How to Enrage Charles Stross

This is how. Note that it has to do with SFWA, so those of you who don’t care about that should move on. Those of you who do care, however, should read the whole thing.

For the record, I was the chairman of the committee Charlie served on. Our recommendations to SFWA’s board are here; the board’s eventual distillation of our recommendations is here.

While I in no way wish to minimize Charlie’s anger or his reasons for it, let’s just say I’m not as enraged as Charlie. I have a little more faith in the process the committee we were on created for SFWA, much of which the board adopted; this process will make it harder for the same screw-ups to occur again. I also don’t think I or the committee members were used as stalking horses; our recommendations stand as they are, and we always knew it was up to the board to use them or not. We did our job, and I think we did it well, and I don’t regret having offered the service, or having worked with the committee members, all of whom did excellent service for SFWA. Finally, I’ve some sympathy for SFWA president Michael Capobianco and most of the board members; this was a messy subject to deal with.

That said, I think the board choose puzzlingly, to use as polite a word as possible, in its choice of chairman for the new committee, for some of the reasons which Charlie outlines in incendiary but not unreasonable fashion. It would not have been my choice, for those reasons and a few others (the suggestion in the board’s statement that our committee recommended installing the chairman of the new committee is quite obviously in error). I believe the situation was additionally complicated by the fact that the once-and-future chairman is on the SFWA board, and voted on the recommendations, and voted for himself as chairman of the new committee; had I been him, I would have chosen to recuse myself from the deliberations.

This is pretty much all I’m going to say in public on the matter right now, and yes, I’m choosing to be politic about this. I don’t have the time at the moment to invest in a long discussion about it, and anyway Charlie’s already off and running on the subject. I suspect most of the commentary will be on his site. Indeed, to promote the discussion there, I’m closing the comments on the entry here. Head on over if this is of interest to you.