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Small ponds.

So Conflux was this weekend and I went and did things and so on and so forth but, mostly, some general observations:1

  • The SFF con scene is not very big.
  • That includes both fans and pros.
  • Big name pros.
  • Internationally.
  • No one is more than two or three degrees of separation away from anyone else.
  • Even if people aren’t directly BFFs, they know each other by reputation.
  • You want to have a good reputation. Especially with the people you aren’t BFFs with.
  • I really, really mean that.
  • And not just for “opportunities” and “career advancement” (though it will help that), but also because you just… don’t want to get the reputation of being That Guy.
  • If you’re ever That Guy, it’s really, really difficult to ever not be That Guy.
  • People notice who Gets Things Done; who organizes events, volunteers time and resources, who goes out of their way to help other people.
  • They really notice the people who are only there for themselves.
  • Not to mention the people who are never there for—to put it delicately—specific demographic segments within the broader community.
  • I mean it is an SFF con, so it’s likely a good number of the attendees are awkward, shy, weird, or all three. Particularly if they’re new.
  • So people are fairly forgiving.
  • But not eternally forgiving.
  • And, like I said, the scene really isn’t that big…

Just… something to keep in mind.

  1. Not, it must be said, directed at anyone likely to be reading this… []
2019-10-09T08:12:57+11:009th October, 2019|Tags: conflux, cons, fandom, sff|

Like dominoes…

Guess it’s Clarke’s turn now… [Content warning that the link discusses homophobia and allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.]

2019-10-04T07:52:19+10:004th October, 2019|Tags: books, fandom, sff|

Verse interlude.

My name is fen
and wen i win
an award at
a convenshin

i close my eyes
and count to three
and wait for men
to ’splain to me

how i haf sore
misunderstood
and haf won naught
and am not gude

at writing, nay
nor at case law
and shude sit doon
and shut my craw

RuinsPlume does it in verse.

(Psst there’s more; go read the whole thing.)

2019-09-25T08:50:29+10:0025th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, poetry|

Culture gap.

Transformative fandom sees [social media] as a space for play, because if we’re talking about our fandom in a public space, that in itself marks it as a space we are not using professionally. So it’s a reasonable place to put “.000000000435% Hugo Winner,” or “30-50 feral hogs in a trenchcoat,” or “I am Batman,” or any of the other things we say in publicly-readable social media as jokes. They’re the kind of things we would have put in email sigs back when we were all on listservs, because they’re the kind of jokes that only really work in public or semi-public, where they can be seen by people who don’t already know you well and function as a tribal marker–like wearing your sports team’s jersey.

Putting that in an email sig, when most of us only use email today with friends who don’t need to have the joke repeated, or in our mundane, professional lives? Isn’t a joke. Can’t be. What you are suggesting is a serious attempt to leverage the cachet of the win into some sort of professional advantage, in contexts where that would be seen as pushy at best.

It’s the equivalent of That Guy who sits on a con panel surrounded by a wall of his own books and brings them up every time he answers a question.

Your well-meaning suggestion for how to “correctly” express our excitement? is coming off as telling us to be That Guy.

ellen_fremedon on culture.

For a longer comment thread (and in reaction specifically to this) about AO3/transformative versus con/oldskool fandoms.

Also kind of nails down for me why I find the whole AO3 Hugos wank debate so fascinating, since I am, indeed, someone who’s tried very hard to keep my fannish and “pro”/semi-pro identities very separate, and who found it very confronting to realize that was unusual in con fandom…1

  1. To the point that it was actively detrimental to my career; my agent/publisher absolutely expected that I’d monetize my fandom base, even if it wasn’t outright stated in exactly those words, and the fact that I didn’t… was a problem. []
2019-09-23T09:46:35+10:0023rd September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Preemptive contempt.

I was taught to be contemptuous of the non-blessed narratives, and I was taught to pay for my continued access to the technical communities through perpetuating that contempt. I was taught to have an elevated sense of self-worth, driven by the elitism baked into the hacker ethos as I learned to program. By adopting the same patterns that other, more knowledgable people expressed I could feel more credible, more like a real part of the community, more like I belonged.

