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A call for civility

17 September 2015

I’ve been reading TPV since about 2011. One of the things that drew me here was the comments. They were pleasant in tone, informative, and added to my search for knowledge about self-publishing.

Sadly, that isn’t true anymore. In the last year I’ve seen a degradation in the tone on certain posts, and an influx of comments that are combative, insulting, and frankly just the usual back-and-forth that causes me to stop reading comments on other blogs.

I would hate to see that happen here. I would like to ask for a return to civility. I get that we have a wide range of readers with a wide range of political views. It would be lovely if you could express those views without denigrating those that don’t think like you. — This part posted by Meryl Yourish

TPV readers and commenters come from every position on the political spectrum and hold a wide variety of views on just about any subject. Most of the time–nearly <i>all</i> of the time, in fact–we manage to discuss the world of books and publishing and disruption and authors, etc. without rancor and without resorting to name-calling. We’re not perfect in that regard, but we’re always striving to do better. The kinds of comments that caused one post to be closed today don’t have any place here. There are plenty of places on the Internet where civility isn’t valued and cleverness comes before the other person’s feelings. This isn’t one of them, and that’s one reason I feel at home here. —Bridget McKenna

Ya know, I like a good fight, myself. But this is a forum that is well-recognized for an unusual degree of civility, and it’s best if we can keep it that way. (Now if you’d care to take it outside…) —Karen Myers


203 Comments to “A call for civility”

  1. Hear, hear.

  2. Yes, thank you for this. I know I can get a bit snarky myself, from time to time, (and I hope commenters will let me know if I go too far), but I’ve noticed a big increase in unnecessary and insulting comments based on political views. Please stop.

    • I’m far from perfect when it comes to containing myself. It’s a struggle, but I’m learning to avoid commenting if the best I can do is insult someone. It does no-one good, and it doesn’t really fly in these parts. 🙂

      • Yes you’re right. In fact I try to avoid reading certain kinds of posts altogether because I get upset at some of the attitudes I see. Think I’ll just have to stay away from those from now on.

        • Exactly. Some subjects I know are going to bring out those kinds of comments. The subject might interest me, but getting peeved at the commenters does not.

        • Lydia,

          I’m right there with you. I love TVP, and I think we have very thoughtful people here. Having said that, we also have some very belligerant people here who make a mess of certain posts.

          Such a mess actually that I’m staying away from reading comments in those, EVEN though they are often the posts I would like to discuss most. Which has reduced my enjoyment of TVP.

          Would like to leave all kinds of extremism out of here, and simply have a comfortable chat in comments, even if we agree to disagree.

    • Yes, I’ve been coming here less, because people are bringing in all kinds of political insults to any topics related to diversity, women, etc. It’s so unnecessary and repulsive.

      Can we all just talk about publishing in the civilized and interesting manner that this blog was known for before?

  3. I’ll drink to that! (Although in fairness… I’ll drink to anything.)

  4. It might help to avoid the OPs that tend to inspire those sorts of comments and discussions. The ones that do are usually fairly obvious. If you see a degradation in tone on certain posts, maybe certain posts should be avoided.

    I’ll also note I’ve been part of online communities with great discussions myriad times over the years, and I find there’s often a clear comment policy and some active moderation.

    I’m not sure begging for civility helps. Might have to be more active than that.


    • We have noted that the rough comments tend to follow the more controversial posts, at least initially. But then some of the newly-minted commenters stick around and bring their habits with them.

    • Active moderation tends to favor one political or cultural side.

    • Oh, we’re not begging for civility. We’re demanding it. And I suspect that when PG comes back, he might be a little more liberal with the delete button in the future.

      There is no reason on earth why we should shy away from controversial topics. Let people learn how to post like grownups and stop thinking that insults are an acceptable debate tactic. And if you can’t post without being insulting, well, go somewhere else. (Note that is a generic “you”, a.k.a., “youse guys”.) ((I grew up in NJ, can you tell?))

      I want my old TPV back.

      • Oh, I caught your “youse guys”! Must be because I’m a Jersey boy myself. 😉

        I’m glad for the demand. Personally, I’d love to see a more liberal use of the button.

        And I agree. My qualm is that I fear some people just can’t post like grownups. Me, I try not to be one of them, though I know I sometimes verge on . . . curt. I endeavor never to be rude, at least.

        I’d like to see the blog improve, too. I’d say I want my old TPV back, but then, I also want back my old Facebook, and MySpace, and MTV back when it used to be music videos, and now I’m just shaking my cane at the kids on my lawn.


      • That would have been said as “you all” in the Virginia of my youth.

        • I’m in Virginia now, Lydia, but I don’t say “you all” much. I do, however say, “Tha’s fine” (without the “t”) instead of okay, and “I’m tarred” when I want to say I’m tired. 🙂

          • The y’all, you-all and all-y’all, I remember might be generational, or regional. VA has a lot of variety in accents and cultures. I haven’t spent a lot of time there in a few decades, though I suspect it hasn’t changed much in the area I lived in as a child. (Lo, these many years ago!)

            But, do you “cut off” the lights? Call people you like “sugar?” Pray to “Gard?”

      • Where’s the “upvote” button?!

      • And it would have been said as “you lot” by this Aussie. 🙂

      • “There is no reason on earth why we should shy away from controversial topics. Let people learn how to post like grownups and stop thinking that insults are an acceptable debate tactic. And if you can’t post without being insulting, well, go somewhere else.”

        Well said. The problem in any site is people who can’t post like reasoning, civil adults engaging in intelligent debate. Not “controversial” topics (in ” ” because an unreasonable and uncivil person can turn almost ANY topic into a “controversial” one by being rude, combative, and insulting no matter what the topic is).

    • I think a lot of it had to do with the 2015 Hugo Awards and associated stupidness. Frankly, I’m happy that we managed to keep things as civil as we did, compared with how uncivil it was everywhere else.

      Unfortunately, a call for civility will not change the fact that the wider culture has become profoundly uncivil, nor will it stop that from spilling over from time to time.

  5. It’s good to shit back and take a breath sometimes.

    I love the group of folks here and the information shared, but it certainly does become an echo chamber at times and some snark flies because of it.

    We are all human – it happens. We have a very talented and passionate group here. Things will be fine.

    Now everyone quit commenting on TPV and get some writing done!

  6. Yes, thank you for this Call to Civility on TPV.
    I don’t do the web much, but I come to TPV frequently for the learning and discussion.
    Visiting TPV can be a sort of salon where people can learn valuable information at no charge and with no scam, support authors through purchases and maybe even make some friends.
    Yet, at times I take a sabbatical from TPV when I find it would be better for me to be silent than to respond to some of the pain dished out in the past. After all, causing pain in others won’t make mine go away.

  7. Totally on this wagon. I like it when it’s pleasant here.

  8. Meryl, Bridgett and Karen, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU again and again for this post.

    For the very reasons you mention, I’ve considered leaving this blog, which I used to love dearly. It was fun and informative to read the intelligent, reasoned comments. It felt like hanging out with a lot of smart people who had interesting things to say.

    I’ve mostly quit commenting because there are several people here incapable of having a discussion, preferring, it seems, a smackdown of those with different viewpoints– and that’s frequently done in an uninformed and unconsidered way. I notice that several commentors whose opinions I looked forward to seeing have also fallen away.

