Le Mutt d’Author 6/2

aka The Curs of Chalion

Today’s roundup offers the collected wisdom of Sarah A. Hoyt, David Mack, Paul Weimer, Adam-Troy Castro, Alexandra Erin, Lis Carey, Brian Niemeier, Lyle Hopwood, Chris Gerrib, David Langford, and Less Identifiable Others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day JohnFromGR and  KestrelHill.)

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Glamor and Fairy Gold” – June 2

We’ve seen the same effect over and over again with people who comment on blogs (clears throat) both cultural and political, and even historical and that, no matter how often they’re proven wrong, keep coming back and stating the same thing they said in different words, as though that would make it true. They seem incapable of processing challenges, doubts, or even factual disproof of their charges.

Glamor. They’re under an enchantment. Something has affected them so hard, they can’t think, but can only repeat what they were told.

It’s not true, of course. Or not quite.

The enchantment of the “cool kids” is the glamor of social approbation and of opinions as positional goods.

People who have bought into an hierarchy of opinions, with some of the opinions “politically correct” no matter how factually wrong, have agreed to put themselves under the arbitrary power of others, and to subsume their reason and thought to them.

 

David Mack on The Analog Blog

“Write back (not) in anger (#SFWApro)” – June 2

Last August, I received an e-mail from a reader who was so offended by my inclusion of a same-sex relationship between a Vulcan woman and Klingon (disguised as human) woman in my novel Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger that he swore off all my books forever. My public response, which I admit in hindsight was born more from passion than from reason, got noticed by a few sites.

When that post went wide, I expected to encounter some blowback and some criticism….For the most part, I deemed those uninformed responses unworthy of my attention or response.

Until this past weekend, I would have said the same about this piece by Amanda S. Green on the Mad Genius Blog: Don’t break canon without good reason.

For the impatient among you, here is a quick summary of her post: Amanda S. Green, an author and blogger who appears to have no professional experience writing or editing media tie-in fiction, tried to school me on the importance of adherence to canon when working in established universes, and on how I should have answered my homophobic critic.

Though Ms. Green provides absolutely no evidence to support her assertion, she accuses me of “breaking canon” vis-a-vis Star Trek for no reason other than to be “politically correct.” Her feeble attack on my professionalism and on my novel was published the day after my original post. Because Ms. Green did not mention me by name or link to my post, I didn’t learn of her essay until this past weekend, when a friend brought it to my attention…..

[Mack then analyzes the topic at length.]

Now, all this might seem to some folks like a lot of noise for very little signal. But I think it’s important to remember that as a nominee in the Best Fan Writer category, Ms. Green was offered the opportunity to submit self-selected examples of her work for the Hugo Voter Packet, to demonstrate which of her writings from 2014 show her to be worthy of taking home a Hugo award. That she chose to include the post I dissected above — an unresearched, factually deficient essay in which she lacks the basic courtesy even to name me as the author of the piece she tries (and fails) to deconstruct, never mind link to it so that readers can review the original materials and arrive at informed conclusions with regard to her arguments — speaks volumes.

I grew up knowing the Hugo awards stand for excellence in the broad and ever-changing field of science fiction and fantasy literature. Nothing I have seen in this essay from Ms. Green persuades me her work contains the insight or intellectual rigor that would make her worthy of being honored as a member of that longstanding tradition.

I also suspect she doesn’t know as much about Star Trek as she thinks she does.

 

 

Adam-Troy Castro

Open Letter To The Ants At the Base Of The Monument – June 2

Few things mark you as a schmuck faster than attacking a master for being “old.”

You can have great differences with a master. You can argue bitterly with a master. You can even think a master is an asshole.

But the second you start using his age and past accomplishments as a negative in your rhetoric. you mark yourself as a non-entity, a jackass, a pipsqueak, an ant shouting at a monument.

This sin, currently in evidence among some supporters of the Sad Puppies, is not exclusive to either end of the political spectrum.

Fans from the left wing thought they had reason to be upset at Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, a couple of years back, and though it was arguable that they had a case, it was downright appalling how many of them thought they were issuing slammers when they complained that these greats hailed from before their time, or were “old and irrelevant,” or, tellingly, “I never even heard of them!”

That controversy provided fuel for this one, where among things fans from the right wing are slamming David Gerrold for being old and senile and irrelevant and all those things he most assuredly is not.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 2

Okay, so now that I’ve laid some groundwork — see my two previous essays about communication forensics and compelling questions — I’m going to ask some compelling questions.

