Why I Cancelled my Reddit Q&A
SERIOUS TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE
ETA: It’s almost midnight, and there are now close to 400 comments on this post. I’ve read them all, and I want to thank those of you who contributed to the conversation, on both sides. A decade ago, I would have been good for at least three more hours, but as one commenter pointed out, I’m old. I’m therefore going to declare this party over, thank you for coming, and kick you out of my house so I can go to bed. (I.e., I’m turning off the comments now.)
I know some people will take this as further proof that I’m a grandstanding, hypocritical, pro-censorship, freedom-hating, puppy-kicking, fascist poopyhead. That’s fine. But with this many comments, I think most of the arguments have been made, and most of the insults hurled.
Have a good night, all.
One of the events I had lined up for the launch of my new book was a Q&A with Reddit’s fantasy community. I did an “Ask Me Anything” session with them earlier this year and had a great time, so I was looking forward to another round. And then Twitter pointed me to an active Reddit discussion which starts with, “Reddit’s had a few threads about sexual assault victims, but are there any redditors from the other side of the story? What were your motivations? Do you regret it?”
Numerous rapists jumped in to tell their stories. I’m not going to link to them.
The comments and reactions were mixed. Some people were horrified. Others tried to reassure the rapists, to minimize what they had done, or to praise people’s courage in anonymously talking about how they committed rape. There’s plenty of victim blaming, and comments from the “Women lie about rape to attack men!!!” contingent.
Earlier today I emailed the person who was coordinating my Reddit event to tell him I will not be doing it unless that thread is removed. Given the nature of Reddit as an open, relatively unmoderated community, I don’t expect this to happen.
An announcement was already posted that I would be giving away a copy of Libriomancer on Reddit. I don’t think it’s fair to back out of that, so I’m planning to post an additional giveaway on my site and ask my contact to update that announcement with a link to the giveaway. (He has been incredibly cool and supportive of my decision, and agrees that the rape posts are offensive and should be dealt with by the moderators.)
There are aspects of this decision I need to talk about. A Jezebel post called Rapists Explain Themselves on Reddit and We Should Listen talks about the way this thread provides insight into the minds of rapists, and how it’s important to have this conversation in unprotected spaces like Reddit:
“Nothing will change if we discuss rape culture in a vacuum. Taking the discussion beyond that vacuum, however, means opening it up to a wider audience that isn’t necessarily sympathetic. Reddit may not be the best place for that, but it’s certainly a start — and that’s important. It’s in these less-protected, less-sacred spaces where the conversation is needed the most.”
Others have argued that it’s important to understand evil, to see where it comes from and recognize that these are seemingly-normal people who’ve committed horrible acts. One person said that reading the posts helped her to realize that there are men deliberately targeting women, and that her rape wasn’t an accident or a “misunderstanding,” but a deliberate choice by the rapist. In other words, it helped her see that it wasn’t her fault.
That really stuck with me. But for me personally, the harm far outweighs the good.
It is important that we understand why people rape. But there are other ways to find that insight. Books, essays, research, and more. I’ve spoken with rapists and batterers, and it did give me a better understanding as to how this crime happens. But the circumstances of those conversations were very different. They were controlled, with people who had been convicted and held accountable for their actions. People who, as far as I could tell, appeared to genuinely regret what they had done. In situations where excuses were not tolerated.
Some of my problems with the Reddit discussion are as follows.
-Who are these people? My guess is that most of these stories are true, but I have no way of knowing who is telling the truth and who is trolling for attention. In the overall scheme of things though, this is a minor complaint.
-No accountability or responsibility. In none of the stories I read were the rapists held accountable for their actions. Nor did they take responsibility. The pattern tended to be, “Here’s the story of how I raped this girl, and here are all of my excuses. I got away with it, but I feel really bad now of course, so give me cookies!”
-Some of the posts are essentially How-To guides for rapists. Rape is not an accident. It’s not a misunderstanding. Predators practice their technique. They learn how best to target and overpower their victims. And now we have a thread from experienced rapists sharing their successful techniques.
