[Ansteorra] Psychos and other Ogres

L T ldeerslayer at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 24 20:36:23 PST 2005

Donald Lewing <richard_fitz_hervy at yahoo.com> wrote:  Also, what if it's the noble/officer that's the "psycho"? plus their "clic"?
First, remember that the SCA is not a democracy. It is  a hierarchical organization that has two different "chains of command"  that both lead to the Crown in our Kingdom and has both written and  unwritten rules, regulations and procedures. 
  Second, try to examine yourself. Are you reacting to something because you are
  defending a friend, perceiving an "attack" on yourself, cause they  remind you of you mother (no joke...it happens all the time), etc. or  is it a real issue.
  Once you get your emotions identified...then do your best to recalibrate to look at the situation impartially.
  Look at it from all  sides.
  Make sure that you are not getting all your information from one  group/clique (ie people who socialize primarily within their own small  group often have a  skewed perspective) 
  Investigate the rules and regulations and see if what is perceived as a problem is actually maintanence of the "rules."
  Most problems tend to crop up because someone who has either stepped up  to the edge of, or violated a rule or regulation has been made aware of  it by an officer...the violator gets administrative action taken  agianst them (which  often is a polite acknowledgement) which is then taken as a personal  attack. Often people who have this behaviour tend to demonize the  "hierarchy" and end up choosing not to keep up with the "times" thus  repeating the cycle. Make sure that the problem you perceive is not one  of these. 
  Remember  that every officer is a volunteer and is doing their  job with the best interest of the group/SCA in mind. They are only  going to interceed if necessary ... mostly because they would rather be  enjoying themselves rather than having to deal with problems. 
  Remember also that if the problem has been ongoing for 6 months or  more, then most probably the officer has consulted up his/her chain of  command and may now be acting on their superior's suggestions.
  After examining all of these things...and you still percieve that the officer is acting beyond their job...
  Then follow the guidelines listed in the SCA Corpora: 
  The Society is devoted to courtesy, trustworthiness and personal  responsibility, and it sometimes seems that these ideals should be  enough to permit members to work smoothly together. After all,  virtually everyone agrees it is desirable to foster the Society’s goals  of encouraging research and recreation in its chosen period and to  promote the welfare and prosperity of the organization and the  education and enjoyment of everyone in it. Unfortunately, tensions and  disputes develop anyway. The Board is the final court of appeal for  disputes that have escalated beyond the ability of the participants or  the officers to handle. However, it is reluctant to play that role  because its rulings affect the entire Society – often by restricting  everyone’s freedom and reducing their enjoyment of the organization.  Corpora provides an unlimited right of appeal to the Board, but members  should make every effort to work out their disputes at as low a level  in the organization as
 possible. While it is not possible to prescribe  a specific list of things to do or people to consult that will serve in  all disputes, the general procedure outlined here should be adaptable  to most of them. If you are directly involved in a dispute, please go  through a process at least as comprehensive as this one before asking  the Board for help. 
  If you are asked to intervene in someone else’s dispute because of the  office or title you hold, please don’t rush in. First urge the  principals to try all measures recommended for attempting to reach a  settlement without involving your level of the organization. Then, if  you do intervene, make every effort to find a resolution the  participants can accept, instead of escalating the dispute to higher  levels of the organization. 
  1. Avoid trouble. There are many valid approaches to Society activity.  Members should make room for each other to explore anything that  supports the Society’s goals, abides by its rules, and does not  actively interfere with the environment it attempts to create. In many  cases, the best way to deal with a minor problem or disagreement is to  act as though it doesn’t exist. HOWEVER, the advice about ignoring  problems in the hope that they’ll fade away does not apply to breaches  of the law. If you encounter illegal activities, your obligations as a  citizen are the same as in any other aspect of your life. Please keep  the officers of your branch and kingdom informed if you decide to  invoke the assistance of outside authorities in ways that may require  them to answer questions about the matter at hand or about the Society  itself, but do not hesitate to exercise your civic duty as you see it.
   2. Look for ways around hard choices. It may be possible to break  a dilemma by taking up both alternatives, either together or at  different times, instead of wasting energy arguing over which to  choose. It may also be possible to find a third approach that both  sides prefer to their original ideas.
