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SCA-trans-msg - 1/4/96


How to handle the move from one group to another. For the people in the group too.


NOTE: See also the files: newcomers-msg, callig-beg-msg, placenames-msg, SCA-hist1-msg, SCA-stories1-msg, 4-newcomers-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arvall of Northpass)

Subject: Re: starting over

Date: Sat, 1 May 1993 18:45:02 GMT

Organization: IBM T.J. Watson Research


Greetings from Arvall!  Cahan Kyle asked:


> I have a question to ask.  Is it a normal occurrence in the SCA that when

> one changes Kingdoms, they must prove themselves all over again even

> after several years of experience?


Bertram replied:

> Alas, the syndrome you describe is all too common. I've lived in three

> kingdoms and a number of groups and have had it happen to me and watched

> it happen to others...  It's sad that one of the features of the Middle

> Ages we're so good at re-creating is a xenophobic clannishness and

> cliquishness...


Bertram, I think you are being unnecessarily melodramatic. The phenomenon

that Cahan described exists everywhere, and I don't think it is in the

least bit surprising that it does exist or that it is reasonable to expect

to eliminate it.


The SCA is a largely decentralized organization; most of the real activity

happens on a very local scale.  Every branch has its own style, dynamics,

and customs.  No matter how many years' experience the new arrival may have

with the SCA in other places, he cannot know the way people like to play to

game in every shire.  Just because he knows how to help run things where he

came from does not mean that he knows enough to help out in his new home.

A general familiarity with the Society and specific experience will help

the new arrival learn his way around more quickly, but until then he is

like a newcomer to the SCA who has done work in other volunteer

organizations: He has useful skills but has to learn how to apply them to

the local situation.  Most of the transplant problems that I've seen are a

result of the new arrival assuming (unconsciously as often as not) that

everyone in the SCA will enjoy the game best if they play play it the way

it was played back home.  When he encounters something unfamiliar, his

natural reaction is to correct it: "Back where I came from, we did it this

way."  The intent is friendly and helpful; the result is condescending and



In a similar vein, it is unreasonable to expect a branch to put its

confidence in a new arrival immediately, no matter how much experience he

has elsewhere.  Most branches have limited resources - offices,

autocratships, regular meetings, money, etc.  The members of the branch

want to get the most out of those resources, and they don't know a new

arrival well enough to be sure that they can entrust their resources to

him.  It is more than a little presumptuous for a new arrival to sweep in

and expect to have a major role in alloacting resources until the rest of

the group gets to know him.  It might help to think of arriving in a new

group much like starting a new job: You are stepping into a functioning

company, whose members know each others' strengths and weaknesses.  They

don't know you at all.  Your awards and past accomplishments will carry

some weight if you make gentle suggestions, but it is self-deluding to

expect to take up here exactly as you left off in your old group.


Part of the problem is simply a change of vocabulary. Take the word

"persona": In the East it is a harmless word that everyone applies to

everything from complete immersion in a single time and place to a vaguely

defined set of SCA interests.  In the West it's a dirty word, even though

the things people actually do in the West fall well within the word's

meaning in the East.  For another example, consider "household".  In some

places a household is a routine part of SCA life, understood to mean

nothing more than "a group of people who choose to play together."  In

other places, history has tied the word so closely to vicious personal

politics that any newcomer who innocently mentions a household incites

instant anger.  The center of the problem is that the SCA really is

different everywhere you go.  It's easy to be fooled by the surface

similarities, but even when people use the same words in your new home,

they may not have the same meanings.



Arvall of Northpass                                   mittle at watson.ibm.com



From: haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: starting over

Date: 4 May 1993 01:04:23 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation - DECwest Engineering


Greetings from Fiacha,


If you move beyond range of your reputation, you will have to work to

reestablish your reputation. If you have credentials from someone whose

reputation runs as far as your new home it will be easier. If you haven't

received an AoA yet expect to start from square one.


Strategy and tactics can reduce the time it takes to become integrated.


Remember that your goal on moving to a new group is to become an integral

part of the group.


Step 1. Look for something that was done 'back home' that is missing in your

new home. That is MISSING, not merely done in a different and seemingly less

effective manner. Supply that missing activity/service. This is helping your

new group to grow and demonstrating your committment to it.


Step 2. Look for something this is being done poorly (in your opinion) and

volunteer to assist. Make sure that everyone involved has seen you doing

it their way before you suggest any changes.


Step 3. Look for something that your new home does that you never tried in

your previous home and start at the beginning, just like any other



It hurts to discover that your hard earned skills are ignored or undervalued

but it hurts more and longer to win a reputation as a trouble maker or

as an undesireable alien.


Also remember that Rialto fame does not map to reknown in ones branch.


Finally, don't expect it to be easy. Moving house and home is traumatic enough,

without trying to win a new collection of friends at the same time.


