Pixel Scroll 3/28/18 A Pixel Here, A Pixel There, And Pretty Soon You’re Talking About Real Scrolls

(1) ANOTHER FANS V. HOLLYWOOD DUSTUP. This is fascinating. Business Insider, in the process of crabbing that “The last 15 best-picture Oscar winners prove how out of touch Hollywood’s biggest night is with general audiences”, shows that the top box office picture in all but one of those years was a genre film, or else an animated movie.

We looked back at the lifetime domestic gross for the last 15 best picture Oscar winners and matched those with the lifetime gross for the movies that topped those years at the box office. And only once did they match up (2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”).

In fact, most of the best picture Oscar winners didn’t crack $100 million at the box office and only two crossed the $200 million mark — and that’s counting inflation!

Nevertheless, in 2012 when genre films went head-to-head and Oscar winner Argo beat box office champ The Avengers, I was pretty happy about that result.

(2) ABOUT THE HUGO ANNOUNCEMENT. Annalee Flower Horne explores important nuances in the argument over when the Hugo finalist announcement should be scheduled. Jump on the thread here —

(3) NO THANKS. Wendy S. Delmater helps authors read the entrails when it comes to “What Rejection Letters Really Mean”.

Oh no. Your literary creation—poem, article, novel, or story—has been rejected. What do you do now?

One of the first questions you should ask is, was this a Form Rejection or a Personalized Rejection? When you use The Grinder (by Diabolical Plots) to keep track of your submissions, it even gives you those options on a drop down menu. And there a shades of rejection letters, something called “tiered rejections.” Every publication has different rejection letters, too. One thing you can do is to take a look at the rejection wiki to see if the market you submitted it to has sample rejection letters.

(4) EYE-OPENER. Laura Dale tells Polygon readers “Why I helped create a game about being trans,” in the article “When simply existing is dangerous, everything is a risk”. Thid video role-playing game is designed to help cis people understand what it feels like to have gender dysphoria, to be forced to live as a gender which does not match the one with which they identify.

As a trans woman, I hear stories of transgender individuals dying by murder or suicide depressingly often. At least 81 transgender people were murdered in 2015, while 41 percent try to kill themselves at some point in their lives.

I don’t always have the emotional energy to engage with the topic, but in the wake of Leelah Alcorn’s suicide, I decided to try and do something to help raise awareness of what it’s like to go through the rough early stages of gender transition.

I got together with coder Alex Roberts, artist Joanna Blackhart and writer 8BitGoggles to develop a game called Acceptance.

(5) THE RISK OF OOPS. Scientists are the only ones…. “Why Scientists Aren’t Fans Of Creating On-Demand Meteor Showers” …because, of course, nothing could possibly go wrong.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In this video, the firm Astro Live Experiences explains how it hopes this will work. A satellite in low orbit around the Earth releases a cluster of small spheres. Those spheres fall through the atmosphere. And as they do, they burn up. Here on Earth, that translates into an artificial shooting star show.

SHAPIRO: Sounds like it could be pretty. But if the idea of manmade spheres hurtling through the atmosphere also sounds alarming, you’re not alone. Some scientists have objections. For one thing, they say we need to be able to observe objects beyond our atmosphere.

(6) PROBLEMATIC SURVEY. Lauren Orsini, in the Forbes.com column “Why Did The Flying Colors Anime Census Lose Fans’ Trust”, says anime fans were disturbed by a quiz sent out by previously-unknown Flying Colors Foundation, because the foundation didn’t explain who they were and then asked if anime fans had mental health problems, including social anxiety, body image issues, bullying,  and depression.”

Why does the survey ask about mental health?

Near the end of the Anime Census, survey-takers are asked if they have ever experienced social anxiety, body image issues, drug addiction, or other “health complications.”

However, the survey website does not inform fans about how the information will be used, so it’s no wonder that some survey-takers assumed the worst.

“The intention of the mental health question is threefold,” [spokesperson Daniel] Suh told me, “To let the community know that they are not suffering alone, to prove that anime can quite literally change lives by helping fans endure and grow through difficult times, and to understand and measure the benefits of anime on mental health. We want to help prove that anime is a global medium that could be used for good. We are aware of HIPAA regulations and, although we are not a health service provider, we are complying with its strictest rules. Any responses we receive about mental health will not be shared with anyone outside of FCF.”