   3. Try to keep a sense of perspective. Just because you’re  unhappy, it doesn’t mean you’re right! Make an effort to listen to the  arguments of the other side with good will and honesty, and look for a  solution everyone can live with.
   4. Go through channels. If you can’t solve the problem yourself,  your requests for assistance should follow a line of authority without  skipping anyone, and without spreading laterally through the  organization any more than absolutely necessary. For example, when you  reach a level that has royalty or royal representatives, include them  on your copy list, but don’t start out by copying all the royalty in  your corner of the Known World on your initial complaint. Try to  involve as few people as possible–the less you embarrass your opponent,  the likelier you are to get a solution you can live with and not simply  bury the dispute until it can resurface on different grounds.
   5. Be patient. Allow each level time to try to deal with the  situation, and avoid the temptation to attack the people you’ve asked  for help if they don’t seem to be moving fast enough to suit you. 
  1. Try to work things out face to face. When someone does  something that interferes with your appreciation of the Society in a  way you can’t ignore, or that seems to be contrary to the rules, talk  it over. Explain the problem as you see it, and listen to the reply.  (Likewise, if someone comes to you, listen carefully before you frame  your answer.) With luck and good will, the problem will go away. You’ll  find ways to reduce the level of irritation, you’ll stop real rules  violations, or you’ll come to understand why things you thought were  violations were actually legitimate activities. If you can’t  communicate, ask someone you and the other party both respect to help,  either by relaying messages or by moderating a meeting between you. Try  not to go to an officer in charge of the area in question, as such an  officer may be tempted or compelled to make a ruling instead of letting  you reach an informal agreement.
   2. Write to the person you’re having difficulty with. Describe  the way you feel you’re being damaged, without indulging in insults or  threats. Ask for the action you feel would set things right, and  indicate how long you feel you can wait for a reply before making  further distribution of the complaint. Keep a copy of the letter, but  do not send it to anyone but the addressee at this time. The written  word is often more effective than the spoken word, so there’s a good  chance that this letter, or a series of direct letters and replies,  will eventually lead you to a solution. As long as you feel you’re  making progress either in understanding or in getting you way, do not  go on to step 3.
  3. Write a more formal letter to the other party. Outline any new  points you may have thought of and refer to your previous  correspondence. Send a copy to the officer in charge of the area in  question, or to the royalty or royal representative nearest the level  where you have a dispute. Depending on the situation, it may be a good  idea to send copies of the letters you’ve already written or received  on the matter with the copy of the current letter you send to the  superior; if you are doing so, be sure to mention it in your letter.  (It is very important to proceed openly as you pursue your complaint;  things are tense enough already without adding a new–and  justified–charge of sneakiness to the general dispute!) Again, set a  reasonable time for a reply, and consider it carefully when it arrives.  As with step 2, continue at this level as long as it looks like there’s  any progress. 
  4. Write directly to the officer in charge of the area in question,  with copies to the subject of the dispute, the next higher officer, and  the appropriate royalty or royal representative, if any. Explain how  you feel you’re being mistreated, and ask for specific help. Include  the entire previous correspondence; if you have not already shared it  with the officer–and mention the enclosures in the text. Evaluate the  reply or replies before you decide to go forward. 
  5. Repeat step 4, moving up the organization and including everyone  you’ve involved on your copy list. Follow you correspondents’ advice as  to whether or not anyone else at or below their level needs to be  consulted. Eventually, you run out of levels.
   6. If no one else has managed to find a solution, the Board will  do so. However, there is no guarantee that you will like what they come  up with, and there is nowhere else to turn. Even if you get something  resembling what you originally asked for, the effect on the Society may  well be regrettable, as the Board finds it almost impossible to deal  with a specific situation without touching anything else.
  While it appears cumbersome, this technique should reach some sort of  resolution in a matter of months. The greatest number of levels between  you and the Board is five, assuming a dispute between members of a  canton whose barony is part of a principality. The important thing is  getting a solution, NOT getting to the Board, and the approach outlined  in this article will probably let you settle the matter without  involving the corporate administration at all.
  L DeerSlayer

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