-Rape is a crime of sex and power. I read some of these stories, and I see rapists getting off on the chance to relive their crime. The sexual aspect comes from the graphic descriptions of what they did, and the power comes from the reactions of the commenters. The dynamic I’m seeing here is one that allows a number of rapists to recapture the rush of their crimes.
-The Hurt Outweighs the Good. I won’t deny that some people have taken positive things from all this, but I believe the harm far outweighs that good.
I know Reddit is not a single unified group, any more than Twitter or LiveJournal or Facebook. My guess is that very few members of the Reddit Fantasy group have any idea what’s happening in the rapist thread, and that many or most of them would be horrified. I feel like I’m punishing innocent people for actions they had nothing to do with, and I don’t like that.
I’m also a big believer in freedom of speech. These people have the right to tell their stories. But that right to speech doesn’t obligate one of the largest sites on the Internet to provide a platform for their speech. Reddit, as I understand it, prides itself on a relative lack of moderation and an “anything goes” approach. To quote one member, “It allows any voice to be heard no matter how uneducated, insensitive or outright wrong.”
I don’t think people should be silenced for lack of education, for tone, or for having a different opinion than me. And I’m not going to tell Reddit how to run their sites or communities. Nor am I going to try to say everyone who chooses to stay with Reddit is a bad person.
But I’ve made the choice to walk away, both for myself, and for the hope that it sends a message to those with the ability to make a change at Reddit.
July 27, 2012 @ 8:05 pm
July 27, 2012 @ 8:14 pm
It’s fucking disgusting how they think they ought to be lauded for what they’ve done. You could read the underlying pride in the telling. We’re never going to get past this, as a society, so long as there are so many who secretly admire these sociopaths.
For sticking by your guns, you’re a good man, sir. Better than you think.
July 27, 2012 @ 8:14 pm
Thank you so much for posting things like this on your blog. A lot of my male friends dismiss “female” issues because they don’t feel such things concern them, and it really bothers me because it makes me feel like they secretly consider themselves superior to me because of their gender. It’s so refreshing to read about your outrage when it comes to things like this and sexual harassment at conventions. I appreciate your vigilance and genuine concern for the safety of all human beings regardless of gender. You’ve gained a fan for life.
July 27, 2012 @ 8:52 pm
Good for you!
July 27, 2012 @ 8:58 pm
Well said, sir. While I support free speech, I believe it should be practiced responsibly. Unlike some of the people posting on the rape thread, you have posted responsibly. I commend you.
July 27, 2012 @ 9:11 pm
Hello Jim I have to say that I am very impressed with your stance and have also decided to refrain from reddit posting due to some of the disgusting threads that are open. I admire your resolve and hope you set an example for others who wish to post on the AMA thread.
July 27, 2012 @ 9:14 pm
I believe very heavily in not supporting things that you disagree with. If you do not like what ReEdit is doing, I’m 100% cool with you not supporting it. You have a RIGHT not to put yourself in the position of appearing like you’re supporting something you are CLEARLY adamantly against. I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. Everyone should!
I also agree with you that I’m not sure if this is remotely helpful. The stories I read on Jezebell are all rather similar.. there seems to be lots of drinking and an “easy” girl out there. A woman (and a man) has a right to be hot, sexy, flirtatious or anything else they want without being attacked for it! I have a friend who is just super nice, bubbly and well gorgeous. While she was working, she’d have to ask people how they were doing and well interact with the public. Some guys would assume she was hitting on them just because she was being nice and doing her job! She would always take it with stride, but guys just assume too much because they WANT someone interested in them.
Anyhow, kudos for not supporting ReEdit :).
July 27, 2012 @ 9:15 pm
I am not at all impressed with that Reddit thread. I read part of one of the replies to the post. The writer said that he had a beautiful wife, was successful in work, had lots of friends, and that he’d started raping women in college when he got bored with how easy it was to get all of the sorority girls he wanted. Then he began to describe his technique in detail. Umm. Really? That post was a transparent bit of repellant fantasy.
