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January 30, 2014

Phil Foglio, Girl Genius, and me
Posted by Patrick at 09:17 AM * 229 comments

Phil Foglio has decided (here, here, and here) that I’m the author of his misfortunes with Tor Books, and that the appropriate thing to do is to urge all his fans to send me angry emails, tweets, and IMs about it.

To address one issue right away: Tor is not going to prevent further Girl Genius volumes from appearing over the next five years. Nothing like that is going to happen.

A while back, Tor published a hardcover omnibus of the first three (previously self-published) Girl Genius graphic-novel volumes. It wasn’t my deal. Some stuff didn’t go as well as it might have.

I got wind of this, and of Phil’s unhappiness about it. Because Phil is a friend of lots of my friends, and because Teresa is a passionate fan of Girl Genius, I had a conversation with Phil about it at Worldcon.

I’m not going to comment much on Phil’s characterization of that conversation, except to observe that it’s remarkable how people, even intelligent people of good will, can come away from a conversation with such drastically different understandings of what was said. This is, of course, not news to anyone who’s been a human being for any length of time. However, here are a couple of things that were said, and which are omitted from Phil’s account:

(1) I told Phil that I would be travelling and/or teaching nearly nonstop from shortly after Worldcon until late November, so that it was surpassingly unlikely I could do anything to help him at Tor until that date at the earliest.

(2) I made it clear to Phil that the people he’d been having problems with don’t report to me. I am not the editor-in-chief of Tor. We don’t have one. Senior editors report to our publisher.

This latter point bears repeating, because Phil’s blog post not only omits this fact, but promulgates a basic error. To repeat, contrary to what Phil says, I am not the editor-in-chief of Tor Books. I’m a colleague of the person who Phil was dealing with. Not that person’s boss.

What happened next? Well, despite what I said to Phil about not being in a position to help him until late November, September wasn’t even over before I began getting emails from Phil’s agent demanding that I deal with this and/or instruct Phil’s editor to deal with this—emails in which it was clear that, in Phil’s agent’s eyes, I was now Part Of Phil’s Problem At Tor.

I responded by pointing out that I was traveling and that I’d told Phil I wouldn’t be in a position to help him with this until I returned in late November. The agent replied, saying that evidently Phil had forgotten that part of the conversation.

This was really where I should have disengaged. In fact, I’ll say this right now: If I ever, ever volunteer again to help a writer who’s having problems with some other editor at Tor, I will tell them with great emphasis that the moment I get an email from their agent treating me as part of the problem will be the moment I cease trying to deal with the problem.

(Make no mistake: I’m not against agents. I’m all for agents. Agents usually make publishing work better than it would otherwise. But anyone who volunteers to try to fix something and then gets treated as if they broke it is going to feel pretty unhappy about the whole thing, and I’m no exception.)

Here’s the other place I’m at fault. Once I got back into the office regularly in late November, I didn’t instantly jump on the Foglio problem, and I didn’t respond to two or three emails from Phil wanting to know what’s going on. I fully acknowledge that this was rude and probably baffling to Phil. Some of it was probably residual annoyance about feeling like I’d been jumped by Phil’s agent in September. Some of it was definitely annoyance over continuing to get communications from Phil’s agent addressing me as if I was the guy in charge of Phil Foglio’s business dealings with Tor. And some of it was certainly the fact that this period of several weeks included the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods, during which, like lots of other people, I tend to pay extra attention to family and friends and get behind on the details of my job. But I shouldn’t have left Phil wondering, all the same.

Then, in mid-January, about seven weeks after I got back, I was copied on a further email from Phil’s agent, this time to Phil’s actual editor, saying (this is a paraphrase) “Look, this is our position, we give up on you guys and here’s what we’re going to do. And here’s our one remaining question.” Shortly after that, I was also copied on a response from Phil’s actual editor, saying (in effect) “Okay, sorry, I’m working on this.”

At this point I figured, I’m done here. I felt bad for not having been able to sort out Phil’s and Tor’s problems in a timely fashion, and I felt I owed Phil an apology for not having answered his emails.

What I don’t owe anybody an apology for is not dealing with the problem between Worldcon and late November, because I told Phil very clearly I wouldn’t be able to do that. And I don’t owe anyone an apology for Phil’s problems with Tor before I got wind of them.

Here’s the thing. The only Tor person Phil’s blog post mentions by name is me. He describes me as Tor’s “editor in chief,” which, again, is wrong. He basically ascribes the entire history of his relationship with Tor to me, even though I’ve only had anything remotely to do with it for a few weeks. He portrays me as the boss of the people he’s been dealing with and therefore ultimately responsible for all his problems. He speculates that the reason I didn’t get back to him is that I think he’s small fry who doesn’t matter. And most unhappily, he directs his fans to shower me—not his actual editor, but me—with angry tweets and emails about it.

I don’t completely blame Phil for failing to keep track of the details of who’s in charge of what inside Tor. Mostly we don’t make a big deal of this. The reason I spoke to Phil in the first place is that generally we’re pretty collegial and we try to help one another out. Phil’s actual editor is a good person and I do have some insight into how snarled situations can sometimes get, if you will, “frozen in place” inside a publishing organization. (Some of my comments to Phil about this are the…distant…basis for some of the weirder things he quasi-quotes me as saying.)

Bottom line: As far as I can see, Phil’s problems with Tor are being dealt with now. Sending me dozens of angry emails isn’t going to get them dealt with any faster or better. If you want to send me email telling me I’m a craphead for not having answered Phil Foglio’s emails from late November to mid-January, okay, guilty as charged. But I’m not the guy on a golden throne proposing and disposing the actions of all the other senior editors at Tor. I’m someone who had the bad judgement to offer to try to help with a problem, and then got sufficiently overwhelmed by other urgent matters that I wasn’t actually able to help in the timely fashion I said I would. This was reprehensible of me. My other mistake: Not clearly extricating myself the moment it became clear that Phil’s agent was going to persist in the impression that I’m Phil’s editor’s boss.

If you think these errors are a good enough reason for the stream of crap Phil is now directing in my direction—and exclusively in my direction—then I suggest you might want to reconsider.

FOOTNOTE: Comments are open for now. But if the discussion turns into a pile-on, we’ll shut comments down for a while, and have a Time Out. To the best of our knowledge, nobody in this situation is a villain.

Comments on Phil Foglio, Girl Genius, and me:
#1 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:51 AM:

I'm sorry that you wound up on the receiving end of this.

#2 ::: Peter Hentges ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:02 AM:

I saw Phil's entreaty on Facebook this morning and agree he mis-characterized your position and responsibilities. My overall reaction was, "Someone just made sure they'll never work with Tor again."

I suspect he's okay with that, but it's sad to see.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:04 AM:

I would be happy to work with Phil and Kaja, should the stars ever so align. I'm not you're-dead-to-me furious with anybody here. Just exasperated, and feeling the need to make a public statement in response to the extremely public statement Phil made.

#4 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:17 AM:

Ouch. And now the peanut gallery are writing op-eds linking to Phil's piece. Double-ouch.

(I'm -- politely -- pointing the authors of any such that I run across at this piece, but that's about all I can do to help.)

#6 ::: Daphne ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:22 AM:

A one-minute email explaining that you have no power over the situation would probably have been really professional and effective.

I've never heard of a professional in any capacity refusing to respond to multiple emails from a client over a many month period. That is truly bizarre.

#7 ::: suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:24 AM:

I've never read Girl Genius and have never been interested in doing so, despite many glowing reviews from people whose opinions I respect, because of previous public behavior by Mr. Foglio. This doesn't incline me towards reconsidering how I spend or don't spend my reader time. There are already far too many good things to read out there by people who aren't aggressively unpleasant.

Sorry this is something that dumped all over you for trying to do the right thing. )-:

#8 ::: Sylvan ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:33 AM:

You apologized and explained well. This is nice to see: professional handling of a situation both accepting fault for what is your problem and explaining the situation behind-the-scenes to a public who, frankly, should probably have never been brought into this in the first place. I appreciate your candor. It makes me more interested to work with people such as yourself.

#9 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:42 AM:

Glad I waited on writing this up for TeleRead until PNH had a chance to respond. I would agree that there aren't really any bad guys here, and I do understand the fallibility of human memory and the frustration of not hearing back from someone about important matters for ages. Miscommunication can be a terrible thing.

#10 ::: Adam ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:49 AM:

I enjoy the Foglios' work quite a lot, but I'm not entirely surprised something like this happened. They mostly did the self-published thing for a LONG time -- with very high quality! -- and working with a publisher or other "big" organization after being "indie" for a long time can definitely lead to some confusion and pain. (I have no experience with publishing specifically, but moving from a company with 10 people to one with 5000 was definitely some culture shock.)

Glad to see things are being resolved, and I can continue to buy both Tor and Girl Genius books without feeling weird. :)

#11 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:56 AM:

Daphne @6: the word "refusing" is loaded. Say, rather, "failing" -- and then tell me you've never had an email drop through the cracks with a straight face?

(Disclaimer: I am an author. I do business with Patrick from time to time. To say he's busy would be an understatement. It seems to me that you -- and Phil -- are ascribing to malice that which can be explained much more parsimoniously by running-around-with-beard-on-fire over-work. And that this is not helpful to anyone.)

#12 ::: sussura ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:56 AM:

I'm pointing to this post when I see the link come up.

#13 ::: Stacia ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:02 AM:

Wait, Charlie, are you saying that Foglio and his agent weren't being ignored for an entire year, as he claims in his post? His description of his editor dodging phone calls and not replying to emails for a year is a far cry from an email dropping through the cracks.

#14 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:08 AM:

Just a note that as far as the outside world is concerned, you are listed as the Senior Editor of all of Tor Books, and the name at the top of the list. Because that's how you're listed on the 'About Us' page of tor.com. And the difference between tor.com and tor-forge.com is not immediately obvious. (There's a 'Looking for Tor-Books' notice, but that phrase means 'Looking to buy Books from Tor' to me, not 'This is our blog and online magazine, not our corporate site which is over here...')

Conventions are great for networking, but not great for passing on important information and detail. Because people don't hear all of what you said when they just saw a Dalek-cosplayer in a Bikini walk past.

#15 ::: David Barnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:12 AM:

Oh, ouch. Sounds like he's describing a completely different organisation to the one I've had dealings with last couple of years.

#16 ::: Jeff ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:13 AM:

JayBlanc @ 14: Patrick is listed as *a* senior editor, not *the* senior editor. Check that link again.

#17 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:15 AM:

Stacia @ #13:

Phil has not been ignored by Patrick for over a year. Phil does not claim in his post to have been ignored by Patrick for over a year: he explicitly states that the over-a-year of being ignored happened before Patrick got involved.

#18 ::: Corgi ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:16 AM:

Thank you VERY much for providing thr other side of the situation. I really hope this can be worked out to everyone's satisfaction now. I will do what I can to ensure this is linked after the Girl Genius Adventures entry is mentioned.

