Harry Potter fandom is in an interesting place now, with fansites trying to find a way forward while also shunning Rowling for her transphobic views. I was thinking about this sort of thing the other day after Ray Fisher’s charges of Joss Whedon’s abusiveness on the set of Justice League. Three years ago the fansite Whedonesque shut down as his ex-wife outed a decade and a half of issues; the site had been around since 2002. In the wake of the Fisher story, the most succinct reaction I saw was that “society has progressed beyond the need” for Whedon; I think that’s right, and Potter fandom I guess finds itself in somewhat similar a circumstance.

Some research performed on Reddit suggests that a welcome message to new posters explaining community norms increases participation, which is nice and all but you still have to actually also reduce the abuse and harassment that keeps them from participating absent such a welcome message. Increasing participation through communicating expectations without also reducing the abuse just exposes more people to potential abuse.

With the latest story to come out about the predatory Scott Allie, I thought about the original stories that came out in late 2015, and I remembered thinking that his remarks earlier that same year about gender representation seemed weird in retrospect.

In those remarks he made gaslighting noises about not filling quotas and how “we just want to make the best books” — and then said, “If I work to create other obstacles and hoops to place between me and my goal to further my personal political agenda, I am doing it wrong.” I found that remark troubling and frustrating at the time, and when the story of his abuses dropped that October I thought about not just that remark but about his comments in a different interview just two months earlier about his hiring practices.

For the most part, I put my energy into hiring at the bottom level, new people that we can really train and shape how they do their job, and then move people along that way.

That quote really struck me today, with the latest revelations very much being a story about predatory and abusive grooming. The clear sense today from people in comics who would know is that Allie’s behavior was no secret on the inside, and it’s important to recall that Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson back in 2015 flatly stated: “Under no circumstance is any individual ‘harbored.'”

That seemed then, and certainly seems all the more likely today, to be just so much obvious, cynical, and simply ugly lying.

I’m not saying that anyone on the outside looking in should have seen Allie’s remarks about representation or hiring practices as indicative of his abuses; they just struck me in 2015 and again today as eye-widening, looking back at them.

Over my years in Joss Whedon fandom, especially during my involvement with a local Firefly group and a global charity event, I’d had repeated occasional dealings with Allie, and they always were perfectly cordial, something about which I feel terrible. Not because I was in any position to know, but because for the targets of abuse, watching their abusers blithely swim a sea of normalcy must just be salt in the wound.

Here’s another pet peeve: pretending that …

Here’s another pet peeve: pretending that the fact a moral position cannot preemptively address every and all potential and prospective application of or exception to its rule means we therefore cannot actually take a moral position — which effectively is what this comment (again, scroll down) is arguing.

In truth (and as I replied in that conversation), any morality that simply leans toward shunning anyone whose presence seems still to be causing people harm is consistency enough. The rest you work out as you go. That’s life; you’ve got to pick a starting position, and not be distracted by suggestions you’ve got to work out every specific beforehand.

I want to highlight this systematic demand that …

I want to highlight this systematic demand that women shut up because it’s the entire problem, isn’t it? I know some people spoke from a place of distress and anger (none of us is perfect on the internet, and especially when tragedy hits, emotions go raw). But others spoke from a deeper sense of entitlement to have pubic spaces and conversations cater to their comfort, and evinced a raw rage when women stepped out of our appointed place as quiet caretakers, deferential to others’ desires. “Shut up, bitch” isn’t disagreement. It’s telling on yourself.

From A Fuller Reckoning by Jill Filipovic

You might remember TPL as the library which came …

You might remember TPL as the library which came under fire for allowing Neo-Nazis to rent one of their community rooms. As a result of the intense criticism they received for this, they updated their room rental policies. One would have thought that this might have included not renting rooms to people denying the humanity of other TPL patrons and staff. I was happy to be able to talk at length, during the Q&A after my talk, about why I thought TPL made the wrong choice. It’s hard when intellectual freedom and social justice positions aren’t in alignment, but if forced to choose, I don’t have to think twice about which I’d rather have.

From TILT #79 – #critlib intensifies by Jessamyn West