July 27, 2012 @ 10:56 pm
I’m proud that you stuck by your beliefs and refused to do the appearance. We writers are under so much pressure to hustle non-stop and sell our work, never mind where the money came from. Keep standing strong, Jim.
July 27, 2012 @ 11:18 pm
As a woman, a reader, a writer and a human being, I appreciate your integrity.
Continuing your affiliation with Reddit at this juncture might make it appear that you endorse such threads by mere association, however untrue that might be, and the fact that you choose to distance yourself on principle speaks very highly of your character.
Also, I’m only a sometime fantasy reader, dragged (figuratively) kicking and screaming into the genre through my husband’s adoration of the Wheel of Time. Now, I’m going to find your books and read them.
I don’t have to like the personal views of every author whose work I admire, but I’m damn sure going to read more of your words. They’re good words so far!
July 27, 2012 @ 11:42 pm
I was the person on twitter who said that reading that awful thread helped me realize my rapist made a conscious decision to ignore my ‘no’ and I’d like to add some nuance that’s not possible in 140 char soundbites. I agree entirely with you that the harm far outweighed the good; I think I wasn’t clear on twitter that anything positive I got from reading that post was a silver lining, and a paltry one at that. I’d already come to terms, years ago, with the idea that I can’t blame myself for being too afraid to scream or fight physically. The self-recrimination that still lingered was pretty small, along the lines of “Well, of course you shouldn’t have *had* to fight because he should have asked for explicit, enthusiastic consent, and it’s totally on him that he didn’t. But maybe if you had, he would have realized what he was doing.” It really hadn’t occurred to me that he knew I was trying to say no, but I could have (and it probably would have been better for my mental health & my productivity at work if I had) come to the same realization by reading a much more controlled environment.
July 27, 2012 @ 11:57 pm
[Oh, FFS. Making up a fake rape story in order to link to your gold bullion website? Yeah, this one gets moderated. -Jim]
July 28, 2012 @ 12:08 am
I was a Psychology major in college, and I fully understand the mindset of trying to understand evil in the desire to try and prevent it in the future (a while ago I did a series of posts on my blog where I discussed sociopathy as it shows up in our society and fiction), but there is a time and a place to have those discussions, and an open forum on the internet is neither the time nor the place.
Like Lora, I haven’t read any of your books yet (I recently purchased your Goblin series and they’re the next books I’m going to read) but I’ve been following your blog for some time now and I will continue to do so because you are a fantastic writer and your blog is one of the best that I’ve ever found.
July 28, 2012 @ 12:55 am
I used to find reddit generally interesting and informative. It’s started to get real shitty lately, filled with trolls and jerks and haters of all kinds. I think it’s good that you’re standing up for your convictions, and I hope the reddit mods and community see this as a wakeup call to shut down the hate and worthless postings.
July 28, 2012 @ 1:10 am
Permit me to say I think you’re doing the wrong thing for the right reason. I’m having a hard time articulating all the details of that the way I’d like, but I can at least say that I think demanding censorship, even with the best of intentions, treads a dangerous path, a fact few should know better than a writer.
July 28, 2012 @ 1:13 am
Oh, last thought: Do not judge all of Reddit by the actions of a few — it’s a very big place, and even a thread or comment that gets a thousand upvotes may not reflect the view of the majority of readers.
July 28, 2012 @ 1:37 am
….what did I just read?
How exactly is not doing an AMA connected with a questionable Reddit thread?
You’re on a site with literally millions of members, you find a thread with people saying some stupid things… so now you’re refuses to have anything to do with the website. A site which -remember- has a daily population larger than many counties.
Do you refuse to travel to North Carolina because their government amended gay marriage?
Do you refuse to watch the news because they covered a KKK rally?
Do you cancel your newspaper subscription because someone used the classified ads to sell their first edition copy of “The Turner Diaries?”
Do you refuse to use the internet at all, because people use it to traffic kiddy porn?
Ridiculous as any of those are, a fair argument could be made for any of them being more rational than your decision.