Corgi

#19 ::: JIm ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:19 AM:

Stacia @13

I don't think that's what they're insinuating.

Putting Nielsen Hayden and only Nielsen Hayden on blast, a guy who said he would help out after a busy schedule, was doing it as a favor and wasn't directly involved is a real bad look.

(I've got a couple Girl Genius issues in my collection, so I don't want to disrespect the Foglios. I understand why they're angry.)

#20 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:21 AM:

JayBlanc @ 14... a Dalek-cosplayer in a Bikini walk past

Pictures or it didn't happen.

#21 ::: TM Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:21 AM:

In my day job (when not being an aspiring writer) I've occasionally gladly or sadly let emails that weren't my direct job to answer fall through the cracks. Both intentionally and unintentionally. Probably unprofessional but it happens, so I can't really fault PNH since I've done it.

#22 ::: Sleepy Reader ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:25 AM:

Interesting how poor human communications can be. It is a shame that the author picked on you personally in public.
On the other hand, I've been hearing bad things about Tor's treatment of authors and locking them down with contracts that essentially shut down their careers for extended periods of time, for a number of years now.

#23 ::: Dave Kruku ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:27 AM:

My sympathies for any rancour you may have recieved at the hands of Girl Genius fans. However I am curious and if you have time it would be appreciate if you could answer some questions regarding this matter? Of course I understand you are very busy so a public statement that included answers to my queries would suffice. Was there a general awareness that there was an outstanding problem with the handling of Girl Genius at Tor? Who has been charge of Phil Folio's work at Tor previously? Was that person empowered to make decisions on this matter or? One of the reasons I am asking these questions is because I distinctly remember Phil Folio making a fuss about Tor's lack of response at least a year ago.

#24 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:27 AM:

I'm wondering why he decided to dogpile on Patrick and never mention the name of his personal editor (or the publisher, who has theoretical authority over the situation).

#25 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:30 AM:

Tor has a number of senior editors. It's a title. It comes after editor, and before executive editor, which is my title. No one except my assistant reports to me, either. There are two other executive editors in the company. All three of us are former editors in chief. Note: former.

What the titles indicate are the kinds of things we are able to do, through training and experience, and may be called upon to do. Nothing more.


#26 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:36 AM:

I see Charlie has already spoken for me, but I'll add my own comment re Daphne @ 6:

As a professional computer software developer of uncomfortable-number-of-years, with about a decade where I was running a start-up ISP, I can say there have been countless reasonable email requests and plaints which I have failed to reply to at all - let alone in a reasonable time - simply because I had so much to do and so much email to deal with that I couldn't possibly do it all. I don't feel good about that, but it's true and it still happens. Stuff falls through the cracks.

For Patrick to acknowledge forthrightly that he had wished to help, that he did fail to reply, and that he regrets causing Phil pain is simply to acknowledge that he's human, and doing the best job of it he can.

Hell, not even "enlightenment" helps with this - I can assure you from my own experience as a student that even Zen masters sometimes forget stuff they're supposed to do and don't get around to sending emails they intended to. That's modern life.

#27 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:37 AM:

Oh, dear. I'm very sorry that this happened, and I hope that this post will succeed in clearing up the misunderstanding. The Fogli* seem to have had a rather frustrating time of it, but I think this makes it pretty clear that you're not the bad guy (if any**).

*That's the plural of Foglio, right?

**I'm not about to pass judgment on the other editor involved, when the sum total of what I know about the whole affair is what I've read in Phil's post and this one.

#28 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:42 AM:

@Beth Meacham,

Rest of the world doesn't know how TOR organises it's editors. Do not assume that people outside of your organisation chart understand your organisation chart. (Or even those inside your organisation chart.)

If there's no clear understanding for the Agent to a current client of who is in charge of what at TOR, that suggests a problem.

#29 ::: TM Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:46 AM:

@JayBlanc 28
It suggests an incompetent agent.

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:02 PM:

Aand -- the HPtFtU (Human Propensity to F**** things Up -- term borrowed from Francis Spufford) strikes again.

#31 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:02 PM:

28
But to assume that Patrick is in charge indicates a lack of thought on Phil's part. Especially since his agent seems to be driving some of this: his agent should be aware of the structure at Tor.

#32 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Jay @28 -- Editorial titles are pretty uniform across the industry. If I'm talking to a senior editor at Bantam I know where she fits into the hierarchy, even if I don't know how many levels Bantam has, or who holds which title.

#33 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Ow! This is a bad case of a wrong assumption leading to misdirected (f)ire. I've seen this happen in other contexts.

#34 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:09 PM:

@TM Thomas

No comment on where the Problem occurred. Even after someone tried to explain it at a short meeting at a convention, it obviously wasn't sufficiently passed on to Phil who he needed to talk to. Maybe the Agent is at fault, maybe other people give Phil befuddling information. Who knows, other than Phil and Phil's Agent. But I can't entirely place blame on Phil for not understanding TOR's organisation chart.

Particularly when the stress he faces is being unable to publish print collections, or possibly even any print versions, of Girl Genius for five years due to a non-compete clause with a publisher who to him are rights-squating.

Also, I'm just going to note I would certainly be loath to sign on with any publisher who had a 'non-competing product' clause. It's the kind of phrase I would certainly want to erase from any contract, or at the very least make it specify options of first refusal to specific titles or series.

#35 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:11 PM:

And since I feel at home here at Making Light, I'm going to point out, as Patrick has not, that Tor is the name of the company, not TOR. It is not an acronym, like DAW -- which stands for Donald A. Wollheim. It's just a word. It means mountain. Our logo is a mountain. We all like mountains.

#36 ::: N. Caligon ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:14 PM:

Foglio seems to be upset because Tor, having discovered that the winner of the "Best Graphic Story" Hugo is just not as marketable as a winner of the traditional fiction Hugos, and, while living up to the requirements of its contract, isn't willing to risk more money on publishing his work. He ought to be at least a little grateful that they haven't dumped the omnibus hardcover onto the remainder market already, a standard publisher practice for hardcovers whose sales have faded away, which would as a side effect made his own editions of later installments appear price-uncompetitive.

#37 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:15 PM:

JayBlanc, #34: "But I can't entirely place blame on Phil for not understanding TOR's organisation chart."

Strangely enough, that's exactly what I said in my original post: "I don’t completely blame Phil for failing to keep track of the details of who’s in charge of what inside Tor."

Perhaps I failed to say this in precisely the right words to suit you? Exactly what hill are you defending, anyway?

#38 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:16 PM:

@Beth @32

It's my understanding that editorial titles and organisational structure are different in the Comics publishing industry than the traditional Publishing industry. And languages that are similar can be more confusing than languages that are entirely different.

#39 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:18 PM:

As for non-compete clauses, I agree that authors have good reason to be wary of them. They're routinely trimmed back in negotiations so that they protect the publisher's actual interests while leaving authors legitimate room to pursue other projects.

#40 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:21 PM:

I've had a similar situation arise in my workplace; if as a consequence my name and email had been touted as the contact for the "person who is frustrating our efforts and brought our expensive projects to a dead halt", I would be deeply annoyed, and leery of ever offering assistance of that kind again.

Mr Foglio's just invited the entire internet to involve themselves in his professional dealings. I can't think that will work out well in the long run. Dave Kruku @23: unless you work for or with Girl Genius, the questions you are asking are impertinent. And if you do work for/with GG, note that Patrick has already said he is not the proper contact for this matter.

#41 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:21 PM:

PNH @37

Since I'm essentially agreeing with you, and was doing so not in reply to you but in reply to others, I hope you can assume I'm not picking an argument with you.

#42 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:36 PM:

I am however concerned with the idea that blanket Non-Competes are seen as the default, to be trimmed back in negotiation. Rather than the specific scope of the licence being something that the publisher should define in the initial offer.

"Oh that's just a standard boilerplate" shouldn't include something that could put someone out of work for five years.

#43 ::: L. Bennett ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:48 PM:

@N. Caligon

"...having discovered that the winner of three 'Best Graphic Story' Hugos..."

Fixed that for you.

Phil and Kaja Foglio brought in nearly $400K on a Kickstarter whose initial goal was $55K. Why? To publish their 12th volume of Girl Genius. With the money they raised, they were able to print Volume 12, reprint all 11 previous volumes, and hire a part time office manager. Some of the previous volumes were hard to find because their stock had run so low. I think that success shows they are highly marketable.

#44 ::: frozen01 ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:52 PM:

It's cool that you've owned up to the parts that were your responsibility, and I can see how the Foglios were upset, but this was handled so unprofessionally. There is always someone to speak to within an organization, even if it takes a few phone calls. Instead, they basically gave up and sicced the internet on the problem?
It makes me wonder if they'd consulted an attorney. Anyone in their right mind would've counseled them not to do this, because it could be seen as libel if their facts were not 100% straight... which is precisely why most organizations DO NOT air their grievances in public.
Did they try having a letter sent from an attorney? I'm sure that would've grabbed someone's attention, and would have been much more professional than posting all over the internet and asking their fans to get their hands dirty for them.

#45 ::: Karen Myers ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 12:57 PM:

Nonsense. When I ran several companies of various sizes, the customer or supplier might not always be right, but they always deserved an answer.

When I or any other senior exec got some version of "your company is broken, here's why I think so" it was an OPPORTUNITY to find out what was wrong and GET IT FIXED, even if the problem was just a misunderstanding. Even if the complaint was just wrong, still there was action to be taken, to either make the relationship going forward better or to severe the relationship.

What it was not was an option to assign blame to someone else and walk away from the problem. That's why senior people in a company have their roles -- they understand how to assume responsibility and fix problems, or keep them from arising in the first place. That's just part of their jobs.

Even if they personally aren't the cause of the problem in the first place, they are responsible for helping their company get it fixed.

End of story.

#46 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:00 PM:

@43 And the fact that they recently reprinted all of the Girl Genius volumes, including 1-3, suggests the non-compete clause is fairly limited in scope. Perhaps it merely prevents them from putting out omnibus collections of their own? It does sound like Tor's foot-dragging is more of an annoyance than a career-ender.

#47 ::: frozen01 ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:05 PM:

@#34 Jay Blanc: Perhaps. But maybe Phil should have done some research before opening up this particular can of worms.
Keep in mind, Foglio didn't just write a blog about being annoyed that nobody was responding. He posted it to his personal blog, Facebook, and LiveJournal and then openly asked all of his fans to blast an individual's Facebook page and email address until they paid attention to him. I don't know about you, but before I drown someone in fan vitriol, I would make 100% sure it's the right person first. Or, you know, skip the whole "making my private grievances public" thing and consult a lawyer.

#48 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:08 PM:

@42: To note, as I was just corrected on my own blog post on the situation by the Foglios' business manager, the non-compete specifically affects omnibus editions, not the single-volume collections they currently sell.