In the past, I’ve asked these questions about the sad-puppy slate and the rabid-puppy slate:

1) Who are the horrible, no-good, terrible people who have conspired against the science fiction that has been “overlooked?” How have they conspired?

2) What are the qualities of storytelling that define excellence? How are these qualities recognized by the reader?

3) The stories on the sad-puppy slate and the stories on the rabid-puppy slate? How do they demonstrate the qualities of excellence that would make a reader consider them award-worthy?

Let me add a few more questions here:

4) If you are a supporter of either or both slates, then did you read the stories on the slate you support before the ballot was announced? Did you nominate any or all of the stories on either slate? Did you nominate any story you had not read? Why?

5) Have you now read any or all of the stories on the final Hugo ballot? If so, can you please tell us which stories you feel are award-worthy? Why? (Let me rephrase that.) Without considering the author or the politics of the author, can you explain why any of the stories from either slate are award-worthy?

6) Which do you feel is more important in the award process — the excellence of the story or the political views of the author?

I’m not the only one posing these questions.

 

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Because hope springs eternal.” – June 2

[Quoting a comment Erin left on Brad R. Torgersen’s blog.]

I’m sure I’m not the first person to try to tell you this, but the people who spew hot air about “warriors for social justice” are all over here with you. That’s not a thing people called themselves. It’s a pejorative made up to dismiss people, a la calling someone “PC patrol” or “feminazi” or “thought police”.

Some people have taken it as an ironic badge of honor or made geeky riffs on it (like “Social Justice Paladin” or “Social Justice Bard”), but by and large, you’re chiding people for not living up to the standards of a label that was foisted upon them in the first place.

Which is actually part of the function of the label. Most of the people I have seen getting slapped with the “SJW” label not only don’t describe themselves as social justice warriors, they don’t describe themselves as activists. They’re just people, living their lives, dealing with their own problems, and acting their consciences.

 

bibliogramma on My Life In Books

“Campbell Award Nominations: Jason Cordova” – May 26

Basing my assessment on these two submissions, Cordova has a future as an SF writer to be sure, and I enjoyed them both, but to me, his work does not rise to the level of previous Campbell winners such as Spider Robinson, C. J. Cherryh, Ted Chiang, Nalo Hopkinson, Cory Doctorow, Elizabeth Bear, Jo Walton, and others.

 

bibliogramma on My Life In Books

“Campbell Award Nominations: Wesley Chu” – May 26

Obviously, I am very much impressed by these two novels. Chu easily passes my standard as a worthy candidate for the Campbell.

 

bibliogramma on My Life In Books

“Campbell Award Nominations: Kary English” – May 26

English has some definite writing chops, but I felt that there wasn’t a lot of variety in the pieces offered, which weakens my overall assessment of her as a Campbell nominee. I have already noted the similarities in protagonist choice. There are also structural similarities in the pieces, and I was irked in that I wanted to use the word “bittersweet” in describing all three stories. I think English has definite potential and I hope she continues to develop her craft.

 

bibliogramma on My Life In Books

“Campell Award Nominations: Eric S. Raymond and Rolf Nelson” – June 2

Rolf Nelson and Eric S. Raymond did not submit any pieces [to the Hugo Voters Packet], but as there are samples of their writing in the Castalia House anthology Riding the Red Horse, submitted by the publisher in support of nominations of other pieces in the anthology, I read those in order to gain some sense of Nelson and Raymond’s work. I was not inspired by what was available to go searching for any more samples of either author’s work.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery”  – June 2

Journey Planet is visually attractive, filled with interesting and thoughtful articles, well-written, and well-edited. I’m totally impressed. Go read it. Highly recommended.

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part VIII: Gene Wolfe, Genre Work, and Literary Duty” – June 2

The eighth essay in John C. Wright’s Transhuman and Subhuman collection is a meditation on the merits of speculative fiction occasioned by SFWA making Gene Wolfe a Grand Master. “He is the greatest living author writing in the English language today,” Wright declares, “and I do not confine that remark to genre authors.”

“Sometimes in this life,” Wright says in regard to Wolfe’s accolade, “we see justice done.” If honors are rightly given to those who perform their duty, what obligations do SFF authors owe to their readers, to society at large, and to the truth itself?

Wright seeks the answer through a critical via negativa. What causes our disappointment–even outrage–when due honor is denied?

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Thoughts, Down-Ballot Edition” – June 2

More thoughts on this year’s Hugo.