        Fiacha, trouble maker

        Aquaterra, AnTir



From: Suze.Hammond at f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Suze Hammond)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Newcomers

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1993 23:25:00 -0800


SC> From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)

SC> Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

SC> Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto



SC> 1.  For transplants,the main problem will probably be the one of

SC> fitting into a new group after being well-established in

SC> another one.  These folks will probably not need all the info a

SC> rank newcomer will,  but they should be made to feel welcome

SC> and become acquainted with your group (size, barons n' stuff, who

SC> does what, etc.)


Whatever "inter-kingdom anthropology" you are aware of, be sure to tell

people who came up in other kingdoms, so they won't stumble into some

social gaffes that upset their enjoyment of their new home.


For instance, nothing can make people think you're just another nut-case

as fast as quoting some tenet of kingdom policy that you were brought up

to think was SCA-wide law, if that happens to be something your new

compatriots never heard of!


(I recently had to take a herald from one of the central kingdoms aside as

he was telling some real newbies all about how you had to be a member and

a holder of an AoA to register a device. Not in An tir you don't! I also

once had to rescue a fellow from a bunch of my light friends who were

about to have it out with him in the tavern because he was certain it was

against SCA law to have mixed war combat, and was "going to write the Earl

Marshal" about us miscreants! And we lost a very promising person who

came from a more authenticity-oriented kingdom, because he was

constantly critical of anything he hadn't seen documentation of in his

home kingdom, even if we had it... sadly, he made many enemies. Could

have been avoided...)


Be sure to ask about any of the subjects you've run into here on the

Rialto that you know are widely discussed.

... This is just my personal opinion;  Moreach NicMhaolain   



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: Peers as Members (was Re: Obligations of Peerage?)

Organization: University of Chicago

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 02:54:14 GMT


Andrixos, in arguing (correctly) that uniformity is a matter of

degree, writes:


"Likewise, I expect that Cariadoc would be a bit miffed it when he

had sojourned to Meridies he found his ducal rights were ignored and

even abrogated because they "weren't earned here, and nothing that

happens outside our kingdom matters."


1. You are mistaken. It would be fun. The nearest I have managed so

far was visiting for some months in Caid, not telling anyone any of

my ranks, and successfully maintaining anonymity for a month or so.


2. What is more important than whether they recognize my rank is

whether they are willing to listen to my ideas. When I did move to

Meridies, a good many years back, they were very polite to me on

account of my rank--the people in that group took rank very

seriously, perhaps too seriously. On the other hand, they did not

have much interest in my views of how things should be done--in large

part, I think, because I was a foreigner. In order to have any actual

influence on the group--and I am not certain if I ever did--it was

necessary to proceed very much as if I had not come in as a duke.


3. Or in other words, the important issues in how you are treated

when you move to a new group are the ones that are not regulated by

the rules.





From: queta.stetser at mercopus.com (QUETA STETSER)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "In the West we..."

Date: Sun, 03 Dec 95 13:23:00 -0400

Organization: Mercury Opus BBS - Dunedin, Florida - 1 813 734 2799


An interesting little exchange between Brian Mahoney (bjm10 at cornell.edu)

and Elina (becks2 at aol.com) provokes my small comments below.  They were

discussing attitudes when a newcomer to a Kingdom references how some-

thing is done in their *former* K'dom residence.  Elina made the point

that "...What is said is not always what is heard, and vis [sic] versa.

They may hear you say "This is the one true way", when you are only

saying "This is A way".


BJM>ahoney quoted her in his response:


  "It may be the most common way to hear "this is the One True Way", I

   ask you to be exceptional."


[meaning he should possibly allow:  "This is A way".]


And Brian added in his reply to her:


   BJM> Cute, so you twist everything around like that, Ms. Dumpty?


[Brian, that sounds really rude; you *were* joking, weren't you?]

[If you weren't, then you need to apologize, don't you?]


   BJM> The most common way I've seen it used is to expound upon a "one

   BJM> true way". Why must the burden suddenly come upon those spoken

   BJM> to rather than upon the speaker?


Neutrally speaking, I add:  Being native to, and resident of Trimaris

for about 19 years, I've seen many fine folks move into our Kingdom from

myriad other K'doms.  Most are anxious to settle into their new SCA

land, meet their new neighbors, and are often generous in their sharing

of ideas.  Their only `mistake' is, I think, that they preface their

ideas/suggestions with a statement of, "in X Kingdom, we did that

thus-n-so".  No matter what the tone of voice from the newcomer, the

oldtimers always bristle, and vocally depreciate the suggestion's, *and*

the newcomer's, merit. This oldtimer suggests:  When moving to another

Kingdom, folks, *don't* reference your former homeland when offering an

idea - let 'em think the brilliant idea is exclusively *yours* !   ;-}




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org