PARTY : RAID : : HOSTESS : RAID LEADER
In other words, "Party is to raid as a hostess is to raid leader".
Not a party as in a group of five people coming together for an instance or even quests. A party analogy to the real world. Perhaps pot luck would do better. Either way, however, my point stands. As a hostess, you plan the event. You send out the invitations, prepare your house and perhaps an itinerary for the meet. You expect people to be there, [in the case of a pot luck] you expect them to bring something.
In that way, a raid leader is like a hostess. A raid leader plans out the expedition, finds the people, arrange a time, expects those who said they could come to come on time, and if not on time, call ahead. In return, everyone else expects the raid leader to be there, have everything figured out, and lead the raid.
But what if that silent contract was broken? As many raiders -- and raid leaders -- know, some raiders can't show up all the time due to family, work, or other business. That is understandable. They notify and sometimes even find a replacement. However, there are also other raiders who simply fail to show. They may have promised up to five minutes before invites to show, but as the raid time comes, there is no sign of them. No word with anyone in or out of the raid, or anyone in game, they're just not there.
Those are the raiders a raid can not afford to keep around. Most raids need someone dependable, most raids need their people that say "yes, I will come" to actually come. The waiting around without any certainty wears on the raid, and the best thing to do is to ask them to kindly step out for someone more reliable.
What if it was the raid leader him -- or her -- self? What if it was they that failed to show? What if they did not send invites and all that they could say to the question of "is there a raid this weekend?" was "don't know" or "too busy right now, ask later"? What if, on the raid night, the raid leader isn't around, hasn't told anyone, hasn't appointed a substitute raid leader in her absence? What then?
It was the situation one of my Naxx10, was to move to Ulduar10 raids found themselves in. She had lead us well for six weeks, then started fading away and leaving the group uncertain. A few weeks later, we were still getting the "I don't know"s and "too busy"s. During this time, I had taken up leadership and made an alts raid for those of the raid members that had wanted to continue and bring alts, and moved it to a different day so that, when she returned, we both could run a raid and keep everyone happy. Sure, it was not as smooth as the mains -- some people had no alts, and, therefore, dropped out, but we did manage to get through it and had fun despite the length.
However, it was this past weekend that we found out the truth. The week before, she had taken her only eighty to an impromptu Naxx, and come the weekend, said eighty was saved and her other character was level seventy-six. That was the week when she said that the vote was "Naxx or nothing" -- we had meant to start Ulduar that week. Naxx it was, and leadership was handed off to me that week, and it took me an hour to find substitutes for the raid leader, her significant other, and two others who wouldn't go if she wouldn't. Last weekend, we asked about Ulduar again, and she said something to the effect of "not this week -- can [Lin] lead it?" She was going to shove raid leadership of a brand new raid instance off to me, with three hours of prep. It was established by the interest the week before that some of the people refuse to go unless she lead the raid, for they were her friends.
One of the raid members sent her a tell in query, and found out that she "had little interest in raiding tens", and, in essence, probably won't come back to us. That was frustrating, for, in our channel she was still acting indecisive with her "I don't know"s and "I'm busy"s.
In relation, I thought it fitting of a hostess. A party can not proceed if the hostess is unavailable. If the planner does not plan, how are people to know when and were to be?
For a raid leader to act quite unlike a raid leader without a good reason, it is unacceptable. They have nine [or, in a twenty-five, twenty-four] people looking to them for guidance, and they signed that silent contract to give said guidance when they decided to put together the raid.
So what is to be done? Do we move on without them? Do we let the raid fall apart?
There was enough interest in our group that I am going to attempt to start Ulduar without her, with both the people from the original raid, as well as friends of those from the group.
My worry is that the raid leader's alt is near eighty. What then? Will she have a sudden renewal of interest in raiding so that her alt can be geared up? Are we then obliged to let her join the raid again and take over leadership, for it was once her raid, or do we have a right to say "no, you ditched us when you say no profit for you, why should we gear your alt up"?
In that, I need advice. What is to be done? Have I taken the right steps by moving on, creating another raid out of the ashes of hers? Can I even let her back into the raids and take leadership again? What happens then when she gets bored/out geared for the content again? We will land up right where we are now...