Locus Responds to Tilton Departure

Locus Magazine’s Liza Groen Trombi has commented on Lois Tilton’s statement about her resignation as the publication’s short fiction reviewer.

While we don’t usually discuss the end of a contract relationship online, we do want to clarify something about the recent statement made by a freelance reviewer and her relationship with Locus. Lois Tilton wrote: “Without consulting or informing me, they had begun deleting material they considered negative from my reviews. To me, this is censorship and completely unacceptable.” This has been interpreted incorrectly to mean that Locus was making editorial changes to Lois’s columns without her consent.

To clarify, Locus made a decision this month to change how editing future online review columns was to be managed — folding the online columns in to the existing Locus editorial stream and applying the same standard to online reviews as the magazine.

Locus publishes both positive and negative reviews and, we hope, encourages a robust conversation about the works being discussed. When Lois was told about the editorial process being applied to the website, she opted to resign. None of her columns affected by this decision have been posted online, and she was paid for the work even though it will not be published.

We are sorry to see this relationship come to end after 205 columns. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

108 thoughts on “Locus Responds to Tilton Departure

  1. What I am most amazed about this is that everyone do not already know about Locus’s no negative review policy. I thought it was common knowledge.

  2. Publications are responsible for what they print. Therefore, you have to assume that writing done for someone else’s publication is subject to being edited, unless there’s a specific prior agreement not to do so.

    Yes and well no. If my company changes their policy and starts editing stuff out of what goes public without telling me I have a problem. No it’s not censorship but I think it’s reasonable to expect to be informed of changes of policy.

    I’ve been an editor and managed groups of writers. Granted I worked on the technical writing side. As a manager of people it seems respectful to inform people when policies are changed which affect them. I always tried to keep my staff (full, temp, & contract) informed on various things which might impact their job directly and indirectly.

  3. The original statement was not phrased entirely clearly.

    Without consulting or informing me, they had begun deleting material they considered negative from my reviews.

    The implication of that, as I read it and as apparently many others read it, is that Locus had deleted material from multiple reviews (possibly even going back to delete things from previously published reviews). That’s a fairly serious charge, from my perspective as a reader and fan with no professional experience.

    Learning that what’s happening is that future columns will be “fold[ed] in to the existing Locus editorial stream” and will “apply… the same standard to online reviews as the magazine” puts it in a different light for me.

    If the original statement had been something like “I disagree with how Locus will be editing reviews in future and will no longer be reviewing for them” the discussion would have been a lot calmer and more measured.

  4. What Lexica said. It was confusingly worded, or at least many people found it confusing. Should Lois have dumbed her statement down for us dummies? Eh, it’s her statement, and she doesn’t suffer fools lightly, so there.

    HOWEVER, both Lois and Liza have been quite polite in this whole thing, and even say they generally agree with each other on what happened! It seems to have been a mutually arrived-at decision and I’m sure they aren’t starting a blood feud and will remain professional with each other in future.

    The only real nastiness here has been from some dude who’s not a regular coming in and casting aspersions on TNH and Tor. Which is all too familiar behavior to us 770’ers, and worth less than a wooden nickel in these parts. TNH isn’t averse to a bit of snark herself, as long as it’s truthful.

    Of course, since we are a wretched hive who are RedWombat-adjacent and have not sworn eternal hatred against Tor/Scalzi/this week’s target of Two Minute Hate, anything we say just proves how horrible we are. I mean, I’ve actually touched the dread Scalzi* so I must have cooties. I had a pleasant if brief chat with PNH once, so also obviously poisoned.

    I have managed to keep friends IRL on both sides of a very controversial uproar which makes the Hugo shenanigans look like less than nothing, so I’m not swearing off either Locus or Lois. It’s not a damn King Solomon and the baby dilemma — we can still read both.

    *(Not like that, people, it was a handshake! I am happily married, and so is he, to a woman who could probably kill me with her mind. He let me look at the actual physical Mallet of Loving Correction once too. It’s keen.)

  5. “He let me look at the actual physical Mallet of Loving Correction once too.”

