Clarkesworld’s Statement About Fall Story

Neil Clarke, Publisher of Clarkesworld, today posted in “About the Story by Isabel Fall” an extended statement dealing with the response to the work, especially on Twitter. (See overview: “Clarkesworld Removes Isabel Fall Story”.)

The concluding paragraphs are:

…Going forward, we will bear these lessons in mind, and hopefully we will become better at fulfilling our responsibilities to our authors, and to our readers.

In the meantime I offer my sincere apologies to those who were hurt by the story or the ensuing storms. While our lives have likely been quite different, I do understand what it is like to be bullied and harassed for an extended period of time. I can empathize, even if I can’t fully understand life in your shoes.

I have also privately apologized to Isabel. She has chosen to sign over her payment for this story to Trans Lifeline, “a non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis—for the trans community, by the trans community.” They have been a vital resource for her and inspired by her actions, I have decided to match the gift.

Through the course of these events, I’ve encountered many deeply personal stories from readers and authors. I’d like to thank those people for sharing and providing many of us with further opportunities to learn from their experiences. Aside from getting to know Isabel, that has been the high point of this experience. I wish you all the best and appreciate you taking the time to share….

77 thoughts on “Clarkesworld’s Statement About Fall Story

  1. Laura said:

    There were also people finding this who aren’t regular Clarkesworld readers (or aren’t as aware of its reputation).

    Thanks; you answered my question in advance.

  2. Clarke’s statement mentions a “barrage of attacks” and people keep saying the author has been harassed, but I haven’t seen any proof of anyone personally targeting the author–just people criticizing a story they found harmful. Which is not at all equivalent to an attack. But now we’re getting large media outlets portraying critics as a trans mob who forced the story to be pulled…

  3. First, let me start by saying, as I have before, that I’ve never heard of this bizarre line, so I read the story solely and exclusively on its own merits. On that basis, I notice no one has commented, and so I dunno if anyone’s bothered reading what I originally wrote.

    What I find tedious – and I’ll probably drop off this thread if it keeps up, are people saying that “they haven’t seen any evidence that the author was being attacked.”

    Why? What are you expecting, for the author, who started this, to show you links to her twitter (and I gathered she was obscuring her RW identity, or for her/they to post what they’ve gotten in emails? Really? That, to me, is a rather self-important arrogance that would justify her/their not doing so.

    Meanwhile, when we hear about recording stars who’d dropped off twitter because it appears to be full of 14-16 yr old trolls, why should I not believe the author, and Neil?

  4. Neil Clarke has a reputation and a track record, on the basis of which, yes, people do tend to trust him.

    In comparison, tabitha and mark look like anonymous strangers eager to insist that neither Fall nor Clarke can possibly have experienced things they have not personally observed. I have no particular reason to believe in their good faith in this discussion.

    It’s been noted that the story, even just the title, feels hurtful to many, regardless of whether that was Fall’s or Neil’s intent. That cuts both ways, though. For Fall in particular, who was not out as trans prior to this, things some may not see or intend as hurtful may be extremely hurtful.

    There’s been a lot of good discussion. But tabitha and mark aren’t engaged in useful discussion that I can see.

  5. I’m not? Really? From the posts I’ve seen since I first posted, a day or so ago, what I’ve seen are a fair number of people asserting that Neil shouldn’t have followed the author’s request, and that it was wrong of him to do so, and some certainly implying that there wasn’t really an attack or threats against the author, or discussing what makes a “mob”.

    Btw, I’m not exactly anonymous, and I’ve been in fandom longer than most folks here. I read the story because the discussion group of WSFA was going to to discuss the current issue of Clarkesworld, and this business was mentioned.

    And how is it that my observation that what I see in the story is, by implication, anti-military, about them using the protagonist and screwing them over, as the military is happy to do, pointless? If you think I’m wrong, I recommend Joe Haldeman’s 1968 to you.

  6. One more thing: Lis – you seem to be saying the that I’m saying the exact OPPOSITE of what I said, which was that I have absolutely no reason at all not to believe Neil or the writer.

  7. mark:

    “Btw, I’m not exactly anonymous, and I’ve been in fandom longer than most folks here.”

    That doesn’t make you less anonymous. There are around 1.5 million people named “Mark” in US alone. We have no idea which of them you would be and you – AFAIK know – do not have a well-known presence on this site.

    So for us, you are for now an anonymous presence. If you are going to stay, then welcome.

    EDIT: And if you are going to stay, it might be smart to get a profile picture to differentiate you from other Marks.

  8. I don’t like social media – I don’t have my pic on anything, including the facepalm page I set up when I got published a couple of months ago.

