tibicen: (Default)
I've moved to DW for the obvious reason.

It might be a kindness for someone still involved in the Barony to issue a PSA on the email list. There are a lot of people with old LJs who never check them anymore. They probably have no idea what's going on, and might be moved to back them up if they knew.

It might also be a kindness to take the opportunities of Buttery New Years, January Council, and Arisia to alert people in person; I don't presently expect to be at any of these myself.
tibicen: (Felding Demo)
Truly I am watching history being made.

I'm reading the current traffic on the Carolingia list about the Baronial Succession Debate (BSD).
One of the most notable aspects of the whole thing at the time was that, after *many* months of sometimes heated debate about the process, the actual election was remarkably calm, quick and uncontroversial...
And surprising.

Let us not forget that the consequence of going to the mat -- and some of us burned breathtaking amounts of social capital demanding that the Barony treat the process seriously, in the face of stiff opposition -- was that after eight months of people saying, "Why are we wasting all this time and effort deciding how we'll elect [NAME REDACTED]?"*, we elected Aquel and Johanna instead.

Turns out that candidate slate that "everybody knew" was the one "everyone wanted to win".... wasn't.

In light of that, the ceaseless bellyaching about how much time we were spending on the BSD does not at all sound like "figur[ing] out contingencies while they were still theoretical, and could be debated without anyone taking the matter personally."

The subtext of the BSD was whether we were going to rubberstamp the preferences of a small old-boys/tinhat club, or whether we were actually going to hold an actual goddamned election. We held an election. The people won.

And that's a good thing. But I have to say, the fact we had to fight that out, over eight months, against opposition every step of the way... that was not so good a thing. It certainly plummeted my till-then reasonably high esteem of a number of people, and the barony's culture as a whole.

There are things I remember about the BSD that are so appalling, that to even mention them makes me the bad guy for ripping the scabs off old wounds. How nice to remember that "we brought in a statistician" to present on the different kinds of voting method -- do you also remember the mathematicians in attendence in a fury at how biased and factually incorrect it was? The heated interruptions? I remember. I could name the names. I won't, because the one thing Carolingia has least been able to handle is facts; let sleeping dogs lie, etc. That is the least of what I recall.

But, O Carolingia, don't mind me. Carry on with your myth making. I love your myth. It's beautiful. Would that we had been that. We weren't. We were nothing so worthy. But do, do remember us thus. Remember it all thus. Not as it was, but as it should have been.

* Pretty much actual quote of an actual email to the Carolingia list.
tibicen: (Felding Demo)
I'm house cleaning, and I discovered a small cache of old Tournaments Illuminated from the early 90s. (Like, fewer than 10.)

Anyone want them?
tibicen: (Felding Demo)
Aha! I just found this essay/letter which I wrote for KWDSIII. I'm extremely proud of it, because, while it's not deathless prose, it exemplifies an endeavor to which I wish more organizations and subcultures applied themselves: making "foreigners" welcome as visitors, without demanding acculturation for acceptance, and doing so by explaining what outsiders can expect in a way intelligible to them. I call this the "Honored Guest" paradigm.

I wrote this document on behalf of KWDSIII, for us to send to our "pros". KWDSIII, being held in Boston, brought in some important dance history and dance music history scholars to teach. We did this because (1) these people are awesome and have a lot to teach us, (2) plenty of our attendees are fans of these scholars' work, and (3) we wanted to help rebuild some burnt bridges to the mundane early dance community.

Since some trouble in the past had arisen (by one interpretation) out of a culture clash, it seemed to me imperative that somebody address the issue of differing cultures. Because KWDS, being an SCA event, has a host of cultural expectations baked right in which a outside academic might never expect. So rather than them find out the hard way (encountering them, en mass, as an expectation-violating surprise) I figured they deserved an advance orientation.

Also, this document arose out of my own experience speaking or instructing at conventions; it is, in a sense, the document I'd wished other organizers had given me when I had ventured into their subcultures.

What you can expect at the Knowne World Dance Symposium

The KWDS is an SCA event, but even among SCA events, it's pretty unusual. This letter is to try to explain what we expect it will be like from the point of view of the instructors who are not in the Society.