    Inner twelve-year old – ::snicker::

  6. @lurkertype –

    The only real nastiness here has been from some dude who’s not a regular coming in and casting aspersions on TNH and Tor.

    I am, in fact, a regular reader who simply doesn’t often comment. While I don’t always agree with her views, I very much appreciate the honesty and straight-from-the-shoulder nature of Lois Tilton’s reviews. When TNR took a swing at her, despite TNR’s obvious conflict of interest, I took her to task for it and pointed out the nature of the conflict of interest and the associated affiliations behind the conflict of interest.

    In the current climate, saying anything negative about Tor or Baen is to invite trolling by the their respective champions and defenders. I appreciate that many of you are very sensitive to any comments about Tor that are not complimentary. However, that should not exempt or shield those publishers or their employees from legitimate criticism, and I have chosen in this case not to censor myself on that account. Calling out an evident conflict of interest by a high profile Tor employee when she criticizes a reviewer of that publisher’s work is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate point to make given the turn the discussion had taken.

    Now, rather than address the argument, you have attempted to smear me. You have called me a liar, when if fact I have said nothing that is not true. You have attempted to marginalize me – I am not one of ‘you’ 770’ers, therefore my motives must be suspect. If I call out and defend an uncomfortable truth, which you can only seem to attack through logical fallacies and attacks on my person, then my integrity must be questionable.

    Then, having done all this, you have the gall to call me nasty? Shame on you.

  7. John Popham:

    I think a large part of the reason for the reaction to your comments is that you have singled out Tor as potential beneficiaries of the Locus review policy. Given that they don’t seem to publish many anthologies – I couldn’t find any listed on Locus’s forthcoming books page just now – it’s hard to see how that would work.

  8. Ok. Let’s start at the beginning. Repeat after me.

    TNH is not Tor.
    Tor is not TNH.

    I don’t give a rat’s fart what you say about Tor, as it happens. I’d call out anything I thought was factually wrong–“Tor was founded by Andrea Dworkin! There is a hidden acrostic proclaiming allegiance to the Sierra Club in every volume!” but if you want to say that in your opinion they publish terrible science fiction, r their covers don’t work for you, or whatever, that’s an opinion and everybody has rights to their own taste. You can even proclaim them all that is wrong with modern sf, if you like, and my internal equilibrium shall shift not a millimeter.

    But your conflict of interest thing was dumb. It would be dumb if you said someone married to a Baen editor can’t comment on the Locus thing. It would be dumb if you said that people who’ve worked for Uncanny or Lightspeed or Apex can’t comment. I am not merely defending Teresa here, I’m telling you that no matter who you apply that standard to, unless it’s Locus’s editorial department, say, it was dumb.

    Rather than go on about how we’re defending Tor, maybe you’d care to clarify who is specifically far enough away from this issue to comment on it without a conflict of interest? Because that’s the issue I’ve got with your statement.

  9. In the current climate, saying anything negative about Tor or Baen is to invite trolling by the their respective champions and defenders.

    All the more reasons to make your criticism substantive.

  10. When TNR took a swing at her, despite TNR’s obvious conflict of interest, I took her to task for it and pointed out the nature of the conflict of interest and the associated affiliations behind the conflict of interest.

    1. You should try to get Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s initials correct.
    2. Your allegations regarding her conflict of interest are silly and unfounded.

  11. Just catching up to this thread.

    Well the clarification was needed as the original statement was being misinterpreted here and probably in other places.

    I am curious what was the impact of these editing choices applied to the review in question that triggered the resignation. Does anyone know ?

    Magazines should be able to edit their content obviously and authors should be apprised of the editing changes prior to publication. I don’t see anything nefarious about this dispute after the clarification.

  12. @RedWombat –

    I am not a connoisseur or rat farts, so I am pleased you’re not giving one. I could never give it the full appreciation it was due. 😉

    My comment was, of course, directed at lurkertype and anyone suggesting that the motive behind my original comment was motivated by Tor-hate or a personal dislike of TNH. The steadfastness of your internal equilibrium on that point seems to be the exception among your peers, rather than the rule. I appreciate your addressing the comment itself.