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 28, 1963 – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds premiered in theaters.

(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA. Trivial Trivia:  Ray Bradbury was approached to write the original screen treatment of The Birds but declined.

Later, when he’d watch the movie at home, he’d yell at the TV, “You should have used the ending from the book!”

(9) CANCELLED. Starbase Indy, a convention that has been held for 30 years, will not be back in 2018 the chair announced on Facebook.

Like any fan-run not-for-profit, Starbase Indy relies on the community around the event for all the labor required to run it and also for all of the money that goes into the event. Taking a clear-eyed look at our financial and volunteer situation, there is no responsible way to hold an event this year.

…To bring the event back in the future, we would need to build a Board of Directors capable of guiding the event, and a convention staff excited about running the event. Currently I’m the only Board member remaining. That’s not a sustainable base from which to build any organization, especially not a volunteer organization with no paid staff.

(10) 2001 TRIBUTE. Cora Buhlert recommends “50 Jahre Kubricks ‘2001’”, a video about an exhibition in Frankfurt/Main honoring the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey. Cora explains, “The video is from a German culture program and therefore only in German, but you can see plenty of the exhibits. Not sure how long it will stay online.”

(11) PILES OF PIXELS. Furthering a trend, “The National Museum of Scotland is putting its entire collection online”.

People across the world can now view all the National Museum of Scotland has to offer without even leaving their sofas.

Using Google Arts and Culture’s museum view experience, which is similar to how Google’s Street View works, tourists can view the 20,000 objects on display at the National Museum. The virtual display also includes 1,000 pictures of objects from the Edinburgh museum’s collection.

It’s the first museum in Scotland that can be toured online, but not the first in the world. The Taj Mahal in India and the Palace of Versailles in France have also opened up their exhibit in a similar way, giving visitors from around the world a novel opportunity to explore their interior. Google Arts and Culture hopes to continue working with institutions to make cultural and historical materials across the globe more easily accessible.

(12) DOCUMENTARY WILL TRACE BRADBURY’S IMPACT. For fans who like to be heard –

Are you a fan of Ray Bradbury’s works? Have you had contact with him at some time in your life? Maybe he signed a book you still own. Or, maybe you met him in Waukegan, his hometown. You might even have a letter from him. Or, maybe his writing influenced you in a special way.

If so, we want to hear from you! We invite you to be interviewed as part of a video documentary. You will have a chance to tell about your “I Met Ray” moment in your own words.

This video documentary project is sponsored by the Ray Bradbury Museum Committee, which is working to preserve these unique Bradbury moments and memories for posterity.

For more information, please contact us at one of the following:

info@raybradburymuseum.org

RBEM office
13 N. Genesee Street
Waukegan, IL 60085

847-372-6183

(13) JEOPARDY! More sff on Jeopardy! The category was “Entertaining Inspirations.”

Steven H Silver says, “They got it right for $400.  The previous clue was about the film Alien.”

(14) THE ANSWER IS YES. Someone asked Anna Nimmhaus if things could be verse:

If you want to be happy and go without strife,
Never make the pixel-scrolling your life.
So from my personal point of view
Get a paper book to a-muse you.

(apologies to J. Soul, J. Royster, C. & F. Guida, 1963)

(15) BALLGAME OF THRONES. Sports Illustrated promises “This ‘Game of Thrones’ MLB Promo Will Get You Ready for Baseball Season”.

If you’re looking forward to the return of baseball and the return of Game of Thrones, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the hit HBO series won’t be back until 2019. The good news, though, is that baseball is back this week and there’s even a Game of Thrones tie-in.

There were 19 GoT promotional nights by MLB teams last season and HBO has renewed its agreement with the league to make it happen again this year. To mark the occasion, the network produced this really cool video based on the show’s title sequence.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, ULTRAGOTHA, Cora Buhlert, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Rich Lynch, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, John Hertz, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor Kip W, who reminded me of the days when I was a fan of Everett Dirksen.]

104 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/28/18 A Pixel Here, A Pixel There, And Pretty Soon You’re Talking About Real Scrolls

  1. For what it’s worth and leaving out all considerations of courtesy to nominees and/or fans, announcing the nominees on a weekday means that it will be covered more widely and thus not only reach more people that already read F&SF but also perhaps bring in some new readers.