No-competes in general are a pretty substantial problem in the publishing world these days, though. They're often used as a bludgeon to keep writers with a single trad-pub book from self-, indie-, or other-trad-pubbing some other book, even if having more than one title available could lead to sales boosts for all the authors' books, including the trad-pubbed one. Given that many pro publishers only have space for one book a year by most authors, it's a sure way to slow the start of an author's career before it even happens. Small wonder more and more aspiring authors are skipping trad-pub altogether and opting to self-publish instead.

@43: They might be highly marketable, but since when has a traditional publisher ever bothered to do that much marketing for any books that aren't best-sellers already? (Plenty of experienced, decent-selling midlist authors have run afoul of this conundrum.) Niche markets like the graphic novel market can be really hard for newcomers to break into, especially when the bulk of their expertise lies elsewhere.

The fact that Tor showed no interest in getting to work on a paperback edition right away suggests to me that sales were already not happening in the volume they had expected, and they'd pretty much decided not to throw good money after bad at that point. (Of course, I'm just a guy at his computer making guesses, so I could be totally off the mark.)

#49 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:20 PM:

Sleepy Reader @22: I don't know of any cases like that. Do you have names to go with that story?

JayBlanc, you have an unfavorable ratio of adversarial attitude to knowledge about the publishing industry. There are no out-and-out villains here, and it's in no one's interest to manufacture them.

Two general observations:

1. Patrick manages the science fiction and fantasy line at Tor. If you check out Tor's online catalog, you'll find the company also publishes other kinds of books. Not everyone in Tor Editorial reports to him.

2. Non-competition clauses are not a big deal in trade fiction publishing, and the issue seldom comes up. All of the really scary examples I know of come from the film and recorded music industries.

#50 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Karen Myers @45: You have every right to be proud of your own scrupulous attention to these matters.

Chris Meadows @48:

No-competes in general are a pretty substantial problem in the publishing world these days, though. They're often used as a bludgeon to keep writers with a single trad-pub book from self-, indie-, or other-trad-pubbing some other book, even if having more than one title available could lead to sales boosts for all the authors' books, including the trad-pubbed one. Given that many pro publishers only have space for one book a year by most authors, it's a sure way to slow the start of an author's career before it even happens. Small wonder more and more aspiring authors are skipping trad-pub altogether and opting to self-publish instead.
I don't think that's correct. Can you cite any specific names and titles?

#51 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:32 PM:

@51: Teresa, I just made a comment linking to TeleRead coverage of some stories pertaining to non-competes, but 'cuz of all the links the post is currently in moderation. I'll admit I might have exaggerated when I called it a major problem, but it is one of the biggest points of contention I've seen between self- or indie-publishing writers and the traditional publishers who occasionally want to pick them up.

#52 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:33 PM:

A comment has been unpublished for discussing a Tor personnel matter that is not going to be discussed on Making Light, now or ever.

#53 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:33 PM:

If a writer has reason to believe their publisher has lost track of them, what would anyone recommend as a good strategy?

#54 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Stacia @13: drag me into a bar some time and ask me about the history of the novel published by Ace as "Singularity Sky", rather than Tor as "Festival of Fools" (and edited by Teresa Nielsen Hayden). This kind of thing isn't unusual in this business. And neither are multi-month and sometimes multi-year turnaround times.

#55 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:44 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @50

I am confused as to how you have taken a comment explicitly saying it was impossible to place the weight of blame on anyone as my trying to cast anyone as a bad guy.

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:53 PM:

@14: Because people don't hear all of what you said when they just saw a Dalek-cosplayer in a Bikini walk past.

Just want to lay this complete non-sequitur out for examination. What the actual fucking FUCK?

Leah, #50: Worldcon and other science-fiction conventions are social events. Intoxicating substances are served. People party and don't get enough sleep and don't hear or remember things very clearly. Then people are blamed for things that may or may not have happened the way one side or another recalls.

That's a much more realistic way of saying what I think #14 was trying to say.

#57 ::: Donald ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:54 PM:

"Two general observations:

1. Patrick manages the science fiction and fantasy line at Tor."

So Girl Genius would be under his umbrella?

#58 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 01:59 PM:

Chris @48: I have personal experience of dealing with publishers' no-compete clauses. There are several different ways of making an end run around them, entirely legally.

(a) You or your agent ringfences them to the minimum possible scope -- works in a specific genre or series written by the author and published under a specific name. (The name is a brand. A series written under a pseudonym belongs to a different brand: it's not competing like-with-like. Ditto a differen genre.) (b) You rely on the publisher not wanting to totally screw their working relationship with an author by bending them over a barrel: it helps to talk to your editor and solicit their input on how to keep them happy, but it can be done. (This worked for me when my agent and I agreed with Tor to publish my Merchant Princes series under my own name: we spoke to my editor at Ace and came to a satisfactory agreement that kept everybody happy.) Only if both these steps fail do you need to (c) break out of the no-compete and/or option clause. Which you do by fulfilling the option: you submit a manuscript for first refusal which you know the publisher can't or won't publish, at which point your obligation is fulfilled. (Hint: any author worth bothering with has a trunk full of book-shaped objects -- learning exercises -- which can be dusted off. Or you could try handing in a cold war technothriller you have lying about to get out of a romance contract, or vice versa.) Note that method (c) probably burns your working relationship with your editor, if not the publishing house itself, for a long time to come.

Final important point: an author/editor contract is a codification of an agreement that the author and editor are going to work together to make money. Nobody really wants to be tied to a reluctant co-worker, and the residual rights in trade fiction publishing aren't suddenly going to shoot up to the top of the charts. So unless the publisher is going down the tubes (cough, N*ght Sh*d* last year, Meisha Merlin in years past -- genre examples, I know) it's not worth the loss of goodwill (and bad rep throughout the industry) to force an author who wants out to stay against their will.

(Teresa: from an editor's point of view, am I on course here? Or have I tied my shoelaces together without noticing?)

#59 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 02:00 PM:

#57: Nope. It's a reasonable question, but no, graphic novels have never been part of my domain.

#60 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 02:01 PM:

#58, Charlie: That's a pretty good summary.

#61 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 02:06 PM:

@58, Charlie: All good points, and certainly things I expect experienced authors would know. But new authors who don't know these things tend to run into problems there. (Like the author who says the editor at the Big Six publisher for her first book screamed at her and then demanded the refund of a $20,000 advance for her first novel when she declined to take down some unrelated short stories she self-published with Amazon.)

#62 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 02:14 PM:

Charlie @ 58, With my lawyer hat on, I'd add that (in most US jurisdictions) non-compete clauses are in danger of being found to be illegal restraints of trade, unless limited in scope, duration, etc., to protect the publisher's legitimate interests. This possibility of expensive and maybe losing litigation ought also to help keep everyone reasonable and willing to bargain.

And with my fan hat on, let me just mention how distressing it is to see our heros quarrelling.

#63 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 03:34 PM:

I think Phil's problem is in expecting satisfaction from anyone at Tor in a timely fashion. The big publishers work on glacial timelines. I had a manuscript on submission to Tor for five years, queried about it twice, asked Patrick about it face-to-face, and still never received a reply. And Patrick knows me. Or at least he did then; he's probably forgotten me by now.

The six months that Foglio went nuts over is nothing to Tor. He should be more patient, or choose not to do business with a big publisher at all.

#64 ::: Colin Morris ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Good response, Patrick, addresses the pertinent points. Hopefully this will smooth things over somewhat. Even given people's glacial estimation of big publishing house speeds, a year is a long time to wait for any sort of response. None of which is your fault or responsibility, but responding eloquently was a good reaction to the bombardment.

However I have to say "But if some of you would write to let the folks at TOR know that we'd like to take our book and go home now, we'd appreciate it." doesn't equal "he directs his fans to shower me—not his actual editor, but me—with angry tweets and emails about it."

Admittedly, that shouldn't be the unexpected result of pointing a fanbase at someone. But still.

#65 ::: M. Alan Thomas II ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 04:23 PM:

Thank you for clarifying.

I did come away from Phil's post with the understanding that you had not been aware of or involved in the affair prior to shortly before WorldCon. However, I accept that he's got the internal structure over at Tor wrong, and I'm personally sorry that this has put some stress on you that it shouldn't have.*

You have also reminded me of a very important point: "people, even intelligent people of good will, can come away from a conversation with such drastically different understandings of what was said." I've certainly been in those conversations myself (and received letters memorializing agreements as things that I would never have agreed to). Of course, I feel compelled to apply that to your version of events as well; I'm not sure you can guarantee that this perfectly natural, human error is one that only he commits, even if your wording and narrative imply otherwise.

*I'm one of the people that tweeted at you. This perpetuated by implication the error that you could do something about the Foglio's problems. Sorry.

#66 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 04:38 PM:

However I have to say "But if some of you would write to let the folks at TOR know that we'd like to take our book and go home now, we'd appreciate it." doesn't equal "he directs his fans to shower me—not his actual editor, but me—with angry tweets and emails about it."

Yes, but the full paragraph reads:

Personally, I think that the problem is that we're this little studio alllll the way out on the west coast, and thus, easy to ignore. If you have stayed with me all through this screed, then I would like your help. Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden has a Facebook page. So does TOR Books. Here is his old e-mail address; pnh@panix.com (I say old, because as far as I can tell, it's been deactivated). We very rarely ask our readership to do anything other than enjoy the strip and purchase the occasional book (Hey, TOR, your first lesson in marketing. And it's Free!) But if some of you would write to let the folks at TOR know that we'd like to take our book and go home now, we'd appreciate it.

In which it sounds an awful lot like he's telling fans to direct angry comments at Patrick's Facebook page and email address. That is, in fact, exactly what I read him as saying: "Find as many places as possible to harass this specific person on my behalf, especially in their personal social media presences!"

This may be a misreading on my part! But if I knew nothing about this side of things, that is exactly how I would have interpreted that paragraph. "Fans: go say angry things to this specific person on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else you can find him."

#67 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 04:52 PM:

My sympathies to everyone involved.

I've spent many months of my professional life embarrassingly behind on email. It's unpleasant for everyone. In the past I have systematically underestimated how much attention it takes to do business correspondence at a level of quality and timeliness that affords my correspondents the respect they deserve. And I've run into serious contretemps when it turns out my expectations of acceptable turnaround time conflicted with others', badly. I think Patrick and I have been in similar boats. (Or shoes. Or boatshoes.) I am trying to do better, as he is.

#68 ::: Jereme ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Some of us are more passionate than others. Comes with being a geek. I do hope that those that dove in head first with less than polite communications haven't left too strong of hard feelings, more so between you and the Foglios. Even in cases of misunderstandings no communication is worse. I think this way matters are getting unstuck even if it did leave you with a headache or two. And for that, even only guilty of delays and being human I do want to thank you for assuring us fans that one of our favorite stories isn't so terribly lost for so long.

