series on Destructive Reach which is devoted to the running of those oh-so-mysterious creatures, the ultra casual World of Warcraft guild. This series covers many of the problems which arise in the day to day running of a casual guild, possible solutions to these, and the implications of these solutions.
Writing Your Guild Charter
A Guild Charter is essentially a statement of the purpose and goals of your guild. Charters differ in length from guild to guild, ranging between one sentence and many pages long. Every guild has a different understanding of what belongs in their charter, but there are three basics which every guild should cover.
1. Purpose of Guild
Essentially, this boils down to the reason why you created the guild in the first place. As a casual guild this can be difficult to define. Do you intend to help people level? Are you just looking to create a fun and friendly environment for casual players? This statement does not have to be long or detailed, but should be clear.
It also helps to describe your membership within the purpose of the guild for interested applicants. If your guild members mainly live in one time zone, or only do certain activities, it can be helpful for people to know this before they apply. You don’t want people joining then discovering there is no one on when they want to play!
2. Goals of Guild
This can tie in with the purpose of your guild as a casual guild. As a comparison, raiding guilds will usually state what level of raiding they are aiming to complete, sometimes with a date attached, and what achievements they have so far. Casual guilds are much less likely to have strict goals set, and sometimes your goal is the same as your purpose – just to have fun.
3. Code of Conduct
This is an essential part of a guild charter. I don’t care whether your guild is made up of ten people or 300, you need to have a basic outline of what standards of behaviour you want people to uphold. When you write this you need to consider the interactions within the guild, and the interactions people will have with non-guildies. Regardless of a person’s guild rank, while they are under your guild tag they are representing your guild and guild mates. ‘Oh, but that person is a new member’ isn’t going to make up for the impact of their actions, or stop people talking about it.
A casual guild’s CoC would mainly be expected to cover behaviour and interaction. I can safely assume that a casual guild would not have any mandated attendance requirements (since that goes against the very definition of casual!) or requirements for gear/consumables/enchants. A CoC will establish expected behaviours, and discipline measures for players who do not meet these standards. A good CoC does the following:
- Protects your members: whether this be from unwanted harassment, language or inappropriate remarks, or more significant issues.
- Ensures the reputation of your guild is maintained and enhanced
- Ensures that all procedures within the guild are fair
- Encourages players to show initiative in organising various events within the guild.
A CoC can also branch off to cover the roles of various officers within the guild, as well as ranks for members. Quite often this is a part of a guild’s discipline policy within the CoC, where a member will be demoted to an unprivileged rank after a transgression of the CoC.
I am not going to give specifics of standards of conduct and discipline measures, because every guild is different, which means they will have different ideas for these.
Implementation of a Guild Charter
Implementation of a Guild Charter is a very simple process. You need to adhere to the rules and standards established within the charter, and ensure that other players do as well. Of course, a guild charter may need to be changed at some point, but it should not be changed without extensive consultation, at the very least with your officers, and perhaps with other guild members as well. If consultation is not done it leaves you open to accusations of double standards.
Have a little bit of fun with your charter! While it does need to set all the afore mentioned things out, it also needs to reflect the personality of your guild. Don’t be afraid to use some humour, and try not to make it read like a full on legal document! The language should be simple, free of jargon wherever possible, and points should be concise.
A Guild Charter is (to use an incredibly lame comparison) like the foundation of a house. It isn’t a visible aspect of the house (especially to people outside of it), but it keeps the house level and everything together. Sure, you can dress it all up later with some paint and fancy windows, but if your foundation is crap, things will fall apart pretty quickly! /end bad simile.
As usual, here is the next part in Casual WoW’s series: “What Do I Need?” Enjoy!