So my guild of study in World of Warcraft is a semi-casual raiding guild, meaning that we’re pretty hardcore compared to your average WoW guild. The guild is always in on the latest content released for the game, even if we don’t require that our players block out 8-hour time slots for playing.
In order to become part of the guild, players have to fill out an application and e-mail it to the guild’s officers. As an officer, I get a unique look into the decision process (I even get to participate!).
One thing that comes up over and over again is poor spelling and lack of attention to grammar. If someone e-mails us an application and it’s got lots of “I pwn nubz” and “5800 gs dps dk blud spec” in it, it’s almost always an instant rejection. Even a few misspellings can give the other officers pause in accepting the application immediately.
This points to an interesting linguistic difference that Ben Friedline and I have hit on before in our studies of WoW — that is, the difference in “proper grammar” between servers. Since Ben studied a player-versus-player server and I studied a roleplaying server, there were bound to be differences; one that I didn’t expect was a heightened awareness of standard English spelling and grammar on the roleplaying server. This makes a sort of sense since roleplayers tend to spend a lot of time writing stories about their characters and trying for a full immersion in the digital world, and using internet acronyms, emoticons, and such would detract from that. It’s amazing how much the “proper grammar” need has spread to even non-roleplayers who inhabit roleplaying servers. In fact, many older or more mature players gravitate towards RP servers because of the better spelling and (supposed) more mature player behaviors.
It even gets into guild applications, apparently. Even though one’s ability to spell or properly conjugate verbs has nothing to do with one’s ability to do amazing damage or tank a group of enemies, attention to spelling and grammar indicates that the player has invested herself (or himself) in the guild application and is trying to impress us. Using a lot of acronyms and netspeak (note that this does not include jargon — using jargon is a way to demonstrate knowledge) indicates a lack of attention and care, even in a game-related situation like an e-mailed guild application, and seems to show the officers that the applicant just doesn’t care enough about being in the guild to invest the effort into using spellcheck.
I wonder if this process is different on other servers or even in other guilds on my server. Maybe my guild is just special.