kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Laura J. Mixon is the only person on the Best Fan Writer ballot for this year's Hugos who wasn't on the Sad/Rabid Puppy Slate. I want to urge people not to reflexively vote for her, that is, to consider no-awarding the entire category.

I assume that she is nominated on the basis of her lengthy post about Benjanun Sriduangkaew / Requires Hate / Winterfox / etc. I did not discuss this at the time—I found the entire topic disproportionately upsetting because RaceFail [*] (speaking of which, do NOT!!! read the comments)—but that post has serious issues. Yes, it managed to get widespread attention to genuine instances of threats; but it also places people on the "target" list for being called "misogynist" ("Anon, MOC Writer") or for criticizing their writing only (Kress, Adrienne; Lord, Karen). There might be more, because I haven't been able to make myself closely read the accompanying text, I just looked at the Appendices; I recall from back in November seeing criticisms of the framing of the post, but I went back through my reading list of the time and couldn't turn up anything linkable.

(ETA 2: I have now read all the text, see comments for a little more discussion.)

As a result, I have serious doubts whether this post ought to garner its author a Hugo. I encourage those voting to carefully consider the question.

(Anon comments are screened; be polite and sign your comment with a handle for continuity of discussion and I'll unscreen you. If you're new here, note that I moderate comments for gross incivility, anon or not.)

[*] ETA: It has come to my attention, in a genuinely friendly and caring way, that this could use unpacking for people not on my access list. I was upset because I believed, and continue to believe, a number of the first-person accounts of Sriduangkaew's harassment and threats, and because I believed Sriduangkaew's apologies—lousy though they were—were going to work, she was going to get a pass: every time I see, for instance, Elizabeth Bear or Teresa Nielsen Hayden lauded as being especially clueful on questions of oppression, or put on a con panel about codes of conduct (for fuck's sake!), it's like being poked in a bruise, and they never made even lousy apologies for their behavior during RaceFail. My opinion of any of the people who came forward has not changed from what it was, I do not put credit in Sriduangkaew's statements, I do not believe we interacted before her identities were revealed, and I have not interacted with her since.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 03:10 am (UTC)
kingrat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kingrat
I was rather put off by her framing it as some sort of objective look at what kind of people RH targeted, and it was nothing of the sort. As I will be voting this year, i very likely will be no awarding that category.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ritaxis.livejournal.com
I'm relieved that you did write this. I was not in the loop during the events that led up to all of that, and therefore I only got to observe the fallout from the unveiling rather than the earlier story. But I noticed in that post that some of the events that were listed as being damaging attacks were "not like the others:" I noticed it all through that discussion, actually, not just in her post. It felt like padding, if not outright dishonesty. But I couldn't say it with the authority of someone who had been watching from the beginning.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 04:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I have deeply mixed feelings about that post. I won't say it was without value--but I don't feel like giving it an award. It's sort of like a root canal. It might have been useful, but I don't want to remember it.

--fidelio

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 04:24 am (UTC)
fridgepunk: A sign on garrus' back reading "Shoot a rocket into my ugly stupid face" (sign-on-the-back)
From: [personal profile] fridgepunk
The key criticism to be lain at Mixon's feet is that the conclusions and summaries of Mixon's report aren't actually supported by the data presented in the report - the most egregious being the claim that RH "disproportionately targeted WoC for abuse" that I see doing the rounds, in large part because despite Mixon expanding the realm of "people RH abused" to include "people she gave a negative review", she still ended up with a brightly coloured pie chart that showed she mainly "targeted" white women.

This is then followed up by a second attempt to prove that point, involving another pie chart, in which the proportion of WoC "targeted" by RH is inexplicably compared to the number of WoC in some Children's Fiction Writer's Organisation despite that not being how comparisons work generally, and the pie chart still doesn't quite manage to support Mixon's conclusion.

Having said that though, I think the way the Hugo's work means that if you put No Award and then put Mixon below that you cover your bases on the off chance that the category comes down to a run off between Mixon and one of the puppy's candidates, while primarily voting for No Award.

But obviously I begrudge no one for just straight voting "No Award" in that category anyway.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 04:33 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
Thank you very much for writing this.

