In most guilds, somebody is going to feel left out of all the activities. Sometimes it's a raid guild where you can't fit people in, or you leave them out because their gear is lousy or misenchanted and they complain that they can't upgrade their gear because you keep leaving them out. Or you have a casual guild and people want groups but everyone sticks to their own friends and never invites them.
I'm of the persuasion that while the guild should be sympathetic to these plights, it is not the guild's job to babysit people and make sure they get the invites they want. If people feel left out, it is their responsibility to try harder and our responsibility to reward them for their effort.
It's my experience that some people are willing to complain hard but not willing to go to the effort to change their behavior -- either because they're intimidated or don't know where to start or just don't feel like it -- or because they don't know what behavior to change. I put in our guild message yesterday "If you're feeling left out or need help, join the discussion on the forums." Then a fellow officer gave us the concerns of one of his friends, someone who doesn't talk much to anyone, that said he was frustrated at being left out of a raid because of gear but never got invited to heroics to improve that gear. Which is a solid discussion point, but the part that struck me was that he saw the guild message about discussing feeling left out, noted it as evidence that other people felt the same way, but didn't actually go to the post.
He saw the message.
Didn't go to the forums.
Asked his officer friend for suggestions.
And I tore my hair from my skull, because that's what the thread was about -- suggestions on how to get groups and a place for people who have felt left out to let us know.
There's nothing more frustrating for officers (or people who go to the effort to create resources) than people who see the resources, don't use them, and complain about problems that those resources were created for. It's like lovingly tailoring a boss strat on your website just for your guild and then people complaining that the raid leader won't tell them what to do right before the boss. Crazy-making.
So I compiled a list on our Official Guild Info section with the following Officer Party Line (what the officers advise to anyone who feels left out):
The idea is that people can use this as a jumping point to get more integrated into the guild, and it's good advice for anyone who has forums and Vent. The problem is getting people to read it. One member didn't even know that I instance with the same four people every weekend because we're family (siblings, spouses, and in-laws), or that Nevari and I consider my husband's best friend a brother-in-law (she even calls him her "Thellys"-in-law). If that member had read even one of our member threads, she would have known that. But there's nothing an officer can do to force people to learn about their guild -- you can't go over to their house, browse to the forums, and hold them down while they read (well, okay, we can for a few people, but they're not the issue).
Get to know people by
1) participating in the forums
2) talking in gchat
3) whispering people to chat
4) creating your own member thread
5) reading the member threads of others
6) use Vent just to hang out.
Get groups together by
1) asking in guild chat
2) whispering specific members
3) posting in the Instance Runs and Groups forum
4) ask in Vent.
Any tips for getting people to guild forums? We already announce contests, discussions, etc in the guild message of the day. And we poke people to go to the forums a lot. *le sigh*
At a certain point, I figure it's more their problem than mine. People who are willing to talk about the problems they're having and work them out are worth my time. People who aren't . . . aren't. And really, I think that's a decent philosophy for any guild. If members aren't willing to work things out with you or integrate themselves, let them gquit. The guild is a partnership, not a dog on a leash that comes to heel when any member orders it to.
On the other side of things, you really do need to spread the love. When I hit 80 with Dustfire and go heals, I plan on instancing more with a more varied assortment of guildmates. My only complaint until now has been the length of instances -- I hated taking an hour just to do someone a little favor. But now that we can do them in a half hour, I'm willing to make the effort. I'm tough on the people who say they never get invited to things, but it's just because they never try to plan things, just see groups that either have planned or got together on a whim in Vent. But I fully intend to try and meet them halfway, as long as they understand I'm not an instancing machine.
As far as "Nobody instances with me anymore," my guild leader put it best when he suggested that some members dig their own social graves -- if they're needy, greedy, or rude, it's their fault if people don't play with them.
Otherwise, we do need to be open to the members who really do need (and deserve) help -- both by spreading the love and encouraging them to follow the advice we give to everyone.