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Goat or cow? It points to a process breakdown.

Poster: Andre Detommaso <andre.detommaso@intelsat.int>


I have never heard so many ways to go around an issue, and so many excuses
offered for a breakdown in the heralding process. Since my Lady is Kofryna
the Goatherd, I have a bit of insight in this. To summarize what really

a) As Kofryna said, the drawing was traced from a goat bumper sticker.
The name says "Kofryna the Goatherd" (and if anyone decides to call
themselves that, you must assume they want a goat on their device. As far
as I know, goatherds did not have devices in period times, so this probably
should be treated as a bit of creative anachronism. Please don't tell me it
could have happened. The great likelyhood is that it didn't.)

b) Our Herald said he clearly noted on the form "this is a goat". It never
said a cow anywhere. So now we have two written clues, one of which is the
note on the form and the other being the submitter's name. Both should be
really good indicators from a common sense perspective.

c) I went to Kinko's and had the form color-copied. The clerk looked at it
and said " that is a really pagan-looking goat!" Therefore, it looked like
a goat to more people than Kofryna and I. Kofryna said that on two
occasions, people who saw the form tried to tell some of the Heralds it was
a goat and not a cow. From these conversations, it appeared some folks had
an idea, and they weren't going to entertain discussions.

d) We submitted the device but it _passed_ out of Kingdom as a cow. We knew
that only because we saw it on the Acorn. It was not returned for redraw or
explanation. It was just passed as that which it wasn't. We have an
anwering machine, and never received a message that there was a question.
Our Herald was never contacted, and he has a machine too. I resent anyone
implying in this case that any of the involved parties had a disconnected
phone line. If it wasn't the implication, then don't make the comment
because it's inappropriate.
I have no evidence on the part of the Kingdom Heralds that an attempt at a
call was made to Kofryna or our Shire Herald. Accept responsibility, and
leave it at that. I'm not that upset that we didn't get called, but I am
upset at people making things up. To make it worse, after seeing it on the
Acorn, our Herald called one of the Kingdom Heralds and explained that the
device had been passed as the wrong one. I don't know which one of the
Kingdom Heralds he talked to. He was told that he was right, and it would
be taken care of. At Coronation we found out that the device had still gone
to Laurel as a cow (perphaps it had already gone by the time our Herald
called? Who knows?)

e) Soon after that, Kofryna talked to Laurel and was told that the device
would be evaluated as a cow, since that is how it was passed out of
Kingdom. She then informed Mistress Jaella not to bother passing it,
because if it did get accepted as a cow it would be withdrawn. It wasn't
worth the effort. The wise decision was made at Laurel to reject it because
it needed to be re-drawn. It was very possible that because at the Kingdom
level the Heralds made the executive decision of changing it to a cow, that
Laurel could have passed it as a cow, and a lot of people would have done a
lot of work for no reason because no one bothered to ask or send it back at
the Kingdom level. 

As it was pointed out, SCA members pay money for Heraldry service, and if a
question comes up, the Kingdom Heralds should ask about it. It's part of
the service for which we are paying.
>From what we can gather, from the day the form was handed in, a question
arose about whether it was a goat or cow. Why didn't anyone return it at
that point? Why send it forward? Why is the myth that artistry is not
important keep surfacing? No one talked to our Shire Herald during this
entire process. Kofryna had to show him what Laurel stated on the issue,
and all this points to a lack of communication at many levels.
Now, everybody can talk about what it looked or didn't look like, but
the only conclusion we gathered from this are:

a) the drawing is the one and only thing people go by, and it must be well
drawn. Mistress Jaelle clearly stated the fact.

b) I am sure all the heralds try very hard individually, and probably deal
with a lot of submissions, but my impression is that there is a definite
tendency not to be "customer oriented"? Our experience is that there is a
lot of bureaucracy, a severe lack of mental elasticity, and it is a painful
process for a lot of submitters because of a lack of communication at all
levels. I am not saying this is a problem of any individual herald in
particular, but it is built-in into the process. In this case something was
almost passed even though it was wrong, despite repeated attempts by
Kofryna and our Herald to make it right. This to me points to a problem
with the entire process.

What is so hard about putting this into the submission form: 
"The drawing must be immediately recognizable and therefore the submitter
should take care in making a clear drawing. A drawing that is not
recognizable will be returned for redraw". 
To make it even more simple, provide a space for a description of drawing,
or a blazon. If it doesn't match what you see, return it. I would not have
a problem with this approach. If you're a herald, I don't think it hurts to
try to put yourself in the position of someone doing a submission, perphaps
for the first time, and think: "What can I do to make this process easy and
clear?" This ongoing discussion has demonstrated that the process is
anything but clear, so now would be a good time to think about making it

Comments, of course, are welcomed.


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