Weisskopf Announces Hiatus for Baen’s Bar

Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf told participants that the company’s online forum Baen’s Bar will be “taking a break” as of midday February 16. The announcement came in the aftermath of Jason Sanford’s February 15 article “Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence”, a public post on Patreon.  

Weisskopf said:

It’s been brought to my attention by some helpful folks that speech not everyone agrees with, and that may have become unlawful speech, has occurred on Baen’s Bar. In order to fully investigate those serious allegations, and any violations of the Bar “no hitting” rule, we will be taking a break from the Bar as of noon February 16th, and encourage all our readers to enjoy their lawful conversations elsewhere for the time being.—Toni Weisskopf, Publisher

Source: https://bar.baen.com/index.php?t=msg&th=171954&start=0& (login required)

Sanford’s report of the disturbing number of right-wing users calling for political violence on Baen’s Bar has been met with retaliation in social media. He tweeted, “Instead of anyone dealing with my report on the Baen Books forum by, you know, simply banning advocacy of political violence there, I’m now getting death threats and harassment.”

When asked by a user how long Baen’s Bar will be on break, Weisskopf replied, “As brief as is possible. But no, not sure yet how brief that brief will be.”

 [Thanks to Ben Bird Person for the story.]

133 thoughts on “Weisskopf Announces Hiatus for Baen’s Bar

  1. @JJ

    That 2013 run is just a third print run of their 2012 edition, which I got correct.

    The 2013 edition is a mass-market paperback, and the 2012 edition is a trade paperback. New edition, not a new print run.

    @Hampus Eckerman

    We have hate laws in Sweden where lots of the stuff said in Baen’s Bar would be illegal. And we have less problems with storming of or parliament than US has.

    If we had laws banning hate speech here, do you think those who have said “All Trump supporters are white supremacists” on this forum would have stayed out of jail for the last four years? Are you comfortable with the worst politicians in office defining “hate”?

    What you are saying is that a civilized society is a worse society which of course is pure nonsense.

    That is not at all what I’m saying, and I know from reading your posts for years that you are intelligent enough to see the difference. “Civilized” does not equate to “strict policing of speech”.

  2. bill: The 2013 edition is a mass-market paperback, and the 2012 edition is a trade paperback. New edition, not a new print run.

    Different formats of the same book, with the afterword by Tank Marmot, first published in 2012, as I originally correctly noted.

    But thanks for playing!

  3. Kit Harding:

    ” They still had to go to multiple levels of court and spend time and money on lawyers and fear for the consequences. In the US that might ruin your life in and of itself, between fees and the way being charged follows you around whether or not you’re convicted. Any encounter with the law has a best-case scenario of a Pyrrhic victory here.”

    You are speaking as if exactly the same thing hasn’t happened in US. Well, it has. Multiple times.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Anti-Boycott_Act

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-BDS_laws

    Allowing hate to spread unhindered is not a guarantee for free speech.

  4. “If we had laws banning hate speech here, do you think those who have said “All Trump supporters are white supremacists” on this forum would have stayed out of jail for the last four years? Are you comfortable with the worst politicians in office defining “hate”?”

    Of course not. Politics is not a protected groups and shouldn’t be. You of course have a point in that letting hate fester free with no limits makes it more likely that the worst politicians will be in charge.

  5. FWIW, I checked Baen’s website, and the afterword to Sixth Column is copyright 2011. And it does say: “Published: 1/1/2012”.

  6. Owlmirror: FWIW, I checked Baen’s website, and the afterword to Sixth Column is copyright 2011. And it does say: “Published: 1/1/2012”.

    Baen does this bizarre thing where they sell what they call “eARCs” several months in advance of official release — at the low, low price of double what the book will cost when it’s officially released.

    They’re not really eARCs, since they’re on offer to the public, and anyone can buy them (and clearly there are enough suckers who are willing to pay a premium price for early, unedited versions of those works — though I suspect they never get edited, regardless). But since these eARCs frequently come out in the prior calendar year to the official release, the copyrights and the publication dates sometimes differ.

