Ferraro's recent conversation with a random priest reminded me of an exchange I experienced last night with a death knight. I was forming a pick-up group for Obsidian Sanctum 10-man, starting with 5 people (myself and 4 guildmates), and needing 2 healers, 2 tanks, and a ranged DPS (since the DPS I all ready had were 2 melee and a ranged - I was hoping to leave Tenebron up, I needed some AoE). In response to my trade chat spam of "LFM OS-10 need tanks and heals," this death knight whispers me...
DK: need DPS?
Josh: ranged only
DK: but i do over 2k dps!
Josh: I don't care how much DPS you do.
DK: why are you such an asshat @_@? (that's a direct quote)
Josh: because your DPS number means nothing without context
DK: how am I supposed to tell you my DPS?
Josh: you don't
Josh: what buffs did you have? what boss were you fighting? without context, your DPS value is meaningless.
DK: so what's the correct way?
Josh: just don't disclose a number
DK: ur like that cat in alice in wonderland
What's the point in all this? When attempting to entice someone to invite you to their group, telling them how much DPS you did once is not very useful. For example, if I ran a DPS meter when I fought Thaddius, I might see that I did 6,000 DPS. Should I go around telling people that I can do 6k when trying to join a PUG for Malygos? Absolutely not! The fights are very, very different, and the Thaddius fight inflates numbers greatly because of the polarity buffs.
Linking a WWS report is informative. Then the recipient can look at the entire situation - what boss was killed, how long the fight took, what buffs you had, and so forth. Without this context, your DPS number becomes a mutant statistic, a number who's relevence has been warped and lost. Interested to know more about when a number crosses the line from useful to impractical? Read Dr. Joel Best's Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activitists. Without correct context, any number can melt into absurdity, as Dr. Best notes.
So what should you do when trying to snag a PUG invite as a ret paladin? Well, simply saying "I'll go" in response to trade chat spam will usually suffice. If the raid leader presses you for details, dish out your relevent ratings - unbuffed attack power, hit, crit, expertise, haste, & armor penetration. If he or she still wavers, then you can fall back on a statistic, but carefully. Use Patchwerk, as he's a standard DPS check, and be sure to include detail on the size of the raid, what relevent outside buffs you received, and how long the fight took. For example, I did about 3,300 DPS on a 4 minute Patchwerk-10 kill with Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Gift of the Wild, and Horn of Winter, and Sunder Armor on Patchwerk. Yea it's cumbersome, but at least it's useful.
That said, I'd just stay away from telling people how much DPS you do. If a raid leader presses you for a number and doesn't care about the details of how that number was formed, he doesn't know what he's asking for, and you might not want to be in his raid anyway.
EDIT: More evidence of my untapped blogger ESP abilities - BRK just posted this about how asking for a hunter's stats before a group invite is folly.