One of the few hard and fast rules of the SCA is that at our official Events, all attendees are required to wear "Some attempt at pre-16th century clothing". All of the SCA attendees, including those members instructing classes and serving as volunteers, will be in costume for the duration of this event. Their costumes will not be restricted to the time period(s) and cultures which will be represented in the dance classes. Many people will use this Event and its theme as an occasion to show off their dance-appropriate and -contemporaneous costumes, however others will not, deferring to the weather, their lack of interest in costuming or the period, or insufficiency of skill or funds. The quality of the costumes will range from stapled-together fantasy outfits to laboriously hand-sewn reconstruction garments.

There is no requirement upon the non-SCA instructors to wear garb (as we refer to it). It is up to you what you would feel most comfortable doing.

Roughly speaking the event will be drawing the following SCA demographics. (In addition, the general public, primarily from the BEMF, will be attending on Tuesday.)

One of those demographics is the "hard-core European dance crowd". These are people whose primary interest and activity in the Society is the research and propagation of historical dance in the Society. Most of these people are subscribers to the sca-dance email list, and have been flaming each other about how many times one should repeat the B section of Rufty Tufty, the relative merits of various styles of ripreza, how one scans the steps of Bransle de Guerre in light of the Phalese arrangement of the music, and such like things, for *years*.

The "hard-core crowd" is converging from, literally, around the world for this event, and most plan on attending the entire event (Fri-Tues). They range from those who have little experience working from primary sources, to those who work exclusively from primary sources; they generally all have done a *lot* of Renaissance dance, though sometimes it was transmitted to them aurally and has suffered "folk-process". This crowd can be thought of as "the dancemaster crowd"; they are concerned as much with what they can teach others as their own mastery as dancers.

Another demographic is the "social dance crowd". In the SCA in the Northeastern US, dancing is a popular social activity. These are people who are not dance scholars or teachers in any way, but like dances and balls, and will show up to party with us. Many of them aren't concerned with how well they dance, but some are interested in presenting an attractive style on the dance floor. Some of these people will not attend any classes, but only attend the balls in the evening, primarily the Knowne World Ball.

Another demographic is "general event crowd". These will tend to be people who don't necessarily care about dance one way or the other, but who will be just looking for a fun social thing to do with their fellow "Scadians" or will be turning out to support the local SCA branch. Also, this includes "dance widow/ers", those people who have no interest in dance, but loyally follow their dance-enthusiast loved ones to dance events.

The "social" and "general" demographics. will primarily be attending Saturday, primarily to attend the Knowne World Ball. Some will also attend Sunday.

Another demographic is the "danceband crowd". These are the musicians who belong to bands who have committed to playing at KWDS, plus a few die-hard danceband musicians from far away whose whole groups could not attend. It looks like there are going to be three SCA bands, totaling over two dozen musicians. Possibly breaking three dozen. Some of these people will merely be musicians (some very skilled) who like playing for dancing; others are avid RenDance-music amateur scholars, with interests in musicology, historical instruments, etc. They will split, possibly pretty evenly, between those there for Saturday and Sunday, and those attending the whole Symposium.

All told, we expect these three demographics to push attendence at the Knowne World Ball (Saturday night) to over 200 people. This estimate is based on the fact that the Black Rose Ball (March, in RI) attracts about this many people, and that the events of the Barony of Carolingia often hit that number. (We expect a less-than-usual turn out of Carolingians because this is a "one-focus" event, but that will be offset by more people traveling to the event from other groups. The Barony of Carolingia has about 400 people in it.) It is not inconceivable that we could considerably exceed 200 people; while our plans accomodate that contingency they don't anticipate it.

In addition, there will be a program of non-European dance, which mostly is folkloric Middle Eastern. That will attract an entirely separate demographic, which we don't expect will interact much with the (predominently European) rest of the Event. It's activities will be on Saturday and Sunday, with a Mid-Eastern dance party ("hafla") Sat and Sun evenings.

