[Ansteorra] Member or Not?

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Thu Jan 10 07:19:09 PST 2008

R the O wrote:

>  But being counted as a member is certainly a benefit, and should be a
> right for every member... Esp. since my local group can be disbanded
> for not having enough members. And once again, I'm defining a member
> as someone who has paid for a membership, which I most certainly have 
> done.

Please stop trying to define the word "member" as if it has a single clear 
single meaning in this context.  There are different kinds of membership, 
and they are treated differently -- which you know.  A family member has 
the contractual right to be counted as a family member.  You paid for this 
contractual right. A sustaining member has the contractual right to be 
counted as a sustaining member.  Any member will be counted where it says 
"any member".

You will not be counted as a sustaining member unless you buy a sustaining 
membership.  Only sustaining memberships sustain the local branches in 
Ansteorra, and you were never told otherwise.

The membership requirements for shires and baronies, since I joined in the 
1970s, have been based on sustaining memberships.  You will not be counted 
as a sustaining member unless you buy a sustaining membership.  This is not 
"unfair"; this is not denying your rights.  This is simply part of the 
rules of the game.

>  So once again, I ask... Who decided that people who paid for memberships
> weren't members, and when did it happen?

Nobody has decided that you aren't members, and it didn't happen, and you 
already know that.  You decided that you wouldn't be a sustaining mamber 
when you purchased a different kind of membership.  You will be counted as 
the kind of member you are, and not as some other kind of member.

If you were focused on learning the truth, rather than pretending something 
that's not true, you would ask the legitimate question, "Who decided that 
only sustaining memberships count for sustaining group status?"  This is a 
legitimate question, and the answer is that the corporation decided that 
decades ago.  At some point they changed and allowed the kingdoms to make 
the final decision, subject to a minimum level defined in Corpora.  That 
minimum is five mebers of any type, but the kingdom can choose to have 
higher requirements.

Based on the difficulties small branches have filling officers, Ansteorran 
law still requires 5 subscribing memberships (sustaining or international). 
But don't blame the corporation for that.  Ansteorra can choose to have 
stricter standards, just like it can have stricter armor requirements on 
the fighting field.

> I have been on hiatus for about 7 years while my kids were really little 
> and I
> worked in a nights-and-weekends job, and apparently the whole place has
> been turned upside-down in these last few years... :)

For purposes of shire and baronial status, there has been no change in how 
family memberships are treated in that time, or indeed, since the 70s. 
Only sustaining memberships have counted as sustaining Ansteorran shires or 
baronies for the last thirty years.  Nothing's turned upside down recently.

>  To wit, I am *not* counted as a member and I did *not* get exactly what 
> the documents promised.

It really doesn't matter how many times you repeat this using the generic 
term "member" in a context refering to sustaining members.  You are counted 
as a member; you are not counted as a sustaining member.

If you would stop trying to force an untrue meaning, you would realize that 
your complaint isn't that "you aren't counted as a member"; it's that you 
think all members should be counted to sustain shire and baronial status. 
Your problem is that you didn't realize what "sustaining membership" means. 
It means a membership that sustains the group.

> Please be advised, sir, that it is not up to the purchaser to have to 
> call up
> someone and ask if it's the same, just in case it's not. That asinine.

Yes, it is, and I did not say it.  In fact, I will go further.  It is not 
up to the corporation's marketing group to know all kingdom laws, and to 
advise you on them.  You seem to believe that the people who write the copy 
for the corporate membership forms are the same people who write 
Ansteorra's laws.  It's not so.  The former are office workers in 
California, and the latter are volunteers in Oklahoma and Texas.

> It is up to the seller to detail if it is different. Imagine the hell 
> that would
> be raised if I advertised a size 7, one carat diamond ring, and then
> offered a smaller ring size, say a size 6 that obviously has less gold, 
> for
> less money. And then I shipped out a size 6, half carat diamond ring. I
> would be sued and rightfully so.

The analogy is not analogous.  If you offered a size seven, one carat ring 
for one price, and another one for a lesser price, and somebody pays the 
lesser price, then you would ship them the lesser ring.  You chose to buy 
the cheaper product.

As I said before, you *are* counted as a member, with exactly the 
membership benefits you were promised when you joined. Kingdom Law requires 
a certain number of sustaining memberships, and you were never promised 
that a non-sustaining membership would be counted as a sustaining 
membership to sustain the branch..

By trying to pretend that you bought all rights assigned to any members, 
you are missing what may be your actual legitimate complaint, so let's get 
back to it.

The kingdom, not the corporation, can decide what kind of memberships count 
towards local branch status.  If you don't think the kingdom's decision is 
correct in this case, don't complain that the corporation didn't give you 
all the rights it claimed that family membership will get you.  Instead, 
you should petition the kingdom to change kingdom law.

It's possible that you'll succeed -- that the requirements for a shire 
might be changed from 5 sustaining memberships to some larger number, let's 
say 10, memberships of any type.  (I don't think a single family of 5 can 
sustain a shire for the long term, so I'm pretty sure that any change in 
type would include a change in number.)

But please stop acting as if you were promised that all memberships would 
be treated as sustaining.  That promise was never made, and will never be 

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin

P.S. Right now would be a poor time to try to loosen membership 
requirements, though.  The kingdom officers have spent years trying to help 
several branches to get more members to be more viable, and it hasn't 

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