GamerGate Adds to Its Vast Warehouse of Stupid

So, this popped up in the “KotakuInAction” subreddit, i.e., “the place where GamerGaters who don’t realize GamerGate is sooooo 2014 hang out”:

Naturally, I had some thoughts.

Seriously, though. How these people get through life without poking their eyes out with spoons is entirely beyond me.

128 thoughts on “GamerGate Adds to Its Vast Warehouse of Stupid

  1. Quite obviously I’ll be malleting any of the GamerGate types who might wander by. Because life is too short to have that special brand of stupid all over my site.

  2. Oh my glob. They’re just so unbelievably stupid. Why do I expect any different anymore? *eyeroll

  3. My gray matter feels ever so slightly strained after wading around in their whatsit thread you had up top.

  4. Ugh.

    Yes, these people are idiots. But I am really uncomfortable with the wagon-circling “everyone who might be associated with word X is horrible, whereas people who hate everyone associated with word X are fine” thing. I’ve been watching with sort of dumbfounded horror as people I otherwise quite respect, who normally show a pretty nuanced view of things, suddenly assume that they’ve finally found the one issue where every single person on one side is bad and the other side are blameless and innocent.

    I know a lot of gamers. I know a lot of gamers who are in the exact minority groups that “gamergate” is supposedly hostile to. And about 90% of them identify as being at least vaguely sympathetic to what they consider to be “gamergate”, and absolutely terrified of “anti-gamergate”. Meanwhile, they completely share your opinion of the obvious idiots.

    So basically, I am all for mocking the people who are freaking out about friends who are writers providing blurbs for each others’ books because come on guys please develop some basic awareness of how friendship works.

    But… I guess this is an issue where I would not at all mind if there were some acknowledgement that this is not a monolithic or unified thing. Like, I know lots of Republicans who think that the party’s lunatic fringe is insane, and lots of Democrats who feel that way about their lunatic fringe. Also Christians, Jews, tumblr users, Slashdot users, Python programmers, and just about everything else. And it seems really weird that this one group doesn’t get that basic assumption that, hey, probably the most visible and outspoken people are going to be total assholes sometimes.

    … That all said, this is still hilarious, because seriously, is this the first time any of them have ever read a book cover?

  5. It does pretty much figure. It’s a natural extension of their concept of “ethics in journalism,” which was just that sophisticated. By which I mean ignorant as well as stupid. It would be almost amusing to see them expressing their childish outrage at the way normal commercial business is conducted if it weren’t for the appalling real-world consequences for some of their targets.

    Well, okay, the wide-eyed sputtering of “without any disclosure” did make me snicker a bit.

  6. Wait — “Starship Troopers without the lectures”? What would be the point of that? The war stuff is just illustration for the lectures. It would be like porn without the sex scenes.

    Seebs: What, or who, is the “lunatic fringe” of the Democratic Party?

  7. You’re surprised? There is a debate taking place Right This Very Minute that those people [points over there —>] are taking seriously.

    I rest my case.

  8. Wait, you’re friends with Cory Doctorow? I had no idea.

    I’m… hmm… I think I’d describe my reaction to this stunning revelation as “not even slightly surprised.”

  9. [snort]

    Between this post, the comments that follow it, and the twitters in your side bar, I’ve laughed more in the past ten minutes than I have all month. Thanks for the endorphin rush!

  10. One more point, and I’ll shut the kufc up.

    People who are upset that you might blurb a friend’s book haven’t suffered the curse of the damned when you have to regretfully NOT blurb a friend’s book. The assumption that you can’t actually like a firend’s book is insulting. The assumption that you’d blurb a friend’s suck-ass book is even worse.

    Now. Back to work.

  11. Duncan: I think Seebs is referencing the anti-vaxxers, which despite ridiculous amounts of evidence that vaccines cause no harm and are actually crucial to the lives of everyone, still rant and rave about it. (And all their claims harken back to a so-called scientist that has been proved to be a fraud many times over.) Other than them, I can’t really think of who else Seebs is referring to…

    Also, Scalzi, you are the best. Truly.

  12. “Seriously, though. How these people get through life without poking their eyes out with spoons is entirely beyond me.”

    thank you … made my night
    now I can watch the final daily show and cry

  13. Seebs, here is a suggestion: If all the reasonable GamerGate types (a set I am assuming, for purposes of this discussion, to be nonempty) are tired of the misogynistic racist shitbags in the GamerGate community fouling the nest, why not find something new to call themselves and leave the tainted term to the ones who tainted it?

    Seriously, it is just not that hard. If your group has been infected by loud blowhards who have positioned themselves as the spokespeople for your group and are making it look bad — AND OH HOLY SHUB-NIGGURATH ARE THEY EVER — leave the group and start a new one. Because you are never, ever, EVER going to reclaim that group for yourself and your noble (ahem) ideals.

    Mind you, maybe this time don’t glom on to a jilted petty little man’s narrative of how Big Vagina is ruining gaming, because that story didn’t play so well.

  14. If your whole notion of “Ethics in Games Journalism” is threatening women and making homophobic snark, @Seebs? I have no sympathy for you – and until you grow up and learn to share, you can just sit at the little kids’ table and throw canned cranberry sauce at each other.

    It’s like the current Right Wing – they’re so incredibly toxic now that they need to die, humiliatingly and horribly. That way, those who consider themselves “reasonable conservatives”, but who let the inmates run the asylum ever since Nixon, can begin the slow and hopefully painful process of rebuilding their movement.

    I refuse to have any sympathy for spoiled brats, and that’s an end to it.

  15. I’m going to sleep soon, and this is exactly the sort of thread the will sprout trolls in the night, so I’m turning off the comments until morning. See you all then!

    Update: Comments back on.

  16. Not terribly familiar with Gamergate, but from what I’ve discovered in a short Google search it’s a bunch of preposterously stupid assholes whining that girls don’t play video games so there shouldn’t be girls in video games? And something involving a character called Princess Peach from one of those early console games*?

    Which is stupid because 8 of the top 10 PVPers on my server are female, along with all of the top 3 PVE damage-per-second jockeys, and I don’t know anyone who actually played a male Shepard in Mass Effect**.

    Guess I’ll hang around and watch this thread, should be more popcorn-worthy than the disappointingly mellow GOP debate***.

    *Not terribly familiar with console games other than Halo, I play PC mostly.
    **Seriously, I tried for ten minutes on a bet and I literally couldn’t understand him. And Jennifer Hale’s voice is great.
    ***I mean, Trump only said about 20 brain-hurtingly stupid things! I am not staying up late to watch such a pathetic excuse for political theater; I deserve at least 30 gaffes from Trump and 10 from each other candidate!

  17. Seebs: so I have to ask – which bits of the whole gamergate thing do your friends regard as “reasonable” – the bits which are outright misogyny, the bits which are straightforward amorality, or the bits which are logical fallacies?

  18. While not a gamergate supporter myself (but KiA observer), I noticed that you didn’t attempt to refute their argument on KotakuinAction thread either by creating a selfpost there or posting in the thread.

    Sometimes, I do see stuff refuted there, so if you gave an explanation in a reasonable, civil tone, maybe they would listen to you.

  19. “While not a gamergate supporter myself (but KiA observer), I noticed that you didn’t attempt to refute their argument on KotakuinAction thread either by creating a selfpost there or posting in the thread.”

    I noticed that too. Just like I noticed Mr Scalzi doesn’t go onto the vicious racist sexist dipshit’s site and refute his comments.

    It’s almost like he has better things to do than go and spend time in a foetid pool of hate-speech, trying to convince misogynists and neofascists to argue in good faith.

  20. @Seebs –
    I know a lot of gamers.
    I have lots of friends who are black/Hispanic/gay/female/non-Christian . . .

    I know a lot of gamers who are in the exact minority groups that “gamergate” is supposedly hostile to.
    “Supposedly”? You mean the vicious threats aren’t actually hostile? Wow.

    And about 90% of them identify as being at least vaguely sympathetic to what they consider to be “gamergate”, and absolutely terrified of “anti-gamergate”.
    The scare quotes leave me entirely uninformed of what they’re actually supportive of, and what they actually fear. But I also don’t actually know exactly what subgroup you’re talking about. Perhaps you’re saying that there are female/non-Caucasian/gay people in the gaming community who actually BELIEVE the Gamergaters when they claim it’s about ethics rather than entitlement and bigotry? And, having bought into this BS, silently quake in fear of the dangers posed by anyone who supports inclusion and diversity (or who simply believes that public death threats are a poor response to differences of opinion/gender/color/religion/sexual preference).

