A Decade of Sanctions

There has been a recent spate of interest in the number of Society-level sanctions issued by the SCA in recent years. This information is publicly available, as it is contained in the meeting minutes of the Board of Directors, but it isn’t organized in a consistent fashion, so counting the records is perforce a manual process.

To facilitate this type of analysis, I am making available a list of sanctions-related actions extracted from the quarterly Board minutes for the decade from 2013 to 2022. These records are found in a Google Sheets document linked to below, along with a statistical breakdown of action types by calendar year.

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Archived Board Minutes

For various reasons (ahem), a number of folks have recently been interested in reviewing the minutes of previous Board meetings, but unfortunately the recent replacement of the Society’s “member portal” means that those archives are currently unavailable.

As it turns out, I have been collecting Board minutes for some time and figured I’d share my collection for those who are interested.

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Letter: Reconsideration of Sanction of Brian De Moray

I have sent the following letter regarding the sanction of Brian De Moray to the Society Seneschal, the Board Comments address, and the Ombudsman for IT, with copies to the Society IT Manager, Society Webminister, East Kingdom Webminister, and Brian De Moray himself. As always, I included my modern name and member number. Receipt was acknowledged less than two minutes later; I suspect they’re having a busy weekend over there. I will update if further action is taken.

To the Society’s Seneschal and Board of Directors, greetings from the East.

I write to you today to ask you to reconsider the January 2020 sanction of Brian De Moray, as the information available in the public record suggests that this decision may have been made in error.

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The Sanction of Brian De Moray

TL;DR: Brian De Moray is a Master of Defense and of the Pelican in Atlantia, who was sanctioned by the Society in January 2020 for an innocuous 113-word Facebook post commenting on software development work he was doing as a volunteer for the kingdom.

As far as I can tell from the information available to me, this sanction appears to have been an error, made in haste by a Board that misinterpreted some technical jargon they didn’t understand, and should be reversed.

I first became aware of this case when it was mentioned in the context of the Wistric Saga, being discussed by Aeron Harper in the second part of his “Tale of Six Sanctions” essay. Aeron’s article was focused on the procedures and policies of the sanctions process, and understandably glossed over some of the technical details, but as a software developer, my curiosity was piqued.

At the time, I was disappointed to learn that Brian was reluctant to discuss the details for fear of additional sanction, but ten days later he published additional information, including technical details of his work, after the Chairman of the Board of Directors assured him that he would not be sanctioned a second time for the same offense.

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The SCA Lists Archive Breach

TL/DR: An SCA IT web configuration error exposed confidential email messages.

  • For three years, the SCA mistakenly published all email sent to Board of Directors’ feedback address, allowing anyone on the Internet to read messages that had been sent in confidence, including reports of harassment and sexual assault.
  • If you emailed sca-comments@sca.org between March 6, 2020 and February 2, 2023, you should be aware that the message you sent is no longer secret and has likely been read by other people outside of the organization’s leadership.
  • Six mailing lists used by committees for internal communication were also affected.
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Petition for Restructuring the Leadership of the SCA

In the wake of recent drama, a petition is circulating that calls for the restructuring of the Society’s leadership. It is organized by Iselda de Narbonne, who recently advocated for transparency in the Wistric case, and whose partner Aeron Harper wrote the A Tale of Six Sanctions report.

The petition is light on specifics about the changes being called for, and I’m not convinced that the “call in a consultant” approach is guaranteed to solve things — but I can sympathize with the central thrust of the initiative: something fundamental about the Society’s system of leadership and governance is out of alignment, and significant change is required to address it.

The petition was originally announced on Facebook, but I’ve gathered the relevant links for the convenience of folks who avoid that platform.

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Kingdom Membership Numbers

The SCA publishes historical membership numbers on its website, but sadly those are posted as individual PDFs by year, which makes it hard to view the long-term trends.

(There are also a few unfortunate gaps, including all of 2021, and a few places where the data seems anomalous, like Northshield in April 2022, but there’s not much I can do about that.)

In order to make such long-term analysis easier, I’ve copied the numbers from 2013 on into a single spreadsheet. I’ve attempted to adjust for variations in formatting; please let me know if you spot any transcription errors!

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Implicit Transfer of Copyright in Official SCA Documents

I’ve long been curious about the legal reasoning behind a carve-out in the Society’s release-form policies which stated that it is not necessary to obtain written consent when publishing routine operational communications.

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