Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

File770 Unlimbers the Artillery

I have attempted to be reasonable.

I have answered questions that were put to me by a hostile group as thoughtfully and forthrightly as possible.

I have attempted to listen and see things from another perspective.

When I took offense, I bit down on my instinct to lash back and instead attempted to find common ground.

When people took offense on my behalf, I encouraged them to stand down by demonstrating how flame wars can be deescalated when an injured party treats his nemesis as if they were a human being.

I have tried in every way to meet the commentariat of File770 half way.

These efforts have been repaid with a range of ugly attacks, which I reproduce below. (You can find the full thread here.)

From Aaron:

From Jeffro: “Choices have consequences, including being judged by one’s choices. Being the target of these remarks, I am of course biased. But… really… am I the only person that finds this to be a little scary…?”

The ridiculousness of Jeffro’s statement here almost stuns me. Did he really think that allying himself with a vile homophobic, racist, misogynistic asshole was something he could do with no consequence? I suppose it might be scary to be judged by one’s choices if one makes choices like that, but the solution to that is to avoid allying with shitbags like Beale.

He said he was trying to build bridges. Fair enough. But when people pointed out that a way to prove his bona fides would be to disassociate himself from Castalia House or at the very least cross-post his material elsewhere so that people who didn’t want to go over and jump onto Beale’s site could read it, he rejected out of hand. “They treat me like a rock-star”, he said. “Cross-posting would diminish my market value as a reviewer,” he said. Okay, if that’s what is important to you, but by saying that he made a choice. He chose to continue to ally with a revolting piece of trash like Beale. He knew of Beale’s offensive views and his nasty action, and said it was more important to him to be a rock-star with supposed market value. For him to whine now that no one warned him is simply ridiculous.

What little sympathy I may have had for Jeffro was completely drained away by his whiny self-pitying pile of bullshit post.

From Ann Somerville:

Aaron: “What little sympathy I may have had for Jeffro was completely drained away by his whiny self-pitying pile of bullshit post.”

The self-pitying crap he was doing here was enough to drain my sympathy. And that was after he said he wanted to work with VD because he liked his views on (some?) things. That’s a bit like saying Hitler was okay to hang around with if you like his paintings.

From Kurt Busiek:

Jeffro is the only person I’ve seen complain that when he got on the skate and on the Hugo ballot, nobody told him to decline it. Evidence, perhaps, that those tales of horrifying SJW pressure for everyone to reject participation weren’t as founded as Puppies insisted.

In any case, I think that if the idea that choices have consequences is a scary one, people who think that either need to get out more or, if not, they should stay well away from hot stove burners.

From Lori Coulson:

I read Jeffro’s post, and just shook my head. Beg pardon, but — someone was supposed to TELL him not to be on the slate, or to decline the nomination?!!

I can see where he may have thought that it was ok to be on the slate, but when it became clear that the nominations had been gamed, the ethical thing to do would have been to decline the ballot slot. Somehow, I get the feeling that ethics and honor are not Puppydum’s long suit.

I guess he must have led a very sheltered life, not to know that, yes, choices have consequences and that lying down with dogs means you’re going to itch when the fleas bite…

From Tenar Darel:

(Yeah, I know, kind of late)

Okay, so this is an experiment…I’m putting on my empathy hat on for Jeffro. If lots of people on a blog comment thread were telling me “choices have consequences” over and over in multiple ways, and I came from commenting in unmoderated spaces, that statement might make me nervous. (I’m imagining GG, Requires H or Irene Gallo to help with fitting my hat). If I were used to the war of all against all, I likely would interpret “consequences” as some kind of threat. Jeffro heard the shorthand and interpreted it as a threat, rather than an explanation with a request for some alternate access so the book talk could continue.

Everyone here, summarizing and generalizing extravagantly, was really saying “Hey, you seem like a cool new fan of the genre; come on in, warm your feet at our fire! Oh, and could you scrape off the sh*t on your shoes, or at least leave your boots outside the door so we don’t have to smell them? Oh, okay, you don’t want to do those things. Too bad. Please don’t be surprised if people here start to wrinkle or hold their noses, or even walk away when you come around. You’re inviting us over? Thank you, but we probably won’t come by your place at the kennel. Well because you said that not only will you not clean your boots, but you’re not going to rent office space, and you’ve ruled out moving away from the kennel.”
/empathy hat off

It didn’t sound like he was willing to bend much, even if it did mean he could expand the audience for his book reviews. In his blogpost, he appeared to dislike the extensive questioning of his terms, rather than relishing the opportunity to hone his arguments against really tough critics. Seems sad really. (Huh, empathy hangover).

From JJ:

It never entered my mind that making a simple statement of fact, of the sort that any reasonably intelligent adult by the age of 18 would have figured out (Choices have consequences, including being judged by one’s choices), would be interpreted by Jeffro as anything other than that.

But you’re right. In the crew with which he hangs out, such a statement actually means “I’m going to come over to your workplace and sort you out”, or “I’m going to call your employer and get you fired”, or “I’m going to dig up your real name, e-mail address, physical address, phone number, and the names of all your family members and pets, post all this information on the Internet, and encourage every nutjob out there to harass you with death threats via telephone, e-mail, and in person at your house”.

So I guess I can understand why he interpreted it as a “threat”. But what’s incredibly sad is that he doesn’t understand that that interpretation says absolutely nothing about me — but that it says a very great deal about the people whom he’s chosen as “friends”.

From Msb:

Jeffro may have felt slightly intimidated by being engaged by several people at the same time, saying relatively similar things. A reasonably courteous puppy is a rare sight, so several commenters were drawn to him. To me, it looked a bit like an accidental piling on.

Nevertheless, I know few adults frightened by the reminder that choices have consequences.

From jayn:

I feel a bit sorry for Jeffro in that being paid for writing stuff you love is such a rare beast, that I honestly couldn’t blame a writer for Castalia House who’d said with closed-mouth discretion about his editor, “His checks clear. It was that or pawning the computer and applying to Starbucks,” and refuse to say anything further pro or contra about it. But telling us all how nicely Beale treated him and how he agrees with some of what he says tended to diminish my sympathy.