Your arguments are halfbaked, either irrelevant or absurd. “Some of the posts are essentially How-To guides for rapists.” Really? Welcome to the internet. I typed “rape how-to” into Google and got far more explicit advice. Then I typed “ANFO bomb recipe” and learned how to duplicated the Oklahoma City bombing.
The “website X provides dangerous information” argument stopped being valid shortly after the internet grew beyond 50 sites.
The “website X provides a platform for bad ideology Y” stopped being valid as soon as Reddit moved beyond a single homogeneous interest group, something you acknowledged it is not.
“I’m also a big supporter of free speech.”
No Jim. No, you’re not. At best your view towards free speech is mired in paradox. The need to claim otherwise is the first warning sign.
“These people have the right to tell their stories. But that right to speech doesn’t obligate one of the largest sites on the Internet to provide a platform for their speech.”
Translation: These people have the right to tell their stories… so long as no one is present to listen.
Say what you mean. You’re not a big supporter of free speech. You’re a big supporter of carefully moderated speech.
Reddit provides an open forum for debate and discussion, and that is the beating heart and soul of the internet. Any moderation must be carried out in extreme moderation. Censoring a thread like this one, because you think it doesn’t blame the rapists enough, or you think some sick bastards are might possibly be getting off telling their story… its would overstep the bounds of reasonable moderation to such a degree as to be unthinkable.
Look. You have your right to choose whether or not do an AMA. I’m not faulting your decision. Or even your implicit opinions on free speech. Believe what you want. The argument for moderation has valid points.
I’m just pointing out your decision to connect the two is utterly irrational.
You’re committing a shallow knee-jerk reaction which follows no rational pattern.
July 28, 2012 @ 1:59 am
Bravo to you Mr Jim. This world would be a much better place if more men felt the way you do. Sadly,sex is and always has been a very powerful thing between man and woman. How sad that such an intelligent species still thinks so little of anothers’ well being. Society will stay in the gutters until people are held responsible for their actions. Stay strong in your beliefs and continue to speak up for what’s right. Remember the best thing we can do is teach our children to respect themselves and each other. No means no in any language.
July 28, 2012 @ 2:08 am
I like Reddit. I browse there a lot. I love the AMAs with everything from authors and celebrities to regular people with interesting jobs, the pictures of cute animals, and the discussions that can be fun and insightful with opinions from people from all walks of life.
I also find the community to have a deeply, deeply fucked up attitude toward women.
I’m glad you’ve done this. It makes me feel a little better whenever someone makes a point of saying that this shit is not okay. I hope your action will draw the community to crack down on this. Unfortunately, from the discussion I’ve seen, they’re angrier at you for taking something nice away from us than at rapists for bragging about being fucking rapists.
I post at Reddit sometimes, though I haven’t for a while, and choose to keep things gender-neutral so it’s not obvious that I’m a woman. That way I know I’m being judged for my words and not my gender. I don’t know if that says something sad about Reddit or something sad about the world in general.
July 28, 2012 @ 2:30 am
Lo! What is that sweet sound? It is a choir of self-righteous angels. And look! The master ascends into the light of political correctness where he shall pat himself on the back for all eternity.
Oh, but seriously… Reddit is not one thing, but a diversity of free speech communities, which include things much worse than what you have cited. I hadn’t even heard of the thread you mention, and I spend entirely too much time on Reddit. All you’ve done is alienate potential readers, the great majority of whom are decent people.
July 28, 2012 @ 2:30 am
Not much to say, just wanted to show my support for you and your decision to take a stand here. Thank you. You’ve gained an ardent supporter today.
July 28, 2012 @ 2:41 am
Will you also be quitting the internet (reddit) because some ISPs (subreddits) allow their users to transfer immoral materials like child pornography (that god-awful rape thread)?
The thread was awful, start to finish. But refusing to do an AMA in a completely unrelated subreddit over it is flawed reasoning at its finest.
July 28, 2012 @ 3:36 am
Next you should cancel your internet subscription because your ISP also serves up StormFront. Makes sense right?
