DisCon III Removes Weisskopf as a Guest of Honor

DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, announced today in an “Update on Editor Guest of Honor” that Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf has been removed as one of the convention’s GoHs.

They published the following statement in explanation:


DisCon III condemns the violent and hostile content found within Baen Books’ forums. We also cannot condone the fact such content was enabled and allowed to ferment for so long. We want to make it clear abusive behavior is not, and will not be, tolerated at DisCon III. Such behavior goes entirely against our already established policies concerning inclusivity and creating a welcoming environment for our members, which can be found here: https://discon3.org/about/inclusion/.

We knew simply saying those words with no actions to back them up would be unacceptable. Too often, we have seen individuals and organizations say they are on the right side of issues yet do nothing to act on those words. We knew we had to take a hard look at our own position and take action based on our established policies.

As a result, after discussion with her, we have notified Toni Weisskopf we are removing her as a Guest of Honor for DisCon III.

We know this decision was not as quick as some of you would have wanted, and we understand your frustration. Our committee’s leadership was always in full agreement that there was a fundamental difference between the values Worldcon strives to uphold and the values allowed to be espoused on the forums-in-question.

In the entire eighty-plus year history of our community, no Worldcon has ever removed someone as a Guest of Honor. To remove a Guest of Honor was an unprecedented decision that needed discussion, consideration, and consensus. Those mechanisms sometimes do not move as fast as some would want, and we thank the community for its patience.

We also want to let everyone know that we are not planning on adding additional individuals to our Guest of Honor list.

We wish to thank you all for taking the time and energy to send us your feedback. Many of you have strong opinions on this issue, and we want everyone to know all your voices were heard and considered when rendering our decision. We will always welcome your feedback, questions, suggestions, and concerns, and we will continue to listen, reflect and act to ensure our members feel welcome at DisCon III.


238 thoughts on “DisCon III Removes Weisskopf as a Guest of Honor

  1. @bill

    Should Wernher von Braun’s retro-Hugo be revoked?

    Wait, we gave a Nazi a retro-Hugo? I had no idea. That’s terrible!

    As you well know, there is no mechanism to retract a Hugo, so your question is nonsense. Should we glibe scrimbalt? But if I could wave a magic wand? Not only would I revoke that Hugo, but everyone who voted for him would be severely chastised.

  2. This is a quote from the DisCon III CoC:

    Intimidation, stalking, or following
    Unwelcome physical contact
    Unwelcome sexual attention
    Comments directly intended to belittle, offend, or cause discomfort including telling others they are not welcome and should leave
    Individually photographing or videoing members without their consent
    Treating cosplay/costumes as consent for unwanted contact or interaction
    Sustained disruption of talks or other events
    Sexually graphic or otherwise inappropriate images in public spaces
    Persistent and deliberate misgendering of other people
    Attempts to weaponize the Code of Conduct
    Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

    The bolded bit is what happened on the Baen forums, for which Weisskopf as owner/co-owner of the company was ultimately responsible and which she did not condemn.

  3. @Elspeth: Your “absolutely no indication that they did [try to convince her to work with them on some other option]” makes no sense. To whit:

    As a result, after discussion with her, we have notified Toni Weisskopf we are removing her as a Guest of Honor for DisCon III.

    That gives obvious indication they were likely discussing other options.

    I’m amused you feel people are losing/burying that it’s Worldcon doing this, when it’s literally the lede of the blog post we’re commenting on. (And people have commented on that, here and elsewhere.) But let’s recap: Other cons have dropped a GoH before; now Worldcon’s done it for the first time. Not much more to say on that aspect, IMHO.

    Weisskopf’s not more important than Worldcon to me. Great for you and her that you’re such a big fan of hers, but that’s simply your opinion – not a universal truth by any means.

    @bill: Thanks for showing the timeline, with links even! Not the day after she closed the “Bar” as @Elspeth claimed. 😉

  4. @Christian Brunschen – Arrrgh, Amazon just introduced this series thing and it’s throwing me off because it adds a subtitle on its own! Will go poke it, thank you!

    @Mike V – Hey now, geodesic domes are STILL AWESOME, dammit.

    More generally, how hard would it have been for Weisskopf to include one bare phrase like “obviously we condemn any expression or endorsement of political violence”? That’s Basic Public Statement 101. That she didn’t essays to me that either she’s truly so socially unsavvy that it did not occur to her, or that she felt it might alienate more people than she felt worthwhile.