This is, I presume, the only going to be the tip of the iceberg.

I don’t really have a lot to say here. I will be mocked for saying this, but I am genuinely shocked that my actions this past week could generate this kind of reaction. I don’t have the faintest idea of how to respond, so I will simply repeat what I said on Tuesday. This is some profoundly weird stuff. I think this is just flat out freaky weird. This is incredible. Unbelievable.

I am a fan that writes about old books and vintage games. I am just some guy. Why the vitriol? What is so threatening about anything I have done as a writer? If it is so important that I separate myself from what could be construed as being sort of a rough crowd, then why would this sort of treatment induce me to change sides? I daresay, behaving as if I am both irredeemable and subhuman is incentive only for me to either fight back or drop out altogether. Is that what they want?

But yes, the fact that they can skip straight to some sort of weird hate campaign without even showing me the courtesy of delivering an ultimatum really does kind of insult me. As if I should simply bow to the will of a bunch of anonymous people on a website I never even heard of just because they’ve pitched a fit.

They can’t even be bothered to simply ask me to quit something they find objectionable. They can’t even ask. That’s just too much, isn’t it? I’m supposed to just read between the lines and take the hint, aren’t I? Well that’s not good enough for me. No, I will be shown the dignity of being treated like a human being before I make any kind of change in where I write or what I write about.

I haven’t seen anything that convinces me that I should have it any other way.


52 responses to “File770 Unlimbers the Artillery

  1. Louis J. Desy Jr. June 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I would suggest that you tell them that you think this is weird, and explain in detail with examples, why you think it is weird. Let them try to explain how they are rational adults.

    What you are encountering is the ‘groupthink’ that these people want to impose on other people. I have seen it spreading into other areas. It is as thought they are in a panic that you might distribute information about what a bunch of idiots they all are for insisting that people within a hobby must meet their approval or criteria on all things political and societal. The only comparison I think most reasonable people can understand, is that it would be like questioning the people around a table before you started to play a board game with them or discussed a book, to see if they have the ‘correct’ political ideas; and refusing to play or talk with them if they did not. It reminds me of the old Soviet Union where everything was politicized, and not spouting ‘correct ideology’ would get you into trouble, even in areas that were not at all political.

    Prior to this, it would have never occurred to me to look into the background or beliefs of a writer before buying their book. If I went to buy their book, I usually was just concerned if it was a good book or not. These people now expect and think that a valid criteria to ‘is it a good story/book’ is if that writer holds the proper political beliefs (as determined by them).

    The big problem is that most of these people are just plain nuts. Instead of realizing that maybe they are nuts, they instead want to change everyone else into them, no matter how nutty the ideas. That is why reason and logic make them feel so uncomfortable; they would have to admit they are acting irrational.

    If you want to see something really bizarre, look at the attacks made on Richard Dawkins. He got put on a twitter blocker and labeled in one of their categories because he follows other people that they do not like. He got put on a twitter bot blocker because he follows people that they do not want communicating to other people, so he gets blocked also. The part he did not like and objected to as slander is that the category he got put into was the one for spammers and harassers

    I like his response where he says,:
    “Deemed by whom? Some petty little Inquisition? Some poky little Thought Police? When have I ever harassed anyone? When has Brian Cox?”
    AND elsewhere:
    “I have no objection to being blocked. Please block me if you wish. What I object to is being libelled, and linked with spammers & harassers.
    6:36 AM – 22 Mar 2015 “

    The best part is when Richard sent out a message that he was not even sure he knew what side of GamerGate that he was supposed to be on.

    One thing that I find bothersome about the whole ‘twitterbot blocker’ (blocks mesages from people who follow people on lists/categories that the ‘inqusition’ has deemed hostile/mean/etc), is that these people voluntarily want information to be censored from them, and the way it works, they will not even know it is being done or why, and they seem very happy with allowing someone else to censor what they see.

    • Cirsova June 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      I think part of it is based on just how much someone feels the need to bring up their own views or the views of others in what should otherwise be a friendly discussion on a neutral subject. I’m generally okay with people who have views I disagree with provided they’re not the kind of person to brow-beat everybody with those views. Heck, some of my favorite conversations were ones I had about the Elder Scrolls and B/X D&D with Varg Vikernes.

      • Louis J. Desy Jr. June 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm

        I think the thing that bothers me about the whole incident, is that in the past people would not have asked you to stop dealing with a company based upon what they thought were that owners political opinions. It would not have occurred to people to inquire. Today, the implication is that you need to check to make sure the political beliefs are ‘correct’ and to your liking. I am also not sure why they believe that the publisher has the views that they purport it to have.

        I am also troubled that none of them even state this is a valid reason to stop doing business with someone.

  2. Jlv61560 June 11, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Really, Jeffro, you’re wasting your time. Their idea of “debate” is that you either agree with them, or shut up. If you refuse to do either, you are an enemy and must be destroyed. They seem to forget that everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether they personally like it or agree with it or not, and you don’t need their permission to hold it. They’re like a school of piranhas only slightly less intelligent and a whole lot less personable. Let ’em thrash around in the pool. Eventually they’ll get really hungry and start eating each other.

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Before they merely despised me. Now that I have exposed their cultish behavior, I have (gasp!) lost their sympathy. What in the world?! But I guess even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

      My friends are reminding me that they have to behave this way, because if they don’t, they will come under similar underhanded attacks. I should never have let this get under my skin.

      I am not the actual target of these attacks. Nope. I’m a nobody and not worth the energy to seriously go after. This is a message for the rest of the cult members to not associate with people that associate with people that have been designated as forbidden.

  3. yacheritsi June 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Vox Day is anathema, and hence Castalia House and hence you. Excommunication only works if it’s transitive.

    Though, this process does not constitute “tough criticism”.

  4. MishaBurnett June 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    It has happened to me. Different sort of group, and much smaller, but the dynamics were the same. My roommate and I ran a little monthly meet and greet within a larger community, and a person that I knew as a face in the crowd was accused of something pretty heinous. Criminal, in fact.

