This Guild Has Been Rated NC-17!   6 comments

A little while back Graylo wrote a post touching on a subject that intrigued me quite a bit and I think presents some interesting questions.  I’ve just now put my thoughts together to submit my two cents on the topic, and I am also curious to see how my readerbase thinks through the issues that Graylo raises as compared to how Graylo’s readers responded to his thoughts.

The issue is as follows: Is it appropriate to deny membership into a guild based on age or gender?

CAVEAT:  What you have below are my opinions they are not gospel, they are not “right” or “wrong” they are opinions.  I fully expect there to be people that do not agree with them, and I am 100% OK with that!  I do, however, request that you are respectful in your dissent.  ~Beru

Every guild sets different standards on what they look for in recruitment.  Some of those standards are gear, some of them are schedule, and yes, some of them are age or gender.  I believe that every standard that a guild sets is probably put in place for a reason…but that doesn’t mean that we have to agree with it.  Specifically I am looking at denying membership into a guild based on age or gender.  Let’s break these thoughts down by separating into them two separate chains for each: Age and Gender.

Age

Do I think that it is wrong to deny someone membership into your guild because of their age?  Short Answer:  No. 

Does this mean that I think younger players are less skilled or worse at the game?  No.  In many cases, I think that younger players have the potential to bring more skill than some older players.

So…what’s up Beru?  Why the hate on the kids?!?!  Don’t forget you were young once too!

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am not completely against inviting younger members into a guild, I just think that it presents challenges that need to be thought out before you invite them to avoid potential problems.  I am aware that there are 16 year olds out there that can exhibit more maturity than many adults, but I do find this to be more the exception than the rule.  I think that it is perfectly acceptable for a guild to place an age restriction on their membership.

I cannot speak for other guilds, and their reasons for not wanting members younger than 18.  However, I do know that for our guild, as much as it may suck, there are definately obstacles that younger members must overcome to gain membership that are not present for older members, and a number of things that we take into consideration before inviting a member that is sub 18 years of age.  We have never recruited anyone under the age of 16 since I have been part of the guild, and you can count the number of members aged between 16 and 18 we have had in the guild over the past three years on one hand.

  • We are bi-coastal.  Our raids don’t start until 8:30 est and run until Midnight.  For adults (18+), this does not pose a problem.  They make the decision to run with our raid times.  This becomes much more complicated when it comes to inviting a member that is not 100% in control of their own decisions, such as “bed time”.  We don’t over-recruit, so we do need our members to be able to raid during our raid times.  Getting a tell in the middle of the raid that “My parents say that I need to go to bed now”, just isn’t conducive to how we run our raids.
  • The median age of the members of our guild is in the late 20′s.  No matter how mature a younger member is, there are just different life experiences that will seperate them out from everyone else.  While I’m not saying that a younger player won’t fit in, there will definitely be some differences that will be noticeable.  The younger player’s maturity will determine how well they accept these differences.  I have seen this go both ways.
  • Conversations in guild chat and vent at times become very adult oriented.  Not everything that is said in vent, or guild chat for that matter, may be appropriate for someone that is quite young.  If I were a parent I certainly wouldn’t want my 15 year old taking part in some of the conversations we have.  However, we are not going to change our guild, nor are we going to ask 98% of our guild to speak any differently than they do now.  I suspect some people might disagree with this, but we market ourselves as a group of adults.  We don’t want to put the onus of “watch what you are saying, player x is online/in vent” on our vastly mature membership.
    • As a commenter to Graylo’s post pointed out, in this day and age there are A LOT of things, including legal ramifications, that people shouldworry about when communicating online with a minor.
  • Teenagers often have different thought proccesses than adults do.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this thread. When correcting a problem, or trying to head off a problem, my experience has been that often times our minds just don’t calculate the data in the same fashion.  What may seem simple common sense to me is something completely different to Mr. 16 year old.  This makes it very hard to be on the same page, which in turn, in my experience, means that  it often takes a lot more effort and patience to work with a younger member than it does with our older members.
  • Extra-curriculars.  “I can’t raid for the next 4 months because it’s LaCross season”.  By all means, I think that these types of activities are very important for our youth today and that they should take part in them!!!  However, that doesn’t mean that I want to recruit someone that has to take off 4 months from raiding.  It just doesn’t fit well with us and our recruiting and retention goals.