#69 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Oh, no. This is horrible. I'm sorry that Foglio had such trouble, and sorrier that his misunderstanding (at least) of your role led him to be so inappropriate. I can only hope that the situation can be mended without deep and lasting hard feelings on either side.

That and offer my support, FWIW, in the face of the misguided social-media bombing that may or may not occur.

#70 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Chris Meadows @61: Is it nitpicking for me to point out that Kiana Davenport's self-dramatizing screed (which I read when it was first published) never identified the editor or publisher who supposedly Done Her Wrong, and moreover is full of very odd assertions?

To pick just one of them, there's her assertion that she was dealing with a Big Six (now Five) publisher. She said her editor phoned and shouted at her that "she was 'blatantly betraying them with Amazon, their biggest and most intimidating competitor," by self-publishing a couple of short story collections.

The only publishers for whom Amazon is the chief competitor are e-book and POD publishing outfits that don't get brick-and-mortar bookstore distribution. That's not Big Six (now Five).

She also said the vice-president and publisher phoned her agent and offered various incentives in an attempt to get her to take the deal. I cannot resist quoting this section:

The vice president and publisher of that house called my agent, offering extra little sweetmeats if I would just capitulate and 'adopt the right spirit going forward.' This somewhat sinister and semi-benevolent attempt at mind-control fascinated me. It became crystal-clear to me that the issue wasn't a supposed 'breach of contract,' on my part, but the publisher's fear and loathing of the profoundly threatening Goliath, Amazon. Since CANNIBAL NIGHTS in no way 'resembles' or would 'injure' sales of the book I had sold them (an entirely different subject matter) I was not in breach of my contract. I stood firm, and refused to capitulate.
Big Six (now Five) publisher was terrified by Amazon? Not likely.

Big Six (now Five) publisher personally phoned the agent to beg and wheedle over a $20,000 contract? Really not seeing that.

I'm not going to discuss all the strange elements in Ms. Davenport's story, but -- seriously, that's your idea of hard factual data?

#71 ::: Solace Kaden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 06:10 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @70 - Kiana Davenport doesn't name the publisher in the post that Chris Meadows linked to due to legal issues at the time. She does name the publisher later, and it was Penguin.

#72 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 06:27 PM:

Thank you for the clarification. I'm a big Folio fan, but I am glad I found this response first. I hope everything gets resolved quickly.

#73 ::: Marc Cabot ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 06:50 PM:

FIRST: Once you explained to the below-mentioned reasonable person that the information below was misleading, that should have been the end of it.

SECOND: It is entirely understandable that a reasonable person would believe that you had the authority that the Foglios thought you had. Your Wiki page says you are Manager of Science Fiction at Tor Books. Your Tor profile says you are senior editor at Tor Books and the fiction editorial director of Tor.com. You are the only senior editor listed on the Tor About Us page. I politely suggest that to avoid similar misunderstandings in future, you take whatever steps seem appropriate to clarify the situation.

THIRD: Thank you very much for being as gracious as you have and helping to ensure that the situation moves forward.

#74 ::: Colin Morris ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 06:54 PM:

re: Fade

Yes, I agree that the paragraph is a social media army call to arms. I didn't read it as "Be nasty! Be naughty!" (esp. given the "Use Only For Good" tagline from the Heterodyne brothers) but more as "Let them not hide behind their computers ignoring my lone voice any longer". This where _I_ may be reading more into the response than was intended. Accursed lack of internet body language and social cues.

#75 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 06:59 PM:

Solace Kaden @71: Penguin is afraid of Amazon?? , I'm not trying to cast doubt on Kiana Davenport's specifics--lots of stupid people in the world, and no doubt a reasonable share of them work for major publishers, even as VPs--but PENGUIN? Afraid of any self-pubbing business, including Amazon's? Or was Davenport perhaps being sarcastic about how silly the very idea was that Amazon was a threat?

#76 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 07:12 PM:

My condolences; that sounds like a remarkably exasperating situation.

#77 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 07:20 PM:

Teresa: There are a couple of other links in my still-in-moderation comment. :) One of them was about lawyers who seriously suggested using no-compete clauses to shut down authors selling rights-reverted titles as self-published e-books. Another was about a Kristine Kathryn Rusch column which cited some other examples. (Let's see if moderation lets those through.)

I don't necessarily know the complete truth around Kiara's situation, since we never heard Penguin's side of things. Ths ws n 2011, rght whn th whl gncy prcng thng gt crzy, nd Pngn ws ltr n f th lt hldts gnst sttlng wth th DJ. t sms plsbl thr cld hv bn sm xc wth lt f ht n fr mzn thr. ftr ll, tht's why thy llglly cnsprd t frc prcs p. :)

#78 ::: Scott Kemp ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 07:39 PM:

Girl Genius Omnibus volume 2 is still not available on Amazon...

My guess is that someone who works for Tor knows better than someone who doesn't how to re-direct inquiries (forward emails) to the person who should handle an author's problem(s).

#79 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 07:47 PM:

Charlie @58:

I wonder what a graphic novel equivalent of Metal Machine Music would be like.

Marc Cabot @73: the way Wikipedia works, you or I or almost anyone here except maybe TNH are better situated to fix errors in PNH's Wikipedia page than he is. If Patrick took the time to do so, somebody would no doubt revert the changes because it's against Wikipedia rules to edit your own page.

#80 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 07:56 PM:

Colin Morris @74: That is an excellent point. I am reading too much into the paragraph to be interpreting it as "Be angry!", which was not stated, or even heavily implied. I suspect my reading was being colored by the sinking feeling that anything short of "Contact this person BUT PLEASE BE EXTREMELY NICE" will, in fact, turn into a certain percentage of fans being frothingly vicious.

Which isn't necessarily the case! Especially with how communication seems to be happening here and all. I am overly pessimistic about internet communications at times.

#81 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 08:39 PM:

@73 -- Marc, I am not sure where you are seeing an "about us" listing for Tor. The Tor-Forge.com site does not list any editors on the contacts page or the FAQ. The Tor.com "About Us" lists only the staff of Tor.com, not the staff of Tor Books. The two are actually separate though overlapping units of Macmillan Publishers.

#82 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 08:56 PM:

I hope that everything is resolved satisfactorily. It seems like an honest conjunction of misunderstandings. Which happens, even professionally.

#83 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 08:58 PM:

Fade, #80: I lean more to your view than to Colin's. Based on past history, a call to drop the Internet on someone's head is far more likely to end with trolling and harassment than with hugs and puppies. And Foglio is Net-savvy enough that he should also be aware of this tendency.

I do not want to contemplate what would be happening if he'd issued such a call on Teresa rather than Patrick.

#84 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:18 PM:

Is it wrong that I immediately remembered this picture?

#85 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:26 PM:

Here's the first line of PNH's bio on Tor.com's About page:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a senior editor at Tor Books and the fiction editorial director of Tor.com.

Unless someone knows that Tor.com and Tor Books are not the same entity, it's easy to see how one could be led to think that PNH is the editorial director for all TOR fiction.

#86 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:44 PM:

Sandy B.: Bad Fluorospherian. :-)

#87 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:51 PM:

#85, Jon Baker: Yes, if you're an idiot.

#88 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 09:57 PM:

If Tor.com went to any greater effort to clarify that it's not the same entity as Tor Books, it would be hiring skywriters and spelling it out in lights on the side of the Empire State Building.

Something I've come to realize in my fifties is that determined ignorance can't be argued with. If people are determined to be clueless, they will always succeed, and you can never make an iron-clad case that they could have done better.

#89 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:06 PM:

I may be getting just a tad impatient at the end of a long and seriously annoying day. Somebody sensible should tell me to go to bed.

#92 ::: geo ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:23 PM:

Another case of no good deed goes unpunished.

#93 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:34 PM:

Va the coucher, Patrick.

#94 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:36 PM:

Ah. Peace and quiet for almost half an hour.

Can this please continue?

#95 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:36 PM:

Chris Meadows @77: So one of those articles was completely speculative, and the others were written by Kris Rusch?

#96 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:38 PM:

Ken, from your mouth to God's ears.

#97 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:45 PM:

Best wishes for a speedy and optimal resolution for all involved, who are with no exception "intelligent people of good will" whom I unreservedly adore.

#98 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 10:52 PM:

Coming soon: People expect Patrick to know the inner details of The Onion Router, then ask him what it was like to play a zombie in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

#99 ::: staranise ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:26 PM:

It makes sense to me that Phil was especially annoyed at Patrick if his perception was that, by doing so, he was escalating the matter to someone higher up in the organization who was responsible for it, rather than asking a colleague from a different area to poke his nose into somebody else's business.

That said, I am puzzled that he directed his internet minions at Patrick alone, and not his editor as well.

#100 ::: Warren Terra ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:40 AM:

Sounds like an unfortunate and sincere clash of misunderstandings and mishandlings all round. PNH has been gracious in his clarification; let's hope Foglio responds in kind.

It may be relevant to his outburst that Foglio is apparently trapped on a cyclone-lashed tropical island in the antipodes with limited distractions.

#101 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:16 AM:

Marc 73: As others have said, Tor.com is not the Tor company website; it's a separate venture. If I'm not mistaken, Tor books is at http://us.macmillan.com/tor.aspx.

I think word should be spread about this when explaining that Patrick is not the Lord High Executioner Managing Editor of Tor Books, because otherwise people will just decide that we're incorrect, and cite the Tor.com About Us page as evidence.

Lee 83: I agree. Foglio knows, or should know, the probable outcome of such a call.

#102 ::: Ed Rhodes ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:36 AM:

Phil's dumped his fanbase on you not because he wasn't getting the answer he wanted but because he wasn't getting ANY answer at all! Now, I understand that YOU personally weren't available and maybe Phil didn't understand that, but what about his editor at Tor? e-mails, not responded to, phone calls not returned, phone calls not forwarded? After awhile you have to say; "What the Hell?" and maybe just slip loose the Dogs of War.

#103 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:50 AM:

I have always thought that using the Tor.com domain as anything other than the corporate website was a mistake.

#104 ::: Nexus Trimean ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 02:17 AM:

Im Sorry Phil's Post has caused so much headache, and also for the rancor of my fellow girl genius fans. All anyone really wants is for this to be resolved peaceably by both parties.

Again, sorry for you being the focus of this when you were not directly responsible for it.

Tor has always been a favorite publisher of mine, and girl genius one of my favorite web comics. Ultimately i want both the company and the comic to come away from this misunderstanding and miscommunication, if not happy at least not unhappy.

#105 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:55 AM:

m gng t hv t sy gn tht th dffrnc btwn Tr.cm nd Tr-Frg.cm s nn-bvs t mst ppl wh d nt lrdy knw th dffrnc.

'v jst chckd gn, nd n, y dn't ctlly xplctly sy "Tr.cm s nt th wbst fr Tr th pblshng bdy, Tr.cm s n nln mgzn pblshd by Mcmlln. Fr nfrmtn n th Tr pblshng mprnt nd Tr bks, pls rfr t Tr-Frg.cm." Whch s smthng tht cld d wth bng rght t th tp f th bt pg.