    As I say, I didn’t know the accused well, and the accusers were never identified (this was supposed to be “for their protection”) and no criminal charges were ever filed that I was aware of. It was simply that someone was being accused and there was an orchestrated outcry to ban this person from all activities within the community.

    My roommate and I refused to go along with it. It wouldn’t have made any difference, since the person in question had never attended out monthly dinner out, but we said that our group was open to anyone who wanted to attend, and that we weren’t going to blacklist anyone on the basis of an unsubstantiated report.

    Both of us freely admitted that the charges, if true, would be sufficient to get someone banned. However, no proof was ever offered. The story of the charges changed in the telling as well, at first several people were involved, and then one, and then the number of witnesses changed, and people who originally claimed to have seen the event then changed their story to say that they only heard about it, and the only constant seemed to be that the main accuser was someone who had a history of bad blood with the accused.

    For our insistence on getting some actual hard evidence before a conviction, my roommate and I were ourselves shunned from the community. In no time accusations were flying about us, and people whom we thought of as close friends were suddenly reporting things about us that they knew were false.

    It was frightening, both how virulent the reaction against us was and how fast we went from being considered organizers of the community to being absolute pariahs. I often wonder if those who were calling for our blood have any idea just how close they themselves are to being the next target of a group feeding frenzy.

  5. Mark June 11, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Jeffro, I spotted this after commenting on your older article. I’m not sure whether this will do any good, but I think there’s some sort of fundamental disconnect between the effect people are aiming for, and how you are receiving it. I think the logjam might be that you are bemused at why people find your association with CH so disturbing.
    I think “hate campaign” is an overreaction, although I understand that getting criticism from several people will be giving you that impression. You get discussed because you’re a part of the conversation – you are a nominee from a slate – and because you wrote a blogpost about the site. There are approximately 500 comments per day on the Hugos on F770, and I can assure you that you remain a very small part of the conversation, and there’s certainly no campaign – everything that happens on the F770 comments is public, there’s no DM system or whatever, so if you haven’t seen a campaign declared, it’s because it didn’t happen.
    The other point is that you seem to think this will escalate. It won’t. This isn’t a chan board or whatever – people expressing harsh opinions is as bad as it gets.
    Finally, I’m not sure why you expected an ultimatum, or to be asked to do something. Why would I or anyone else bother to tell you to do something? We can tell you our opinions and stuff like that, but if ordering people to do stuff worked we’d have been yelling “drop that slate” at the ELOE weeks ago!
    If you want to ask the question “What do you think I should do” or similar, feel free. You’ll undoubtedly get some answers.

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      You’re right. Maybe I’m seeing something in the subtext here that isn’t actually there. Am I to your knowledge doing something objectionable that you’d like me to stop or change? Just tell me straight up and maybe I’ll be able to wrap my head around what I’m reading without jumping to conclusions.

      • Mark June 11, 2015 at 6:33 pm

        Things you are doing that I, personally, find objectionable, in the purest meaning of “I object”, speaking entirely for myself, as some guy on the internet you have no obligation to listen to, I would say:
        You are participating in the slating of the Hugos, even if it’s just by a passive acceptance of the nomination. I’m not going to rehearse the entire argument, as I’m sure you know it well, but my belief is that the consequence of the slates are that works have been nominated which are worse (yes, opinion, subjective, etc) than ones which have missed out.
        What do I want you to do? I’m not sure I can tell you. Several people either refused their place on the slate or their actual nom, and they have been rightly lauded for doing so. Some people have fiercely defended their right to keep their nom (and it is a right, under Hugo rules) while distancing themselves from the slates – I’m particularly thinking of Kary English here. I’m wasn’t convinced by Kary’s argument in that regard, and told her so, but I think that ship has sailed. I guess I’d ask, do you view the manner in which you arrived at a nomination as an issue you should address in some way?
        Second thing to which I object: associating yourself with Castelia House, and therefore Vox Day. This is where I suspect the main point of disconnect lies, in that so far when people have said how your association with VD is highly problematic for them you don’t appear to entirely grok why, and in return I don’t entirely grok your reaction.
        I made some points about this in the comments on your last article. Before I go much further, I’d like to understand a bit more about how you see it, such as: What do you see your association with VD as being? Do you pay attention to what he does?

    • MishaBurnett June 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Saying “actions have consequences” implies that there was some action and that there is a consequence to it. What has Jeffro done, and what will happen as a result?

      • Mark June 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        Hi Misha, I see from your blog that you’re a self-published author – kudos! Want to sell me on one of your books? (I’m quite serious, my reading pile has grown dramatically in the last month, so one more won’t hurt).

        I think the quote (from someone else) was “Choices have consequences, including being judged by one’s choices.” and was explaining that people not liking Jeffro’s association with CH and being unwilling to read his articles there was the consequence of Jeffro choosing to associate with CH. That was it, there was no grander action or greater consequence – people didn’t like something, and were saying so.

        Obviously there are many corners of the internet where disagreeing with someone leads to escalating flame wars, twitter pile ons, and sarcastic gifs, and I wonder if first Jeffro and now you were seeing this disagreement in those terms – as something with a next stage?

        Hope that clarifies a bit from my perspective, and do tell me about one of your books!

      • MishaBurnett June 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

        Well, I wouldn’t boycott someone’s work on the basis of with whom they associate, so it wouldn’t occur to me that others would, which makes that consequence rather opaque, in my opinion. But I suppose it’s easy enough to violate someone else’s rules unaware.

        My own work? I write what I consider to be New Wave Science Fiction, in the tradition of writers like Samuel Delany, Phillip Dick, and William Burroughs. In my series “The Book Of Lost Doors” I have tried to create a new mythos, it’s rather like Urban Fantasy, but instead of vampires and werewolves I’ve created my own semi-human creatures, Ambimorphs and Minraudim and Blue Metal Boys and Pale Surgeons.

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      “I guess I’d ask, do you view the manner in which you arrived at a nomination as an issue you should address in some way?”

      I do not understand Worldcon politics and I don’t really have any strong feelings about it. I have never voted for a Hugo award and arguing about what goes on with it really doesn’t interest me.