We anticipate about 100 people will stay for the Sunday portion of the event, a mixture of the hard-core, the dance bands, and the generalists. This means that classes will tend to be small (100 people divided by 7 parallel sessions is ~14 people each.)

Monday, we'll be down to those people who are so enamoured of RenDance that they are willing to take the day off work. We expect about 60 people total.

Tuesday, we throw open the doors to the Boston Early Music Festival. Since admission is so inexpensive ($10) and the offerings will be so rich, we expect a healthy infusion of BEMF attendees to add to those 60 hard-core people. It is not inconceivable we will be innundated.

The format of the Event is of four class-periods per day (1.5 hrs each; Sa-Tu), then a ball or revel of some sort in the evening. Additionally, there will be "pick-up" dancing (informal, by-request) on Friday night; a late-late-late night party, probably Saturday pm (technically, Sunday am) after the KWB; and a Caroso-style ball instead of the classes in the last class-period on Tuesday.

We expect to have seven tracks of activities (this includes one or two tracks of non-European dance and one track of dance-musician activities) in two buildings on Sat and Sun, and four tracks in a single building on Monday and Tuesday.

On Saturday, one track will be dedicated to "Ball Prep": classes which specifically instruct in dances which will be done at the ball, so that "general event" demographic people who merely want to learn a few dances to be social will be able to do so.

Most of the instructors for KWDS are themselves SCA members or affiliates, and come from the "hard-core crowd".

Socially, it may seem like everyone knows everyone else. This is not strictly true. The local SCA members know each other through the local SCA club activities. The hard-core dance crowd knows each other, sometimes only "electronically", but sometimes through previous KWDSs and other "dance-locus" SCA events such as major balls and tournaments. SCA members from further afield might not know anyone else at the event. Some people will be new SCA members, who haven't been yet had oportunity to meet many people in the Society. The European and non-European dance crowds don't necessarily have much to do with each other, socially.

There are several formats of balls.

The standard format is a pre-determined playlist (ordered list of dances), not necessarily any more period-specific than "Renaissance Europe"; the list will be published in the program, and as each dance comes up it (and it's configuration) will be announced to the dancers, e.g. "Gathering Peascods, for a ring of couples" or "Petit Vriens, for three people" or "Geloxia, longways for three couples". As many sets as will take the floor at once. When the dancemaster deems they are ready, he indicates to the musicians. There is no time taken for instruction.

In this way, we have found balls go briskly; about a dozen dances per hour are done (plus or minus for the lengths of the specific dances done). This is the plan for the KWB on Saturday, and for the later parts of Sunday's and Monday's evening dancing.

Another format of ball is the "Caroso Style Ball". Only one set at a time is on the floor, seating is split by gender, and it is has a particular social protocol. The dances are all by-request, and the band must respond very promptly. In advance, the Maestra di Balli and the band firm up a playlist from which dancers may make their requests, and this is listed in the program and posted at the Ball. There is no teaching at this style of ball either. There will be two of these, one on Sunday evening, and one as the last part of the Tueday BEMF Concurrent Event.

Another format is not properly a "Ball", but simply the inevitable result of putting a bunch of dance musicians and dancers in a room together. This "pickup dancing" is an impromptu dance party/dance jam. It is all by-request. We will be doing this on Friday evening of KWDS; a board will be posted on which dancers can jot their requests, and the dancemaster will pick and choose from their suggestions. There may be instruction, on an as-needed basis.

There will be an experimental Caroso-like Ball on early Monday evening. Details have not been entirely worked out, but will be an earlier style dance which has some "performances" and is mostly by-request.

tibicen: (Default)
Dear Scadians,

If you want to invite me to network with you on LinkedIn -- I do do that -- you need to either (1) be utterly sure I know your mundane name or (2) include your SCA name in your invitation, so I have some idea who's inviting me.

In other news: Do we know an IT biz sales guy who maybe wrote a book on military history?

tibicen: (Default)
A friend asked for some dance music arranged for harp, so I prepared the following:

Bransle Charlotte, v1.0: png | pdf

Bransle Sabot:
v1.0: png | pdf
v2.0 (slightly more ornamented): png | pdf

Bransle Gay:
v1.0: png |pdf
v2.0 (two variations, not harmonically compatable with v1.0): png | pdf

Corrections and feedback welcome.
tibicen: (Default)
So I have this absolutely wonderful "pavillion" -- a little white canvas wedge tent -- that I completely love... and am not likely to ever have use of again. I'm paying to store it, so I figure it makes sense to pass it on to someone who will use it and love it as much as I do, just as it was passed on to me.

