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Thursday, July 04, 2013

What confidentiality rules?

I received an email from a gentleman from the SFWA today:
Complaints against you have been filed by multiple members of SFWA. In following our procedures for responding to such complaints a report was prepared by a Board-appointed investigator and found, by a Board vote, to merit continuing our complaint process.

Our current protocols mandate presenting you with the report and adequate opportunity to respond so that the Board may make a determination. Responses may include, but need not be limited to, denial, claiming extenuating circumstances, and claiming provocation. You have 14 days to respond. If you require statements by others to be submitted for the record, such statements shall be collected and added to the record. If you request an extension of time to collect these statements, one additional 7-day-period shall be granted.

Please find attached the Board investigator's report. This report and all contents not publicly available fall under SFWA confidentiality rules and may not be publicly disclosed.
Now, here is what remains something of a mystery.  I examined the organization bylaws and there are no "confidentiality rules".  There are confidentiality rules in the Forum, which are clearly posted, but an unsolicited email is not a Forum post and is no more protected by expectations of confidentiality than spam.

However, I certainly wouldn't want to violate any more organization rules than I already have, so I requested more information from the gentleman:

I have received the information you sent me.  I shall be pleased to review it.  However, I do not recognize that the information falls under any "confidentiality rules", as this is not the SFWA Forum, but an unsolicited email sent to me.  Nor are there any "confidentiality rules" in the SFWA bylaws.
Please inform me by what "confidentiality rules" you believe this report falls under within 24 hours or I will assume that there are none pertinent to this report and I am therefore free to reproduce its contents in its entirety wherever I see fit.


Now, perhaps there are some double-secret confidentiality rules of which I am unaware, in which case I shall, of course, abide by them.  But if there are no such rules, then I shall certainly not hesitate to make the report available to the public.

Labels:

83 Comments:

Anonymous Salt July 04, 2013 3:49 PM  

Who are these "multiple members of SFWA"? Perhaps they're confidential informants of the SFWA Stazi?

Anonymous Beau July 04, 2013 3:50 PM  

OT

Today we will be proclaiming the gospel at the Noon Optimist Park at the site of the big fireworks show in town. Pray for open hearts.

Anonymous NateM July 04, 2013 3:52 PM  

Any word on the various reproductions of posts on specfiction?

Anonymous Noah B. July 04, 2013 3:55 PM  

No despotic regime is truly complete without secret laws.

Anonymous GreyS July 04, 2013 3:56 PM  

This is great. Emotional reactions cause so many mistakes. The suspicions that they are in over their heads legally seem close to being confirmed.

Anonymous Anonagain July 04, 2013 4:04 PM  

The Inquisition has spoken. Does the report list the names of your accusers?

Blogger thimscool July 04, 2013 4:04 PM  

I've not really followed this whole SFWA thing, but I do glance at these posts on occasion.

This one, in particular, is very amusing. Evidently they are thoroughly unaware that they are participating in performance art, which naturally leads to a convincing product.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni July 04, 2013 4:05 PM  

Clearly, the very existence of the SFWA confidentiality rules must be kept secret until needed by the powers that squee. Perhaps Edward Snowden's laptops contain a clue to their contents and applicability?

Blogger thimscool July 04, 2013 4:07 PM  

Oh, you should have noted that they cannot certainly have a 12 hour extension should one day not suffice to realize they're totally naked.

Blogger Bernard Brandt July 04, 2013 4:09 PM  

I've taken the trouble of reading the current SFWA bylaws, which may be found here:

http://www.sfwa.org/member-links/by-laws

I agree that they say absolutely nothing about 'confidentiality rules'.

I would think that a primary method by which one may distinguish a 'transparent' organization from a tyranny is 'due process', which long ago has been defined as including 'notice of the charges against one' and 'opportunity to be heard'.

Off-hand, I'd say that unless you are being tried in the Forum, there are no 'confidentiality rules' that would apply. And considering the number of SFWA members who have been publishing forum stuff, I'd say reliance on the Forum 'rules' would be a weak reed, indeed.