    When a similar discussion came up a couple of months ago, a few people suggested calling out the rude ones. But the old adage “don’t feed the trolls” comes to mind. Plus I don’t enjoy getting my blood pressure raised.

    • Truly! I was just thinking that some of the people who used to put up the most insightful and thoughtful posts never show up anymore.

  9. With the elections heating up I think it’s going to get worse.

    If the article linked is about oppression politics then it’s probably best just to skip it and go write something.

    I’ve been doing my best to avoid such things…I am easy to bait though. My gut reaction to stupidity is to yell at it.

  10. The civility here is one of the reasons that I often post here without concern that someone will take offense. There is a certain writers’ board that I just don’t follow that much anymore, because it seems to me that expressing an opinion there is tantamount to inviting insults.

    TPV is an open place, where opinions are expected to differ, and everyone understands that an opinion is NOT an insult. At least, for the most part.

    So, please, if you feel yourself objecting to something someone else says, simply scroll past and forget it. It likely was NOT directed at you personally.

    Note: any form of “you” is a generic, all-inclusive “you”, and is not directed at any male, female, child, family pet, or ancestry. Except for one snooty writer. Yes, you. You may expect to have poo flung at you. 😀

    • Except for one snooty writer. Yes, you. You may expect to have poo flung at you.


      • And we have our first two contestants!

        In the one corner we have someone with need of a chill pill — while in the other we have somebody that needs to put on their ‘big girl panties’ on as I’ve heard it said.

        (but for the life of me I can’t tell which needs what! 😛 ))


        ((never mind the dangers of getting between them and them both taking it out on me!!! 😀 )

        • Allen, you and Joe are both hilarious! Thanks for taking my tongue-in-cheek remark and running with it!

          That’s the kind of “just having fun” remarks that I enjoy!

          • You’re welcome. 😉

            In my excuse for a tall tale the captain (for some silly reason) has flip-cards like you see at those events where judges rate the performances of those competing. But these cards don’t go 1-10 or even 0-10, they start at -5 and go to 12 followed by WOW!’ and ‘HOLY #%#^^$$!!’.

            As the captain explains, “We sometimes find the scale we’re using isn’t quite large enough for what we’re trying to measure.”

            The same applies here. What I might consider a ‘5’ might be someone else’s ’10’, so my ’10’ would send them into ‘HOLY #%#^^$$!!’ territory. (The same captain has a cook that spices things up if you try to talk business while eating her food. Depending on your tolerance for ‘burn’ one’s ‘shot across the bow’ could be another’s ‘hull breach!’ 😉 )

  11. This should be an interesting fight we have lined up for you tonight folks!

    In one corner we have those that sometimes lash out — more than some think they should, and in the other we have those that overreact to things that upset them — more than some think they should.

    And in the middle — about to be pounded on by all sides that think he should side with them is the poor PG! I hope he has a good vacation — because he’ll come home and wonder what happened — and what happened to his middle ground …

    (me ordering some popcorn and hoping the dust has settled by the time someone gets back!)

  12. A most welcome call. 🙂

    I grew up in a family that debated — strongly and passionately — at every opportunity. At no time did we find a need to descend into nastiness to make our points.

    Snark is its own artform, but it too often becomes eye-rolling performance art. The worship and praise of punching-down snark in some circles is why I walked away from trade publishing in the first place. I much prefer discussion forums that are more interested in substance than meaningless point-scoring. 🙂

  13. Al the Great and Powerful

    Not it! I’ve been busy all day nailing jello to a tree…

    I got to the last page of responses to government review comments to a report somebody else wrote and it was like breaking out of a fogbank! Whee, I feel so alive, I’m drinking cider and enjoying the air conditioning!

  14. I tend not to comment on certain topics, to to skip over long chains of nested comments, for this reason. I have strong feelings that really do not need to be aired in (usually) polite circles. Unless we are talking about something life-or-death, such as bad contracts, or Horn Frog football and the eeeevil that are the college team rankings. (Or does that fall under the “avoid religion’ column?)

    • “(Or does that fall under the “avoid religion’ column?)”

      If you want to see a real sh**storm just say you don’t follow or care about that (or any) sport. (Just go ahead and unplug the eithernet cable or turn off the wifi for the next day or three after posting it … 😉 )

      • Lol. I perfected my ‘soccer is crap’ monologue long ago when hanging with a bunch of hooligans. Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and a few Koreans, I was the only American so it was my duty to be a idiot…right?

        I would bait them out in good fun. Starting salvo was, “Soccer isn’t really a game for adults, I mean, is it a sport at all? One of the main tactics is faking injury and crying for your mommy to save you. I guess it’s fine for 3rd graders…”

        It’s a joke, and over the evening you get more and more outlandish. “If they had real skill they’d be playing in the NFL” and on and on….ahaha!

        Try that on the internet and people lose their freakin’ minds. The humor is totally lost. So I don’t do it. 🙂

        • Aussies and Kiwis don’t tend to play soccer so much – they favour rugby, and the debate is between union and league (with the odd person preferring Aussie Rules).

          BTW, there is a rugby (league) player in the NFL this year. Husband tells me he made the All Madden team before he’d even been picked for his own team. That might mean something to you, but it’s just words do me.

          But why watch sport when there are books to read?

          • OMG, I’m going to include that last line next time I rib the guys.

            Also, “What kind of Aussie/Kiwi are you anyway, aren’t you supposed to like Rugby?”

            Thanks for the material.

          • Used to follow rugby. I was a New South Wales fan. Because as an American watching a rugby game for the first time ever, and New South Wales was a state I was at least familiar with, it felt like I was rooting for the home team. Couldn’t tell you who the Waratahs were playing against, or what the rules were, but they were fun games to watch until my cable company got stupid and stopped showing the games. Then life progressed and I forgot everything I learned about the sport.

    • TXRed,

      Two things I learned my first year of living in Texas:

      1) Football is a religion in Texas.
      2) NEVER get between a Longhorn and an Aggie!

  15. Wow, did I miss something?

    I scrolled down and I sure don’t see any articles today that have 50+ comments, which is what I’d usually understand to be a “controversial” post.

    “The kinds of comments that caused one post to be closed today…”

    I think some people – like me – are going to need a little more clarification on exactly what the fuss was about. Thanks.

    • We’re in the same bewildered place, Greg. I haven’t seen anything today that brought out the worst in folks. But then, I haven’t noticed the decline in civility here (with a few spirited exceptions). Maybe I’m one of the culprits and, therefore, unable to see it. I did post something not too long ago, then regretted it too late to delete it.

      • Agree.

        There is a trend in the larger culture to take offense at ideas one does not support. The ideas may be very civil in their presentation, but offense will still be taken that they are expressed. Dogmas are not made to be challenged.

        I suspect the Tsunami has increased intellectual and political diversity of authors. While just about all views were present ten years ago, the opposing views are coming into a new balance. From a larger perspective, this is just the beginning, and certainly nowhere near the end.

      • Me neither. It’s also a worry that what I’m inferring is a call for an end to dissent of views, or to refrain from posting opinion that others may take offence at, which could be pretty much anything these days.

        Personally, I find those posts that are the most controversial and cause heated debate, to be the most interesting. Much of the time, TPV can be an echo chamber – most of us are self published authors, so any anti-Amazon, Tsunami of swill articles are always going to get a unanimous response from us. That’s fine, but we’re just preaching to each other in the same ranks of the choir.

