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Messages - Nestat

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I don't think so, at least at the moment. In the short term, internal investigation are fine, as long as organisations are transparent about the process.

Ideally, we'd have a centralised reporting platform, like Callisto or TalktoSpot. These platforms report when multiple, independent allegations are made against one indivudual. Anyone harassed anywhere in the industry - in a publishing house, a bookshop, or at an event - can be directed to the platform.

An external trade body like the Publishers' Association or the Booksellers' Association could handle allegations the platform reports. They should also produce a framework for dealing with harassment and abuse - with categories based on the type of harassment and number of individuals reported.

They pass allegations on to a specific, named representative at an organisation's HR or legal team, who is  trained to investigate assault and harassment. This agent investigates and reports. The organisation takes action, issues a public statement and reports back to the PA/BA.

The PA/BA can then maintain an public, anonymised index of what's happening. Then we know how many reports are made, how severe they are, how many are acted on, how many are deemed false, what action is taken.

In Europe, there may be some implications for GDPR and your right to access your data. But as the UK's Bar Council now have a system to anonymously report harassment among barristers, I'm assuming any GDPR issues are surmountable.

What would be a fair and appropriate reaction in your eyes?

(1) Acknowledge they are aware of the claims.
(2) Investigation.
(3) Public statement, including a summary of the investigation; their policy on discrimination and abuse, and how they're acting on the policy based on their findings.

@Rostum, false accusations are a big problem. And so is abusive behaviour. Both are wrong, both ruin people's lives, both can lead to suicide.

Dealing with both is not mutually exclusive. If we had to choose one, I'd argue that we should support all accusations - because there are fewer false allegations. However, we can deal with both problems simultaneously. We need an appropriate system to handle it:

Sexual assault would and should be a police matter.

a large number of rape cases are dropped by the victim after the CPS decide to prosecute as the victim realizes they will spend up to two years with their life in limbo while the case is prosecuted.

If lots of cases are dropped after police involvement because the procedure is too difficult, then the cases shouldn't be a police matter. We need our companies and institutions to conduct transparent and fair investigations, within the burden of reasonable doubt.

Rushing to react publicly is wrong, as we saw with Ed Mcdonald. The normal response from the industry is deafening silence, which is worse. Here's why:

I am hoping this is a random example and not something that anyone in the industry is accused of.

Within our community, I first encountered this discussion in 2013. This is not a new problem - it is a very old one.   I left Waterstones in 2016. I tweeted about my experiences during #MeToo.

agents and PR wonks seem to shepherd authors around these days to keep them from making idiots of themselves in public.

Making an idiot of yourself and displaying a pattern of abuse are two very different things. This is why I called on Orbit and Gollancz to make a public statement about Sam Sykes. He admitted his behaviour, and described these women as "victims". The organisations which endorse him need to prove to the community that they've listened, and responded fairly and appropriately.

Here is an excellent thread, explaining why publishers' responses to sexual harassment in our community are inadequate and inappropriate.

And a follow-up thread, discussing the problem in more detail.

It's one of those situations that it pays to have a friend who's a skillful attorney. They should take all of these allegations to court and let's see if people actually have solid evidence for whatever they are saying, and oh boy if you've got no proof whatsoever then that's bad news for you.

No. Courts are a last resort, not the first. We have to learn to be comfortable having these conversations as a community. Frankly: if an allegation is made, and the recipient's first response is to announce court action, that would be a red flag for me.

Nestat, welcome back!

Thank you!

I tend to casually lurk on the Facebook page now. But Nighteyes occasionally sends me posts and draws me back in. At least he's not baiting Mark Lawrence to ambush me again!

This isn't the first time this issue has been raised in our community. And in 2016, I left a job because I was unhappy with the behaviour of the managers. I've spent a lot of time thinking about sexual harassment and racism.  If anyone's interested, these are the lessons I've learnt (/still trying to learn):
  • I need to stop being upset when I hear awful things.
  • I need to get comfortable talking about these issues.
  • I need to create a safe space for others to speak up. The more noise I make, the less others can be heard.
  • If I know what happened - if it happened to me, if I saw it happen, or if I have enough independent witnesses - then I need to speak up. I need to speak confidently, and speak the whole truth, regardless of the consequences.
  • If I don't know what happened, my opinion of what might have happened is irrelevant and harmful.
  • I must watch for patterns. When I see enough red flags, I must make a decision and act.
  • My decision needs to consider three things: action, intent and outcome. Then: what change do I want? What actions do I take to get there?
  • Sexual harassment and assault is sometimes about desire, it is always about control.
  • A sort-of apology is never an apology.  I've only apologised when I've: said I'm sorry; said what I'm sorry; said what I'll do to make amends; and done it.
  • Human behaviour is complicated. Everything I'm doing is my best guess, and I make mistakes.

Mr Nestat found me. He is a mine of dangerous ideas.

You're welcome! Always feel free to equip your pickaxe of enquiry and mine the vein of oresomeness.

Monthly Writing Contest / Re: Contest Anthology 2016
« on: December 30, 2016, 09:45:51 PM »
I don't mind FF using a story I published here in an anthology, as it's already publicly available on the site. I might want to edit it a bit though.

The US & UK are both signatories to the Berne Convention, which will cover copyright issues.

The issue of "free for prestige" is moot, because all the work has already been written for fun. We've already consented to its free publication... by publishing the work ourselves for free on the site.