July 28, 2012 @ 3:39 am
This certainly has won you praise and adoration from the people who have staked their identity on searching out things to get upset over (here), so I guess it is working out for you, keep it up!
July 28, 2012 @ 4:37 am
I read the Jezebel piece. Have never heard of Reddit, and not feeling tempted to visit it now
This all makes me recall my experiences when I took a basic self-defense program designed for women. I studied martial arts elsewhere with enthusiastic practitioners, mostly male, and enjoyed it very much. This women’s basic class was my first exposure to a self-defense class of women–and, in paticular, of women not otherwise interested in martial arts, fight training, etc. They were there to enhance personal safety. Several of them had been raped. Others wanted to set good examples for their daughters, sisters, or mothers. Others just wanted to feel more confident when leaving work late at night or that sort of thing.
And what I found interesting, shocking, and really eye-opening was HOW HARD most of the women in the group found it to defend themselves. I don’t mean they couldn’t learn the skills. I mean that their upbringing ahd socialization had sCOMPLETELY indoctrinated them with the idea, the belief, and the behaviorial pattern that they DIDN’T HAVE A RIGHT to defend themselves. to such an extent that trying to practice self-defense moves against an attacker in a classroom setting was traumatic for them.
The teacher would teach us a move, we’d rehearse it in the air. Then we’d each work with the “attacker” (an instructor wearing heavy padding). And more than half the class had a VERY hard time bringing themselves to engage in defensive moves–which they had practiced and knew–when attacked. They found it extremely difficult to bring themselves to shove someone away, to kick someone, to hit someone, even just to shout at someone. They had been taught their whole lives that they had no right to defend themselves or fight back, and being taught to hit and kick an attacker went against everything that had been ingrained in them.
This conditioning was so powerful that there were women in the class who stood facing the attacker, weeping helplessly over their own indoctrinated inability to lift a single finger to defend themselves against a physical attacker.
Fortunately, since this is such a common problem among women, the course focused a lot on working through this, and all the women were able to beat off an attacker effectively by the end of the 5-week course. But as someone who’d never dealt with this issue myself, it really opened my eyes to how many women have been taught their whole lives, by everyone and everything that’s ever had influence over them, that if they’re assaulted, attacked, raped, then they must lie there, still and weeping, rather than fight back.
And because of that conditioning, rapists like the ones bragging on Reddit can convince themselves they didn’t do anything really wrong since, gee, it’s not as if the assault victim really FOUGHT, right? She just cried a little and lay there, right? “So that must mean what I didn’t wasn’t a violent felony, right?”
July 28, 2012 @ 6:01 am
I’m glad that you’re standing for what you believe in and that you don’t want to associate with Reddit (despite the fact that I frequent Reddit myself). That thread was honestly one of the worst things I’ve seen on Reddit, but sadly, I’m not suprised by it. Redditors hold “freedom of speech” as this holy untouchable thing, and if you disagree with someone you’ll be accused of censorship and being “too PC”. And now there is a thread full of rapists and people patting on the back for being “brave” in posting their stories (anonymously and with obvious pride in getting away with it). I hope that thread gets more publicity, so people have some idea about how low Reddit can and will go.
On the upside, in discussions of this I’ve seen people talking about and reccomending your books and you’ve already gained a few fans that wouldn’t have known about your books if it wasn’t for this blog post! I hadn’t known about your books either but taking a look around they sound like my kind of thing. And it’s a plus to know that there are
July 28, 2012 @ 6:03 am
*happy to know there are authors who will speak out about rape culture.
(sorry, I accidentally cut myself off)
July 28, 2012 @ 6:04 am
Thank you for this. I’m a redditor, and I read through that thread in utter disgust at the pervasive atmosphere of rape-apology. I can’t tell whether it stems from ignorance or genuine malice (hopefully the former – ignorance can be helped), but either way I’m getting tired of reddit’s culture of rampant bigotry. Anyone who thinks that thread is the only problem with reddit is willfully blind, and those are probably the same people that object to your decision as “self-righteous” or irrelevant.