Anonymous SFWA Writer July 04, 2013 4:10 PM  

what did your lawyer say? or were you lying about having a lawyer? bluff called...

Anonymous Gen. Kong July 04, 2013 4:11 PM  

Not to worry, Tovarishch Day, rules of confidentiality have been enacted by Central Committee of Politboro already. Anything to say before your deserved expulsion?

Anonymous Contaminated NEET July 04, 2013 4:11 PM  

Do you truly think the rule of law applies here, Vox? Violate this imaginary confidentiality and you will be found guilty of breaking the bylaws' emanating penumbra.

Anonymous Will Best July 04, 2013 4:11 PM  

One would think any report would actually identify the specific offense and the relevant regulation.

Blogger kudzu bob July 04, 2013 4:12 PM  

SFWA is approaching a Left Political Singularity which “ tends to make things lefter, which tends to worsen left wing repression, which makes things even lefter, which … The process only stops when the latest despot starts to realize he is not left enough, he is being outflanked on the left, is going to be overthrown by those even lefter than himself, and promptly executes everyone important who is even lefter than he is.”

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 4:12 PM  

The Inquisition has spoken. Does the report list the names of your accusers?

Nope, no names. But we'll be getting them if this goes far enough. They can't make certain claims without providing the evidence.

Anonymous stackmoney July 04, 2013 4:16 PM  

To which of your numerous SWFA-related posts do they refer as being the offending post?

Anonymous Anonagain July 04, 2013 4:19 PM  

This is how the SFWA handles important matters - via email? They have no guarantee that would even see this report prior to the 14-day deadline. And is14 days from the time you decide to open the email, or 14 days from the day they sent it? There are any number of reasons why you may not access your email account. Documents of any importance are delivered by certified mail.

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 4:19 PM  

what did your lawyer say? or were you lying about having a lawyer? bluff called...

Say about what? This isn't expulsion, it's the document they've prepared in order to try to justify one. And yes, I have a lawyer. Three in three different countries, as it happens. But this isn't a legal matter as yet.

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 4:21 PM  

To which of your numerous SWFA-related posts do they refer as being the offending post?

I can't answer that in any meaningful way without violating the possibly imaginary confidentiality rules. I am waiting to hear them provide evidence that any such rules both exist and apply.

Anonymous Krul July 04, 2013 4:21 PM  

Now, perhaps there are some double-secret confidentiality rules of which I am unaware

They're confidential.

Anonymous Salt July 04, 2013 4:26 PM  

re: misuse of the sfwaauthors Twitter feed...

Any action we take must conform to our bylaws and procedures, and will take time.

Be assured that the Board is not idle on this matter, but must be deliberative to assure that any action is fairly reached and correctly implemented.


Just saying.



Anonymous jack July 04, 2013 4:30 PM  

@Vox: I have a lawyer. Three in three different countries, as it happens. But this isn't a legal matter as yet.

Does having three separate lawyers in three separate countries constitute 'lawyering' up?

Thanh You, Vox, so much for including all of us; the Ilk and near-Ilk in this whole SFWA soap opera. I can't begin to express, for myself at least, just how entertaining the whole evolution has been. Let us pray in continues for years to come.

Anonymous Noah B. July 04, 2013 4:34 PM  

This reminds me of Neal Knox's long struggle to fix the NRA, although you're much more confrontational toward those who are steering the SFWA leftward, which I think is exactly the right approach.

Blogger RobertT July 04, 2013 4:41 PM  

Not that i think you need this advice, but just in case ... absolutely never let your lawyer do your thinking for you. You want an attorney who's good in the courtroom, but you don't want one to do your thinking for you. Too many people think that once they have an attorney they can relax and the attorney will take care of everything. Nope. Won't happen.