As good practice, I think an author not being paid for the work should retain all rights to the work.

If all the authors agree to have their work included, can agree on whether it's free or paid-for, and who gets the money then there's no problem. I think the money can either go to support FF or to charity (my preference). We could even donate it somewhere like Cool Earth and contribute to supporting the important Amazon.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What did you read in November?
« on: December 02, 2016, 07:27:03 PM »
I read two fantasy(ish) books...

If On a Winter's Night a Traveller
Italo Calvino

I'd been meaning to read this for years. I'm glad I did. It picks you to pieces, plays with you and enrages you - and you carry on because it's so beautifully written. And you read with compelled frustration as it gently meanders, meanders, meanders and suddenly turns, reaching its point.

If you are the type of person who has to finish a book, you should read it. Read it because you will hate it. And you will love hating it every step of the way.

The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph... The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences. It is a rainy evening; the man enters the bar; he unbuttons his damp overcoat; a cloud of steam enfolds him; a whistle dies away along tracks which are glistening with rain...

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Robert Rankin

I used to love reading Rankin in the 90s, like so many people. And like so many people, I stopped reading him after the 90s. I don't know why. The novel was up there with the Brentford Triangle and Suburban Book of the Dead. One of his best - enjoyable and Rankinly bizarre.

If you've not read him before, think of a surreal Terry Pratchett with more Elvis, Hitler and sex.


This is a really good thread question! However...

Sorry slight misunderstanding. @Nestat was emailed all your books by your publisher to promote as a bookseller. He had to unzip them from a zip file? (I think that is correct term?) And I thought that was torrenting as you are downloading more than one file at a time.

Liar! He's trying (and obviously succeeded) in tempting me back onto the forum.

Nestat works in a book store and is therefore one of the last persons who would pirate a book.

Quite right, I haven't pirated your books. Speaking as someone who's livelihood is as affected by piracy as authors' are, I am not opposed to it. (I won't go into why now, to minimise the extent of this digression.)

I read Prince of Thorns for free though, as did many people. Your publisher gave it away when people bought the Dance with Dragons hardback. 

(Good use of persons, Xi!)

And you'd be surprised how often people expect me to swallow the admission (boast) that they have stolen the last 6 years of my labour with a "Ha ha, you rogue, you." on the basis that they liked the story...

I'm not surprised. I remember it well. I don't mean this unkindly: you used to actively seek out people on Twitter and impose yourself on their conversations. They'd take it as a joke and you'd get angry, then you'd take it the wrong way when they gave you benefit of the doubt and used your fanbase as a bully pulpit to criticise them. 

It got to the point where I stopped following you online, and stopped selling your books. It's a large part of why Nighteyes is trolling now! (Stop it.) 

I'd like to get this thread back on topic though. If anyone wants to continue the discussion, they are welcome to revisit some of the old piracy threads on the forum (unless they're locked, those discussion got quite heated).

On the (actual) question of a Shiny Hero - I think they're eminently plausible, as I've seen a few in every day life. I shall think on it and return (as, I believe, might they)!

General Discussion / Re: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
« on: April 25, 2016, 11:15:21 PM »
Nudge nudge, wink wink. Say no more!

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Daredevil (Netflix)
« on: March 23, 2016, 10:50:57 PM »
I think that particular scene is partly spoiled, if you know the episode and where it comes. Still amazing, but...

Spoiler for Hiden:
if you know the fight is at the end of episode 3, you will be expecting it then. And it's deliberately shot so you aren't expecting it.

I would have been annoyed if I'd read your post before I'd seen the scene.

Might just be me, though. Anybody else have feelings either way?

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Daredevil (Netflix)
« on: March 23, 2016, 12:42:23 AM »
Might want to consider some spoiler tags there, Phil!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Especially your references to the amazing fight scene in Episode 3, because he's running from the fight. It's so good because you're thinking he's safe. Then the old man appears and his fist slams down on the door... 

It makes sense.

I liked season 3 more than you did, but I agree it lagged. Season 4 is much better, and the last scene is one of the best of the series - classic FU.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Who makes you want a book?
« on: February 10, 2016, 01:48:07 PM »
Well, I was there and I think we did! Those old half-price till offers in the HMV era weren't a great idea - they usually chose popular books, but you couldn't account for personal taste. I like to tell people about good books based on what they're buying, especially SFF. Then they can come back and talk to me about them.

Nestat, linking to your direct question about bookshops, rather than the forum, I'd love if when I'm in the bookshop (Waterstone's?), browsing through the Fantasy shelves, someone would come to me and start chatting about the books they like (note this is different to the generic "Is there something I can help you with?").

That is my favourite section to have those conversations in! I am of Waterstones, indeed.

Nestat, I am assuming you are an independent bookseller, if so you are a treasured gem. 

Sadly no, I work for a chain. We do have a bar in my shop though, so it has its advantages!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Who makes you want a book?
« on: January 25, 2016, 07:13:09 PM »
Old hands on the forum know I'm a bookseller, so this is a subject quite close to my heart. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently, as I've been training staff. I notice that the more obliged someone is to talk about something, the more they ignore their own reasons for liking it and try to guess what other people might want to know. It's a very strange process.

So I thought I'd open the question up to you guys. You're all here because you like talking about books, but what is it you like hearing about books? What are the best recommendations you've ever been given? What is it other people say about books that make you want - or even need - to read it?

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