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Brief announcement

I'm away from home right now, with limited/intermittent internet connectivity. Normal service will be resumed next week.

Meanwhile, I'd like to congratulate the SFWA executive on doing the right thing and replacing Andrew Burt as chair of the copyright committee with Russell Davis, a far less divisive figure who can represent the organization in public on this matter without raising the unquiet ghosts of past acrimony.



I note that Davis's post about the controversy contains the line Mistakes were made and that is over and done with. That's a classic use of the passive voice to avoid assigning responsibility. Don't professional writers all know about the literary effect of the passive voice? It may simply be careless writing, but it gives that passage an evasive toneā€”an evasiveness that's especially pointless in that the rest of the paragraph clearly specifies "mistakes were made [by whom?]." I would feel more assurance that such mistakes will not be made again if Davis's wording explicitly assigned personal responsibility to Burt, as that would strengthen the sense that Davis now accepted personal responsibility for not making mistakes, rather than viewing them as an inevitable and impersonal problem, like bad weather. I certainly hope that he does feel that responsibility and simply did not express it clearly.


That's entirely true, but I think you may be reading too much into it; it may well have been written in haste, and/or there may have been negotiations we don't know about. Whatever the case, I'm willing to give Russell the benefit of the doubt at this point. Continuing to beat on an organization after it has done the right thing is entirely too likely to send the wrong message.


It is evasive, but what's being evaded is further conflict. Better a quiet victory than a knock-down-drag-out draw, which is what trying to censure Burt is likely to lead to. I hope it is a victory, though.


I was also pleased to see that Andrew Burt stepped down. Russell Davis has always impressed me with his diplomacy and balanced comments on the SFWA newsgroups. My guess, and this is only a guess, is that the wording was deliberate to avoid taking yet another stab at Andrew Burt. For all that he did wrong in this case, he has a longer history with SFWA than that and did do a lot of hard work for the organization. Mind you, I say that and I was fairly strident in the crowd of folks asking him to step down. There's just no point in continuing to poke someone once they decide to do the right thing.


Continuing to beat on an organization after it has done the right thing is entirely too likely to send the wrong message.

Yes, well, that's why I made it a comment to you rather than attempting to comment directly to the SFWA page. I'm willing to credit them with good intentions, and hope for the best.


And, for those who may not have followed the previous thread, it should be reiterated that Davis was the only 'no' vote in the re-instatement of Andrew Burt. Actions speak louder than words, and I think so far he's demonstrated his integrity. Let's hope this is the first of many positive steps.


I'll believe good intentions when Capo stops shilling for Mr. Burt.

You hope for the best; I'll expect the worst. If we're both lucky, I'll be pleasantly surprised.


regardless of who has the job, is thier really anything anyone can do to fix the problem? I doubt it. If information wants to be free, and the desire for freedom is as powerful a force as we seem to think, then no matter what happens digital information will be out there for anyone who wants to take it. Maybe this is just another way to market one's stuff. It's a complex problem and is intertwined (knotted) with ecconomic realities (some can't afford to buy much of anything, let alone an expensive book) and psychology: humans can be counted on to steal: apples, ideas, love and money, we steal it all, now isn't that funny.



SFWA... economic realities. May I add this to the thread, rather than on the Daleks thread?

Striking writers brave the holiday crowds / SAN FRANCISCO: Pickets parade in front of the Disney Store on Union Square, one of the most visible Bay Area connections to the movie and TV business John Shirley greets holiday shoppers with flyers as he walks the picket line with members of the Writers Guild. He has written for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 8, 2007 11:08 AM.

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