Addendum to the Redemption Post: A Set of Apologies and Conclusions

As some of you are aware by now, I wrote a post entitled "On Forgiveness and Redemption (Storify)."  The post contained (obviously) a Storify of a series of tweets I made some time ago.  I received some pushback to this at the time, some of it public and some of it privately.  At the time, I didn't quite understand the degree to which privilege, power, and so on were involved in the situation (especially my own), which is one of the many reasons I chose not to respond to Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and others who felt it important to speak to me about what I had written.  This issue again cropped up yesterday (and this morning) when I became involved in spreading misinformation about a related concern (more on that below).  I am now in a position where I both feel I am not quite able to disentangle my own emotional investment from what is going on, but yet feel compelled to issue a statement, several apologies, and a declaration of future intent.*

All of these posts will be left online unless requested otherwise.  I generally disagree with deleting Tweets or posts solely because I may have been wrong or criticized -- except in cases where I have been specifically asked to do so by an individual who feels that the continued existence of such materials does more harm than good (or where keeping them there might have a detrimental effect on my person).  As such, I will leave these things as they are.  If you are someone who has been harmed by something I have written and you would like that thing removed, I will respect your wishes and delete it -- emails requesting as much will be kept confidential.

First, some apologies:
  1. I must reiterate my apology to Kari Sperring for my behavior on 4/29/15.  In brief, I spread misinformation about what occurred at a panel at Eastercon because I believed the account to be accurate.  I then proceeded to report that incident to the Eastercon chair.  At the time, I did not know who had made the alleged statement, but it was revealed late last night that the accused was Kari Sperring.  This morning, I came to the conclusion that the incident report was not accurate and that my actions (speaking about banning whoever said it and sending a response to Eastercon's chair) was inappropriate.  I have apologized to both Eastercon's chair and Kari for everything I have done.  I should not have assumed the account of the "incident" at Eastercon was wholly accurate, nor should I, as someone who did not attend Eastercon, have reported the "incident" to Eastercon.  Hearsay is insufficient grounds for doing either of these things.  I also should not have stated that anyone should be banned from a convention I did not attend and who had not even had a chance to respond to an allegation.  I assumed, and I leaped.  For all of this, I apologize.

    That I know I should not have done these things does not absolve me of guilt for doing so.  My actions have caused someone harm, and it was clear that my intent was to do so from the start, albeit of a professional sort.  That harm, however, extended beyond the professional to unintended personal harms on the part of Kari (which I won't discuss because that is not my place).  For that, I also apologize.
  2. I must apologize to those who felt my previous post on redemption diminished or devalued the real pain many still feel as a result of past interactions with Requires Hate.  Though it was not my intention to devalue those experiences, the net affect amounted, I suspect, to the same, and that is not something I want my words to produce for anyone.  I apologize for doing so and for opening or throwing salt in any wounds.  I should have understood that even given time, many people still have legitimate pain that may not ever go away, and that writing even from my own experience the value of redemption and its necessity for this community could only worsen those feelings.  I cannot speak for everyone, and I should not try.  In essence, I think my comments have done more harm than good.  For that, I also apologize.
  3. I must apologize that it has taken me so long to issue a response.  I realize that this may have given the impression that I was either walking away or not interested, but I assure you that I stepped back and took so much time because some people both public and private spoke candidly with me about what I wrote and impressed upon me, perhaps unintentionally, the importance of not leaping in again.  That I then leaped indicates that they were right from the start.  It would be wrong of me to send off another stream of tweets when I am certain that doing so would not come from a position of near-objectivity.  It would also be unfair for me to do so when so many people expressed their concerns to me personally under the assumption that I would actually listen.  Their assumptions were correct, and so I must come to this response with respect for them, as they gave their respect to me.
Lastly, a few thank yous:
  • Thank you to every single person who has called me out, publicly or privately, for my various failures over the years, but especially now.  That so many of you have felt comfortable enough telling me why I was wrong is a complement I suspect you didn't intend to give.  I often feel that I don't deserve the respect that so many of you have offered, and yet you continue to offer it.  Thank you for that vote of confidence, even as I flounder and shove my foot far down my own throat.
  • Thank you also to those who have pointed out to me that my privilege extends beyond the nature of my birth, that indeed what I say in public can have an affect on many people by dint of my being a figure of some authority in this community.  It is something I have struggled to understand because I too often think that I am not important enough to have that kind of impact, but it is clear that I was mistaken.  I suspect most people don't like being told they are privileged, and that may have been the subconscious reasoning for my refusal to accept it, but I am glad that it has been pointed out to me so I can make better use of that privilege for, well, good things.
Having written everything I have written here, I have come to the conclusion that I need to do a few things.  

First, I need to back away from the conversation.  I am no less prone to kneejerk reactions and instinctual leaps than anyone else, and my connection to many different conversations within sf/f and my own emotional investments have led me to a range of bad decisions, responses, and opinions.  It is clear to me that I need to do my best to "detox," to remove the impulses that lead me to accept things that confirm what I already believe and reject what I don't already believe (specifically, to the issues found in this post).  I also need to do a better job of understanding myself, my privilege(s), and the ways in which I mobilize these things towards intended or unintended goals.

Second, it is clear to me that so much of what I have been writing and discussing in the past month or more has been overtly negative.  It seems to me that this is a terrible use of my time and a contributor to the problems noted in the previous paragraph.  It is also clear to me that I should be doing more to positively contribute to the sf/f community.  Running a podcast isn't enough.  How I conduct myself online also matters.  And my conduct online has been, at times, poor.

I hope that people who have come to know me over the past few years will still feel inclined to tell me when I have crossed a line.  This is very much a learning process, and I am thankful that I have earned enough goodwill in this community to warrant respectful disagreements and criticism from so many.  My intention is to do better.  To be better.  I can't promise I will always succeed, but I can promise that I will try.