I think it's a Tentsmith's Sutler Wedge Tent. It is certainly built to their standards, and in very good shape.

It's a good size for one person and their persona. It's nine feet deep and 12 feet across the front; note that, because the slope of the sides, that's not all useable space. It's about 7ft tall on the inside at the peak.

It served me through five or six Pennsics, as solid as a rock and never leaked. It is excellent in high winds and heavy rains. It's made of Sunforger canvas, which means that it doesn't heat up in the sun like nylon (you get to sleep in a bit more!) and still breathes like untreated canvas, but doesn't wick water into the tent when touched from the inside the way regular canvas tents do.

Additionally, I was told when I bought it that it was the flame-retardant version, though I am pleased to say I've not had occasion to test that.

Interested? Let me tell you more about my awesome beloved tent, both the good things and the bad. )

I understand that new, this tent would be $520 for the canvas shell alone, and all poles, stakes, etc would be additional. I am asking $400 for the whole kit (including rug).

Right now the tent is in Somerville, and you would have to be able to come collect it. I would be happy to haul it out so you may inspect it, and I can show you how to set it up, and how to put it away.
tibicen: (Default)
This came up in a recent discussion in someone else's journal. I mentioned I'd written something to the point and, IIRC, posted it to the EK list many, many years ago, and would try to dig it up. If I ever did post it to the EK list, I can't find it now (though, tantalizingly, I can find flames from people responding to a similar-but-different post I made in 2000). But I did find a draft I was preparing for LJ way back when, that I never did post. So here it is, mostly unedited.

One of the most deeply embedded memes in the SCA is that of "fun vs. authenticity". I find that vexing because it's a false dichotomy. There's actually other choices that aren't even on that continuum.

Or at least one other.

But because that paradigm has such deep roots into the Scadian psyche, most Scadians are oblivious to other possibilities. Funnists and authenticists, alike, assume anyone not with them is with the other team, and thus are oblivious to the fact that someone might be on neither of those two teams.

Someone like me. I stand at a third pole. I'm an "atmospherist".

The highest value, wrt to SCA participation, of the funnist is fun. The highest value of the authenticist is authenticity. The highest value of the atmospherist is atmosphere.

The problem that we atmospherists -- which at this point means "I" unless someone else wants to join me under this banner :) -- have with authenticists and funnists is that they elevate authenticity and fun, respectively, over atmosphere.

Authenticists often irritate us because making an end of authenticity inclines one to tunnel-vision. Authenticists will show up at an event in perfectly turned out garb and talk about computers. Or will cook an exquisitely period feast in a t-shirt and jeans. Authenticists will pour a thousand hours of research and craftsmanship into a single artifact, then demand to be able to show it off in a high school gymnasium as part of a county fair, presented with a laminate-covered report and little 3x5 note cards.

Authenticists will raise their own ancient breed of sheep, sheer them with period tools, prepare the wool and weave it in a period fashion, cut it in patterns drafted from examining contemporaneous iconography, and sew it into historical garments... which fit on them as well as potato sacks and which have as much resemblance to the fit of the model garments depicted in the paintings as a an eggplant does to an ostrich, but it's authentic because it was made right regardless of what it looks like; and they will proceed to peacock around the event looking for all the world like an unmade bed, expecting everyone else to pretend they're dressed like a Medici. Authenticists will sacrifice pretty much everything to getting the authenticity of their chosen obsession to their level of perfection -- including the rest of the damn event, their fellow authenticists' authenticity, and the total authenticity of the rest of whatever it is they are doing!