I use my imaginary attorney like an invisible gun. It works much the same, except when you're dealing with an elected or hired director who has absolutely no skin in the game, as you are in this case. That makes them bullet proof and afraid of nothing. That's why the threat you're making today is a very smart move ... you're dangling their reputation in front of your blog. That gives them a little skin in the game.

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 4:42 PM  

Does having three separate lawyers in three separate countries constitute 'lawyering' up?

No, it's just business as usual.

Anonymous Guess who? July 04, 2013 4:43 PM  

Moooooooooooooo!!!

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 4:43 PM  

Not that i think you need this advice, but just in case ... absolutely never let your lawyer do your thinking for you.

No, it's very good advice for those inexperienced in legal affairs. The lawyer implements. He's tactical. He can't be strategic, because it's not his deal.

Anonymous Steven Gould: Guaranteed Nebula Winner and Inquisitorial Asshat July 04, 2013 4:52 PM  

Provocation by way of thousands of words of demonstrably racist, sexist hate speech by the very accusers which have been fortunately archived. Double standards and deleting comments works on blogs; doesn't work with law. I have complaint about the SFWA: why do you behave just like a group of racial supremacists? Isn't there some storytelling in there somewhere? What's up wid dat?

Anonymous Salt July 04, 2013 4:55 PM  

If it's confidentiality they seek, it's publicity they shall reap.

Blogger hadley July 04, 2013 4:57 PM  

Lawyers are useful to send cease-and-desist letters or to ask for clarification (what rules apply, etc.) I wonder if all the other "rabid weasels" got such letters, too. Pournelle, Niven and the other guys don't really need the SFWA anymore. Of course it would take quite a big pair of brass ones to go after those guys, however. I don't think Mrs. Koval (or her hubby Rob) has a pair that big.

If I were in Mr. Koval's shoes and found myself living off my wife's income, I would probably advise her not to be such a b!tch and to concentrate on her puppeting, book-signings and writing instead. Its not as though she can run the Bad People off and empty the SFWA bank accounts as the last girl standing, after all. There are some 1750 folks remaining. Then again, the K's are childless so maybe they can afford such fiddling around.

Anonymous Garuda1 July 04, 2013 4:57 PM  

There once was a fantasy writer
Who considered herself quite the fighter
But instead of sound words
She flung about turds
"My shit doesn't stink" said the blighter.

Anonymous M.R. Kowal: promoter of racist and colonialist tropes July 04, 2013 5:04 PM  

Actually I do know what hate speech is and I never said it was a legal definition. It is my own. As for legal definitions, they exist in Canada and the U.K., just for starters. There is not a single doubt in my mind the SFWA, some of its members, and the hangers-on of those members, have violated such laws. These morons are lucky they don't live in Canada. Like I said, a court room is not an insulated inbred blog. There are no double standards where "old white men" is not a triple threat of bigotry.

Anonymous E. PERLINE July 04, 2013 5:05 PM  

VD, your handling of that complaint was lawyerly and in keeping with the consitution we're celebrating today.

After getting burned a few times by lawyers, I represented myself. It's legal as long as you know something about court procedure. I always made my claimants prove their info and their jusrisdiction in a strict way. You'd be surprised about how hard this is for them to do. When lawyers are called for neglecting to dot an i they let it go. They are busier with more lucrative stuff.

Anonymous Salt July 04, 2013 5:20 PM  

Why would a writer's organization based in America file suit in a U.K. jurisdiction?

If a claim were against a ~U.K. person residing in the U.K., would you file suit in say, Oklahoma? The rule is, you go where the person or property is.

Anonymous MrGreenMan July 04, 2013 5:21 PM  

One must love someone who will school people with courts that do not apply; I remember being threatened by someone citing the laws of the State of New York, and I explained - I do not respect their sovereignty as I am not under it.

Anonymous ben July 04, 2013 5:30 PM  

This sfwa soap opera is extremely entertaining. And it makes for much better reading than most modern fiction. Win/win I say.