    You are correct in that TNH is not Tor. She is an editor at Tor and married to Tor.com’s Fiction Editorial Director. Her interests and those of Tor and Tor.com are thus, by definition, closely aligned.

    TNH did not merely comment on Tilton’s resignation but was dismissive of Tilton’s anger at Locus’ censoring of her reviews. TNH went on to express her disdain for ‘snarky’ negative reviews which, in context, must be taken as both a slight at Tilton and reviewers like her, and approval of editors who restrain such reviewers.

    I have no doubt that TNH is a very nice person I’d be delighted to meet. I respect the contributions she, PNH and Tor/Tor.com have made to SF fandom and the industry. However, given the unkind nature of her comments and her position within the industry/community, I believed her interests in editorial outcomes at Locus needed to be called out. I believe it still.

    TNH is perfectly within her rights to say what she pleases about Lois Tilton and negative reviews. However her high profile and affiliations within the industry can’t be dispensed with when she does. I would have called out the same point if anyone with the same affiliations with Baen, Analog, or Lightspeed had done the same.

    You in turn are perfectly within your rights to call my response ‘stupid’. (Name calling tends not to change hearts or minds, but I assume my enlightenment wasn’t what you had in mind.) In that case we will have to agree to disagree. In the matter of honest reviews and an informed readership, I am 110% in Tilton’s corner.

  13. @Nigel –

    My response to TNH was both valid and substantive given her comments to Tilton. You disagree, but the implied demand that I self-censor and your continued ad-hominem attacks don’t serve your point of view well.

  14. @Aaron –

    1. You should try to get Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s initials correct.
    2. Your allegations regarding her conflict of interest are silly and unfounded.

    1) An unassailable argument. After all this typing, I got Teresa’s initials wrong. My entire position is undermined thereby. I am devastated. 😉

    2) I’m afraid you are mistaken. Her conflict of interest is a matter of record. Whether or not her comments were motivated by that conflict of interest is open to argument.

  15. hmmm. Don’t know Tilton. Don’t really read Locus. Don’t personally know TNH either. Still some IMHOs.

    1. Locus can follow whatever editorial policy they like but readers will notice if reviews become only puff pieces. Their are risks attached to their editorial policy.
    2. In the broader scheme of things having your work edited following some new policy isn’t ‘censorship’ in the wider sense but it is a reasonable term to make when somebody with some power over your work does things to it which removes a key aspect of the opinions you seek to express.
    3. The *net* benefit to a publishing house of a magazine cutting down on negative reviews in general is probably zero. A specific book loses or gains depending on reviews to some extent but (assuming reviews are unbiased against a given publisher) its swings-&-roundabouts for a publisher.
    4. ‘Conflict of Interest’ is an odd term to use in terms of general public discussion. Taken as used it would imply that public commentary by somebody with some association with the decision making at a given publisher is unethical. That seems an odd position to take. In this specific case of TNH, a person who is actively involved in public discussion of stuff, it seems very odd.
    5. More specifically ‘conflict of interest’ is an odd term to use when discussing a decision that has already been made by both parties. Locus have made their decision, Tilton has made hers. It is over and done and hence nobody commenting now is really exercising any undue influence.
    6. It is quite possible to believe that both Tilton and Locus made correct decisions that are ethically defensible without tying ones-self into knots.
    7. It is quite reasonable for Tilton to feel aggrieved by the changes in policy and it is quite reasonable for Locus to defend their position. Locus is a business and will make business decisions and when such decisions impact on individuals then individuals should feel free to say publicly that those decisions are bad ones.

  16. but the implied demand that I self-censor

    God, self-censor? Demand? Sir, I DEMAND you self-censor! The censorship office has been privatised, you see, and due to cost-cutting measures we require censorees to be dynamic self-starters in their self-censoring. You’ll also be issued with a buzzer so you can self-bleep your own bad language and swearing.

    and your continued ad-hominem attacks don’t serve your point of view well.

    STOP IMPLICITLY DEMANDING THAT I SELF-CENSOR MY AD-HOMINEM ATTACKS.

