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Group of Latter Day Roleplayers

9 Post author: Cyan 15 May 2011 09:31PM

The Society for Creative Anachronism started as a backyard graduation party for a medieval studies student and grew to 32,000 members as of 2008. Does anyone have any insight into how that happened? Of particular interest would be any intersection between the SCA's mode of growth and the usual modes of growth of religions (keeping in mind that not every intersection would be worth incorporating into a strategy for raising the sanity waterline by spreading LW-style ideas and approaches).

Comments (22)

Comment author: hairyfigment 16 May 2011 01:56:30AM 11 points [-]

My cache immediately returned this.

I chose that particular page chiefly because it has links to parts 1 and 2. But if you want to apply it to LW, we certainly don't lack "authenticity police".

Comment author: Nornagest 17 May 2011 06:28:13AM 0 points [-]

I'm going to nth everyone else saying that this deserves more exposure. It's possibly the most insightful piece of writing on the subject of group dynamics that I've read for months.

Comment author: badger 17 May 2011 05:32:22AM 0 points [-]

This is worth its own post.

Comment author: jsalvatier 16 May 2011 03:41:28AM 0 points [-]

Quite interesting.

Comment author: Eneasz 17 May 2011 04:14:37AM 0 points [-]

Amazingly interesting, I wish I could upvote multiple times. Instead I'm just showing it to everyone I know.

Comment author: Perplexed 15 May 2011 11:33:48PM 9 points [-]

It is worth considering the obvious explanations. They do visually interesting, fun looking stuff in public. Passers by watch, ask questions, take home the brochure, and then bring friends to watch the next event.

If someone has an idea as to how LW can pull off a variation on that trick, I would love to hear about it.

Comment author: curiousepic 16 May 2011 03:21:49AM 7 points [-]

Sounds like a job for the Historical Pre-enactment Society.

Comment author: Desrtopa 15 May 2011 10:38:56PM 16 points [-]

Particularly in the context of recent discussions, I assumed that this would be about a group that role plays being Mormons.

Comment author: Emile 16 May 2011 06:54:20AM 13 points [-]

It's called Dogs in the Vineyard, and I heard it's a pretty good game (I played it once, which isn't enough to make a lasting impression). Apparently Mormons like it too.

Comment author: Cyan 16 May 2011 12:19:46PM 1 point [-]

I had no idea such a game existed when I decided on the title.

Comment author: Alicorn 15 May 2011 10:39:23PM 14 points [-]

That sounds... like more fun than is has any business being.

Comment author: Aleksei_Riikonen 16 May 2011 01:00:28AM *  4 points [-]

I expected this to be about how many Mormons one runs into these days don't really seem to be serious about their religious beliefs, but are instead just going along for the social benefits of belonging to a community that in some ways seems to work. (I.e. how many Mormons actually seem to be pretty similar to typical secularized somewhat-sensible-and-moderate Christians, despite stereotypes of them being more serious regarding their religion.)

Comment author: SilasBarta 16 May 2011 10:18:29PM 2 points [-]

I have it on good authority that Mormons spend every waking hour role-playing real-world Mormons.

Comment author: Cyan 15 May 2011 11:20:30PM 3 points [-]

One of the dangers of "clever" titles.

Comment author: Cyan 15 May 2011 09:59:07PM *  2 points [-]

I wish I had some way of tapping patrissimo's dad for insight here.

Comment author: gwern 15 May 2011 10:33:33PM 0 points [-]

If that entry is correct, he may well have already written about the topic; why not ping patrissimo and ask?

Comment author: Cyan 15 May 2011 11:21:41PM 0 points [-]

I took your suggestion and sent him a PM.

Comment author: atucker 16 May 2011 02:28:31AM 0 points [-]

If you want an answer, I suggest googling around for his preferred public contact email address, I'm not sure how often he checks LW.

Comment author: Cyan 16 May 2011 02:41:27AM 0 points [-]

On May 1st on his blog he solicited feedback on an LW post in progress, so I expect he'll be around here sooner rather than later.

Comment author: gwern 15 May 2011 10:31:43PM *  3 points [-]

I actually spoke with an old SCA member at ICON 2011 on just this topic; he had mentioned that there were 3rd and (he claimed) 4th generation SCA members, and I asked how SCA could endure like that.

Eventually we/him/one of us concluded that part of the explanation was that SCA had something for everyone - the guys could dig into the martial arts aspect while the women could dive into the dress-up (I mean, costumes? Outfits? Cosplay?) and cooking.

Comment author: arundelo 16 May 2011 02:20:08AM 8 points [-]

David Friedman writes about the place of children in the SCA (and how it has unfortunately changed):

I was taught to use a sewing machine by a twelve year old girl; a few years later she was the moving spirit behind a puppet theater. But that has gradually changed. More and more over the years, children who come to SCA events are expected, not to help set up the hall or cook the dinner or run the event, but to attend "children's activities."

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 May 2011 12:31:10PM 3 points [-]

The word you're looking for is "garb".

Of course, there are men who make and wear elaborate garb (the idea that wanting to wear fancy clothes is unmasculine is a fairly recent innovation as far as I can tell), and women who fight.

The SCA doesn't exactly have something for everybody (for example, I have a strong preference for sf fandom), but it does have something for both those who want a costume party and those who want to do carefully researched recreation of period skills.

One advantage of recreating the good parts of a past society is that there's a full human range of activities-- cooking, games, fighting, etc.

One thing the SCA does well is to have fighting awards, service awards, and arts and sciences awards. All we've got is posting to LW awards.