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- After a few months of hiatus, A Feminist Challenging Transphobia has returned to active blogging. Huzzah!
- Alito Joins Court Majority to Protect Pregnant Workers From Discrimination (I think G&W posted about this case in comments.)
- Ex-Prosecutor Apologizes to Wrongfully Convicted Glenn Ford After 30 Years on Death Row — The Atlantic “I end with the hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford. But, I am also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it.”
- ‘To the man who has been taking my Wall Street Journal’ | Berkeleyside And be sure to read the followup article as well.
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- Call-Centring to Dispose of Sealions. This cracked me up.
- How to utterly ruin the game “20 Questions.” – Ozy
- How drug testing could actually reduce racial disparities in the workplace – Vox
- France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels | ThinkProgress Sounds like a potentially excellent idea, although I imagine some problems could be created by the regulations making new buildings more expensive to construct, although this could be mitigated by a tax deduction for spending on new eco-roofs.
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- Unplanned pregnancies cost taxpayers $21 billion each year – The Washington Post
- How to save Star Trek: Make it the True Detective of science fiction – Vox This sounds like a wonderful idea, but I doubt they’d do it with Star Trek. I’d love to see a “anthology” sci-fi TV show, though, exploring a consistent science fiction universe from different perspectives each season.
- Closing the TV-Guest Gender Gap — The Atlantic A fascinating article about the enormous effort involved in creating a 50/50 gender split of guests on a talk show.
- A Note on Call-Out Culture – Briarpatch Magazine
- The Supreme Court is about to tackle online threats for the first time | The Verge
- “Continuous rules” and “Immediate rules” in role playing games. An interesting analysis of RPG rules by game designer Ben Lehman, who sometimes comments here at “Alas.” (Although I think “Enacted rules” would have been a better term than “Immediate rules.”)
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- A $10,169 blood test is everything wrong with American health care – Vox Total market failure.
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- Is it time to stop reading books by white men? Good review essay. (This and the prior two links via Skepchick.)
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Hmm, I just seemed to have a comment disappear into the aether…one of the mods mind telling me if it got caught by a spam filter or if I should repost?
[Fixed! Thanks for emailing me. –Amp]
They already look statistically different from any prior year, just based on the information we have (the spread in the number of votes between the highest and lowest nominated of the 5 items appearing on the ballot in each category; the fraction of total nominating ballots that nominated the most-nominated item in each category).
The more commentary I read on the issue the more it seemed like both sides were staffed by utterly self-righteous twits. Then I read some of the nominiated stories and realised that at least some of them were talented self-righteous twits. So far I’ve only read through some of the shorter form (short stories/novelettes/novellas) nominions from this year and previous that I could find online.
Yeah, whoever wrote that wasn’t being fair with their reviews. They seemed to have missed the a key point in Turncoat, which I thought was actually a decent story. I also thought Totalled was better than is made out there. I’m still trying to work out exactly terms like “pedestrianly” (from that link) and “workmanlike” (from this comment thread) are supposed to mean, other than signifying some sense of eliteness of those that use them and of the works they like.
Still, I find myself disppoined that reviewer skipped over the Santa Claus as that John C Wright story made the other John C Wright stories that the reviewer dumped on seem good in comparison. It would have been interesting to read their words on something that I agreed was just a plain crap story.
While some of the stuff on the Sad Puppies slate seemed compariable to some of the nomincated stories from previous years, I’m not sure I’ve found anything that matches some of the stories from previous years that I really enjoyed reading. At the same time, from what I’ve read so far I can see some patterns in the nomiations of the previous years that might bother a certain type of fan. I think I’ll need to read some more of them to really get a sense of it though.
The best thing about reading all those stories though, is that it’s inspired me to do write some creative stories myself, rather than spending that energy to harshly criticise those I disagree with on the internet.
Workmanlike (adjective): Done with the skill expected of a good worker or performer but usually not in very exciting or impressive way.
One would wonder how many of the Hugo voters this describes – both those voting for the SP slate and those NOT voting for the SP slate.