        When TPV gets really interesting, is when it covers controversial topics because then there can be an interesting debate. And yes, that can sometimes lead to hot-headed snark and ad-hominem attacks, but that is part of human nature, and it rarely gets to the point of nastiness, and usually, it is the indication that the argument has been lost.

        Calling for civility is all well and good, but at a cost of free and open debate, it is too steep a price. If TPV becomes a cozy place where no one disagrees with you, what’s the point?It then becomes a coffee lounge to hang around with your friends. Hearing strong opinions opposing your own views is critical to be able to form an informed opinion;you cannot be informed if you only hear one side of an argument, and being informed is a crucial thing for most writers I’d say.

        Yes, civility is something that some people that belong in certain cultural battles find impossible to adhere to – you only have to look at both sides of the Sad Puppies/Gamergate debates to see that. But most people involved on either side are pretty decent people, but you will always get firebrands entrenched in their dogma where fighting the ‘enemy’ is more important than what they are meant to be fighting for. Charles Gannon called for ‘civility’ for the Sad Puppies thing over on Scalzi’s blog: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/09/02/wrapping-up-2015-a-hugo-awards-open-thread/#comments – but of course, he was ignored because: ‘we are right, they are scum’. But these people are part of the price we pay for free speech.

        Civility is fine, but if PG turns into a 100% self published echo chamber, I’ve a feeling it’ll become just another Kindle Boards.

        • I find it so interesting that when someone says, “Please be nice,” that some people see that as oversensitivity or “censorship”. I guess it could be called censorship in the broadest sense of the word. I call it polite and civilized behavior.

          • Except that in the public sphere, “please be nice” has been used as a call for censorship. It’s a way of shutting up your opponents by implying that they’re being rude. It’s a very common tactic.

            I understand that boundaries can be stomped on in a discussion, and I’ve visited plenty of sites (and later abandoned) because the discussion descended into vitriol.

            But as I’m working my way down this comment thread, I have to admit that I don’t know what y’all are talking about with reference to TPV.

            It may be that I’ve learned to avoid threads where this happened (every time I find a Sad Pups thread — here or elsewhere — I quickly regret diving down that hole and back out). It could be that what I took as mere snark someone else felt was a personal attack.

            Heck, maybe I said something that someone was hurt by. I try not to — and I’ve even gone back and quickly deleted comments that I’ve made that were not thought through.

            But in general, I agree with the post. This is a fine place to visit, and if y’all are sensing a decline in civility, I appreciate y’all saying something. Just please, please, don’t assume we all know what in particular you’re talking about, what triggered your objections.

            • Yeah, I was scratching my head over which post had caused the “let’s be civil” warning. I have no idea which, but clearly, something ,somewhere caused a concern, even if I missed it.

              I know that when there is a really nasty little nested thread going on (usually about politics or social issues of the day), I just skip that. The nastiness I’ve seen has come from various sides, not just one. I figure eventually the venting will be over and things will calm.

            • I’m baffled by this idea that civility = censorship/silencing of dissenting views. In my mind, civility in discussion means respect for the other person’s viewpoint (and their right to express it politely) even if we don’t agree.

              I look at a forum like this as any mixed social gathering. We probably don’t know each other, so I don’t want to go calling names and putting down people and making blanket statements about this group or that. You never know who you might be insulting. And really, what’s the point? Once someone gets into name-calling, etc., I figure they don’t have anything to say worth listening to. So these tactics are ultimately self-defeating.

              Reading through these threads, it seems clear that there are those who just don’t care how they interact with others here. It makes me sad, but I guess there’s not much I can do about it other than avoid it.

    • Also lost…in….space…what is this thread referring to, please?

    • Well, this article has 50+ comments now… 🙂

  16. Whenever we get one of those identity politics articles, I know the comments will spawn a half-dozen mini-arguments.

    And yet, because of a TPV-linked article on gender balance in reviews, I now have my to-be-read shelf gender balanced. This is important because my stories include men and women, so I need to be reading both.

    The Hugo Awards articles were just an invitation for everyone to rant at each other.

    And yet they helped me know what I was walking into when I went to WorldCon. (WorldCon was awesome, and the actual humans I talked to were much less polarized than the people who make noise on the internet.)

    The zombie memes aren’t very helpful. We all know they aren’t true and even though it’s sometimes fun to read creative ways of bashing them I’m not going to learn much from the article or the comments.

    And yet, I started reading TPV because I knew the zombie memes and I had never heard the rebuttals.

    So I’ve learned a lot from this blog, even from articles that I know are going to cause trouble. I like being here. I like you folks. And I’ve learned the names of the troublemakers so their comments are easy to skip.

    Maybe I’ve become too dependent. Maybe I should be looking for useful or thought-provoking business articles and sending links to PG. I’ve really come to rely on this blog as my source for everything I should know about the publishing business.

    Anyway, good post, mods. It’s got a beat. I can dance to it. I give it a 7.

  17. Airing dirty laundry isn’t helping anyone at this point. Basically a few less than friendly words were exchanged a couple of posts down. If you really want to look for the one closed to comments.

    • I looked and didn’t see it.

      This is like at work where one person messes up and instead of talking to that person the boss sends out a vague email to the entire company asking them to be mindful.

      Great. Confusion is awesome.

      • The only thing I could see was the repost of Larry Correia’s fisk, where somebody called him a bully and LC appeared and shot them down, which is fair enough – you call out a best selling author, you cannot complain if he turns up to defend himself. A couple of other people then got a little snarky, but I’ve seen far worse on TPV – that Kensington editor that pops up every now and again (I forget his name), and even Lee Child, have received far worse treatment here – but I’ve a feeling civility doesn’t apply to ‘the enemy’ only the choir.

        People cannot, in one breath, launch ad hominem and snarky attacks at the likes of Shatzkin and Striesand? of the NYT, and in the next breath, demand civility for themselves.

        • Nah dude I found it…and I wasn’t involved!!! Yay! I was really worried I was the one they were talking about.


          I think it refers to Will and Joe spatting. People who know can correct me if I’m wrong.

          Honestly it’s pretty freakin’ mild. I mean, lots of people hate being reduced to their racial component. -shrug-

          Karen, Bridget and Meryl don’t set policy here anyway. We’ll see what PG says, it’s his site.

          • Not sure that’s it, because the comments on that are still open (they say the offending article is closed and the LC one is the only one I can see that is closed). Besides, I like Joe and Will’s spats. Being a centrist, seeing libertarians and progressives rip chunks out of each other only reinforces my belief that the centre ground is where sanity lies.

            • Well that’s the only one I could find…hmmm…

              Hard to know what to think if you don’t know what the heck anyone is talking about.

              When this sort of thing happens at work I just ignore it. Dunno what’s up? Ignore. It has worked so far. 🙂

              EDIT: Maybe they deleted the offending comments?

              • Could be.
                The most “angry” stuff on that thread was submitted (and approved) *after* the demand thread started.

            • My guess was it was this one:


              I’m also pretty sure this post was up before either Joe or I commented to each other in that other thread, as Felix notes.

              I used to frequent a site that included what I think was called a “bozo filter.” It was kind of like blocking someone; once you turned it on for someone, you stopped seeing their posts or responses.

