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Re: Jobs and Cookies and Facts and Perceptions

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

Greetings again from Dafydd;

Aurora writes:

> The Orders must realize that all of our [...]
> information about the Orders comes from the members of the Orders -- 
> their words and works. Perception is the general interpretation of these words 
> and works. [....] Facts won't even be accepted and internalized and may be 
> questioned or rejected if they vary too far from the existing general 
> perception. [....]

All that I can do, all that any Peer can do, is to speak up when
someone says something about the peerage that we think is inaccurate.

> It's part of the responsibilities of a Peer to distribute facts about the 
> Peerage, but outside of a forum such as this, I suspect that most of this 
> distribution is casual and not in the presence of a multitude of non-Peers. 

Well, yes and no.  About two or three years ago Duchess Ysabeau hosted a
forum on peerage at University that was VERY well attended (more than 60
people) and discussed many of these issues.  Duke Gyrth was also on the
panel; I'm not sure who the third person was (Tanis, perhaps?  I'm guessing.
Anybody else who took the class remember?).  In fact, there is a concerted
effort by someone or other every couple of years on this issue.  But we
are bailing a boat with holes here, in a sense-- 2.5 years is an SCA
generation.  Every generation we have a whole new set of people, all
not knowing how the Peers think, and generating their own theories to
explain the behaviour they observe.  So even if we could ever reach
everyone in the Kingdom, we'd still have to do it again in a couple
of years.

Regarding Duchess Ysabeau's class again, I will attempt to write some 
thoughts up on the subject of "Factors In Consideration Of Peerage 
Candidates" and publish it on this forum.

> [....] When a forum like the Merry Rose opens 
> the door to discourse, it's good to start airing out facts.

I agree completely.

> But, it's important 
> to try to tie the facts to the general perception in order for them to be 
> accepted. 

I can't do that.  All I can do is call 'em as I see 'em; I don't know what
the 'general perception' is.  And the 'general perception' in Roxbury is
likely to be very different from the 'general perception' in Sacred Stone,
and Black Diamond is likely to have a totally different idea, and so on.
So if you ask me "is X true" I will tell you my opinion; it is impossible
for me to know what all the general perceptions are at the same time.
All I can do is react as I see misinformation.
> I believe totally all that you say, but because it varies so far from what I 
> believe that I have seen, I must wonder if there are additional bits of 
> information or qualifying statements that I should hear.

While I'm not sure exactly what you mean, let me give you the following
caveat: whenever I tell you something is true, it is possible that other
peers would disagree.  They would be wrong, of course, but they might
disagree :^) :^)  The peers are not a monolithic voting bloc; we have
lots of disagreements.

However, when I tell you something in public like this, it is likely
that some peer would come forward and tell me "Yo, Taffy, you are from
Mars" if they strongly disagreed.

So what I mean is this: there is no absolute Truth.  I can tell you _my_ 
Truth.  It is more likely to be accurate than yours, because I have more 
information (having been to a number of peerage meetings), but you'll
have to make up your own mind.  I'm just telling you what I think is

> Had I not had a very real belief that Earl 
> Dafydd is truthful and non-devious,

[muffled sound as I restrain myself from saying something that might
weaken further arguments on my part :^) ]

> Should the Orders choose to address this issue, it's important to make sure 
> that they are addressing what the populace sees as the problem.

It is very hard to identify all the different opinions that the populace
has.  There are 120+ active peers, with that many opinions.  How can
we, the 120, identify all the 1500+ opinions that the populace has?
Some of us can't even count that high.  I keep track of my own opinions,
and try to correct misconceptions that I come across; that is all any
of us can do.

> these other guys get equal attention and opportunity. I know, "Every Knight is 
> tasked with watching for potential future Knights" or some such. That isn't a 
> good answer for me. If everybody is responsible for something, it usually ends 
> up being done by nobody.

Not true, in this case.  I make my own opinions about candidates; most of
the active peers do, I think.  Certainly they try to.  When I respond to
more than 1/4 of the candidates on a Peerage Polling Letter with "Abstain"
I start feeling guilty about how active I'm being, although as the Kingdom
continues growing larger this is harder to do.  For Kingdom Orders I find
myself abstaining on perhaps 1/3 or (more rarely) 1/2 the responses.

> Assign a Knight from each region, perhaps those who no 
> longer take new Squires, to watch carefully those unsquired fighters who show 
> promise and carry the stories of their progress to the others. It's the 
> noticing and the telling that's important.

Won't work.  The Knights who no longer take new squires are often
the inactive ones, who no longer make it to Chivalry meetings, don't fight
much any more, and so on.

And also, Bureaucracy Is Not The Answer.  In this case, decentralized
observers are likely to work much better than some official observers.

More later,

Prolix Dafydd
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