Many believe that a guild should only have a small number of officers. People that are close and will do what is best for the guild as a whole. On general principles this is very true, but taken too far, this can lead to problems within the guild. If a guild has only officers that are close, they can lose sight of what the members as a whole want or need. An easy method of fixing this is to have what I like to call sub-officers. People that are not full officers, but still have a say in what happens to the guild as a whole. These people should be chosen from the most trustworthy raiders, or even just general members that log in a great deal of time with the guild and it's members. These players can be what many guilds chose, Class/Role Leaders. A Class leader will be the person that other players of the same class turn to for help, with questions for the GM or problems they have with the guild or specific members. A Role Leader will be someone that is more knowledgeable, or willing to learn about the aspects of all classes that can fill the role s/he is responsible for. As with Class Leaders, a Role Leader will help, answer questions or forward them to the GM, and help with intra-guild problems. These players, often times raiders are much more involved with the day to day problems and moods of other guild members, and thus can greatly help a GM with solving problems.
In many cases, an officer is chosen for his/her seniority with the guild. This practice can lead to guild drama, lose of members, and worse. Now, many times, a member has his/her seniority because s/he is an exceptional contributor, enjoys playing with the guild, or is just an all around good person. It can't be said however, that all senior members are the best choice. If a member of the guild goes above and beyond what s/he is required, helps others without hesitating, and does his/her job well, you would think s/he would be given a position that could help other guild members. However, what if this member had only been in the guild for a short time, or just came back from extended leave? In most cases, this person won't even be considered for promotion until a very later date.
The moral of this story is this: A guild must chose officers by performance, attitude, and contribution over anything else or the guild will suffer. A guild must stay in touch with what the guild as a whole needs or it will suffer. More importantly, a guild must remember that they play a game with real people. A Game, that other people invest time in to have fun, a guild has no right to force this game to be a chore, and guilds that do are not worth the time or effort people put into them.
-This wall o' text brought to you by: Advocates for non-asshat guilds-Fuck with us and we'll cut you!!
(This is in no way reflective of my guild right now. This was a pre-write that I did about two months ago)