I know, I know…it looks like I am completely and totally anti-young people as far as our guild is concerned.  This isn’t entirely true, though!  As a matter of fact, we did just recruit a member that is 16.  However, before we tagged him we raided with him to see how he responded to us as a guild, and we had a very long chat with him.  This included letting him know that he would be the youngest member of our guild, and if he felt that it was something he could deal with, along with a little spiel that said while we know his age, we don’t want to “see” his age.

So, while we aren’t an NC-17 guild, we certainly do criticize the applications of our younger players more than others.  I do not think this makes us a worse guild, quite the contrary, I think these standards make us a better guild.  I also can understand, and support, other guilds having an NC-17 type policy.  While I am sure I will see some “don’t generalize us” type of comments, I honestly feel that there are some huge differences that come from being a decade or more apart.

Gender

Do I think that it is wrong to deny someone membership based solely on their gender?  Yes…and No.

Damn!  I was 100% behind a straight “Yes” answer to that question until I remembered a friend who is in an all female guild with one of her characters.  How could I honestly answer that question “yes” and then say “but only if it’s men exluding women”!

Unfortunately, my own opinions on this are not as clear cut as my opinions on the age issue.  Some of the best players that I have played with have in fact been women.  On the same token, some of the worst players that I’ve played with have also been women!  So, let’s just take “skill” as a measurement off the table right away.  I would like everyone to concede that males and females have the ability to be equally skilled.  Ok, good, now that we are done with that…

When is it OK to exclude a person membership based on gender?  While my gut says “NEVER!!!”, my brain puts the kibash on that and says now wait a minute here chiquita…

If a guild’s mission and goals are to be a guild consisting of the same gender players to offer a unique gaming experience, then (and maybe I’m going out on a limb here), I think that it would be OK to exclude membership based on gender.  This swings both ways…and really, the cincher on this for me is that all-female guild.  I am 100% behind a group of girlfriends that just want to play together without inserting any testosterone into their environment.  Hell!  I wish I could have a group of online girlfriends to talk about the latest Prada with while slaughtering bad guys!!!  How can I be 100% behind this without not being 100% behind a guild that is all male?  I  can’t.  At least I can’t without being a huge hypocrite about the whole thing.

Would I ever join a guild like this?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t mean that it is “wrong” to run a guild like this.  Well, I guess that depends.  Are they excluding based on gender because “omg, girls have cooties!” or “lawl, girls can’t play video games!”, or are they excluding because they are trying to build a very specific environment in which they would like to play? 

I can definitely support wanting to create a specific environment, such as all men or all women if it’s for the right reasons, I mean we have those all over currently in real life.  Take Girl/Boy Scouts as an example.  Or Fraternities/Sororities.  Hell, even Masons/Garden Clubs.  Each of these organizations is trying to provide a certain environment for its members, and is gender exclusive.  If we can accept these in life, I see no reason not to accept the same philosophies in a guild.

What do you guys think?  Is it wrong to exlude membership based on either Age or Gender?

6 responses to “This Guild Has Been Rated NC-17!

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  1. We have two minors in our guild. Both of there father’s raid with us. I don’t know if we would have excluded them based on age only if their dad’s didn’t play too, but it is nice to know one of their parental units knows EXACTLY whats going on. One of the minors is young enough that we keep vent a little cleaner when he is on, not because anyone has asked, but because he has asked for explanations on sexual comments he doesn’t understand. But yeah – minors are minors, they can’t call their own shots. So unless you have an aokay from a parent that they know EXACTLY what their kid is getting into I think it is FINE to exclude them.

    As for gender only… we have a lokiwomen and a lokidudes channel for exactly that. I’ve got an alt in an all female guild. But a RAIDING guild that excludes completely… I don’t know… I don’t see the point in that. What would be next, ethnic minority only guilds?

  2. Age: Our guild has a 18+ age requirement for all applicants. This isn’t so much about “omg you aren’t mature enough” (because there are certainly people under 18 who are mature, and on the flip side, people over 18 who AREN’T mature), but more to reduce “mom-aggro” – like you said, it’s not good to say halfway through a raid “my mom says I need to get offline, finish my homework and go to bed.”

    In terms of gender… I think it’s all about WHY you choose to exclude the opposite gender. If you exclude women because their gender can’t play well – well, yeah, that’s bad. If you exclude women because you wanna bro out with your homeboys, well, I think that’s ok.

