This seems like a small step in the right direction — for many years that there has been a concern that the Board was too insular and insufficiently responsive to new ideas from the populace, and allowing any sitting member to unilaterally veto a candidate makes change extremely difficult.
I think more sweeping changes are needed, but we shouldn’t let a quest for revolutionary utopia throw up hurdles to incremental improvement, so I’ve written to the Board in support of the proposal.
Thank you to Thomas Blackmoore for recognizing the effort I’ve put in to the still-in-progress IT Policies handbook.
Commendations: Matthew Cavaletto, Eben Kurtzman, Daniel McEwan, and Nicolas Milano for their work on the proposed IT policies and Hunter Eidson, Lewis Tanzos, and Russ Smith for their troubleshooting efforts on the server during Pennsic.
While working up some feedback on a draft Society policy document, I noticed a reference to the SCA’s “Corporate Officers” and was reminded of the fact that I didn’t have a clear understanding of the distinction between Corporate Officers, Society Officers, and other members of the organization’s central leadership team — categories that I would like to be able to explain to folks here in my local branch.
As I should have guessed, the answers can be found in a careful reading of the Society’s Governing Documents. The SCA, Inc corporate officers are listed in the Corporate Bylaws paragraph VII.A.1, while the Society officers are listed in Corpora section VI.
TL;DR: If you write or manage software for the SCA, I’d love to get your feedback on this proposed license agreement intended to document the Society’s ability to continue using and maintaining the software even if you someday become unavailable.
Given the high proportion of technical professionals in the Society’s ranks, it is no surprise that the SCA has a long history of informal software development: folks developing small custom applications to facilitate some part of their office’s or local group’s operations. However, this process has by-and-large been uncoordinated, and policy for it has been slow to coalesce.
One recurrent issue in this area has been the lack of clear licensing practices. In a few cases, copyright has explicitly been transferred to the Society, but in the majority of cases the issue has not been considered, leaving the copyright in the hands of the original developer. In most cases, there is no written license agreement, which is usually fine while the original developer remains involved in local activities, but can become problematic if they move away or drop out of Society activities, as nobody knows for sure if the group has the right to to continue using the software, to make changes to it, or to share it with other branches of the SCA.
The SCA and its various US subsidiaries appear in the new “Nonprofit Explorer” system from Pro Publica, which aggregates and summarizes Form 990 tax filings. (Note that there are separate corporate filings for some states but not all; there there are about a dozen state-level subsidiaries as well as two event-specific groupings.)
The returns for 2022 have not yet been included, so the major hit taken when activities were halted by Covid is highlighted, and the subsequent (partial) recovery is not yet visible.
In April 2015, the Society’s Publications Office undertook a survey, variously referred to as the “Evolution of SCA Communications” or “Newsletter & Communications Survey,” which asked participants about the channels they used to obtain information about SCA activities.
At the next quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors, the Publications Office submitted a flurry of proposed policies and actions based on the survey results.
In a couple of recent discussions as part of our local NYC chapter of the SCA, folks have expressed concern about running afoul of the city’s notoriously-strict knife law.
Obviously that law was written to deal with people being menaced or attacked on the street, rather than to crack down on our local fencing practice, but it’s reasonable to wonder whether a well-intentioned historical re-creationist might get caught in the same net.
During a period of half a year, three members of the Society’s Board of Directors resigned in succession. Resignations from the Board are not unknown, but they are uncommon; I believe the last one before these three was around a decade ago.
The reasons in each case were different, and I am not aware of any overall narrative that ties them all together, but it is notable (and unfortunate) that in a Society that is overwhelmingly white but struggling to be more inclusive, all three of the directors who resigned were Black.
On the last weekend of August, the Crown Prince of Ansteorra (the SCA kingdom that covers Oklahoma and most of Texas) attended the coronation of the new prince and princess of the kingdom of Álendia. The Ansteorran Prince was there as an invited guest, honored as a visiting royal, and made a short speech to “extend an olive branch” to their populace.
Society royals visit other kingdoms all the time, but Álendia isn’t part of the SCA — it’s the sole kingdom of SMA, the Society of the Middle Ages, a splinter group formed in 2021 by folks who felt the SCA was “too woke.” While there are some interesting elements in their organization, the primary difference is one of modern politics: SMA is a haven for MAGA folks, including anti-maskers, Euro-centrists, and those whose racism, misogyny, homophobic, or anti-trans bias leaves them out of synch with the SCA’s efforts to be more inclusive. Notably, among its earliest members are a number of people who were sanctioned or kicked out of the SCA via an R&D (Revocation of Membership and Denial of Participation), as well as their sympathizers.