I don’t know if Patrick was being unfair to the Puppies or not, but this seems unfair to Hugo voters in general. I would expect most Hugo voters–people who care enough about science fiction to go to WorldCon and to vote on an award–would have read the works that they nominate. I mean, they’re science fiction fans, being given the opportunity to vote for works that they are fans of. It makes some sense to vote for works that you haven’t read or are not a fan of if you’re agreeing to vote for a slate of works for political reasons (I don’t know if they do this, but at least there’s a motive), but a similar accusation against people who aren’t voting for a slate doesn’t make sense.
ETA: To clarify, from the way they’ve been described in comments so far, I haven’t seen any indication that any of the Puppies claim that people should read most/all of the slate works first before committing to their cause. But that doesn’t mean that none of them do, so I didn’t want to assume. OTOH, it seems unlikely that people using one tactic frowned upon by the WorldCon community would be worried about honorable tactics here and insist that the only people who should support them are those who read their slate of books. And the fact that they’re trying to recruit people from other culture battles who perhaps don’t identify primarily as science fiction writing fans doesn’t make it sound like they’re insisting people read all the books…
Amp @ 199:
“Before this year, there is no example of a large group of Hugo nomination voters, all voting in unison for an identical slate.”
Ah, no, Amp – I wasn’t talking about the slate. I was wondering how many non-slate voters, and voters in a previous year where there was no slate, voted for works they hadn’t read, purely on the recommendation of friends or like-minded people or on the basis of the author’s reputation, etc.
Why are you wondering that? I mean it makes a nice “both sides do it” concept, but there really isn’t any evidence for it, and does it really seem likely that many people who are invested enough in SFF fandom to either go to the convention or pay $40 just to vote in the Hugos don’t care enough to actually bother to read some novels or short stories but do care enough to vote? What would motivate someone to do that? Even more so, since what the Puppies are doing is participating in the nomination round, and we know that most Hugo voters don’t participate in the nomination round, and the ones who do mostly undervote (don’t list a top five, just a top 1 or top 3). If nominating based on conventional wisdom were a significant thing, wouldn’t more people nominate, and wouldn’t they nominate a full slate?
It just makes no sense as a speculation.
I was curious about how different the nomination numbers were, actually, so I plotted up a few charts in this spreadsheet, using the 2015 data, 2011-2013, and 2008-2009 (skipping 2014 since it had some slate candidates, and 2010 since they didn’t list the total # of nominating ballots in each category). The thing that really stands out is the ratio of the number of ballots nominating the least-nominated thing on the final ballot to the total number of ballots cast in that category. It’s happened before that either a most-nominated thing had a large proportion of the total ballots, or that the number of nominations was relatively flat for all five items, but those two things happening together is much more rare.
For a sense of how weird it is, if you look at the 14 categories that appear in all years & that had more than one slate item reach the final ballot: in 2015, only one lowest-place item in a category appeared on less than 10% of nominating ballots in that category; in 2013 it was 5, 2012 7, 2011 6, 2009 6, and 2008 5. (Weirdly, that one less-than-10% item was a slate candidate.) Also, 2015 is the highest ratio in 8 of the 14 categories, and in about half of those they’re really noticeable outliers, >~70% higher than any other year.
(edited because part of a paragraph went missing…)
Basically what I was trying to say in my last comment was what Charles S said, but less clear and with less specific knowledge of the Hugos.
One of the things which has fascinated me since the beginning of the Internet is just how many things are like Hitler. I had no idea.
Charles S., it seems to me that people are speculating that the SP slate supporters are voting without having read the works nominated. Unless you have evidence to support that.
So – Hillary Clinton has finally formally announced her candidacy for POTUS.
Now what? Are there any Democrats that are going to run against her? Does anyone have a serious chance? Sen. Warren would have support from the most left-wing part of the Democratic party, but she’s said multiple times she’s not going to run and right now I believe her. Anyone? Or does she get to spend her time until the conventions shooting at the GOP’s contenders?
