[Bards] Just a few words (really good words

Scott Barrett barrett1 at cox.net
Tue Nov 7 08:25:23 PST 2006

> 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.
Actually, you make my point here. I don't see how a majority of the 
working bards in the Kingdom can have a voice in personal meetings due 
to the sheer size of the kingdom. The idea that some folks ought to 
have meetings in their area and present the opinions of their fellow 
bards at Twelfth Night is worth looking into, as you mention next, but 
you'll never have a single meeting that effectively speaks to the 
majority of active bards in this kingdom. At this point, I'm beginning 
to wonder if the college shouldn't have regional branches, which I'm 
not too enthused about.

> 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.
Is there no way to arrange for space and time at Twelfth night? If not, 
I understand, what with Eisteddfod and all, but I thought I'd ask. You 
are in a better position to know that or see what can be done. I have 
no issue with your living room, I just thinking asking folks to be at a 
different location on the Sunday afterwards could hurt attendance.
A number of performers could also perceive that meeting as "a gathering 
of Robin's pals" whether that is true or not.

> 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
> considered.
I agree with the value of a meeting, I'm just worried about the 

> 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.

Obviously, I can understand that.
> 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.

Not to mention that you are much more charming in person.
> 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?

Because you've come across as rather unhappy that any discussion was 
occurring here at all.
> 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.
I would like to know what form of communication you think will satisfy 
our needs. I can see announcements in the Black Star for meetings, but 
not all bards are paid members, in fact I doubt even half are paid. I 
can see some sort of phone tree, but not all bards are comfortable 
giving out their phone numbers, some don't have phone numbers and an 
officer would be required just to maintain that list and make the 
calls. Physical mail is too cost prohibitive. What should be our 
primary means of communication? I understand that not everyone has 
email, but the archives of this list and our site can be viewed at 
friends houses or the local library. As for those who won't be a part 
of the list, I'm curious as to why but hey, it's their choice.

> 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

Neither do I. That is why when I summarized the College statement with 
comments of what has been discussed so far, I said folks should call 
friends and fellow bards, print it out, make marks on it, get feedback 
away from the computer.
The thread is called "Summary thus far" and can be seen in the archives 
of this mailing list.
I never claimed that online communication should be our only form of 
communication, but I'm not convinced it won't be the primary due to 
it's availability everywhere. I'm liking the idea of numerous meetings, 
wherein polls could be taken to determine if a college is wanted, if it 
should have kingdom deputies for officers, if the premier bard should 
be an officer, if the college should have it's own officers and what 
boundaries and rules those groups want spelled out. Presenting that at 
a central meeting like Twelfth night sounds doable. I can conduct 
polling at Weisenfeuer's Yule Revel.
And I'm gonna offer suggestions and comments here as usual, while 
encouraging further use of this list among my fellows.


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