    Meanwhile, they completely share your opinion of the obvious idiots.
    “They” (my turn for scare quotes) appear to be willing to swallow unfiltered crap and regurgitate it as personal belief, which puts them in the legions of not-so-obvious idiots. I have no sympathy for “them” and no particular respect for your advocacy on “their” behalf.

  21. Further clarification – precisely which bit of what is our host supposed to be refuting, just out of interest? The idea that he’s friends with Cory Doctorow? The notion that being friends with someone means you should never be permitted to do anything for them ever? The idea that somehow because John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow are friends, and have been for years, this means any opinion they have on each other’s work is somehow tainted and tarnished? That somehow Cory Doctorow promoting John Scalzi’s books is an expression of unbelievable corruption?

    There’s no refuting any of that, any more than there’s any refuting the notion the sky is green, the grass is blue, and we all breathe water and drink air.

  22. Derisive mockery is about all that the vocal proponents of Gamergate-labeled activities deserve. And I won’t hold it against Our Gracious Host if he declines to enter into a debate hosted in a figuratively radioactive alienation zone.

  23. My God man. You are friends with another professional writer?!!!! I bet you are friends with lots of professional writers. It’s almost like you folks have something in common, or some such other horrific thing. I bet you even see each other at conventions, and hang out, getting to know each other, swapping stories, becoming friends. Damn your eyes John, I bet you even have dinner with them occasionally! Is there no sense any longer! How could you sir. Next you’ll tell me blurbs are often given by friends in a sort of mutually supportive system. DOES THIS DEPRAVITY NEVER END!!!!!

  24. Beth said,

    “. . . appear to be willing to swallow unfiltered crap and regurgitate it as personal belief, . . . “

    Oh. I really like that. I’ll try to remember your name (I’m bad with names) so that I can properly attribute it to you when I shamelessly repeat it.

  25. I just feel it’s necessary to add re: gamergate- Regardless of what ideals its members espouse or claim to espouse currently, it was started as the pathetic grab at attention of a nutjob D-list actor in reference to a TARGETED HARRASSMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST A FEMALE DEVELOPER. “Nutjob D-list actor” is an opinion, but the part after that is irrefutable fact. Do not try to claim that gamergate got to be a certain way or that it’s a few bad apples- it was sick from the roots up, and the only ‘good’ people in it are either willfully or maliciously ignorant of its origins.

  26. Hi Seebs
    I’m sorry I didn’t get back to the comments here before people started to tear your face off. I have a genuine, not angry, question that is pretty much the same as Beth’s question only without the venom.

    You say that you know gamers who are sympathetic to what they feel “gamer gate” is actually about. What is that? In all the shouting I’ve read I’ve seen Gamergaters vilified for attacking women and ridiculed for silly conspiracy theories about game reviews.
    The vicious attacks are pretty well documented and the conspiracy theories I have seen are all just as silly as this KiA comment.

    Is there ANYTHING else that Gamergate is about that has been hidden from me because I spend too much time in echo chambers like this one? I’m serious when I say please tell me.

    Forgive me for being unkind, but if you have friends who are so dumb they are truly worried about corruption in game reviewing I can see why they would be easily frightened by the rage of the antigamergators as I imagine it makes no sense to them at all. I don’t know what people that dumb could do except keep their heads down and I encourage them to do that. Have nothing to do with either side until the big dogs finish fighting.

    If I just don’t understand what your friends are concerned about, I really mean this, please let me know.

  27. I’m not a fan of gamergate, but making fun of the mentally challenged does not seem like any way to take the moral high ground.

  28. Hope @ 9:32:

    “Forgive me for being unkind, but if you have friends who are so dumb they are truly worried about corruption in game reviewing”

    There are issues with corruption in game reviewing. Most famously, Jeff Gerstmann was terminated from GameSpot after giving a middling review to “Kane & Lynch: Dead Men”, whose developer, Eidos, had funneled considerable dollars to GameSpot to promote said game.

    It’s just that GamerGate never mentions those, because those don’t give them an excuse to fling their feces at women.

  29. So for some reason, my last post didn’t show up on the screen, but now that I think about it, I agree that it’s too trivial to give attention to.

  30. Yuval:

    You had two posts which went to the spam folder for some reason. I posted one and trashed the other as it was basically the same information, just shorter. So your previous post should be upthread.

  31. Gamergate had f*ck all to do with ethics in game journalism, because it wasn’t the game makers or mainstream reviewers being targeted with abuse and death threats, it was women who criticised sexist stereotypes in games.
    These people then went on to target Ellen Pao with racist and misogynist abuse, I guess that was all about ethics as well eh?
    If anyone is in doubt about the amount of abuse directed at women by inadequate pillers and MRA’s, they should pop over to wehuntedthemammoth.

  32. That infographic is just so… so, something. It’s like outsider art only in graphic design.

  33. Father, was that directed at me? I in no way meant to mock the mentally challenged. I see “mentally challenged” as a more pervasive biologically based issue. “Dumb” is when you put your coffee next to the keyboard even when you know better. “Dumb” is when you look past swatting, doxxing, and death threats and perseverate on biased reviews. As if we all don’t manage those in every aspect of our lives already.

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to take Scalzi’s review of Doctorow’s book with a grain of salt because they are friends. Same with Neil Gaiman’s praise of Gene Wolfe. Or anyone’s blurb for a friend or idol. Doctorow’s next book would have to suck donkey balls for him not to get a positive review from some friends. That doesn’t mean it KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT.

    That’s why I don’t understand these people who want to distance themselves from Gamergate but insist there is something important that has been overlooked in the shouting.

    What is this important thing? Did I miss it? Is it really important? Am I in a bubble and don’t know it?

    I took a chance hoping to get a rational, un-spittle flecked answer. And thank you, Stephen Dunscombe.

    I hope not to have offended the blog overlord.

  34. Look, GamerGators are intellectually dishonest, shrill, and deeply wrong. Many of them are also deeply misogynist. They’re not the freshest eggs in the basket.

    But.

    I kinda feel like you’re being a little too vitriolic here – particularly the post “Think like a “KotakuInAction” commenter: 1. Wrap your breathe-hole in saran wrap 2. Wait five minutes 3. Hit yourself with a hammer 4. Go!” Sure, it’s fun to let loose a choice bon mot or two at a justifiable target. But these aren’t really clever quips. They’re just mean. And, as you are wont to say, the failure mode of clever is asshole.

    It’s a fine line between mockery and outright insult (and maybe GamerGators deserve to be insulted) but I can’t help but feel you crossed a line of some sort here. I’m not good at articulating this, obviously. I just feel … slightly uncomfortable and disappointed, reading this Twitter exchange.

  35. Fletcher:

    “I can’t help but feel you crossed a line of some sort here. ”

    You can feel that if you like, of course. I am obviously comfortable with it.

  36. “Seriously, though. How these people get through life without poking their eyes out with spoons is entirely beyond me.”

    <sarcasm-based-on-observing-teenaged-kids> That would presume that they have any spoons, or know how to use them. Most of the time, long sessions in front of a screen (gaming, antisocial media, whatever) involve nutrition via slurping a cup-o-noodles directly from the container without any utensils,* because it takes two hands to do that (one to hold the flimsy container, the other to use the utensil), and that’s at least one too many hands away from the keyboard/mouse/joystick. And when they can find a utensil, it’s more likely to be a fork grabbed from the sink first anyway.

    * Or possibly pizza or another ordinarily utensil-less meal, for many of the same reasons — not because it’s sinful to eat pizza with a knife and fork, but because that would require sitting at the table and not the computer/gaming console. No tomato sauce on that keypad!

  37. I just feel it’s necessary to add re: gamergate- Regardless of what ideals its members espouse or claim to espouse currently, it was started as the pathetic grab at attention of a nutjob D-list actor in reference to a TARGETED HARRASSMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST A FEMALE DEVELOPER. “Nutjob D-list actor” is an opinion, but the part after that is irrefutable fact. Do not try to claim that gamergate got to be a certain way or that it’s a few bad apples- it was sick from the roots up, and the only ‘good’ people in it are either willfully or maliciously ignorant of its origins.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the genuinely well-meaning people of gamergate have already been told what they should do if they really believe in this “ethics in games journalism” business – form an organization with a board of directors and officers who are responsible for making decisions, come up with some bylaws and a mission statement, and start acting like adults. I’ve seen quite a bit of talk comparing gamergate to feminism – stuff along the lines of saying that judging all of gamergate by its own worst elements is like saying that all feminists are like Valerie Solanas. But feminism does have one thing that gamergate doesn’t – the fact that I can point to the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the American Association for University Women, among others. There’s even an organization called Feminists for Life, who believe it is possible to oppose abortion while still being feminist. I don’t agree with that viewpoint, but the fact is that they got together with their like-minded selves, formed an org and started pushing their viewpoint the same way others were. This is what grown-ups do in the real world.