    I don’t even want to be drawn into this. Why did I comment at all? Ah, the chances to self-censor, lost in the mists of time…

  17. Uh, folks, I think Dann’s points are fairly reasonable even if somewhat pointedly put.

    I feel like people are letting themselves get carried away.

  18. I would like everyone who writes obviously stupid things to self-censor.

    ———–

    Here is a thing. This is a blog that has a group of regular readers and commenters. I would say that a small community has been created and I count people here as a cross between friends and acquaintances. TNH is one of those regulars.

    Among friends, we don’t talk about conflicts of interests. If we meet and want to talk about things, we want to hear each others opinions. And we know where someone works, who they are related to, married to and so on, so we don’t need a stranger come and shout it in our faces.

    We know their relations and we still want to hear their opinions. Because regardless of if we agree or not, we value them.

  19. @ John Popham — Fine, lets play twenty questions if that’s what it takes.

    Do you think authors or their spouses should be allowed to comment on this without being accused of conflict of interest? Yes or No?

    If yes, then why is it okay for them, but not editors? If no, how long must elapse between publication of a book that might be reviewed by Locus before you think it’s seemly for them to comment?

  20. When TNR took a swing at her, despite TNR’s obvious conflict of interest

    I can’t help but assume this means Teresa Nielsen Resuscitate, and wonder what John C. Wright would say instead.

    For my part, I think “conflict of interest” involves things like court cases and court decisions and shit like that. Otherwise I’m not allowed to opine on Marvel Comics any more.

    [Or, the way some people use the idea, I’m just not allowed to say anything supportive of them. Saying negative things is “telling the truth,” saying positive things is “obvious conflict of interest.”]

  21. I do think TNH could have made her point without needing to use such strong language. I also felt the need to defend Tilton against TNH. I do think we could be kinder when we criticize others.

  22. You disagree, but the implied demand that I self-censor and your continued ad-hominem attacks don’t serve your point of view well.

    Suddenly I understand why you see a (no doubt problematic) editorial policy as being censorship.

    Would you like to clarify why you would see a request for a more substantive argument, or a person stating that your argument lacks substance, is a demand – implied or otherwise – to self-censor or ad-hominem?

    I’d like to make it clear that this is not an demand that you must answer, nor is it an attack on your person.

  23. @snowcrash –

    You and a number of folk here have tried to dismiss my point as insubstantial without any support other than stating that it insubstantial. You are engaging in a logical fallacy called argumentum ad lapidem. It’s a fallacy because you dismiss the argument as insubstantial without giving proof of the same. Simply saying it is insubstantial does not make it so.

    As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, TNH’s conflict of interest is a matter of record. Other regulars on this site have agreed this is the case. The only question open to debate is extent to which that conflict of interest informed the tone and content TNH’s unkind words aimed at Lois Tilton.

    Frankly, the degree to which I’m being called upon to defend my original comment could be taken as evidence that my statement wasn’t insubstantial at all. I confess I’m puzzled as to why no one can seem to let it go.

  24. @RedWombat –

    @ John Popham — Fine, lets play twenty questions if that’s what it takes.

    Do you think authors or their spouses should be allowed to comment on this without being accused of conflict of interest? Yes or No?

    If yes, then why is it okay for them, but not editors? If no, how long must elapse between publication of a book that might be reviewed by Locus before you think it’s seemly for them to comment?

    Obviously it depends on the degree of conflict of interest, the subject at hand, and the nature of the comments. As I pointed out, TNH’s high profile and close affiliations within the industry can’t be dispensed with when she is dismissive of a prominent reviewer and argues that negative reviews are without value. If you wish to compose and publish clear guidelines and rules of engagement for disclosing conflicts of interest, godspeed.

  25. …so, no answer, then. Gotcha.

    I am sure you thought that sounded very reasonable, but from over here it sure looks like you’re trying to avoid admitting to any specifics so that you can’t be caught out in setting what sure looks like absurd standards for “conflict of interest.”