  7. @JJ: eARCs aren’t relevant here, though. I checked the Web Archive snapshot of Baen from Jan 2012, and there’s Sixth Column on the home page as a new book. Click on that, and it shows the sample chapters. It wasn’t an eARC, just a regular eBook.

    Looking at their archived publishing schedule, the print book was released at the same time.

    The 2011 copyright for the afterword makes sense because of publishing lead times and the planned Jan 1, 2012 release.

  8. Owlmirror: eARCs aren’t relevant here, though. I checked the Web Archive snapshot of Baen from Jan 2012, and there’s Sixth Column on the home page as a new book. Click on that, and it shows the sample chapters. It wasn’t an eARC, just a regular eBook.

    That’s because the book was published as of January 2012, and the eARC page for it is long gone.

    I can’t find an archive of Sixth Column eARC page, but here’s the cache of the page for the World Divided eARCofficially published in February 2012 — for sale at $15.00 as of November 2011.

    The publication date on that book is 2012, but it was published in 2011, and the copyright for some of its parts may very well be 2011.

  9. You know, Owlmirror, I think you’re right, they wouldn’t have bothered doing a double-price eARC of Sixth Column, because it was a reprint.

    I suspect the Marmot just put a copyright of 2011 on it because that’s when he wrote it and turned it in to the publisher.

  10. Quite fascinated at how many comments have now been dedicated to hashing out the exact publication date(s) of a reprint with a horrible essay (or two) from the Marmot. The date was in no way the point and yet! Here in 3370, a whole field of study has been dedicated to the subtleties of this interaction! 🙂

    (Seriously I love it, we cite and we discuss that cite and we get things right gosh darn it.)

  11. @Meredith:

    Indeed, I myself have been simultaneously transfixed by and bored silly by that side discussion. I suppose you could say I was… mehsmerized.

  12. @ Meredith

    Seriously I love it, we cite and we discuss that cite and we get things right gosh darn it.

    Me too.

  13. As long as nobody in their online forums gets by with overt calls for believable criminal actions against enemies, I will keep supporting this publisher.

    You shouldn’t be OK with calls for violence of any kind. I’ve run online discussion forums for a long time. There’s no way to keep the community healthy without banning advocacy of violence, even when the comments might be in jest.

  14. All the hysterical right-wingers claiming that Baen Books is being “cancelled” have never provided a single quote from anybody advocating that the publisher go out of business.

    That kind of sentiment certainly wasn’t in Jason Sanford’s report, where he wrote, “Baen Books is a historically important genre publisher. I don’t believe the company supports the advocacy of political violence on their forum … I doubt Weisskopf supports violent comments like those found on her forum, and I also doubt Baen Books as a company does.”

    For Correia and Weber and Hoyt and the rest of the Hysterical Puppies, a call for Baen to clean up its forum is not a call for the publisher to close up shop.

  15. You shouldn’t be OK with calls for violence of any kind. I’ve run online discussion forums for a long time. There’s no way to keep the community healthy without banning advocacy of violence, even when the comments might be in jest.

    This. Online threats of violence do not have to rise to the level of actual crime to make a community toxic. A low simmering will do for a start. If the middle decades of the twentieth century did not already prove it, the last two or three decades have demonstrated definitively that tolerance of any level of violence, even “jokes” about it, poisons communities, possibly irreparably.

  16. Madame Hardy said “Any press that reprints Second Column in 20-fucking-21 has announced loud and clear whose side they’re on.”
    JJ corrected the date to 2012.
    I’ve made the point a couple of times that the most recent (printing/ edition/ whatever you want to call it) is 2013.

    If putting out the trade pb version in 2012 indicated something about Baen in 2012, then putting out the mass-market version in 2013 indicated the same thing, and more so.

    And since the mass-market pb was re-paginated from the trade pb [254 vs 183 pages], it is in fact a new edition, not a new printing.

    @Hampus

    You of course have a point in that letting hate fester free with no limits makes it more likely that the worst politicians will be in charge.

    No, my point is that if you allow “hate speech” to be banned, then those who get to define it are given power to oppress.