  38. I thought you were only responding to ultra-stupid using the medium of interpretive dance.

    Or was that someone else?

  39. When I went to that thread there were 60 posts in it. That isn’t alot of people. Many of them were the same people posting multiple times. So maybe 25 people posted this. Hardly an uprising. Not sure why you care. I dont even know what ‘kotaku’ means to be honest.

    You are just giving them publicity by linking to them. You are not the level of a sports star or a hollywood celebrity (sorry to bring you down to earth), but your celebrity seems to be growing. If those TV series based on your books get made, your ‘fame’ will like shoot up. One link from you is turning into alot of eyeballs.

  40. “Seriously, though. How these people get through life without poking their eyes out with spoons is entirely beyond me.”

    Maybe in their world there are very few spoons. It would explain why they see the world in such simple colors.

  41. yuvallentall: Setting aside the idea that John needs to go to reddit to…well, I guess you think he should gently correct them?…it’s worth noting that when discussing that thread in regards to KiA’s welcoming nature, this note is a the end of that post you linked to:
    EDIT: Thank you for not downvoting this thread. It looks like the other one has been downvoted and/or removed so I guess this had a positive effect” So while I’m sure there are reasonable people there, I wouldn’t hold it to the standards of debate I see here by a longshot.

    Gamergate started as one guy trying to get back at his girlfriend in a failed relationship, was soon co-opted by some 4chan trolls, semi-hyped by some tweets by a conservative actor and then spiraled wildly into broad harassment and attacks. A fairly decent primer is this Vox article:
    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting

  42. Fletcher
    There’s a panel coming up at Sasquan on Writing About Controversies where I hope they will talk about the way cruelty begets cruelty and whether the dysfunctional hate storms that blow through the SFF community are the inevitable payback of us liking it too much when people get hit in the face with a clue bat.
    Sometimes I feel like I am watching people (stupid people, but still people) getting eaten by lions and I go offline for a while.

  43. Guess: “ I dont even know what ‘kotaku’ means to be honest.

    It is one of the most popular video game sites on the Internet, with an emphasis on Asian culture. The subreedit Kotaku-in-Action is a subreddit of Kotaku readers (or former readers, I’m not really clear on that point) who are gamergater supporters (and who lay some degree of claim to being a unofficial GG discussion headquarters or something….as with all things GG, there is not much clarity, other than a general hate for women, homosexuals, people of color or anyone with any perceived bias they disagree with).

    As for Scalzi caring…I think you confuse his amusement and mockery for concern.

  44. Ooh, I would LOVE to see that graphic expressed as interpretive dance! Pretty please, may we have the guys who make these things put out dance videos instead? “L’apres-midi d’un rageful internet dude”.

  45. On the other hand, GAWKER had a melt down and is imploding as we speak. Is anyone here sad to see it happen?

    It’s a balance / scales thing. Moby Dick, indeed.

    And, @ host, you’ll note that Reddit just purged / quarantined a number of the rather-worse-than-KIA-places. Having skimmed over the threads, there’s a decent (30%+) posting count saying they read your books and being rational etc. So, hardly the worst cases.

    Oh, and we’ve not had the HUGO’s yet, and I’m waiting on some different blow-back.

    TBH, people spitting against KIA (unless for ironic reasons – somehow I think host is a little bit snarky than bilious here) need to focus on bigger game.

    Loving the new tag-line btw:

    LET THE LITTLE SQUIDLINGS FRONDLE AND PLAY, THEY HAVE SOME ESSENCE OF WORTH. I BELIEVE YOU CALL CULLING THE IMMATURE “PUNCHING DOWN”? I HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS IS NOT THE USUAL PRACTICE THESE DAYS…

  46. I think the important thing to note here is how much weaker there attacks on Mr Scalzi are in comparison to how they target women.

  47. Or isn’t there a “Mark Reads” type person somewhere who does interpretive dance? if there isn’t, the Interwebs should make it happen. I know fuck-all about dance, so it isn’t going to be me.

  48. I think the important thing to note here is how much weaker there attacks on Mr Scalzi are in comparison to how they target women.

    Without starting a huge slanging match, I think the important thing to note is that places like KIA / #gamergate aren’t quite what you think they are.

    One of the least impressive parts of this entire saga has been the one-dimensional and tribal tub-thumping that’s been going on, without much understanding of who is actually playing around. I include D. Senators, Media networks, progressive ideologies (hiding some real nasty minds, Not Your Allies[tm]), White Power movements and medium-level USA conservative money in this. Oh, and at one brilliant moment, Oxford University. Oh, and of course, some brilliant SF writers (and some.. not so brilliant ones).

    If you’re not aware that any of these are involved, you probably don’t know enough to be outraged.

    Call it a test – one, sadly, that most failed (sorry: in this thread as well).

    Nuking GAWKER and 4Chan at the same time was while purging Reddit… well. Much better things will come.

    KIA (at this point) is fairly benign / non-cancerous. Not enough to pass certain smell tests, but enough to pass as human and rather much a pebble in a larger stream.

    THE REST, AS THEY SAY, ARE MINE.

    OH, I HAVE THAT DANCE FOR YOU. I POSTED IT ONCE BEFORE:

    I did warn you I was wicked smart.

  49. Cthulhu (SJW TINGED): I must confess I don’t really know what your saying in this post?The Harassment Gamergate has done has been pretty bad. I particularly don’t know how senators are involved in Gamergate? If this isn’t just one of your meta jokes I would appreciate if you would dumb it down enough for me to understand.

  50. Zeb, Cthulhu is often hard to understand. I tend to just ignore him–I think that most of us do.

  51. Floored by Scalzi’s awesomeness:(love the name by the way) I know I shouldn’t bother, but I’m trying to be polite to him if he specifically addresses me, because we clashed a lot when I first started posting, and in one of the threads I felt like it was my fault.

  52. @Cthulhu – Bud, I’ve been idily keeping an eye on KiA since last year, and I respectfully think you’re waaaay off base on that one. Deeply ineffectual about their stated goals, yes, benign, no. (And yes, I know perfectly well what they are. From direct observation, no less. Which I made with my own two eyeballs and my own little hands on the keyboard and everything!)

    Also, you might note that they started this by going on about Scalzi and Doctrow, so insisting that Scalzi “focus on bigger game” instead is a little weird. If a dude comes up to me and starts screaming that I’m an alien, I am going to talk about that, and “Now, now, there was a bad man across the street who didn’t make eye contact with you!” would be a really bizarre argument.

    So, to distil this all down into something more succinct….seriously, dude?

  53. Zeb, I’ll put it this way: If you and Cthulhu are clashing, it’s only your fault if Our Host (praise His name!) or Kat Goodwin say it is. They know the score.

    Cthulhu seems to be confrontational in the extreme, and perhaps intentionally makes little sense. I wouldn’t worry too much.

  54. Floored by Scalzi’s awesomeness: Yeah your probably right. And as I recall though I do take the blame for some of the confrontations there are other cases were I still think he was being rather vile.

  55. While you are well within your rights to not care, I want to echo the feedback from Kevin, which is to say I think the “cover your face with plastic wrap” comment failed at being clever.

    That said, that thread is full of really amazing terrible logic. I was particularly amused by the person who felt bad citing Doctorow on privacy because of this story.

  56. Nah, it’s obvious.

    I would never hunt rabbits if I could hunt humans lions.

    I’m hunting an entire plateau of humans, which you’ve never got close to.

    Big tip: If you scream in my face and so on for 15+ mins and I think you’re a joke, then do it for an other 15 mins, then demand I’m thrown out, while I quietly drink my drink…

    Chances are, the old way of doing things is broken.

    p.s.

    The hilarious thing is – combat evolved consciousness can tear you apart.

    Their minds: dog biscuit: boooooom.

    Hilarious,.

  57. Richard H:

    “I think the ‘cover your face with plastic wrap’ comment failed at being clever.”

    Clearly the humor value of hypoxia is highly contentious.