    I’ve not the least interest in composing rules for it–YOU were the one who made the statements initially, and I’m asking YOU about YOUR opinion on conflict of interest–which you were making free with just a few posts ago!–so why the sudden unwillingness to get specific with where you feel the cutoff line is?

    Lois Tilton has reviewed my short fiction very favorably in the past. Do you feel I would have a conflict of interest praising her?

  26. Look, man, from my perspective, here’s how the conversation has gone:

    TNH: says a thing
    JP: HOW DARE YOU WITH YOUR CONFLICT OF INTEREST
    RW: Conflict of interest? That’s dumb. Where would it end?
    JP: You’re all just sore because I slagged on Tor.
    RW: No, the conflict of interest thing was dumb. Seriously, how do you think it applies here?
    JP: It applies to TNH because Reasons.
    RW: How do you think conflict of interest works?
    JP: God, somebody else agreed with me so why won’t you all just let it go?

    Now, your side of this would undoubtedly look different, but from my view, you’ve made a fairly serious charge and are now completely unwilling to discuss what you think that entails, how it works, or what you think the boundaries are. You just want us to let it go and I guess not challenge you? And this is File770 and we’d challenge the sky being blue if it was a slow news day, so it’s not working well for you.

  27. RedWombat –

    Your question assumes that a reasonable answer can be provided based on the oversimplified criteria you provide. As I said, it depends upon a number of factors, most of which are not in evidence for the case you presented. You seem intelligent enough to know that’s the case, so I must assume you’re not engaging honestly on the subject.

    I have told you the criteria I used in this case. You may disagree. However, my unwillingness to answer vaguely worded questions that cannot reasonably be answered with a binary answer is not a counter-argument.

  28. Well, feel free to give me a complex answer if you like! But “It depends” gets us nowhere, and starts to look like you want the right to swoop in and say “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” on blog comments and then swoop out again without providing any criteria about what allows you to call something that.

    Assuming that you don’t want a self-aggrandizing ability to be the sole arbiter of such things, give us something to work with here! You’re very concerned about conflict of interest, apparently, but you’ve absolutely resisted giving any more information about who has them, other than people married to Tor editors. And when I try to nail down ANYTHING it’s either too simplistic or not your problem or god, why don’t we just let it go?

    Can you understand the frustration?

  29. Oversimplified? RedWombat told you that she, personally, had had work reviewed by Lois, and asked whether she had a conflict of interest by your standards. That’s not oversimplified, that’s very specific. Much more specific than a person who simply works for a publishing house and is married to a high-level person at that house. That, to me, is much more general. Lois reviewed a work that RedWombat personally wrote. That’s much more specific and personal than if Lois had reviewed one of dozens of works that she or her husband had had a hand in publishing.
    Oversimplifying is presuming that anything said about any work ever published by a publishing house is a stab in the heart to any editor who’s ever worked there, plus their spouses.

  30. @John

    While I enjoy the sound of goalposts being moved, I do feel that I should point out that I’ve not dismissed your arguments as insubstantial. I harbour no views on it, its merit, or lack thereof. I’m just curious regarding why you are so quick to jump on the self-censorship/ ad hominem claim.

    Since you’ve also found a fallacy that seems to better suit your claim than ad hominem (which was your earlier claim, which I’m glad you’ve withdrawn and apologised for), I would also suggest that you look up argument by assertion, as well as the term “conflict of interest”, because (as many of the prior posters have made it clear) you don’t quite understand the term. You’re pretty much defining it so widely as to make it an utterly useless metric.

    Frankly, the degree to which I’m being called upon to defend my original comment could be taken as evidence that my statement wasn’t insubstantial at all.

    You do that. By that same measure, I guess that the way you’re stubbornly repeating the same thing is clearly indicative that you lack a substantial argument, no?

  31. @RedWombat –

    Look, man, from my perspective, here’s how the conversation has gone:

    That’s an exceedingly selective and disingenuous read. Wildly inaccurate.

    I appreciate you’d like to dumb it down that way, insert yourself earlier in the interaction, eliminate all other discussants, misrepresent what I said, cherry pick bits from threads that had nothing to do with our interactions, and then present the resulting fun-house distortion as your summation. However anyone reading honestly through the chain of posts above would say you’re attempting to Donald Trump the heck out of what has been said in order to make yourself look good.