      I have certainly heard a lot of commotion. I am skeptical about how much of it is genuine. The opposing factions may never come to terms, so I’m more concerned about what you as a human being think about me as a human being.

      Do you have anything against me personally for having a nomination? Do you personally think I have done anybody any sort of wrong?

  6. jaynsand June 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    “Before they merely despised me. Now that I have exposed their cultish behavior, I have (gasp!) lost their sympathy. What in the world?! But I guess even the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

    Hi…just thought I’d explain my “ugly attack.” Which, I assure you, was intended solely as an honest opinion. I intended to say that I think it wrong to judge a writer badly by the editor who he works for, since a writer’s life is usually difficult and turning down work because the editor offering the work is a louse is generally impractical. So I felt sympathy for you being possibly judged badly for merely working for TB.

    However, as a Jewish female child of immigration and what used to be called ‘miscegenation,’ TB’s views viscerally repel me in a number of ways. And so when you say you work with him because he treats you like a rock star and add that you agree with him in some of his views, my sympathy for you IS diminished somewhat, though not entirely. And as far as I know, that is the only reason my sympathy for you is diminished, not because you have “exposed” my “cultish behavior” (because I truly don’t understand what you mean by that.)

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Could you please clarify your position for me? It may seem that I am asking you to be repeating yourself, but I just want to be absolutely sure that I understand.

      Do you believe that I am somehow guilty by association?

      Am I in any way responsible for or tainted by the things that “viscerally repel” you about a person that I have some kind of professional relationship with?

  7. jaynsand June 11, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Guilty by association because of a professional relationship? No, I think I said clearly that I don’t think ill of you simply for working for him. Everybody needs work (save the independently wealthy), and a writer may especially find such opportunities scant, and should not be judged badly for taking them when offered, even from a person with views that others may find morally repugnant.

    I said specifically that it was when you said you SHARED some of his views (which, as I said, I find repugnant) that I felt somewhat put off. You are not in any way responsible for your editor’s views – but when you spontaneously declare that some of them are also your OWN views, then IMO you take responsibility for that. Nobody’s made you agree with him. You did that on your own.

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      I do not to my knowledge discuss my publisher’s politics. I do not think I have either defended him or tried to explain him. Indeed, I try to avoid even saying his name most of the time.

      I believe that the specific views you are referring to are this passage from the Castalia House mission statement:

      “Castalia House is a Finland-based publisher that has a great appreciation for the golden age of science fiction and fantasy literature. The books that we publish honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity exemplified by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, G.K. Chesterton, and Hermann Hesse. We are consciously providing an alternative to readers who increasingly feel alienated from the nihilistic, dogmatic science fiction and fantasy being published today. We seek nothing less than a Campbellian revolution in genre literature.”

      I believe I’ve said previously thought I found these words inspiring and that I felt I could write something in this vein even if I didn’t necessarily understand it all right away. (I had not read Robert E. Howard until after I took the job for instance.)

      In my discussions at File770, I came to understand that what many people there disliked about this statement is the phrase “nihilistic, dogmatic” which they took to be an insulting attack on the sort of books they enjoyed. I never really read it that way myself– it was the “honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity” part that really excited me.

      At any rate… the fact that I was excited about the Castalia House mission and wanted to help (in my own modest way) to make it a reality…. Is that problematic? I could be misunderstanding what you’re saying, but it seems that you look down on me or something because I have this one specific thing in common with a person that you really really really dislike.

      Is that true?

      • jaynsand June 12, 2015 at 6:52 am

        Sorry this reply took so long – I went back to reread the last few File770 threads (and THAT took awhile) and your last few blog entries to be sure I could answer your question fairly.
        Having done so, I think I can say for sure, that no, I don’t think it’s just the fact that you agree with Castalia House’s mission statement that bothers me.

        As someone who really likes early SFF herself (Clark Ashton Smith is a fave of mine) I can understand why a man who dislikes modern SFF would find the statement appealing. However, I can also see why people who actually like many works of modern SFF would take umbrage at their favorite books being swept aside as unworthy – especially in the context of your editor declaring what amounts to a holy war against such books and the award system that’s been used to judge them for years (I mean, his using “We are the sons of the crusade and the daughters of the Inquisition” as a rallying cry to his followers sounds dogmatic to me.)

        If I understand you correctly, you were okay with being on the Puppies’ slate because you didn’t understand how controversial it would be, and that you do not have TB’s war in common with him. I found that fair enough. That was my individual reaction. Others did not, and that was theirs. Some people on file770 were amiable and happy to discuss your work with you. Some were hostile. All had their reasons, many of which were explained to you. One commenter is Norwegian and has a friend who was present at Breivik’s attack who was fortunate to have survived it. Others cited TB’s antisemitism, racism and misogyny. It was explained to you that even those who wanted to discuss your work did not want to go to the CH website to do it because of this. You said that you understood, but then…

        Well, reading over your blog, I think I understand now what you mean by “exposing” my “cultish behavior.” You mean this, right?

        “I know people that were not allowed to visit their own children because their ministers had put them under “the ban”. It is a powerful tool for maintaining conformity. It can also be incredibly damaging…
        Now, this next bit is kind of funny. I probably shouldn’t have brought this up in the first place, but when I was talking to people over at File770 the other day, they really wanted to know why my Appendix N series can only be read over at the Castalia House blog. You see… several of them told me that while they thought that the stuff I’d put in the Hugo Packets this year was maybe sort of okay and that they might even want to read a little more… well, they just couldn’t see clear to going to that place to do it.

        Now… I have to say that my first thought when I heard this stuff was that it couldn’t be for real. But again, there is a literary antecedent for this and it is actually in the same book of the bible I just quoted:

        Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

        Is it wrong to eat food that’s been offered to idols? Nope. There’s nothing wrong with it. However… if it honest to goodness actually offends your conscience to do that, look out… it really is a sin to you. According to Paul, anyway. Most people use this passage as a basis for not giving other Christians a hard time even if they are a little funny about practices that may or may not be essential or required or whatever. That’s how I use it with these guys. They can’t read my blog posts because it would violate their conscience. If that’s the case, then I will not pick on them about it. I would never encourage someone to defile their conscience, especially not over a set of blog posts.”