  58. Well, what’s clearly unfair is that Scalzi is friends with Cory Doctorow but he is NOT friends with ME. He has never slipped me a note in class, or called me up the night before to make sure our outfits were coordinated; he has never so much tweeted a sparkly pony meme about how magical friendship is and tagged me in it. He has NEVER ONCE given me a friendship bracelet. Why not, Scalzi? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

  59. So, some of the Rabid Puppies are wandering over to K.I.A. and trying to get the frothy gamers to freak out about fiction conspiracies? They were able to get enough frothy gamers to pony up cash and nominate for the slate, but that wasn’t a lot of them and I doubt they are going to have much sustaining interest in it. For one thing, a lot of the frothy gamers resented getting dragged into the media coverage about the Hugos. For another, there is little man bragging status in going to war with feminists over dweeby books.

    And for a third, because there is no ethical problem in fiction publishing with an author or reviewer reviewing a friend’s novel, much less blurbing one or talking it up or giving other authors a guest blog post to promote their works (see The Big Idea, etc.,) and never has been, so cries of conspiracy on this issue will mostly just produce looks of confusion. (As indeed, most of the puppies’ hijinks and claims did as well.) Authors genuinely do like each other’s writing; that’s quite often how they become friends. And they are happy to spread the word about those books.

    The entire fiction publishing market’s main marketing, and half of the marketing on non-fiction if it comes to that, has been in talking books up, symbiotic and collaborative marketing (authors help each other sell purely by existing and also by things like panelling together at conventions,) and celebrating the existence of books at all, in order to attract more readers and expand the market. Doctorow reviewing Scalzi’s novel not only can help Scalzi a little, but every science fiction novel in the market, as it’s saying, hey look, science fiction novels exist! And they’re fun! Like this one! Check out the book reviews by me, celebrity tech person who may have similar tastes to yours! I also have SF novels if you care to check them out! SF novels — find something to every taste!

    And if Doctorow doesn’t like a Scalzi novel? He’ll either decide not to review it, or tell Scalzi that he’s writing a negative review of it, which Scalzi will be disappointed by but okay with it and tell Doctorow to at least make it an entertaining negative review. And if Doctorow just finds it okay but kind of weak in spots? He’ll write a review saying that. Because negative reviews don’t have much impact on fiction. Positive or somewhat positive reviews help notify potential readers as to the book’s existence and that they might like it. And then if they like it, they spread word of mouth, which is the main way that fiction gets sold. Most readers don’t read reviews, but raising awareness that a book exists is good.

    So even if it wasn’t clearly documented for over ten years online that Doctorow and Scalzi are pals, and this was the first that the world had heard of it, it wouldn’t matter. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not a marketing problem for fiction, and nobody cares.

  60. Kat Goodwin: …there is no ethical problem in fiction publishing with an author or reviewer reviewing a friend’s novel, much less blurbing one or talking it up or giving other authors a guest blog post to promote their works (see The Big Idea, etc.,) and never has been, so cries of conspiracy on this issue will mostly just produce looks of confusion.

    There’s something here. If you don’t know how publishing and marketing works then you might see the blurb and think “Oh, Scalzi stumbled over this book, read it and liked it.” Discovering that people send out books to him hoping for an endorsement would seem strangely disconcerting. If you are (say) a naive teenager who values authenticity greatly it would look hypocritical and dishonest.

    Similarly some of these cries of ethics seem to assume that all games journalism should be simple straightforward reviews of games, preferably by someone who has been kept in a sealed box away from hype, marketing and any critical thought, yet is simultaneously someone positioned at the centre of gaming. This is impractical (how would you get a review copy ahead of release if you have no relationship with the games publisher?), so obviously they suggest that what’s needed is “disclosure”. I put the scare quotes in as most disclaimers and disclosures have been derided by GGers as inadequate (or in this case as them revealing some shocking guilt) and when people post multi-page full career CV style disclosures they’re accused of mocking GG. Not that these are the same GGers making these claims (probably).

    Cory Doctorow reviews what interests him*. Some of what he reviews is made by friends. Perhaps he shouldn’t review things by friends. Perhaps he shouldn’t review things he likes, or dislikes, as that proves he’s obviously biased. In fact perhaps all reviewers should only review things that they are aggressively neutral on, or indeed are completely disinterested in.

    Or maybe all reviewing is imperfect even if you aren’t a naive authenticity-centric teenager.

    * Modulated by him wanting to make Boing Boing of interest to the site’s readers.

  61. I particularly don’t know how senators are involved in Gamergate?

    It’s up to host if he wants to share that particular story. Suffice to say, there are – there’s also various think tanks and old-skool influence engines who really should have covered their frilly knickers a lot better when dealing with what they were up against. Having to break cover and poke them to show them how careless they were being was irritating. (And, given recent actions by certain Governors outright banning women’s reproductive representation, probably not something that will be shared publicly: the real rabbits are so warped that I fear for the future they’re attempting to create. Think Da’eesh times) .

    because we clashed a lot when I first started posting

    No, no we didn’t. Host is nice and doesn’t allow real clashes. You were poked to see if you were a bear, a rock or a tree. Nothing more. You’re a good person.

    And yes, I know perfectly well what they are

    Thankfully, you don’t (not the ones I’m talking about).

    KIA are at this point largely irrelevant – there’s minor input from places-that-have-been-purged but the majority aren’t evil. Misguided? A little. There’s a point to wildlife parks and wild spaces where you let the play of ‘where the wild things are’ play out.

    AH. I FORGET: YOU’RE MOSTLY AMERICANS AND WON’T LET YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF YOUR SIGHT AND NEED MILITARIZED POLICE TO STOP TRAFFIC OFFENSES. CONTINUE, I’M SURE YOUR PARANOIA IS JUSTIFIED.

  62. Host is nice and doesn’t allow real clashes.

    ….what?

    *stares*

    *looks at coffee, considers whether spouse accidentally switched it with decaf or something*

    The flip side of ‘you should care more about other issues’ is that, um, maybe people who spend entire hours of their lives slapping together Conspiracy GIF Charts about the Scalzi/Doctorow conspiracy maybe need to, what we used to call ‘get a life’.

  63. I could be mistaken, but I thought Cthuhlu has said she is female. (And yeah, if she had not said that, I would have thought “male” myself. Welcome to the Internet.)

    Mythago: the clashes here are mild, extremely mild. I am not looking for them to get more heated, but this is a sea of calm or as I once famously stated “a festival crowd.” That said, I am on record as saying I wish Scalzi would swear more.

  64. These people obviously have someone hired to stand next to them and say “The spoon goes in the mouth” in order to avoid eye injury.

  65. Similarly some of these cries of ethics seem to assume that all games journalism should be simple straightforward reviews of games, preferably by someone who has been kept in a sealed box away from hype, marketing and any critical thought, yet is simultaneously someone positioned at the centre of gaming.

    The frothy gamers want the opposite of that. They want no negative, critical reviews of games whatsoever, especially anything that seems to them to be liberal, or critical of diversity issues, or just reviews by women in general. And they want no negative, critical reviews of what they say or do. The whole operation involve a stalker ex-boyfriend making up a lie about a non-existent review and colluding with the reddit to go after the ex-girlfriend. Even though they knew it was a lie, they peddled it. Subsequently, they never went after game companies for bribing reviewers and puff reviews. Instead they went after women and others critical of them or of sexism and diversity issues in games.There are no ethical issues involved in the gamer culture war — not a single one.

    Fiction is entirely subjective. There are no objective assessments of technical features like in games. A reviewer gives a personal, subjective, entirely biased book review — every single review from the customer reviews online to the pro ones in publications. So Doctorow is no more biased reviewing Scalzi than reviewing anyone else. And in fiction, that personal subjective response to a book is always authentic, because fiction is a personal experience. If Doctorow doesn’t like a book, he may not review it, review it negatively, or give it an okay review with caveats about problems. It’s his view of the book.

    Publishers can’t bribe people or media to do reviews. Other than occasional free books, there isn’t much swag in fiction publishing. They can only send them copies, hope that they will like it and write a good review. (This has been a problem in that media tends to review women authors and non-white authors far less than white males — that is an actual bias that has not helped fiction out in getting more readers for all.) Publishers and authors can’t control the thousands of customer reviews that help spread word of mouth a little. Publishers and author can’t control word of mouth. (Which is why authors should never respond to negative reviews of any sort ever. It’s trying to assert a form of control they don’t have, and always paints them in a negative light for trying it.)