    For the record (one more time):

    TNH said something unkind and devaluing to Lois Tilton and dismissed negative reviews as without value.

    Coming to Tilton’s defense, I pointed out TNH’s position and close associations in the industry. I said that, given her interest in the suppression of negative reviews, her motives in criticizing Tilton were suspect.

    Enter the furies, stage right. At that point, I was set upon by a number of (I assume) regulars upset that one of their own had been called out. Most of the attacks were directed at me, rather than the substance of my comment. Lurkertype and a few others went so far as to suggest that, because I was not ‘one of you’ the motive behind my original comment must be motivated by Tor-hate or a personal dislike of TNH. I defended myself from their attacks and pointed out the hypocrisy of using ‘ooh, he’s a Tor-basher’, ‘ooh, he’s not one of us’ as a means of discrediting me.

    At this point you engaged. Your argument seemed to be (correct me if I’m wrong) that, yes, TNH had a conflict of interest, but so what? Are you saying anyone with any degree of conflict of interest can’t comment? I said that TNH is perfectly within her rights to say what she pleases about Lois Tilton and negative reviews. But that her high profile and affiliations within the industry can’t be dispensed with when she does.

    When snowcrash asked about the ‘insubstantial’ argument against TNH’s conflict of interest, I told him that TNH’s conflict of interest was a matter of record and that other ‘insiders’ had agreed that was the case. If you’ll go back through your posts you’ll note that you were among them.

    I note that putting words into others’ mouths is something File770 regulars don’t approve of. I’d appreciate you extending me the same courtesy.

  32. John Popham on January 13, 2016 at 10:06 am said:

    TNH said something unkind and devaluing to Lois Tilton and dismissed negative reviews as without value.

    Coming to Tilton’s defense, I pointed out TNH’s position and close associations in the industry. I said that, given her interest in the suppression of negative reviews, her motives in criticizing Tilton were suspect.

    You are toning down what you said. In the discussions on this issue there has been a fair degree of support of Tilton and criticism of Locus.

    You addressed TNH directly saying:

    As an employee of Tor and spouse of their Manager of Science Fiction, you have a conflict of interest in this matter. Tor will certainly benefit if Locus editorial policy eliminates negative reviews of works published by Tor and Tor.com. As such, I don’t doubt you are pleased with Locus’ decision to eliminate negative reviews. A Locus reduced to pandering to Tor is much more useful to Tor than Locus as an honest arbiter of quality.

    That statement contained a number of issues that people who had been critical of Locus found problematic.

    As I said earlier, there isn’t a conflict of interest issue here. Are confusing ‘conflict of interest’ with ‘vested interest’? I don’t think ‘vested interest’ is quite right either but at least it has the bones of a defensible argument.

    Using ‘conflict of interest’ has an implication of corrupt behavior which makes your original statement more inflammatory that perhaps you intended?

  33. Your argument seemed to be (correct me if I’m wrong) that, yes, TNH had a conflict of interest, but so what? Are you saying anyone with any degree of conflict of interest can’t comment?

    I’m correcting you ‘cos you’re wrong. My argument is that if you think TNH has a conflict of interest in commenting about a reviewer, I want to know how you define conflict of interest and who all you think would have one. Because it seems to ME that conflict of interest is a much narrower thing, and the only people who’d have one in this case, in my opinion, would be A) Locus and B) maaaaaaaybe Tilton (though I don’t feel she’s done anything in this case that would make me wave that flag.)

    Clearly you feel the range of conflict of interest is much, much broader. So we’ve now spent PAGES with me trying to figure out who all you think has a conflict of interest, but you’ve been extraordinarily hard to get a straight answer out of!

    In a desperate effort to make you see WHY I was frustrated, I tried to show very clearly how from my perspective (you will note that those words occurred on the post you’re objecting to) the encounter was going. And I noted that from your perspective things were probably different, which, judging from your reply, it was.