I wrote to Mixon with a factual correction and she wrote back to ask whether I was absolutely sure that I hadn't somehow inadvertently been brainwashed led astray by Benjanun's minions. Yes, I said, I was quite sure. She then agreed to make the correction but had not done so the last time I checked (which was admittedly a while ago). So even if I had been in any way inclined to agree with GRRM's assessment of the piece as "terrific journalism", which I wasn't, that would have put me right off.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 07:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You didn't read the article. You admit to not reading the article. But you are actively campaigning for people to vote against it. I cannot at all understand that logic.

It sounds as if you have unfortunately been swayed by the very type of poisonous thinking that allowed Requires Hate/Winterfox to bully unchallenged for a decade.

I am very, very sorry to hear that.

(I also highly doubt that this comment will be unscreened; at your own discretion of course. For my own archiving purposes, I'm reposting it on FFA.)

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 07:54 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
Ah, good to know, thanks.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 10:47 am (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
I note that the other thing that bothers me about that assertion is it's assuming the wrong population, which is just bad statistics. I read more books by women and PoC than by white dudes as a deliberate choice; any comments I make about books I've read will therefore be disproportionately about WoC authors relative to the demographics of new publications. I continue frustrated that the report makes no mention of this; misleading use of stats weakens it.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is a data point, and not meant to comment about the Hugos (I don't have a membership so can't vote) but I was privy to the backstage, so to speak, of Mixon's report. One problem in the writing of it was that so many victims spoke out only after being reassured not only would their names not be mentioned, but even certain aspects of their stories, they were so afraid of the systematic abuse many suffered. We're talking about over ten years of abuse that was exponentially getting more personal. So the report reads oddly shaped in some aspects.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
colorblue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colorblue
I agree that the Mixon report had instances that seemed to conflate negative reviews with abuse. But I'm surprised to see it dismissed on the basis of bad statistics. (And I say this as a stat grad student, for whatever that's worth.)

(1) Arguing that there are reasons why winterfox read/reviewed more poc works than others (i.e. 50books_poc) doesn't change the fact that published poc writers in sff were disproportionately targeted (6 out of the 23 published writers, if I'm reading the report correctly, were poc), or make that claim bad statistics. It just gives reason/means/additional context for that claim.

(2) SH data might be a more accurate comparison, but I doubt the demographical distribution is so radically different that it would change the overall conclusion. Even if there were double the amount of poc (14% of published sff writers instead of 7%), it would still yield an 88% probability for WF disproportionately targeting pocs (just run a binomial test).

So, yeah, bad statistics isn't a valid argument, imo, especially considering the anecdotal evidence, that there were a lot of woc that didn't feel comfortable coming forward, and so weren't counted.

But, like I said above, I do feel that Mixon's report conflated abuse and critiques, and the way the comment threads went was rather eye-opening in a "wow, great to see how little's changed from SFF's golden days" way. Also, needless to say, I don't see this as equivalent to supporting WF/RH/BS. I'm surprised that some people are, especially in your case -- you're one of the first I remember publicly speaking out against her.

I'm sorry that this has been so stressful for you; you have my respect & sympathies.

Date: Monday, April 6th, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC)
metanewsmods: Abed wearing goggles (Default)
From: [personal profile] metanewsmods
May we link this on [community profile] metanews? We also post on LJ and Tumblr.

We'll quite understand if you'd rather not have the influx of people that would result from this, and we won't link unless you say it's all right.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 06:12 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I am leaving this anonymously because like many, I am still nervous about the influence of certain individuals and their persistence in tracking down those who speak against them. I am somewhat frustrated by my need to leave this opener, at that, because of the habit of persons involved in this of insisting anon commenters are trolls, cowards, and not worth listening to or believing.

But I feel impelled to speak up because I have read this several times, and I no longer have the slightest idea of what you are trying to say.

The closest I can come to is "The Mixon Report is bad and Laura Mixon shouldn't win a Hugo for it because I see certain names I have terrible associations from in Racewank associated vaguely with it, and I don't think she entirely perfectly presented things, but I'm going to be vague about it. And no one should read the comments here that might provide further clarity."

No, really. That is the message I take, despite rerereading.

Sources of this belief include you citing " Elizabeth Bear or Teresa Nielsen Hayden lauded as being especially clueful on questions of oppression" despite the fact EBear and TNH had no more to do with the Mixon Report than supporting it and linking it (and if we are going to judge all things as terrible by the supporters they have, I believe we will have no Hugo noms at all), and the rather vague mentions of "but it also places people on the "target" list for being called "misogynist" ("Anon, MOC Writer") or for criticizing their writing only (Kress, Adrienne; Lord, Karen)", which willfully ignores that they were in place for patterns of behavior, which are absolutely vital in the analysis of abuse.