              • Another site I frequent has that feature under the name of “kill file”. You add a user ID to the list and it automatically filters out their posts.

                I don’t use it but there are a handful of posters there I never respond to directly. If their FUD is getting out of hand, I simply agree with one of their challengers and offer up support instead.

                “Don’t feed the trolls” isn’t just a motto; it is simply good online practice. Don’t like somebody or their views? Don’t challenge or engage directly.
                Just express yourself at the root level.
                Or walk away.

                Not everything that comes to mind needs to be posted.

                • Not everything that comes to mind needs to be posted.

                  So true.

                  Regarding feeding trolls, I agree to a point, but I also think that there’s an analog to be made with bullying. Not that trolls are bullies or vice versa (though sometimes), and I know that advice varies between “ignore bullies” to “stand up to bullies.”

                  There’s a joke downthread about someone being wrong on the internet. But I think that there’s as equal an opportunity to troll online as there is to engage in thoughtful, perhaps valuable discourse that can ultimately bring about changes in opinion and policy.

                  Not always, of course, mind you. And of course there’s a big difference between that and trolling/bullying.

                  I just think that “Don’t feed the trolls” is complicated, is all. Also I think of the Futurama “Can’t tell if trolling . . .” meme. Sometimes you just can’t.

                • Will and Felix –

                  The funniest way of moderating I’ve seen is one site where they would still allow a person to post – but no one else was seeing their post except the commenter themselves.

                  What made it funny was that it wasted the time of trolls and other people who were disruptive. They would expend effort crafting argumentative comments – and then wait for replies but get nothing. So they would up the ante, still trying to get a reaction, and never (or only belatedly) realizing why they appeared to be ignored.

                  It used to drive some people crazy because they would suspect they’d had this done to them because no one was replying to their latest screen. So they would post a comment asking, “Can anyone see this? Please reply if you can see this!!!!”

              • Yeah, I don’t think that was us. And as heated as our little spats may become, Will, I don’t see you as an enemy (not quite a frenemy either–more like “intellectual nemesis”).

          • Karen, Bridget and Meryl don’t set policy here anyway.

            At least one member of the above troika must disagree with your assessment, given this remarkable declaration:

            Oh, we’re not begging for civility. We’re demanding it. And I suspect that when PG comes back, he might be a little more liberal with the delete button in the future.

            When I read PG’s announcement that he would entrust his blog to others for the duration of his vacation, I half-expected shenanigans of some sort, although I never expected them to rise to the level of a “demand.” Only those who believe themselves in possession of power put forth “demands.” That this particular “demand” is for civility (no doubt defined in a manner akin to the way that many fast food establishments use “medium” to mean the smallest available size of a menu item) makes it in a single stroke both tone-deaf and an oxymoron. And as Aragorn wisely observed in The Lord of the Rings, “The hasty stroke goes oft astray.”

            • Kudzu, you’re right. This is PG’s blog, and we’re only the caretakers for another couple of days. But you’ve just given a perfect example of what I was talking about.

              You pop up only on the political posts to take your shots and then disappear until another political post brings you back.

              Your technique is quite good. It never rises to the level of a personal attack, yet it manages to insult whomever is your target.

              This is a writing blog where new and established authors come to exchange information. I can’t remember a single comment of yours in which I actually learned something.

              • I can’t remember a single comment of yours in which I actually learned something.

                It is instructive to watch you stand up for civility.

              • If it is not personal, I’m not sure I see the problem. If somebody comes on this blog and says that all self-published works are dross, I’m sure I’d feel insulted, but that isn’t a personal attack. It’s somebody’s opinion. I have the right to be offended, but just because I’m offended does not make it offensive. Debate is about using reason to argue a position. Sometimes a person’s position may offend somebody else, but doesn’t make it uncivil.

                • @Meryl Yourish

                  “So sue me” is, according to Phrases.org.UK, “a defiant challenge for an adversary to escalate a dispute.” Is it possible that this could be why I have never before seen it used by anyone who claims to seek civility?

                • +1

                  I’d much rather have an “uncivil” brawl than enforced political correctness.

              • Really? You’re going to keep going with this? I admitted I was wrong. I do tend to respond poorly when insulted. That’s why we’re asking for civility in the comments. It is only human to lash out, and trust me, I am only human.

                The civil response would be to end the conversation, not try to keep digging. This is truly a teaching moment, and I thank you for that.

                • The irony is killing me. Only on TPV would a conversation about civility turn so uncivil.

                • @Robert Forrester

                  It is indeed “a teaching moment,” although perhaps not one that the would-be instructor intended.

                • @Robert

                  Nah, I can think of a few other places where that would happen. In fact, I’m having trouble thinking of a place where a call for “civility” WOULD remain civil.

              • It sounds like content rather than civil presentation of the content is the target here. This is happening all through our society. People don’t like ideas, so they object to their presentation claiming they are offensive or not civil.

                But, all is not lost. Recently the Univ of Chicago, Purdue, and Princeton have individually taken a stand against the suppression of ideas that some folks don’t like. These schools say the university is a place for exchange and expression of ideas, regardless of the fact that some are offended by those ideas, others don’t learn from them, and some others even disagree.

                Let’s hope PV follows the example of the U of Chicago.

            • Yeah, once the ‘demand’ came out I knew this thread was in the skip bin and nothing of value (though some of humor) would be found … 😉

  18. The fundamental problem is, someone is wrong on the Internet. And if you let them get away with it, they’ll just go right on being wrong.

    • Can’t have that!!! Hahaha!

      I knew someone would post that comic. 🙂

      Honestly though go read the exchange that prompted this. Meh. Passionate people, neither bad or rude or anything. Standards of civility are pretty variable though. My ‘meh’ is another’s ‘omg!’

    • Also, there’s the factor of not misinterpreting the tone of posts, which leads to hilarious overreactions, such as this one with the tall thin guy and the short round guy:


      The short round guy is really chill when he texts, but the tall thin guy reads his text messages as hostile and it just gets absurd from there. I’ve been trying to assume everyone on the internet is the short round guy so that I don’t become the tall thin guy.

  19. I missed the post with the unpleasantness. But a call for civility is obviously a good thing (in my world).

    I tend to read the posts from the regulars who, as a group, tend to share insightful and knowledgeable comments.

    I love this place! It’s ours, thanks to PG. Let’s keep it clean.

    • Agreed.

      But as Mr. Grant pointed out above, things outside are looking to get a lot nastier and it is going to take a lot of restraint from *everybody* to maintain an oasis of civility amid an increasingly hair-trigger outside world. It is going to be very hard to keep what lies on the horizon from filtering in.

  20. Civility is good, but sometimes you need to express an opinion, and this can be seen as uncivil by people who don’t hold that opinion. I prefer occasional rudeness to self-censorship.

    Of course there could have been some posts I missed, but I’ve not noticed a particular lack of respect of commenters to others.

  21. Bartholomew Thockmorton

    So…we’re all in agreement that Joe and Will are doo-doo heads?

    • Okay, I hope this is a joke, but just want to say, if not: apologies. Sorry Joe, and anyone else! I know sometimes the the ideas about which I’m most passionate mean my tone gets away from me.

      • I don’t think you need to apologize, Will. I’ve disagreed with you on numerous occasions and have always found you civil. Wrong, but nonetheless civil 🙂

      • Bartholomew Thockmorton


        Of course, Will, I’m joking.