Th FQ lmst gvs nfrmtn clrly, lmst. Th prblm bng tht n cmmn nglsh "Tr Bks" mns "Bks pblshd by Tr". knw t's ctlly trdng nm, nd whn y sy "Tr Bks" y'r rfrrng t tht, nt t bks pblshd by Tr. Bt thr ppl my nt. "W’r r wn spcl crnr f Mcmlln, th pblshng cmpny tht ls ncmpsss Tr Bks. W r th msc mkrs, nd w r th drmrs f th drm." s wndrflly flrd lngg tht xplns xctly nthng, nd my nt ld ppl t ndrstnd th dffrnc.

t wld b pssbl ncrrct ntrprttn f tht t ndrstnd tht Tr-Frg r th bk whlslrs, f Tr th pblshr. Sm ppl my wll gt th mprssn tht Tr-Frg s whr y g t by bks nln frm Tr, th "Lkng fr Tr Bks" bnnr blck lks lk n d fr plc t by bks, nt rdrctn t th pblshng mprnt.

Ppl gt cnfsd whn tw thngs hv th sm nm, nvlv th sm ppl, nd r prt f th sm cmpny. Brndng nyn wh ds nt mmdtly gt th dffrnc btwn Tr.cm nd Tr-Frg n dt s nhlpfl.

#106 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 05:14 AM:

@105 ls, 'v ntcd tht whl Tr.cm cn dsclm n ffcl cnnctn t Tr-Frg/Mcmlln ll t wnts, t dsn't lwys sm t wrk th thr wy rnd.

(Nt tht Mcmlln xctly sms t b th bst bt pblc trch nywy.)

#107 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 06:11 AM:

Oh, dear.

#108 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 08:44 AM:

Moderation:

JayBlanc, disemvowelled for being excessively adversarial while making the same argument over and over again.

Grasshopper, it is not enough to just keep repeating that you don't understand. You must also read the explanations that are offered to you in response. Only this way can you break your chains and escape the eternal cycle of incomprehension.

Chris Meadows, disemvowelled for repeatedly shifting the grounds of argument when his expertise is questioned, and for excessive linkage back to his own site.

Vasparian, unpublished for being a randomly combative drive-by.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 08:55 AM:

Speaking quite generally, one of the best ways of supporting the assertion that no one is sending internet mobs after anyone else is not to behave like a member an internet mob.

Just a thought.

#110 ::: JayBlanc ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:16 AM:

'm prsnlly ffndd tht, dspt rptng myslf mltpl tms tht wsn't cllng nyn t, ws nt ntntnlly bng ggrssv r cnfrnttnl, nd ws n th mn grng wth y... Tht y pblcly lbl m s n ggrssr fr tryng t sggsts sm smpl chngs t tr.cm tht wld stp ppl ssmng PNH s n chrg f thngs h s nt n chrg f.

t's n skn ff my ns f y dn't wnt t mk ny chngs t tr.cm, bt pls dn't sht t s nd cll s dts r cllss fr mkng ths sggstns.

#111 ::: Brandon Blackmoor ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:18 AM:

That's a thoughtful, gracious reply. I hope everything works out well for all concerned.

#112 ::: Marc Cabot ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Beth #81: This is the page to which I refer:

http://www.tor.com/page/about-us

The fact that tor.com is not the page for Tor Books is part of the problem, incidentally. I'm sure there is a rational reason for doing it this way. I'm also sure that it is confusing.

The publisher's name is Tor. I go to Tor.com. I see lotsa Tor-related stuff and lotsa Tor-related people. Yes, there's a little thing that says "Looking For Tor Books? Go to someotherpage.com" For all I know that's a shopping link. Why would I assume anything other than that having typed in the publisher's name and arrived at a page covered with things and people related to them, that I was on their page?

#113 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:44 AM:

Staranise @99, I have faith that if you're ever in a similar position, you'll find there are problems with that strategy. (Not that I'm wishing you should ever be in that position.)

Warren Terra @100: Thank you.

It may be relevant to his outburst that Foglio is apparently trapped on a cyclone-lashed tropical island in the antipodes with limited distractions.
It's certainly prolonging this misunderstanding beyond its natural lifespan. On the other hand, I do have to appreciate how much "They're incommunicado because a raging typhoon has trapped them on a small island in the Antipodes" sounds like something out of Girl Genius.

I am now repressing the urge to go tinker with the coffee maker.

#114 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:53 AM:

Oh dear god, Xopher, managing editor is a completely different job and a completely different part of the business -- it's production, not editorial. Yes, yes, I know it's incredibly confusing. I think publishing sometimes revels in the obscurity of its jargon. We still talk about galley proofs, after all, when there hasn't been a type galley involved for almost 100 years.

Tor is the brand. We have Tor Books, Tor.com, and heck, even Tor UK. We assume that people who can read books will be observant enough to notice that the Tor.com site says it is not Tor Books. Perhaps the fact that Tor.com does extensive promotion of things like The Game of Thrones and Doctor Who might be clue that Tor.com is not devoted to the products of Tor Books.

#115 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:55 AM:

Moderation:

JayBlanc, disemvowelled for making no progress at all.

Marc Cabot, consider reading the responses to JayBlanc.

#116 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:05 AM:

beth meacham @ 114... Tor is the brand. We have Tor Books, Tor.com, and heck, even Tor UK

But not Tor Johnson? :-)

#117 ::: Narmitaj ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:28 AM:

Now Glastonbury Tor has been getting complaints from girl genius fans. It's a mystical historical lump in ancient Somerset, people, not a publishing entity!

BTW I am only joking, feel free to delete if it is unhelpful...

#118 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:40 AM:

Serge @ #116:

Also neither Thor nor Loki (yes, I consistenly read "Tor" as the name of the God of Thunder, as that is the modern spelling in Scandawegia, it makes the image of Tor editors so much more amusing).

PNH, TNH, throughout:

I feel your pain. It seems, from an innocent bystander's perspective to be one of those cases where comms slipped through cracks and it was perceived as intentional rather than unintentional. Then someone acted on that perception and the wires ran hot with emails and tweets. :(

#119 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:54 AM:

Thank you, Ingvar.

Narmitaj, no worries.

#120 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:57 AM:

Ingvar M @ 118... it makes the image of Tor editors so much more amusing

Patrick as Edithor?

#121 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:02 AM:

The mystical hammer of power at Tor belonged to Beth Meacham. It was made of cheap plastic, and squeaked when you hit stuff with it. It was accompanied by a cute stuffed baby seal. When you were feeling really vile, you'd beat on the baby seal with the squeaky hammer. When you started feeling vaguely guilty about doing it, you knew you were getting better, and went back to work.

#122 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Beth is one of the Warrior Women Editors of Skiffy (long story there), and in a just universe would have been drawn by Jack Kirby.

#123 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Invar@118:Now I am totally visualizing Teresa slamming Mjolnir down upon offending sentences and sending the vowels scurrying outward in a cracking flash.

#124 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:08 AM:

One of these days I'm going to get a cricket bat. And epaulets.

#125 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:10 AM:

Wow. Steve Halter, I'm not sure I've ever seen Movable Type quadruple-post a comment before.

Give me a minute and I'll fix that.

#126 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:12 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden #113: It's certainly prolonging this misunderstanding beyond its natural lifespan. On the other hand, I do have to appreciate how much "They're incommunicado because a raging typhoon has trapped them on a small island in the Antipodes" sounds like something out of Girl Genius.

So does Phil's behavior, actually... my basic response here is "well, he's a spark, sometimes they get a little... mad.

("How dare he neglect my important project! Go, my netbats, roust him from his torpor!")

#127 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:12 AM:

Marc Cabot @ 73

Who owns/manages the wiki you refer to? Because it's entirely possible that the person in charge of that Wiki is not Patrick. Which means that he can't update the information.

Also? I view wikis with great suspicion. IME, most of them are edited by self-appointed ad-hock committees that change members without notification and the members may or may not know what they're talking about. It's hard enough keeping errors out of a permanent, member-vetted committee-of-actual-experts document. A document with no central oversight and accountablity? *shudder*

#128 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:15 AM:

I rather saw Teresa as Hogun the Grim myself.

#129 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:19 AM:

Teresa@125:Thanks--Firefox gave me an implausible error at that same time.

#130 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:19 AM:

Serge: I'm sure not going to claim I'm Fandral when I'm standing next to you.

#131 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Lets just hope they don't start on Torness, or Her Majesty's Nuclear Constabulary will be annoyed with them.

#132 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:23 AM:

I can get behind Toroids, if they're doughnuts.

#133 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:28 AM:

I haven't thought about my "club the baby seal" installation for years. It was surprisingly cathartic, and as Teresa said, when you started feeling guilty, you knew you were getting over whatever it was.

The Warrior Women Editors of Quality Skiffy, if you please.

#134 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:18 PM:

abi @109 "Speaking quite generally, one of the best ways of supporting the assertion that no one is sending internet mobs after anyone else is not to behave like a member an internet mob.

Just a thought."

abi: I just had to repeat that as a quote, because it's a marvel of quiet, devastatingly accurate, truth.

#135 ::: Steve Fahnestalk ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:18 PM:

Teresa (hey, long time no see!): I'm fascinated by the "disemvowelling" thingy! How do you do that? It's a great way to make a comment difficult to read (well, not THAT difficult) while still allowing it to be published.
Is there some kind of app you use for this?

#136 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:39 PM:

47: "Keep in mind, Foglio didn't just write a blog about being annoyed that nobody was responding. He posted it to his personal blog, Facebook, and LiveJournal and then openly asked all of his fans to blast an individual's Facebook page and email address until they paid attention to him."

Ths. dn't knw ny f th flks n cntntn hr, s hv n dg n ths hnt. Bt tht s jst clsslss, lw bhvr.

#137 ::: Chrisfs ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:50 PM:

It seems everyone just needs to get together and work it out. In Mr. Nielsen Hayden's case, 'work it out' may simply mean forwarding relevant emails to the appropriate editor with a note saying ' please deal with this, YOU are his editor, not me'. The editor needs to deal with Foglio and Foglio needs to get the right person on the other end. I can see the urgency on Foglio's part. While this is a distraction to you, for him this is his livlihood, and when some entity has a good deal of control over it, lack of response can be nerve wracking.

#138 ::: RuthG ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:54 PM:

Chris Meadows @61, Marc Cabot @112, re: how is Jane Q. Author supposed to know who's in charge @ Tor books (or other details about the publishing industry)?

Isn't it an agent's job to know about the (sometimes byzantine) publishing industry and then use that knowledge on the author's behalf? Experience, advocacy, and mediation--that's the whole point of agents, I've always thought.