    But honestly, if you’d just knuckle down and talk about who all you think would have a conflict of interest OTHER than TNH, we could move the conversation along. That’s all I want to know.

    You could give examples, if you like, instead of just handwaving that it depends. That would work fine for me, and would be a nice change.

    (I’d also love to see where *I* admitted there was a conflict of interest–went through my posts and no, I don’t see that. But feel free to quote me.)

  34. @Camestros Felapton –

    The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. I’d say my summation captures the original post accurately and without toning anything down. I stand by my original statement.

  35. ohn Popham on January 13, 2016 at 11:57 am said:
    @Camestros Felapton –

    The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. I’d say my summation captures the original post accurately and without toning anything down. I stand by my original statement.

    Not sure what to say to that other than either you are simply factually incorrect in describing it as a ‘conflict of interest’ or I’m missing some important background information or we are talking a different language.

  36. John Popham:
    TNH said something unkind and devaluing to Lois Tilton and dismissed negative reviews as without value.

    Wait, are you saying TNH “dismissed negative reviews as without value” based on this:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden said:
    Also — and I don’t actually know whether this is relevant to the Tilton-Locus friction — snarky reviews are easy to write, and are often amusing to read. They’re like a bag of potato chips. Thoughtful, interesting non-snark is a lot harder to write, especially if you have to turn it out on a regular basis.

    If so then I suspect that’s a “talking a different language” example. Snarky reviews are negative, but snark isn’t the defining trait of a negative review; reviews can be negative without being snarky (snide, arrogant and nasty).

    ETA: And to be perfectly clear, I don’t think Tilton is being snarky when she reviews something negatively. (I don’t think TNH thinks that either)

  37. Snarky reviews can also be positive. It’s a particular tone of humor. Negative snark is easier, but positive snark exists. All TNH said was that going for the laugh is easier than going for the deeper insight, and that’s true on the face of it.

  38. +1 Soon Lee–I also think that categorizing that passage as “dismissing negative reviews as without value” is a big jump.

  39. @RedWombat –

    I think I understand your frustration. You’re trying to understand the boundaries of what I might call a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, the firm boundaries you’re asking for don’t exist. We’re dealing with varying degrees of multiple factors, some of which may or may not be present depending on the situation.

    Rather than trying to bound the concept, perhaps you could tell me why you don’t think a conflict of interest exists in this case.

  40. *headdesk* You are going to unbelievable lengths to avoid answering a question, dude. Can you truly not provide a single concrete example of someone else with a conflict of interest in your world? Or is it Nielsen Haydens all the way down?

    Why don’t you answer my question way back when–does Tilton having given me a positive review cause me to have a conflict of interest?

  41. Rather than trying to bound the concept, perhaps you could tell me why you don’t think a conflict of interest exists in this case.

    Sorry, that’s not how the world works. You’ve asserted there is a conflict of interest. You are the one who has to define what a conflict of interest is and why this is one.

  42. John Popham:

    TNH said something unkind and devaluing to Lois Tilton

    I support this. I think TNH could have said what she wanted to without being unkind.

    Lois Tilton was obviously upset at the time she wrote her blog post. She stopped by here to clarify the issue and let us know there were no hard feelings and to please not start an Internet feud.

    I’ve explained in an earlier comment my thoughts on managers/editors/corporations responsibilities to employees/contractors. Treating them as people deserving of respect and being informed of policies which affects their job is part of being a good boss/employer IMHO.

  43. Aaron: You’ve asserted there is a conflict of interest. You are the one who has to define what a conflict of interest is and why this is one.

    Unless he wins the dominance game being played here, then the loser will define it.

  44. Dominance game. Oh goody. Am I supposed to pee in a circle around the comment section? Because I’ll need about a gallon of coffee and one of those little silicone funnel things…

  45. I note that putting words into others’ mouths is something File770 regulars don’t approve of. I’d appreciate you extending me the same courtesy.

    I’m suddenly having Brian Z flashbacks. So as to avoid future aggravation: ::plonk::

    Unless he wins the dominance game being played here, then the loser will define it.

    Oooh, argumentum ad nauseaum! Another old favourite…

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