SR - How many stewards does it take...?

Dennis Grace sirlyonel at
Fri Mar 19 12:12:14 PST 1999

Salut Cozyns,

Lyonel aisai.

Well, I have to give Sosha points for style in this debate.  She 
answered my decidedly snippy response with aplomb and grace.  My 
apologies, cozyne, for the unwarranted surliness of my reply.

Still, we do have some points of disagreement that I believe deserve 
further discussion.

First, Sosha said of misspelling my name:
>For this I do apologize.  Eventually I am sure to spell your name

Not a problem.  I know you know my name.  My point was simply that 
errors in written communications can compound differences and present a 
unique set of issues.

On the topic of cohesion:

>There are more than a few in various area's of our region, that I have
>stopped to talk with in eventing, who do see a lack of cohesion.  Bryn
>Gwlad is certainly an area with lots of cohesion to itself.  Yet there
>is a lack noted, and not just by the SR people.  I suggest you look a
>little out side of the Barony.  Regional events indeed will help us
>gain a far better sense of identity. 

Most of the discussion of cohesion I've heard has been related to the 
question of principality:  to P or not to P...  I have looked outside 
the barony.  I see similarities and differences, but no more nor less 
than I saw in the region/principality/kingdom of Artemisia.  I guess 
what I'm really fishing for here is a motive.  If cohesion is your 
*immediate* goal, what is your long range goal?  Do we want cohesion for 
cohesion's sake, or are we trying to forge a principality?  

This is a touchy subject.  Some folks (especially in the three baronies) 
have expressed some concern that this call for cohesion will destroy 
their group identities.  The way that we each run events differs 
slightly--call this a matter of style.  If you run an event by 
committee, you have to select a guiding vision.  Typically, the steward 
acts as the director, selecting and maintaining that vision.  If the 
group is run by committee, you're going to have far more disagreements, 
often about topics that are usually taken for granted within a group.

In response to--
>>  I claimed that a single group can do a more efficient job of 
stewarding an
>> event than a committee from three or more groups.

Sosha claims

>I will disagree.  I think a group should be able to encompass more
>than a fifty mile radius.  We are after all a Region.  A group that is
>not the size of Texas, but was the size of some of the original
>principalities and in one case, I believe, the size of one barony. 
>When Stargate was first formed all zip codes not assigned to a group
>were assigned to it.

Size is not as much an issue here as population centers and distances 
between same.  I would contend that you are still talking about an 
essentially untested and theoretically unsound method.  Until several   
attempts have been made to utilize three groups to coordinate a single 
event, we have no experiential basis for your optimism.  Moreover, I 
have not heard a single argument describing what such a change would 
accomplish beyond the rather vague notion of cohesion.  Personally, I 
doubt that having three sponsoring groups will do much in the way of 
fostering cohesion.  If anything, I expect such an arrangement to breed 
distrust and annoyance.

Sosha offers:
>I will
>be more than happy to sit down, e-mail, telephone, and hash out any
>differences or perceived problems.  In a compromise, not every one
>goes away happy.  Unfortunately that IS where we are at in this stage
>of policy setting.

Well, I hoped that we were doing some hashing out here.  As for 
compromise, I must say I think it's vastly overrated.  A compromise 
between a good idea and a bad one is not a good thing.

Sosha also responds to my claim:

>> Organizing and running a complex event within your own group, where 
>> know the idiosyncrasies of the individuals; where you know the
>> idiosyncrasies of the town, of the suppliers, and of the law 
>> agencies; where you can easily bop over to see the site, check out 
>> feast preparations, see the decorations, and examine the chairs, can 
be a
>> trying experience all by itself.  Trying to do the same thing a 
>> miles away with the help of people you see less frequently and where 
>> are relying heavily on verbal communications is a nightmare I would 
>> wish on any steward.
>Delegation to some one you trust and know to be competent is something
>you would have to do even in a small group.

My description presumes delegation.  I love delegation.  I love 
one-minute management.  I also believe--to steal a coinage--that you 
should trust everyone but cut the cards.  

In response to my--
>> I have already expressed my opinion.  An event run by co-stewards 
>> three areas will present unnecessary difficulties to the stewards.  
I'm not
>> saying it can't be done--I'm saying it's inefficient and accomplishes 

Sosha claims:

>I thank you for your opinion, but I still politely disagree. 
>Efficiency is  what an autocrat makes of it.  If they choose to sit
>and dither around they will be inefficient, however if they dig right
>they can accomplish much in a very short period of time.

But how do you dig right in when the sight is a hundred miles away; when 
the only thing you know about the feast, decorations, and other 
accomadations is what you've been told in email letters; when you are 
unfamiliar with the co-stewards' concepts of promptness and urgency? 

And in response to--
>> --I've *never* stewarded an event without help.  That, too, would be
>> inefficient.

Sosha said:

>You were unclear as to how much help you had.  Was it family,
>household, Baronial.  Each one varies.  They all have certain benefits
>and inherent draw backs.  All that is needed to be added to this
>melting pot of help is regional people.  Surely a small thing. 

In my first letter I said that I confined my delegation to within my 
barony.  Moreover, adding in the help of regional people is not, I've 
tried to say, a small thing.

Too many cooks may not spoil the broth, but too many chefs certainly do.  
I oppose this effort to require gang-stewardship of regional events.  I 
believe it will create undue tension between the groups and create a 
general displeasure with regional activities.  This concerns me because 
it will negatively impact our ability to act as a cohesive unit at war.

lo vostre por vos servir
Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
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