Request for Comment: SCAtoday.net considers change to event calendar policy

We are considering a change to the way we obtain event listings for our calendar, or possibly eliminating the calendar altogether, and comments from readers are encouraged to help us make the decision.

Although anyone who has a user account is welcome to contribute content to SCAtoday.net, only a few people actually contribute event notices to appear on our calendar. The calendar is extensive, however, due to the large amount of work devoted to it by our small staff of volunteers.

Obtaining event information from kingdoms where we don't reside is a very time-consuming process. Some kingdoms have really good online calendars, others less so. Event notices are posted on some kingdom e-mail lists (and we do have someone who reads those), but the quality varies widely. Believe it or not, an amazing number of event notices are published without basic information such as when and where the event will take place! (As an aside, "Same place as last year" is not at all useful to help new attendees find your event.)

The bottom line is that this process is becoming untenable for us, due to our team's modern-world responsibilities. We need to make some kind of change, because we tally about 6~8 person-hours of staff time per week just to maintain the calendar. This is in addition to all the other features of the site, such as the main newswire, approving new user accounts and comment postings, keeping the software up to date, managing backups of the database, deleting attempted content from spammers (of which there is a lot), etc. The Publisher and Editor (who, in case you were curious, are a married couple) both are employed and both travel on business, and both of us have other non-SCA volunteer commitments in our church and other nonprofit organizations in the community. To be honest, we feel that volunteering in the real world is at least as important as service to the SCA.

What we are considering is this: SCAtoday.net staff would no longer hunt for event notices and add them to our calendar. Instead, it would be up to the organizers of the event to use our "Contribute Content" menu to give us the information about the event. If we adopt this policy, we would need to rely on the contributors to provide us the needed information -- we don't have time to contact people and find out where "the usual site" actually is located.

Realistically, this will probably mean that there are fewer events listed on our calendar, but it would also give us more time to devote to a high-quality main newswire. This is where you come in, Dear Reader. How much value do you place on the calendar here at SCAtoday.net, versus the other features of our site? If you regularly run events, would you be willing to use our contribution form to provide us the information?

Another possibility would be to simply remove the calendar altogether, after all currently-listed events have occurred (that is, we would stop accepting new events and let time expire the existing ones).

No definite decision has been made yet. We will be doing something to make our staff time more efficient and effective, and this is only one possible solution. Please take a moment to let us know what you think, and if you have alternative ideas.

Thanks for being an SCAtoday.net reader!

Justinos Tekton called Justin, Publisher

Duplicate information

 

I agree with the other commentors--the calendar feature is not what I come to SCAtoday for. I am much more likely to use my kingdom upcoming events page to link to event websites which tend to be maintained and updated right up to the event. Many even come optimized for mobile now (which is handy when I am checking in on my drive there). Bottom line--it seems like the time and resources of the SCAtoday staff would be much better used in areas that don't duplicate already available information (especially when that information is a moving target).

Perhaps a simple directory of Kingdom event pages with links would provide essentially the same connectivity for users and newcomers who use SCAtoday as their hub for accessing SCA information.

 

I don't use the calendar

Honestly if i want to see what events are going on, I go to my Kingdom newsletter or website.

I feel your pain about the event announcement quality. I often see event announcements and official web pages with directions but no site address! Maybe its because people didn't have GPS in the middle ages so there is no need for a site address. :)

The Newswire is the important feature

Poor communication about events is a problem that is as old as the SCA. You aren't going to solve it, even if you put in 40 hours per week. Concentrate on what the site does best, the Newswire.

Focus on the newswire

I go to the kingdoms' event page for event information.  The newswire is my main interest and look forward to tidbits related to the MIddle Ages that most other media outlets miss.