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How to deal with Misinformation... (was Sumptuary Laws)


I feel a great need to answer to the following.  I mean for the note that follows to act as a start to a new thread, not as a full answer to the question posed, which was:

Robert J Welenc wrote:

Next question:  what can we do about this misinformation?  Nobody,
expecially a newbie, should be hassled because of the color of their
clothes!  It only takes one or two such rude episodes for some people
to decide that they don't want to play with us.
We have lost many newcomers, I'm certain, to the issue you've brought up, Alanna.  It is a sad thing when you bring someone to an SCA function (whether it's an event or a practice of some sort), and they get totally turned off by someone being discourteous.  I've brought friends that are convinced that I spend my time with a bunch of weirdoes because of how they were treated when I wasn't looking.  The Vampires, and Elves, and Wizards, and <fill in the blanks> that come around and play at our game usually either get a grasp of what we're really doing, or eventually leave.  The damage they can cause is usually irreversible.  But that's a different thread.  I want to focus on the misinformed, and the misinformers...

It is regrettable that new people that come to our events are sometimes told things that are not only incorrect, but rude.  One thing to do about it is to correct the person who told them the wrong or rude thing (politely, in private, away from others).  Find out from whom they got the misinformation and, if possible, correct that gentle in similar manner.

The conversation should be polite, not accusatory.  It can be done as a conversation of opinion in some cases, with proof of your "point of view" backed up by Corpora, Kingdom Laws, and Traditions.

Now, if someone has decided for themselves that (as an example only) purple should only be worn only by royalty, and that they won't wear that color until they are royalty, that is their own decision, and should not be pressed on new folks.  I have rules for myself that I talk about with other people, but I make sure that I don't put my self imposed restrictions on others (they aren't sumptuary in any case).  I also have standards for my squires to uphold, but, again, I don't expect other households to have the same standards that I do.  I never think less of them, or consider them out of line.  If I did, I would be out of line.

Some reasons that misinformation is distributed so much in the SCA:
1)  Great numbers of new people that can't all be mentored as fully as they could be.
2)  Folks who were not mentored into the ways of the SCA as fully as they could be mentoring new people.
3)  People who recreate the SCA in their own image regardless of the ways of the SCA.
    a.  Households that snap up new people before they know about the SCA enough to know what it means to be in a household.
    b.  Households that are started by new people, for new people (They rarely get to learn anything but how to party in funny clothes together).
4)  New & novice people too shy to ask more experienced SCAdians questions.
5)  Simple miscommunication and interpretation.

What reasons do others see as leading to misinformation in the SCA?

Solutions could be:
1)  More "novice events" run with experienced people helping them along, and answering questions.
2)  More classes at non university events.
3)  Mentoring new people without enticing them to join a household until they know what that entails.
4)  Correcting people about their misconceptions, and learning more about our own.
5)  Always be friendly to the new folks and answer the questions they have (sometimes by pointing them to someone who knows the correct answer instead of telling what we're not sure of.)
6)  Recommend reading the "Known World Handbook", and other SCA resources.  They will likely come back with more, and better questions, and we'll all learn more.

What other solutions could we try?

I have long been concerned about this issue, and would like to try to find better solutions as the SCA keeps growing.

In service,
-Sir Amalric Blackhart