    I’m lucky enough to have a local con where they announce it here (Norwescon) but one of the cool things about modern fandom is how farflung it is. I’d argue that the group served by a Tuesday announcement may well be (IMO probably is) greater than the number of people at cons this weekend. The former is also going to be a more diverse group in terms of finances.

  2. Since I’m actually at Eastercon at the moment I thought I would check what the position of Christian fans attending an Easter convention was with someone who has been involved in organising Easter services at the con. Passover is obviously a different and more explicit situation for Jewish fans.

    He thinks that hardly any Christian sects in the UK forbid their believers from attending other events at Easter, and he doesn’t personally know of any. It is likely that some Christian fans do not attend because they want to be with their fellow congregations over Easter for social reasons.

    The people who do have a problem are Vicars/Priests, and their spouses, for whom Easter is one of their busiest working weekends.

    Since we have been using Easter for decades we have effectively selected an Eastercon fandom for whom it is convenient and would probably push back quite hard, probably by running an Easter convention of some sort anyway, if we tried to change it.

  3. Has anyone here been suggesting moving Eastercon itself? I don’t think I saw it but I could have missed it. But I’ve now seen two people defending it.

  4. @Lenora Rose, I think one or two people on another post did suggest it might interfere less if it were on Whitsun or Ascension, which are also holiday weekends in the UK, but smaller as religious days. But most folks are talking about the Hugo nom announcement, not Eastercon itself.

    I saw elsewhere a suggestion of the Thursday before Easter (or another handy con weekend if Easter is inconvenient) as another possibility. It would allow for media to pick it up on Friday, and would still be fresh for discussion at the cons that weekend. I am aware that Friday is a day of worship for Muslims, and Good Friday is a Christian holy day, and time zones would have to be considered again, but Thursday still strikes me as worth considering.

  5. @Lenora Rose “Fandom is people who do fanac of some kind above and beyond merely consuming the media, and are in some form of community with other people who do.”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes

  6. I don’t know what to say. I’m shocked, I tell you, that somebody has heard a different version of the song. I just. Shocked.

  7. Cat Rambo:
    .

    “I’d argue that the group served by a Tuesday announcement may well be (IMO probably is) greater than the number of people at cons this weekend. The former is also going to be a more diverse group in terms of finances.”

    I’d argue that the group is greater even when announced this weekend.

  8. We were surprised at how quick the Hugo administrators were this time and still we want them to announcr even earlier, tuesday before easter!? Or move announcement one month to Whitsun with even less time to read the finalists!?

    Btw, thursday is kind if important for Easter in Sweden. That is when the easter witches are out begging for candy.

  9. With the exception of the occasional small-town newspaper (when one of the finalists lived in the area), I don’t think I’ve ever seen any mainstream press coverage of the release of the list of Hugo finalists. (And I have had some experience with the Hugos.)

    They really don’t care.

  10. There may be people who are discussing, reviewing, writing about, and doing fanzines about genre books and don’t go to cons, but they are not the vast majority.

    Err…what?

    I’d say they’re the majority by leaps and bounds and more leaps! Archive of Our Own, for example, has over a million users, largely genre-centric, and I doubt the vast majority get out to conventions. I was hugely active in online stuff for years before I did my first con. And then there’s Tumblr…

    I think fandom lives a lot of places and the biggest one is the internet.

  11. With the exception of the occasional small-town newspaper (when one of the finalists lived in the area), I don’t think I’ve ever seen any mainstream press coverage of the release of the list of Hugo finalists. (And I have had some experience with the Hugos.)

    There’s been quite a. Lot of coverage in the Guardian for the last few years, though not always for the best reasons.

  12. 1) ISTM that arguing that the Best Picture Oscar should be decided by the box-office numbers is pretty much the same thing as arguing that the Best Novel Hugo should be decided by sales figures. OTOH, being not much of a movie person, I don’t know exactly what kind of criteria Best Picture is supposed to represent. I know that when I’m nominating and voting for the novel, novella, novelette, and short story Hugos, one of the things I’m thinking about is “Does this present any new ideas, or old ideas in a new and different way?” Genre can certainly do that — but it can also be formulaic, which is not in and of itself a bad thing but does tend to drop a story down my Hugo priorities list.

