[Ansteorra] Pay-2-play, Pay-2-fight, Pay-2-whatever...

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Wed Jan 9 09:00:28 PST 2008

> The request is very simple....
> Based on what has been asked ...what do you think about paying for the
> privilege to earn awards, fight, or vote or participate above a very 
> basic
> level in the SCA?

The request may be simple, but this wording of it is a distortion of the 

*Everybody* supports pay-to-play.  Nobody has ever suggetsed that you 
should be able to attend a shire's event without paying the site fee at the 
door.  This is clear, obvious and straightforward.  That money is needed to 
pay to put on the event.  Everyone agrees that when we go to an event, we 
should pay the people who are putting on the event.

But that's not what's being asked.

Likewise, everyone agrees that if you want a membership card and 
newsletter, you should pay for the membership.  The SCA, Inc. puts out 
these cards and co-ordinates the money for these newsletters.  Everyone 
agrees that if we want a card and a newsletter, we should pay for them

But that's not what's being asked, either.

What's being asked is whether we should pay people in Milpitas for a 
newsletter before we are allowed to pay people in the shire to attend their 
event.  This is neither worse nor better than asking whether people should 
have to pay site fees for events they don't go to before they are allowed 
to buy the newsletter and membership card.

Calling this "pay-to-play" is a misstatement.

Back in the 1994 debacle, when the BoD first tried to force this on us, a 
few of the people who used the term "pay-to-play" to mean "pay for a 
membership you don't want for the right to then pay an event fee for an 
event you do want" actually admitted that the term "pay-to-play" is 
inaccurate, and was being used to make it sound more palatable.  Far more 
have just repeated the phrase without thinking and are guilty of nothing 
more than confused thought and speech.

But the issue they are asking about is this: "pay for a membership you 
don't want for the right to then pay an event fee for an event you do 

It doesn't affect me directly, because I choose to be a member.  But 
because I believe that one should not be forced to buy what one doesn't 
want, I strongly oppose "pay for a membership you don't want for the right 
to then pay an event fee for an event you do want".

"Pay for the right to earn awards"?  Process this for a minute.  You get an 
AoA for sweeping out privies or picking up trash or any of a number of 
dirty, annoying, but necessary jobs.  What are we to say: "You can't clean 
out the privy; you haven't bought the privilege"?  Also, not all members 
get awards.  This isn't "paying your fair share".  It's buying a lottery 
ticket.  It might not be unreasonable to ask people (but only those who 
actually get awards) to contribute to the scribal college to help pay for 
the scrolls they receive, because that actually costs money.  But the 
corporation contributes not a dime to that process.  What should they get 
bribed before you can receive an award you've done the work for?  When 
people talk about the decadence and corruption that followed the Middle 
Ages and Renaissance, the first example they mention is buying awards.

"Pay to fight"?  The marshals who are keeping it safe aren't getting paid. 
The knights and others who train us aren't getting paid.  The people 
bringing us water aren't getting paid.  The chirurgeons fixing our hurts 
aren't getting paid.  The list mistresses and heralds aren't getting paid. 
Why should people in Milpitas get paid for it when the people doing the 
work to make it happen are vounteers?

Furthermore, it won't work, except for the tourneys.  The only affect 
"pay-to-fight" will have will be to make the unoffical practices the only 
ones people go to.  Can you imagine asking Inman to check membership cards 
before he trains people?  If they initiate this, I will immediately start a 
fencing practice away from the SCA, because I will train anyone who wants 
to learn to fence.  That's what I told Queen Sieglinde when she pinned the 
White Scarf on me; that's what I will do.

"Play to register names"?  We do.  Name registration costs money to do, so 
the heralds quite reasonably charge for it.  But the marshals don't charge 
me for paperwork the heralds do.  The A&S ministers don't charge me for 
work the hearlds do.  Why should the BoD charge me for work the heralds do?

The weak version of "pay-to-play" that we already have, the non-member 
surcharge, serves to discourage new people from getting started, and 
discourages people who've gone inactive from coming back.  Most of us began 
by going to a few events, before we ever decided to become members.  By 
making that harder, we are contributing to the decline in official 
membership of the corporation, which matters to Milpitas, but also 
contributing to the decline in active friends to fight and feast and revel 
with, which matters to me.

I support "pay for a membership and card in order to receive a mebership 
and card" as well as "pay an event fee to help pay for the event". 
Anything else -- including the non-member surcharge -- is an attempt by a 
corporation who is supposed to be supporting our game to instead turn it 
around and have the game support them.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin

P.S.  I refuse to accede to anyone's request not to discuss my concerns for 
Ansteorra on the Ansteorra list.  That's what it's for. 

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