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*One of the other reasons I did not respond at the time was the fact that I came down with a chest cold that lasted for two weeks, and from which I am still recovering.  This coupled with my emotional investments (if you read the Storify, that will make sense) led me to believe that it would be wrong of me to leap into response without reconsidering my own position in relation to what others had said.

Update: WordPress Move on Hold

Just a quick note for folks who were wondering what was going on:

I've put the move to Wordpress on hold for the moment.  It turns out that Wordpress.com does not allow the use of iframes or scripts, which means I'd need to do a self-hosted webpage.  There's a good reason WP doesn't allow these things -- security -- but I personally prefer using easy iframe or script codes for widgets and the like than trying to find complicated workarounds or using static images that link elsewhere.

Since I'm currently in the midst of financial hell as a grad student -- student fees, etc. etc. etc. -- I won't be able to move things to my own hosted page for a little while yet.  Instead, I'm going to see if I can't redirect my Blogger blog to my own domain, which is financially viable in these annoying "student fees" months.

My apologies if you were expecting a move sometime soon.  Wordpress is probably a better option for what I'm trying to do, but without iframes/scripts, it's just shy of what I need.

So...it's on hold until April at the earliest.  And that means I can stop working on this stuff and get back to blogging about things.  Coming up:  a review of Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and a Retro Nostalgia piece on Equilibrium (2002).

Reminder: Patreon + Voting Rights

In case you missed out on what is happening with my Patreon page, here are a few fun facts:

  • Being a patron at any level grants you voting rights on the content of this blog (usually two polls a month)
  • Most patron levels let you suggest at least one topic each month, which would then be voted on by everyone
  • There are 5 different levels of support, and each has something special -- the highest tier involves a monthly Google Hangout just with patrons, which should be fun!
$1 gets you the vote; $5 makes you a member of Congress (or some equally amusing analogy -- bring on your laws, darnit!).

I'm also going to change the voting structure soon to make the levels more pronounced and to make distribution of votes a little more interesting.  So stay tuned!

Thanks again to those of you who are currently my patrons.  You rock!

Announcement: The Migration to WordPress

I wanted to let everyone know that I've decided to migrate this blog over to Wordpress.  The reasons are pretty simple:  while Blogger gives me more control over the physical space of the blog, Wordpress' features are more functional (better comments, better "read more" function, etc. etc. etc.).  I can also easily get a domain name for this blog through Wordpress ($26 for hosting and domain registration ain't too shabby).

I've been meaning to do this for a while, to be honest, but a lot of things kept me from doing so.  For one, I worried it would affect my readership numbers and page rankings.  Second, importing Blogger posts into Wordpress used to be fairly limited; they are, thankfully, no longer so.  These mostly seem like trivial things now; the longer I put off switching over, the more difficult it would be.  So...I'm doing it.  Let's get it over with.  Let's get me a proper website and make this site less...buggy.

Doing this will mean some changes for the blog -- layout, colors, design, etc.  If you're an RSS subscriber, you shouldn't have to do anything at all because I still use Feedburner.  If you're not subscribed via RSS, then keep an eye out, because eventually this space will redirect to a completely different one.

Nothing will happen overnight.  I need some time to get things set up over at Wordpress.  I may post a link to ask for opinions in the near future.  Keep an eye out.  Until I've made the switch, blogging will continue as usual around here.

Anywhoodles!

Hugo Award Reading: Suggest Shorts/Novelettes/Novellas (Final Open Call)

The title says it all.  I'm working on my nomination ballot for the Hugo Awards, and I need more suggestions for the shorter-than-a-novel categories so I can get a proper survey.  If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the magic comment box (links to online stories are appreciated).

By the way, I had nearly 1,000 pages of reading last year thanks to everyone's suggestions.  It was totally worth it.

Alright, off to work!

Patreon Updates: Rewards, Milestone Goals, and February Offer Madness

In case you missed it, I made some changes to my Patreon page, which include the following:

  • Added 5 reward levels, which give Patrons various special abilities and what not
  • Added 3 Milestone Goals (the most expensive goal involves me starting an sf/f writing podcast where I talk to authors about their process)
  • Added more detail in the description (for reasons)
Do check it out and consider supporting my blogging efforts there.

On a side note:  since I didn't have any of these things on the Patreon page from the start, I decided to give everyone the Ninja Hamster Master level for February if they became a patron before the 1st.  Do with that magic information what you will.

Regular programming will continue soon...

Announcement: The Duke of Editing is Now Open for Business! Bring Your Grammars!

Some of you already knew this was coming, but you didn't know the name of my new freelance editing business or the full extent of the shenanigans to be had now that I'm trying desperately to behave like a professional.
But it has happened.  As of this moment, The Duke of Editing is open for business.  

Please spread the word!

On a related note:  I would like to say thanks to the following folks, who were kind enough to offer their opinions before the launch:

  • S.L. Huang
  • Cecily Kane
  • Josh Vogt
  • Robert MacAnthony
  • Louise Hughes
  • and Nathan from Review Barn
OK.  Time to get back to work...

I Have a Patreon Page: Show Me Your Love (Or Something Less Creepy)

It happened.  I said I would do it, and so I have.

I've created a Patreon page so you'll all show me how much you really love me, but on a slightly more regular basis.

There are "goals" I'd like to achieve -- namely, being able to focus more on blogging about the things I love than spending time on things that stress me out.  Ultimately, this is about being able to do more of the things I like doing and less of the things I don't like doing, which comes down to what the folks who read this blog think about everything.

In any case, this is just part one of a two-part journey to secretly switch careers while everybody is looking!  If you like what I do on this blog, feel free to support my Patreon page.  We'll see how the year progresses :)