Event meant specifically for bullying ( Locked)
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Posted by uncacreamy
#51

I apologize if, when I was really angry, I had the poor judgement to be rude to anyone on the forum. I should have taken a step back and calmed down before saying anything like that.

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Posted by watchdog njseahawksfan
#52

njseahawksfan wrote:
watchdog wrote:
njseahawksfan wrote:
 
I think you are parsing this incorrectly.  Professional vs. amateur is irrelevant to the issue of criticism.  Public vs. private is relevant.  It doesn't matter if someone gets paid for their art for it to be subject to criticism, but rather whether or not it has been released for public consumption. If it has been released publicly, then it's open to this kind of criticism.
I disagree.  There's a reason the NYT doesn't have their classical music critic write a piece called "Where Mozart Goes to Die:  The 10 Worst Public School Concerts."Granted, that's an extreme example, and there's room for debate on where the line should be drawn. But in this context I think professional vs. amateur is relevant
I think there's a a very clear difference between publishing a work on the internet and hosting a small event locally so I think that your argument is a bit of apples and oranges.  Especially since the actual subject of debate isn't about the theory of whether or not a major newspaper should critique public school concerts, but whether and actual event that is actually occuring should be proactively banned because it's description makes it clear that they will be mocking published art.  My opinion is that it shouldn't, based largely on the concept that the works of art being made fun of were published by adults for public consumption and that it was done with the implicit understanding that there very well could be negative public reaction the published art.
By making "published" the only criteria, you're throwing everyone from James Joyce to [email protected]  into the deep end of the pool, so to speak.

To clarify, I'm not arguing that the event shouldn't be allowed to run at Gen Con. I'm taking issue with what I'm assuming is their selection process based on my reading of the event description, which admittedly may be off base.

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Posted by jessicalprice marimaccadmin
#53

marimaccadmin wrote:
uncacreamy wrote:
Event SEM1696316 "Where fanfiction goes to die". I mentioned this on the facebook, and was wondering if maybe this was a better forum for it. 
Why did Gencon let an event meant specifically to bully and humiliate other people onto the list? I got a lot of 'well don't go then, problem solved', but that's not really the solution, is it?
What if it was a panel like, 'Why are these people allowed at cons?' where they put up slides of people's Cosplay and then laughed at it while they pointed out every mistake, or explained that someone was 'too fat for this costume!'
Or "Star Trek is for Geeks" where they make fun of Star Trek fans by name?
I'm sorry, just because someone isn't at the panel in which other people are making humiliating remarks, doesn't make it right. It brings down the whole tone of the convention, and is the kind of thing that scares people out of joining fandom. 
What the heck?
Hi all, and thanks for your concerns. We looked at this event, and approved it, and it's not intended to be mean spirited; it's very similar to the traditional reading of Eye of Argon that happens often, at least on the East Coast, particularly at fan run literary conventions:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eye_of_Argon#At_SF_Conventions
It's also a specific sub forum on FanFicton.net
https://www.fanfiction.net/community/Where-Badfic-Goes-To-Die/100717/3/0/2/0/0/0/0/
As this sort of event runs at many other literary conventions in that manner, and with assurances it's not intended to be an attack on any specific person or group, or bullying, we approved it. That said, certainly if you feel if comes across that way at the convention, please feel free to let us know at [email protected], and we'll be happy to follow up with the presenter.
I'd also point out that, as it's a seminar, we don't make a dime off it.  We do try and allow as diverse a group of seminars as possible, and we prefer to give presenters the benefit of the doubt when approving their events, but as I said, if you feel that the presentation onsite is somehow harassment or bullying to a specific group of people, definitely feel free to let us know and we can certainly discuss the seminar's participation at Gen Con in future years.  Thanks for letting me address your concerns.
Marian McBrine
Event Coordinator
Gen Con LLC
A) You didn't actually address the concerns.

B) If there are concerns that people are going to be abused at your event, the correct response isn't "we'll keep that in mind for next year." There is still time to fix it THIS year. 

That thinking seems to be how your Bill Willingham debacle happened last year. 

Not. Okay. 

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Posted by thejoltess
#54

I actually e-mailed the event organizer and the event is essentially what I suspect; it is showcasing the literally, offensively bad fan fiction that are probably either crackfics or trollfics. They aren't naming authors or trying to make anyone feel bad, they just want to laugh at some completely absurd things. And by absurd, they mean stuff like Lara Croft making love to a raptor, not someone's Spirk or a Harry Potter wish fullfilment fic or a Dr Who AU. One of the stories they have was disowned by the author, who also put up disclaimers/warnings along with the fic. Hope this sheds some light on what the spirit of this event is.

