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

In response to Anarra, Jonathan wrote (excerpted):
>      [...] I'm NOT trying to say that in order to be worth 
>      knowing, you have to have Officially Recognized Awards; I'm saying 
>      that if you don't have Officially Recognized Awards, your CHANCES of 
>      being a Recognized Authority or Talent are much lower.

And later,
>> If the Barony of Clay Feet gave their Order of the Iron Oxide to any 
>> damned fool, and the Shire of Serene Sisters gave their non-official
>> award only to those truely deserving, which do you think people would
>> come to value more?

>      It's already been pretty much shown, IMO, that if nobody knew about 
>      the Shire of Serene Sisters' unofficial award, people would value the 
>      Order of the Iron Oxide more by default.

Jonathan, you are glossing over an important issue here.  There are far
more factors, and more important ones, than whether an award is Officially
Recognized by the Grand Potentate of Poobah, or the Heralds, or the King,
or the Baron, or the Seneschal.

If the Iron Oxide Order is a collection of damned fools, nobody would
value the Order.

In the following I am going to use the phrase "an award" to represent ANY
TYPE OF RECOGNITION.  Calling someone into court to say thank you, putting
a thankyou letter in the Acorn, giving a private token of esteem, giving a
public token of esteem, or anything else.  I do not intend to refer just
to official SCA awards.

--If you give an award too often, or too cheaply, it becomes dross.  You
dilute the accumulated social regard for it. 

--If you give an award too infrequently, people forget about it, which
dilutes the accumulated social regard for it.  You can reduce this effect
by giving it very publically, maximizing the attention on those rare

--If the qualifications for the award are unclear, its impact is reduced.

This is the case with many ill-thought-out SCA awards.  It is also the
case with awards that move out of their social sphere.  To be the
possessor of a Fettered Crane is a fine accomplishment.  But it is not
widely known outside Black Diamond.  When you travel to, say, Colorado,
nobody understands the context of that award.  This is also true for
Kingdom Orders.  What does the Pearl mean, if you live in Ansteorra?  The
social impact of that order is reduced.  In the same way, if I were to
give a gift of respect to someone, they might be very proud of it, but the
social meaning (meaning in their society) would be small if they lived in
a society that did not know who I was, or respect my accomplishments.  If
I were to move to An Tir, I would have no built-up reputation, and any
private gift I was to give would be less meaningful to the recipient than
it would in Atlantia.  I would not be different; the physical gift might
be the same; but it would have a very different impact.

--Praise from the Praiseworthy is the highest accolade.  The value of an
award, gift, or approval is related to the regard in which the recipient
holds the _giver_, as well as the perceived value of the gift.

Let me end this with a story.  Some very long time ago I taught a class at
University on the way I fought Polearm.  I was not yet a knight, I think.
Or if I was, I was a young punk knight.  Duke Gyrth had just written his
treatise on the Fundamentals of Fighting Oldcastle Sword and Shield, and
he sat in on my class.  After the class he came up to me and praised my
class.  Now I respect Gyrth as one of the pre-eminent fighting teachers in
this Kingdom or any, so it meant a lot to me that he said that.

I have been a Fellow of the University of Atlantia for a long time now.
But the medallion means less to me than the praise of the praiseworthy.
To teach at University is a worthy enterprise, but you can become a Fellow
for teaching poor classes as well as good ones.

Dafydd, Companion of the Order of the Nimrod

If too many of you know what the Nimrod is, perhaps I should sign myself: 
Dafydd; husband of Elizabeth, Companion of the Silver Needle. 

The Nimrod and Silver Needle are both Official Kingdom Orders that have
been closed.

By which I mean to imply, Official Orders are not the solution you think
they are.  The situation is much more complex.

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