If you read Laura Mixon’s original report about the damage done by Requires Hate/ Winterfox/ Benjanun Sriduangkaew, chances are you will be interested in her latest take, “Requires Hate Follow-up, Three Months Later: Are We Past the Winter of our Discontent?”, posted February 14.
Mixon covers a wide range – here’s one point that particularly intrigued me.
Here’s the thing. Our community doesn’t kick people out. Ever. People can decide to leave—and part of my distress last fall was learning that numerous talented writers, editors, and engaged fans had decided to leave the field rather than face further death threats and stalking by Requires Hate et al. But if a person decides to stay, however controversial and destructive their actions have been, they’ll nearly always find someone ready to listen to them.
It’s a salient trait of our community to be tolerant—to a fault—of difference, of clueless behavior, argument, and dissent. It can be a bad thing, when we find ourselves tolerating abuse. But tolerance can also be a good thing, when it’s used to give people we disagree with the benefit of the doubt and to create a space for debate and reform.
I agree that anyone who stays in the sf field, whatever their circumstances, will find somebody willing to make common cause. But is that tolerance? The characterization of the sf community as tolerant is one I have debated for years. You can find friends here. You can find people willing to have civil discussions. You can also find tempestuous disagreements, accusations of bad faith, personal invective, and people battering others with ideological demands. “Marketplace of ideas” may be an imperfect description, too, though what I like about the term marketplace is the way it speaks to the bargaining, competition, and conflict that happens as we offer our ideas to one another.