RonF- my evidence is that the whole point of a slate is that someone tells you to vote for all entries on a list, then you do. The likelihood that the people involved “just happened” to have read all of the items on that list, including authors who were present because they are personal friends on the people who created the slate, is negligible. The likelihood that they read them all AND “just happened” to think those items were the years best is even more negligible. I am not required to withhold judgment because I am not a mind reader; I am not required to pretend to be dumber than I am. When I see a list being organized based on the organizers desire to get awards, sold to people as something you should vote for to send a political message, and carefully crafted politically to try to minimize the fallout from prior years mistakes, I can draw certain reasonable conclusions.
Ron: Martin O’Malley, the former Governor of Maryland, seems likely to run against Hillary, although he hasn’t announced yet. I hope he runs – he seems to pretty much share Elizabeth Warren’s policy views.
Other Democrats who have been hinting they might run include Jim Webb, ex-Republican Lincoln Chafee, and Bernie Sanders. And Biden is still a possibility.
I actually think it would be an advantage for Republicans if there’s no real Democratic primary. Contested primaries give the winner the chance to build a seasoned nationwide organization with real experience running a hard-fought national campaign before the real election happens. Also, damaging stories can be covered to death during primaries and then seem like old hat news during the general election (like the Jeremiah Wright story).
On the whole, the primary between Clinton and Obama seemed to benefit Obama in the general election.
Although that chance has not been capitalized upon all that much recently. Kerry, McCain & Romney all had terrible general election campaigns full of sometimes inconceivable mistakes. But you’re right, it gives a candidate the opportunity to create a good campaign through that experience. Here’s hoping Clinton has learned from her last campaign.
Who, at this absurdly early point in the process, do you see as a good GOP candidate?
There are a number of different issues with the *Puppies slate and campaign, but one of the major ones is that it seems like quite a few of the slate candidates just aren’t Hugo-quality works.
Well, one of John C. Wright’s works was recently disqualified for not having been published in 2014, so we’re in the interesting position of being able to evaluate that work specifically against the work it knocked off the Hugo shortlist (which is now back on).
Here’s John C Wright’s “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” which is now disqualified.
And here’s Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s The Day The World Turned Upside Down, which is now a Hugo nominee.
Tastes vary, of course, but I have a very hard time imagining that anyone could read the first and believe that it’s better written than the second, or that it deserved to be a nominee while the second did not. It seems like this really ought to go beyond politics … The Day The World Turned Upside Down wasn’t making a political or religious point one way or the other.
Furthermore, since the *puppies have a professed hatred of ‘preachy, message based sci-fi,’ it’s (not even a little fucking bit) surprising that Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus is 100% preachy and message-based, and that The Day The World Turned Upside Down is not.
One other thing: for all their claims that the Hugos are dominated by organized SJW types, both Torgersen and Correia were nominated for the Campbell before any of the Puppy slates. The Campbell is the only award nominated by the Hugos process that rewards a specific person rather than a work, and thus, one would think, should have been the most affected by any SJW hijinx if they had occurred.
Wow, I just said a totally wrong thing: there’s also the fanwriter, the fanartist and pro artist awards; there’s also the editor awards. So definitely lots of things awarded to the person and not the work.
If you want to “skip to the conclusion,” read comments numbers six and seven.
Don’t forget that another charge of the Puppies is that the Hugo abandoned good old fun, rollicking “sensawunda” SF in favor of high-toned literary stuff. Except that they’re also pissed off about Scalzi’s win for “Redshirts,” which was a fun, rollicking, piss-take of Star Trek.
Both, Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet, whose stories, (Lines of Departure and Goodnight Stars, respectively) were featured on the *puppies slate, have withdrawn their nominations.
Marko’s post on the topic.
Annie’s post on the topic.
It’s worthwhile, although depressing reading. 90% of the answers are women relating how they were first harassed by adult men – sometimes men they knew, sometimes total strangers – at age 11 or so (or sometimes age 7 or so).
I got curious about whether G&W’s speculation that GRRM was mischaracterizing the Sad Puppies’ grievances was true, and they were merely alleging affirmative action/overrepresentation of minority authors and protagonists, not blacklisting as GRRM claimed. Brad Torgersen seems to be one of the biggest names among the Sad Puppies and the closest they have to a leader. A post of his says,
This language, the certainty with which the lack of nomination is described, indicates that Torgersen believes his colleagues are blacklisted, not merely underrepresented.
