Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Prominent people should be tactful

As has been mentioned in comments, vakkotaur and I went to the Siouxland Renaissance Festival last weekend. This is, IMAO, the best one-weekend faire around, period. The people putting it on put a lot of themselves into the event, and it shows. It's a genuinely fun time. If you're within range of Sioux Falls the first weekend of June next year, I strongly recommend you try it out.

Paul and I are also users of a web board for rennies, At the Faire's The Pub. This board is a gathering place for rennies around the country - primarily the Midwest, but also from other areas as well. There are over 700 registered users. The group is close-knit, and often gathers for invasions in the evenings after faires close - where the crowd is often big enough to take over an entire restaurant.

The Pub is managed by a guy who, by virtue of that, has become something of an authority on faires. He's been to a lot of them, both as a patron and performer, and has assisted with organizing several. He knows the business pretty well, and his observations carry weight.

Unfortunately, sometimes he has the tact of a sleep-deprived Slappy Squirrel.

This can be a problem, because it gets in the way of people listening to his very good suggestions for improvement. He had several good comments on minor problems at Siouxland - PA speakers for the joust that weren't covered, food vendors in T-shirts and baseball caps, that sort of thing - but his message got lost in the noise surrounding his manner of delivery, which included comments on attendance being down (it was, but there are plenty of other, more likely explanations) with the implication that it wouldn't have been a problem if only they'd listened to him.

To make matters worse, he then posted a long message explaining himself - and not making things any better - and then promptly locked the topic (preventing anyone else from following up) to ensure that his message gets read by everyone. This message, among other things, pointed out that people get passionate about this stuff, and that's where he was coming from: his sense of passion.

The problem is not his message. I posted, in that discussion, that one of the folks working on Siouxland was left in tears by his original message. His emailed reply to me was that if pointing out obvious problems left that person in tears, there wasn't much he could do about it. What he utterly fails to realize is that he's not the only one who gets passionate, and letting his passion run wild can and does hurt others.

One major lesson I've learned from my time as project manager for Hercules is that prominent people need to exercise tact in their dealings. I can't let fly with some of the flamage I'd dearly love to, because that would harm my credibility and lose my audience. This person needs to learn the same lesson. A spoonful of sugar does, indeed, help the medicine go down.

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