ANSTHRLD - Further clarification... Star has spoken!

Timothy A. McDaniel tmcd at
Sat Feb 27 09:16:38 PST 1999

I'm going thru some recent mail I'd saved for reply but never got
around to.  This discussion was about e-mail as an medium for official
communication.  I was interested to see people reading things that
weren't written.

Manfred von Wolf:
> I think what seems to be missing from this discussion is courtesy.
> Not everyone has access to an electronic medium; however the Postal
> Service delivers to all points in Ansteorra.  So it is a courtesy to
> those without email to accept/require reports and other formal
> documents on paper.

What?  Nobody ever suggested making e-mail the *only* medium for
official communication.  Paper sent by some means will be acceptable

Lord Stephen macThomas:
> I think it's bad form to allow a formal method of communication that
> some of us do not have access to.

I strongly disagree with this dog-in-the-manger attitude.

Two major Ansteorran heralds now work for the same company and send
documents between cities by inter-office mail, faster and more
reliably than the USPS (as I recall).  Should they be forbidden to use
it because nobody else can?  Should someone who frequently drives to
events be forbidden to courier things?  (As a digression: Star in part
of 1994 didn't have a working phone ...)

Dog in the manger, I say; it's no skin off anyone else's neck how two
consenting adults communicate *UNTIL* it affects others, and long-term
record-keeping is such an issue.

> Electronic correspondence has a tendency to disappear on both sides.
> (I myself am working on my third laptop in a month's time and could
> not possibly retrieve information I mailed or received a month ago.)

I'm not trying to pour salt on an open wound, with a rubbing
alcohol chaser, but ...

It's been common knowledge for years that computers sometimes fail and
destroy the information stored on them.  That's why backup systems are
so necessary.  If I store any useful information on a computer and
don't back it up frequently, it's like putting my office files in a
cardboard box on the lawn and praying for drought.  Backups are part
of the due care and diligence of the office.

Something being in paper does not mean that it'll be kept.  I just
handed over the Bordure files: it was a moving box (book size) and a
bag.  What I got from my predecessor: nothing.  He explained that he
lived in a small place and didn't have room to store anything.  (My
thought: not even a copy of your own LoIs?!?  A block of paper
8.5"x11"x2", maybe?!?)  I believe no other Ansteorran heralds saved
their copies because they knew Bordure was saving them.

All that said: after thinking about it more, I'm agnostic about Star's
policy but inclined to support it.  I printed most every important
Bordure-related incoming message and put the electronic copy into a
special computer file, but I may have missed a few.  Also, my mailer
didn't have a convenient way to print or file outgoing mail (I had to
go to the sent-mail folder and print or save from that), so I don't
think I saved as many of them.

However, the same problem can arise for outgoing paper mail.  If it's
handwritten, it's much more of a pain to find a copier; on a
typewriter, carbon paper is a bit of a bother; but if it's from a
computer, it's usually easy to print two copies of the letter and hit
one with the big red FILE stamp.  Incoming paper messages are easier
to be disciplined about: they'll sit there accusingly on the floor
until you do something with them, and short of an accident or a
whimsical pet you'd have to deliberately destroy them to lose them.

Basically, Star should require good record-keeping, whatever the
medium.  As a start, Star should require all of sections XII
(Principality/Regional Herald) and XIII (Local Heralds and Heralds at
Large) of the SCA College of Arms Administrative Handbook, with every
"may" or "should" changed to "shall".  There's really not much there.
They basically boil down to "make your required financial reports;
keep a copy of every scrap of paper that comes TO you, FROM you, or
THRU you; do other duties as assigned".

At one point Serena was doing archiving for the Ansteorran CoH, but I
now have the dim impression she's resigning.  Anyone have info, or was
that just my smoking monkey crack?

Daniel "next: how to photocopy a carrier pigeon" de Lincolia
- -- 
Tim McDaniel (home); Reply-To: tmcd at; 
if that fail, tmcd at is my work address.
Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

More information about the Heralds mailing list