    I have never met her. I truly, genuinely, do not know whether she is a socially savvy person or not. Every statement I’ve seen from her, however, has pretty much fallen along those lines. So either she knows exactly what she’s doing and did it deliberately as a calculation of who to avoid pissing off, or she’s woefully unversed in the current social climate and this is probably all confusing and blindsiding and weird.

    And I don’t know which. Does anybody?

  5. @Peace: You beat me to it, but to amplify for anyone in the back who may have been napping…

    DisCon III is being held in Washington, D.C., less than eight months after the events of January 6th.

    If the situation involved any other sort of offensive speech, or the con were being held in any other city, or the January 6th rally had not become a riot bent on insurrection, or the rioters had been of a different political bent, the concom might conceivably have reached a different decision.

    But it didn’t, it’s not, it did, and they weren’t.

    I have this feeling – completely unsubstantiated, but it feels right – that as soon as DisCon’s board saw the allegations and the evidence, a great “oh, HELL, no!” echoed through the room.

    Abstract theory is one thing, but this is one of those cases where the concrete details not only make a difference, but are vital considerations.

  6. @Elspeth: ‘Lawful’ speech is the absolute lowest possible bar, particularly if you apply — as I suspect Weisskopf is going to — an absolutist American view on that. Actual Nazis talking Actual Nazi stuff has been held to be lawful under American law.

    I am genuinely uncertain as to whether anything on Baen’s forums crosses that particular line. On the other hand, I also strongly suspect that it’s not where the line actually is on those forums; it is quite possible to be, for example, banned from them for trolling, if you choose your target unwisely.

    Like a lot of free-speech defenses, I suspect it’s going to amount to ‘I believe in free speech as a reason to allow terrible stuff to be said about anyone who is not me or mine’.

    And in either case, it’s a pretty strong signal that you’re not taking the problem seriously enough.

  7. @ Mike V.–

    Von Braun? Hugo? I had to look that one up. 1954 Retro Hugo for “Best Related Work,” that being “The Conquest of the Moon.” Shared with collaborators Willy Ley and Fred Whipple. The book is at least as much Ley and Whipple as it is von Braun. In a recent reread, I got the impression that the most readable parts (nearly half the book) were Ley’s. Not surprising, since he was a professional journalist. Whipple, a first-rank professional astronomer as well as an excellent popularizer of the field, also put in a a good bit of info-made-entertaining. Von Braun wrote like an engineer, just as he did in the later “Exploration of Mars.” (In the latter book, I tend to reread the first half, which is Ley’s, while skipping von Braun’s half, because he made a voyage to Mars sound downright boring. Bonestell’s illustrations saved the second half for me.)

    Interestingly, at one point, someone (probably Ley or Whipple) described a moonscape as first seen by explorers as “magnificent desolation.” I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Buzz Aldrin intentionally quoted that when he stepped out upon the Moon.

    Buzz Aldrin–he, too, won a Hugo, jointly with collaborators Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, for “The Best Moon Landing Ever.”

  8. Dang, color me impressed by DisCon’s transparency, speed, and the actual decision. I had not been able to keep up with supporting memberships in the last year or two due to retirement and moving Stuff sucking all my energy, but I went ahead and splurged for a full membership (#6345!). I don’t know if it will be safe enough to travel then, but even if I cannot make it, it’s worth it for the support.

  9. @Mike V
    It doesn’t take much prescience to know that these events will be used in the future to justify other disinvitations, so it’s worth pinning down the reasons that Weisskopf has been disinvited. Discon should have said clearly and specifically “This is our expectation, and this where Weisskopf failed to meet her obligations.” (and this kind of statement is very basic — every management text I’ve ever read has similar steps that should be used if you need to fire someone, for example). They didn’t.
    Possibilities
    – it’s all a numbers game. Keeping Weisskopf costs too much in registrations and other participants. I think that is unfair (the heckler’s veto), but I can understand it. If that’s the case, Discon should own up to it though.
    – Code of Conduct. Some have said it would be a CoC violation to keep her. But the statement bolded by Cora above, “Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior”, does not apply to anything Weisskopf has done. At best, she failed to discourage such behavior. It’s a difference and an important one. Imposing an affirmative duty after the fact is arbitrary and capricious.

    The thing that reflects the worst on Discon through this is that there’s nothing new here. If Baen’s Bar was a cesspool on on Feb 15, it was also one when Discon made the decision to make Toni Weisskopf GoH. She is no more ethically culpable now than she was then. This is a huge failure of due diligence on the part of Discon. They got found out, and are pinning it all on Toni Weisskopf.

    And so the questions I asked may seem to be in bad faith now, but the answers will be important the next time. What is the obligation Worldcon participants have in terms of tolerating the bad behavior of third parties? Suppose Baen removed Kratman and his posts and forum from Baen’s Bar, but kept publishing him — that wouldn’t satisfy everyone, but would it satisfy enough?

