Group of Latter Day Roleplayers

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).

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

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

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.

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

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.)

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

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".

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.

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

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.

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.

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."

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.

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

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

I took your suggestion and sent him a PM.

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.

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.