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Posted by monkeyknifefight thejoltess
#55

thejoltess wrote:
I actually e-mailed the event organizer and the event is essentially what I suspect; it is showcasing the literally, offensively bad fan fiction that are probably either crackfics or trollfics. They aren't naming authors or trying to make anyone feel bad, they just want to laugh at some completely absurd things. And by absurd, they mean stuff like Lara Croft making love to a raptor, not someone's Spirk or a Harry Potter wish fullfilment fic or a Dr Who AU. One of the stories they have was disowned by the author, who also put up disclaimers/warnings along with the fic. Hope this sheds some light on what the spirit of this event is.
Just as I suspected. SJW warriors love making a mountain out of a molehill.

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Posted by austicke monkeyknifefight
#56

monkeyknifefight wrote:
This event sounds hilarious. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I have a feeling this controversy will do wonders for attendance.
 

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Posted by rbree
#57

Yes and people will boo and make noise in the back to disrupt without ever finding out what it's all about...
 

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Posted by derekguder monkeyknifefight
#58

monkeyknifefight wrote:Just as I suspected. SJW warriors love making a mountain out of a molehill.

Be careful with this thread.

First, I already warned everyone to be polite.

Second, anything starting with "SJW" is unlikely to go anywhere nice.

There are plenty of other places on the internet to whistle that tune, so take that particular song elsewhere.

Finally, it's absolutely reasonable to be worried about any event and ask about it, pointing out the ways that it could be (or become) a problem. Even if other people (however many) don't agree with or share your concerns.

-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by marimaccadmin thejoltess
#59

thejoltess wrote:
I actually e-mailed the event organizer and the event is essentially what I suspect; it is showcasing the literally, offensively bad fan fiction that are probably either crackfics or trollfics. They aren't naming authors or trying to make anyone feel bad, they just want to laugh at some completely absurd things. And by absurd, they mean stuff like Lara Croft making love to a raptor, not someone's Spirk or a Harry Potter wish fullfilment fic or a Dr Who AU. One of the stories they have was disowned by the author, who also put up disclaimers/warnings along with the fic. Hope this sheds some light on what the spirit of this event is.

Thanks for posting that Joltess.  As I stated, this seminar is not about attacking or bullying anyone.  Glad we could clear that up.  Of course, as I said, if anyone attends an event onsite and has issue with the content as presented, absolutely feel free to contact Gen Con at [email protected] and we'll look into it, as we did for this event. Thanks again for letting us clear this up for everyone.

Marian McBrine
Event Coordinator
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by uncacreamy thejoltess
#60

thejoltess wrote:
I actually e-mailed the event organizer and the event is essentially what I suspect; it is showcasing the literally, offensively bad fan fiction that are probably either crackfics or trollfics. They aren't naming authors or trying to make anyone feel bad, they just want to laugh at some completely absurd things. And by absurd, they mean stuff like Lara Croft making love to a raptor, not someone's Spirk or a Harry Potter wish fullfilment fic or a Dr Who AU. One of the stories they have was disowned by the author, who also put up disclaimers/warnings along with the fic. Hope this sheds some light on what the spirit of this event is.

Thank you. :)

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Posted by father bloodlust derekguder
#61

derekguder wrote:
Just a quick reminder to keep things nice, calm, and civil, folks. We can all disagree and think things are terrible or perfectly fine or whatever else and still be polite.
-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

I have to laugh bitterly at these words coming from a GenCon mod, as they seem quite ironic considering the nature of the event in question.

Now the rest of this post is for the thread as a whole.

I'll admit I don't read any fanfiction. But I've heard the stories about the worst examples out there (which is the big reason I don't read it - trying to pinpoint a signal among all the noise would be a chore I'm not willing to do), and I've heard my share of things about the writing in Fifty Shades of Grey (which, for those who don't know, started out as Twilight fanfiction) that make me glad I've never read those books.

But even if the quality of a given fanfic story were so abysmal as to leave me rolling on the floor in laughter, I would still have to give the author some credit. Why? Because whether you think it's hack work or not, whatever you think of its quality, it took time, energy and a whole lot of guts to write that story and post it online for the whole world to see. And as a writer myself (a freelancer in the RPG industry), I do respect that.

And you know what? EVERYONE who is a writer has produced utter crap at some point in their lives. It's just a law of nature. Legendary animator Chuck Jones once quoted an art school instructor of his as saying, "You birds have a hundred thousand bad drawings in you; start getting rid of them now." Well, it's like that with writing too - in fact, I imagine it's like that with any creative endeavor. It's something we all suffer through, and only by having the courage (or something else) to forge ahead anyways and learning from our mistakes after the fact do we improve.