  3. @Aertimus – yea, I have the same sort of feelings about the whole gender issue. I’m not sure why anyone would want to create a gender specific raiding guild, and I would imagine that it would be very difficult. I never even thought about ethinic minority only guilds, honestly. But you are right, it isn’t a far reach from gender only guilds.

    Those channels you have in LOKI are a GREAT idea! We have a monosports channel so that we don’t have to listen to “TOUCHDOWN” constantly…although I don’t think anyone really uses it =)

    @Averna – I agree, under 18 members can cause a lot of scheduling conflicts! Those moms are so mean! OMG YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE!!! (I joke!).

    I am also not sure why people would want to exclude on gender in a general raiding guild. I think it is only OK to do that if you are trying to create a bachelor party/hens club type environment…I’m just not sure that you could do that and build the best raiding guild. You’d be missing out on SO many skilled players! So, I guess maybe I’m more OK with it on a pure social level?

    • 2/3 of the Vortex officership is female :) roughly 40% of the guild is female, and we have a question on our app made specifically to see whether or not the applicant would get along okay in a guild that has a heavy dose of estrogen.

      As for age, I believe maturity is not dependent on age. There are some pretty immature adults out there, and some very mature “kids.” As long as the personality fit is there and they can meet our raid schedule, I’ve never seen any reason to deny someone just because they’re “underage.” We do give warning though that guild chat can tend towards adult themes/jokes, and we don’t cut our cursing when we feel a curse is appropriate!

      We also see a lot of our adults having to switch up their raid times because of volleyball, kickball, martial arts, etc. We like to encourage our raiders to get exercise, and a late-night raid schedule allows most of us to get our after-work activities done before the raids start :)

  4. I’m a girl, but when I first started WoW everyone always automatically presumed I was a bloke and I took pleasure in stating “no SHE is the healer, actually” or something of that ilk when in a PuG.
    I’ve been in two female led guilds and one male led guild. After having one negative female experience and one positive, I think that age is the big factor.
    The badly led guild was led by a girl of just 19 – who was a fine player and I’m sure a lovely woman, but she didn’t have the maturity to lead a guild. The well led guild was led by a woman in her 30s, who had the real life experiences of management and leadership that made her guild fabulously well run.
    The male led guild is where I was before and have returned to, and is very well led, so I couldn’t really comment on that.
    I do think gender therefore doesn’t make that much difference and shouldn’t be used as a deciding factor on recruitment, because the maturity of a person is more important than their sex.
    However I can understand that there might be a desire for a female only or male only guild like the ones you talked about in your post.
    I think recruitment on the basis of age is fine. I again have been in both an over 18s and an any-age guild, and enjoyed the freedom that came with the over 18s, the fact if I accidentally swore on vent it wasn’t a big deal, and the fact that the guild chat and conversation was occasionally flirtatious (for want of a better word) was amusing and funny, that freedom was nice.
    Great post, as usual by the way :)
    Sofx

  5. Seem to be creeping through your back posts, but they are interesting and I have work I should be doing so it’s a lethal combination.

    I don’t have much experience of guild politics myself, but i hear things, oh I hear things. Age-bias is probably more defensible than gender-bias in that, as you say, it’s maturity one recruits for, not actual number of years lived per se, and the only sensible way of doing that is to impose an age restriction.

    Gender-restriction, however, is horribly complex. It’s weird because I think one naturally interprets “female-only” spaces as a perfectly understandable need to get away from men being idiots whereas “male-only” seems hostile to women, and more than borderline offensive. I suppose one cannot escape centuries of exclusion and restriction, even in virtual spaces.

    I understand from my reading around that the main reason there are male-only guilds is not because girls have the lurgy or cannot play games (lol) but because the male of species simply can’t be trusted to behave in a sensible fashion while operating in close proximity to members of the opposite sex, and this is bad for raiding (and sanity).

    Ultimately, this is a horrible horrible twilight zone of doom. I often find myself deploring the way men treat women on the internet (and, for that matter, the rest of the time), and sometimes I find myself deploring the way women treat men.

    I was talking about this with m’pocket tank not so long ago and found myself coming perilously close to advocating “don’t ask don’t tell” which is kind of the opposite to a solution.

    We should all just be trees and solve the problem.

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