      • Dammit, Will, is this some masterful ploy of yours to get me to apologize or make me look bad for refusing? I won’t have it! You can’t make me!





        Yeah, whatever. Sorry for letting myself get carried away.

        • hahaha between “masterful ploy” and “intellectual nemesis” up above, Joe, I fear you’re drastically overestimating me, in several ways.

          But no worries! To be perfectly honest, one of the reasons I find value in discussions about privilege and etc. is that there was a time when I reacted in ways similar to you. I thought the idea was bunk, and that guys are stereotyped every bit as much as women are, and etc. and lots of other things.

          Becoming an indie author, for me, opened my eyes. I perceive it as the first time I encountered a situation that held privilege where I didn’t have any/didn’t benefit from it. Once that occurred, I started to reevaluate a lot of things, and for me, I gained a deeper understanding. I now see that as hard as I’ve worked to become successful, I’ve also had some advantages others have not.

          Anyway. Cheers mate. Beers? Beers!

    • I resent that remark! I’m a bone-headed libertarian shitlord, not a run of the mill doo-doo head! Get your insults straight!

  22. Most people think their opinions are right. If they did not, they very soon wouldn’t be their opinions. I’ve noticed, though, in the run-up to presidential elections, everyone seems to get more polarized. This is by far the worst season I’ve seen in my seventh decade of service. I hope we can keep politics (mostly) out of TPV and talk about disruption of the writerly kind.

  23. I miss everything good.

  24. It literally took you less than 24 hours after making this call for civility before posting a feminist fluff piece that has absolutely nothing to do with self publishing or technological disruption of the industry. Twenty four hours. And you wonder why the comments on this blog have become so political?

    • Joe, we schedule these posts into available slots a day or two ahead of time. Five of us trying to coordinate days’ worth of articles as best we can, usually working from links submitted by TPVers. We don’t time them to piss you (or anyone) off, to get your (or anyone’s) political knickers in a twist, and we don’t choose them to solicit your (or anyone’s) approval.

      I’m sure PG would have done it lots better. You won’t be any happier to see him return than we are.

      • With regards to comments, you reap what you sow. If you publish political pieces, you get political discussions. In today’s polarized political climate, that means you’re going to get brawls. To avoid those brawls, don’t post political articles.

        I generally try not to derail non-political discussions with criticism of SJWs or whatnot. But if that is the core of the article’s message, I figure it’s fair game.

        • To avoid those brawls, don’t post political articles.

          Those are some hard toes not to step on, Joe.

          1. of, relating to, or concerned with politics : political writers.
          2. of, relating to, or connected with a political party: a political campaign.
          3. exercising or seeking power in the governmental or public affairs of a state, municipality, etc.: a political machine; a political boss.
          4. of, relating to, or involving the state or its government: a political offense.
          5. having a definite policy or system of government: a political community.
          6. of or relating to citizens: political rights.

          Perhaps what you’re telling me is not to post articles on which there might be polarized opinions. I’m glad my job here ends tomorrow, because that would afford me no end of minefields to avoid, including those relating to “self publishing or technological disruption of the industry.”

          • Yeah, gonna be hard to avoid politics.

          • I knew from the headline of that article alone exactly how the discussion was going to go. Are you honestly saying that you didn’t?

            • I’m saying someone sent a link, I read the article, found it amusing and connected to writers and writing and publishing, and I excerpted it and put it in the queue. I did not do so as part of an agenda that included pleasing or displeasing anyone. I am responsible for deciding to post the article. I am not responsible for how anyone decided to respond to it.

      • Hey, the warm water pool at my gym has reopened a day early. That’s going to do nearly as much for me as PG’s return. Especially as it’s right next to the hot tub.

    • I actually found that “feminist fluff piece” an interesting note on women in Sci-Fi, and how the audience may still have reactions that would have been more appropriate one hundred years ago than today. I also found it interesting that Amazon had failed to remove a review that clearly broke the TOS–plugging your product in a review for a competing product is not permitted.

      Not that we got to discuss that much, since certain members went ahead and jumped immediately to politics. I confess that I am surprised to see you protest politics so much, given your regular commenting patterns. It’s been my observation that you are someone who frequently brings politics into discussions that could otherwise go in less polarizing directions.

      Perhaps if commenters refrained from bringing politics up so frequently it would improve the experience of TPV for everyone.

    • PG has for years posted various articles and blogs that are not about technological disruption or self-publishing. He has also posted occasional “fluff” pieces. He has also posted “controversial” topics.

      Is this topic one that shouldn’t be discussed or has no relevance in a publishing blog? As a woman writing sf/f, I would disagree with that assertion.

      Is the topic irrelevant to self-publishing? Since it’s about sexism in sf, which affects people involved in the genre whether we publish traditionally or self-publish, I would disagree with that assertion.

      Is the topic one that cannot be discussed civilly? As a functional adult capable of thinking over and reviewing my written comments before I post them in a public forum, I would also disagree with that assertion.

      Is the topic one that you find annoying or the article one that you find distorted or unreasonable? If so, then it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate civility by discussing an article you view negatively, in a discussion where you’re in disagreement with a number of people. How you manage this opportunity is up to you.

      • Great to see you chime in, Laura. I agree with your comments.

        By the way, I’m almost finished with your “writing, romance and royalties” (which I picked up in the bundle a while back, but have only now gotten around to reading it) and have enjoyed it immensely.

        I never could have survived under the old system. In fact, it’s the main reason I went in another career direction in college. It wasn’t even a consideration for me back then. Writing remained coiled inside me as an impractical dream. Thanks for sharing your mini-biography and persevering all these years.

        • Glad you’re enjoying the book, Josh! 🙂

          I look back in horror at some of the things I went through to maintain my writing career, and am so pleased that the writing world has changed so much that writers no longer have to put up with some of the treatment I endured just to make a living.

  25. I’m all for civility, but I didn’t find anything particularly uncivil in the comments on the post that’s closed to comments (LC’s fisk). I know I’ve seen far worse on other posts.

    Part of me wonders if the mods chose the fisk hoping it would generate uncivil comments, so they could make their call to action while they had their chance, which seems rather like entrapment to me.

    Like a few others here, I’d rather risk uncivility if it means not having an echo chamber because it’s not uncommon for me to skip the comments altogether because I know without even looking that they likely to be “everybody on the same bandwagon” commentary, which I find incredibly boring.

    • Part of me wonders if the mods chose the fisk hoping it would generate uncivil comments, so they could make their call to action while they had their chance, which seems rather like entrapment to me.

      Yeah, no.

    • Completely agree (with your last paragraph). Sadly, there is a growing number of people who wish everywhere to be a safe space where their ideas and opinions are reinforced but never tested. Colleges are a hotbed for it now. Even Obama has spoken out against it. Would be an ignorant world where nobody’s opinions were ever tested.

    • Part of me wonders if the mods chose the fisk hoping it would generate uncivil comments, so they could make their call to action while they had their chance, which seems rather like entrapment to me.

      In 1956, Chairman Mao launched the “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom” campaign, which encouraged Chinese dissenters to speak their minds. Within a year all those who took advantage of this generous offer had been rounded up by the police. This was referred to as “enticing the snakes from their caves.”