Best Fan Writer (777 nominating ballots, 265 entries, range 129-201)

Dave Freer
Amanda S. Green
Jeffro Johnson
Laura J. Mixon
Cedar Sanderson

Freer’s been an ass to me, and incoherent at length to pretty much everybody, so no rocket for him. Green and Sanderson seem to not like SJWs like me, so I’ll return the favor. I’m a bit reluctant to give Mixon the award for an expose. Johnson at least restricts himself to book reviews, so my ballot is Johnson and no award.

 

Reading SFF

“2015 Hugo Awards reading: Kevin J. Anderson – The Dark Between the Stars (2014)” – June 2

I did not finish this novel. I abandoned it at about 25% in (and I am “proud” of having made it so far) but the book did not grab me and the writing is not good enough to keep me reading for the sake of the writing. If I have the time (and I probably won’t have the time) to get back to the book before voting on the Hugos closes, I will try to finish it. But only then.

 

Lyle Hopwood on Peromyscus

“Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kr*tman (Castalia House)”  – May 30

This is a Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy nomination.

It’s is an okay story about the basic training of AIs used in combat. The methods used are cruel, but the humans don’t care. They wall off the AI’s memories of pain and injury after training is complete, but in the case of Maggie, severe damage during combat allows her (she’s a she) to recall the training sessions. All the while she is accessing her memories, she is being investigated for scrap value, and she can see and hear the humans discussing her fate. It’s not a very new concept, but it’s handled well. It’s just so very long. It’s interesting to compare this with Steve Rzasa’s story, Turncoat, as the AI warships come to very different conclusions about humans.

 

Alexandra Erin at Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: STREGA NONA” – June 2

strega-nona-225x300

Reviewed by John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired)

If you want chilling proof of the radical feminist lesbian witch cult (also known as “Social Justice”) that has infiltrated all ranks of society, look no further than this book which blatantly glorifies witchcraft, matriarchy, and the creation of a loyal slave nation of emasculated beta male cucks.

Exactly as foretold in a literal straightforward reading of the Book of Revelation, this book portrays a near-future world where even the Catholic Church itself is in thrall of a woman. The church is no longer the Bride of Christ but the scarlet woman of Babylon.

“Although all the people in the town talked about her in whispers, they all went to see her if they had troubles. Even the priests and the sisters in the convent went, for Strega Nona had a magic touch.” If that isn’t straight out of the Bible then I don’t even know what the Bible says. I do know that it says to not suffer a witch to live, not to treat her as a valued civic leader.

 

David Langford in Ansible #335 – June 2015

File 770 has proudly adopted a new motto on its website masthead: ‘”… the 770 blog, that wretched hive of scum and villainy …” – John C. Wright.’ Another satisfied customer!

487 thoughts on “Le Mutt d’Author 6/2

  1. nickpheas: I am perhaps being thick here… Ann Leckie? As far as I can see she is white, middle class, straight enough to have children and a conventional marriage…. On what possible grounds could she need affirmative action?

    Please do not diminish my opinion of you by making the demonstrably false claim that straight white women are privy to all the advantages and privileges of straight white men, simply because they are not a minority.

  2. You know, when people post bigoted, sexist, hateful comments on your blog, and you chime in and agree, or even just leave them there, well, then … the bigotry and sexism and hate are pretty much on you, aren’t they?

    No in my opinion. It depends on the comment policy and the approach to moderation. The blog author chiming in and agreeing might refer to something unoffensive. He or she does not automatically endorse a commenters entire post if he responds to (part of) it in any way.
    There are certainly cases where a blog author can be held responsible but in those cases it’s almost always possible to point to something equally problematic in the authors own statements.

  3. Thanks JJ and Camestros Felapton 🙂 I remembered the food bit but not the beginning – my memory can be a touch swiss cheesey at times.

    I don’t agree with the premise that allowing comments to remain means you agree with them. I think our gracious host Mike Glyer would be a very confused man indeed if he agreed with every comment on File770. 🙂 I wouldn’t assume Torgersen agreed with everything unless there was some evidence of him typically deleting things he disagreed with. Of course, sometimes Torgersen voices agreement with comments, too, which is a different matter.

    Gosh, that was a lot of typing “agree”.

    @Mark

    The Mad Genius Club specialises in weirdly disconnected essays that only make sense if you’re well-versed in USA right-wing dogwhistles. I’m not sure they realise how odd the things they write look to people who don’t live in the States and aren’t invested in those culture wars.