    Authors aren’t paid for jacket blurbs, cannot be forced to do them, nor do they try to use them to enact vengeance or gather slavish author disciples. Instead, they do them, if they do them, for other authors new, established, friend, because when they were starting out, other authors did it for them. If an author agrees to look at a book for a blurb and doesn’t like it, they don’t give it a blurb. Nobody knows if jacket blurbs actually do much to help sell books. There is no market research on it. But it can’t hurt and may help with a few readers, so they’ve continued the tradition of doing them. But they’re all voluntary or pulled from positive early reviews. New authors are routinely asked if they know any authors or media people who might look at the book and then maybe talk it up. There’s no lying involved. It’s not a hidden practice and readers are mostly well aware of it. It’s been going on for a few hundred years minimum.

    So the K.I.A. attempt is kind of like coming into a room and screaming “potato chips are made from potatoes!” They seem to be trying to keep the frothy gamers’ interest in attacking female authors re the Hugos and/or Scalzi. They are going to be horribly surprised when they learn that every fiction author who isn’t entirely new has given at least one friend author a blurb or a review, if they do reviews, or a chance to promote on their blog, etc. It’s part of getting readers interested in all books, not just one author’s. Every fiction book is a lure for other fiction books, because readers come in on one and then browse, requiring variety of titles. There’s no lack of genuine but subjective opinion. They do in fact sincerely like each other’s books and want to check out and help out new authors.

    Fiction readers, certainly the regular ones, are stubborn beasts. They do not give a crap about marketing and advertising. They do not care what celebrities are reading. They rarely read reviews. They may buy a book because they like the cover art, or they will entirely ignore the cover (as a lot of fiction works don’t have cover art.) They mostly try out what friends and family say that they liked or books they just happen upon. Once you get to the bestseller level, ads and such keep author name recognition going in the public eye. But Rowling, James, Martin, King, etc. all blew up because of word of mouth first. And they bring in readers, who then browse outwards. Which is why Rowling caused the YA sections to grow ten times their previous size in about five years.

  66. Haven’t read all the comments, so apologies if I’m repeating.

    In fairness, John, many potential and current SciFi readers don’t read your blog, and thus would have no idea that you and Cory are friends. Given that, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for Cory to, in his review, put a quick caveat along the lines of, “Hey just so you know this guy’s my friend but I’ve done my best to be objective about his book regardless.” Full disclosure for those who don’t know, and all that.

    I’m not a reddit guy, but from a quick scan of the thread you referenced that seems to be sum of what those guys are looking for, and what they’re complaining about.

  67. Michael Kingswood:

    Again, that’s an idiotic request because no fiction review is ever “objective,” and authors are widely friends with each other or professionally friendly, as are reviewers who are not authors. Fiction reviews are personal, subjective and biased. There is no need nor ever has been to put a caveat about how I know this person. For instance, when Torgersen and Correia blurb or review each other, no one is freaking out, nor would if they learned they were friends. It is a normal part of fiction publishing. It happens with almost every author and every publisher. Fiction novels are not the same as games and do not involve software glitches and gameplay speeds. It’s just the story.

    So what these guys claim to “want” is silly.

  68. “It happens with almost every author and every publisher.”

    …and then that relationship should be revealed by every author and every publisher.

    The point you’re missing is reviews in publishing are the equivalent of advertising and product endorsements in any other industry. They are meant for and targeted toward the consumer, not the insider. If you were looking to buy…let’s say a coffee table…and you went to a site that reviews and recommends coffee tables to the general public, would you be upset if you purchased a coffee table based on that site’s review, and only after your purchase learned that the reviewer on the site had a pre-existing relationship with the company whose coffee table they reviewed favorably?

    I wouldn’t, necessarily, if I were satisfied with the coffee table. But if, after purchasing it, I hated it, I would be MIGHTY pissed at the review site in question. And rightly so, because they lied to me by not disclosing their conflict of interest so I could evaluate it properly, in context.

  69. On the other hand, GAWKER had a melt down and is imploding as we speak. Is anyone here sad to see it happen?

    Eh. Gawker isn’t going anywhere. And really, equating them to 4chan is kind of silly.

    @Michael Kingswood Coffee tables are not stories. The analogy fails. A table is pretty much either objectively good, or objectively bad. There is /nothing/ objective (well, beyond the most superficial level) about novels.

  70. “Coffee tables are not stories. The analogy fails. A table is pretty much either objectively good, or objectively bad. There is /nothing/ objective (well, beyond the most superficial level) about novels.”

    I completely agree.

    That said, you make my point for me. The more subjective an item is the more it matters if an endorsement presented to the public is potentially tainted.

    Seriously. Why are you people fighting this so much? It’s basic openness and honesty: I know and like this person, please take this into account as I write about how good their product is. Or do you not get the notion of integrity?

  71. Seriously. Why are you people fighting this so much?

    Perhaps because if it’s universally ignored throughout the publishing industry, it’s you that’s got the wrong end of it.

  72. I’d love to see blurbs with this in place. Can you imagine?

    “A great read!” – well-know writer who thinks they met the author at a con once but they’re really really bad with names so maybe they didn’t but jeez, the request seemed like they did and they waited so long to answer it they felt guilty…

    “Swashbuckling!” – Writer who was on a podcast with the author three times but only over Skype and they’ve never met in person

    “A fine romance!” – writer who read it hastily before deadline as part of a stack the publisher sent them hopefully and didn’t we have dinner once?

    “Old-school adventure!” – Writer who thinks author is great on Twitter and can’t stand author in person

    The cover layout people will undoubtedly be thrilled.

  73. Or maybe the publishing industry does. After all, publishing is notorious for having been insular and completely divorced from commercial reality for the longest time. Maybe instead of castigating the thoughts of outsiders (you know, their customers?), people within publishing should be listening to them, and taking notes from other industries that actually have had to deal with the real world for most of the last century.

    I know. That’s crazy talk.

  74. “Perhaps because if it’s universally ignored throughout the publishing industry, it’s you that’s got the wrong end of it.”

    Crap. Meant to quote this on my last post but forgot. Sorry about that.

  75. Michael Kingswood:

    The point is that reviews of fiction are NOT advertisements — paid for by the publishers, and they are NOT product endorsements, paid for by the publishers. An in-store display that the publisher pays a bookseller to show is advertising, Reviews they don’t control and really can’t influence.

    There are no objective features to published fiction works. There are no quality control issues as there are for a technological device such as a game or a physical product such as a coffee table. Reviewers do not review the objective quality of a book’s binding or an e-file’s loading speed. (They will sometimes review the quality of an audio edition’s recording, but that has nothing to do with the author.)

    Reviewers review the stories that they want to review. They give their subjective opinion of the book. Most reviewers are paid by no one for their reviews. They are simply reviewing books they’ve read and want to talk about.

    For authors, they know and are friends with many other authors..Doctorow is not going to announce that an author is a friend of his two thousand times. Publishers are not going to waste cover space to have half the blurbs start with, “This author is a friend of mine, but I still feel…” That’s ridiculous.

    And totally unnecessary. Readers do not care if a reviewer knows the author. It does not make an already subjective review more subjective and therefore somehow tainted. If you think a reviewer isn’t very good in their opinions to match your own subjective tastes, you don’t read that person’s reviews. This is not a new thing, nor is it a con of marketing or a sign of corruption. And pretending that it is does look an awful lot like you’re sticking a spoon in your eye.

  76. Look guys, this is pretty basic.

    If you are endorsing a product and you have a connection with the person who creates said product, you should reveal this connect in your endorsement.

    That’s not just common courtesy. It’s basic honesty.

  77. After all, publishing is notorious for having been insular and completely divorced from commercial reality for the longest time.

    I didn’t hit refresh before posting and thus missed all the last responses that showed you’re just trolling. The sentence above trying to postulate that fiction publishing is a bunch of elitist cool kids hostile to outsiders and patting each other on the back while poor customers are being horribly tricked would have sufficiently alerted me. Let me guess, only Baen Books fully discloses author familiarity. Except of course they don’t.

    A reader who finds that he doesn’t like a book even though his friends, relatives, a reviewer, an author, or any other individual told him that it was a great book, has not been tricked. His subjective response to the book just didn’t match the other person’s subjective response to the book. Nobody can predict when that is going to happen, and friendships between authors have nothing to do with it. As you quite clearly know.

    But if you want to pretend that it’s an imaginary ethics problem, have fun.

  78. I think if I were an author who were being asked to blurb books, I would be pretty offended by Mr. Kingswood’s implication that my good reviews could be bought with friendship. If our esteemed host doesn’t like a book, I feel confident that he’s not going to give it a good review just because it was by a pal. (I also suspect he would decline to blurb a book he liked by an author he detested, assuming he read it at all, but I see no hypocrisy there; no author is owed a blurb by anyone, least of all someone whom the author has gone out of his way to slander and belittle for reasons best left to a mental-health professional. Or possibly an exorcist.)

