[Bards] Just a few words (really good words

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Tue Nov 7 06:50:21 PST 2006

Finnacan asked me:

> Robin, do you really think that a meeting at an event will get more
> participation?
> I would have thought this list would reach more people compared to an
> event.
> Seriously. I'm curious if I'm miscalculating.
> I can assure you that a lot of folks are reading these threads that are
> saying nothing (which in and of itself is an ominous sign when hoping
> to formalize an all-inclusive community structure).

A.  Yes, of course a meeting will reach more people.  We have around a dozen 
participants, and only about half that number deeply involved.  Back in the 
early eighties, when the kingdom was one third its current size, we never 
had a meeting that small.

B. I'm not advocating a meeting.  I'm advocating a series of meetings and 
informal private conversations, all over the kingdom.  I hope people get 
together out west.  I hope they get together up north.  I volunteered to 
hold one at Twelfth Night, not because I want it based in the central 
region, but because that's the only place I have a living room.

C. I can't tell anything from the lurkers on this list.  Quiet people at a 
meeting are at least nodding or frowning, clearly excited or clearly bored. 
At the end of a meeting, I can have a sense of what the group as a whole 
believes, so even the people with nothing to say have been counted and 

D. Yesterday I asked people to tell us whether they want an extension of the 
kingdom structure run by kingdom officers or a co-op run by the bards 
themselves.  To date, we've gotten responses from Willow, Saundra, Michael, 
Alden, and Maggie.  By contrast, once any major point has been debated at a 
meeting, we can ask for a show of hands on each side.  Everyone present will 
express an opinion.

E. Discussions at a meeting are much more effective.  I have only been able 
to express the surface here, and have spent *many* hours doing so.  In a one 
hour meeting, people would get all the answeres about the old college they 
want -- answers that I don't have time to write down, and that I would not 
put in an archivable form in any event.

E. I'm not advocating meetings instead of this list; I'm advocating meetings 
in addition to this list.  The meeting plus the list is bigger than the list 
alone.  Why isn't that obvious?

F. We have been worried about whether certain regions will be left out.  I 
think it's an equal concern whether the people who don't spend hours on the 
Internet get left out.  We don't want this to be just the Central Region, or 
just the Southern Region.  I'm even more concerned that it doesn't become 
just the E-Region.  Lots of bards can't, or won't, be part of this list, 
including both of my apprentices.  That's why we can never afford to depend 
on this list as the college's primary means of communication.

G. I teach graduate statistics, and the following is a crucial statistical 
point.  People on this list are, in at least one behavioral aspect, 
different from the rest of Ansteorra's bards.  It is an elemental result of 
statistics that a self-selected group is inherently unrepresentative of the 
population.  I don't want to discuss it with just the singers, or just the 
old bards like you, me and Willow.  We would get a "consensus" that doesn't 
represent the entire body of kingdom bards.  For the exact same reasons, I 
don't want us to consult just the online bards.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin 

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