Based on his writing in other Sad Puppies posts, though, his position is neither “there are plenty of straight/white/male/right-wing/non-ideological/religious/sensawunda writers, but they’re underrepresented” a la G&W’s 16-instead-of-19 Vermont metaphor, nor that they are completely blacklisted. His position is that they are “not usually” nominated; in a post announcing this year’s SP slate, he writes:
By saying that his colleagues with the wrong ideology had given up hope of a nomination, by saying “who don’t usually get on the ballot”, and that fans tend to give Hugos as an affirmative action award, he is not merely saying that the types of authors/works he’s promoting are underrepresented relative to their numbers, but that they are small in absolute numbers.
I think that GRRM’s post still refutes Torgensen’s claim, even if we acknowledge that despite occasional hyperbole, Torgensen’s position is that the type of works/authors he’s talking about “usually” get excluded rather than being completely blacklisted.
What Torgersen seems most agitated about, though, is that WorldCon is claiming to represent fandom when he feels it is unrepresentative, and that he feels it is unwelcoming to certain types of fans–it seems that he thinks exclusion of fans is the biggest issue, rather than exclusion of works/authors. It is unclear to me how they are being excluded other than by not fitting in with the typically left-leaning attendees of WorldCon, and by the WorldCon voters voting for things that Torgersen et al don’t like. Torgersen says that perhaps the voters he’s trying to recruit simply haven’t noticed WorldCon/the Hugos–trying to get in a little dig at the Hugos, but simultaneously undermining his case for exclusion. He says that the “CHORFS” haven’t been interested in recruiting them due to elitism, but does not claim that non-“CHORFS” are being actively excluded:
[edited to change an “isn’t” to an “is”]
I also ended up reading this essay that Torgersen linked to, as an example of someone saying the same types of things he’d been saying 10 years ago.
It’s interesting that the author, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, points to dystopias and grimdark stuff as destroying the genre. How popular are Hunger Games and Game of Thrones right now? And not “popular with cliquey sf readers”, popular with the same types of people who watched Star Wars, blockbuster-level popular. Let’s-create-more-dystopia-movies popular.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch? That woman destroyed my love of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine when she took over as editor. Her idea of themed issues really dropped the quality of the stories in F&SF. I’d had a subscription since I was 12 or so and didn’t renew more than once after she became the editor. I haven’t been able to forgive her & it’s been, what, 30 years now?
She did have a book or two that I enjoyed, though.
Jake squid — F&SF just changed editors again, might be a good chance to give it another try
Hey, can I contribute to the “TV stars unexpectedly good at musical theatre” mini-theme Amp did on Twitter yesterday? :)
Lara Pulver, whom I mostly knew as Irene Adler from season 2 of Sherlock, in the Donmar Warehouse version of Parade. The guy, Bertie Carvel, also does some TV–including Sherlock too actually, as Sherlock’s college friend in episode 2, and he’s going to be Jonathan Strange–but he’s probably best known as Mrs Trunchbull from Matilda the musical.
(I had that recording for years before Sherlock even began, and only put two and two together maybe…a year ago?)
Two Puppy-related links I liked:
Brad Torgersen’s Central Fallacy | Barno’s Stables
(8) David Gerrold – Reposting this because the previous link is wonky….
Holy shit – a BBC series of Jonathan Strange?!? *Swoon*
Thanks for these links. I thought The Day The World Turned Upside Down was a good story. I wanted to grab the main character and give him a shake, but that was clearly what the writer intended. I could see the sad puppies complaining that this story had – gasp! horror! – literary qualities, and it does; there’s no attempt by the author to make the unreal things that happen make scientific or even magical sense, only emotional and metaphoric sense.
But there’s no politics here, and no lecturing. On the down side, the incredibly self-absorbed main character may alienate some readers, although I found the self-absorption funny. And the ending, for me, didn’t quite work.
As for Yes, Virginia – I could easily imagine some devoted Christians finding this story beautiful. But I’m not sure who else would rate it highly.
SPOLERS SPOLERS SPOLERS SPOLERS SPOLERS ahead.