    2) She’s definitely got a good point. And it’s not as though we don’t change traditions when it suits us; look, for example, at the way Worldcon is increasingly moving away from the traditional Labor Day weekend to a more family-friendly date in mid-August. Unless we plan to make it explicit that the Hugos are only for people who physically attend lit-cons (which IMO would be a Horribly Bad Idea), then it makes sense to announce the shortlist on a day when it won’t be swamped by non-fannish events.

    4) This seems like a good place to drop in a suggestion about how to talk to someone who doesn’t understand “why a man would want to be a woman” (or vice versa, but it’s amazing how much more frequently it goes that way). Sample script assuming that the person you’re talking to is a cis guy:
    “You’re a man, and you know you’re a man, and you’re fine with that. Now, hanging onto that inner sense of being a man… what if everyone you met assumed you were a woman? What if you had to pretend to be a woman all the time if you didn’t want to be mocked and bullied? What if you had to wear clothes you hated, and use what felt to you like the wrong bathroom, and the body you saw in the mirror didn’t match the image in your head? And if you tried to talk to anyone about it, they’d say don’t be silly, OF COURSE you’re a woman? Wouldn’t that make you pretty miserable? And if you had a chance to change your outside appearance to match your internal conviction of being a man, wouldn’t you want to take it?”

    13) I only know the answer to that because of Offworld Designs’ “Halo Kitty” T-shirt.

    Kip W: Wouldn’t that be “never judge a book by its cover”? To me it’s blindingly obvious. Re your more recent version: oh, SNAP!

    Also, the version of that verse I’ve seen most often is a bawdy tongue-twister:
    I’m not the pheasant-plucker, I’m the pheasant-plucker’s son,
    And I’m only plucking pheasants till the pheasant-plucker comes.

  13. RedWombat on March 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm said:

    I think fandom lives a lot of places and the biggest one is the internet.

    ^^^ What she said. ^^^
    Even taking into account huge cons like DragonCon and the ComicCons, online fandom dwarfs convention fandom. I’d argue that it probably has for decades–since there was a reasonably connected internet.

    WordCon committees are empowered by WSFS members to handle the finalists announcements however they deem fit. And tradition lately puts it on Easter Weekend unless impractical. But let’s not kid ourselves that the timing and at-con announcements cater to a majority of genre fans–nor even a majority of fans interested specifically in the Hugos.

    The next two Worldcons are Dublin and (probably) New Zealand (since no one has put up a bid against New Zealand). We already know Dublin will not announce on Easter weekend. You can start lobbying New Zealand now. Easter in 2020 is 12 April.

  14. Hampus Eckerman on March 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm said:
    Also, I haz arrived in New Zealand. Ready for Hugo Fools Day.

    Wait, what? Have a fabulous time in New Zealand!

    ETA: What’s your itenary looking like? Spending much time in Auckland?

  15. My Art Teacher and Everybody In The Class, back in 1990:
    See? See? Lee got it, and said it was “blindingly obvious”! C’mon, you guys!

    Guys?

  16. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan–

    There may be people who are discussing, reviewing, writing about, and doing fanzines about genre books and don’t go to cons, but they are not the vast majority.

    Fandom was born in the letter columns of pulp sf magazines in the 1920s, which at that time printed the names and addresses of the letter writers. They started writing to each other. Out of that, two things were born: fanzines and clubs. And fanzines, like the prozines, often published letters.

    Those things were all fandom. Before there were ever conventions.

    The fanzines have to a great extent, but not entirely, moved to the web. File 770 is one of those, and it’s still fandom. There are clubs, too, lots of them, and while a lot run conventions, a lot don’t. They’re still fandom. And there are blogs and LiveJournals and Facebook groups and Tumblrs and mailing lists, and other kinds of online communities, and it’s all still fandom.

    The people who attend conventions are an important part of that, but only be part. Not likely the majority, in any country with a long fannish history. And certainly not if we’re talking about the people who attend one particular convention, however important it is in that country.

    Fannish community is a lot bigger and broader than just one kind of fannish activity.

  17. All this talk about when Hugo noms should be announced, and why this time or that is better because weekday or not religious holiday.
    Doesn’t anyone remember that the people doing this are volunteers who probably have day jobs?

  18. @Lee arguing that the Best Picture Oscar should be decided by the box-office numbers

    I don’t see this article and similar ones making that argument. My takeaway is more along the lines of:

    There is significant overlap between box office success and quality. When Best Picture winners routinely diverge significantly from box office success, it feels like the selectors of BP may have an agenda beyond or in addition to recognizing quality.

