An Early Edition of the Society’s Governing Documents

The Society for Creative Anachronism is governed by a collection of documents known as the Organizational Handbook, which includes both the bylaws of the modern-day not-for-profit corporation (SCA, Inc.) and the policies that govern the “in-game” historical re-creation activities and the volunteer bureaucracy that supports it (“Corpora”).

These documents emerged incrementally over the first decade of the Society, as the initial leadership established a structure for the organization. Bylaws were established in 1969 and supplemented over the following years by a body of decisions made by the Board referred to as Corpora. By 1979 the framework had taken on a recognizable form organized along similar lines to the rules we use today.

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Explicit Consent May Be Required to Publish Society Names in Europe

When I wrote a rough draft of the SCA Release Forms Handbook back in 2021, I incorporated a distinction reflecting practice here in the East Kingdom: participants’ modern names are considered personal information and must not be published by the Society without their explicit consent — the same rules that apply to their home address and other real-world contact details — but their Society names are considered “in-game” attributes and their publication doesn’t require any paperwork.

Following the release of the Handbook in 2023, folks from Drachenwald mentioned that their interpretation was different; under the European GDPR, Society names could be seen as “information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person,” and thus protected as personal data, which should not be published without consent.

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Society Membership Trends

During a recent discussion of levels of Society participation, I was asked about long-term trends in overall membership numbers.

As it happens, I had previously extracted some of the relevant figures from other sources — some of which showed up in a post about kingdom-level breakdowns — but hadn’t gotten around to publishing the older numbers here, because the data is incomplete and would benefit from additional review and cleanup.

That said, even if the specific numbers are taken with a grain of salt, the overall pattern shown here is likely of interest to others, so I might as well share this as a work-in-progress.

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Can Onlookers Report Harassment of Minors?

In the wake of an unpleasant interaction at a local event, I wrote to the Society Seneschal to ask about the correct way for observers to file reports regarding inappropriate behavior towards youth.

In response I was informed that “there are no policies that limit who can report concerns about such actions,” although I didn’t receive a response to my follow-up asking for additional details.

A few weeks later the same subject came up during East Kingdom Curia, when the Kingdom Seneschal mentioned that harassment reports regarding minor participants should only be filed by parents or guardians, and could not be initiated by other observers.

This interpretation was confirmed via email — “it is up to the legal guardian / parent to file a report” — along with an indication that this is an established Society-wide policy.

I’m not sure what to make of the gap between these two explanations.

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Coping With Increased Society Fees

The Society has just announced an increase in fees, as decided at last weekend’s Board meeting. Annual membership fees are increasing by $10 per year, while the costs of additional family members and non-member event participation are increasing by $5 each.

Here are a few tips for folks unfamiliar with the Society membership system:

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In Support of the East Kingdom Rapier Crown Variance

Earlier this month, the East Kingdom’s royals submitted a request for a variance that would allow the Spring 2024 crown tournament to be determined via a rapier contest rather than rattan armored combat as has been the practice for the last five decades.

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East Kingdom Curia Feedback Regarding Youth Combat

One of the core elements in Society governance is the periodic updating of each kingdom’s laws by the reigning monarchs, in consultation with the kingdom’s officers and baronage. The East Kingdom’s next Curia meeting will be held on February 1, and as several of the proposed changes would affect the Youth Combat program, I wrote in to voice my perspective.

My correspondence is attached below, along with the proposed changes to current kingdom law.

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KEM Authorization Policy Reversed

As part of the fallout from the Wistric Saga, in July 2022 the Society Seneschal ruled (or “interpreted”) that Kingdom Earl Marshals could singlehandedly issue martial authorizations, including in disciplines for which they were not warranted.

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Corporate and Society Inclusion Offices

The Board is soliciting feedback on a change to the governing documents that would affect DEIB efforts.

It looks like they are both creating a DEIB Society Officer (who would coordinate in-game kingdom and local DEIB offices), and separating that office from the Corporate Office of Inclusive Programs (which would be focused on corporate and Board support).

I’m glad they seem to be taking these efforts seriously, although of course the devil is in the details.

Email Is A Social Media Platform

TL;DR: There are no clear Society-wide policies regarding mailing lists; I’ve made a recommendation that they should be covered by the Society Social Media Policies.

Electronic mail has been around for my entire lifetime (give or take a couple of weeks) and is so pervasive that it fades into the background, ceding attention to the showy titans of social media that have emerged over the last two decades. But if the historical sequence were reversed, and email was introduced today, we’d likely see it as a natural evolution of that ecosystem — another social media platform.

Or at least that’s how it seems to me, which is why in discussions of SCA policy I’ve always assumed that the Society guidelines for social media — about offensive content, or copyright, or a dozen other topics — also applied to email.

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