  4. mk41: No in my opinion… There are certainly cases where a blog author can be held responsible but in those cases it’s almost always possible to point to something equally problematic in the authors own statements.

    I’m not talking about legally responsible. I’m talking about what sort of environment you choose to foster on your own blog.

    While Mike here is pretty liberal with his moderation policy, I have yet to see someone say something like “n*****s are all pulling in welfare checks because they’re too lazy to work” or “that woman is a psycho w****** and c*****”, where Mike chimes in and says, “Too right, brother!” And I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t just let those post, without making a contradictory comment, letting the poster know that they’re over the line, or deleting the post.

  5. @ XS: “You know, even if Green had been right about Vulcans and Klingons being “enemy races”, I still don’t get the complaint.
    Two people from opposing groups falling in love? That’s one of the most popular relationship models in fiction for a damn good reason. ”

    Indeed. It’s called “conflict.” Green might want to look it up sometime.

  6. … making the demonstrably false claim that straight white women are privy to all the advantages and privileges of straight white men, simply because they are not a minority.

    Good thing no such claim was made. Can we agree to stick to what people actually wrote?
    In context (!) it is indeed difficult to tell what specific disadvantages white women face when it comes to the Hugo. There certainly are some, but overall there are fortunately by now enough female writers and readers that female visibility and representation are no pressing concern when it comes to voting/nominating. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m certain Leckie made it onto the ballot on her own awesomeness.

  7. Agreed, JJ. Any blog which has any kind of moderation, is responsible for the tone the comments set, and any blog which allowed hate rhetoric without an explicit statement that eg it was being allowed for the purposes of rebuttal or letting people see the poster with their arse hanging out, is endorsing that hate rhetoric, if not actively encouraging it.

  8. @JJ Phrased badly on my part no doubt. Straight White Woman is not the easiest setting, without doubt. My poorly expressed point though was that AL is not THAT unusual. White Women are actually reasonably represented in the Hugo awards over the last 20 years (not certain how many are Straight and it’s not something I think important enough in addressing their art to want to research).
    But AL/AJ seems to be held up as a special example of people voting for message over art. And I still don’t know why. If being female was enough to get an afirmative action boost, wouldn’t Mira Grant/Seanne McGuire have done better?

  9. I think my post got eaten by the spam filter, may its glistening maw never slaver in your direction. 🙁

    The most important bit was: Thanks JJ and Camestros for the source.

    Anything else was clearly considered unworthy so I shan’t repeat myself. 🙂

  10. @JJ
    Do you suggest we hold Torgersen to Mike’s comment policy?
    Look, there are people for whom it is a problem when hateful things are said in their comments because they regard is as their turf and feel responsible. There are others who think of themselves as providing a public space and if the village idiot sees fit to use it they don’t care much as long as it isn’t actionable. Because they feel the idiot’s words belong to the idiot. Both are reasonable positions IMO.
    Holding the blog owner accountable strikes me as even more problematic, because it also presupposes he has (i) seen the problematic content and (ii) recognized it as problematic. We all have our blinders. I’ve had to have bad stuff from “my” side pointed out to me because I didn’t notice, I’m not prepared to judge others for the same oversight. Third (iii) there’s proportionate responses. If the offense is minor I tend not to bother on my side, I don’t expect it of anyone else.
    Finally, if all this was in service of some open minded inquiry it might be a useful _additional_ piece of evidence. If the point is just to critizise Torgersen I’d rather stick to stuff he actually said himself instead of some three-steps removed guilt by association.

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  12. nickpheas: Phrased badly on my part no doubt. Straight White Woman is not the easiest setting, without doubt. My poorly expressed point though was that AL is not THAT unusual. White Women are actually reasonably represented in the Hugo awards over the last 20 years (not certain how many are Straight and it’s not something I think important enough in addressing their art to want to research). But AL/AJ seems to be held up as a special example of people voting for message over art. And I still don’t know why.

    Agreed, cool, thanks for clarifying.

  13. They’re fading because once the genii of tech is out of the bottle you can’t shove it back in, wish or legislate you ever so hard.

    Hoyt and the other Puppies are keen on self-publishing and e-publishing, despite mostly having book deals with Baen or Tor.

    You know, it’s good to have a Plan B in case Plan A—demonstrate that you can’t tell a shitty story from a good one, in public, in front of your entire potential audience—doesn’t make them rich and famous.

    There’s also a lot of red meat in blaming gatekeepers and the snobby New York literati if you want to turn self-published authors into Puppy slate voters.