But if authenticists are often guilty of sins of omission, funnists are given to sins of commission. Authenticists may fail to pay attention to anything except their hobby horse, but funnists will actively attempt to sabotage the Society in their self-indulgent voraciousness. If the funnist thinks it would be fun to have an Elvis impersonator at an SCA event, he will bring one. Actually, he has. Funnists will actively attempt to break the SCA for their amusement, like a two year old who smashes his toys for kicks and giggles. Funnists think violating the game is more fun than playing it. Wouldn't it be a kick if we brought an inflatable alligator into court? Wouldn't it be a kick if we made a 16th century outfit out of duct tape? Wouldn't it be a kick if we had an event were we do things as non-medievally as possible? It's the funnists we have to thank for actively kicking down what little we manage to build up.

And even if the funnist isn't actively trying to destroy the Society, their elevation of fun as a primary virtue guarantees that when someone points out to them that what they're doing is detrimental to the enterprise, the best you can hope for from them is a "So what?" -- and at worst the screaming temper-tantrum of a toddler whose bottle has been taken from him.

We atmospherists are into spectacle and festival. We want to go to tourneys and see or commit feats of prowess. We want to hoist tankards in taverns and revel until broke and hoarse. We want to tread the measures across floors and enchant the appropriate genders with glancing looks and gracious courtesy. We want to be awed by the solemnity of knightings and thrilled by the bravery of our host of warriors arrayed on the battlefield. We want to luxuriate in the plenty of our feasts, the sumptuousness of our garb, and the talents of our minstrels.

We're into style. We're into the gestalt over-all experience. We want to be carried away by the whole thing. We're into aesthetics, and whether things have the feel. We're just as in to things which hint, evoke, and suggest as we are into things which just are. We're into the subjective experience, as opposed to the objective facts. We're into the romance of history, and the archetype of the medieval. We're into the symbiosis of exoticism and haunting familiarity that is the medieval in the modern mind. We're into pleasure and delight. We're into that "sensawonda" that we inherited from our grand-fandom.

In short, we're into tele. Not the total step-through-time transformation of the re-enactor, but the simpler transport of children at play. We want to, for a space of time, bide in an environment beauty and delight. We are romantics. The fact that It Wasn't Really Like That does not bother us, nor does it bother us that evoking such a bubble world involves rules, standards, boundaries and discipline.

Atmospherists think the point of the SCA is, well, to play SCA. We want to do the stuff that you can do in the SCA and basically no where else. We have shown up at the baseball diamond with our bat and our glove, and we are neither interested in endless pitching drill to get exactly the right curve ball, nor are we interested in playing football, wrestling, or having to drive the jai alai team from the infield while we're trying to play. We get a little cross with funnists and authenticists who seem to have lost track of the point of getting all together and dressing up in medieval clothes, in their respective yens to do something else entirely.

We Atmospherists think the Christmas Revels are[*] really onto something there. We tend to have a weak spot for banners and dangly sleeves. We think strange foods at the feast table is a feature not a bug. We like florid toasts and dramatic gestures, graceful bows and kissed knuckles. We're the last holdouts still addressing our fellows as "Milord" and "Milady". We're into painful earnestness. We love wit and seriousness, both. Our anthem is "Pastime with Good Company" and our hymn is "Belle qui tient ma vie".

Atmospherists understand the most reliable way to something seeming to be medieval, is for it to actually be medieval. We get along with authenticists that far. But we part ways with them in realizing that that is also often the least expeditious way for something to seem medieval. Where the authenticist is concerned with making one really period garment, the atmospherist is concerned with figuring out how to make everyone look a little more medieval.

We are both vexed with and disappointed in authenticists who fail to commodify their knowledge for dissemination to others. Yes, it's lovely you've redacted all these recipes, no, I am not going to redact them for myself, now when is the cookbook coming out? Yes, that's a lovely gown; no, I don't think all the newbies are about to go out and draft one of those from scratch; have you considered making simplified instructions to disseminate to beginners?

The authenticist thinks the atmospherist is one of his own clan, right up to the moment he, shocked, realizes the atmospherist is willing to compromise his works' historical purity to get his knowledge into as many heads and hands as possible. Then he, wounded, concludes the atmospherist is a funnist, and shakes his head in disappointment that someone with so much promise could go so far astray.

