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The SCA Census
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jducoeur
Howdy, all. Many of you have already heard through other channels, but I'd like to draw your attention to The SCA Census, which is now open for business.

[Disclaimer: this isn't an official statement, it's my personal views. I was originally a core member of the Census Committee; since getting hit by a bit too much Life I've stepped back to more of a kibitzing role, but am still pretty involved.]

The idea of the Census is to get as complete a view as possible of the Society. And for possibly the first time ever, they actually mean the *Society*, not the *Corporation*. We're looking for responses from everybody who has ever been in the SCA: not just the hardcore paid-up members, but the folks who only attend events occasionally, as well as those who were once in the SCA and dropped out. (Indeed, the latter are among the most important category -- the Board is trying to get a better sense of *why* people drop out.) No membership numbers required here, so I'll urge everyone who is or has ever been in the SCA (which is most of my friends) to please go take it.

I'm not going to claim that it's absolutely perfect. There are a few cans of worms that are dear to my heart that the Board didn't want to wrestle with, and we had to trim the thing ruthlessly to keep it down to a vaguely manageable length. But it does represent the hard and sincere work of a lot of good folks, and isn't the usual Board group-think -- there are opportunities to voice your opinion *either* way on some of the major hot-button topics. I strongly encourage Carolingians (always among the more strongly opinionated folks around) to please go make yourselves heard. (And please don't succumb to the temptation to stuff the ballot box or crap like that.)

One particular feature here: unlike the usual secretive nonsense that the SCA is prone to, the results (suitably anonymized) are going to be made available -- that is very deliberately so that more people can crunch the numbers to see what's in there. We had a long discussion early on about interpretation bias, and the decision (which I think was correct) was to make the results public in order to counter that. So if there are some statisticians in the audience, you may want to crack your knuckles and come play in a few months.

There's been some grousing about the timing, and folks implying that the release date was so that the Census would be buried by people distracted by Pennsic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me be clear here: the release date was *my* idea. We simply didn't have enough calendar time to release any earlier, and the original release date was right *after* Pennsic -- that was how the numbers, naively crunched, came out. I argued to compress the schedule a bit so that it would be released at the beginning of Pennsic, so that the Society would have a chance to talk about this stuff while the largest number and diversity were gathered in one place. You can disagree with that, but if you do so, blame me rather than the Board.

Anyway, I encourage y'all to go take the thing, either at Pennsic or at home -- it'll be open for a couple of months. Besides the usual rental machines at Mystic Mail, there is going to be (assuming everything goes right) one laptop dedicated specifically for people who want to take it there. And I particularly encourage you to *talk* about it: this survey is big, complex, and touches on all sorts of crucial issues about the Society's present and future. While it's not a vote, the Board is going to be paying close attention to the results.

[This will be cross-posted to the Carolingian group; if you'd like to, please point people to this thread...]
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I peeked over ealdthryth's shoulder while she was answering it this weekend. The census question with regard to awards looks odd in its breakdown. We had a hard time interpreting one or two categories--it may be an IKAnthro thing, though. Otherwise, it was kind of interesting to see the types of questions that have been put forth and to puzzle out what led to certain questions being asked.

We spent *months* arguing about the questions, so it isn't surprising that they come across as kind of complex. It's a combination of what the Board is specifically interested in, along with a fair amount of what the Committee felt the Board *should* be interested in, passed through a lot of refinement and debate...

I got to the "The SCA currently has peerages for...." question, answered yes, hit next, and found myself on the "Greetings!" page again.

Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 Mac OS X 10.5.8

Tried again in Safari; didn't have this problem.

Heh. I hit *exactly* the same problem, at pretty much the same time. We're talking about it on the Committee list right now, and my best guess is that it's because Ben made a tweak at the time (responding to a specific complaint from earlier today), and it looks like this causes SurveyMonkey to reset all surveys that are open at that time. *Sigh*; there's always something you don't learn until after release.

I'm using Chrome/Windows, and it worked fine the second time through, so my guess is that that's what is up. The one saving grace is that it seems to save your half-completed survey in the session info, so I was able to just "Next" on through the second time.

Just did this. After "peerage awards for..." I was asked for clarification, as expected. The next one was "same-gender couples". Apart from the potentially inappropriate use of "gender" where "sex" is appropriate, I was hoping for opportunity for clarification there too, but it wasn't there. Was this considered and rejected?

Actually, "same-gender" is appropriate, as gender is how you present yourself, and sex is your biology. For some people, those don't match. And there are people with personas that don't match their physical sex. For those reasons, I like "same-gender" in this case.

Hmm. No -- I just don't think anybody brought that up. My own attention was focused on separating Crown vs. Baron, once I realized that it made a difference...

And lo, I have filled it out.

I have to ask - local groups or kingdoms have actually sent out messages to ask inactive members to come back? That was the only answer option that genuinely made me goggle.

Otherwise, nice work. I will be curious to see the numbers in the end.

Not sure specifically which question you're asking about, but wouldn't surprise me...

I'm one of those people who hasn't been active in quite a while. I was curious about that question also.

From one perspective, it's sort of like "what are you waiting for - an engraved invitation?" Are there really people out there for whom the thing keeping them out is that the local group hasn't come knocking? My first impression was "prima donna" though upon thinking more I see other aspects.

On the other hand, as one of those people, contact from "the group/branch" won't help at all. On the other hand, contact from *individuals* who I like, who I respect, and who like and respect me... That would go a lot further. But at this point I'm curmudgeonly, so take it as you will.

There's been some question about the 4th peerage/same gender royalty pages- I've done the census twice- the second time because I didn't get to the same-gender/4th peerage stuff. What factors (other than the screening "do you actually care about this?" question- which I don't THINK I got the first time around) lead into getting to those questions?

Odd. There's "do you care about it", and long before that I believe there is "are you currently active in the SCA?". Don't know what else would be relevant there, but I haven't had much to do with designing the branching structure...

I left the question "have you ever been less involved than you are now?" blank, as I couldn't figure out a way to say that I am pretty inactive right now, without confusing the issue.

"And I particularly encourage you to *talk* about it: this survey is big, complex, and touches on all sorts of crucial issues about the Society's present and future."

In which case, it would nice to have a copy of all the questions available such that one can read them BEFORE filling out the survey. Discussions about what you have already done, don't have the same flavor as what you plan to do.

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