  14. mk41: “Holding the blog owner accountable strikes me as even more problematic, because it also presupposes he has (i) seen the problematic content and (ii) recognized it as problematic”

    Do you understand what moderation means? Of course owners who moderate their blogs see the content!

    Understanding the problem is different. But if an owner sees hate content and fails to see it as hate, or doesn’t think it’s an issue, that speaks to their character.

    We’re not talking about subtle stuff, after all.

  15. mk41: Do you suggest we hold Torgersen to Mike’s comment policy? Look, there are people for whom it is a problem when hateful things are said in their comments because they regard is as their turf and feel responsible. There are others who think of themselves as providing a public space and if the village idiot sees fit to use it they don’t care much as long as it isn’t actionable. Because they feel the idiot’s words belong to the idiot. Both are reasonable positions IMO. Holding the blog owner accountable strikes me as even more problematic

    I suggest only that I can choose to judge a person by what environment they choose to foster on their personal blog. Hell, even blogs like io9 and BoingBoing moderate the comments on their blog. They’ve made a decision about what sort of environment they choose to foster — and I believe that I am perfectly entitled to judge any website by that. If you’re willing to let your blog become a haven for racists and misogynists, then I believe that reflects on you.

  16. @nickpheas: “If being female was enough to get an afirmative action boost, wouldn’t Mira Grant/Seanne McGuire have done better?”

    Before this year, I would’ve said that the character of the Doctor Who and Seanan McGuire nominations was evidence against coordination. After all, it appeared obvious that the first thing a coordinated nomination campaign would do is settle on one work to place on the ballot in the chosen category, so the fans would back it instead of splitting their votes between multiple options.

    But then the Puppies introduced John C. Wright to the ballot in a blatantly coordinated move, so now I have to revise my thesis: The Who and McGuire nominations are evidence against intelligent coordination.

  17. Laura Resnick:Indeed. It’s called “conflict.” Green might want to look it up sometime.

    I could buy the core Puppies knowing about conflict, but they do indeed seem disinclined to portray any of it (or morality and ethics) that isn’t founded on “Us vs Them”.

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  19. Rev. Bob: But then the Puppies introduced John C. Wright to the ballot in a blatantly coordinated move, so now I have to revise my thesis: The Who and McGuire nominations are evidence against intelligent coordination.

    Good thing XS was already on the hook for that new keyboard.

  20. Source for one of the (many) affirmative action quotes:
    http://www.philipsandifer.com/2015/04/guided-by-beauty-of-their-weapons.html?showComment=1429650702133#c3543248118561653539

    Brad R. Torgersen
    Mr. Sandifer, if you truly believe that a book like ANCILLARY JUSTICE or a story like “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere” did not benefit from a tremendous groundswell of affirmative-action-mindedness, you’re not paying attention. Please phone me when you’re interesting in discussing diversity beyond a skin-deep level. Quote Larry Niven: there are minds which think as well as yours, just differently.

    I really liked The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere and it makes me sad that so many people seem to have been too busy irritably checking off minority representation (“urgh, he’s gay AND Asian AND an immigrant, so SJW”) in their heads to see the beauty of the story.

    I’ve seen elsewhere the accusation that it isn’t really sf/f, so I’m guessing magical realism isn’t a Puppy genre of choice, but I don’t hold with speculative fiction gatekeeping. It reminds me of the casual games insults in gaming culture, and I don’t like it there either (especially in gaming, actually – what on earth do they think games like Tetris were if not the direct ancestors of modern mobile gaming).

    Ancillary Justice already has plenty of defenders so I thought I’d pitch in for the other story.

  21. @Ann Sommerville
    Yes, but does _Torgersen_ moderate all posts? I don’t know, you seem to argue that he does. Please provide evidence.
    Otherwise I’d assume he has a couple of moderation triggers and lets the rest – especially from people who commented previously – pass unmoderated. That seems a common setting these days from my perspective. I couldn’t find a comment policy on this site, again in my limited experience this usually means there is less moderation. And that in turn means more stuff can slip through without the author necessarily aware of it.
    Let me put it another way: Do you argue that all blog authors read every comment they receive on their blogs? I assure you, that is not the case.

  22. mk41: “Do you argue that all blog authors read every comment they receive on their blogs? I assure you, that is not the case.”

    I do indeed argue that. It would be a very unwise, and careless, owner who did not look over all the comments on a blog post. And in WP and other blog platforms, it’s really hard not to see what’s being posted.