Of its 7,703 words, over 4,000 are devoted to a scene in which a Saint proselytizes to a grieving mother, angry at God because her six-year-old daughter has just died (of cancer, I think). At the very end of the story, the mother’s faith is renewed, and the Saint rewards her by bringing her daughter miraculously back to life. I was surprised by this ending, but only because bringing the daughter back to life is so incredibly wimpy and so totally undermines the point of the story that it didn’t occur to me that the author would go there. Real faith, I think, would require accepting that God is good even when terrible and tragic things happen – not accepting that God is good because He waves his magic wand and makes everything okay.
It’s not an especially political story, but it is one of the most lecturing pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.
It’s an odd coincidence that both stories are fundamentally concerned with grief. To me, “World Turned Upside Down’s” take on grief – that there’s really nothing to be done but accept that life has changed, even when it’s hard – is more honest and carries more conviction than “Yes, Virginia’s” take, which is “turn yourself over to God and
have faith that He has a higher plan and that your daughter is in a better placeHe’ll miraculously bring your daughter back to life.”
Is there a particular story that you’d especially recommend, so far?
I love “Parade,” and that’s a gorgeous performance of the song. (Although I always hope that someday, there will be a production that doesn’t cast an ultra-thin actress to play Lucille Frank, who in real life was beautiful but not stick-thin.)
Continuing the TV-stars-kicking-ass-singing-Broadway theme, here’s Liz Larsen, best known for “Law And Order,” utterly dominating “Some People” from “Gypsy.”
And here’s a drop dead rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Mandy Patinkin, on the Letterman show in 1989 (Letterman comments afterwards something like “That was great. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and cry”). Patinkin has starred in a bunch of TV shows but is probably best know as Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride.” You may be saying “but everyone already knows Patinkin can sing” – but I completely blew 11-year-old Sydney’s mind by showing her that clip after we watched “The Princess Bride.” (Sydney: “But he’s so macho!”).
Oh, and the two I posted on Twitter yesterday:
“And I Am Telling You…” Tituss Burgess – 2013 Broadway Backwards – YouTube Burgess is best known for his co-starring role on “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Uzo Aduba, Rachel Bay Jones sing “Lily’s Eyes” – Broadway Backwards 2014 – YouTube Aduba is best known for playing “Crazy Eyes” on “Orange is the New Black.”
Does Wright believe in miraculous healings?
I only ever watched his blog for a very brief period. There was this interval before Goodreads was a thing, where I wanted to know what books were coming out when, before Wright went from letting his nuttery bleed into his books a little bit, to letting it bleed into his books a lot. This was a VERY brief interval. So I know he’s a kook, but I don’t know the precise parameters.
I’m wondering… If Hugo voters have been holding back from nominating things in categories where they don’t feel like they’ve read enough works, or from the final vote where the haven’t read all the nominees, and one lesson they take from the SPs is that they should vote even if they don’t know the category that well… will this lead to worse-quality Hugo nominees and winners regardless of the votes of the SPs themselves? (In addition to the more-obvious possibility that Hugo voters will start voting based on what they think is “electable” rather than what they think is the best.)
Closetpuritan, if you don’t mind the disorganized nature of my thoughts on this –
I have never thought of myself as qualified to vote or nominate because I don’t read as much new SFF as I used to (money). This whole kerfuffle has turned me around on that, and I am voting this year and plan to nominate for next year. If one thinks of the nomination process not as “These are the best things I read” but as “This is what I read that I think is Hugo-quality”, one could read only one book and still nominate it. Very few of us are experts on the field as a whole; many of us are experts on the part of it we happen to enjoy, whether that is SF romance, cyberpunk, magical realism, whatever. Each of us, ultimately, is a fandom of one, an expert on what we particularly like.
I can’t say I think everything on the ballot this year is necessarily Hugo-quality, but I have in general enjoyed my required reading more than I thought I might (I am not going to say which ones I didn’t like; I don’t think this is the best time to debate the quality of the specific works – leave that for later, for calmer heads). I do not understand what was accomplished by the puppy tactics that could not have been better accomplished by encouraging their fans to nominate and vote without naming specific works. The very understandable hurt reaction over the days following the nominations being announced didn’t exactly help, either, and now there is way too much bitterness everywhere.
