Back when Blizzard announced that new raid instances would be 10-man and 25-man, many feared that it would cause guilds to be divided. Because only a part of the guild could raid at the same time, subgroups within the guild would form. Now, Tobold is struggling with that exact problem.
My current guild had the same problem at first. The first ones to complete the attunements formed the first core raiding group, and if you weren't part of that core group.. well.. good luck getting a raid invite when you weren't even told of an upcoming raid.
However, this is not a new problem. Whenever there were significantly more potential raiders than raid slots, strifes like these have been there. The only difference is that it's much easier to encounter this problem with the reduced raid group size. Raid alliances and super guilds have struggled with this back when Molten Core was the only raid content around.
The only solution that I see is to build a fair way to handle raid signups and invites. Even the core raid group members have to step aside to let others in. This is not a problem when the raid content in question is in farm status, so less-than-optimal contribution from a single raider doesn't cause a wipe. However, because the reduced size of raids, the role of a single raider is amplified, and the margin of error is much, much smaller.
Gear-wise, suboptimal contribution is less of a problem than before because the raid attunements are chained. People can't enter a high-end instance in greens anymore. To get to Karazhan, you must have completed the most difficult non-heroic dungeons. While doing it, you probably got yourself some adequate gear. To get to Serpentshrine cavern, you had to clear Gruul's Lair and Karazhan. And so on. Completing the attunements forces you to get gear for the next step. By the time you step into Mount Hyjal, you have completed all other dungeons. Tactics progression follows the same path. If you don't learn, your group will most likely wipe.
So, the gear and the tactics are not really the problem. Getting the raid invite is the major one. One interesting way (that Death & Taxes uses, presumably) is that you get the normal amount of DKP even when you are not accepted to the raid itself, as long as you are prepared (no pun intended) and stay available for the duration of the raid. There are several advantages to this approach.
- Not getting an invite is not a big deal.
When you do get an invite, you have more stored DKP than the others (who have spent their DKP on drops), so you can catch up on gear quickly.
- Because the raid leader requires you to stay available for the duration of the raid, the system encourages you to pay attention.
Listening to text and voice chat isn't always as effective as doing it yourself, but it's a whole lot better than not doing anything.
- Because the benchwarmers can quickly catch up to raiders, the raid leader has an easier time replacing raiders.
This applies even to progress raids. Because you can keep up with gear and tactics, the raid leader doesn't compromise the group too much by inviting you. Having a pool of suitable replacements allows the raid to go on longer than it could otherwise.