Furthermore, if you desire not to come across as defending Requires Hates' actions, you have achieved the exact opposite.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC)
phi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] phi
Furthermore, if you desire not to come across as defending Requires Hates' actions, you have achieved the exact opposite.

You know, statements like this are exactly why I do not like, trust, or believe anon commenters. It's just so incredibly, obviously, willfully disingenuous at best, and downright malicious at worst. Kate has very clearly, from the very beginning of the 50book_poc blowup back in 2010, been opposed to RH. She has gone on record, multiple times, as saying that RH is terrible and has done terrible indefensible things. That you're smearing her now because she won't get on the bandwagon cheering on a bunch of racist white women using the terrible things RH did as an excuse to feel self-righteous and, in the process, splinter all kinds of relationships between WOC. . .I just have no words for how angry that makes me.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 07:39 pm (UTC)
colorblue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colorblue
I completely agree.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 09:09 pm (UTC)
phi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] phi

It's possible you haven't been as public as I think -- I tend not to notice whether a post is under lock or not unless I think I might want to talk about it, in which case I will double check whether it's public.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 10:07 pm (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
It's a bit difficult, I think, because from what I can tell the blog's purpose was mostly to give negative reviews (although I do remember reading a positive review on there about the work/s of one of the beloved-authors on whom I keep tabs). So there isn't a "total books the blogger read" or "total books the blogger value-neutrally reviewed" list to compare against, or a much of a "positive/neutral reviews of __ authors" percentage to put against the "negative reviews" one/s.

Though this makes me curious about my own percentages -- I'm not a reviewer by any means, but many of my DW posts are casual bookthoughts, see. And thinking about this also makes me tangent into the recent Strange Horizons count of published SFF and reviews thereof by gender and racial minorities and how much more enormous the gap is for POC as a whole than for women as a whole, and now I am blah for other reasons. Oh well! Bookstore this weekend for KL's debut novel, hopefully!

Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 04:09 pm (UTC)
lavendertook: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lavendertook
I had to wade through the comments on Mixon's post to really understand what's going on here. You are so right. There's too much Racefail backlash bound up with the pointing out of abusive behavior here. It's not pretty--and not award worthy. It's a little too convenient to rally around decrying an abuser who is allegedly a WoC here. Bleh.

Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Hi. I'm a PhD student in the physical sciences. I made my comment with that as my background.

One doesn't get to use "disproportionate" without defining and justifying a baseline; I consider the baseline the report chooses and uses disingenuous and unhelpful given its other flaws. It's pretty classic How To Lie With Statistics stuff. It is not possible to robustly argue from the data available that WF/RH/BS deliberately read more books by WoC for the purpose of targeting WoC (as opposed to any other reason), which is what the phrasing in question implies; and, to reiterate, in combination with the report's other flaws I consider this choice of phrasing and statistical approach at best sufficiently infelicitous that it is not deserving of a Hugo on its own merits.

Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
colorblue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colorblue
One doesn't get to use "disproportionate" without defining and justifying a baseline; I consider the baseline the report chooses and uses disingenuous and unhelpful given its other flaws.

I don't.

I can see where Kate is coming from in this, in saying that the statistics do not support the implication that Sriduangkaew's motives were targeting vulnerable populations and professional competition. I do believe those were at least part of her motives, but this hasn't been proven statistically.

But whatever her motives, the fact remains that this is what she actually did. And what you are doing, is seeking to discredit that claim entirely, on the basis of bad statistics.

You: (1) first dismiss Mixon's claim that woc were disproportionately targeted (I note that the other thing that bothers me about that assertion is it's assuming the wrong population, which is just bad statistics.), because it doesn't support your own baseline. And although your baseline might've been necessary to support her other conclusions/implications*, using it to discredit the claim that women and woc were disproportionately targeted is still the statistical equivalent of setting up a strawman and whacking it.

When I countered this, (2) you claimed that the baseline Mixon used -- that of women and woc in SFF -- was disingenuous and unhelpful, and therefore classic How To Lie With Statistics.