    Mr. Kingswood doesn’t seem to understand that by asking authors to disclose their personal relationships with one another, he has begged the question of whether they have integrity, saying that no, we can’t trust their reviews unless we know their biases for certain. I am perfectly willing to believe that Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi are more likely to be willing to blurb each other’s books than those of strangers because of their friendship; I am entirely unwilling to believe that those blurbs would be anything less than honest and freely given, and that if either one of them found the book lacking, they would regretfully decline to give a blurb than to praise a book dishonestly.

  79. You know, if you expect that book blurbs are generally from the author’s chums or at least those they consider relatively like-minded, then you can use it as a shorthand for whether you’re likely to enjoy the book. I’ve been doing this for years.

    “Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist, and Jacqueline Carey all adored this book? Probably drivel that will make me want to stab my eyes out with a pair of rusty scissors. Oh, Robin Hobb, N. K. Jemisin, and Jim Hines liked this other one? Probably a decent read.”

    Of course, parallel universe me where I’m an Ayn Rand fan who loves purple prose and cliche-ridden epics might just as easily use the recommendations the other way around.

    Anyway, in a world where every single book has “tour de force” as a blurb on the cover, it’s the bias itself that makes endorsements useful.

  80. Michael Kingswood:

    “Look, guys, this is pretty basic.”

    Unless, you know, most everyone in the world appears to have a different understanding of the specific scenario you are discussing, in which case what you see as “basic” will seem unnecessary to everyone else, and the implied assertion that people are being dishonest because they are not jumping through hoops only you see as being required they jump through will not make them look kindly upon you.

    That said, if you believe some fiduciary duty is not being fulfilled, with regard to a reviewer or blurber, stop reading that reviewer, or blurber. It’s your right, and no one would stop you. Also, of course, feel free to use your platform, whatever it may be, to “reveal” what you deem to be insufficiently undisclosed relationships, which is also your right, and a pleasure you should not be denied.

    Just, you know. Don’t be surprised if the response to your “revelation” is “Yes. And?” Or, alternately, in some particular cases that may be relevant here, the somewhat confused look of people wondering why relationships that have been public and obvious for more than a decade suddenly need to be “disclosed” when they’ve never been hidden nor denied. One person or group’s ignorance of such an obvious and public relationship does not necessarily imply that others will agree that the ignorance on their part constitutes a lack of ethics or honesty on anyone else’s.

  81. Here’s a question: Would Cory Doctorow disclosing the precise nature of his relationship with John Scalzi* have improved the reviews of any of the novels? Would they be more informative or more enlightening about the text? If the function of the review is to draw the attention of people who might like that kind of thing (and turn away people who don’t) would this help, assuming the body of the review does an adequate job already?

    I’m willing to admit that such a disclosure would not harm the review and might make a difference in some marginal cases. But the most important ethical question is “has Doctorow correctly described the work he is reviewing?” If he has, the disclosure is unecessary; if he hasn’t it’s superfluous.

    (The requirement to disclose suggests that the default reviewer is kept in a sealed box, possibly in an isolated monastery in the mountains, reads the book and comments neutrally on it’s contents, while simultaneously being culturally aware enough to be able to compare it to other, competing products.)

    * How much of a relationship would one need? Scalzi and I have exchanged comments and tweets a couple of times. If I review some of his work on my blog should I disclose that? I doubt he knows who I am, but should I check before reviewing?

  82. Actually (and completely irrelevant to the situation here, and throughout the industry, I hasten to add), my favorite blurber-who-didn’t-disclose-a-relationship was the ghostwriter who also had a career under his own name; he basically blurbed his own books. But mostly I just thought that that was funny. Especially since I doubted that any of the readers of the ghostwritten books would have recognized the author’s own name in any case . . .

  83. Mary Frances: That’s funny enough that it should be allowed as a perk to the poor guy who never got credit or royalties.

    Can someone check on the gator who posted these deathless, damning things and make sure he knows the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001, we won WWII, and other such items? Because he hasn’t been paying attention to common knowledge.

    Bias in blurbs/reviews is good, like A. Noyd said. You can use the names to decide whether it’s the sort of thing you like or not. Two books might be exactly the same as far as complexity of plot, quality of writing, etc. but if one’s got a blurb by Scalzi and the other by Ringo, you can guess which John I’m going with.

    @UrsulaV: hee! Yep, we won’t have to worry about art for book covers any more, since the whole thing will be taken up with explanations of how the blurbers may or may not know the author or editor or agent or publisher.

    If I was blurbing, I’d have to be “I’ve met Scalzi like 3 times and he was polite, and I only got malleted on his blog once, but I don’t think he’s ever connected blog me with IRL me. But hey, fun book!” Will we have to go with “Writer X liked something my spouse posted on FB?” “Editor Z once bought me a drink along with the whole herd of gophers at a con in the 90’s?”

    Idjits.

  84. If we go on the philosophy being promoted here that an author or other reviewing a friend’s work is “tainted” — not honest, mutual back slapping, etc.– and that the only mitigating factor is for thousands of reviewers to announce in a review or blurb their exact relationship with the thousands of authors being assessed, (and thank you Ursula V. for that lovely example,) we get an interesting situation.

    All the puppy leaders put forth voting slates of authors and did not disclose which of those authors they were friends with (and quite frequently have done reviews and blurbs for,) which authors were published by them in some cases, and which authors were strangers who they didn’t bother to tell what they were dragging them into. So that is, according to this philosophy, an unethical conspiracy collusion, and a tainted recommendation in the slates.

    The puppies then solicited and recruited K.I.A. members to consider becoming voting Hugo members and to vote for the slate authors, again without disclosing their close affiliations, especially egregious according to this philosophy, as the K.I.A. members were unlikely to have been reading the puppy leaders’ blogs and Twitter accounts to know which slate authors they were pals with.

    And yet, as far as I know, there’s been nary a peep from K.I.A. about how they were tricked by the puppy leaders, about the lack of disclosure, especially about authors who were published by puppy leaders as well as pals, and about how this was an unethical conspiracy regarding the voting slates and promoting those and similar titles.

    Instead, two authors, out of all the authors throughout fiction who review and blurb and generally talk up their friends, quite often mentioning they’re friends but not always, were selected to declare an unethical conspiracy. And it just so happens that these two authors are ones who puppies and their pals have encouraged people to declare unethical conspirators as frequently and in as many ways as possible. What a coinky-dink!

    So again, this is puppies, probably of the Rabid persuasion, trying to keep interest drummed up in K.I.A. (who again, according to this philosophy, they’ve repeatedly tricked,) in the Hugos and doing culture war campaigns in fiction/SFFH publishing. By claiming that they are shocked, shocked to discover quite suddenly that reviewers, including customers, and author reviewers sometimes review or otherwise talk about their friends’ writing — just like the puppies did with them this year.

  85. @michael kingswood – Lol, i think you are missing the point that the implication of the blurb is that they have some kind of relationship. The bias actually works for me as A.noyd says, the fact that scalzi and doctorow are friends make me more likely to pick up cory’s books – any blurb by any writer i like is enough to tip me over to buy a book by a writer I haven’t read before because i assume they are friends (or have some other professional relationship if not outright friends) because of the blurb. In fact whenever i find out 2 authors i like are friends it just reaffims what i already knew, that writers are all but coworkers and go to the same work events, know the same people and move in the same circles, why shouldn’t they be friends?

    For ex. Mary Robinette Kowal and Marie Brennan did mutual fanfic in each others world on their blogs recently which was very squee inducing becuse those two worlds happen to be two of my favourites atm.. How could you not conclude that they were friends?

    This is not new either, i am a fan of golden age stuff and in the stuff written about and by Asimov and Pohl and Campbell there is a lot written about the two groups of friends of writers that emerged in the early days when they were children in new york and there were 2 sf fan clubs – especially about the incident where some of them would not let the others into a convention they had organised. Later when WW2 started some of them went into service with each other. They blurbed each other all the time, i have books from the 50’s to the 70’s with big name authors blubing each other that i knew were friends because of this history. They gave each other introductions all the time. Pohl, Asimov and Silverberg especially would go into a lot of the history because they were editors. Brian Ash wrote a book explicating who was who and friends with who, that’s how widely known it was that writers are friends with each other.

    Tl;dr they blurb each other because they are friends and this is a good thing. Saying so is not needed because they would be stating the obvious.

  86. And, hate to say it, but: this brings in the big guns [tm]. Not only TIME etc, but also other people who are like me, but aren’t exactly polite about it.