Atmospherists are wedded to the idea that this should be enjoyable. That they have in common with the funnists. But unlike the funnists they realize that humans have more capacity for enjoyment above and beyond mere distractions, capacities ranging from the most base sensory appetites through the most rarefied sensibilities of the heart, mind and spirit -- and of our pleasures from the most earthy to the most lofty, we atmospherists are unwilling to relinquish a single one. Fritos are not enough. T-shirts with belts over them are not enough. Yucking, insincere jokery, adolescent posturing of being too cool to get involved is not enough.

The funnist thinks the inventive, festive atmospherist is on his side, right up to the moment he proposes doing something gross and the atmospherist replies "That's not very medieval." At which point the shocked and indignant funnist goes back to his tribe with a new story about the horrible oppression they suffer at the hands of stuffy authenticists.

[* Er, "were". They've gone downhill in recent years. More's the pity.]

It's kinda pugnacious, though I think necessarily so in that it's trying to elbow aside the press of crowds which are squeezing out its space.
Anyone who is moved by this and identifies with the position would do well to write themselves a positive-assertion manifesto to rally the troops. I might even be moved to write such a thing on behalf of any gentles who wished to launch such a social movement, if they wished it.
tibicen: (Default)
This will (probably) be a (mostly) moderated space.

Moderation will work differently here than you are likely used to -- especially as you are used to me doing it elsewhere.

I have defaulted all comments to screening, and I suspect I will typically leave that on. There may also be discussions with no screening; dunno yet.

I am defaulting to screen-all-comments for several reasons.

I will be using screening heavily to control the direction of discourse. I will be picking and choosing among threads of discussion to have here, from among those offered. I will unscreen comments I want to share with the other readers of the post on which the comment is made.

Just because I didn't unscreen a comment of yours does not mean I think it's bad or wrong (though, of course, bad and wrong comments will be among those left screened). It may be that I thought it was a good comment, and am taking my time composing a reply to it. Sometimes instead of replying directly to a comment, I will reply in a top post.

It may be that I thought your comment was good, it just wasn't the right time and place for it, that it was diverging from the topic introduced.

It may be that I thought your comment was amusing, but I didn't want discussion of something serious diverted into mirth, or that I thought your comment raised an important serious issue, in what was intended as a light and jovial discussion.

It may be that you asked a question that I feel better left unanswered, or that I don't feel like answering, whether because in that moment I am tired or because I think you should be able to figure it out for yourself or because I do not like the tone of your asking or because I'm feeling pissy and the fact I owe no explanations is particularly salient to me in that moment.

It may be that I loved your comment and want to keep it all to myself and not share.

Learning to sit with uncertainty, ambiguity, and ambivalence is part of maturity. You are all adults; it seems reasonable to me that I expect this of you.

Remember, when you make a comment here, you are addressing me and, so long as LJ comment notifications work, I am hearing you. I may not always reply, and I may not always share your comments with others, but I am here and I am listening.

Screening also affords me several other advantages. It slows the rate of discussion, also called its "heat"; some research shows "cooling" online discussion elicits more thoughtful and calm discourse. It allows me to supervise the sandbox for trolls, and to participate as actively as anyone else here, which I would not otherwise be able to do with my work schedule, which prohibits me using LJ during the day for a minimum of three days a week.

Finally, this is not a general discussion forum. This is a Discuss Things With Tibicen forum. As such, I reserve the right of first reply to all comments, which screening allows me to enjoy.

Because of this, you may find that the tempo of discussion (assuming there is any) on posts in this journal happen at a rate which doesn't work well with LJ's "friends page" implementation: comments may not be unscreened until after the post has slid off the bottom of your friends page. For public posts, you may find some RSS aggregators work better (I'm sorry, I don't know the field and can't make any recommendations). Alternatively, you may want to use the tracking feature on LJ or manually check this journal by hand.

One thing I may do that will mitigate that problem is that as mentioned above, I may take discussion to a top post.

I reserve the right to screen or unscreen any comment made to this journal at my whim, or to quote it in a top post. I recommend you not rely upon my leaving comments screened; i.e. don't get so accustomed to my leaving comments screened that you say something to me in a comment with the assumption it is private and I won't unscreen it for all to seen. For private communications, use the Private Message function of LJ.