    As you well know, there is no mechanism to retract a Hugo, so your question is nonsense.

    And Constitutionally, there was no authority for CoNZealand to give out an Astounding Award in lieu of a John W. Campbell Award, but they did. Conventions can get away with whatever they want, if the membership supports it.

  10. “Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior”, does not apply to anything Weisskopf has done. At best, she failed to discourage such behavior. It’s a difference and an important one. Imposing an affirmative duty after the fact is arbitrary and capricious.

    You’re forgetting the part where ‘after the fact’ of the revelation of what her supposed negligence led to, she made no statement about whether she found the detailed mass murder scenarios thus revealed to be anything she specifically found unacceptable for Baen’s Bar, and therefore no promise that the Bar would do anything different than what they’ve been doing all along. Her silence on that score goes beyond passive negligence – she can no longer claim ignorance – and into active condonation.
    .

  11. bill: This is a huge failure of due diligence on the part of Discon. They got found out, and are pinning it all on Toni Weisskopf.

    HAHAHAHA no.

    “Due diligence” for Weisskopf as a GoH was satisfied by ensuring that she had not made such comments herself. “Due diligence” did not require the Worldcon committee to do a deep dive into Baen’s user forums. No Worldcon has the resources to do the kind of extensive background investigation you suggest, of deep-diving into all endeavors or associations in which their Guests of Honor have some involvement.

    The person who is to blame is Weisskopf herself, who chose to cater to a violent sub-group of fans rather than simply condemn that sort of speech and condemn the harrassment of Sanford. It wouldn’t have been hard for Weisskopf to do those two small things. By refusing, she left DisCon III no choice.

  12. bill: Constitutionally, there was no authority for CoNZealand to give out an Astounding Award in lieu of a John W. Campbell Award, but they did. Conventions can get away with whatever they want, if the membership supports it.

    Sure there was. It’s right there in WSFS’ Constitution. WSFS administered the same award that they’ve been administering for decades; Dell Magazines just changed the name of the award, and the nomenclature was accordingly updated in the Constitution to match Dell’s specifications.

  13. [just missed the edit window in the other post to fix “Tone W” – meant to be Toni]

    Too late, she’s Tone Dub now. 😉

    #

    Because her claim to “not censor legal speech” keeps coming up–and, to be clear, I agree with others that it would be a stupid line to draw in the sand; a lot of speech that contravenes common codes of conduct is legal–let’s remember that Baen’s Bar absolutely does censor legal speech in the form of certain topics of discussion that have been made forbidden over the years. Jason Sanford’s report listed several of those topics.

    Absent an announcement that those topics have been un-banned, when TW says in her statement that “Baen will not censor legal speech,” she is lying.

  14. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:

    I have found that when people pull forth the “free speech” argument (outside actual government censorship, which as far as I can tell is not applicable to Baen’s Bar), what they actually mean is “what I am saying should not have any consequences for me” (often, curiously paired with “things you are saying should have severe consequences for you”).

  15. bill:

    The thing that reflects the worst on Discon through this is that there’s nothing new here. If Baen’s Bar was a cesspool on on Feb 15, it was also one when Discon made the decision to make Toni Weisskopf GoH. She is no more ethically culpable now than she was then.

    “The crimes were always there” is not the compelling argument you seem to think it is.

    “… and Discon IS to blame for inviting the host of a cesspit while the host of the cesspit IS NOT to blame for the cesspit” is also not the compelling argument you seem to think it is.

    .
    .
    (All quote marks indicate paraphrases and are not necessarily actual quotes, in case that need be said)

  16. If Baen’s Bar was a cesspool on on Feb 15, it was also one when Discon made the decision to make Toni Weisskopf GoH.

    You know, bill, I seem to remember a rather significant event happening right there in DC in between those two points in time.

    Oh wait, you’re on record spouting right-wing denialism about the January 6th insurrection attempt too.

    In short, take your dishonest JAQing off and sod the hell off.

  17. @JJ – the constitution passed on to CoNZealand authorizes and directs it to administer the “John W. Campbell award”. It was properly never amended to say “Astounding Award” — someone at the WSFS website took it on themselves to edit it.

    Are you suggesting that WSFS has delegated to Dell Magazines the authority to modify the WSFS constitution?

    I’m not denying that the award’s name has changed. I just maintain that the way the WSFS has reacted to it was not in accordance with the rules, and the membership of the WSFS is okay with this. It’s a fait accompli.