        It seems that you think anyone who refuses to go to Castalia House to read your blog is acting as irrationally as a “cult.” But there are actual REASONS for not wanting to go to the CH website. Clicks are money and prestige for such websites. Speaking strictly for myself, I think it wrong to give money and prestige to a guy like TB because it enables him to gain more influence to peddle his hateful ideas (racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, child-murder apologist, etc.) to more people. Yes, it’s reasonable for you to want to get paid for writing about things you love. IMO, it is equally reasonable of me not to want to pay a man like TB (in the currency of money or clicks). If you choose to list your content exclusively with him, I don’t think your free choice automatically makes mine unreasonable.

        Not to mention (as Meredith said to you) that TB has had the past tendency to dox people who says things he doesn’t like, and visiting his website would make it easier for him to do that. That seems like another good reason not to go there, to me.

        But in your last few blogs, you’ve basically lumped all those individuals – hostile, cautious, amiable, and neutral – together in one faceless monolith, which you called a “cult,” because you depict their actions as irrational – even though you read their reasons on File770, but you left them out here. It’s one thing to disagree with another person’s reasoning, but it is quite another to deny that he has any reasons at all and he must be a loony cultist for disagreeing with YOUR reasoning. From there it is a short step to taking all disagreement as an “ugly attack” from a faceless enemy.

        So I do think you have more than one thing in common with TB besides your love of Pre-50s SFF. I think you’ve taken on his attitude that a disagreement is a War.

    • jeffro June 12, 2015 at 7:00 am

      “It seems that you think anyone who refuses to go to Castalia House to read your blog is acting as irrationally as a cult.”

      Hold it right there. I never said that. I do not believe that. And I will not argue that because that was never my intent to be taken that way. If you think that I have implied that, it is you reading something into the subtext of my posts. If I have been unclear, then I am clarifying my position right now.

      • jayn June 12, 2015 at 10:48 am

        Okay. But when you write:
        “You see… several of them told me that while they thought that the stuff I’d put in the Hugo Packets this year was maybe sort of okay and that they might even want to read a little more… well, they just couldn’t see clear to going to that place to do it.

        Now… I have to say that my first thought when I heard this stuff was that it couldn’t be for real.”

        ….your note of incredulity makes it sound like you think there couldn’t possibly be a REASON for their reluctance to visit you at CH…even though the people who objected to going there explained their reasons. But you don’t cite those reasons. You instead attribute a quasi-religious motive to them, with NO reasoning behind it:

        “But again, there is a literary antecedent for this and it is actually in the same book of the bible I just quoted:….
        Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

        Since refusal to click on CH is part of no mainstream religious doctrine, I have to say it sure LOOKS like you’re attributing reluctance to give patronage to CH solely to some weird mindless cultish behavior with no other justification. I’ll take your word that that’s not what you were trying to say. But in that case, what DO you mean by saying that all the disparate responses you got on File770 (from, yes, hostility, all the way down to welcome and pleasure at your shared interest mixed with regretful declining to join the forum you participate in that they disapprove of) are ALL part of some “cult” that you’ve “exposed”?

    • jeffro June 12, 2015 at 10:53 am

      “have to say it sure LOOKS like you’re attributing reluctance to give patronage to CH solely to some weird mindless cultish behavior with no other justification”

      It might look like that to you, but I keep telling you that is not my position. You are maybe connecting some dots that could be fairly reached in light of a misunderstanding, but now that I am clarifying I would appreciate it if you would just take me at your word.

      • jaynsand June 13, 2015 at 9:37 am

        Okay, Mr. Johnson, that’s not your position. So then tell me what IS your position. What DID you mean by saying that all those people (including me) are a “cult” you’ve “exposed”? What shameful fact about all of us have you uncovered that proves us a mass of brainwashed people mindlessly following what false creed?

    • jeffro June 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Your demeanor ranges somewhere between “bossy” and “grand inquisitor.” My reaction to this ranges somewhere between insulted and alarmed. If you want to have a conversation with me as one human being to another, you’re going to have to try a different tack. If my saying that upsets you, then you need to take a break and cool off a little.

  8. Chris Garcia June 11, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve been nominated for Fan Writer a few times. I even managed to win in Best Fanzine once. I can tell you exactly how awesome it is to go up on that stage and accept a Rocket. It’s amazing! It really changed my life for the better. No, not changed – re-defined. It’s a great thing, and miraculous in a way, and I will never lose that moment in my heart.

    Of course, that’s also the biggest thing you’ve done wrong in my eyes. You’ve associated with people who spat all over the thing that re-defined my life and agreed to be their pawn in the process of doing so.

    Let’s face it, we write very different things. I write pointless fannish pieces and fake non-fiction. You write about books, and pretty well. I think it’s fair to say that you’re twice the writer I am. No, I’ll say it – You’re at least twice the writer I am. Neither one of us is a tenth as good a writer as Claire Brialey. Or Mark Plummer. Or Mark Oshiro. Or Niall Harrison. Or Abigail Nussbaum. Or Chuck Serface. Or Jean Martin. Or John Coxon. Or Guy Lillian. Or Aurora Celeste. Or Warren Buff. Or Steve H. Silver. Or Mike Glyer. Or on and on and on. By participating in the slate, you provided the body that could be manipulated into position to stand against those people getting on the ballot. That is not cool in any way shape or form. Not in the eyes of someone that really, deeply, LOVES the Hugos. To me, it’s not dollars, or respect, or any of that – it’s connection. Connection to a history that I deeply love. My heroes, folks like Harry Warner and Susan Wood and Claire Brialey and Mike Glicksohn and so on, they all won Fan Hugos, and I’m forever on a list with them. THAT’S what the Hugos mean to me. That connection means something. The fact that folks rose up and put forward a slate that forced out so many amazing people for whom I KNOW that connection exists, that’s not a happy thought.

    You should have declined your nom. Plain and simple.