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 5:32 PM  

Whoever you are, that's enough babbling about hate speech, Canadian law, and so forth. No one here cares about it. Drop it. If you're going to do something, do it. If you're not, then let it go already.

You don't need to keep repeating the obvious. Yes, SFWA is hypocritical. It is abundantly clear.

Anonymous anon123 July 04, 2013 5:35 PM  

Noooobody expects the SFWA Inquisition. Our chief weapon is surprise...

Anonymous MarkP July 04, 2013 5:42 PM  

The SFWA is a friggin' goat rodeo.

Blogger cmate July 04, 2013 5:45 PM  

"Clearly, the very existence of the SFWA confidentiality rules must be kept secret until needed by the powers that squee."


You gotta' love nested secrecy.

Blogger tz July 04, 2013 6:05 PM  

If you require statements by others to be submitted for the record,

What record? How can you have something on a "confidential" record?

Anonymous Anonymous July 04, 2013 6:13 PM  

This reminds me of the South Park episode "Red Hot Catholic Love" wherein the "Holy Document of Vatican Law" can not be changed because no one knows where it is.

Blogger Double Minded Man July 04, 2013 6:23 PM  

Popcorn... popcorn! I must have more popcorn!

Blogger IM2L844 July 04, 2013 6:26 PM  

One of my favorite things in life is confounding people who believe they have more power than they actually do. Looks to me like they have you right where you want them, Vox.

Anonymous Stickwick July 04, 2013 6:26 PM  

This sfwa soap opera is extremely entertaining. And it makes for much better reading than most modern fiction. Win/win I say.

I'm with ya on that, bro. Entertaining, but also instructive.

Anonymous M.R. Kowal: promoter of racist and colonialist tropes July 04, 2013 6:47 PM  

"Whoever you are, that's enough babbling about hate speech, Canadian law, and so forth. No one here cares about it. Drop it. If you're going to do something, do it. If you're not, then let it go already.

"You don't need to keep repeating the obvious. Yes, SFWA is hypocritical. It is abundantly clear."

Sorry. I wasn't aware you'd sworn off any further posts about the duplicity of the SFWA. A startling, unexpected, and unannounced turnabout. I will join you in this new pledge. Let us all maintain radio silence in hopes of peace and a brighter future.

Anonymous VD July 04, 2013 7:03 PM  

I wasn't aware you'd sworn off any further posts about the duplicity of the SFWA. A startling, unexpected, and unannounced turnabout.

I haven't. But the constant repetition has grown tedious.

Blogger Patrick July 04, 2013 7:11 PM  

Does getting booted out of the SFWA have any repercussions for you as an author? I'm guessing the answer is no. You just go on selling books like you did when you were an SFWA member, right?

Anonymous Harsh July 04, 2013 7:20 PM  

Sorry. I wasn't aware you'd sworn off any further posts about the duplicity of the SFWA. A startling, unexpected, and unannounced turnabout. I will join you in this new pledge. Let us all maintain radio silence in hopes of peace and a brighter future.

Stop being a snarky douche already.

Anonymous Grandmaster July 04, 2013 7:24 PM  

Vox Day rocks! I think he should start his own version of SFWA. New handbook, new everything.

Anonymous ChelmWiseman July 04, 2013 7:28 PM  

@Hector

I belive Vox has said that being removed from SFWA will cause him irreperable financial harm and lost income opportunities.

Anonymous M.R. Kowal: promoter of racist and colonialist tropes July 04, 2013 7:28 PM  

"Stop being a snarky douche already."

Ahhhh. A straight-faced satire of one of Scalzi's defensive herd. Well done. Cuz no one dares differ from Scalzi.