  18. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what Toni Weisskopf did that was considered sufficient reason to disinvite her. I’m not trying to make a point here, I’m just trying to understand the reasoning. If I’m following the arguments given here, then:
    1. Shutting down the toxic web forum (she did shut it down, didn’t she?) was the right thing to do, but not simultaneously issuing a statement of condemnation of its contents is an omission sufficient to justify the disinvite.
    2. Hosting the toxic web forum in the first place would not have been a sufficient reason to justify the disinvite before the January 6th attacks, but is sufficient since then.
    Do I understand this accurately?

  19. @DB,

    I don’t know. And I can’t speak for those who made the decisions.

    But I can make some educated guesses.

    On 1. Closing the entire forums without a word hurt Baen’s fans and community, and it was rash of Weisskopf to do so. Closing the particular offending subforums pending investigation would have been reasonable.

    Refusing to speak out against hate speech is a big oof and remaining silent on it is horrifying. When someone makes hate speech and death threats on a forum and the forum owner, when asked, conspicuously refuses to condemn their behavior, that forum owner is saying they have no problem with the hate speech and death threats.

    That’s the sort of behavior that has serious consequences.

    On 2. I don’t think that’s correct. Hosting a toxic web forum would in my personal opinion absolutely have been a sufficient reason to disinvite even before the January 6th riot and attempted coup.

    The January 6th attacks simply made the arguments for disinvitation considerably stronger, as the common dismissive tactic of pooh-poohing and brushing aside of the seriousness of the forum posts can be readily countered now by the fact that such actually have led to armed insurrection.

  20. @DB The fact that the hate speech has been on the forums for years, and she didn’t care until Jason Sanford’s article, is significant. The choice of moderators is significant.

    Also significant is that she defended hosting that content on the grounds that Baen’s Bar would not ban “legal speech” when it’s well-known that they would and did: discussions of human cloning are legal, for example. She and/or people she has given control of the forums see that the topic of human cloning, and people’s calls to murder their political opponents are on different sides of a line–and then she planted her flag on the side of killing people to win elections.

  21. @Peace is my middle name.

    I think you’ve left out the most important point. The shutdown is temporary, while the administrators root out any content that they believe to be illegal. The rest stays. The moderator who talked about mass murder of “liberals” remains a moderator. There is no intent to deal with the problem.

    Jason Sanford was careful to allow that Toni Weisskopf might have been unaware of the scale of the problem. Now we know she is aware – and is perfectly willing to host it.

  22. @DB – None of us really know. Anyone who was directly involved and does know is keeping it confidential, which is only right and proper.

    My take on your #1 is that you are correct. I would add that Weisskopf could have shown better leadership. Baen Books staff need to rally and find a constructive way to go forward and repair relations with the wider SF community. Some of the Baen’s Bar participants need to cool off. Weisskopf’s defensive and angry statements were really the wrong thing to say in a situation that continues to spiral out of control.

    I think your #2 was probably not a factor in Worldcon decision making. Recent events probably were one of the reasons for Sanford’s deciding to releasing his research.

    Mike V. made some excellent points early on about missed opportunities for face-saving. Weisskopf could have made a pro-forma apology, or declined her invitation. Either of those would have been gratefully accepted.

  23. Shutting down the toxic web forum (she did shut it down, didn’t she?) …

    Weisskopf shut it down temporarily while affirming Baen’s commitment to free speech and omitting any condemnation of the comments advocating violence.

    Do you think that should have been sufficient to address the concerns of DisCon?

  24. @ Various people:

    You keep quoting me as saying

    Toni Weiskopf is far more important than any Worldcon.

    Please read the whole of what I said:

    What has me so angry isn’t that they did this to Toni, it’s that a Worldcon did this. Which, of course, has been lost or buried in this discussion. Toni Weiskopf is far more important than any Worldcon.

    Obviously Weiskopf is not more important that any Worldcon. And, technically, quoting only the last sentence is libel. Going after that is silly and quoting only the final sentence is just more proof of my point. Nevertheless you have done a lot of damage to my reputation and this isn’t going to change that: I’m now the person who thinks that Weiskopf is more important than a Worldcon. And that hurts.

    What I said:

    No one is talking about Worldcons. Everyone is talking about and interested in Toni Weiskopf, Baen, and Baens Bar. The fact that people noticed only the sentence with “Weiskopf”, not the part about Worldcons, is an excellent example.

    Dis-inviting a Guest of Honor is problematic enough that there have been long discussions. A Worldcon – any Worldcon – dis-inviting a Guest of Honor is a serious, complicated matter. There’s going to be a lot of fallout.

