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

Poster: Dominica Harlan <DHarlan@RodgersBuilders.com>

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. Now, if someone has decided for themselves [snip] that is their own 
decision, and should not be pressed on new folks

Amen. I spent half my time as a chatelaine correcting newbies who thought 
that opinions expressed by the hardset oldtimers were Corpora and not just 
personal choices. Of course, it didn't help that said opinions were worded 
as if they *were* Corpora.

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

I think your comment on personal choice leads to another source: some of 
those on the more purely recreationist end of the SCA scale intimidating 
newbies by making it seem as if one must pick an area of specialization and 
be perfectly period nearly all the time, right from the start. While it's 
great to share your area of special focus with newbies and help outfit them 
for Period Evenings and such, the undecisive or simply unprepared new 
person can be scared away by those who expect new people to play at the 
same level as longtimers.

Solutions could be:
1)  More "novice events" run with experienced people helping them along,
and answering questions.

{shameless plug} An incipient college of Caer Mear (and very aligned with 
Isenfir, too), the College of Caer Gelin, is doing just this for anyone 
within the local area. It's a couple weeks from now and will be an all day 
event wherein nearly all the aspects of basic (and a couple less basic) 
SCAdian play will be covered by experienced, neutral members. Folk in 
Isenfir and Caer Mear should have the details, as well as Caer Gelin.

2)  More classes at non university events.

I think this is less important than more attendance at A&S classes within 
groups. I started in a primarily A&S shire and learned a lot about many 
aspects of the SCA. I've met many fighters who knew only the fighting stuff 
and were clueless about the rest of the society. Simultaneously, it's 
really hard to throw a dance practice in a heavily heavy fighting area when 
few men attend practice. Greater emphasis by knights and knights marshals 
on their students at least getting some exposure to the A&S stuff and the 
non-fighting inclined at least watching some fighting would promote better 
understanding of both aspects by the experienced and the new alike.

3)  Mentoring new people without enticing them to join a household until
they know what that entails.

This is where trying the above might help expose new people to more stuff 
and more folk. A good chatelaine and more support for chatelaines by groups 
and the kingdom might also help -- a household neutral chatelaine can be a 
great guide for new folk to their first few events, introducing them to 
folk within and outside the home group so that they don't feel tied to only 
one place.

4)  Correcting people about their misconceptions, and learning more
about our own.

It's all about research, people! ;>

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.

Again, this seems like a good investment for a group to make in the 
chatelaine department, having at least one copy on hand to bring to demos 
and to loan to new folk so they get an idea about stuff. My shire also has 
a list of "terms and definitions for new people", a translation of SCAdian.

In service,
-Sir Amalric Blackhart

I think for the most part we're a pretty friendly bunch of people and it's 
just convincing new folk that we won't bite when they ask questions that is 
truly the best way to inform and welcome them.

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