      • In boot camp, the drill instructor came out and said, “The Marine Corps has just announced a new manpower reduction program. This means you syphilitic turds can get out now if you want. No questions asked. Anyone who wants to get out, come up to the duty hut.”

        About six guys followed him to the duty hut. A few minutes later we heard his laughter followed by the six guys down in the dirt outside the duty hut.

        “You worthless maggots deserve to be discharged on the grounds that you are dumber than dirt. Pushups forever. Ready… Do it!”

        • According to a fine young man of my acquaintance who is now a squared-away Marine eager to give his all on behalf of the American Imperium, the way the Drill Instructors work it these days is to call everybody together and announce that war has been declared against Iran. However, because of personnel shortages even raw, untrained recruits are going to be sent straight into combat, although anybody who doesn’t want to go… Well, I think you can guess how this particular story ends.

  26. I used to be a frequent poster, but several months ago I stopped for the exact reasons Meryl Yourish mentioned.

    A distinct lack of civility has grown, an intolerance for varying opinions, in a “There Is Only One True Way” sort of fashion.

    Rudeness and dog piling. I’m remembering when John Brown (who has given back to the writing community quite a bit — YouTube lectures, writing tutorials) got piled on because he had been Trad published. (People didn’t realize that he was going Indie and was possibly looking for a community (? I don’t know, I’m guessing). People were mean, he moved on.)

    I rarely read comments anymore and now just breeze by TPV to see what’s going on in the industry. I decided I don’t need the drama from intolerant people who refuse to see the other side/respect a varying opinion, or the same people who find offense at the same thing again and again when none was intended in the first place.

    I missed the TPV community at first, but I moved on. It makes me wonder how many others also moved on as well. (I started avidly following TPV in 2011.)

  27. I suggest a rousing discussion on, “How Did You Feel When You Made Your First Sale?”

  28. Thank you. I really enjoy TPV. There’s nothing wrong with healthy debate, and a bit of snarkery is entertaining, but the personal attacks have been putting me off.

  29. Exhortations not to post “controversial” topics on TPV if one wants civility… completely MISS THE POINT of civility.

    For most people, civility is easy–does not even require thought, let alone effort–when communicating with someone you like and admire about a topic on which you both completely agree.

    It’s also easy when discussing a topic on which most/all of the commenters are like-minded, even if most/all of them don’t know each other (never mind like or respect), and/or when discussing a topic about which it’s hard to fall into emphatic disagreement. The most “emphatic disagreement” one can fall into over Bookscan sales stats, for example, is probably disagreeing about how relevant those stats are to sales in the overall market, much of which Bookscan doesn’t cover. Disagreeable people with no ability to communicate like reasoning adults =can= fall into “f*** you, you f***ing idiot!” mode over disagreement about the actual distirbution and relevance of Bookscan stats… but it doesn’t happen often, and most people need relatively little self-control to maintain civility when discussing a topic like that.

    The whole point of a call for civility is: how do you conduct yourseld when topic is NOT as bland or mathematical as a Bookscans stats report? Blaming the TOPIC for your own behavior fools no one. If you’re being rude and combative, the topic is not the problem, YOU are the problem–because YOU are unable to refrain from rude and combative behavior unless the topic is one that YOU find dry or uncontroversial or in perfect harmony with your own views.

    But what if it’s a topic that -I- find dry or uncontroversial? Is that topic inappropriate or forbidden because YOU have no ability to express yourself civilly or write suitable-for-public-behavior commentary on a topic that -I- see no reason to get emotional about? Do we need to eliminate those topics altogether because of your fragile emotional state?

    What about topics that many people agree are “controversial” or spark strong reactions, wherein 3/4 of the participants are prepared to be civil, but YOU are not? must those topics ALSO be forbidden or avoided because YOU lack self-control as soon as you’re confronted by a topic that you feel strongly about?

    The point of civility is that it enables us to discuss virtually ANYTHING; and the absence of civility means there are very, very few things we can discuss, because out of 300 or 30 or 3000 people particpating in the blog, there are 1 or 2 who can’t control themselves–EVEN THOUGH discussion in this forum occurs IN WRITING, which means that you have AMPLE TIME AND OPPORTUNITY to consider what you want to say, why you want to say it, how you want to say it, and review your words with a cool head before posting.

    When people object to a call for civility or say “no, my inability to be civil isn’t the problem, the TOPIC is the problem,” what I hear is: “If you say things I disagree with, I will throw a tantrum.”

    • When people object to a call for civility or say “no, my inability to be civil isn’t the problem, the TOPIC is the problem,” what I hear is: “Don’t say things I disagree with.”

      The topic is not the problem. The topic is the catalyst for the civil expression of ideas some folks don’t like. Those expressions are then labeled uncivil or offensive.

      Civility has little to do with the issue. The issue is the notion that we have a right to be sheltered from being offended or encountering ideas we oppose.

      Since a topic that supports one side of an issue is likely to elicit opposing posts, it’s reasonable to observe the natural outcome of the topic is offense to someone. But that’s no reason to avoid such topics. Let them be offended.

    • But a problem arises when some call for–nay, demand–civility yet mean for this stricture to apply solely to those with whom they disagree, not to themselves. Earlier today we had a stark illustration of exactly what I mean by this upthread.

      • +1

      • Funny how you neglect to mention that I have already agreed I was wrong to do so and took full responsibility for it.

        But go ahead and keep on beating the horse. There may yet be some life in it.

        • Is the horse really dead? Or from now on will you grit your teeth every time you hear the word “civility”? The latter, I suspect. So many teaching moments, so little time.

        • I think the toddler-like rudeness that tends to get rewarded with kudos and backslaps in many sf/f venues can be pretty disconcerting when it appears on blogs elsewhere.

        • What sticks in the craw, Meryl, is being told “do as I say, not as I do.” If you want civility, lead the way, instead of demanding from others what you can’t seem to do yourself.

          If PG wasn’t going to be back tomorrow, I’d cancel my subscription to the blog right now.

          • Meryl has apologized already. Kudzu Bob has continued to push the point, with what I can only assume to be deliberate provocation or rudeness.

            I am also glad PG will be back tomorrow, and I hope he reviews the current commenting policy, as the community has become much more unpleasant in recent months.

            • Meryl has apologized already.

              She did? Before I smoke my last cigarette and face the firing squad at dawn (sans blindfold, of course), would you be kind enough to point out where she apologized to me? Please be specific, and thank you in advance for your assistance in clearing up what must be a terrible misunderstanding on my part.

              • My apologies, I should have said Meryl has already said she was wrong and that she shouldn’t have said what she did initially. She did not specifically apologize to you.

                I don’t necessarily believe that such an apology is called for, as it appears you may be deliberately provoking her and everyone else on TPV, perhaps for your own amusement.

                • Your apology for being mistaken about the failure of Meryl Yourish to apologize to me (which it appears that I do not merit, on account of my being exempt from civility) is cordially accepted.

                • Bob, people only generally apologize to people they like, are friends with or otherwise have some relationship that they want to maintain. I won’t’ say never, but people rarely apologize to jerks. Psst. Heads up, I think you may be in the later category here.

                • Yes, but you have a chicken-egg problem here.

                • i have no problem with you holding the mods feet to the fire. You made your point and it was accepted. Then you went on and on and on, rubbing the mods nose in it. Why do that? It’s petty.