  19. @Bill —

    There is significant overlap between box office success and quality. When Best Picture winners routinely diverge significantly from box office success, it feels like the selectors of BP may have an agenda beyond or in addition to recognizing quality.

    The day I see anyone advocate to give 50 Shades of Grey or Transformers either the Oscar or the Pulitzer is the day I start taking this argument seriously.

  20. Soon Lee:

    I’m in Auckland now. Going to a SF convention saturday, Hobbiton sunday and nothing planned for monday (apart from travelling back to Sydney in afternoon).

  21. Maybe that’s why we’re hashing out some ideas amongst ourselves and not demanding that the volunteers actually come here and respond? Maybe that’s why the response that was sent out by the people responsible emphasized it’s too late to change this year and *Nobody* said they were wrong about that part? Oddly, though, it seemed to em that the response also seemed aware it was going to be further discussed, and taken into account in future.

    Honestly, it really seems like some people want “Volunteer labour” to be a shield against any criticism OR any discussion of criticism already made. YOu can appreciate the value of volunteer labour to an organization and how hard the work is, *still* notice when a screw-up happens, and still want to hash out ideas about what may or may not be the best way to do things the next time around.

  22. I absolutely do think that volunteer labour should be shielded against the harsh and unforgiving language I often hear. There are a lot of people hellbent on taking the fun out of organizing.

    I do think the tone is the problem. That and wishes often expressed as demands.

  23. Information appears to be hard to find, but the the SFE has Eastercon’s largest-ever attendance at 1,700 people, and Wikipedia’s spotty data is much less generous, averaging somewhere south of 1,000 people. That’s really most of the fandom in a place w/ 65 million people?

    Yes. That’s why so very few people can make a living writing SF, and those that do either have a separate mainstream career or write fantasy.

    There are more SF fans in the UK than that. For 1700 to be “most,” there’d have to be less than 3400 SF fans.

  24. @Kurt Busiek: There are more SF fans in the UK than that. For 1700 to be “most,” there’d have to be less than 3400 SF fans.
    I think that’s for a definition of ‘fan’ (or more specifically, ‘fandom’) that’s radically more restrictive than ‘people who enjoy reading SF’.

  25. Honestly, it really seems like some people want “Volunteer labour” to be a shield against any criticism OR any discussion of criticism already made.

    For my part, I think the people doing Worldcons should do Hugo announcements however they like, and the people reacting to how the Worldcon people do it should react how they like.

    The two responses I think are the least on-point are:

    1. “Well, if you’re so smart, try doing it yourself!”

    The response to this is that people don’t have to be able to do something in order to criticize. That’s why so many SF fans (and others!) feel free to criticize movies, novels, TV and more. It’s the same with cons. You make something (in this case a convention), you roll it out there and the public reacts.

    2. “People worked really hard on this!”

    Same response, pretty much. Sure, they worked hard. Sure, they did it for love. But they still made something and rolled it out there and the public gets to react.

    The public always gets to react.

    Whether the public is paying for a professionally-made thing, or the public is paying for an amateur-created thing, or the public is getting a pro-thing or fan-thing for free, the public gets to react.

    And the people who make the next thing get to listen to the public or not listen to the public, change things next time or go with the way it was done before, listen to some of the public and not others, and so forth.

    And then they roll out that next thing and the public gets to react.

    You gonna publish a book, make a movie, put on a show? The public gets to react.

    One of the things I liked most about the Worldcon “apology” is that it said “Sorry this in inconveniencing those of you who would prefer it be different,” and I’m sure that expression of sympathy was sincere — but it didn’t say “If we’d known, we would have done it differently.” They made the choice they made for the reasons they made it, and they’re undoubtedly sorry that there are people who don’t like it and happy that there are people who do, and that’s how it goes. Whatever they chose to do, someone would be unhappy and they’d be sorry that those people were unhappy, but that doesn’t mean they’d change their minds and make some other set of people unhappy. Or maybe they’d try that, and aim the apology in another direction next time. Still, they seemed content to live with their choice, even if they regretted that it made some people unhappy.