Now criticism is a legitimate means of teaching someone what mistakes they're making. But only if it's constructive. And that's not what this event looks like to me. This looks like nothing less than public ridicule. If this were the authors themselves doing dramatic readings of god-awful fanfiction they've written and laughing along with the audience, it would be different. But that's not what it sounds like.

I'm not saying every single fanfiction writer on the internet is going to go on to be the next great novelist. But doesn't it strike anyone here as rather mean-spirited to use the up-and-coming writers of the world (which are disproportionately women, as several in this thread have pointed out) as target practice just to get our kicks? Wouldn't it be better to call a halt to stuff like this, and to give constructive criticism if we have to say anything at all in a public forum?

Let's stop being jackasses to each other and start supporting each other instead.

EDIT: Let it be known that I hadn't seen joltess' post until after I wrote and posted this comment. I'm still leaving it up though, because I feel it still needs to be said.

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Posted by brotherbock
#62

Good post Bloodlust. And it's nice to see that the event is *intended* to not be as much of  a tearing down of people as it might be. But the concern was warranted given the description. 

My concern is with reactions here. The people here claiming that this is all just overworked political correctness are just naive about the issue. That's not an attack, I'm not questioning intelligence or ethics. Just info about a topic. 

Something isn't bullying because it's critical and negative. It isn't bullying because it 'makes someone feel bad'. Bullying involves an attack against the powerless or relatively powerless. That's the key. Bullying is an abuse of power. 

Criticism by superiors in the military is intended to build up, not tear down. It's not bullying when done as intended and approved. Even literary criticism at heart is not meant to tear down. But both certainly can turn into abuse. The first act of Full Metal Jacket is not legitimate criticism of a soldier, at least not according to the folks I know who teach ethics to Marine officer candidates. That's abuse. 

The powerlessness of the authors in what it was worried would be the case here comes from a combination of their amateur status (that room of people really cannot bully George Lucas--Lucas has more social power than that room combined) and the fact that a room of people will have gathered together to attack them as a group. 

It is harder for a lone book critic to bully a published author for those reasons. One person versus one person, and an author who already has some power. (One person can bully one person, but it's easier with a group.) No one is saying that we shouldn't be critical of anyone. No one is saying we need to turn all our kids into precious little snowflakes. 

But at my 20th high school reunion, there were a couple of people, successful people in life, who didnt show up because of lasting psychological trauma caused by the rest of us twenty years ago. People in power attacking those without power. 

As has been mentioned, it's about kicking people below you. Do you 'have the right' constitutionally to say these things? Perhaps. Does it make you a respectable person to do it? That's the real question. 

Do you want to be someone who feels good when you laugh at people below you? Do you want to be someone who takes happiness from making others feel bad? 

It's a choice, folks. You can choose what makes you happy and what doesn't. But ignoring power abuse with strawman arguments is naive. There is a difference between criticism and bullying/abuse. A real difference. 

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Posted by surrealrain
#63

Well said, Brotherbock. I can't think of anything more to say, you've put it all on the table... Thank you :)

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Posted by mhayward1978 marimaccadmin
#64

marimaccadmin wrote:Hi all, and thanks for your concerns. We looked at this event, and approved it, and it's not intended to be mean spirited; it's very similar to the traditional reading of Eye of Argon that happens often, at least on the East Coast, particularly at fan run literary conventions:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eye_of_Argon#At_SF_Conventions

Marian McBrine
Event Coordinator
Gen Con LLC


I'm curious if you actually read the wikipedia article for The Eye of Argon.  I hadn't, and when I did I was astonished at the cruelty of it.

In short, a 16 year old child wrote a story, then submitted it to a fanzine, and from there it was published and became a phenomena synonymous with awful writing. 

The people who catapulted this work into popularity in this mocking context were successful adult, authors, cartoonists and critics.

The authors work was then stolen and reproduced, often without credit, and certainly without consultation or compensation.

The author stated that he was: "hurt that his story was being mocked and said he would never write anything again."  Indeed - the author did not write (or publish at any rate) any more fiction.

This is hardly the standard of conduct that should set a precedent that Gen Con should want to emulate.  

I sincerely hope that the event host has selected works such that the author is "in on the joke" or of sufficient fame, success, and prominence in writing that having such negative attention directed at them will not likely impact their desire to write (e.g. E L James).  I also hope that they have cleared their use of the authors copyrighted material as a courtesy.  

