Out in the Open (A SFWA-Related Post)
Patrick (not of the Nielsen Hayden persuasion) has this to say about the recent SFWA-related posts:
Honestly, at this point, you boys need to take this inside. As fascinating as it is for me to watch and provide pointless distractions, this is now an internal issue.
1. This is my site and I get to decide what goes here, and if y’all don’t like that, tough;
2. I disagree that this is now an “internal” issue.
Which is to say: Yes, SFWA is a particular group with particular aims that are of interest to only a relative small number of people — i.e., science fiction writers (and more particularly science fiction writers who are members of SFWA and those writers who would like to be members), and its elections and etc are not generally open to public purview. However, I don’t think that’s either needful or wise. SWFA is a group that in my opinion needs to grow; SFWA is also a group that in my opinion is viewed as increasingly irrelevant by a generation of up-and-coming writers, not in the least because so much of what goes on in SFWA is opaque, either intentionally (private newsgroups, etc) or unintentionally (a navigationally difficult Web site).
I think there are certain things about SFWA that may need to be discussed privately by SFWAns alone — current sensitive policy debates, for example. Nor would I deny SFWAns their private forums to bitch and moan, even if I personally prefer to bitch and moan in public. However, I think the default setting for SFWA should be set on “open”; there needs to be transparency in the process so the people that SFWA is for can see that it’s useful, and can see that they can be useful in SFWA as well. There ought to damn well be a compelling reason not to do things openly, and “well, we’re not comfortable with that” is not a damn good reason.
My aim is to have this election process as open as possible; at the very least I intend to be open about it as possible. I’m not worried about it losing me the election; frankly, I’m worried about it winning me the election, and then I’ll have to go from spouting high-minded ideals to actually trying to implement them, and we all know what a pain in the ass that can be. It’s a risk I’ll just have to take.
If you don’t want to read the SFWA-related posts, do what you do with other posts you don’t like: stop reading them when you realize you couldn’t care less about them. Another, non-SFWA-related post will be along shortly, I assure you.