Wow, this week just flew by! I didn't realize 'til just now that my last post was last Sunday.
So MMOGC commented on a post Hunters Insight made regarding guild applications. Much of the following is from my comment on GeeCee's post. Hunter flat out doesn't like applications. GeeCee gives them a reserved thumbs-up.
The two guilds in WoW that I have been a part of that were/are arguably progression-oriented raiding guilds did not have an application process other than friends recruiting friends. None of them ever knew my real name, until we became Facebook friends. And that was long after I'd joined. I normally have little use for external guild websites, either, spending much of my non-game leisure time on Twitter, G+, and blogs. The time I have to be on the guild website is usually the same time I have to be actually playing the game itself. The MMO I have been in that required coordination for raids I was interested in joining had a built-in calendar, with raid sign-ups.
On the other hand, I was once in a supposedly casual guild that was insisting that people already in the guild sign up/participate in the external website. They had grown too large too fast to know everyone in the guild. But the way they went about it, threatening to kick people who had not registered on the site in guild-chat--and through /tells--was a huge turn-off. My lovely bride and I almost rage-quit on the spot. The guild itself later imploded and folded into another guild, for various reasons. We did not follow our former guildmates and are still guildless on those toons.
Identifying players and alts in-game is not usually too hard if the leadership uses the in-game guild interface, in my humble opinion. There are usually public notes and officer notes that can be used to identify people, if it is necessary. Plus, any guild doing "srs bsns" probably has a Vent server where people will become known by voice and name, even if that name is an alias. I am almost always Rowan in voice chat, and I knew a guy whom everyone called Joan, because his paladin was Joanofarc and all his alts were variants thereof.
So I guess I'd say guild applications have a place, but too often ask the wrong things or get too personal for something that--from my perspective, at least--is far too casual an activity.