    Given that the long thread is about the Guest of Honor buries that fact. Okay, yes, I should cut people some slack because it’s much more interesting. I’m more interested in the Worldcon part but I’m a conrunner.

    Something I appreciate, though: not long ago there was a thread vilifying us. If they’re reading this one they might understand how difficult the job can be.

  25. Please read the whole of what I said:

    What has me so angry isn’t that they did this to Toni, it’s that a Worldcon did this. Which, of course, has been lost or buried in this discussion. Toni Weiskopf is far more important than any Worldcon.

    Obviously Weiskopf is not more important that any Worldcon.

    I don’t understand how the first quote means Weisskopf (two esses) is “obviously” not more important than any Worldcon, when you said the exact opposite? Can you explain? I’m not following your argument here.

  26. I don’t understand how the first quote means Weisskopf (two esses) is “obviously” not more important than any Worldcon, when you said the exact opposite?

    I think she’s expecting people to intuit that she means that Toni Weisskopf looms larger in the discussion than Worldcon, that Worldcon’s responsibilities are not being treated with the weight they deserve in the discussion.

    I don’t think I agree with that point, and if it is the point she’s trying to make I think it’s unclear both times. But I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

  27. Tom Becker: “None of us really know. Anyone who was directly involved and does know is keeping it confidential, which is only right and proper.”
    My question was, what did Weisskopf do that was considered sufficient reason to disinvite her? And you say they’re keeping that confidential? That seems to me a strange basis to make a public decision. But if it’s true, it’s totally presumptuous for any of us to make any comments at all on it, which has been going on here for quite a while now.

  28. @DB
    There’s enough information available to know why she was disinvited. See the previous three or four posts on this mess.

  29. @DB

    What she has done is remain silent about the hate speech and death threats posted on her watch. When asked, she conspicuously would not say one word against them. Weisskopf tolerates hate speech and death threats in a space she controls.

    In today’s fraught political climate, with Rightwing people making hate speech and death threats online and actually organizing armed mobs to attack the US government and attempt a coup, to tolerate such hate speech and death threats in one’s space is to align oneself with the forces of mob rule and violent overthrow of the US government.

    So yes, that is absolutely “sufficient reason to disinvite her”.

  30. @DB – The distinction I think you’re missing is this.

    While the precise and actual reasoning behind DisConIII’s disinvitation of TW as a GOH, and the details of the negotiations between DisConIII and TW before the disinvitation, are being held confidential and only known to those who made the decision,

    there is enough publicly available data (Sanford’s report w/ screenshots, TW’s statements, Baen Bar’s history) on which to make such a decision, and to make that decision look reasonable and indeed inevitable, and to make the question “But why did they disinvite her?” look suspiciously like JAQing off.

  31. PJ Evans: I have read at least some of the posts, and many comments attempting to justify the disinvite, and what I posted was the impression I got from what they said.

    Peace, rcade: Weisskopf said “allegations against the Bar have been made elsewhere. We take these allegations seriously …” That may be, as you say, conspicuously not one word against hate speech and death threats. But if so, it threads a pretty narrow line. Do either of you see that phrasing as CYA cant intended to disguise a real attitude of allowing the hate speech?

    Vicki R: She did make reference in her announcement to topics “that have been retired,” so she seems to be drawing a distinction between that and banning legal speech. That distinction might not be justifiable, but it’s interesting that it was made.

  32. I have read at least some of the posts, and many comments attempting to justify the disinvite, and what I posted was the impression I got from what they said.

    I doubt it.

    Since you immediately pivot to “I’m going to quote part of what Weisskopf said but not the other part, even though it’s been discussed repeatedly in these threads,” it seems pretty clear that you’re just sealioning, and trying to get people to repeat once more points you claim to have already read.

    If you haven’t read them, you can go read them.

    If you have, they contain your answers.

  33. Weisskopf said “allegations against the Bar have been made elsewhere. We take these allegations seriously …” That may be, as you say, conspicuously not one word against hate speech and death threats. But if so, it threads a pretty narrow line. Do either of you see that phrasing as CYA cant intended to disguise a real attitude of allowing the hate speech?

    I don’t know what Weisskopf intended. I think that her decision not to do the simplest thing — immediately announce that comments advocating political violence are offensive, are being deleted and won’t be allowed going forward — put DisCon in a difficult position. Lacking that, her statement affirming free speech made me skeptical that she’ll drop the banhammer on some users and moderators.

    DisCon talking to Weisskopf makes me think there was a way forward that would’ve kept her as guest of honor, because her removal from the honor hurts both the con and Weisskopf.

