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.
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.
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?