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Messages - Nic

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1
To clarify, "old posts are getting deleted," yes, but as far as I know, they're being deleted by the forum members themselves.  Many people went through and either have (or want/ed to) gone back through history and deleted their own posts.  Imagine how time-consuming that could be!!!
....

Thank you! I guess I will wait and see. A pity if this concentrated well of knowledge would be gone.

2
I've been absent from the forum for a while.

So do I get this right: the forum was sold to one of the companies which skim off the cream for ads/publicity? Many writers left (how many)? Old posts are getting deleted? Alternatives have been founded (which and who is where)?

Personally I have no qualms of allowing the new owner to do what they will with my posts. Nic is not my real name and I don't work for Foyles. I haven't posted anything leading to me personally and have suffered the continued suspicion for refusing to "prove" myself. I knew why I kept my relative anonymity, I let out a couple of minor facts after all. But in the end I was being as cautious as I usually am on the net, except for when I am in an official role, such as with my business.

My main question at this point is where KB stands now as a writer forum. Will enough of the valued oldtimers stay to make it worth the while, or is the current exodus its death knell?

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« on: June 29, 2018, 12:07:40 am »
I don't see how it's any more unethical than for a male to use a female pen to gain access to the vast majority of the M/F romance market. Either way you're presenting yourself as someone you're not in order to gain access to a market where readership bias might otherwise prevent your books from being read.

Agreed. The whole hassle about pen names of the opposite gender or another sexuality is very hard to understand. That's like saying Robin Williams' movies have ceased to be watchable now that we know that he wasn't as funny inside as he pushed outside.  Williams' smiling facade is what sold his movies to the majority of people.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« on: June 29, 2018, 12:03:17 am »
I have mentioned before that I had a hard time forgiving a female author who writes M/M romances who for more than a decade presented herself a gay man. It waltzes right on the edge of unethical, but I don't think quite crossed over it. It wasn't the male part but the gay part that I hated.

If you are talking about who I believe you are talking, then they never stated that they were gay. No, failure of contradicting people who assume this, isn't a lie. Not even close to one.

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: RIP Harlan Ellison
« on: June 28, 2018, 09:28:11 pm »
He wrote some of the stories drawing me to SciFi as a youth. Fabulous writer.

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 28, 2018, 08:48:34 pm »
And please, if you are going to try to play the "but history" card, do remember that history as we understand it is often retconned before we ever learn it and that there are constant discoveries and un-ret-conning of history all the time that changes how we understand it.  History is not set in stone (so to speak, ha) and much of the literature or art that we think of as representational of points in history is, in fact, a super narrow and deeply flawed (and sometimes outright disingenuous or biased) portrayal of those times. 

I fully agree with this part. It's why the books, movies and music of many people unable or incapable of researching and evaluating the past - for various reasons, one main one being the loss of the material - are unreadable, trite and purposeless.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 28, 2018, 06:45:19 pm »
Welcome to the WWDS-- the World Wide Double Standard.  Some people don't like peaches because they're juicy and messy, but don't have a problem with watermelon, even though the same qualities apply.  Other people take offense at horror movies/video games because of (for one thing) the common damsel-in-danger trope, but don't have any problem with superhero movies/games with the token female character in a tight, form-fitting costume.  Getting back to the fruit metaphor, it's called cherrypicking.

I'm quite aware of the hypocrisy of it, or I wouldn't have pointed it out. In this very thread are people who, when the negative influence of certain romance and erotica were pointed out, withdrew to the exact opposite point of view regarding books and their influence compared to now. Which is what amuses me.

Nobody has removed the books from schools, libraries, Amazon, or anywhere else. They are still available and sold and nothing is restricting access to them.

It is a slippery slope. First obliterate the name, then retcon the books, then remove them entirely.

Quote
All that has happened is that the people who oversee the award have said, "We have decided, in 2018, that the award should reflect the nature of the children's book community as it is TODAY, instead of clinging to a worldview that is over a century old and does not reflect the diversity of modern children's book writers."

This isn't a bad thing, regardless of how some may want to spin it otherwise.

