[Bards] in response to Esther

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Tue Oct 31 14:08:08 PST 2006

I have a Ph.D. in Operations Research, which is the mathematics of optimization and decision theory.  It is an elementary principle of optimization that, before you can decide what is "best", you have to decide how "best" is measured.  You need an "objective function" -- a measurement of any possible setup which precisely determines what setup is better than abnother.

What is your objective function?  What are you trying to make bigger or smaller or more popular, or more effective, or whatever?  Until you know what purpose would be served by your "qualifier" for Kingdom Eisteddfod, you can't tell whether a given proposal is better or worse.

So what's the point of having qualifiers?  Don't tell me your proposal -- whether you want branch bards, or ex-Premier Bards, or whatever.  What is the goal of having qualifiers?  Until we agree on that, there's no point in discussing various proposals, just as there's no point arguing over what highway to take until we know what ciy we want to reach.

Here's mine:
I want Kingdom Eisteddfod to be an event that bards can come to and enjoy participating in, resulting in a Premier Bard we can all respect.

It's not true that all the current branch bards are better competitors than all those who don't currently hold the title, just as it's not true that all the baronial champions are better fighters than those who don't currently hold a title.  Therefore, holding a current local bard's title has no value for me as an entrance requirement.

I don't think telling anybody who wants to enter that he or she is ineligible serves any worthwhile purpose.  I don't think making somebody take on the job of focussing on a single branch this year because he wants to travel around the kingdom focussing on the whole kingdom serves any purpose.  It would lead to local bards who did not particularly want to be the bard of that particular group, but who needed it as a stepping stone to what they really wanted.

If a bard wants to enter Premier Bard and can't, then that lessens the event for me.
If a bard becomes a group bard for any other reason than to be bard of that group, then that lessens the local competition for me.

What's the goal?  We need a goal before a proposal to achieve it.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
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