              • Meryl has admitted she was wrong and should not have said what she did. She has offered a mea culpa. I believe she has adequately expressed regret for her initial words.

                Looking through the comments, I see that you have invoked Chairman Mao, Godwin’s Law, and a firing squad in this thread requesting civility in comments. I believe it would be a mistake to engage any further with you.

    • I agree with Laura 100%. There’s nothing more to say. People who don’t get this have a problem with being civil, which is the problem.

  30. Wow, over 140 comments on essentially a non post. When teacher gets back, he’s going to have kittens.

  31. I used to spend much more time at TPV, including sending along many suggested links, but not so much anymore.

    Reading down this thread helps me to understand why. Ranting against civility? Really??

    I will still come by to check out the articles and to read PG’s insightful remarks, but these days I rarely linger for the comments. I come here for the writing trade, not for the trading of insults.

    • Ranting against civility? Really??

      No. There has been no ranting against civility.

      • Call it a demurral with regard the asymmetrical imposition of civility, which in some eyes is tantamount to the rise of the Fourth Reich.

        • PG, the above comments are examples of why I am growing to detest the comments section on your site.

          Good day.

        • The reason you get banned on so many other forums, bob, is you push and push and keep pushing, when there is really no need for it. Sometimes you just need to let things lie. You’re relentless like your namesake weed. And now you’ve jumped the shark with all these nazi and Mao references. did I miss a Stalin or pol pot reference in here somewhere? That’s a joke. I like spirited debate and holding people’s feet to the fire, but you seem to take it to another level, like you’re trying to not just “win”, whatever that means, but obtain unconditional surrender from your opponent. That’s not the type of comment community that PG has generally cultivated here and that many of us long time commenters have come to expect. That’s just my opinion of course, so take it for what you will.

          • Sometimes you just need to let things lie.

            You’re right, of course. What kind of man takes exception to the notion that civility is reserved only for certain categories of people and not others? Why, that might involve citing historical parallels, which could lead to our getting off Clio’s spinning hamster wheel. God knows, that is the only exercise most Americans get these days.

    • I remember you, Eric. I used to enjoy reading your comments. You had interesting things to say. 🙁

  32. I don’t believe the problem is civility exactly, although that is a concern, but the real problem right now is content.

    When I was active a few years ago, the posts were even more controversial and there was lots of back and forth. Comments were closed and PG would step in sometimes.

    It was invigorating. The debates, even if they crossed the line at times, were relevant and on the cutting edge of the Publishing Industry changes.

    What I see now is an influx of extreme right wing folk constantly bashing, in a very toxic and hostile manner, liberals.

    They don’t necessarily bash the folks in the comments, although I have seen them gang up on them, but mostly they make hostile, derogatory and sometimes vicious comments about liberals in general.

    Post after post after post, bashing, bashing, bashing liberals, the same posters over and over, it gives me an extremely bad taste in my mouth.

    However – and I may be wrong about this – I hope he will correct this if I am, but PG seems to want this. He frequently, pretty much daily, posts items that make it very easy to mock liberals, which gives these folks a forum.

    It’s PG’s blog, and if he wants to use his blog to air anti-liberal politics and gather like-minded people to his blog, he certainly can.

    But I see commenters leaving, and I feel sad and very disappointed that was once a pivotal blog discussing and documenting the changes in the publishing industry appears to be evolving into a right wing – liberal bashing forum.

    • Oh my goodness, no. PG is doing no such thing. He’s not dictating those anti-liberal posts or egging them on. He’s hosting a blog where some people takes swipes that PG is in no way responsible for. To the contrary, he has posted that this is not the place for political commentary.

      I posted this over on the SF topic today, which I know you saw because you replied to it, but I’ll post here because this topic keeps getting posts and I think it’s important to applaud just how good a host PG is:

      I’m surprised by how many folks have been turned off by this blog, not showing up as often, avoiding the comments, and “missing” this or that. I’ve been coming here for years — every day, multiple times per day — to see what gems PG is sharing with us and what the other blog followers have to say about them. I recall only a couple of times when PG found it necessary to step in and request that posters find other blogs to comment on when they have something political to say.

      The topics PG posts nearly always interest me, even if they aren’t about books or writing. When I’m not interested, it’s my failing, not the topic’s or PG’s. Running this blog day by day with new goodies showing up throughout the day can’t be easy. PG can’t please all the people all the time, but he keeps on trying, and keeps on keeping on. I hope the recent comments posted in his absence don’t make him second-guess his choices. I want this blog to continue as is with a variety of topics, and I want PG to know how very, very much I appreciate the salon he provides for us 24/7.

      • Hi Patricia,

        Sorry, I didn’t reply to your post – you may be thinking of Mia, it’s easy to confuse us. 🙂

        And I’m afraid we’re going to have to disagree. I think PG is frequently and deliberately picking posts that provide anti-liberal fodder. I can list recent posts if you like.

        And the reality is that people are leaving. Honestly I don’t think it’s because they find the blog topics to be boring.

        • You’re right — I did have the two of you confused. It’s a reflection of my reading ability, darn it. I do know you’re two separate people. Sorry.

      • + many, Patricia!

    • What I see now is an influx of extreme right wing folk constantly bashing, in a very toxic and hostile manner, liberals.

      I’m in agreement about this part. Usually we don’t know if folks lean right or left unless they do something along those lines. Even some who have made general comments of the sort have not continued to do so. When people have been here a while (most people, anyway), they tend to get that making snide remarks about someone else’s politics isn’t part of what we do around here.

      …PG seems to want this. He frequently, pretty much daily, posts items that make it very easy to mock liberals, which gives these folks a forum.

      Now here I have to disagree. PG certainly does find posts by folks who are easy for us to lampoon, but does it follow that those people are liberals? I’ve heard commenters assert they must be, but without any grounding I could detect in fact. Does it follow that PG is in some way encouraging people likely to bash liberals to do so? I’m not so sure. I couldn’t tell you what PG’s politics are like, and I don’t need to know. I have heard a few folks say things that suggest they think Big Pub is essentially liberal and self-pub essentially conservative or libertarian or whatever. I know too many people in both parts of publishing to see any sense in this at all.

      It’s PG’s blog, and if he wants to use his blog to air anti-liberal politics and gather like-minded people to his blog, he certainly can.

      So because I’m not seeing what you’re seeing from PG, this seems to come WAY out of left field for me. I haven’t stopped shaking my head since I read it. Is your basis for this that a lot of commenters are bashing people who write posts PG picks up because they presume the to be liberal? Is it because we seem to have a lot of anti-liberal comments lately? Both those are true in my experience, but they don’t (to me at least) justify your conclusion.

      • I have heard a few folks say things that suggest they think Big Pub is essentially liberal and self-pub essentially conservative or libertarian or whatever.

        The general progressive theory says we need experts to make decisions for us so we can move toward the perfection of society. Big government and institutions will direct and regulate us along the proper path.

        This fits with the notion that publishers, gatekeepers, professors, and critics are best suited to choose what books are offered to society. They are the guardians of culture, and will protect literary culture. (Note all the articles about the swill making it impossible to discover the quality works.)

        Self-publishing, and the system Amazon has instituted, is in direct opposition to this idea. It explicitly rejects the notion that we need guidance from anyone. Its elevation of the individual above the experts fits with conservative ideas. So does it’s embrace of consumers as the ultimate arbiters.