But that's the one part of Mixon's report I actually find rather helpful, because it proved what I saw happening behind the scenes -- that WF/RH/BS's actions had a chilling effect on women and especially the woc in SFF, that they were being disproportionately bullied and abused and silenced, that because of hierarchies they were unable to hold her accountable. That WF/RH/BS's actions affected vulnerable populations disproportionately, caused them to suffer disproportionately, that she needed to be stopped.

I also don't see why disproportionate should be in scare-quotes, when it could not be statistically clearer that women and women of color in SFF were disproportionately affected. That you feel this is a disingenuous and unhelpful baseline and bad statistics -- imo, might say more about what you consider important, than the book you imply you've read and understood.


Hi. I'm a PhD student in the physical sciences.

I'm really happy for you.

Kate, apologies for doing this on your journal. I'm bowing out of this argument after this.



ETA: For clarification. I also think other aspects of Mixon's report, and some of her subsequent actions/inactions, are awful. I wouldn't go as far as to say that her report doesn't deserve a Hugo, but that's only because I have a very low opinion of the Hugo awards in the first place, and don't see winning it as an honor.

*2nd ETA: Apologies for the multiple edits; realized that I'd implied you had no grounds for choosing that baseline.
Edited Date: Friday, April 10th, 2015 10:29 pm (UTC)

Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2015 08:21 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
A different anon

I'd like to point you to this https://sffpoc.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/on-laura-mixon-goulds-hugo-nomination-for-best-fanwriter/ and ask you to think about why you in one sentence condemn RH's actions, and in another are using her party line - her attempt to divert attention from her appalling actions by attacking the women who worked to expose them and to provide a platform for her victims. The only relationships that need to be fractured here are the ones between people of goodwill and RH and anyone who's prepared to defend the actions of a vicious abuser.

Mixon's report may or may not be Hugo-worthy, but to suggest that she is the one at fault here, rather than RH and her apologists, is deeply offensive.

Moriah

Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Except that's not what I said - my objection was specifically to this offensive statement "cheering on a bunch of racist white women using the terrible things RH did as an excuse to feel self-righteous and, in the process, splinter all kinds of relationships between WOC. . " That's why I linked to the blog entry I did, where one of winterfox's WOC victims spoke about how important and useful Mixon's report was.

I didn't object to your original post criticising the report - I think you're wrong, and I think there's a danger that what you say could be taken as making light of some of the abuse winterfox inflicted - but in the end the report is fair game for criticism and disagreement.

Insulting the writer in such terms, though, is what winterfox and her apologists have been doing - they know they can't disprove the facts, so they go after the messenger, and paint it as being about race, rather than about the exposure of an abuser.

Moriah

Date: Friday, April 10th, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Different commenter from the above commenter:

The thing is, if you read the report, you'd see that the references used in the report are cited and documented. It's all at the end. You can skip to the end if you don't want to read the whole report.

It hurts the credibility of your blog post when you haven't read the report and make comments that show you don't know is actually in the report.

Date: Saturday, April 11th, 2015 01:35 am (UTC)
gloss: girl playing dressup spirals into the void (HS: Roxy in the void spiral)
From: [personal profile] gloss
Hi, it's been a long time since we last crossed paths; I came here via Abigail Nussbaum's post.

I just wanted to say thank you for this post, but especially for this: every time I see, for instance, Elizabeth Bear or Teresa Nielsen Hayden lauded as being especially clueful on questions of oppression, or put on a con panel about codes of conduct (for fuck's sake!), it's like being poked in a bruise For whatever it's worth, you are certainly not alone in that reaction. I flinch every single time, still, and expect I always will.
Edited (to change inappropriate icon) Date: Saturday, April 11th, 2015 01:41 am (UTC)

Date: Saturday, April 11th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
pantryslut: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pantryslut
It would. They won't. I suspect I always will flinch, too. Which is a roundabout way of saying thank you from me as well.
Edited Date: Saturday, April 11th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)

Date: Sunday, April 12th, 2015 05:46 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
[I see and acknowledge this comment but will not be responding further because my understanding is that you would prefer I not. I'm possibly getting autism everywhere and misinterpreting, but, in any case, acknowledgement.]

Date: Sunday, April 12th, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
colorblue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colorblue
I've felt rather awful ever since I wrote my previous reply to you, tbh. I was very dismissive -- apologies for that. You're right, I would prefer not to continue talking about this, and agree to disagree. So yes, apologies for my rudeness, and thank you for your consideration.

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
23456 78
91011 1213 14 15
16 1718192021 22
23 24 2526272829
3031     

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Tags