    It’s probably been engineered to do so, given the Reddit purges and current GOP Trump distasteful trolling. Call it a last roll of the dice.

    HUGO nominations are about to get Biblical (literally).

    Interesting one. Beale might have his day in the Sun. I hope his allies are a little tighter and important than KIA. I suspect he’s doing this either as ze master trollz with a byline in martyrdom once the Big Guns[tm] come in, or (probability a lot less) has some real backing. Given the current Pope, unlikely that Opus Die is in on it though.

    I could be mistaken, but I thought Cthuhlu has said she is female. (And yeah, if she had not said that, I would have thought “male” myself. Welcome to the Internet.)

    She did indeed.

    *shrug*

    Have you never seen Aliens?

  87. And yet, as far as I know, there’s been nary a peep from K.I.A. about how they were tricked by the puppy leaders, about the lack of disclosure, especially about authors who were published by puppy leaders as well as pals, and about how this was an unethical conspiracy regarding the voting slates and promoting those and similar titles.

    Kat doesn’t speak to me, since I’m a little rough. (I herd donkeys, not cats), but:

    KIA really isn’t interested in Puppies per se. It’s got a lot less traction than it would if they had any real impact (and, IRONY ALERT, you’ll find that the tar-and-feather approach has merely driven them to view anyone being quasi-realistic about it as favorable, although I did point this out in Oxford a couple of years ago now). There’s enough weight (50% at least) who aren’t right-wing / libertarian (in the American sense) and you’d be surprised that many of them aren’t even sexist.

    Weighing their souls, as stated, there’s enough good in there to out-weigh the bad.

    It’s funny though.

    Not many people “anti-Gamergate” or “anti-KIA” being able to spot the swirling moves, or are pretending it’s all Surface Detail.

    Beale, for his vices, is at least playing Twist not Snap. (No, he’s not playing Bridge yet). I’m fairly sure he’s at least aware of the larger picture though (Senators… maybe. Certainly not the Higher Order Powers involved).

    p.s.

    Yes, I too have been watching. A little more than that, since I’m not really into pogroms.

    WE’VE BEEN TOLD NOT TO DO THAT NOW. ALTHOUGH… GIVEN THE LIES ALL AROUND, MAYBE NOT A CONCRETE PROMISE.

  88. Cthulhu:

    I’ve asked you before to aggregate your posts. please remember to do so. Also, that thing you do where your character overwhelms your ability to make a coherent point is happening again.

  89. I’ve asked you before to aggregate your posts. please remember to do so. Also, that thing you do where your character overwhelms your ability to make a coherent point is happening again.

    Yep, sorry – was processing quite a bit of behind the scenes data, expressly on Beale and their end of the spectrum, and then editing for here.

    Serious question: would a realistic breakdown of the political moves and so on be viewed well here? I’m fully aware you know about it, but there’s a lot of innocent posters who will be caught in the next cross-fire. It’s rather self-defeating that most of the stuff going on is really not on a Reddit board etc.

    I’ll leave it up to you. However, targeting the innocent (useful idiots) is rather distasteful given the next phase – most, if not a large % of KIA posters have no affiliations to this stuff and I find it barbaric to link them to it. Blacklisting them etc is really counter-productive given the levels this is hitting.

    Call me ICE-9. Ready to rock ;)

  90. And, yes: We see what you did there

    Poking the vanilla crowd to get to the meat. Well, you’ve got the meat, chomp on, chomp on.

    Top tip: They have value and they’re required for future purpose. Non-negotiable. Get off the Lawn, before Ripley has to remind you.

    Trust me. Beale and Concentration Camps and HUGOs… there’s enough there to be getting on with.

    That goes for the less informed peeps in thread as well. You’re poking at the wrong targets, and it’s getting annoying. KIA stays and has purpose.

  91. And yes. If you’ve paid attention:

    I don’t give a fuck about Combat 18. I’m glad that I can predict the future though. I do, however, care about pogroms. Sorry host. But that’s not a suggestion, that’s something else.

    Now…. that moment in the HUGO awards when [redacted – you’re not allowed to do this] and they lose then.
    Hit upwards, not down. And KIA is 100% downwards. If nothing else, obey your own Laws.

    [Sorry – tied to tripartite meaning here unless I unleash something else]

    whttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOzY0k0g3c8

    p.s.

    Slow time. Raise them up from the darkness brother.

  92. Cthuhlu: My primary intent was that they should respect your identity. The “Welcome to the Internet” glossed a number of points without me having to write an essay: mainly our internalized expectations about gender meet the uncertainly of the net. I personally think it’s OK to call women “dudes” or “guys” in a generic way, but other people think it’s a mortal insult.

  93. Cthulhu, do you understand what John means by “aggregate your posts?”

    Yes, please, Cthulhu, do you understand? Because frankly, you’re really starting to get annoying.

    PrivateIron: Funny thing, I actually mistake men for women on the Internet more often than vice versa–and that’s just casual conversation, not lame flirting*. I think it’s because I go in expecting women to make rational points and be insightful and sharp while men go into stupid chest-thumping testosterone-fueled antics, but that in itself is likely a symptom of being homeschooled by my mom, who graduated with honors from Harvard and has a zero-tolerance policy on bullshit, while my biggest early memories of Dad are of him getting hurt while playing sports after Mom had told him not to and Mom chewing him out in the hospital.

    Some days it seems like a miracle that Dad ever got to his current, very nice job, and a bigger miracle that he was ever mature enough to get his PhD.

    *(there’s a forum I frequent about alternate histories, I mistook four men for women in a thread about having Simo Häyhä kill Hitler)

  94. If someone thinks this is an ethical question, why are they aiming at the small potatoes?

    Where are the posts revealing the Big Secret that people who are supporting Hillary Clinton once worked with her or her husband, and informing the poor naive reader that a lot of the Republican candidates know each other and even co-sponsored legislation? If you want a disclaimer “Scalzi and Doctorow have met each other, and only said so a few dozen times,” you should be shouting from the rooftops about the horrible fact that a newspaper story about Microsoft or any of its competitors doesn’t start with “Disclaimer: In the past year this newspaper has gotten $$$ in advertising from Microsoft, and twice that from Apple. Also, the reporter recently used an ATM that is running Windows XP.”

    There are probably people who watch football and haven’t spent nearly enough time thinking about the fact that those films about cars, beer, etc. shown during halftime are paid for and why they do not include equal time explaining how many people have died in GM cars lately, or reminding the viewer that millions of devout Americans think the use of alcohol is sinful.

    How much space on kotakuinaction and other pro-GG spaces is used for their disclaimers, for “the editor/owner of this site has met the following people in the gaming industry” or “in case you’ve forgotten, this started because someone had a grudge against Zoe Quinn” or “The following is hopelessly biased because one of the developers refused to talk to me when I accosted him in the hall at a con”?

  95. Floored: there are plenty of incoherent or aggressive or bad-tempered women out there. I like to give them the benefit of not being type cast in a “positive” direction any more than I would a “negative” direction. There’s usually more subtlety to my “gendar” but it can be wrong just like anything else. Sometimes the giraffe on your scope is a horse wearing a monkey-crew-serviced gun turret.

    I doubt your Mom got her zero-tolerance for BS from Harvard. I went to another Ivy League school and I can assure you BS is everyone’s undeclared second major. Tolerating other people’s BS is a life skill that will take you far if you learn how to cultivate it right.

  96. My mom sort of picked up her lack of patience for BS along the way of life.

    I sort of got it osmotically from her.

    but yeah, I’m legendarily bad at telling gender on the interweebs. Been trying to use “xe” as much as necessary, but I still slip up and use gendered pronouns sometimes.

  97. …..Okay I would like to formally apologize to anyone reading this thread for taking Cthuhlu’s bait. Perhaps they would have gone on the same bizarre tangent otherwise, but they do tend to do this more when people respond. I’ll be more careful in the future.

  98. Floored, you can use ‘they’ if you’re not sure. If your English teacher told you singular ‘they’ is wrong, your English teacher was misinformed.

  99. @Musereader For ex. Mary Robinette Kowal and Marie Brennan did mutual fanfic in each others world on their blogs recently which was very squee inducing becuse those two worlds happen to be two of my favourites atm.. How could you not conclude that they were friends?

    To pick up the pro-disclosure torch for one moment, let us assume that we are talking about the poor innocent naive casual reader who doesn’t follow author blogs or news. They stroll into their bookshop/ look up something on Amazon and discover a blurb by one author about another. Or they read a review by one author praising another’s work. Should they be expected to do the due diligence of uncovering the nature of the relationship between reviewed and reviewer before plonking down their hard earned cash?

