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Guild Guide: How to Get Involved in a Community and Mean It

Everyone talks about how to be good at running a guild, but how do you go about being a good member of a guild?
This article is over 9 years old and may contain outdated information

Being a good guild member is tricky.  Not as tricky as being an officer, obviously, since you don’t have the charming responsibility of herding the array of cats playing your average multiplayer game.. but you still face an interesting line to walk. 

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You want to be involved, you want to be a known part of the group, you want people to be glad to have you around… and at the same time, you aren’t an officer and don’t want people to treat you like that guy.

You know the guy, the one who enters a room and is totally stunned that no one plays a theme song for him.  That guy.

So how do you get involved without either being totally ignored or totally overbearing?  How do you make it clear that you’re here and want to be a part of this group?  You probably would guess that I’ve got some answers for that in here.  I’m not writing a header like that without offering more stuff, after all.

Talk to the officers

Very few officers will take this as an opportunity to make you pick up laundry, for the record.Let me tell you about the best question I have ever heard as an officer: “How can I get more involved with the guild?”  (Theoretically I’d list “Can I give you a whole bunch of money and rum?” as a better question, but I’ve never been asked that one.)

When someone’s running a group of players in any way, the goal is always to try and get as many people involved as possible while looking like you’re just sort of doing your thing.  If you’re doing it right, people won’t know you did anything at all.  All well and good, but since no one likes to have officers go door-to-door asking for their participation, you sort of have to trick and finagle other players to get involved in the events that everyone expects to be there as a matter of course.

This is why most officers that I’ve met get super excited when someone not only wants to help out and get involved but actively seeks that opportunity out.  It’s a burden off of our shoulders, and it means that we’re doing something right enough that someone noticed and wants to jump in.

Sometimes, yes, the answer is just “eh, keep doing what you’re doing.”  There aren’t always a bunch of projects that require non-officer help.  But the consideration makes the officers aware that you care, and it’s a good step to establishing a positive relationship.

Show up for things

I would rather have every single member in a guild show up for only half of the scheduled events on time than have someone who shows up for everything fifteen minutes late.  This might just be personal preference, but I really dislike when people plan to be at something and always wind up lagging behind; it creates the impression that their time is more important than that of everyone there on time.

No officer expects 100% attendance for everything unless you’re in a competitive eSports group training for a tournament.  I do not expect, say, perfect attendance from people to just faff about in League of Legends for a few hours.  But I do expect that people who are in the group will show up for something, and if they indicate they’ll be there I expect them to do so barring technical issues.

Communicating about what you can and can’t attend is important, as is communicating about what you do or don’t like doing.  A good officer will tailor events to the membership of the group, so your appearance or lack thereof has an impact.  You can be the friendliest person in chat or on forums, you can have great ideas, you can be charming and eloquent, but if you never actually take part in guild-wide events it’s worth precisely nothing.  It seems obvious, but sometimes it isn’t.

Be supportive in word and deed

I've got your back, want it or not!  I'm a helper.In any guild, you want to be playing around people who you generally like to speak with.  I have had guilds in various MMOs wherein I realized, rather abruptly, that I didn’t actually want to speak with any of the other members and didn’t wish to interact with them at all; that’s not a good thing.  So one of the steps to being involved is to be the sort of person that you would want to be in a guild with.

So one of the steps to being involved is to be the sort of person that you would want to be in a guild with.

Part of this is just in chatter.  In games like MMOs with a continual chat channel, it’s nice to have someone there who’s fun to talk with, as well as someone who can offer advice and information.  Not with the end goal of being the smartest person in the room or the respected authority; just to make your fellow players feel as if they can ask questions and receive responses.  That the group is a collection of friends rather than just people who happen to be in the same place at the same time.

You do also have to put your money where your mouth is, though.  If you tell your guild that they can hit you up any time for crafting but never actually follow through, you’re actually doing worse than the person who never offers.  If you promise help, actually provide it.  If you offer tips, at least be reasonably sure of what you’re talking about.  Offer what you can to your fellow members, emphasis on what you actually can.

Know when to be quiet and stay out

The great irony of being involved properly is that the hardest part is knowing when to stay out and shut up.

As an involved member, you want to intervene if there’s an argument between other members.  You want to volunteer your opinion on every guild issue, even one that doesn’t affect you or one that you have no particular stance on.  You want to post a certain number of times in the forums per day to build up your presence there, even when you don’t have much to say.

Paradoxical though it might seem, in those situations the best way to be an involved guild member is to stay out.  Your job is not mediating disagreements, nor should it be; at least in theory, the officers in place who do have that job know what they’re doing.  Volunteering an uninformed opinion can do more damage than just staying quiet.  Posting nonsense makes you more obnoxious, not more valued as a member.

The path to becoming a welcome member of the group isn’t just making noise.  It’s about knowing when to be quiet and not bother anyone, to just go about your deal, when adding another voice to the chorus will cause an argument or dilute good information.  Speak only when your opinion and contribution is new and/or distinctinct.  Don’t just fill the space with noise to let people know that you’re there.

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