July 28, 2012 @ 6:46 am
I’ve been a long time member of /r/Fantasy, I have read quite a few of your books, and I’m looking forward to your next work. I must say however, that I am extremely disappointed to read that you cancelled your AMA for this irrational grandstanding. Reddit is not how you describe “relatively unmoderated community.” /r/Askreddit has 27 moderators actively looking for violators of the subreddit rules and violators of the Reddit TOS agreement. Which none of the comments, disgusting and horrible the few comments out of 12,000 may, they did not violate any of these rules. This is because free speech reigns on Reddit regardless of the unpopularity or vileness of the words that were typed. Reddit was on the leading edge standing up for free speech on the internet with SOPA and PIPA and it’s not going to go backwards to censor unpopular and horrible posts about rape.
If you really supported free speech you would use your AmA as a platform to not only promote your book but to give your views on this issue to more people than actually view this website. Instead you took this quixotic stand that only alienates 17,000 readers of /r/Fantasy, and only stand for free speech when you don’t have a vested interest in the topic. I’m not going to boycott your work because Amazon sells digital and paper copies of Mein Kampf or because Penguin books published the works of Sine’, I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and neither should you. It may surprise you I’m still more than likely going to buy your next book because I’m not going to make a knee jerk reaction to something I don’t agree with. I strongly wish for you to rethink your position on this matter.
For people not on Reddit read the thread for yourself, do not trust a Jezebel article which cherrypicks 13 comments out of a thread with over 12,000 comments
July 28, 2012 @ 6:56 am
Mr. Hines, thank you for your blog post. I found myself drawn into this debacle, and it has really made me reconsider how I use this website. I found myself having to explain basic ideas of morality to a couple of the posters there, and it showed an astounding lack of thought and maturity on the part of the posters. I eventually had to leave the discussion because it just wasn’t getting through. It was good to read your blog post.
July 28, 2012 @ 7:23 am
Yes, because refusing to associate with a company that does something you find abhorrent is automatically grandstanding and anti-free-speech. What utter bullshit. I suppose you think it’s wrong not to eat at Chik-fil-A or shop at Wal-Mart, too. *eyeroll* What you’re really saying is that you’re an entitled twit who thinks that what he wants (to read Mr. Hines’ AMA) is more important than anything else (like safety, human decency, morality, integrity).
July 28, 2012 @ 8:15 am
Yes, there’s no rational connection at all between “this company does or allows something I find abhorrent” and “therefor I will not give my time, attention, work, or money to this company”. Reddit is a for-profit company, you know. The company provides space for this filth, so Mr. Hines declines to give his valuable time, energy, and work to the company, which would gain traffic by his work. Not logical at all.
July 28, 2012 @ 8:18 am
Just look at the context of the situation Reddit is way more than one highly controversial post. Reddit have over 12 million unique visitors a month, /r/Askreddit has almost 2 million subscribers, and that thread, if you read it. You would see the highly objectionable comments did not make up the majority of the thread, and were highly disparage the whole thread had 12 thousand comments which is less than .01% of the subreddits population.
But I guess I’m an entitled twit for feeling there is more good to be done than throwing ones hands up and saying “I’m done” When there is so much more to the story than Reddit is bad. Also I’m sorry but canceling a promotion and then making a blog post to draw attention to it saying
“But I’ve made the choice to walk away, both for myself, and for the hope that it sends a message to those with the ability to make a change at Reddit.” is the definition of grandstanding.
Again Reddit is more than that one post, so are you saying the 13,000 great people at /r/suicidewatch doesn’t care about safety and human decency? but making a blog post disparaging Reddit and basically hoping to cause a firestorm on the internet sensationalist websites shows more integrity than going to the community you have issue with and having a discussion about a topic you care deeply about?
Also please note that I did not insult you in my reply I request that you do the same.
July 28, 2012 @ 8:54 am
“Will you also be quitting the internet (reddit) because some ISPs (subreddits) allow their users to transfer immoral materials like child pornography (that god-awful rape thread)?”
This is hilarious because a sizable chunk of reddit was basically trading CP in plain sight until earlier this year.