    Now (putting the pro-disclosure torch carefully back in it’s holder and wiping my hand) what I would say is that the potential buyer should do due diligence on the the product. In the store read the back and maybe the first few pages. On the net “look inside” and see what other reviewers say. Maybe ask someone you know who has read it. Booksellers, who have a direct financial interest in the transaction, are trying to market the book to you. Make sure the book is what you want, or if you are a promiscuous and spontaneous book buyer, be aware that this habit will sometimes disappoint. Exactly what the relationship between reviewer and reviewed should be a long way down the concerns of the reader, no matter how uninformed.

  100. Xopher: Yeah, I know; I just prefer to use “xe/xir”. It sounds…well, consciously I know that “they” singular is OK, but unconsciously it just sounds wrong.

    So I use “xe/xir” as a gender-neutral pronoun. It seems to have worked so far, at least.

  101. I find myself reminded of the time I saw someone commenting that a particular movie reviewer was extremely valuable to them, because he reliably hated everything they loved and loved everything they hated.

    At some level even the content of the review doesn’t matter; what matters is whether or not the relationship between the reader of the review and the review is one that leads to consistently useful results. Whether that’s “we share the same tastes”, or “the reviewer will comment on the things that I care about and I can get information out of that”, or “we have diametrically opposed tastes”, or some other things.

  102. Neil W. :

    Should they be expected to do the due diligence of uncovering the nature of the relationship between reviewed and reviewer before plonking down their hard earned cash?

    They don’t have to do due diligence because they don’t care if the authors know each other or not. In fact, most readers will generally assume that an author blurbing on a jacket is a pal of the author being blurbed, whether that’s the case or not. And they don’t care. They usually don’t care about the blurbs themselves. Again, publishers really don’t know if blurbs have any positive effects on sales or not, because fiction readers are marketing resistant. They don’t really care about marketing efforts; they care about word of mouth from their friends or just if something interests them when they pick it up. But the blurbs don’t produce any negative effects, so they continue to do them in case they actually do interest readers. Authors blurb other authors only if they liked the book; otherwise they decline.

    When it comes to reviews, if a reader actually reads reviews, they choose which reviewers have subjective tastes and viewpoints that match their own subjective tastes and viewpoints, reviewers whom they have over time come to trust to steer them to stuff they will likely like, though it isn’t certain. That includes authors who are friends of the reviewer, because again, most readers don’t care if they’re friends and don’t see it affecting their subjective reviews. If they think a reviewer isn’t a good, interesting source to match their own interests, they stop reading that reviewer’s reviews (and trusting that person’s blurbs as well.)

    If they are a really picky reader who wants only stranger reviews and stranger blurbs, then yes, they have to go do due diligence because they’re picky. It’s their problem, not the other readers and thousands of fiction titles. There is no room on covers and frontpieces to spell out every blurber’s relationship, as already explained with beautiful aplomb by Ursula. A reviewer may mention that he’s pals with the author or may not, depending on circumstances — brief reviews it’s unlikely, but either way, most people don’t care. And if you do care, the entire Internet will take about two seconds to provide you with the info.

    Booksellers do indeed want to sell you books. But they want to sell you fiction books that you will like and non-fiction books that you will find helpful. Because they want you to be happy and come back and order from them again. So they try to find what you particularly like and make suggestions. It’s called hand-selling and it’s still quite valuable in fiction publishing particularly.

    But they aren’t always going to be right in their guesses based on what you tell them, because it’s all subjective and not always going to match. Likewise, subjective positive blurbs and subjective negative and positive reviews. That’s why negative reviews don’t have that much problematic effect for fiction — people usually don’t trust them, even from reviewers they trust. They often want to see for themselves if the problems mentioned are really problems for them, if they have the same reaction. They may decide not to read a book because of a negative review, but it’s just not the same magnitude as positive reviews interesting people in trying books.

    Because regular readers of written fiction love fiction. They understand that sometimes they’ll find a work not very good or just okay because it’s all about personal taste. If they are very paranoid about it, they’ll do research and check word of mouth widely before making a purchase. If their wallets are tight, libraries are incredibly useful to help them figure out who they like best before making purchases, as are used books. Even then, it won’t always work out.

    Casual readers have pretty much the same attitude — they’ll buy books on word of mouth or because it’s a big bestseller or because they are stuck in an airport with no wi-fi. And if they find they don’t like it, well, that happens. Because fiction books aren’t widgets, software programs, or coffee tables. They’re stories, an experience involving emotion and personal interest from the absorption of words. If your friend loves a book and you find that you don’t, that’s part of the experience. If an author you like really likes his friend’s book and you don’t, that’s part of the experience. Nobody makes you buy anything. They are giving you their reactions of the creative work. That’s not a guarantee that you will also like it, because we live in reality.

  103. …..Okay I would like to formally apologize to anyone reading this thread for taking Cthuhlu’s bait. Perhaps they would have gone on the same bizarre tangent otherwise, but they do tend to do this more when people respond. I’ll be more careful in the future.

    Re-read the Time-Line a little closer.

    I entered, warned you about Da’esh type threats and so on… while pointing out that particular KIA thread generating faux outrage about hosts’ well known friendships is probably just smoke and nonsense.

    And later on (I did post prior to the MF thread) we have an American Conservative Christian publishing house of romantic fiction picking up two awards and being defended by Beale. While posting about SS commandants and Christian converts and AND I THOUGHT I WAS BAD: AT LEAST MY INSANITY COMES WITH A WARNING AND I’VE NO PRETENSES THAT I’M MORALLY GOOD.

    I’m not outraged, I’m just culturally stunned by the myopia that could ever create this work of now lauded art.

    It’s not a tangent, it was a real poke. If the publishers who post around here (esp. since romantic fiction is #1 sales totals in the USA if not the world) spent more time on their own houses, then?

    ~

    Note to those not paying attention: the KIA post was more than likely fluff to get a response to cover for a more real scandal / maneuver. Believe it or not, a significant slice of KIA etc crowd wouldn’t really go with “The Holocaust: back-drop for hot Aryan sex“, other than to mock the writer. Call it a counter-poke, with a sting: nothing better to get the trolls flowing (not your army) in other directions.

    And you still have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention Senators and so forth.

    The TrumpyHorrorPictureShow.

    Because, really. Even Boris Johnson is known as a shark underneath, Trump had the Clinton’s to his wedding. It’s not like everyone doesn’t see what’s going on, and it’s very ugly. (Note: the D. Senator involved isn’t in any way connected to Trump; they’re just signifiers).

    @PrivateIron

    I’m annoyed because things are about to get messy. Blaming kids who can’t process the moves is tacky and banal.

    *shrug*

    Dressing it up in theatre means plausible deniability, nothing more.

  104. @LurkerType @ 8/9, 4:55pm
    > “Editor Z once bought me a drink along with the whole herd of gophers at a con in the 90’s?”

    I went to GopherCon in Denver in July; this made me doubletake. :)

  105. Whether or not a casual bookstore browser knows about any pre-existing relationship between the blurber and the blurbed, and whether or not that book shopper has any assumptions that of course the blurber and blurbed are most probably friends, I think any rational consumer will assume that the publisher would only put a positive quote on a book cover.

  106. I’m finding it particularly hard to buy the “there is nothing objective about [fiction]” argument after seeing some samples of the Puppy nominations this year. Yes, enjoyment of fiction has a lot to do with subjective taste. But there are also basic issues of coherence, consistency, believability, and respect for a story and its readers where there’s a fair bit of objective evaluation one can do.

    I also see the ethics of disclosures as largely venue-dependent. Cover blurbs, for instance, are inherently advertisements– that’s why they’re on the cover– and I don’t expect them to be “objective”. A venue like Kirkus Reviews, though, which is intended for librarians selecting materials for their collections, shouldn’t assign reviews to personal friends in the first place (especially since the reviews there are unsigned, so you can’t look up a reviewer name to see if there’s a personal relationship). In scholarly venues, authors are supposed to disclose when they have a potential conflict of interest concerning whatever they’re writing about.

    Other venues lie between these poles, in my view. I’d like to see disclosure in well-known venues that present as independent and professional, like the New York Times Book Review. But most blogs are clearly highly subjective and non-professional. If a blog reviewer were actually getting payment or other gifts for reviews (as some do) I’d still expect them to disclose that. But being friends with the author? Usually not a big deal (especially when one can easily discover that if one’s familiar with the blog’s history).

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