Blogger Unknown July 04, 2013 7:44 PM  

Secret confidentiality rules? I've seen something like this before. Now where was it... Oh, I remember:

Dean Wormer: Oh. Then as of this moment, they're on double secret probation!
Greg: Double secret probation, sir?
Dean Wormer: There is a little-known codicil in the Faber College constitution which gives the dean unlimited power to preserve order in time of campus emergency. Find me a way to revoke Delta's charter. You live next door. Put Neidermeyer on it. He's a sneaky little shit, just like you, right? [Greg nods] The time has come for someone to put their foot down. And that foot is me.

Over time, organizations attract people whose main aim is to run organizations, and who take their position and themselves far too seriously, recapitulating their abusive college experiences to spawn new dysfunctional rule-bound bureaucracies based on pettiness, paranoia, and the abuse of pretend powers. It is always thus.

Anonymous zen0 July 04, 2013 7:48 PM  

Stickwick agrees I'm with ya on that, bro. Entertaining, but also instructive.

Speaking of which, when I said Damo was my sock puppet to you a few days back.......... I lied.

But I had to maintain confidentiality in order to continue to bash the sock puppet fallacy to death.

I hope you don't mind. I knew a time would come to be able to confess.

Anonymous Satire July 04, 2013 7:51 PM  

Speaking of puppets, the dame's been playing with one too many.

Anonymous zen0 July 04, 2013 8:00 PM  

Satire July 04, 2013 7:51 PM

Speaking of puppets, the dame's been playing with one too many.


Has Snowden been in contact with you?

Never mind, you don't have to answer that.

Anonymous David of One July 04, 2013 8:29 PM  

Speaking of double secret stuff ... I wonder if the founding members of the SFWA wrote up any kind of governing over-ride in their Articles of Incorporation or referenced governing documents through which to protect the organization they created on the possible chance that their future involvement might become necessary?

May be some long "forgotten" controlling shares that haven't been exercised since the SFWA's inception? For that matter there may be a governing body or group of trustees that have been intentionally not exercising rights spelled out in the Articles of Incorporation decades ago?

I suppose such documents would still be at the Secretary of State's Office.

Anonymous kh123 July 04, 2013 8:42 PM  

"...found, by a Board vote, to merit continuing our complaint process. This report and all contents not publicly available fall under SFWA confidentiality rules and may not be publicly disclosed."

Ah, the black telephone has spoken. Through an email.

Anonymous kh123 July 04, 2013 8:48 PM  

...Reminds me of the other guys' insurance company trying to get you to fill out their questionnaire on what exactly happened. Which to me sounds like they're fishing for something, anything, to pin on the accused. And which means they're probably sh*tting their pants at the moment, if they need something that badly to hang on you in order to balance out their own egregious and selective missteps over the past few months.

Anonymous Pol Pot July 04, 2013 9:31 PM  

Noah B. July 04, 2013 3:55 PM

No despotic regime is truly complete without secret laws.

Or "Laws" for some and not for others. Perfect for the Fourth.



Anonymous Dc July 04, 2013 9:40 PM  

"What confidentiality rules?"

"Calling their bluff". Would have worked too.

Blogger James Dixon July 04, 2013 10:37 PM  

Since when is email consider a valid means of "presenting you with the report"? No one with any sense considers email a reliable delivery mechanism.

Anonymous Anonymous July 04, 2013 11:01 PM  

Did this "email" come from the SFWA President? There's some clues on Twitter.

Anonymous A Visitor July 04, 2013 11:18 PM  

Dodecatouble secret confidentiality rules (Futurama)!

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein July 04, 2013 11:38 PM  

Toga. Toga! TOGA! TOGA!!!!

Anonymous CarpeOro July 05, 2013 12:00 AM  

Hey, the United States started as a great idea with many ideas of what constitutes freedom. It Started to unravel after what, 40 years (first beginnings of the poisonous concept of "positive" or "proactive" government). Why should more be expected from organizations that were more of a like interest club to do better or last longer? Delusions of grandeur have over taken SFWA. I've never bothered to read "award winning works" by anyone other than authors I already been reading. Stick a fork in them. They will be as marginal as... well, not going to go there in deference to past members and the few still actually worth something. They may just drive me to write something myself, since the drivel I see from the rank and file is so rank (and filed in bin 13).