  34. Elspeth –

    former lawyer here.
    “Obviously Weiskopf is not more important that any Worldcon. And, technically, quoting only the last sentence is libel. ”

    No, it’s not libel. It’s quoting what +you+ said. This is Tort Law 101. Defamation (of which libel is a part) is complicated, but boiling it down is defined as communication to 3rd parties of +false+ statements of facts about a plaintiff whose reputation is injured by those false statements.

    You said something possibly ill-thought out, trying to make a point. But as long as you actually wrote it and submitted it, it can’t by definition be libel.

    It may have hurt your feelings, it may have made you look bad. But it’s not libel. And, honestly, throwing the term libel around willy-nilly like this just weakens any argument you may have, as well as making you look under-informed.

  35. DisCon talking to Weisskopf makes me think there was a way forward that would’ve kept her as guest of honor, because her removal from the honor hurts both the con and Weisskopf.

    I would hazard a guess that, while they’re may have been much more said, the substantive part of that discussion would boil down to:

    “You said you’re investigating. When do you expect to have a resolution?”

    “I can’t say.”

    “We can’t wait all that long. Can you give us a date by which you’ll have a resolution, so we can know whether we can wait until then?”

    “No.”

    “Okay, then we have to act based on what we actually know.”

    I might be wrong, of course, but I’d guess not by all that much.

  36. And, technically, quoting only the last sentence is libel.

    As a lawyer, I will also say that this is laughable. The fact that you think quoting you, even a truncated quote, is libel, just demonstrates you don’t have any idea what you are talking about.

    More to the point, your “expanded quote” that you insist somehow radically changes the meaning of what you wrote, doesn’t. You’re just embarrassing yourself at this point.

  37. Kurt: I apologize if I missed things, or if I cannot remember the full details of everything that I’ve seen. I’m not an expert on this issue, I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.
    I quoted only part of what Weisskopf said because that was the relevant part. I know you’ve all read the rest, so I didn’t have to point to it. The part I quoted was the part that came closest to “a word against hate speech and death threats,” so I pointed to it specifically to ask how nonqualifying it was. Yes, I’ve read plenty of posts saying she didn’t disavow the hate speech, but I’ve seen nothing addressing why what she said is worthless, because it doesn’t look totally worthless from here. So maybe I’m missing something. That’s why I asked if maybe it was perceived as CYA cant. That would be a reason it would be worthless.
    I’m trying to understand; the sealion only wants to have an argument. I don’t wish to argue with anybody. That’s the difference.

  38. @ DB

    I’m trying to understand; the sealion only wants to have an argument. I don’t wish to argue with anybody. That’s the difference.

    Actually, the sealion usually disguises their kind of trolling with language like “just trying to understand” and so on.

  39. “just trying to understand”
    otherwise known as “just asking questions”, or “JAQing off”.

  40. I apologize if I missed things, or if I cannot remember the full details of everything that I’ve seen. I’m not an expert on this issue, I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.

    If you really did miss something, or can’t remember it, it’s all still there.

    If you just want to get people to repeat it to waste their time…it’s still all still there.

  41. The constitution passed on to CoNZealand authorizes and directs it to administer the “John W. Campbell award”. It was properly never amended to say “Astounding Award” — someone at the WSFS website took it on themselves to edit it. Are you suggesting that WSFS has delegated to Dell Magazines the authority to modify the WSFS constitution? I’m not denying that the award’s name has changed. I just maintain that the way the WSFS has reacted to it was not in accordance with the rules, and the membership of the WSFS is okay with this. It’s a fait accompli.
    — Bill

    Hi Bill, I’m a member of WSFS’ Mark Protection Committee, Hugo Award Marketing Committee, and the Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee.

    No one at the WSFS website “took it upon themselves to edit it”. It was changed by the consensus of the NP&FSC, which is charged with reviewing the WSFS Constitution to ensure that it’s correct and that it most closely says what is intended, and with proposing wording changes if they feel that it needs to be worded better.

    Often, those wording changes are substantial enough that they require ratification from the WSFS Business Meeting, as in the case of changing “The Worldcon Committee is responsible for all matters concerning the Awards.” to “The Worldcon Committee is responsible for all matters concerning their Awards.”

    At other times, changes are not substantial enough to require ratification, such as when it was noticed that the Constitution had mixed British and U.S. spellings and was updated to consistently use U.S. spellings (since that’s how it was originally drafted at its inception).

    So with regard to the Astounding/Campbell Award, is changing the name of it in the WSFS Constitution a “substantial” change?