    What is *your* evidence that Torgesen is unaware what’s being said on his blog? Because it’s such an extraordinary claim, you are the one who should prove this is happening.

  23. Half-repeating myself, if the spam filter forgives me:

    Assuming that a blog owner agrees with the comments on their site is peculiar. If OGH Mike Glyer ageed with every comment on here he’d be very confused indeed. Short of evidence that Torgersen deletes comments that he disagrees with, I’m uncomfortable assuming that the words of any old unmoderated comment can be attributed to his inner thoughts. Lets stick to what he’s actually said – its a target rich environment, we shouldn’t struggle. 🙂

  24. mk41: Yes, but does _Torgersen_ moderate all posts? I don’t know, you seem to argue that he does. Please provide evidence. Otherwise I’d assume he has a couple of moderation triggers and lets the rest – especially from people who commented previously – pass unmoderated. That seems a common setting these days from my perspective. I couldn’t find a comment policy on this site, again in my limited experience this usually means there is less moderation. And that in turn means more stuff can slip through without the author necessarily aware of it. Let me put it another way: Do you argue that all blog authors read every comment they receive on their blogs? I assure you, that is not the case.

    I would argue that any responsible blog owner pays attention to what gets posted on their blog — because, whether they like it or not, what gets posted there does reflect on them, if they allow it to stand.

    Mike e-mailed me some time back about a post I made here. He was right to do so. I lost my temper, and went over what I considered to be my own personal “line”. We came to what I would consider an agreement about acceptable behavior here.

    Like it or not, in this world of social media, if you’re allowing it on your site without public comment, you are tacitly endorsing it. “But that’s not fair!” you say. “People shouldn’t be considered personally accountable for what gets posted in their personal social space!”

    Nonsense, says I. Life ain’t fair, and you are accountable for what you allow, unmitigated, to happen on your blog.

  25. Meredith: “Assuming that a blog owner agrees with the comments on their site is peculiar.”

    There’s a difference between saying an owner finds comments acceptable, and that they agree with them. I have spoken only of hate speech, not of disagreeable opinions or conflict. Owners have a variable tolerance for the latter, as is their right. Any that tolerate the former, deserve all the opprobrium heaped on their heads.

  26. Meredith:I really liked The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere and it makes me sad that so many people seem to have been too busy irritably checking off minority representation (“urgh, he’s gay AND Asian AND an immigrant, so SJW”) in their heads to see the beauty of the story.

    That is a deeply frustrating and wrongheaded mindset. It’s as if a character needs more and more justification for belonging to more circles in a diagram when people like that exist in reality. Some really refuse to see “straight white cisgender male” as anything other than the default setting when those ate their own circles in humanity’s mix.

    “Your character can be black or gay, but black and gay? That’s pushing it!”

  27. I suggest only that I can choose to judge a person by what environment they choose to foster on their personal blog. … They’ve made a decision about what sort of environment they choose to foster — and I believe that I am perfectly entitled to judge any website by that. If you’re willing to let your blog become a haven for racists and misogynists, then I believe that reflects on you.

    You can chose to judge whoever by any measure you care about. But you are implicity arguing that it is reasonable that you do and there I disgree with you. I believe I’ve addressed the environment argument above, some people simple don’t care much about their commenters. Logically then you can only judge them for their lack of care, not for the comments.
    Your repeated use of “foster” suggests that taking responsibility is the only possible option. That is not the case. Some bloggers don’t “foster” at all, they are content to let the chips fail where they may. For various reasons.
    Finally, “haven for racists and misognists” is a bit convenient, isn’t it? Are you arguing that is what Torgersen’s blog is? Please make the case then and make it good, dodgy phrases won’t be enough. (Because “haven” certainly implies racists would feel right at home and see no need to censor themselves. Otherwise it isn’t a “haven”. There probably should also be evidence of the blog owner defending the racist/misgynist against being challenged on their statements.) Otherwise we are merely talking about a blog where the occasional racist or misogynist statement by commenters is allowed to pass, and as per above, that’s perfectly compatible with a blog owners decision to let his commenters speak for themselves.

  28. I personally prefer a more moderated space, as in my experience the more unmoderated a community the more likely it is that it will attract very unpleasant people who will then drive away the ones I like. However, my own moderation preferences are not something I wish to apply wholesale to the internet, and I don’t intend to assume guilt-by-shit-commenters-say of anyone, nor do I want to assume that blog owners never miss a comment.