    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Well, Chris… no one asked me to. All I knew when the nominations were announced was that a bunch of people were going to “no award” everything without reading the work, that Entertainment Weekly published a really strange article, and the Arthur Chu got asked his opinion about all this on NPR.

      Now, I know I’m small potatoes in a relatively obscure category. Dealing with me as an individual human being was clearly not a priority and I don’t hold that against anybody. But how would I have known to decline…? Nobody came to me. How was I supposed to understand? I’m not even sure I could discern a hint that I should do that.

    • jeffro June 12, 2015 at 5:50 am

      Okay, you have made a claim there that I would like to have substantiated before I make a move. And you’re right, honor is something that’s important to me. But that doesn’t mean I have to throw away prudence entirely I hope.

      Am I correct in assuming that these people (Claire Brialey, Mark Plummer, Mark Oshiro, Niall Harrison, Abigail Nussbaum, Chuck Serface, Jean Martin, John Coxon, Guy Lillian, Aurora Celeste, Warren Buff, Steve H. Silver, Mike Glyer) are all fan writer types? And that I simply don’t rate well enough to join their rants? That in fact… it’d be so obvious setting my work side by side theirs that I could even be convinced to decline my nomination even at this late date…?

      I admit, I have not read some of them. Could you do me a favor then and find me a blog post from each of them that was posted this year and that in your opinion is ten times better than my piece on Lord Dunsany? That way I can look into what you’re talking about.

  9. Andrew June 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm


    If Jeffro published his nominated work on your website instead of CH, would they be more deserving of the award? one hell of a racist,

    Had you read/heard of Jeffro before he appeared on this years nominations?

    Having read his work and decided he’s twice the writer you are, he still shouldn’t win because a bunch of other peole who liked his work (including me) nominated him?

    Honestly, that fact that you think you’re a tenth of a writer as some of those you named and yet still won a hugo doesn’t bolster your argument.

    • Chris Garcia June 11, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Doesn’t matter where his stuff is published, honestly. I think that associating with CH is awful, I’ll never do it, but it doesn’t change the quality of the work Jeffro did there.

      I had heard of his stuff, even had a couple of his pieces forwarded to me. Not usually the kind of stuff I seek out, but pretty good.

      I also won a Hugo in a different category, Best Fanzine, and not as Best Fan Writer, but your point is well-taken. In fact, I’ve lost the Hugo to Claire in 2011 and was totally happy with that result.

      And no, he shouldn’t win, no one on the slates should, because the method that got them on the ballot was dishonoable.

      • MishaBurnett June 12, 2015 at 1:55 am

        “And no, he shouldn’t win, no one on the slates should, because the method that got them on the ballot was dishonorable.”

        That’s the crux of the argument right there. I believe that the only thing that should matter is the quality of the work itself. Leaving aside the question of what is “dishonorable” about a fan award being nominated and voted on by fans, I don’t think that works should carry any baggage–positive or negative–into an award like the Hugo. Ideally people should vote for the book or short story or article that they believe is the best. Period.

        Of course, I also believe that the fact that the president of the SFWA won a Hugo for a parody of a thirty year old TV show pretty much proves that the award is meaningless anyway.

      • Andrew P June 12, 2015 at 10:35 am

        “And no, he shouldn’t win, no one on the slates should, because the method that got them on the ballot was dishonoable.”

        A bunch of people read his work and nominated him. A bunch of people read his work and didn’t nominate him.

        The. Horror.

        What were they thinking when they did that?

  10. LunarG June 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Jeffro –
    I don’t say much on File 770, but I do read most all of the comment threads. I’m not sure how to say this most gently, so try to give me a generous interpretation if you are in doubt?

    First, I think it is great that you show up at File 770 and want to talk books rather than fandom sqabbles. Everybody there likes talking about books! Talking about the classics is great! But I hear two parts to your mission statement, and maybe you don’t intend both. Part 1: I want to introduce people to these classics because they are amazing, and because… Part 2: Modern books are objectively worse, full of nihilistic worldviews and such. Can you see how an audience made up of writers and people who quite like many modern books might push back at you regarding Part 2? That it might get under their skin? That it might be read as a categorical insult of the work and many favorite novels of your audience? Most modern stuff doesn’t have to be to your taste, but that didn’t seem to be what you were saying, when people tried to get you to clarify. Maybe you don’t actually believe Part 2, but I assumed you did, based on your unconditional embrace of CH’s mission statement. So that started things off on a less cordial note.

    Second: You announced you were doing your Appendix N series at the CH blog. I hate that there are in any way sides in fandom, but you have gone to work for a man who has repeatedly stated that he is in a war, and that this Hugo mess is only one front on it. He writes in aggressive, military metaphors and has made it quite clear that most of the 770 commentariat are among his targets. If you’ve been reading File 770 or Vox Populi at all, you had to have known that hosting your commentary on one of his sites would not be seen as a neutral action. It looks an awful lot like chosing sides, even if you didn’t think of it that way.

    Or think of it this way. Is there a company or organization that you think does something that is evil? Nestle, taking water out of California, or–just guessing at your politics–Planned Parenthood? (Sorry if I am wrong, but just think of somebody you really oppose.) How would you react if someone you knew announced they were going to work there? Would you do that person favors for their work, knowing it would advance an evil agenda?

    Because believe me, even if you don’t agree with their reasons, there are a lot of people who honestly think T. Beale is evil, and this Hugo mess is not the biggest problem they have with him.

    So, the consequences? Some people will simply not read any material you post on CH’s website. They don’t to give him clicks, and don’t want to give data to a known cyberstslker and doxxer who has declared war on them. They will be happy to talk books with you elsewhere, though. Some will talk, but will read everything you write in a more negative light than otherwise. Others won’t be able to look past what they see as your bad judgment, and won’t be interested in talking to you at all.

    I really think that’s all anyone at 770 meant by talking about consequences, though. I hope all that verbiage was of some help… Sorry to waste your time if it wasn’t! :)

    MishaBurnett –
    That sounds fascinating. What’s the first book in The Book of Lost Doors, and what is the best way to get an electronic version of it?