    But if you want to put on a Worldcon (or any other con), you’re putting on a show. You’re not immune from criticism from people who don’t put on shows. You’re not immune from criticism from people because you did it on a volunteer basis. You chose to put on a show, and the public gets to react.

    You get the brickbats and the bouquets, and then you get to decide whether you’re happy to do it again next time, or let someone else have the fun — and the headaches that go with the fun.

    That’s fandom. And that’s the world of making things for the public to experience.

  26. I think that’s for a definition of ‘fan’ (or more specifically, ‘fandom’) that’s radically more restrictive than ‘people who enjoy reading SF’.

    I think that there are more than 3400 SF fans in the UK even for fairly restrictive definitions.

    Mind you, my definition of “SF fan” is “someone who’d tick the box that says ‘I am an SF fan’,” but even for narrower definitions, I think you’d have to get pretty damn narrow to get under 3400 SF fans in the UK.

  27. If y’all are going to be doing a lot of complaining, then try volunteering to work on conventions and find out what’s involved. (Hi, Mike!)

  28. If y’all are going to be doing a lot of complaining, then try volunteering to work on conventions and find out what’s involved. (Hi, Mike!)

    Certainly a possibility.

    Also possible: If you’re going to complain about a novel, write one and find out how hard it is.

    Or don’t, because it’s not and has never been required for critics and fans to do the same job themselves before griping. Whether the job is novelist, umpire, Supreme Court judge, con-runner or whatever.

    People here complain about books, TV series, movies, proofreading, reviewing, blogging, awarding, Shadow-Clarkeing and a long long list of other things without making sure to have done it themselves to find out what’s involved.

    Some have, of course, and more power to them. But it’s just not required, for any of it, and there isn’t a special exemption for putting on a con.

  29. @Kurt Busiek: That’s my definition of SF fan also, but e.g., Lenora Rose earlier in this thread defined fandom as “Fandom is people who do fanac of some kind above and beyond merely consuming the media, and are in some form of community with other people who do.”

  30. Getting a bit personal here, but…

    When I was around six years old, a girl I knew and liked very much showed me a painting she had done. It was a very nice painting, but for some reason I only said what I was wrong with it.

    Later that day, my mother came to me and wondered why I said all these things. She had become so said that she ripoed her painting to pieces. And I blurted out: “But it was a beautiful painting!”

    I’m very good att finding stuff to criticize, but I have worked hard at not doing it. Since that moment. And still it took me more than 20 years until I started to succeed at least a bit. And still kind of bad at avoiding it. 🙁

    My point is really that if you want something to continue, then you should be careful with how you express your opinions. Because if you are too harsh on the details you find fault in, offer little praise for that you like, then you are on the way to destroy the whole picture.

    Or perhaps only excluding yourself from participation, which many people seem to be doing without reflecting over it.

  31. That’s my definition of SF fan also, but e.g., Lenora Rose earlier in this thread defined fandom as “Fandom is people who do fanac of some kind above and beyond merely consuming the media, and are in some form of community with other people who do.”

    Yes, I saw that. I also saw your previous message, when you said you thought it was for a definition more restrictive than ‘people who enjoy reading SF.’

    That’s why I said (twice) in the post you’re responding to that even for narrow definitions, I think there are more than 3400 SF fans in the UK. I added in my definition merely because it’s not just “people who enjoy reading SF,” but I thought I’d been specific enough in addressing the idea of a narrower definition that it was clear that I did notice it and address it (twice).

    I like merry-go-rounds as much as the next guy, but maybe we don’t need to go around again.

  32. I work security at furry cons. How many times do I have to tell someone where Registration is before I get to complain about something a con is doing? What if they’re in a fursuit and I have to physically lead them?

    …does this number go down if we factor in being vomited on? What is the allowable ratio of drunk-wrangling-to-opinions? Does the guy who kept falling asleep in the hotel lobby because he’d been sexiled by his roommates, who I had to keep waking up, entitle me to a whole opinion on one (1) topic, or merely an observation?

    Does the weird period spent at 2 AM patrolling for the hotel for a man dressed as a chicken who was carrying water balloons allow me to include swear words with my opinion? How about my time going through Lost & Found? There were a pair of fake breasts covered in pepper spray in that box, so I feel I am entitled to at least one obscenity.

    …these are the troubles that arise when one attempts to determine who does “enough” to get to complain about stuff.