Having an affirmative statement that the authors have approved the use of their material in this event would go a long way to resolving any concerns around bullying.

Otherwise - a bunch of people getting in a room to make fun of the creative output of amateurs, some of whom may be Gen Con attendees, seems directly contrary to Gen Con's goal of "providing a harassment-free Event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or affiliation."

 

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Posted by wjmacguffin father bloodlust
#65

father bloodlust wrote:But even if the quality of a given fanfic story were so abysmal as to leave me rolling on the floor in laughter, I would still have to give the author some credit. Why? Because whether you think it's hack work or not, whatever you think of its quality, it took time, energy and a whole lot of guts to write that story and post it online for the whole world to see. And as a writer myself (a freelancer in the RPG industry), I do respect that.

Sorry, but it sounds like you are saying:

  1. You can find it hilarious to read horrible fanfic.
  2. You can laugh at fanfic while still respecting the author.
  3. But when other people do that, you consider it mean-spirited and disrespectful.

This isn't meant as a criticism of you. You're welcome to feel whatever you want about this event. I just want to point out that laughing at a bad piece of media is not the same thing as trolling them. If you can laugh at writers and still be respectful, so can others. 

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Posted by wjmacguffin brotherbock
#66

brotherbock wrote:Something isn't bullying because it's critical and negative. It isn't bullying because it 'makes someone feel bad'. Bullying involves an attack against the powerless or relatively powerless. That's the key. Bullying is an abuse of power .... 

As has been mentioned, it's about kicking people below you. Do you 'have the right' constitutionally to say these things? Perhaps. Does it make you a respectable person to do it? That's the real question. Do you want to be someone who feels good when you laugh at people below you? Do you want to be someone who takes happiness from making others feel bad? It's a choice, folks. You can choose what makes you happy and what doesn't. But ignoring power abuse with strawman arguments is naive. There is a difference between criticism and bullying/abuse. A real difference. 


To me, there are two more important questions: 
1) Can you poke fun at a given work without poking fun at the creator, especially if the creator is not named? If you kick the creation, does that automatically mean you kick its creator? 
2) If you mock a work and not a person, does that make you disrespectful? 

I would argue that yes, you can make fun of something (Plan 9 From Outer Space) without tearing down the creator (Ed Wood). I'm not saying every case of mockery is respectful. If this panel planned on showing pictures of the authors and calling them no-talet hacks, then you would definitely be correct. AFAIK, the panel will only focus on the writing. That means it can serve as constructive criticism for the rest of us — to see what bad writing looks like, so it's easier for us to avoid falling into that kind of writing. 

I would also argue that no, mocking a given work is not the same thing as mocking a person. True, it can go too far. If someone wrote a respectful piece of fanfic but failed because they are still learning how to use grammar effectively, then I wouldn't find humor in reading it. But if we're talking about Laura Croft having sex with a dinosaur, I see no problem in mocking that. 

I hear your concerns about the power differential. A room full of people is a big difference than one person typing away in her room. But since the panel will NOT be naming anyone or giving contact information, I don't see who is being bullied. 

 

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Posted by father bloodlust wjmacguffin
#67

wjmacguffin wrote:
father bloodlust wrote:But even if the quality of a given fanfic story were so abysmal as to leave me rolling on the floor in laughter, I would still have to give the author some credit. Why? Because whether you think it's hack work or not, whatever you think of its quality, it took time, energy and a whole lot of guts to write that story and post it online for the whole world to see. And as a writer myself (a freelancer in the RPG industry), I do respect that.

Sorry, but it sounds like you are saying:

  1. You can find it hilarious to read horrible fanfic.
  2. You can laugh at fanfic while still respecting the author.
  3. But when other people do that, you consider it mean-spirited and disrespectful.


You're wrong.

I'm saying you can feel and react however you want in the privacy of your own home. But:

1. Know that it took time, energy and guts to put that out there for the world to see, and respect that.
2. Holding a public forum for the sole purpose of ridiculing a beginning author and/or their work is horrendously mean-spirited.

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Posted by uncacreamy father bloodlust
#68

father bloodlust wrote:
wjmacguffin wrote:
father bloodlust wrote:But even if the quality of a given fanfic story were so abysmal as to leave me rolling on the floor in laughter, I would still have to give the author some credit. Why? Because whether you think it's hack work or not, whatever you think of its quality, it took time, energy and a whole lot of guts to write that story and post it online for the whole world to see. And as a writer myself (a freelancer in the RPG industry), I do respect that.