        That doesn’t mean independent authors are conservative, but they are operating in a system that conforms with conservative ideas. Before Amazon, authors were operating in a system that conformed to progressive ideas. The independent movement supports the conservative idea.

        • The general progressive theory says…

          Is this one of those “every schoolboy knows” propositions? I admit my ignorance of anything called a “general progressive theory.”

          • Your are ignorant of it for the same reason that fish are ignorant of water, since progressivism has permeated everything in your environment–books, moves, classroom lessons, television, even music–since you were born. At bottom, progressivism is the notion that college professors should run the world. That college professors dreamed it up themselves is purely a coincidence, of course. “Correlation does not equal causation,” as SJWs never tire of saying when they smell smoke.

          • Is this one of those “every schoolboy knows” propositions? I admit my ignorance of anything called a “general progressive theory.”

            No. I doubt many have an understanding of the Progressive Era and what it represented and advocates. But it’s easy to see its influence today.

            Franklin Foer wrote an article last year in the New Republic critical of Amazon and its influence on book sales. The ideas he expressed were exactly what the Progressives from a hundred years ago held.

            Much of the criticism of Amazon and self-publishing uses the exact same arguments the Progressives used in 1915.

            People have to start somewhere, so I’d suggest this article by Herbert Croly, New Republic, 1920. Croly was the first editor of the New Republic. Note that his use of “liberal” conforms to classical liberals, which roughly equate to today’s conservatives.


      • @ Bridget, well let me say I would like nothing better to be wrong.

        I have always respected PG, and would hate to think he doesn’t respect me because I fight for social justice.

      • Oh, Bridget, and I’m surprised to hear that Big Pub is connected with liberal and indies with conservative.

        I don’t believe that is accurate.

        BPH are corporations, which are almost always conservative.

        I think there is libertarian faction which I see on this blog, which is also indie, and which is actually confusing Big Government with Liberals, which is really weird.

    • I don’t think PG encourages liberal bashing. I think he is reporting what is in the news. It is clear, we are in the middle of a cultural clash at the moment: Gamergate/Sad Puppies etc, and sitting in the middle, I see both sides acting just as badly as each other. I also see the extremes of both sides get set upon whether puppies or SJW (sic).

      Extreme progressives seem intent on trying to stifle speech or turning every nuance of the world into some gender political argument. While extreme conservative/libertarians, seem intent on keeping the downtrodden down. Both are deserved of criticism.

      For a publishing/writer’s blog, where our very livelihoods depend on the freedom to think and write what we want, all this seems fair game to me.

      I do, however, sometimes wonder why it is geek culture that is the catalyst for all this. Why doesn’t other media such as hip hop get the same attention? It seems more deserving if you ask me.

      • Haven’t you heard that geeks now run the world? Politics flows downstream from culture, and–please forgive the mixed metaphors–like the invasive species that I derive my pseudonym from, geek culture has displaced all other forms of culture. (When was the last time you heard somebody who wasn’t on social security or in some sort of a choir sing or hum a tune created before the invention of the electric guitar?). He who controls geek culture controls geek politics, and hence the world. This explains the perfectly justified obsession that SJWs have with policing every aspect of comic books, movies, video games, music, genre fiction, and so on. I would do no less were I in their Keds.

    • I don’t actually remember any posts being closed to comments until the Hugo Wars of 2014-2015 broke out. Since then? Yeah, a fair number of posts have been closed.

      I remember a lot of back-and-forth about TradPub and Indies back in the day. But nothing like we’ve seen on the political posts these days.

      • I recall some posts being closed, but I thought it had to with the number of posts on those particular threads. Some go on and on and it makes sense to close them.

      • I remember a lot of back-and-forth about TradPub and Indies back in the day. But nothing like we’ve seen on the political posts these days.

        The traditional publishing side didn’t have much actual commenting participation. Lots of people engaged in name-calling that was hardly civil, but the lack of material representation from the traditionals made the incivility acceptable. It’s a different situation when the other guy pushes back.

      • They have been closed a number of times. Usually when folks started getting surly with one another.

      • @ Meryl, well, I’ve been absent almost 18 months, but – to my memory – PG was always closing comments. Not the Hugo wars….

        Lots of arguing between traditionally published and indie folk. Sometimes BPHs would come onto the Blog, agents argue with folk. Stuff like that.

      • And yes, nothing like you see nowadays in terms of the mean-spirited hostility.

      • Oh, and the political overtones.

        PG used to close posts or even delete comments because they were sliding into politics.

        Now, it’s almost all you see on the blog.

  33. Because of the kinds of comments/commenters on PG in recent times, I and other indie authors I know do not bring the issues which we are discussing to TPG blog anymore. Given the number of other people who have confirmed their absence for the same reason it seems to me that the corporate governance of this blog is driving away many of the people for whom it once was a valuable resource.
    I’m over the Sci Fi stupid, the ADS nonsense: I’d like more discussion of publishing and how to, what to avoid …

    • Given the number of other people who have confirmed their absence for the same reason it seems to me that the corporate governance of this blog is driving away many of the people for whom it once was a valuable resource.

      Amazing how many comments came from absent people telling us they are not here.

    • @ Christine – I feel the same way. I would very much like to return to a focus on publishing, writing and books.

      @ Patricia and Terrence,

      Losing people from such an influential blog is a true problem. When they come back to say why they left, it’s very important to listen to them.

  34. I’m over the Sci Fi stupid, the ADS nonsense: I’d like more discussion of publishing and how to, what to avoid …”

    Hmm. I love this blog because it offers us all of that, what you don’t want and what you do want.

  35. Does anyone bother to read the “About” page?

    Quote: “Prior to reopening his latest law practice, PG’s business involved high-stakes intellectual property litigation. He started The Passive Voice as an anonymous blog so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search.”

    This was never an “emotionally cool” blog. Controversy (that affects intellectual artistic endeavors) is one of it’s basic purposes.

    Pointing up things that can affect any writer, graphic artist, or even musician is a proper subject at any time (including the one that is closed now). And the owner of the blog is certainly entitled to have an opinion on those things – as are those who are asked to step in for a while to give him a break.

    Sorry, but I would soon remove PV from my bookmarks if all it ever ran was Raymond Chandler quotations and PG’s vacation pictures (lovely though those are).

    On the “closed” subject – I would note that the author of the review is correct in a narrow sense – those authors are not able to write space opera. I am assured by those that enjoy such that they do write absolutely wonderful feminist post-gender screeds – which is perfectly fine for those who do enjoy it. On the other hand, I do know of quite a few female authors who do write excellent space opera. I do not know of any that write the reviewer’s kind of space opera – but I tend to avoid things that are written at the level of a high school sophomore (a public one, mind), so I am sure there are some out there if he looks hard enough.

  36. I have to say, regardless of what anyone’s politics are, for the last week a handful of us have been combing the news for articles we thought might be of interest to PG’s community, aided by contributions from PG’s correspondents.

    We can’t write ’em — we can only pick ’em, while they’re still timely. When you need circa 8 every day, there’s only so much going on in the news that seems like it might qualify. Sometimes it focuses of current culture-wars issues, sometimes it focuses on trad vs indie publishing, sometimes it looks at authors behaving badly, etc., but we’re not the ones making the news. It’s not like we’re turning away all sorts of more worthy material you would prefer.

    Not this week, anyway.

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