Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

A not-half-bad policy document

In an interesting bit of timing, the new SCA Social Media Policy was just published. It's worth a read if you are interested in the subject.

Overall, it's not a bad first crack. I think my main concern is that it's likely to be slightly chilling simply because it's very long and legalistic. The actual content, though, is decent: mostly a statement of rules that should be common sense, and even one or two that are better than average. (Eg, an explicit statement that if something's been publicly released, you don't need to get a separate SCA release form for it.) I think that experienced online geeks will find most of it fairly obvious, but there's nothing especially objectionable in it.

From a purely memetic POV, it does have one fairly significant, but totally unsurprising, problem: it is *so* concerned about officers representing the SCA, Inc properly that it may well interfere subtly with officers working as community leaders. That is, it has the usual chain-of-command view of things, and doesn't even really acknowledge the role of officers within the community. That's a very indirect problem, but reinforces the general notion (which, see previous rant, I think is pretty damaging) of viewing the world through a top-down lens. In the context of social media that's unfortunate, since these tools are most effectively used with a more informal, bottom-up style.

Hmm; I'm being opaque. Putting it another way: the document is all concerned about using social media for information dissemination (at which it is mediocre) and moderation of communications -- that is, how and when to *restrict* communication. What is much more needed -- and which I hope somebody is thinking about already -- is some guidelines for how to use it to foster informal, light-touch, decentralized communication within the SCA community. That's what social media is best at, and it can be a powerful tool when used well. Many people in the SCA do *not* know how to use it well, and this document is mainly about damage limitation. We could probably use one focused more on effective use.

I'm never fond of rules, and I wish this was written as a friendlier set of guidelines instead of a forbidding set of IV.d.3.X-style laws. But points for at least getting the content mostly right...
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