Hey Sidney – men can sing! And not just rock and roll or blues, but they can sing classical music and romantic music, too.
Something I remind the Scouts in my Troop of every so often. I haven’t gotten any of them out to actually listen to anything so far, though.
Having seen this dynamic at work in other organizations, I’d say it’s the destruction of the integrity of the Hugos. It seems to me that the puppies believe that the Hugos haven’t had integrity for some time and so they’re out to both (a) win the awards and (b) show everybody that the Hugos have no integrity. They can’t get (a) without (b) and, if they’re anything like the other groups I’ve seen doing this, (b) on its own is a win for them. If the Hugos have no integrity, their lack of awards is not because they haven’t written anything award worthy. Win!
Well, yes, that of course. I suppose I meant “if one takes their stated goals at face value”, which I am not inclined to do.
I have been thinking, though, that the terms “sad” and “rabid puppies” get used to mean the leaders or faces of the movement, and those who voted their way, and the nominees, and possibly the whole kerfuffle itself, and this confusion of the different elements may not be entirely useful- one says “sad puppies”, meaning Torgersen et al., and risks alienating those who only voted the sad puppy slate. There’s going to be lots of ill-will from the whole mess, unfortunately.
From this years nominations, I’d pick Turncoat, by Steve Rzasa. I thought it was an interesting story, and where that other reviewer saw a reference to WWII, I saw a reference to the original Star Trek as a way of communicating how silly and quaint humans would seem to a futuristic AI. Perhaps its just a bias from my interest in AI, but I found the juxtaposition it presented on transhumanism quite thought provoking.
I think my favourite from everything I’ve read so far is Mandolin’s The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window. The characters were great, it was told from an interseting perspective and it touched on some interesting themes and ideas. What I really liked though, was how it did all that within a magical world that felt like it had its own history. I can see why it was nominated. I can also see how some people would see the gender/sexuality aspect as the reason it might have been nominated, however to me it felt a natural fit and I suspect it was an integral part of the story’s creation. It’s also the story that probably most inspired me to have a go at writing my own.
Hey, remember that Reed College student who claimed he was unfairly thrown out of a humanities seminar for daring to contradict the groupthink?
Thanks for the update, Mythago.
Another update: Earlier this month, he was kicked off of Reed Campus entirely (which includes kicking him out of his dorm), pending a future “honor case” against him. It seems like the main thing he did was disrupt a few classes with peaceful but distracting protests. IMO, excluding someone from campus for protests is extreme, and I’d rather see the college use this step only as a last possible resort.
But I can see the argument for the other side. If a student is going to continually disrupt classes (including classes he was never a student in), and obviously intends to continue disrupting classes, then at some point the administration needs to act to protect other student’s ability to have classes. And if they felt they had to act, this was arguably the only tool they had in their toolbox, given True’s indifference to less severe punishments.
I presume that if True loses the “honor case” one possible outcome is that he will be expelled from Reed altogether.
From the article:
That really sucks.
And yet I can’t help but think… If there were some way to run an alternate universe scenario in which only the Professor’s sex were different, I would bet my whole bank account that hypothetical-female-Savery would have gotten at least ten times as many nasty contacts from strangers, and many of the contacts would have been much nastier than what Savery describes here. (Somewhat relevant.)
(I’m not saying that to say that getting 100 (or however many) nasty emails from strangers isn’t a big deal; depending on the person, it could be a very big deal.)
From a news item about True’s arrest:
None of the news stories I’ve read say what “the remark” was. All the charges against True are misdemeanors.
The other hypothetical is what would have happened if the scenario involved a hypothetical-female-True, kicked out for interrupting classes with feminist view points. I think the media coverage would likely have been framed quite differently, and I suspect the corresponding nasty internet messages would have been greater in that case too.
It’s not direct analogue, but apparently this happened.
Yes, because the mainstream media coverage of Adria Richards has been so sympathetic to her for publicly speaking her mind in a way that people found inappropriate.
Thank you, desipis. I really appreciate that.
I’ve started a new open thread, and moved today’s comments on this thread to the new thread. Sorry for any confusion this caused!