Unfortunately this is neither the intelligent, nor the intellectual, and most assuredly not the best way to deal with the past and its culture. No one says people should "cling to a worldview". The intelligent and civilised approach is to teach, not to ban or censor. It is the cheapest approach, though.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 28, 2018, 06:27:14 pm »
Who is this "people" to whom you refer? Are you sure that both groups that you describe are identical? I would doubt it.

In this group alone, there is definite overlap.

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 28, 2018, 01:33:14 pm »
Yes, but the way fiction conveys cultural values (of all types) is too complex to boil down to whether the narrator/characters explicitly endorse those values, IMO. There's a complicated interplay among the narrator's tone, explicit versus implicit endorsements, the way the plot and character development lean on values, the reader's established attitudes toward the characters who espouse values, and probably other elements I'm not thinking of. For instance, if an utterly loathsome character makes a racist remark, the reader is probably likely to see that remark as bad, even if the narrator doesn't point out that it's bad. But what if a beloved character says or does something racist? That might be a murkier situation. ....

At this point I am starting to find the whole thing extremely amusing.  ;D

I can't count the times that I have been told, and in no uncertain tones, that fiction is fiction and not reality. Usually the inciting topic wasn't Laura Ingalls' ma's racism. Instead it was the abuse in Fifty Shades of Grey, the misrepresentation of reality in romance or the sexism in erotica. The moment you reflect on rape culture, or the distortion of the gay experience, or the abuse and torture porn so prevalent today in romance and erotic fiction, and widely read by youths and young adults, that's the exact answer you get: "But it is not reality. It is fiction, and we can discern reality from fantasy. Books do not influence anyone. We can consume what we want."

And now this gets turned around, because now it is helpful to some other agenda? People really need to make up their minds. It is either this or that in this case. Not both.

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 28, 2018, 12:51:05 pm »
But imagine being a person of color about to receive an award named for an author of books that had likely made you uncomfortable, if not caused you pain.

It is possible to reject an award you do not consider worthy. No problem and at least showing integrity.

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« on: June 28, 2018, 07:24:11 am »
It's all part of the "brand", isn't it?

People choose pen names to promote their works. And they usually choose something that either is memorable or fits the target genre somehow.

I have no problem with the dudes taking on female pen names to write their romances. I don't do it (I don't write in that genre), but I don't care if they do it.

It must work as a tactic, or they wouldn't continue to do so. It's the same with the phony bios used. It's all part of the marketing, all part of the branding. If it didn't work, they wouldn't continue to do it.

Some of the other stuff mentioned here on KBoards -- male authors using female pen names and asking female readers to tell their secrets -- yeah, it looks creepy. But that goes above and beyond writing/branding/marketing.

It's rare, but I do agree with all that.

I draw the line at the same place, though I don't think it's just "a brand". Online personae have been existing ever since Arpanet.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Also Boughts GONE from .Com completely
« on: June 27, 2018, 09:47:11 pm »
Amazon is trying to become the Geocities of online retailers.

Ouch.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: What Will This Mean For us?
« on: June 27, 2018, 09:40:29 pm »
Personally, I'm a bit concerned by this trend of judging the work or actions of people who lived in radically different historical times through the lens of the present. For a few reasons - for one, I worry about the slippery slope implications. First we remove Laura Ingalls Wilder from the name of a children's book literature award, when she was one of the pioneers of that genre, because some of the statements or
....
Look, I understand that this is a slippery slope argument, and most mainstream folks aren't advocating for removing classic literature that doesn't sit well with modern sensibilities. But I feel this is a step down that path. And I'd much rather keep these important books and people in the curriculum and discuss their books and the context of their views rather than trying to shove them out of sight.     

I agree with all of this. And such behaviour, revisioning the past to comply with the (too often too hysterical and absolutist) present is what is giving people engaged in doing this a bad name. It's nothing less than active censorship.