    The NP&FSC took up this question. The result of that discussion was:

    1) The name of Dell Magazines’ award is the only proper noun / name in the Constitution over which WSFS has no control. Any other name in the Constitution — the names of Committees, the names of the Hugo and Lodestar Awards, etc., are names which WSFS members can change via proposals at the Business Meeting. But if someone who was unhappy with the name of the Campbell Award had tried to propose an amendment which would change the name of Dell Magazines’ award to something different, that proposal would have been ruled Out Of Order and never voted upon, because WSFS does not have the authority to change the name of Dell Magazines’ award.

    2) With that understanding, then no official amendment is required to update WSFS’ Constitution for the new name of the Astounding Award, because that name is not something over which WSFS has control. Dell Magazines directed WSFS to change the name of the award to the Astounding Award, and the Constitution was updated to reflect the new name of the award per Dell’s instructions.

    This is completely in accordance with WSFS’ rules. However, if you wish to dispute it, you are welcome to bring a proposal to override the NP&FSC’s judgment and rescind that change to the next WSFS Business Meeting. I don’t think such a proposal would get past Objection To Consideration, but I would be happy to help you with the wording of such a proposal if you wished to submit one.

  42. Rob, PJ: Well, then, a lot of people must be falsely accused of sealioning. Which would explain a lot. It’s a strange kind of trolling, and it would make more sense if people who say they’re trying to get clarification are actually … gasp … trying to get clarification.
    Kurt: Sure, it’s there. But where? By this point there are at least half a dozen posts on F770 alone, most with multiple pages of comments. If you remember something, it’d be a kindness to point to it (if you remember where it is) or repeat it, instead of wasting the same amount of time telling people to page through all that stuff when they don’t even know exactly what they’re looking for.

  43. @Kurt Busiek

    I think she’s expecting people to intuit that she means that Toni Weisskopf looms larger in the discussion than Worldcon, that Worldcon’s responsibilities are not being treated with the weight they deserve in the discussion.

    I don’t think I agree with that point, and if it is the point she’s trying to make I think it’s unclear both times. But I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

    I’d been considering whether or not to post anymore, not because of what matters to me, personally, but because I don’t think I’m making any useful contributions. I will reply to this, though, because it seems that clarification is required:

    I don’t “expect people to intuit” it, the thread focuses on Weisskopf. Thinking that had to be intuited would be profoundly insulting to most of the people here.

    Absolutely I think Worldcons (not their responsibilities, Worldcons) aren’t being given enough attention.

    Given that the long thread is about the Guest of Honor buries that fact.

    ‘that fact’ grammatically referring to the previous paragraph. Of note is the rest of the paragraph

    I should cut people some slack because it’s [Weisskopf, Baen, et. al. is] much more interesting. I’m more interested in the Worldcon part but I’m a conrunner.

    Put together the thread is about Weisskopf et. al. overwhelming any discussion of Worldcons. I think that if a Worldcon does something significantly different it has repercussions and that matters. I also know why they weren’t being discussed.

    @Lenore Jones / jonesnori

    I don’t understand how the first quote means Weisskopf (two esses) is “obviously” not more important than any Worldcon, when you said the exact opposite? Can you explain? I’m not following your argument here.

    You’ve gotten the order wrong. Obviously no one person, in this case Weisskopf, is more important than any Worldcon. A fact. Therefor the previous sentence, which contradicts that fact, is not to be taken as a statement of fact. (I know there’s a formula for the logic but, I’m sorry, it’s been long enough that I don’t remember it.)

    Meanwhile –

    By now I shouldn’t be surprised that people only notice what’s important to them but you might have skimmed down to the final sentence. What was and is important to me is the rest of the paragraph, that people persist in claiming that I’d only said “Toni Weiskopf is far more important than any Worldcon.”

  44. Elspeth, if you meant

    What has me so angry isn’t that they did this to Toni, it’s that a Worldcon did this. Which, of course, has been lost or buried in this discussion. The discussion makes it look as though Toni Weiskopf is far more important than any Worldcon, but in fact Worldcon is more important.

    then you needed to say that.

    Instead, you said the exact opposite, and then got upset when people took literally what you actually said, instead of what you meant to say. Your preceding sentences do not make it say what you apparently wanted it to say. Please stop blaming everyone else here for your own imprecision in expressing your thoughts.

  45. There is something I’d like to see come out if this. Something I have seen discussed in other less public forums.

    What do our GoHs represent? Are they merely attractors for members? Do they play a role in the message and goals of the convention? Are they merely honorees, no more indicative of the cons meaning than those inshrined in Cooperstown?