Anonymous bob k. mando July 05, 2013 12:10 AM  

VD July 04, 2013 5:32 PM
Whoever you are,




pretty sure that's Captain Slow. although there may be more than one person making racism spoofs of the various lefties. even for CS, that's a huge amount of text that's been dumped over the last week for a single person to be posting.

but if anyone had the monomania to accomplish it by himself, Captain Slow would be the guy.




David of One July 04, 2013 8:29 PM
May be some long "forgotten" controlling shares that haven't been exercised since the SFWA's inception?




Larry Niven was born with a silver spoon, he was wealthy before he ever started writing. it would be most amusing if there were fail-safes designed such that Larry actually has controlling interest in the SFWA assets and accounts that he's never bothered to exercise because "he's not very political".

but that's just a pipe dream.

Blogger Joe A. July 05, 2013 1:02 AM  

There's never a dull moment with you, is there?

Anonymous Stickwick July 05, 2013 1:04 AM  

Speaking of which, when I said Damo was my sock puppet to you a few days back.......... I lied.

Ha, I KNEW it!

Anonymous ImpartialObserver July 05, 2013 1:08 AM  

Ms. Henson isn't the only one in on it, there are "other" women lurking. The gamma elite better wake up soon or the biddies gonna pull the carpet right out from under them. And that's word.

Anonymous Toby Temple July 05, 2013 1:34 AM  

OT: Just finished reading Wardog's Coin and A Magic Broken.

My only complain is that the stories should have been longer. When I reached the end of each book I was like "Sh!t! Its over!?"

Anonymous Capricorn One July 05, 2013 2:31 AM  

There's going to be a new blog soon. Very long essay (the kind that takes time to write). Lot of information (the kind people shouldn't see, stuff people don't want to hear). The person who will be responsible for the blog is busy setting it up. There's a lot of different perspectives to this whole sfwa business. I'll drop a link real soon. It's going to be... enlightening.

Anonymous VD July 05, 2013 3:48 AM  

My only complain is that the stories should have been longer. When I reached the end of each book I was like "Sh!t! Its over!?"

Glad you liked them. Post reviews! And if it's any consolation, ATOB is considerably longer than either AMB or TWC.

Anonymous wcu July 05, 2013 4:32 AM  

Hang in there vox...don't let the bastards grind you down!

Anonymous Peter Garstig July 05, 2013 5:31 AM  

Owned!

I believe now they'll think about getting advice from a lawyer. Hard to believe it took them so long.

Blogger Desiderius July 05, 2013 8:37 AM  

"the K's are childless so maybe they can afford such fiddling around"

And... that's what it's all about.

They fell for the con.

Misery loves company with a terrible hate.

Blogger Desiderius July 05, 2013 8:41 AM  

"Nope, no names. But we'll be getting them if this goes far enough. They can't make certain claims without providing the evidence."

What authority would be enforcing this "can't"?

Anonymous Anonymous July 05, 2013 8:58 AM  

SFWA President, Steven Gould . . . How He Treated a SFWA Member Before He Was in Office

http://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/sfwa-president-steven-gould-how-he-treated-a-sfwa-member-before-he-was-in-office/

Anonymous David of One July 05, 2013 9:57 AM  

bob k. mando - "but that's just a pipe dream."

Precisely. It is a cool thought though.

Dream a little dream.

Blogger pdwalker July 05, 2013 11:22 AM  

And if it's any consolation, ATOB is considerably longer than either AMB or TWC.

and it clearly wasn't enough.

another book, another book I say!

Anonymous Toby Temple July 06, 2013 4:12 AM  

Glad you liked them. Post reviews! And if it's any consolation, ATOB is considerably longer than either AMB or TWC.

Will post reviews soon once my purchase of ATOB is successful.

Amazon is not allowing me to post reviews since I have not spend cash on their books yet.

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