I'll add two points:

Ingalls-Wilder's books are very present all over in print. There will be no final retconning of her stories, just as that will be impossible with Twain, Shakespeare, Kipling or Blyton. Unless someone starts burning books again. Modern authors often don't have these enormous print editions to fall back on. Even with trad published authors you get runs of just a few thousand physical books, and indie authors often only have electronic files. As of now there is no institution which keeps original files truly securely filed for all time (forget national libraries, because obviously they aren't tamper proof either). Revisioning our books will be child's play.

I recently wanted to read an unedited (in this instance indeed negatively revised) version of a short story by an author friend. She had suffered a bad hard drive failure, so she had lost all files. And now only the edited (in her case edited to quite undeserving sensitivities) version is left. This will be how the future will remember her work. Not the way she created it and now adhering to morals and fashions not worthy.

The second thought I have is that future generations will not even have the chance of learning from the past. The effect is already well-known regarding history taught only from the perspective of those who won the wars. How much worse with the distortion become, if we strike any adversary opinion from books just so that children never have to engage a brain cell?

You won't stop such things as racism or sexism by obliterating every hint of it. It's truly not as if our current time has become so enlightened that we can afford not to show children and youths what certain behaviour caused and how people formerly thought. How should they ever conclusively compare their own behaviour towards migrants with how the people of Twain's era thought of black people? People learn by example, bad as well as good examples. The civilised way would be to print footnotes, and not to rewrite books.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 11:39:23 am »
They're not published, they're on a password-protected website. Run by volunteers who donate their own time to help other writers. They may put a few ads on the site to make a few bucks, but it's a long time since I went there, so I don't really remember.

Anything published on a website is published. If I - as the author and owner of copyright - ask for it to be taken down, it has to be taken down, or the owner/administrator of that website is infringing on my copyright.

Anyone working with IP should be aware and respectful of that. And no, that it is behind a password screen doesn't mean it isn't published.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 10:35:53 am »
If you send your story to an online critique group you have no control over it any more, because hundreds of people now have copies.  Critters used to email me stories every week, so deleting it from the web site would be pointless. And even if it's only on the web instead of downloaded, people can copy-and-paste: they pretty much have to be able to do that in order to critique it.

There's a difference between individual copies with individual critique partners and someone keeping a story or excerpts of a story published against the wishes of the creator. These are very distinct and different things.

Someone using a critique site can be fine with one, and not so much fine with the other. It doesn't automatically follow.

16
As I said, the fundamental issue with this thought experiment is not understanding the root reasons for the oppression of women in most cultures in the first place. Without the basic foundation on the WHY of this cultural issue, it is difficult to address it appropriately in fiction. You can't just flip the roles and expect it to work, because flipping the rules ignores the reasons for the beliefs.

At the heart of that conflict are resources and inheritance. The [alleged] step from primordial matriarchy to patriarchy occurred when people understood paternity and became settled enough to trade possession of immovables. Other scientists hold that such a version of matriarchy never existed on any wholescale level. That's the most recent understanding of anthropological research as far as I know, right along with polygamy being considered these days to having been a stoneage status quo so to speak.

Quote
it is the same reason why those well-meaning but generally useless social experiments like "make one group wear green shirts and everyone be mean to them" don't work. Because they are based on the assumption that racism is actually about skin-color only, but the fear of otherness goes beyond mere skin color and without examining those root issues cosmetic experiments don't achieve any real goal.

Ron Jones' experiment would give different pointers. It's all in the set up and definitions. I do agree with your general take of the premise described in the first post.

At least two factors which need to be examined are overabundance and concrete [physical] power. Anything which exists in abundance is devalued, anything which is rare gets valued. A society with an overabundance of men and male resources and few women and female resources is much more likely to show a power slide favouring women. However, only if at the same time women have material, physical and mental power over men in some form. If the usual gender dimorphism between men and women has to be maintained, then some other form of power has to replace muscle.

There is no proof that a matriarchy or women per se would prove to rule more peacefully.  Female aggression is just different, not non-existant, and research has shown that female rulers went to war more often than male ones, statistically.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 08:15:24 am »
I left Critters a long time ago, but it's been around for decades and one of the best critiquing groups on the Internet.

