[Ansteorra] Psychos and other Ogres

Melissa Baxter mbaxter66 at satx.rr.com
Thu Nov 24 08:27:00 PST 2005

Lorraine, when you first posted this question, I drafted a response and then
decided to wait to see some of the other responses.  I'm glad I did because
the post has turned from what you do about groups who seem to participate
only on a local level to the same type groups who have a negative influence
keeping them stuck in a downward self-destructive spiral.  Coming from a
group who at times has been referred to as insular, here's my .02 cents.

I have watched several new people move in and out of our group over the past
few years.  My advice to any new person asking about "person X" or warming
up to "person Y" is to keep an open mind about what you are hearing and feel
free to ask others to see if they agree with this opinion.  After a while,
people get to know who is more likely to cause dissent regarding any given
subject or situation.

I think the smaller groups have a more difficult time than larger ones due
to the fact that it is harder to bring in new blood to get new ideas and
opinions.  I've likened SCA internal politics at times to those of high
school.  Sometimes you have to step outside the situation (which can be very
hard) and see how it affects the grand scheme of things.  If the person in
question is just cantankerous they will more than likely be ignored whenever
they offer up an opinion.  If the person or clique is malicious in intent
then that is harder to approach and deal with.  Sometimes, if they are
openly ostracized they will move on to another group.  Sometimes it is
harder to discover what is going on, and serious damage is done before the
issue is in the open.  It makes it even more difficult if this person/group
is part of the "core" of the canton, shire, barony, etc.

I would say to anyone with this problem that there is a chain of command.
The chain extends past regional and kingdom to include the peers.  I have
asked advice of peers not because they are a master in their field, but
because most have been there, done that.  They have seen the politics and
issues before.  If the person in question is attached to a peer or a member
of a peerage, other members of the order should be notified.

If you are not a member of a group in which you see this activity happening,
it is okay to bring it up to the regional seneschal or a peer you may be
acquainted with.  Members of that group may not realize what is happening
yet or they may not realize they have a way of addressing the issue.

It was also brought up as to what to do when every avenue had been
exhausted.  The people/person in question has not done enough to be banished
but continually undermine the good standing of the group.  That is a very
difficult situation.  If the members of the group cannot or will not police
their own and there are no further ways of disciplining them, it may be time
to say that this group cannot be helped.  It is a very sad thing to watch a
group fall apart because of the members themselves.  I've seen it happen in
other groups outside the SCA.  It is heartbreaking, but sometimes your
proverbial hands are tied; and all you can do is watch the sinking ship go

Since I have not yet experienced this demise in an SCA group all I can do is
offer support to those who have or are going through the situation at the

Branwen le Baxtere

-----Original Message-----
From: ansteorra-bounces+mbaxter66=satx.rr.com at ansteorra.org
[mailto:ansteorra-bounces+mbaxter66=satx.rr.com at ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:03 PM
To: Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc.
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Psychos and other Ogres

HE Jan has some excellent suggestions on how to identify "psychos." Her
suggestion of a continuity of record and knowledge of officers is also an
excellent suggestion.
  But I'm afraid that ya'll may think that this is only an "officer's
/authority's problem"...it's not...it's everyone's problem...and everyone
needs a hand in the solution.
  The general populace must be willing to recognize and work with the
officers/authorities to deal with problem people. There are just some
problem people that revel in creating problems for others, if you ignore
them, you just allow them to gain more "power" and create a larger problems

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