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Re: Golden Dolphin and Pearl

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

Dafydd again...

I wrote:

> >>Try to construct an example of a hypothetical person who has served his
> >>shire well and long.  If this person does not travel, autocrat large
> >>events, or take any Kingdom offices, why should this person get a Dolphin?

To which Anarra respondeth:
> Perhaps because such service to a local group, keeping the local group
> active and viable, is a direct service to the Kingdom.  Without strong, 
> vibrant local groups, there wouldn't *be* a kingdom worth beans.

Every local group is in the Kingdom, so yes, you can say that service to
the local group is service to the Kingdom.  And it is.  But every local
group is in the SCA, so it is also service to the SCA.  Does that mean
that a person such as hypothesized (served locally long, but little
travel, no Kingdom offices or autocratting larger events) deserves a

This is an issue of standards.  Local service is important.  But it is not
as important as broader-based service, like running large events, taking
Kingdom offices, and having an impact throughout the Kingdom by travel.
Local service is useful and laudable.  But again I ask, why a Golden
Dolphin?  That is not the only way to recognize and encourage service.

> That was the gist of my original question.  Personally, I believe that
> service that benefits a local group deserves Kingdom recognition.

All good service deserves recognition.  But we don't give Pelicans for
being troll at local events in a shire for 12 years.

>  So why 
> bother to recommend someone for a Golden Dolphin if all they do is sweat 
> their tails off to make the local group a great place to be in the SCA?

That seems a little inflammatory.  Are you complaining about the existence
of standards (however nebulous) for entry into the Golden Dolphins?  No
matter at what level the standards are, someone will find it objectionable
that person X is not given entry.

> Not everyone can travel often.  Not everyone has the skill to autocrat 
> large events.  Not everyone has the time to be a Kingdom officer.  But 
> lots of people who can't do those things do great service within local
> groups.

Ah!  This has pushed a button, and I am going to download from my brain
the prepared speech for this button.  This is the "Fair versus Equal"
speech, for those who have heard it before.

Good service is ... good service.  But it is hard enough to evaluate what
service a person _actually_ gives; it is totally beyond reason to evaluate
what service a person gives relative to their mundane restrictions.  How
shall we tell a person who does not have the time to be a Kingdom Officer
from one who has the time, but does not choose to use it in that way?  We
cannot, of course.

There is a common misconception about the award system.  We try to make it
fair.  But not equal.

Fair means that we try to have a standard of service, or arts, or
fighting, and we want that standard to apply to everyone who is offered
membership in the orders.

Equal it ain't.  This is most clear in fighting -- shall we knight someone
for putting in more work than I did, more study of fighting, more effort,
more pain?  There are many who have done more than I and are not knights. 
Why?  Because I am 6'2" tall, male, healthy, and have no joints.  Someone
who is 5'4", female, with tendonitis in her right shoulder might put in
twice as much work and not be fighting at knight level.

Similarly, the Laurel is not equal for all.  Some people are more
artistic.  Some people have more money, or better access to libraries.
These people are more likely to get Laurels, because they are more likely
to produce Laurel-level arts work.  We don't evaluate how far they are
from a library, or whether they work retail, or how "artistic" they were
born.  We just try to evaluate if they are producting Laurel-level work.

Same for service.  If you work retail and evenings and weekends, you will
not be able to give as much service as someone who has weekends off and
can run events.  That's too bad, but we don't try to factor that in.  You
don't get a Pelican for giving "60% of your free time to the SCA", you get
it for giving some nebulous standard of service and dedication to your
Kingdom and the SCA as a whole.  We try to evaluate service alone.  Not to
second-guess how much time you spent out of how much time you could have

> Not everyone can travel often.  Not everyone has the skill to autocrat 
> large events.  Not everyone has the time to be a Kingdom officer.  But 
> lots of people who can't do those things do great service within local

Golden Dolphin and Pelican are given to those who serve greatly (at
various levels) the Kingdom and SCA.  People who can't travel, people who
hold down two jobs, people who don't have the force of personality to run
large events, people who don't have the time or skill to be Kingdom
officers; these people will likely never get Gold Dolphins or Pelicans.

Why?  Because we attempt to reward fairly.  We do not total up "Work Done"
and divide by "Free Time", after factoring in "Income", "Shyness", "Force
of Personality", and other variables.  We just try to measure "Work Done". 
And the impact of work done across the Kingdom by travel, or for large
event autocrating, or by holding a Kingdom Office well, is greater than
local service alone. 


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