    Seriously, none of the Puppies are shy about putting very silly things in their own words. We have more than enough of that to play with without willy nilly assuming agreement or acceptance for things they didn’t say.

  29. mk41: You can chose to judge whoever by any measure you care about. But you are implicity arguing that it is reasonable that you do and there I disgree with you.

    Tell you what, you spend a couple of weeks reading all of the posts and comments on Torgersen’s blog and come back here, and we’ll have another discussion about this.

  30. @XS

    They have no understanding of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Anything outside of the default (urgh) has to have a plot reason to exist. Well, I exist in real life and I’m tired of being considered unrealistic.

  31. @Nick Mamatas

    Hoyt and the other Puppies are keen on self-publishing and e-publishing, despite mostly having book deals with Baen or Tor.

    I noticed Freer chortling over rumours of the imminent demise of Tor UK, wishing other publishers would go the same way, and speculating that he would do very well in a brave new world of self-pub only. Makes me wonder if the belief in cabals and gatekeepers guarding the Hugo is merely a subset of a belief in traditional publishers keeping the worthy (i.e. them) away from their otherwise inevitable success.

  32. Yeah, like Tor and every other publisher on the planet wouldn’t pivot to e-publishing if that model suddenly grew that dominant and profitable. And I say that as someone who generally believes in the e-book model.

  33. Mark: I noticed Freer chortling over rumours of the imminent demise of Tor UK, wishing other publishers would go the same way, and speculating that he would do very well in a brave new world of self-pub only. Makes me wonder if the belief in cabals and gatekeepers guarding the Hugo is merely a subset of a belief in traditional publishers keeping the worthy (i.e. them) away from their otherwise inevitable success.

    Given how poorly the Puppy authors have represented themselves in all this, you think that they’d be begging for a traditional publisher to handle the PR for them, to keep them from cutting off their noses to spite their own faces with customers.

    But then, there’s been very little of any sort of wisdom on the Puppies’ part that I’ve seen in this.

    And of course, a traditional publisher would actually have to be willing to take them on in order to do Damage Control for their images. Which would require their writing to be good enough for a traditional publisher to be willing to take them on.

  34. Mark: Makes me wonder if the belief in cabals and gatekeepers guarding the Hugo is merely a subset of a belief in traditional publishers keeping the worthy (i.e. them) away from their otherwise inevitable success.

    I think it is hard to tell the extent to which it is a cynical gambit to promote genre fiction to a conservative US audience which is already consuming a lot of non-fiction specifically targeted at them – or a genuine feeling of loss and exclusion; people finding themselves in a world were the rules of social interaction appear to be dictated by people far to the left of them.

    The latter is the angst about the SJWs. I think many of the steadfast conservatives get that many people to the right of center now acknowledge gay rights, same sex marriage etc but they really hate that the associated norms and tenets of social behavior that come with that change (e.g. not misgendering people, not disparaging sexual choices) have come from the left and spread rightwards. Mind you trying to understand the attitude doesn’t help much 🙂

  35. Having spent some time on Torgersen’s site, the only noticeable moderation I’ve seen is where one particular user with allegedly several handles who keeps getting sin-binned.

    However, it is for the most part an echo chamber of like-minded individuals, so I guess he’s already got the environment he wants?

    I certainly prefer sites with moderation, as otherwise it becomes a cesspool, but I’d say holding a person responsible for the comments on his site, even implicitly so, is a fairly extreme standard.

  36. @XS: “Well, I exist in real life and I’m tired of being considered unrealistic.

    I keep coming back to one of Mary Robinette Kowal’s tweets: “It’s not about adding diversity for the sake of diversity, it’s about subtracting homogeneity for the sake of realism.” Truer words…

  37. JJ,

    But then, there’s been very little of any sort of wisdom on the Puppies’ part that I’ve seen in this.

    Oh come on, you cannot say that – they even nominated a book with Wisdom in the title.

    On the other hand I am still curious to see what dictionary is used by the main puppies because their word definitions do not math the ones in my dictionary…

  38. MK41:

    “Yes, but does _Torgersen_ moderate all posts? I don’t know, you seem to argue that he does. Please provide evidence.
    Otherwise I’d assume he has a couple of moderation triggers and lets the rest – especially from people who commented previously – pass unmoderated. That seems a common setting these days from my perspective. I couldn’t find a comment policy on this site, again in my limited experience this usually means there is less moderation. And that in turn means more stuff can slip through without the author necessarily aware of it.
    Let me put it another way: Do you argue that all blog authors read every comment they receive on their blogs? I assure you, that is not the case.”