Well, if a critique forum doesn't respect copyright it can't be among the best, it won't even be just adequately "good". The very first thing I'd expect anyone working with my texts to respect is my right to decide what happens to them. That includes what happens to them behind a password wall or in a database accessible only be members or administrators.

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 08:06:10 am »
My guess would be the posts. It's not clear how this all applies to private identifying information in posts and quoted posts and all that. The right to be forgotten looks ludicrously broad from everything I've seen. I've run a board for a dozen years or so and since I can't find answers and I don't have time to deal with this, I'm considering shutting it down. I hadn't considered that a note saying EU members aren't allowed could solve that.

Every current forum software has the feature for members to delete themselves with or without posts and with anonymised posts, and has done so for at least the past 5-6 years. It's no problem.

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 05:44:35 am »
In the time I was at Critters, I asked them several times to remove a very early version of a story from their database. They said they couldn't/wouldn't. As far as I can see, this stupid policy runs counter to the GDPR requirement: that users can delete themselves from the site. It's the main reason I left Critters.

In that case nothing much is lost. A writer/critique group not respecting copyright law is no good thing to be in anyway...

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Critters closes for EU members
« on: June 26, 2018, 05:31:12 am »
If Critters is panicking like this, then I have to wonder what information, exactly, WERE they collecting without their members' knowledge?

I am wracking my brain here. Other than the basic info you enter when you sign up for the site, which you can access at any time and change at any time as far as I know, what where they collecting behind the scenes without anyone's knowledge?

I need a like button. This nails it.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Ever Wondered If Those Reviews are Real?
« on: June 25, 2018, 11:28:34 pm »
I know it when I see it. I don't need bad algorithms to work that out for me. It is easy enough to pinpoint the books which were marketed with ARC and street teams, and it is also easy to see which have shady aka solicited/bought reviews. Both show me I shouldn't be buying that book regardless of how much hype it gets.

22
Everything KelliWolfe said.

I don't run advertisements as I hate the stuff when confronted with it. I've never once bought anything because I saw an ad for it. I don't click on ads, and all my web browsers have strict popup and ad shields. I've never bought a book because of an ad somewhere. Absolutely never.

It is possible to just do it by choosing the right blurbs, covers and keywords. I count heavily on word of mouth, because a lot of what I write is nothing which I would push at the public for fear of censoring. Occasionally I put a book up on Smashwords and open half of it as a sample, then funnel people to it from Goodreads groups. That's a nice way to start the word of mouth effect. Costs me nothing, maybe 5 or 10 minutes to set up and announce. Like KelliWolfe I have websites for my pen names, people can subscribe to be notified of new releases and I only do that. I don't do weekly letters or anything.

Or you can do it the way a friend of mine does: he hired a good manager, who does the entire business and marketing side of it.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Ghostwriting - Fair Wages
« on: June 23, 2018, 08:32:31 am »
Can we say that this is because you're an author?

That is possible. But again, there are also a lot of very sensitive readers out there. Recently, I have noticed a generalised "malaise" with many romance sub genres and the output flooding readers. Readers are definitely aware of book stuffing and the background of it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Ghostwriting - Fair Wages
« on: June 22, 2018, 11:58:39 pm »
Readers don't know these authors are actually not real, and that the books are written by other people. I don't know...that just doesn't sit well with me.

I wouldn't be too sure about that. As a reader I often am able to discern ghostwritten stories from self-written ones, and I also notice (prose) similarities between authors not officially linked to each other.

25
The first time I got hit with a $4500 tax bill on royalties, I was shocked.

I do not think anyone has a problem with income tax. It is logical, it is easy to pay, it is a one-stop thing, and you know what you're in for when you start earning any sort of income.

Being knowledgeable of and applying hundreds of different taxes and taxation levels is something entirely else. The typical small one owner business on the street, meaning your normal shoeshiner, hot dog vendor, flower girl or icecream seller has little more to do than hand over their bills and income sheets to a mediocre, low pay accountant and is done with everything. The problem is: this is not anymore sufficient for someone doing business in a similar manner over the internet. No cover designer located in Brixton is able to afford the internationally savvy legacy accountant they would need to be sure that their entire business arse is covered.

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