    It’s an important question and one that we need to figure out a good answer to.

  46. Someone who’s more interested in answering questions than throwing insults has pointed me at an FB comment that pretty much answers my question.
    This person says (I’m paraphrasing, since I doubt I have permission to quote) that Weisskopf’s response indicates no more than an intent to delete illegal speech, which is too low a bar. I’d kind of think “taking allegations seriously” means a little more than that, but it’s ambiguous. Combine that with other comments pointing out that what changed on 1/6 was in part an emboldening of the toxic environment, and that pretty much makes me understand why Weisskopf’s statement was deemed as insufficient. My reaction is still a little different, but I understand what the point is here. Do sealions declare themselves satisfied? I just did.

  47. DB, while I agree with others that you appear to be a sealion, and have certainly been engaging in the trolling practice of “Just Asking Questions”, I’m going to answer you once more in good faith.

    You say:

    DB: Weisskopf said “allegations against the Bar have been made elsewhere. We take these allegations seriously …” That may be, as you say, conspicuously not one word against hate speech and death threats. But if so, it threads a pretty narrow line. Do either of you see that phrasing as CYA cant intended to disguise a real attitude of allowing the hate speech?

    First, I’m going to point out that the actual quote is “allegations about the Bar”. In a discussion like this, precision matters, and if you put something in quotes and claim it’s a quote, you need to ensure that you’ve quoted accurately.

    Secondly, you left off the rest of the quote, which contains exactly the CYA cant you claim to not have seen:

    “We have received no complaints about the content of the Bar from its users.

    That said, it has come to our attention that allegations about the Bar have been made elsewhere. We take these allegations seriously, and consequently have put the Bar on hiatus while we investigate. But we will not commit censorship of lawful speech.

    It is not Baen Books’ policy to police the opinions of its readers, its authors, its artists, its editors, or indeed anyone else. This applies to posts at the Bar, or on social media, on their own websites, or indeed anywhere else. On the Bar, the publisher does not select what is allowed to be posted, and does not hijack an individual’s messages for their own purposes. Similarly, the posts do not represent the publisher’s opinion, except in a deep belief that free speech is worthy in and of itself.

    That, right there, really left DisCon III no choice. Because what Weisskopf is saying is that she’ll remove whatever Baen’s lawyers tell her needs to be removed to avoid legal liability, but that
    1) she herself has no problem with leaving the mass murder and insurrection proposals which have been floated up on the forum,
    2) she has no intention whatsoever of speaking against that sort of inciteful speech, and thus is condoning its presence on her company’s forum, and
    3) she has actually lied here, because people have provided receipts both for a) the fact that the Bar has indeed banned some perfectly legal topics on their forum, and b) that users of the forum have complained about the content there.

    Does that make it clear enough for you?

  48. Elspeth:

    I don’t “expect people to intuit” it, the thread focuses on Weisskopf. Thinking that had to be intuited would be profoundly insulting to most of the people here.

    No, I’ll stick with “you expected people to intuit it.” Or at least to infer it. What you think is clear in what you said is not.

    DB:

    Sure, it’s there. But where? By this point there are at least half a dozen posts on F770 alone, most with multiple pages of comments.

    Wow, half a dozen posts? With a couple of pages of comments on some of them?

    You could have looked in the amount of time you’ve spent trying to get others to do the labor you say you want done. If you actually cared to know, you would have.

    You shoulda been here during Puppygate, if you think that’s a lot to look through.

  49. @my dog is named hannah

    You said something possibly ill-thought out, trying to make a point. But as long as you actually wrote it and submitted it, it can’t by definition be libel.

    You’re correct and, quite seriously, thank you for correcting me. I looked up slander vs. libel because I used to get them mixed up but did not, for example, read through the Cornell Law School definition or at least a shorter one.I didn’t use the term in my follow up to another person but that doesn’t change my using it in the first place. And especially given how much I dislike people throwing around psychiatric terms or otherwise thinking they know what they mean I should have known better.

    I wasn’t certain about using the word ‘hurt’ but decided that it was better than the other reaction. The reason I said anything at all is a strong belief that people should stop and think about individuals now and then, and to not simply make a bald statement.

    If it matters to anyone I’m balancing the result of what people did with the understanding of why they did it. The fact that people have been damaging my reputation remains. But so does what I said in another post about people not reading or thinking through entirety of something written. Especially true when things are heated.

  50. Elspeth: The fact that people have been damaging my reputation remains.

    Oh, for pete’s sake, take personal responsibility for your own speech. If your reputation has been damaged, it’s because you yourself did the damage by saying something other than what you actually meant. 🙄

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