#139 ::: Jonathan Hutchins ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 12:58 PM:

I'm not sure how to hardlink a Facebook post, but the GirlGenius page there ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Girl-Genius-Webcomic/28371352860 ) has the following:

"The miscommunication between Studio Foglio and Patrick Neilsen Hayden was unfortunate, and we do think he was trying to help."

#140 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:13 PM:

TNH #124: I would like to point out that my second form mathematics teacher went on to become one of the world's top cricket umpires. This was the starting point of something in my life, I think.

I'm not altogether sure of the efficacy of cricket bats as hammers. They're not designed effectively for that.

#141 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:48 PM:

beth 114: Oh, dear. Yeah, totally confused about that. Embarrassing, especially since I was trying to explain something! To be fair, Patrick isn't Managing Editor either.

I'll be over here...

#142 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:53 PM:

Xopher, #n: I do thank you for your support. But when I read this comment, all I could think was that when I've been in situations of this sort, this kind of gratuitous psychologizing by strangers has tended to make it harder for me to regain my equilibrium, not easier.

Anderson, #137: I appreciate the implicit sympathy, but I think "clsslss, lw bhvr" is a bit extreme. (I think Dave Harmon's #126 -- "he's a spark, sometimes they get a little...mad" -- nails it, actually.)

#143 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 01:55 PM:

#138, Chrisfs: Someone I doubt that you read much of the prior discussion before posting that. But thank you for explaining that the solution to misunderstandings is for people to communicate and work it out. We are all wiser for your insight here. :-)

#144 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 02:09 PM:

Patrick, I see your point. If you think it would be better for that comment to go away, please feel free to delete it. In fact, I'd prefer it.

#145 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 02:13 PM:

Fragano@141: "I would like to point out that my second form mathematics teacher went on to become one of the world's top cricket umpires. This was the starting point of something in my life, I think."

My second form sports teacher was a member of the Welsh rugby team back in the days rugby was a theoretically amateur sport - which given the status of rugby in Wales was unutterably cool. (First day of the Six Nations tournament tomorrow sees Wales v Italy - who we should comfortably defeat, but no match is ever a foregone conclusion as England have learned oh so many times. Heh.)

#146 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 02:31 PM:

142 - your tolerance speaks very well of you. When I think of having my email/Facebook "bombed" like that, I realize that I am tolerance-deficient.

#147 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 02:45 PM:

Anderson @146: Indeed, Patrick is a class act. In his place, I would also have a difficult time maintaining any level of civility. I almost want to send flowers.

#148 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:08 PM:

In Barbara Hambly's Sun Wolf Trilogy, one of the grimoires our hero carries with him has instructions for summoning something called The Eater of Heads. He sagely points out that there is no corresponding banishment spell, and wisely leaves that one alone. The lesson I'm taking from this situation is that goodwill or hope for good results are not adequate to control the Internets once summoned.

...

So the mad spark summoned a storm he could not control, and is now trapped on an island by another? Hark, Prospero?

...

Wishing you well, Patrick, and Phil likewise. I like both your work.

#149 ::: Bill Turner ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:10 PM:

Of course, it's sort of a compliment that people perceive you as having great power to fix whatever is making them unhappy.

#150 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:29 PM:

Beth @133: -- for quality skiffy is entertaining skiffy!

Hey, Steve Fahnestalk @135, long time no see!

I invented disemvowelling as a moderation technique on Making Light some years back. You got the point of it at near-lightspeed: it deprecates the text, makes it clear which portions were objectionable, and makes it difficult but not laborious to read. It has some less obvious properties as well.

In a better world I could just refer you to the Wikipedia entry, but as part of one of those never-ending Wikipedia wrangles, unnamed parties there keep rewriting the entry to downplay or possibly erase my role in it. Which is stupid; you can still read the Making Light thread in which I invented it and Arthur Hlavaty named it.

Disemvowelling software exists, and when I was moderating Boing Boing I had an instant disemvowelling button, but on Making Light I just drag the text off into MSWord and bash it with search-and-replace.

Fine point: don't remove "y" even when it's acting as a vowel, because some commenters' writing becomes unreadable without it. I have yet to figure out why, but the phenomenon is most strongly associated with individual commenters, not the subject under discussion.

Fragano @140: My desire for a cricket bat was largely inspired by Shaun of the Dead, where it's used as an anti-zombie device.

Xopher @141: Possibly you got confused because "Managing Editor, Tor Books" used to be my title?

Moderation:

Apologetically disemvowelled one line of Anderson @136, because things seem to be calming down, nd bcs nyn wh's ntrstd cn stll pzzl t t.

#151 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:32 PM:

Ingvar M @118, no, Thor is the enemy of publishing. For it was Thor’s mighty Power Tool that, legend has it, slew the Midlist Serpent.

#152 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Teresa - probably at least partly that.

I should send you the little Javascript disemvoweller I wrote. I can't look at it right now, but IIRC it has an option for whether to include 'y'.

#153 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 03:59 PM:

Narmitaj@117:

"Glastonbury Tor"

Now I'm starting to think of the correspondence between James Thurber and publisher H.F. Cluffman and associates from The Thurber Chronicle, and how someone living at the house where Thurber had been born, received 20 copies of "Grandma was a Nudist".

#154 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 04:28 PM:

Avram, #151: I found this internet. I think it's yours.

#155 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 04:57 PM:

Did you know that "Thor" was played by Vincent d'Onofrio in "Adventures in Babysitting"? Yes, that hardbody blond guy with the sledgehammer was d'Onofrio.

#156 ::: Steve Fahnestalk ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 04:59 PM:

Teresa: I'm assuming you wrote a macro to automate it. Shouldn't take but a minute. I'm gonna steal the idea, thanks.

#157 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 05:36 PM:

Steve Fahnestalk @156: One thing I've learned over the last decade or so is that real moderators are a type (or a turn of mind), and that their grasp of stuff relating to moderation is nearly instantaneous. I suspect that's why there are so few books on the subject: to us it's obvious, so we feel like there really isn't much to say.

I'll be really surprised if you aren't one.

#158 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Avram @151: *snrch*

#159 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 06:34 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 50:
You have every right to be proud of your own scrupulous attention to these matters.

Exquisitely stated.

#160 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 06:46 PM:

I've long thought that disemvowelling would be a great idea on the forums I moderate, but it would require a bit of a culture change. Currently unwanted posts are replaced by a message (the original text is available to moderators, but not visible to everyone else) and spammers are utterly wiped.

Problem with that is that it lets the imagination of the paranoid run free as to what was written in the removed posts, and forum users are paranoid souls, I often find; convinced there are unwritten rules lurking there as landmines for the unlucky, and that the deleted posts were deleted for reasons much more interesting than the actuality.

#161 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 06:54 PM:

Matthew Brown @160,

Even worse than that, there's a forum I help moderate which has a "bozo" flag; you can tag a sign-in as a bozo and their posts will show to them (and to moderators) but to everyone else, their message shows as a deleted message. (the flag is used to see if problem children will calm down...) We've had people get very upset at all the "deleted messages" on the board....

#162 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @157: One thing I've learned over the last decade or so is that real moderators are a type (or a turn of mind), and that their grasp of stuff relating to moderation is nearly instantaneous.

I had a brief go as moderator of an email list for my RL neighborhood. It's much harder than these folks make it look. (And what the heck do you do with people who start launching verbal abuse at you from behind the scenes, and tell you with great authority to "knock it off"?)

#163 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 07:44 PM:

Jacque @162: What one does is have fellow moderators so you have an in-group that can laugh at them with you. Or commiserate. Or rage. Or all three.

So you can then go out and behave like a professional person instead of an emotionsmonster at them.

#164 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:29 PM:

On cricket bats as a hand-held weapon, there is also this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t44eGxGBrNE

However, I wonder if Teresa has ever actually handled one? If she is attending WorldCon in London, I would urge her to try it. I understand there may be another Fanashes!

#165 ::: Carl Knudson ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 09:47 PM:

It seems there were crossed wires and such all over the place. Seeing both sides of the situation really is great and hopefully this can all get sorted out to be beneficial to all those involved... the publisher, the authors and the fans.

#166 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:04 PM:

Vicki @79: "I wonder what a graphic novel equivalent of Metal Machine Music would be like.

Take Phil's early XXXenophile comics. Add a few extra pages depicting stuff that would be illegal in the UK under sections 62 to 68 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (I'm not sure what equivalent statutes apply in the US, but I'm pretty sure the first amendment won't protect you, if you push the child porn button hard enough). Submit to publisher. Watch publisher demand editorial changes. Watch author fail to make such changes to the satisfaction of the publisher's lawyers, citing artistic integrity. Watch publisher sigh and reject MS. Watch author smugly point out that the option clause has now been terminated -- by the publisher.

#167 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 10:27 PM:

Cadbury Moose @131: Speaking of Torness, here's what it was like to crawl on top of one of the reactors there while it was running.

As a random note for the peanut gallery: Tor Books and Tor UK[*] are completely separate publishing companies. They're both subsidiaries of the same multinational, but the people, policies, and publication lists are different. Source: I'm published by both Tor and Tor UK. And when I try to understand how it works, my head hurts.


[*] The UK in Tor UK is silent

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:07 PM:

167
Charlie, I got to visit Diablo Canyon, while it was still in the licensing phase, but the fuel rods were already on-site (in their shielded spent-fuel pool). It's a lot like Torness, in the solidity and the maze of plumbing and the safety-mindedness. (The doors were card-locked, so they could track where people were.) In my case, I was with Frisbie and a couple of his friends, who were known to one of the operators.
It has a spectacular view, and they see a lot of wildlife there: foxes, otters, whales passing offshore.

#169 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2014, 11:10 PM:

Teresa: Re. cricket bats as weapons, you might want to talk with someone at UCLA -- down in the Mildred Matthias Botanical Garden there's a fine bench made from welded-together bronze castings of cricket bats (presumably ones of some local historical interest). Or perhaps not -- that much metal would be _heavy_.

#170 ::: Colin Morris ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 12:03 AM:

An appology and update from Phil Foglio: https://www.facebook.com/phil.foglio/posts/453191471474680:0

#171 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 12:06 AM:

re: #170
Is there a version accessible to those of us not on the Book of Face, please?

#172 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 12:15 AM:

Nexus Trimean@104 - Absolutely, just what you said, just like you said it.

kimiko@148 - "Don't summon an Eater of Heads" bigger than your head?

TNH@113 - 'Tinker with the coffee maker'? Run Away! Run Away!

#173 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 01:15 AM:

@170, 171

There's an entry on his Livejournal:
http://philfoglio.livejournal.com/45833.html
I'm assuming it's the same as his Facebook entry.

#174 ::: Colin Morris ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 01:35 AM:

@171,@173
I confirm LJ content matches FB. I appologise for linking to FB-locked content.

#175 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 01:45 AM:

Thanks, Cheryl, also Colin for the confirmation.

