ES - Are we welcoming enough?

Paul Mitchell pmitchel at
Sun May 17 22:05:08 PDT 1998

Galen's back.

Richard Threlkeld wrote:
> If I may attempt an answer, your Grace.

Umm, actually, Duchess Willow (and other Dukes & Duchesses)
are "your Grace".  I'm a mere "Excellency".

> I am new enough to easily remember my first encounters with the
> SCA (and it was Elfsea).  You were, in fact, the second person
> I met and were exceptionally gracious.

Oh good.  You caught me on a good day.  I don't always come
off so well.

> The problem you mention derives from the authority that a "brass hat"
> carries (and that seems even greater to the new player).  You might
> use that authority to ask someone to mentor the potential player during
> the current event and ask the mentor to tell them about titles
> and such.  This would reduce the impact of being told you goofed
> up on addressing such a high person.  In fact, I was told something
> like that "She should be addressed as Your Grace, but don't
> worry about it.  We don't expect you to know such things until
> you've been in the SCA a little while.  Try calling everyone
> Lord or Lady when you don't know.  They won't take offence."

Which is good advice.  But titles in the SCA are more like
references than ranks.  They really don't carry authority,
just a few perks.  And if I'm drafting people to be mentors,
I'm probably abusing whatever influence I have.  Our Baron
and Baroness could draft people for such a duty, though.

> The mentor is there to answer the mirad of questions that a
> new player will ask.  Our social fabric is very complicated
> and requires some study.  After 1.5 years, I still need help
> with some of it.  Luckily, many are willing and gracious about
> providing it to me even though I am not still a new player.

Oh, sure you are.  At 19 years, Duke Sigmund and Duchess Willow 
have each recently bestowed "oldtimer" status on me, so you have
a long way to go.

> Mentoring, by the way, teaches you a lot about our society.  Most
> of the questions are easily answered from your own experience, but
> some require you to ask others or research.  It also reminds you
> what new people want to know and what they need to learn quickly
> to enjoy the experience.

I'm usually pretty good at answering "customs and courtesies"
questions, and I usually know who best can answer questions about
the rules.  

> In service to the dream, Ansterroa, and Elfsea,
> Caelin

In my experience, what new people want to know varies
widely.  Some are intrigued with fighting, others with
heraldry, others with music.  Some are fascinated by titles,
and what to know what to do to earn them.  I'm happy to
share my perspectives with anyone, but I doubt anyone would
be well-served to be spoon-fed _only_ my perspectives.

- Galen
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