  17. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the strong “black man as King Kong” vibe from the cover of Night of Power.

  18. @bill: Ouch, that’s quite a cover.

    Back to the post topic: Since Baen’s not a government entity, they should police their own message boards, which would oppress no one.

  19. @bill:

    I had not seen that cover; I have a non- (almost certainly pre-)Baen copy of the book. Eeesh. I’m trying valiantly to imagine a way for that cover to have come about without blatantly racist intent at multiple places in the pipeline, but I don’t see one. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to (a) make the image and (b) approve it for use as a cover?

    @rcade: “All the hysterical right-wingers claiming that Baen Books is being “cancelled” have never provided a single quote from anybody advocating that the publisher go out of business.”

    Who needs quotes when they’ve got their pet conspiracy theories? Besides, the damned lefties would just deny it, so why bother asking them, right?

    (I went into more detail in my comment on the other post, but in short: Look up Correia’s MHN post. He creates the whole conspiracy theory before your eyes, out of whole cloth and without a shred of evidence.)

  20. @Meredith:

    (Seriously I love it, we cite and we discuss that cite and we get things right gosh darn it.)

    “We cite and fight and finally get it right.
    Cite, cite, cite, right, right, right
    The Pixel and Filer show!”

  21. @bill:

    I’ve made the point a couple of times that the most recent (printing/ edition/ whatever you want to call it) is 2013.

    I’m pretty sure that “printing/print run” and “edition” are distinct terms of art. Although I see from WikiP that the terminology is not entirely fixed. Anyway, unless the print run from 2013 has lasted until now (which I guess is not impossible), any additional print runs must necessarily have been printed more recently than 2013 [citation needed].

    Alas, I cannot check the print key for the book without entering a physical brick-and-mortar store that has it (Amazon shows a preview of the Kindle edition, not page images of the physical copy), nor do I otherwise know how to check the print run/sell through for the book online. So the question remains up in the air, and all we can say at this point is that the most recent printing of Sixth Column that is known for certain is from 2013.

    If you do have such access to publishing/printing details and can say for certain that no print runs for the book were made after 2013, by all means, share this information.

    /(contributing to mehsmerization)

  22. bill:

    “No, my point is that if you allow “hate speech” to be banned, then those who get to define it are given power to oppress.”

    Ah, so your point was some Alt-Right wordplay nonsense. Banning people who wants to oppress others or call for murdering them is a way to take away their powers, not giving them any.

  23. bill: JJ corrected the date to 2012.

    At which point you sneeringly, condescendingly called my correct statement “approximated”.

    I was referring to the version with a specific afterword, and I was correct that it was published in 2012. You’re the one who decided it would be a good idea to behave like a pompous, pedantic ass.

    Next time make sure to double-check your facts first, and you won’t make yourself look as silly as you did here. (but-but-but it was a different format, and it was repaginated!) 🙄

    On a completely unrelated note, I’ve been reading a hilarious thread on Twitter about incidents of mansplaining to women.

  24. On a completely unrelated note, I’ve been reading a hilarious thread on Twitter about incidents of mansplaining to women.

    Linky?

  25. Peace Is My Middle Name: Linky?

    Linky

    By the way, Peace, it’s lovely to see you here again! I hope you and your loved ones are doing well. 🙂

  26. @JJ:

    Thank you. We are well to an absurd degree that would probably be rejected if submitted as fiction for having too many ridiculous and unlikely coincidences. Put briefly, yes, I and my loved ones are doing well.

    I hope the regulars here have been in good health and less troubled by world convulsions of late.

  27. @Peace
    I got a call a couple of weeks ago from my surgeon’s office, saying that they couldn’t schedule the removal of my medical port because virus. I was mildly confused, then they got to be confused, as I told James that it was done last month (meaning December). (Yes, I’ve been de-ported!) Somehow they hadn’t been informed.

  28. P J Evans: Yes, I’ve been de-ported!

    I am really glad to hear this, both because it means your likelihood for infection is now reduced, and because it means they think you won’t have any more need for the port. Yay!

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