#176 ::: Zora ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 02:34 AM:

Reverting to something way way back in the thread: Kiana Davenport wasn't upset about her first novel, she was upset about a novel. Her first book was published in 1994. Chris Meadows slipped up in the Teleread reportage.

BTW, I read that first book and loathed it. Racist (let's hate whites) and violent (let's bomb tourist hotels; that will show those haoles).

#177 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 04:13 AM:

Dave Luckett @164

My first exposure to a cricket bat as weapon was, I am pretty certain, in Wolf of Kabul. I hadn't realised the character had been invented as far back as he had (1922), and the stories would likely feel horribly dated today.

#178 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 04:33 AM:

Avram @ #151:

Not slayed, merely bound into captivity until the end is near.

Serge @ #155:

Gosh! I do believe, in fact, that I have seen that film, back in the dark mists of time. I don't recall that title attached to it, though. But, then, Swedish translations of original movie titles are often bordering on confusing.

#179 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 06:41 AM:

Dave Bell @117:

My dear sir, that is not "a" cricket bat, that is the one, the only, clicky ba.

#180 ::: Connor Cochran ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 09:56 AM:

I worked with Phil on a comic book project for several years, back in the early '80s, that resulted in one published issue and (ultimately) having to sue him in the early '90s after he (a) claimed the collective work of five people was solely his own and (b) filed a fraudulent Illinois state trademark on the title. The case was quickly settled in the rest of the team's favor and we got a declaratory judgment from the court giving us everything we asked for. The entire experience was extremely ugly and highly educational.

One of the many things I learned from this decade-long string of events is that Phil's memory is simply not to be trusted regarding details. This isn't a diss -- it's just functional reality. Memory is a process of reconstruction, and pretty much everyone remembers things the way they want to. But Phil had a particularly intense version of the phenomenon.

At one point during the comic work one of the other people on the team described the problem to Phil as follows: "It's like your memory is this vast many-roomed mansion, and your consciousness is a single candle moving from room to room. You remember only whatever information is stored in the room the candle is currently lighting up, and nothing else in the mansion. Then the light moves on to another room and you remember what's in that new one and completely forget everything stored in the room you just left."

Phil ruefully agreed with the assessment.

He is a very talented person. But whatever story he tells anyone about anything, it's pretty much guaranteed he's inadvertently leaving something critical out. NOT intentionally -- there's no malice in this phenomenon -- it's just that until forcefully reminded about some things he really doesn't remember them.

Seems pretty likely that this is what happened to his conversation with Patrick. When he decided to encourage people to go after Patrick in order to get the response from Tor he wanted, the candle of his consciousness just wasn't in the mental room where the details of their Worldcon talk had been stored.

To anyone on this forum who is reflexively defending Phil for taking action against the Big, Bad People at Tor -- don't automatically assume that Phil's representation of events is accurate or complete. We're talking about someone I once saw spend half an hour searching through his room and luggage for the roll of cash he'd brought to a convention, only to find it inside one of the socks he was wearing...whereupon he announced to the friends who had been helping with the search, "Oops. I always put it there for safekeeping, and then I always forget that I did it."

#181 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 11:17 AM:

Connor @180: you just described my memory process perfectly.

I have a memory palace: it's just that every time I visit seems to be on a moonless night in the middle of a power cut, and I'm carrying a smoky oil lamp.

#182 ::: Connor Cochran ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 11:20 AM:

One more thing to share: I find significant cosmic amusement in the fact that Phil's complaint is that no one at Tor would respond to him, given that he spent six years refusing to respond to me or anyone else on the D'ARC TANGENT team while we we were trying to settle things short of taking him to court. Karma -- it's not just for metaphysical breakfast any more.

#183 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 12:16 PM:

Ingvar M @ 178... It's the only Chris Columbus movie I've seen more than once, and, besides the distinction of a muscle-bound d'Onofrio sighting, it starred Elizabeth Shue babysitting a pre-teen girl who goes around wearing Thor's winged helmet.

#184 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 01:42 PM:

#183 Serge

Fabulous movie. Easter Eggs from it float up at the oddest triggers.

Nobody gets out of here wit'out singin' the blues.

#185 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 02:22 PM:

Connor @180: That's how my memory works since my first fibro flare. It isn't fun.

I guess what bugs me the most, is that there WAS a time when the power was on, and I could teleport from room to room...now I'm never sure that what I am able to retrieve is correct.

#186 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 03:44 PM:

I've got a copy of D'Arc Tangent somewhere, and I liked it quite a bit.

There are a number of alternate universes I'd like to get to so that I could see finished versions of various works.

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 04:12 PM:

180: This is me, biting my tongue.

#188 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Biting mine here, too. And that's more of a sacrifice for me than for someone with a whole one!

#189 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 05:57 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 184... :-)

#190 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 06:04 PM:

Wait, so all he apologizes for is getting Patrick’s “title and job description” wrong?

Foglio doesn’t seem to have grasped that he didn’t just get some business card dressing wrong. He misunderstood the nature of Patrick’s job responsibilities and relationship with Foglio’s own editor, and forgot the details of Patrick’s own promise to him. Then called down an Internet horde on his head.

(Leaving aside that he still hasn’t figured out Patrick’s last name.)

#191 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 06:41 PM:

Generalizing my #126, Patrick is indeed showing forebearance. That is part of his social and leadership ability. Also, he's probably heard a lot of stories about Phil....

It took me a long time to recognize that sometimes people are effectively non compos mentis for a while, and even if they're screaming at you right now, it doesn't have to mean anything in the long term.

A big part of maintaining peace with those around you is spotting those moments, and not retaliating or escalating. Actually solving the "real problem" may or may not be possible, but you can at least avoid turning a temporary incident into a long-term disaster. (Naturally, this doesn't apply for people who are NCM all the time, or so often as to make them unsafe in general.)

This is a particular case of something that goes way down... even in Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma¹ contests, it turns out that "forgiveness" is important for success. TIT-FOR-TWO-TATS beats TIT-FOR-TAT against the field, precisely because it can take an occasional hit without getting stuck in permanent non-cooperation.

¹ A simple mathematical "game" that turns out to be a surprisingly insightful model of the tension between cooperation and aggression.

#192 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 06:55 PM:

Avram 191: I wasn't going to say anything, but...yeah.

#193 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 07:07 PM:

Thing is, it's not really the place of anyone but Patrick to decide whether Foglio didn't apologize enough or for the right things. Sometimes people use apologies for one thing as proxies for apologies for others that they cannot articulate. Sometimes you have to go to peace with the apology you have.

The breach is between the two of them, so the resolution must be the same.

As a fan of Girl Genius, a mod on Making Light, and someone who is friends with Patrick, I do have a variety of interests in the matter. But given that I didn't enjoy having a bunch of Foglio's partisans put their energy into amplifying his side of things, I'm not sure I want to lean in the direction of amplifying Patrick's. Even if, as I said above, there is a "side" to amplify, which there may very well not be.

#194 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 07:43 PM:

Playing both sides against the middle is famously a bad idea.

#195 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 07:51 PM:

Xopher: I believe Eric Berne termed that one, "Let's You and Him Fight."

#196 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 08:53 PM:

Actually, that was one of Wimpy's lines. He's better known for "Let's have a nice duck dinner. You bring the ducks." Or, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

#197 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 08:57 PM:

It’s Patrick’s place to decide whether Patrick accepts Foglio’s apology, and Nameless Editor’s job to make that decision for Nameless Editor.

And any other person who might one day (or already) be in a position to have to decide whether to enter into a business relationship with Foglio, Patrick, Tor, or all three, can make up their own mind, and come to a different decision, right?

For myself, I’m making a note that if I’m ever in this kind of situation, write shit down.

#198 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 09:34 PM:

Indeed, Avram, in the business world I was in, I learned to follow up one-on-one meetings with "Just to Confirm Our Conversation" emails.

#199 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2014, 11:08 PM:

Avram @ 197... As for myself, I save my emails. There is a reason why my backup is pushing the limits of what Outlook can handle.

#200 ::: Annamal ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 03:33 AM:

On the one hand it sounds like there was a fundamental miscommunication and it's on its way to being resolved. Setting your audience on people is certainly not the ideal way to handle a professional disagreement.

On the other, the idea that any company can ignore continued efforts to communicate (on a legitimate business matter even) for over a year is profoundly disturbing.

Surely there are better ways to set up your systems so these kinds of fraught communications do not fall through the cracks?

Because otherwise the lesson here is that communication was only re-established *after* the fans were unleashed and that would suggest that other people might also view this as a way of resolving their communication problems.

#201 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 07:43 AM:

Fragano @140 - I always thought the trick was to use the handle of the bat to hammer in the stumps. If the stumps broke when you tried to hammer them in, then you know it's been a while since the last rain... maybe a couple of years.

Or, alternatively, you've picked the wrong bit of the school playground to play cricket on, and you need to find the spot where the guys who bitumened the whole thing left the little gap for stumps to be hammered in. Clearly you have the wrong patch of grass sprouting up through all the bitumen.

(context: Australian).

#202 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 10:25 AM:

Charlie@167: As a random note for the peanut gallery: Tor Books and Tor UK[*] are completely separate publishing companies. They're both subsidiaries of the same multinational, but the people, policies, and publication lists are different. Source: I'm published by both Tor and Tor UK. And when I try to understand how it works, my head hurts.

For extra confusion points, the Tor UK website is to be found at torbooks.co.uk.

#203 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 01:57 PM:

Megpie #201: You're absolutely right. Given the way bats are constructed, hammering the stumps in with the flat of the bat could shatter it.

#204 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Annamal @200: On the other, the idea that any company can ignore continued efforts to communicate (on a legitimate business matter even) for over a year is profoundly disturbing.

This assumes that Mr Foglio's version of events is true and complete. We already know that it is not; Patrick is only peripherally involved and yet he is the one dealing with the fallout. In other portions of Mr Foglio's rant he ascribes reprehensible motivations to various unnamed people and casts his interpretations of their actions in the worst possible light.

He rightly describes his post as a screed. It's about how he feels, and is only accurate insofar as it expresses his feelings.

#205 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 04:27 PM:

Fragano (203): For a moment, I lost track of the fact that you were talking about cricket. Hammering in stumps with the other kind of bats was an odd and disturbing image.

#206 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 05:50 PM:

Avram @197: For myself, I’m making a note that if I’m ever in this kind of situation, write shit down.

It's amazing how many circumstances that applies to. Or, better yet, talk the other guy into writing it down, so you can sign off on it. Then you have it in their words. One less step in The Telephone Game.

See also: what Serge said. (No, I am not either a packrat! :->)

@205: I was in my Army Surplus Store last week buying mittens, and noticed they're carrying that line of "animal face" t-shirts. I teasted them about now having the guinea pig one in stock. But the one that made me LOL was the bat: face oriented with the eyes at the bottom, of course.

#207 ::: Annamal ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 08:19 PM:

@pericat "This assumes that Mr Foglio's version of events is true and complete."