    I show up here if there’s a conversation that’s brought to my attention that I want to make a comment or two. Between several busy mailing lists, and hanging out on Charlie Stross’ blog, I waste enough (or is that too much) time like that. I could be writing…. or working on my model train layout, or….

    I was curious if anyone else had seen what I saw in the story – as I said, I’ve never heard the title as a line going around the ‘Net. Having heard about it from several folks, including one of my daughters, my reaction is that it’s from boys with the age, real or mental, somewhere between 13 and 16, probably from funnymentalist backgrounds.

    But then, I don’t tweet, or any of the rest, so….

  9. One more thing that I thought of after the last post: I thought this thread was a conversation about the story; what it seems to be, at this point, isn’t even whether Neil should have pulled it at the request of the author, but seems to have drifted into a metaconversation. Given that, I’ll just drop off the thread, since it’s not about what I’m interested in.

  10. mark: Having heard about it from several folks, including one of my daughters, my reaction is that it’s from boys with the age, real or mental, somewhere between 13 and 16, probably from funnymentalist backgrounds.

    Internet research is a thing that exists.

    Commenting from an educated perspective is always a better choice than just commenting from a reaction.

  11. Hey, can we not go the “anonymous strangers” route of criticising comments(/commenters)? Everyone was new here once. If there’s substance you want to criticise, sure, go ahead, and certainly it’s harder to judge motivations without prior knowledge, but stuff like that makes it seem like we’re insular and unwelcoming to new people.

  12. Memes today fulfill the same functions as slurs did 20 years ago, and it’s perfectly reasonable to want to reclaim slurs but that conversation has to be ongoing, natural and done in a very sensitive way.
    It may be that many others in the community wish to reclaim that word also, to dissociated from his harmful connotations but the dialogue has to flow naturally and people must be allowed to express their views and opinions, one person can’t just say this word is no longer a slur get used to it.
    And even after all that, some people will disagree because of their own individual experiences and that’s perfectly fine too.

  13. Mark: I thought your comment about the military side was interesting and valid and likely true — but misplaced, as this discussion is, as you most recently identified, about the Clarkesworld statement, and the meta, as you say.

    You are definitely welcome to come by again and hang out in other discussions of books and such. You say you have been published, did you feel up to doing a bit of self-promo?

    (And, as should be clear with JJ, Meredith and my icons here, the picture in question absolutely doesn’t have to be YOUR picture… but a picture of a thing you like does help distinguish you if you join more discussions.)

  14. @mark
    A lot of us don’t use pics of ourselves. There’s always your cat, your dog, a tree, your favorite car….

  15. My icon isn’t me; it’s my dog who died almost five years ago-sitting at a table with a book and a diet Coke.

    Not me, but it does represent me.

  16. @Lis
    Mine is my cat, who crossed the bridge 8 years ago. She was sitting on my lap at the time I took the pic. (I expect to be greeted on the other side by cat running up to me wanting to know where I’ve been and telling me how little attention she’s been getting – with a couple of angels following her and saying “we weren’t done yet!”)

  17. Mine’s a shelf on one of my bookcases, slightly and hurriedly edited for content, taken in the middle of the night and in the dark using a torch.

    I really wanted an icon right that minute. For Filing purposes.

    (ETA: To be honest, I think the people who use their actual IRL physical appearance are somewhat outnumbered.)

  18. Mine’s a picture of a sheep plushie originally intended for my Ravelry profile (sheep > wool > yarn). And I just kept using it wherever I needed an avatar.

  19. Like the explanations. My image is the character Myo (long o). Hopefully, Mark has gotten the picture by now 🙂

  20. At first look, my avatar looks similar to a Twitter egg, but it is actually a microscope view of a field of yeast cells (which is one of the things I work with).

  21. Mine is a pumpkin carved with the title of my short story collection by my kind neighbours. Every year at Hallowe’en our neighbourhood does an event with hundreds of jack o’lanterns and as there is an unusually high number of writers living here, one year the organizers decided to make a pumpkin bookshelf with all our books.

  22. Yes, like the icon explanations too.

    @Soon Lee
    At thumbnail size, I always thought yours was a planet having never looked closer before!

  23. Love the icon info!

    News alert: I am not in fact Holtzman. I just love Holtzman. And the assumption that having an icon or avatar means using your passport pic is rather an astounding one to make. The vast majority of people I know online via Dreamwidth and F770 don’t use their real pics. Facebook is a different culture but even there some people don’t post their pictures.

  24. I did use my real face, but both here and Facebook I kept using images which had one of my kids in it, and the kids kept aging… so I figured mare and foal was the same idea without the age issue.

  25. @Laura,

    I admit I was quite pleased with my tricksy self when I added that avatar image, that it could be interpreted differently depending on magnification.

    Also: “That’s not a moon…”

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