I bought my sense of belonging, with contempt, and paid for it with contempt and exclusionary behaviour.

And now, I realise how much of it is an anxiety response. What if I chose the wrong thing? What if other people judge me for my choices and assert that my hard-earned skills actually aren’t worth anything?

What if people find out I’m a fraud?

By perpetuating a culture of contempt as the means of acquiring credibility, I was able to avoid these difficult, introspective questions. We don’t have to look at how we’re harming other people who want in, don’t have to acknowledge the niggling little voice in the back of our head asking are you good enough. It wasn’t me that was wrong, it was them.

Aurynn Shaw on contempt culture.

Sorry for the long quote, and while Shaw’s post is ostensibly about programming languages,1 I also can’t help but think of, for example, fandom antis and that broader culture of toxic faux activism in fandom and media circles…

  1. And correctly! Programmer communities are absolutely, 100% like this. /she says, as the one with the HTML/CSS/PHP background []
2019-04-08T09:05:16+10:0023rd September, 2019|Tags: culture, fandom|

Gatekept.

But, says JJ at File 770: If the members of AO3 get to call themselves official Hugo Award Winners, then so do all of the commenters at File 770, and so do all of the people who’ve had works published in Uncanny Magazine — and at that point, the official term “Hugo Award Winner” has lost all meaning.

Does File 770 tell its commenters, “you are wanted; you are an essential part of this blog site; it was created so you would have a place to make these comments?” Does it say, “we have created tools that let you post and edit and seek out comments like yours; please send us feedback on how to improve the comment threading?”

Do the authors who are published in Uncanny, choose what they get to publish there? Are they welcome to join a committee and shape the rules for what Uncanny will publish? Does Uncanny say, “Please send your creative works to us; we want them all; this magazine exists to showcase as much of your work as you are willing to share?”

Neither File 770 nor Uncanny was created to support all of the people involved in it equally. Neither of them allows random people to become contributors to searchable, front-page content. Neither of them says: “Your works are welcome here, even the ones that are antisocial, even the ones we personally don’t like, because this is your home if you want it to be.”

AO3 is not a curated collection; it’s a community.

I am done with listening to gatekeeping men who want to put lines around our creativity, who want to declare that while yes, two authors can both win for “best novella” and a team of 6 can win a “best fanzine” or “best podcast” award, a team of a million can’t possibly win the “best related work” award.

elf on communities.

2019-09-20T07:25:52+10:0020th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|

Die mad about it.

If a segment of fandom wants to come and tell me that my campaign to see the Archive of Our Own recognized as a marvel, a miracle of collaborative international action from thousands of fans across the world, after watching Livejournal blast my communities into nothing and AVOS rip del.icio.s to shreds, was somehow antithetical to what the Hugos stand for, come on. Bring it to me and make your case. If you want to compare my work promoting the Hugos to other communities outside the tiny circle of WSFS voters to the work of Nazis and fascists, come on, you bloviating fleshbags. I’m waiting. If you want to tell people that joking around about a Hugo Award win is somehow robbing the award of something irreplaceable, it’s on you to convince me how some fans jokingly writing “.0000000001% Hugo Award winner” devalues the Hugo Awards sitting on my mantle for the work I’ve done on Lady Business. Come on, if you’re so certain, so sure, that the joy and pleasure I’ve watched fans experience after being recognized by other fans, is somehow harmful to the Hugo Award—tell me just how the undermining of the award is going to go. Show me where other Hugo Award winners have expressed the dire prediction that their award is now worthless, just worthless! I expect citations of where they’ve tossed it in the trash. I’ve read lots of your very sad internet tears already and haven’t been convinced, and I’m pretty sure I have more Hugo Awards than most of the people complaining.

renay is part of the .0000000001%.

renay, of course, has been championing the AO3-for-Hugos push since 2014.

See also:

And for lolz:

(“World” Science Fiction Society. Uh-huh…)

2019-09-19T15:50:47+10:0019th September, 2019|Tags: ao3, fandom, hugo awards, sff|