    • jeffro June 11, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      “Part 2: Modern books are objectively worse, full of nihilistic worldviews and such. Can you see how an audience made up of writers and people who quite like many modern books might push back at you regarding Part 2? That it might get under their skin? That it might be read as a categorical insult of the work and many favorite novels of your audience?”

      As I described above to jaynsand, I did not realize when I shared that bit from the Castalia House mission statement that it would cause such a negative reaction. Some people thought it was my own words and really wanted to sock it to me. It took me a long time to explain my position and I believe that well over 95% of my work is focused on what I’m excited about and not what I dislike. In fact, the File770 people really wanted me to throw punches at living authors, and I only grudgingly brought up a few things that left me cold. I thought it was odd that nihilism in particular seemed to be some sort of “trigger” word.

      “So, the consequences? Some people will simply not read any material you post on CH’s website. They don’t to give him clicks, and don’t want to give data to a known cyberstslker and doxxer who has declared war on them. They will be happy to talk books with you elsewhere, though. Some will talk, but will read everything you write in a more negative light than otherwise. Others won’t be able to look past what they see as your bad judgment, and won’t be interested in talking to you at all.”

      These particular “consequences” do not bother me in the slightest.

      • LunarG June 11, 2015 at 11:49 pm

        I didn’t read the questions from 770 commenters as attempts to get you to “throw punches” at modern authors so much as attempts to figure out if you really meant all or most of modern SF&F was nihilistic and dogmatic, and if so, what you meant by that. Without solid examples of offenders, it’s hard to know what you find fault with, exactly, and nearly impossible to suggest stuff you might like better.

        I can see why it might have felt like people were trying to goad you into an aggressive or unwise statement, but I didn’t see it that way.

        I wouldn’t expect you to have any problem with those consequences; anyone who GMs has to know how deal with people not liking her decisions. Nothing to be freaked out about. Your nomination has vaulted you into the spotlight; the controversy over the Hugos this year has filled the amphitheater. You gotta deal with the scrutiny, I’m afraid. For now, at least. You get to decide how much further you pursue a high profile. More readers means more pissed off people, always.

  11. TheConservativeDM June 12, 2015 at 3:13 am

    Jeffro, you’re doing a bang-up job standing your ground here. You’re keeping your cool and talking like an adult while your detractors are running their mouths making themselves look like petulant children. The more they froth and rave, the more they turn decent folks on the fence and in the middle against themselves. It’s patently obvious that you are not a pawn or part of a sinister cabal – you’re just a good guy caught up in a tempest not of your making.

    If you win the Hugo this year it will be first and foremost because you are a damn fine writer. Heck, you’re a damn fine writer even if the political types “No Award” slate carries the day. You’ve helped turn a new generation on to the great works of previous years, and helped to remind the world that there is more to SFF than today’s bleak and joyless landscapes. When the votes are cast, if your name is called, it will be because you *earned* that little silver rocket.

    • LunarG June 12, 2015 at 6:13 am

      I am extremely sad that you find only “bleak and joyless landscapes” in work being published today. I can barely believe we are looking at the same shelves of new releases, frankly, and urge you to look around at fan sites–Larry Correia’s, File 770, the folks at the Mad Genius Club, I don’t care about the politics–to point you to something you might like.

      • TheConservativeDM June 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm

        The landscape may be bleak, but it is not entirely devoid of peaks and scenic overlooks. Despite the scorched earth policies of the the Cult of the Ledt, you can find a few gems amid the dross.

        I’m sad that you can’t tell the difference between generalities and universal truths.

    • jeffro June 12, 2015 at 6:13 am

      If I wanted to win the award, it would have been wise for me to keep quiet this week. I believe I have burned up whatever good will I might have earned in reaching out to them.

      But wow do I get excited thinking about all the people picking up this classic sff as a result of my series. Even if it’s just ten people, that is just plain thrilling to me.

  12. MishaBurnett June 12, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Everyone seems to be missing the main lesson of Sad Puppies and, as usual, those who need most to hear it are the ones screaming loudest to drown it out.

    For decades the big publishing conglomerates have owned the Hugo and Nebula awards. Companies like Tor spend millions of dollars promoting their top books and top authors, advertising, party suites, ARCs to all the influential bloggers. They bought and paid for the awards, and they got them, regular as clockwork.

    Now a small group of unpaid bloggers, with no advertising budget, has blown their machine out of the water. This is why people who depend on the promotion machine for their livelihood like Irene Gallo and John Scalzi are going absolutely insane trying to pretend that Sad Puppies “slate” was caused by anything from latent fascism to latent homosexuality.

    The lesson that no one is picking up on this: The audience is sick of your shit. It’s not some vast cisnormative underground collective who voted on the entries–it’s the fans. The readers, you know, the ones that buy the books that keep you all in business?

    The peasants are revolting. How bad you think that the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies might be isn’t what you should be worried about. That’s just the symptom.

    The question that should be asked in the boardrooms and the backrooms in publishing is this: What are we doing wrong? How has our product become so lackluster that a handful of nobodies can upset our applecart without any voice in any of the places that matter?

  13. Trimegistus June 12, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Has anyone read _Three-Body Problem_?

    There’s a chilling scene early in the book, during China’s Cultural Revolution era, where one of the characters is asked to sign a denunciation of her father. All she has to do is sign it, and she can get out of the labor camp they’ve put her in. Just denounce him; he’s dead anyway. Just show her loyalty and all is forgiven.

    That’s what Jeffro’s experience at Mike Glyer’s blog reminds me of.

    • LunarG June 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Seriously? That’s what you see?

      I see people expressing disagreement withsome of Jeffro’s choices, in tones ranging from hostile to regretful. They, as jaynsand so eloquently shared, have provided reasons for their reactions, to which you may agree ir disagree. Until Jeffro *explicitly* asked what it was we thought he should do, no one told him tried to tell him what do. No one.

      He is still more than welcome to discuss books at File 770, so far as I know. Commentators have stated they would be happy to discuss his posts at a neutral location… For example, at this site.