    I’m a moderator on two genre-related message boards – one comics and one tabletop gaming. While they’re not exactly the same as a blog, we have strong moderating policies on both sites, and we make sure the people who post there adhere to the rules. We can’t and don’t read everything, but there is a report feature that allows members of the community to bring issues to our attention. On a blog you can easily mail the author if you see something obejectionable.

    So, either Torgersen read the message and approved of what it said, or gave it his tacit approval by not removing it or calling the poster out. Or he didn’t read the mesage, but the members of the blog’s commentariat saw nothing wrong with it and didn’t argue the point or report it to Torgersen.

    Neither scenario paints Torgersen in a good light, IMO.

  39. @JJ Freer is published by Baen, but there’s lots of special pleading about how Baen is an edge case and punished for it.

    @Camestros Cynicism v genuine grievance – lacking full evidence of the former, we should tend towards the latter, although I wouldn’t be shocked if more evidence could be assembled.

  40. MK41: “Logically then you can only judge them for their lack of care, not for the comments.
    … Some bloggers don’t “foster” at all, they are content to let the chips fail where they may. “

    I would argue that this is a distinction without a difference. Having a blog and not caring about the comment section is also a conscious choice – and it’s a choice with predictable results. Saying “I don’t care what’s get posted in my comments”, or saying “I’ll let the chips fall where they may”, or saying “yep, that comment is racist, but I’ll let it stand” gives the exact same outcome: Your blog becomes a place where hatespeech proliferates.

    The “not care”-attitude might be acceptable for someone with a small group of commenters, or who generally writes about uncontroversial, unpolitical subjects. (I don’t think people running a blog about, say, crotcheting need to be on the lookout for racism in their comments.) That’s not the case for puppygate.

    In addition: Are the blogs in question actually completely unmoderated? If I call the blog owner or his friends bad words, will my comment get trough? Does spam get trough? (Hint: If there’s no links to dating sites, there’s almost certainly some kind of spam filter in operation.) Once some comments get deleted, it’s a lot harder to defend the remaining comments by saying the blog owner don’t moderate his comments.

  41. Ancillary Justice already has plenty of defenders so I thought I’d pitch in for the other story.

    AJ has far more defenders than attackers as far as I can tell. Certainly more people capable of defending it than making a coherent attack. Brad R. doesn’t bother in the quoted section, it’s just assumed.

  42. Ha, since no one reacted to it really on twitter, I thought my Nutty Nuggets comment passed without a trace. Twitter IS a river, after all.

    And yes, I am surprised how self sustaining the SP/RP drama has been. I figured you’d be in “regular” mode now, Mike, waiting for Worldcon and the tallying of the votes. Silly me.

  43. @Johan P
    You are aware that some people have issues with the concept of hatespeech and/or define it far more generously than you or I would? That some people believe even the aryan nation folks should be free to say their piece and fall on their own swords?
    Yes, this means such people do not care to provide a safe environment for everybody but that is a far, far cry from owning the comments of their commenters. Also, yes, there is a huge difference between skimming comments as a general policy and deciding to let a racist comment stand. The latter requires (i) noticing the problem and (ii) agreeing with the assessment that it is racist and (iii) deciding it requires an intervention. I don’t believe you are honestly confused about this, so your outcomes-only argument strikes me as a tad disingenious.

    Further, you don’t seem (willing) to distinguish between automatic moderation, hands off moderation, lenient moderation and tight moderation. Yet even under outcomes-only these will result in differences in degree of what gets through.

  44. Johan P

    The “not care”-attitude might be acceptable for someone with a small group of commenters, or who generally writes about uncontroversial, unpolitical subjects. (I don’t think people running a blog about, say, crotcheting need to be on the lookout for racism in their comments.)

    You’ve never been to Ravelry, have you?

  45. There are three ways to handle racism in a forum:

    1) Moderate it.
    2) Condemn it.
    3) Attack people that think you should do 1) or 2).

    The third seems to be the puppy way.

  46. Well, Brad’s blog is Brad’s space. His space, his rules. But what he allows (or doesn’t allow) reflects on him, as the owner of that space. Just like disemvowelling or heavy-handed moderation at other sites reflects on them. It’s not always going to look the way either group wants it to look, especially when viewed through the eyes of someone inclined to find fault with what they do (or don’t do, as the case may be.)

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