Worldcon and Jon

To complete a trio of posts on related topics. Jon del Arroz, a science fiction author whose book we’ve reviewed here has had his attending membership of the 2018 Worldcon downgraded to supporting membership. The exact reasons are presumably confidential but Worldcon has indicated that they had concerns regarding Jon and their own code of conduct. People have pointed to examples of things Jon has said he would do at Worldcon including wearing a body cam to video people causing trouble at him.

In the meantime, Jon has gained a lot of publicity as a consequence. A lengthy rant in his defence on Facebook by Larry Correia, a angsty post from Sarah Hoyt on Mad Genius Club, a sneery post by Vox Day – indeed a whole set of people who expressed how much they were finished with Worldcon back in late 2015, and then again in 2016, and then again in 2018, are once again announcing how very much they are now, once again, completely done with Worldcon.

Jon himself is happy with the boost to his sales, stating on Twitter:

“Never thought I’d get up to #6 in steampunk this week (2nd highest this book has been so far) though I’d love to see it up to #1. “

So it would seem from the conservative & alt-right perspective the “ban” had the net effect of:

  • Preventing Jon from attending a convention that according to assorted sad, rabid and scrappy-doo puppies is a terrible con full of terrible people and a complete waste of time.
  • Boosted sales of his book.

You’d think they’d be happy 🙂

There are, as far as I can tell, almost no downsides for Jon del Arrox *unless* he really, really, wanted to go to Worldcon. That seems doubtful given that Jon largely accepts much of what Vox Day and the Sad Puppies have claimed about Worldcon and the supposed Sci-Fi establishment AND given that he has been claiming that he expected Worldcon to be a hostile environment for him.

So is this some kind of own goal for Worldcon? After all, the downgrading of the membership could be seen as playing into Jon’s hands? No, just because it is a net gain for Jon Del Arroz doesn’t mean it is some kind of loss for Worldcon.

What was the net effect on Worldcon?

  • A community of people who have been claiming for half a decade that Worldcon is to very varying degrees a terrible thing, once again complain that Worldcon is a terrible thing.
  • The extent to which Jon can use their time to promote his books is now limited.

The negatives are almost zero – Vox day would be making up shit about Worldcon regardless – and the positives are avoiding a huge amount of timewasting.

It is hard to see anything wrong with a decision in which everybody benefits.

The common element between this trio of posts is that early action does the least harm to all concerned but a less obvious element is that these issues are often presented as a zero-sum game when in fact they are not – or at least are not if action is taken early enough.

  • Vox Day didn’t actually suffer because he was expelled by the SFWA and SFWA did not suffer by expelling him.
  • Jon Del Arroz has gained by being ‘banned’ by Worldcon and Worldcon has gained by banning him.
  • …and Twitter would have probably gained by closing Trump’s account years ago and Trump would have been no worse off as a consequence.

So what are they so upset about? Aside from fragile egos and conspiracy theories – nothing but then aside from fragile egos and conspiracy theories what are the right ever upset about?

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16 comments

  1. sfrazer2015

    “You’d think they’d be happy”

    They are. This outrage is just how they express happiness.

    I think this is either a side-effect of (or the reason for) the common desire to “destroy” or “demolish” those they disagree with and their obsession with “librul tears.” Unless someone is expressing outrage, then it isn’t really happiness. So sometimes they express the outrage themselves just to fill the quota

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mark Hepworth

    There once was an author named Jon
    Who had a hankering to go to WorldCon
    A camera he said he’d wear
    In case he heard a swear
    But that was a Code of Conduct violation so he got his membership refunded instead

    Okay, so the last line didn’t quite scan…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. greghullender

    Eric and I have been to WorldCon three times now, and every time it has been a fun event full of happy people. It’s very weird hearing people criticize it who apparently never attended it.

    I’m sad that things like this keep happening. It would be nice to see fandom start to heal its wounds and come back together again.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Space Oddity

        The alt-right imagines that if it kicks off a civil war, it will of course be victorious, or at least in charge of the really nice bits of the US.

        Instead of the guys whose side will purge them almost immediately.

        Liked by 2 people

    • JJ

      greghullender: It would be nice to see fandom start to heal its wounds and come back together again.

      These things aren’t “happening”. That wording implies random occurrences, rather than human agency and intent. These things are being done, by people who are well aware of what they are doing.

