I wish I could sign petitions like these:
They both mock, and justifiably so, a surprising petition that was signed by multiple professional writers.
I regret a dozen writers I’ve read, and some who claim large chunks of my self-space have signed on for this. They want respect for themselves and their works from fans and general public, but that means the organ of their organization should be professional not frat boy. This isn’t the 70s when SF/F publications were more humorous in tone because most writers did it on the side and no one took it seriously. Those days are gone, SF is big money now, feeding the TV, movie, comic, and gaming industries. People aspire to join and organization so they can learn and so they connect with other professionals with the same challenges.
I hope these authors I respect are having a knee-jerk reaction on a bad day and not honestly suggesting that fans or others in the industry don’t have to respect them and their works, because ‘hey, it’s free speech.’
Another thing the signatories could be over-reacting to is the ‘review board.’ The final say for a submission should lie with an editor and whichever group of assistants they have helping them for that half a peanut-butter sandwich or gold star. Managing by large committee is never a good idea, there just isn’t enough time; the buck needs to stop somewhere. If the editor screws up, policies are revised and a new editor may come in. But the size of the editorial staff and logistic limitations of a review board should have been discussed openly and negotiated before jumping to an online petition by a non-member. Especially for an online petition that effectively chastizes those who are tired of a professional publication that is more wink-wink entertainment than relevant professional.
Petitions like the revised one are also censoring the writers seeking a fair and respectful publication. I happen to love free speech, but it is a double edged sword and the ?third? version indicated by the file name doesn’t seem to allow that a publication or blog has a right to block any submission. Many of these people who signed have edited anthologies and I am sure they have rejected inappropriate materials that didn’t fit those themes. That’s editing and the editor has the right and responsiblity to exercise judgement over what is put forth under the publication’s banner. Censorship is yanking someone off their soapbox on the street corner and beating them up. A guild owns one soapbox as a group and it must be shared with every member even if they have three arms, cooties, or whatever, without dismissal. There are plenty of shoeboxes for all without the SFWA magazine. It is not censorship when they cannot use my soapbox.
The first posts collected qith the petition seem irritated that they did not get instant reaction; odd here because we are spending much of this winter outside shoveling and everyone has other responsibilities. I’m not a pro but this level of closing in the wagons does not make me interested in anything else put out by the SFWA but Writer Beware. These two parody petitions are only a little more silly than the one they’re reacting to. I think I most object to raiaing a brou-ha-ha with a non-member petition when the editor’s position and responsibility are in transition. The large censorship board they seem to be fearing is not set in stone, impracticable, and unlikely. I can’t like that they jumped to a trolling petition instead of raising a real discussion about their concerns first