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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Update: Branches Can Create Their Own Facebook Events

TL;DR: SCA branches can create their own Facebook events using their official Facebook page identity without going through the KSMO; however, some kingdoms might impose additional requirements for kingdom-level events.

Earlier this year I posted about an annoying stricture of paragraph IV.C.3.d. of the SCA Social Media Handbook which specified that “On Facebook, Events are to be created through Official Kingdom Pages.”

The one problematic word there is “kingdom” — because it means that local branches have to coordinate all of their Facebook events with the Kingdom’s social media officer, and in the East that means that over fifty branches have to funnel their hundreds and hundreds of Facebook events through a single individual.

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Recent Board Minutes Posted

The minutes from the first two quarterly meetings of the SCA Board of Directors for 2023 have now been posted to their website in the usual location, along with the minutes from the first four conference calls of the year:

Correspondence follows, for those curious.

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SCA To End Emailing of Credit Card Numbers

The SCA will soon stop asking local event organizers to pay for venue insurance certificates by sending their personal credit card number to the corporate office via email, as it had been doing for the last two decades.

Instead, event organizers will be asked to process those credit card payments on the new membership portal operated by NeonOne, as hinted when the new higher costs for certificates were announced in April.

This change will be well received by Internet security enthusiasts among the membership, who have complained for many years about the practice of sending credit card numbers by email.

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Are Releases Needed to Re-share Social Media?

Someone asked an interesting question over on the Known World Discord server this evening, and after I wrote up my answer I thought I should also post it here (lightly edited) in case it was of use to anyone else:

Is sharing posts from individuals […] acceptable by SCA social media rules for official accounts, or is a written release required?

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Procedures for Reporting IT Vulnerabilities

The SCA does not have an established procedure for reporting or addressing technology security vulnerabilities.

In correspondence with the Society IT Manager, they suggested sending vulnerability notifications by email, either to them, or to the relevant kingdom officers, or both.

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Update: SCA Disclaims Copyright to Heraldic Officers’ Work

Earlier this year I learned that the SCA has long relied on an unwritten interpretation of copyright law that does not seem to be well supported.

I’ve encouraged Society leadership to reconsider this approach, motivated in part by the fact that this would have implications for my work on the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art, but it’s been difficult to make much headway and now a month has passed since my last email without any reply.

While I am not a lawyer, I am profoundly skeptical that the Society’s interpretation holds any water, and so I have decided to move forwards without giving it any credence, as laid out in the letter below.

[Update:] I’m very happy to report that the Society Seneschal has responded, stating that they are not claiming copyright to the armorial depictions produced by heraldic and scribal officers.

It remains unclear to me on what grounds they claim copyright for some creative works created by volunteers but renounce it for others — however, as a first step in the right direction, I am pleased by this declaration.

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Creating Facebook Events

The Social Media Handbook issued in October 2021 introduced a new requirement:

IV.C.3.d. On Facebook, Events are to be created through Official Kingdom Pages rather than Groups. 

SCA Social Media Handbook, page 9

This creates a significant challenge, because local branches can create hundreds of Facebook events every year, and requiring all of those requests to pass through this bottleneck would create a serious burden on the Kingdom Social Media Officer who operates the Official Kingdom Facebook Page, and would likely lead to delays and coordination challenges.

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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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