      What are fans in general supposed to do to “come back together” with people who continuously attack them, harass them, and lie repeatedly about them, as part of a marketing strategy? The people doing that are quite intent on wounding and causing rifts, both to sell books and to get trolling lulz on people they don’t like. Short of buying their books, and giving them awards — neither of which am I willing to do — what are fans supposed to do to achieve a coming together?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cora

      The way JDA and the rest of the various overlapping puppy offshoots characterise WorldCon does not at all match the event I have attended and enjoyed either.

      However, I don’t see this particular rift in fandom healing anytime soon, if only because various puppy offshoot groups behaved so badly, harrassed people they disagree with (I was a minor target myself), tried to hijack the Hugos, threatened to endanger the convention itself and its attendants (not just JDA either, remember the Spokane swatting incident and a puppy Hugo nominee stating he didn’t feel safe at WorldCon without a gun, which I read as a clear intimidation attempt). Also, given how abominably many of these folks behaved, bringing them back into the fandom fold (unless they have believably changed their ways) will likely drive away the people they harrassed and hounded.

      I actually had an attending membership for Loncon, which would have been my first WorldCon. However, a few months before the con, I had a run-in with some of what would soon be known as the sad puppies, because they objected to a post on my blog containing some fairly mild criticism of something one of the Mad Geniuses had posted. Then the Hugo nominations were announced and some of the people who’d attacked me got nominated (this was the year of Sad Puppies 2). And in the end, I did not go to Loncon because I was worried I’d run into some of those people or their fans/supporters and things would escalate. So I missed an event I would almost certainly have enjoyed, because of jerks who didn’t even attend either. And my experience was mild compared to the harrassment people like N.K. Jemisin, Irene Gallo, Cat Rambo, Damien Walter, Mike Glyer and many others have received at the hands of the various puppy fractions.

      So even if there was a way of healing the rift with the various puppy fractions and offshoots – short of buying their books, giving them awards and keeping cons and fandom in general free of things they disapprove of, which is almost everything – doing so would probably drive the targets of their harrassment out of fandom. And I’d rather keep those people and ensure the safety of the majority of fans than appease a handful of arseholes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenora Feuer

        As people have been saying in response to the ‘deep rifts’ in the atheist and skeptic communities ripped open by the anti-feminist harassment following ‘Elevatorgate’:

        “There can be no compromise with somebody who denies my right to exist and participate.”

        (Of course, a lot of the puppy types talk like we’re denying them a right to participate, when people really just want participation to be on an even floor. It’s the old ‘limits of tolerance’ line: tolerating intolerance isn’t being tolerant. When somebody screams that their free speech is being violated if they can’t deny other people free speech, they don’t get a lot of sympathy.)

        (I’m sure people have noted in the past that what the Sad Puppies really originally seemed to want was Affirmative Action for conservative authors. Makes me wonder about the mental contortions used to avoid thinking about that.)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cora

        Yes, they really do seem to want affirmative action for conservatives. See “XXX sells a lot of books and hence deserves an award”.

        Plus, a lot of the puppy types (not all of them, mind you, but enough) really do deny the right of fans, writers and books they don’t like to exist. It was pretty clear in Brad’s infamous Nutty Nuggets post that he wanted to cast anything insufficiently nutty nuggetty out of the genre and he’s far from the worst of the bunch.

        Meanwhile, I haven’t seen anybody on the other side of the fence deny the right of puppy types to write and publish books. We just don’t want to see the stuff on awards shortlists and have it stuffed down our throats, unless it got their by honest means.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cora

        Well, if some of the puppies and their hangers on eventually say, “Well, we were really awful jerks back in 2015/16/17/18” and show that they’ve changed their ways, part of fandom will eventually welcome them back, though some people still won’t want anything to do with them, which is their good right. But at the moment, people like JDA just seem determined to cast more oil into the fire.

        Also, fandom has long memories. Supposedly, until recently, there still were people not talking to each other about the expulsion of the Futurians from the first WorldCon back in 1939. The remnants of that rift are only fully healed now since pretty much everybody involved is dead by now.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Rob

    “There are, as far as I can tell, almost no downsides for Jon del Arrox *unless* he really, really, wanted to go to Worldcon. That seems doubtful given that Jon largely accepts much of what Vox Day and the Sad Puppies have claimed about Worldcon and the supposed Sci-Fi establishment AND given that he has been claiming that he expected Worldcon to be a hostile environment for him.”

    I disagree. I think del Arroz really really wanted to go to Worldcon in the same way that James O’Keefe wanted to meet with ACORN or Planned Parenthood–in order to record footage that could later be selectively edited to make his “enemies” look bad.

    And now he can’t do that, which is good for…pretty much everybody else associated with Worldcon, really,

    Liked by 2 people