I have come to a conclusion recently, that has well, depressed me. I have realized that one of the things I hate the most about the SCA is also one of the things I love about the SCA.
I have been saying for a while that we make it impossible for people to serve. Someone steps up to do something, or goes ahead and does something, they get hiot with a ton of questions and second guessing and criticism:
‘You should have used blue.’
‘Thats not obvious…’
‘Did you involve Xingrot? He has experience with that.’
‘Hey, you pissed on my corn flakes….’
etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. To the point where the person quits, or never volunteers to do anything again. I have certainly been both the recipeint and the obstruction, and if you dont think that you have, well, you are lieing to yourself.
You know what I love about the SCA? We want everyone to be included. We want people to feel some ownership and like they can contribute.
So, how do we balance these things? Conventional wisdom is to always start off with a compliment. Reality says that the listener hears everything after the word but.
For example, what you say is “Its fantastic that you used a period recipe, but did you really have to make beer with chicken in it?”
What they hear is “You made beer with chicken? What are you some sort of crack smoking sheba monkey? Thats disgusting!”
What they are thinking is “Fuck off, I didn’t have to make beer and bring it for everyone to drink.” And chances are they wont brew beer to bring to a gathering again.
For beer, substitute an event they autocratted, garb they made, a web site, an officers hand book, etc. etc. etc.
The problem is who ever did the thing is sitting there, proud of their accomplishment, and no matter how hard we try, criticism is going to come across as, well, critical. And that is going to be a blow to the ego.
No answers here, just frustrations.