Sorry, but it sounds like you are saying:

  1. You can find it hilarious to read horrible fanfic.
  2. You can laugh at fanfic while still respecting the author.
  3. But when other people do that, you consider it mean-spirited and disrespectful.


You're wrong.I'm saying you can feel and react however you want in the privacy of your own home. But:
1. Know that it took time, energy and guts to put that out there for the world to see, and respect that.
2. Holding a public forum for the sole purpose of ridiculing a beginning author and/or their work is horrendously mean-spirited.
Although, if it is as it's been discussed, the authors that this guy is reading from have intended to write crack!fic or troll!fic... it is respectful to read them out loud and laugh, as that was how it was intended!

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Posted by brotherbock wjmacguffin
#69

wjmacguffin wrote:
brotherbock wrote:Something isn't bullying because it's critical and negative. It isn't bullying because it 'makes someone feel bad'. Bullying involves an attack against the powerless or relatively powerless. That's the key. Bullying is an abuse of power .... As has been mentioned, it's about kicking people below you. Do you 'have the right' constitutionally to say these things? Perhaps. Does it make you a respectable person to do it? That's the real question. Do you want to be someone who feels good when you laugh at people below you? Do you want to be someone who takes happiness from making others feel bad? It's a choice, folks. You can choose what makes you happy and what doesn't. But ignoring power abuse with strawman arguments is naive. There is a difference between criticism and bullying/abuse. A real difference. 

To me, there are two more important questions: 
1) Can you poke fun at a given work without poking fun at the creator, especially if the creator is not named? If you kick the creation, does that automatically mean you kick its creator? 
2) If you mock a work and not a person, does that make you disrespectful? I would argue that yes, you can make fun of something (Plan 9 From Outer Space) without tearing down the creator (Ed Wood). I'm not saying every case of mockery is respectful. If this panel planned on showing pictures of the authors and calling them no-talet hacks, then you would definitely be correct. AFAIK, the panel will only focus on the writing. That means it can serve as constructive criticism for the rest of us — to see what bad writing looks like, so it's easier for us to avoid falling into that kind of writing. 
I would also argue that no, mocking a given work is not the same thing as mocking a person. True, it can go too far. If someone wrote a respectful piece of fanfic but failed because they are still learning how to use grammar effectively, then I wouldn't find humor in reading it. But if we're talking about Laura Croft having sex with a dinosaur, I see no problem in mocking that. 
I hear your concerns about the power differential. A room full of people is a big difference than one person typing away in her room. But since the panel will NOT be naming anyone or giving contact information, I don't see who is being bullied. 
 

Really good questions and points. 

I have to go cook dinner, so I'll keep this shortish for now :) 

Yes, it's possible to criticize the work and not abuse the author. Is the abuse easy to keep from happening in a forum like this? And again, we know now what the intended purpose is. But we're in part just talking theory here. But suppose one work that wasn't intended to be crappy and was an authentic attempt at writing made its way onto the list? Is the crowd signing up for *this* event, a *crowd* of people, really going to be able to stop at just criticism of the writing? Mobs and group-think are real things. 

And when you've got potential for abuse of the powerless, what's warranted is an over-cautious approach. The risk and results of abuse happening is worse than the negative effects of restricting the actions of the people in power. In this example, this would mean that not allowing or very carefully monitoring this event is better than running the risk of some poor kid getting crapped on. 

Yes, the works will be anonymous. Until someone finds them online afterwards. (And on that thought, did the people running the event get permission for public readings, public performances, of copyrighted material? All of this material is copyrighted.) 

So yeah, criticism without abuse is possible. But is it likely, in *this* instance, if something not trollfic ends up on the list? A crowd of bloodthirsty people primed for mocking. That won't stop at just the work. Professional critics often can't stop at just the work. A mob won't do better. 

I could offer up a SPA event that consisted of a group of us taking pics of 'bad cosplay' at the con, blur out faces when we show the pics, and say "we're only going to criticize their clothing, not the person themselves." Would that fly? 

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Posted by joegamer
#70

What ever happened to sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. People made fun of me because I played D&D. Now they make fun of me because they say I'm to old to play video games. Who cares what other people think or say? I do things because I like to do them, not because it's what other people think I should do. What your saying is every movie critic, book critic, restaurant critic and any other critic are bully's!! Yet you are criticizing the Gen Con Staff by saying they don't care and its all about money for them. Doesn't that make you, by your own words, the Bully now?!? (See when you point your finger at someone you have three more fingers pointing at you)

I thing everyone should have a right to share there opinion at home or anywhere else.

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