Actually, I'm not assuming that at all, however there is nothing in the account above that discounts or even throws doubt on the idea that TOR ( or its representatives anyway) could have gone an entire year without replying to someone with whom they have a business relationship.

I'm not saying that it has definitely happened in this particular case but the idea that it *could* happen, that there aren't safeguards in place to prevent it happening (or at least make it unlikely) is profoundly disturbing.

#208 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 08:54 PM:

Annamal @ 207: I've worked for a variety of companies over the past 30 years, often in responsible positions, and if any of them had "safeguards in place" to make sure that I answered letters/emails/voice mails, I'm not aware of them. Certain functions within some companies have systems to assign an ID number to a request, and then track that it has been fulfilled, but these are few and far between. I'd be absolutely astonished if any publishing company, anywhere, has a bureaucratic system like that.

#209 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 10:08 PM:

Serge, every so often I save the archive for outlook with a date in the file name then I delete all but the last two years. If I need something older than my current archive, I save the current archive as archive_current, copy an older archive in as archive, and dig out what I need. When done archive_current gets renamed to archive. I've never needed anything in much older archives, but I do have them, just in case. I also have things set so Outlook does not autoarchive. Some things I need in active email for more than a year while other email can be archived within a couple of weeks.

#210 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 10:27 PM:

Lin Daniel... I probably should archive things, but, with the clowning going around at work, I keep each project's directory active so that I can quickly look thru the project's history. When the project has not had any activity for two years though, I then consider throwing it away.

#211 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 11:17 PM:

janetl @208

I work for a used machinery company; I'm the company spam-filter and quotation generator. After one too many cases of an email inquiry being "dropped on the floor", I put in place a system where, at noon the calendar day after an inquiry comes in, if a salesman hasn't specifically informed me that the inquiry hasn't been dealt with, I print out the email in question and hand it, in hard copy, to the company president. After another 24 hours, I reprint it and, again, hand it to the company president, with EMPHASIS. This system has massively reduced the "dropped on the floor" problem (of course, a salesman could lie to me and tell me something's been handled, but I have no control over that. And since I'm the one who sends out the machinery quotes, I usually know if something is dealt with or not by whether it's passed through my hands again.)

However, this is a system that I came up with, and I implemented; it's not standard (so far as I know) anywhere. And it only works because the webpage generated inquiries (which is 90% of them) come to a central point; me. It doesn't do a thing about the faxed inquiries or the telephone inquiries...

#212 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2014, 11:29 PM:

Cassy B. @ 211: Sounds like a good system! I didn't mean to suggest that such systems don't exist, only that they are only put in places where things are highly structured. Customer asks for quote, sales person follows up, is just such a tidy system. Customer support calls are similarly tracked, I believe. Less structured communication rarely is.

#213 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 12:43 AM:

Connor #180: I thought that D'arc Tangent would come up sometime in this thread. I'm still sad that comic went nowhere; did anyone ever put up a plot synopsis of it, or maybe thought about reviving the comic in today's comic renaissance?

#214 ::: Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 05:47 AM:

Having read your post and Foglio's post, I don't think he meant to bring the internet down on Tor. It looked like he was trying the equivalent of going to twitter when the customer service number has chucked you to a dial tone too many times.

It looks like the only reason he named you is he thought you were top of the chain, which is why he apologized for getting that wrong. I do think he should have apologized for the personal email posting as well. Tor's twitter would have been more appropriate.

#215 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 06:53 AM:

Cassy B @ #211:

Back in the dark mists of time, I wrote a small system for a Swedish union to do for emails what they already did for paper-based mail.

All incoming comms, without a previous diary number, is assigned a diary number. Anything taht happens to become duplicatly diaried has references from latter diary numbers to earlier diary numbers.

Since unions are not governmental institutions (even in Sweden), they're not required to keep comms diaries, but any Swedish governmental institution does and a lot of non-profits (including most unions) do that, so they can go "nuhu, look, you're asking about correspondence DNr 2013-08-15:07, and we replied to that on 2013-08-17, and you have seen it, because you contacted us, quoting that correspondence, on 2013-09-05".

Why I remember this, some 16 years after the fact, I don't, in all honesty, know.

I also don't know if there was any explicit "has there been a follow-up to this mail", but if it was a query they had an existing process for, it should have had a human start a new workflow for it (and I do believe anything incoming ended up in a "please manually categorize this" workflow, but, it was in a previous century).

#216 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 08:28 AM:

It sounds like you're talking about either a trouble ticketing system, or a customer relationship management system -- in either case, not the sort of thing I'd really expect to see implemented across the editorial staff at a publisher.

#217 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 11:01 AM:

Xeger @216: While trouble ticketing/CRM systems are brilliant when they work, everything I've heard about Macmillan's IT department and Tor's internal org structure leads me to believe that the attempt to implement such a system at Tor would be a great plot for a black farce written by the ghost of John Sladek. Or maybe a collaboration between Cory Doctorow and Christopher Moore.

#218 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 11:14 AM:

Charlie Stross @ 217... The system here was designed by Ron Goulart.

#219 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 11:30 AM:

I used to work at a place where they were designed by Hieronymus Bosch. Still get the twitches.

#220 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 11:30 AM:

Charlie Stross @ 217 ...
Xeger @216: While trouble ticketing/CRM systems are brilliant when they work, everything I've heard about Macmillan's IT department and Tor's internal org structure leads me to believe that the attempt to implement such a system at Tor would be a great plot for a black farce written by the ghost of John Sladek. Or maybe a collaboration between Cory Doctorow and Christopher Moore.

Oh... I wasn't advocating that they use one (or try to use one, or do use one) ... just naming the problem space.

After all, it's hard to dispel things you can't name ;D

#221 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 11:34 AM:

At a fair number of companies there are actually rules against keeping personal email archives beyond a certain date, to reduce the exposure in the event of legal discovery. (That is, if the company is in a lawsuit and the other party is entitled to see "everything you know about person X between date Y and date Z" then it's best to be able to say "all we've retained is in the CRM or trouble ticket database entries for this contact", rather than face the choice of sorting through years of mail or handing over unfiltered mail archives.)

That said, CRM and trouble ticketing systems tend to assume or impose a certain structure on the company using them, and collisions with existing structures can be…messy.

#222 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 12:00 PM:

Mary Aileen #205: Cruelty to animals is not something I endorse, I assure you.

#223 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 12:17 PM:

#219 ::: abi

...I used to work at a place where they were designed by Hieronymus Bosch.

In a transportation chamber accident (think "The Fly") conjoined with Escher?

#224 ::: Dan Steffan ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 07:40 PM:

Sometimes, when a creative novice is heaped with praise, awards, and celebrity too early in their career -- before, some would say, they deserve it or before they have truly learned their craft -- they often become lost in their own hype.

This kind of unfortunate reinforcement can cause a creative puppy's ego to prematurely inflate and can seriously interfere with their ability to continue grow and mature as an artist and a person. It leads them towards self-importance and a short sighted view of the world.

The same can also be said about the effects of modest success in a niche market. That success can leave them convinced that their work is far more significant than it may actually be. The enthusiasm and loyalty of their niche fan base exacerbates those delusions of grandeur and leaves them with expectations that turn out to be out of synch with reality, as others experience it.

They mistakenly believe that the years of back slapping and laudatory remarks are a universal confirmation of their position and status and it leaves them incapable of comprehending the idea that they are not the center of the universe.

Sadly, when that happens, these folks find themselves at a loss for what to do, so they strike out at whoever is convenient or available. If it hadn't been you it would have been somebody else.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but who knew the same applied to old inflated puppies, too?

#225 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2014, 08:17 PM:

Dan Steffan @ 224: [a heavy dose of snark]

Know what? Personalities aren't all about ego and success. People are way more complicated than that. Sometimes people screw up not because their egos are inflated but because they're sincerely having trouble processing information in one realm, even if they're perfectly functional in other realms. As evidenced upstream, Patrick has managed to be more charitable than your comments, even under these taxing circumstances; surely then you or others might also find it worthwhile to try to think charitably of those involved?

And, not that it bears directly on this point, I also want to highlight a second spectacularly wise and cogent observation from abi on this thread:

Sometimes people use apologies for one thing as proxies for apologies for others that they cannot articulate. Sometimes you have to go to peace with the apology you have.

#226 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2014, 10:54 PM:

Intentions can be so difficult to determine at a distance.

We're pleased and grateful that this thread has stayed as civil as it has. Thank you all.

Moderation:

This kerfluffle is no longer a current event, as the internet reckons such things. From this point forward, anyone who turns up wanting to re-start the argument will be judged by a stricter standard than has hitherto been used.

That goes double if they've duplicated any argument already made in the thread.

Thanks again, and good night.

#227 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2014, 08:25 AM:

"Rest of the world doesn't know how TOR organises it's editors. Do not assume that people outside of your organisation chart understand your organisation chart. (Or even those inside your organisation chart.)"

There's an implicit assumption here that people *within* the organization have access to or understanding of the organization chart :)

#228 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2014, 04:52 PM:

{sigh} I'm always late to these sorts of things. But I do think I can contribute some comments that are not a waste of space or time. Disclaimer: I feel reasonably comfortable saying that Patrick is a friend of mine. I am even more comfortable saying that Phil is a friend of mine.

As the case of Adria Richards should have made perfectly clear, it's a *terrible* idea to rabble-rouse on the Internet, even gently. I won't say that it should *never* be done, but outside of somebody's life being in immediate danger, I can't imagine what would justify it. It's lighting a fuse on an unknown amount of explosives, where "unknown" could be anywhere from 0.5 grams to a megagram, and even where the detonation(s) will occur (and who it might end up maiming) is unknown. It's phenomenally irresponsible. Even if everything Phil had said were actually true, asking n's of thousands of non-involved individuals to *harass* Patrick is completely out of line.

(I confess to being more than a little worried that nobody else made this point . . . am I entirely wrong? But I find the reasoning quite sound . . . )

Item two is that the follow-up response was from Carol, the Studio Foglio business manager. Carol is a *very* sensible and thoughtful person, and knowing that she's gotten her hands on the issue makes me fairly sure that its all being handled in an adequately calm and mature manner. Whew.

#229 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Dave @228:
(I confess to being more than a little worried that nobody else made this point . . . am I entirely wrong? But I find the reasoning quite sound . . . )

The point is implicit in much of the conversation in the thread. However, making it explicit would have been very close to making it an accusation, which could have been (or been seen as) another step along the road to a mutual blog war. And I know from past experience that that is a very short road indeed.

My contributions to this thread were all aimed at preventing said blog war, and I would have discouraged anyone who went in that particular direction while this was still an active issue. I am grateful for the tact of the commentariat in taking their tone from Patrick on this matter.

(Shorter, less stuffy me: I agree, but the best way to act on that agreement was not to say so. Kind of a neat paradox, in the abstract.)

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