In a lot of ways, World of Warcraft raiding is an extreme meritocracy. The better a player is, the more highly skilled, the more weight her voice carries. All the guilds I've been in follow this general pattern. The players who are listened to are the ones who can perform the best. For this reason, it's very important that officers in a serious raiding guild be among the top half of the players.
In my experience, this pattern even holds in PuGs. I have never been treated badly in a PuG or LFR. It is really hard to argue with a person decked in high end gear, or topping the meters.
And yet, the high skill players are not always right. I mentioned in the previous post that:
There is a type of person who believes that all failure is caused by people playing badly. That skill is everything in this game. That the only response to any problem, any difficulty, is to tell people to play better, or recruit better people to replace the failures. That you must always take the "best" raiders you have to a raid to ensure success.The people who espouse this view are always really good players. Of the players I've known with this view, the vast majority of them were far better than I am. Indeed, it is highly possible that they are this good because they hold themselves to this standard.
Not all of these players yell or are unpleasant. Many of them are nice and rational. They simply believe that all failure is a failure of personal responsibility.
A lot of the time these players are right. Enforcing standards makes people live up to those standards. Sometimes you'll encounter players who just will not live up to the necessary standards for the level you play at.
But sometimes these players are wrong. All my raiding experience leads me to believe that this style of play, where the only important thing is personal accountability, is brittle. When you get a good group going you can progress exceptionally fast. But sooner or later you lose people just through normal attrition, and have to recruit more and that leads to uneven progress. Or you hit a wall, and relations become acrimonious over who's failure it is.
But the problem is that all these highly skilled players just cannot see that. Suggestions that weigh any other considerations get met with comments that such suggestions are akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. That the only thing that will lead to progress is the individual players stepping up and improving their play. Or under-performing players being replaced by ones who can perform.
And because they are highly skilled, their voice carries a lot of weight. And that is the part that is very hard to combat or argue against.
Edit: Copying this response to Kalon in the comments, because it may make things a little more clear.
Or there's a third option - that you lose people through attrition and instead of accepting recruits that are perhaps subpar you always recruit for the best and do not settle.
But then you don't actually raid. Because you don't always have the numbers to raid.
Part of this--which I left out because I though it was tangential, may have been wrong--is that this style of play is very hostile to maintaining a bench.
If you are always taking your 25 best raiders to new content, then your bench doesn't get to raid. And quality players will not hang around a mid-Aristocracy guild if they only get to raid 1 of 3 days at best. Maybe they'll feel that's okay in a Royalty guild, but not at my level.
And to be honest, that's my main issue with this playstyle. Personal accountability is a secondary priority. The first and greatest priority is maintaining a full raid force, with a deep enough bench that you are always able to raid with a stable group.
Basically, the personal accountability folks felt that because people didn't perform, we didn't progress fast enough in order to attract quality recruits.
I felt that because we couldn't retain people (especially people who were on the bench), we couldn't put together a consistent raid in order to progress consistently.