  33. Per PJ Evans, they’re volunteering and they keep on volunteering year after year and the result is that Hugo nominating and voting is up after Easter finalist announcements started/or around that time(correlation is not causation, I know).
    Let me suggest this based on reading Scalzi’s original suggestion/rant (may have even been linked by Ogh at the time and that’s around when I first read it, can’t recall now but remember reading it around when it first came out) and various posts -why not 26 people donate $5 each towards the cost of whatever Media press release mentioned earlier & 1 person( professionally experienced , like the Media mentioner above but not limited to that person) to volunteer their time to do a press release next year, since I read it was easy/simple to do. We don’t even have to care what results after. Just as an alternative to Easter Hugo finalists announcement.
    I’m not saying this to shut people up but as a serious suggestion for next year’s Hugo announcement. Mix Mat
    PS Hi to Camestros in South-East Asia ( if you’re still around)

  34. RedWombat: If you promise to keep telling anecdotes like these about your credentials, you can have a column here to complain all you like!

  35. My point is really that if you want something to continue, then you should be careful with how you express your opinions. Because if you are too harsh on the details you find fault in, offer little praise for that you like, then you are on the way to destroy the whole picture.

    I’m maybe too ready to type this evening, but on the one hand I think that’s a nice thought, and if people criticizing Worldcon, like, say, JJ, have never said anything positive about Worldcon, it might be taken on board, but I don’t think that’s the case.

    But this doesn’t seem like a standard that gets stumped for in other cases of criticism. [Then again, people probably aren’t as concerned with whether the cast of the new Star Trek show will up and quit the business, or Stephen King will stop writing.]

    I guess I’m mostly pointing out that this idea that you should be careful about how you express opinions seems to be applied fairly inconsistently. Worldcon volunteers are apparently to be treated as more fragile than Libertycon volunteers or Readercon volunteers, much less novelists and TV producers.

    If it’s a general point about how to express any criticism, fair enough, but if the argument’s being made that when it comes to the Hugos, con volunteers must be treated like easily-upsettable children, unlike other people who get criticized when people here think they could handle something better, that seems, I dunno, like special pleading?

  36. @ Bill: Partial agreement — yes, there’s some overlap there, but I don’t think your conclusion necessarily follows unless you’re already convinced that the people who choose are heavily biased against genre films. What somebody said upthread about “popcorn movies” is also very true; a popcorn movie will generally be wildly popular, but that doesn’t automatically make it Best Picture material. You have a better case if there’s thoughtful nuance under the popcorn factor, if it’s the kind of movie that you watch for fun and then a few hours or days later something about it makes you go “huh, I never thought about that”. And some genre movies are in fact good at eliciting that response, while in others it’s painfully obvious that all the budget went into the special effects and none was directed toward the screenplay. (Avatar, I’m looking at you.)

    As I said, I don’t have a good understanding of what the criteria are for Best Picture. But it would not at all surprise me to learn that there are indeed some factors beyond box-office success which are important. This is not the same thing as “having an agenda” unless you’re looking for an excuse to feel persecuted.

  37. @OGH: Ha! I fear those are highlights, alas. Mostly it’s just standing somewhere and telling people what line they want to go into, and endless dealing with elevators.

    Although when somebody came in to report they’d got the chicken-suiter and I said “So they’ve come to snuff the rooster?” and everyone else in Security looked at me blankly I used plenty of swear words, believe me.

  38. @Kurt Busiek: I’m ::cheering:: your posts on this, especially that long one.

    “my definition of “SF fan” is “someone who’d tick the box that says ‘I am an SF fan’,”

    I like this definition. I also like @Lenora Rose’s, but ISTM she’s defining something a bit different (and not trying to tell anyone they’re not a fan, not that you said that).

    Mostly (I reserve the right to rethink this) to hell with narrower definitions than those two. 😛

    @RedWombat: Also ::cheering:: especially (but not only) your 9:52 PM comment.

    Signed,
    #WorkedOnCons (in case anyone thinks I shouldn’t complain about complaint-gatekeepers) 😉

  39. “Worldcon volunteers are apparently to be treated as more fragile than Libertycon volunteers or Readercon volunteers, much less novelists and TV producers.”

    I can’t remember LibertyCon or Readercon volunteers ever being discussed here!? And I will not include TV producers that typically get paid. I do agree with regards to fan fiction novelists and amateurs that you should be careful how you speak about their work.