      This seems like a reasonable form of disagreement. Where are you getting labor camps and coercion from?

      • Louis J. Desy Jr. June 12, 2015 at 2:44 pm

        In response to “no one told him tried to tell him what do. No one.”

        I am not sure if you saw it or not, but my comment is the first one in this thread and I specifically recommended a course of action:
        June 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm
        “I would suggest that you tell them that you think this is weird, and explain in detail with examples, why you think it is weird. Let them try to explain how they are rational adults.”

        Other people ‘get labor camps and coercion from’ all of this because the kind of attacks directed at someone in Jeffro’s position just because he ‘associates’ with a company, is similar to the kind the stuff that has gone on throughout history to people who did not agree with what others thought and has been increasing lately. While the ‘opposing side’ can’t do anything like that to anyone (at least not yet), unchecked, some people believe it leads to that ‘one step at a time’.

        I have looked at some of Vox’s material, and I, while I think some of it is extreme and not polished (at least the political opinion writings seem insensitive or could have been expressed better), I still do not understand how they think Vox supports the things that his opponents think or says he does. As an example, one poster over at 770 compared Vox as being similar to and a supporter of a man accused of genocide in the Balkans; and by extension, if Jeffro posts at Castila House, then Jeffro must hold such beliefs also;or something just as absurd along those lines. I am still have problems following this whole line of thinking. The people post about but Vox do not provide the supporting material as to why they think this.

        At this time, I can not tell if the opinion of Vox is formed based upon some rational facts from something Vox wrote, or if the problem is that what Vox has written is so against their political philosophy that they feel threatened by it since it would call into question the rational for their political beliefs;.especailly the question as to whether or not their whole set of political beliefs are rational or not.

        I think the real problem is Vox’s opponents are unable to form rational lines of thinking because I can only find material where they seem to be writing about how they feel about what Vox writes and do not write about what Vox writes.

      • Mark June 13, 2015 at 5:20 am


        “I have looked at some of Vox’s material…I still do not understand how they think Vox supports the things that his opponents think or says he does…The people post about but Vox do not provide the supporting material as to why they think this.”

        The supporting material gets posted a lot, usually when someone asks a question like this. I can assure you that what people say about VD is amply supported by his own words.

        The thing about VD is that he’s a very clever writer. He’s very good at couching things in such a way that they provide some plausible-deniability cover, or dog-whistle his position. Often you have to look at a few posts going back over time to see what he means by a term, which of course his regular readers are familiar with. As one example, see:

        His argument, to be found scattered around that article, is:
        1) Humans have subspecies
        2) These subspecies are noticeably different due to differing proportions of Neanderthal DNA (this theory of his can be found in other articles, where he is clear that he’s specifically talking about Africans vs White Europeans)
        3) Some of these subspecies are less capable of being civilised
        4) These less civilized subspecies can be described as savages

  14. dgarsys June 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Louis J – it would be accurate to say that Vox often writes in a style to deliberately trip up people who don’t parse for what is actually said, but instead plays to common preconceptions of people who identify as liberals.

    Going to look at what was actually said in its full context often does reveal, as you point out, a different story.

  15. Louis J. Desy Jr. June 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    VD (Vox Day) as a clever writer

    I agree that Vox is a cleaver writer. I think Vox’s opponents would do a lot better if they instead tried to show how the two or more items that Vox tries to link together are not related. i.e. A and B are different issues, and A does not necessarily cause B. I think Vox’s opponents get ‘tripped up’ in their arguments with him is that they get emotional on one part of the argument, are truly unable to think rationally on most subjects, and can’t argue that A and B are two different issues, not A causes B. As a result, they run around screaming that Vox’s is a ‘bad/evil man’, and if you deal with Vox you are also a ‘bad/evil man’. The only thing missing is the start of some modern day Hollywood black list like they had going in the 1940s/1950s. ( )

    I also think that the Internet encourages people like Vox to be as inflammatory as possible since that gets Internet traffic, but his opponents can’t or refuse to understand this. If Vox wrote like some Wall Street Journal/Barron’s/CSpan columnist, then most people would not bother to read his stuff and claim it was all ‘boring’. But make it inflammatory, and his opponents can’t stop going over there to see what ‘that man’ has just posted (and probably even repost it thereby driving more Internet traffic to Vox), in spite of the fact that some of them seem to depict him as one of the worst human beings on the planet, and run around trying to convince other people to not do business with Vox.

    Vox is also somewhat immune from public opinion since he appears to run his own business and does not have to bend to any public opinion. This part of the problem for his opponents, is why I think they go after people like Jeffro. Jeffro, at least so far, seems open to being influenced as to whether or not he should deal with Vox. If Vox is really as bad as they suppose, they need to stay exactly why Jeffro should not work with Vox, not because they ‘don’t feel it is right’. So far from what I have seen at 770, there is nothing more there than their ‘feelings’ about Vox and how they ‘feel’ about what Vox writes.

    Jeffro seems somewhat amazed that someone with as ‘little following’ would get attention, but, to me, that exactly is why the 770s are trying to influence him. Someone with more standing (better known, significant selling works,etc) would not care. You will notice that not one of the 770 people have suggest somewhere else that Jeffro could do his work since I expect that none of them have anything like a web site with a reasonable amount of traffic or such.

    Vox’s opponents are so poor at forming logical opinions that I suspect that if they went to debate Vox on Vox’s blog, they probably would be ‘ripped to shreds’ and even possibly humiliated as Vox tore their beliefs apart. This does not necessarily mean that Vox is right or his arguments are rational; it means that from what I have seen, Vox would use rational parts of what he is saying to ‘win’ the debate. The other possibility is that Vox would just ignore his opponents, which would be even worse than losing a public debate with him.

    Unless someone comes up with something ‘really bad’ about Vox, like something Vox did that was illegal (like a felony); I do not see any problem with writing a blog on the web site. Reasonable people in business would not have even bother to inquire about Vox’s political beliefs. The whole idea that we are going to have to get the approval of unknown people (770s) on the political beliefs of a business owners’, before we can do business with someone is outrageous and unacceptable.

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