Be your warned that I do not moderate for "nice", and I have a different standard of what constitutes civility that you may be used to. Contention, even vigourous, passionate, immoderate contention, does not violate it. After all, not only does rapidity bring heat; so too does love, which we as a people have in abundance.

But the faintest whiff of skimming before replying -- evidence that you don't actually know what is said in what you're replying to -- is grounds not just for screening, but for banning. There are few things as casually contemptuous, disrespectful, and/or arrogant as replying to a post you couldn't be bothered to read first, and it will not be tolerated. You are not so superior in apprehension and intellect to your fellows that you need not read their words to know what they have to say.

If you mean to express contempt so great you do not even intend to finish reading a post or comment, I recommend you make it more explicit, by using the expressions "blah blah blah" or "tl;dr". As the Carolingian Cooks Guild has the express ethical commitment not to poison any by accident, so too here, if you are going to treat your discussant with disrespect due those beneath contempt, make it clear that it is deliberate. Otherwise, have the basic decency to read carefully, and, ideally, think deeply about, what someone else troubled to write before you respond to it.

Know that you aren't always going to know what is going on here. Kindly roll with it. Things will not always be as they may seem. There may well be discussions going on to which you are not party, and I can guarantee that I have a history of some sort, in some cases stretching back for decades, with just about everyone on my flist. You cannot assume you know the social context in which comments are made between me and someone else, or between any two commenters here.

An illustrative story: At Pennsic XXI, fellow denizen of the Carolingian encampment, seeing that I was extremely angry about something, presumed to advise me to chill out and be more tolerant of other people. I was so homicidal at that point, I turned and walked away, out of camp, across the whole of the Serengeddi, and down around the lake to try to cool off and regain my composure. An hour or two later, that same person encountered me again, and craved my pardon for having spoken so out of turn. He explained he had learned what I was so angry about: that a friend I had trusted had taken most of my grocery money and my shopping list, and taken them to the store on my behalf, and returned instead with -- I am not making this up -- a brown paper grocery bag full of limes for making limeade, leaving me with nothing to eat and little funds for getting more and no means to get to the store. Under the circumstance, he said, he thought I was showing admirable restraint. Pray learn from his mistake. Be careful with your assumptions, do not jump to conclusions, and see above about uncertainty, ambiguity, and ambivalence.

Similarly, if you are not a Carolingian/Easterner/etc, remember your experience is not as likely to illuminate Carolingian/Eastern/etc issues as you might think, because differences between local groups and between kingdoms is greater than many people are aware. Before telling us how things are elsewhere in the midst of a discussion of how things are here, you might first adopt a particular Carolingian custom of courtesy. It was (and perhaps is) taught here to our new members to bite their tongues whenever abroad and they find themselves about to say, "In Carolingia, we..."

In summation: Doubt yourself a little. I ask that before commenting, you contemplate the possibilities, "Well, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about", "Maybe I don't know better", "Maybe this isn't the time or place for this", "What if I misunderstood the point of that which which I'm replying?", "Maybe I don't need this resolved right now", "Maybe I could answer this with a quick google", "Maybe I'm just anxious about not knowing", "Maybe I don't need to rush to propose a fix", "Maybe I don't know the whole story", "Maybe the case I have in mind doesn't apply here", etc. This is what intellectual humility looks like, and I commend it to you. Examine the possibilities, adjust accordingly, and then, if so minded, click "Post comment".
tibicen: (Default)
Once upon a time (2001, IIRC) I had a great chat with someone who was staff for a Ren Faire. She said that her faire, like most, had a staff camping area, which was where the real party was each night, after the faire shut down and threw out the paying customers. At her faire, the way you became staff, the way you became an insider and not just a patron, was by showing up at those parties and ingratiating yourself, and joining the community informally.

Only, at her faire, the staff camping area was on an island. An actual, physical island in the middle of a little river.

This was their filter: you had to figure out how to get to the community. If you could do that, you were welcome to join.
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