    And who has ever said that Worldcon volunteers should be treated as children???

    I recognize that this is a sore point for me and that I might seem to defensive, inconsistent or trying to shield people from necessary criticism. It is that I as an organizer of different events of the NSFW-kind have seen too many organizers burned out. And nearly every time the final straw has been some large wave of negativity fueled by social media (often multiplied by people who weren’t coming and with limited knowledge of background). I get scared every time I see these waves that it will happen again.

  40. To be honest though, much of my reaction is not about how people react or complain herebon File 770. People here usually think about different perspectives and how they express themselves.

    Twitter is what I react to, it seems to bring out the worst in people.

  41. I can’t remember LibertyCon or Readercon volunteers ever being discussed here!?

    I can.

    The Readercon flap was pretty recent, too.

    We’ve had arguments about cons dissing older pros, cons’ handling of harassment issues, cons banning people, and more.

    Maybe few individual volunteers were named, but then Worldcon volunteers aren’t exactly being individually pilloried here, either. The decisions made by the con boards and carried out by staff and volunteers have certainly been discussed, without great regard for the personal fragility of those cons’ volunteers, much as with Worldcon.

    I get scared every time I see these waves that it will happen again.

    I think Worldcon will probably survive a bunch of people arguing about when to announce the Hugo nominations, or at the very least volunteers won’t be chased off by arguments about announcement-timing on the internet, long before the show itself; it’s not a new argument, and nobody’s even threatened to boycott the con over it yet.

  42. I am a practicing Catholic and a former member of the Cathedral Choir of St. Paul, as is my big sister Pat. For quite a few years we were regular attendees at Minicon. We’d go to the con; Sunday morning we’d get in the car, drive across town, go to Mass at the cathedral. Up through the 80’s and early 90’s we’d go down to the choir room afterwards to say hi to people we knew, but as they got fewer we eventually quit doing that. Then we’d go back to the con. Missed some Sunday morning panels, but there are always scheduling conflicts.

  43. @OGH and @RedWombat,

    I think that a column about con-related complaints (or should that be “Con-plaints”?) would be a delightful thing to read – and if you started it, @RedWombat, I have a feeling you would receive anonymous submissions that you could curate and collate and regurgitate prepare for publication and …. But then, that would take time away from your other writing, and I have a feeling that would upset people more 🙂

    (Slightly relatedly – if you like reading about customer-service and similar experiences from both sides of the transaction, notalwaysright.com can be highly amusing, sometimes headdesk-inducing, and sometimes even heartwarming.)

  44. People who run conventions, particularly WorldCons, should be aware of an observation originally made by Tim Illingworth.

    “If you run a bad WorldCon thousands of people will be unhappy. If you run a good WorldCon hundreds of people will be unhappy”.

  45. Hampus: when writing critiques for art or stories still in production, I try to remember not only to mix the good and the bad, but to forefront the good and repeat it later if I start to feel the bad overbalances. Simply using a neutral to lind tone can go far. (And like you I think there’s a childhood experience of just saying bad stuff which informs this.)

    For children I am more likely to stick to a flat “if you don’t have anything nice to say”.

    I think it often does serve us better to remember a rubric like this (and there are reasons I avoid twitter except when specifically pointed to a particular thread and responses), but it also can’t be a stratjacket on saying anything. Especially if particularly hurt (which in this case, I am not but some of the observant Jews who started this discussion may have been.)

  46. Martin Easterbrook: People who run conventions, particularly WorldCons, should be aware of an observation originally made by Tim Illingworth.
    “If you run a bad WorldCon thousands of people will be unhappy. If you run a good WorldCon hundreds of people will be unhappy”.

    Brilliant.

    My own take on that is somewhat less elegant — Fans come to the Worldcon to be entertained. Either the committee entertains them, or fans make the committee their entertainment.

  47. THANK YOU, Stoic Cynic.

    One of the young whippersnappers on shift looked up Alice in Chains and said “oh, they formed the year I was born!” and the rest of the evening is mostly a blur of weeping.

  48. I’m a long-time Worldcon and regional volunteer also, in registration, finance, or access. I never expected Worldcon 76 to change their announcement time so close to it, but participated as brainstorming for future possibilities. Passover is often very close in time to Easter. There is obviously a lot to think about in timing.

Comments are closed.