Please, though, everyone continue throwing a tantrum about how someone exercising their right to disagree with how a private entity conducts itself is a grave affront to free speech. No, seriously. Keep doing it. It’s amazing.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:03 am
You realize I made essentially that same point at the end of my blog post, right?
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:07 am
Or between man and man, or woman and woman, and so on 🙂
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:13 am
It’s been fascinating talking about freedom of speech with people from other countries. Here in the U.S., free speech is seen as this almost-holy guarantee (though even here, there are limits), whereas in many places, while free speech is still a right, there’s more of an emphasis on responsible speech, and on consequences for certain types of hateful or threatening or dishonest speech.
I’m not saying one is right or wrong. Just something I find interesting.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:15 am
Let’s avoid namecalling, please.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:18 am
I do understand that there are moderators, which is why I said relatively unmoderated instead of unmoderated. Yesterday, someone pointed me to the fact that Reddit recently amended their rules, making the “reluctant” decision that maybe they shouldn’t allow child porn.
I’m curious – do you disagree with Reddit’s decision to ban child porn, or do you see this as another infringement on free speech?
July 28, 2012 @ 9:28 am
A sizeable chunk? It was a few users trading it via PMs on a site that has more users than some countries have people.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am
I’m a redditor and I’d like to say that there’s absolutely no unity between communities. These days, we select which subreddits (or forums) we see when we log in. I’ve attached a screenshot to the bottom of my comment to show you this. In other words, reddit isn’t a single community, but is instead hundreds or even thousands of smaller communities. Unless we want to, we never see a particular subreddit.
Some of those communities are disgusting and do hide behind free speech in order to do disgusting things – I won’t discuss some of the subreddits I’ve stumbled upon through links that left me in shock, but I will say that this discussion on rape isn’t the worst thing you’ll find there.
Most of the communities are like /r/fantasy – people come together to discuss one particular thing that interests them. It’s really hard to judge “reddit” as a whole, and I ask that you look at he particular communities, instead. Nothing like that discussion could ever happen in /r/fantasy. I’m positive that it would be squashed by the community itself before a mod ever had to jump in.
I understand your desire to avoid a community that glorifies rape, but /r/fantasy is not that community. I hope you reconsider. http://i.imgur.com/DC35C.png
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am
“A few users” doesn’t match the accounts I’ve read, but even if you’re correct, how much child pornography trafficking do you think is acceptable?
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:38 am
Thanks, Matt. I’m definitely reading and listening to the comments put forth by the Reddit community. I think there are a lot of awesome people in the /r/fantasy community, and I had a blast the first time I did an AMA over there.
Ultimately though, I’ve got to do what feels right to me.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:39 am
If a forum allows private messages, it is impossible to prevent illegal actions. All content was immediately removed when reported and no doubt reported to the pertinent authorities. If child abuse images were permitted on reddit, do you think reddit would still be operating?
July 28, 2012 @ 9:43 am
There never was any child porn on Reddit. Everythng present there was legal.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:45 am
Why can’t I edit posts? It’s a quite needed feature…
July 28, 2012 @ 9:46 am
Absolutely none. Facebook also has incidents where people PM child porn. Is it fair to then brand all Facebook users as CP traders?
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:48 am
Absolutely none. So you approve of censoring Reddit users, and taking away their freedom of speech and expression when it comes to child pornography?
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:51 am
I haven’t found a plugin for WordPress that would allow comment editing, I’m afraid. Though if there’s a typo or bad HTML code, I can fix that from my end.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:51 am
I understand your decision, even if I disagree with it.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:53 am
The thread wasn’t intended to praise rapists at all. You can’t ignore these people exist, and perhaps someone might have learned something from the thread. You’re letting trolls/general idiots win here and that’s about the whole of it.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 9:56 am
I certainly don’t think we should ignore that rapists exist, and I acknowledged that some people had taken positive things from the discussion.
July 28, 2012 @ 9:57 am
I approve of Reddit removing illegal content.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:00 am
I think you’re getting confused about what free speech actually is. These people may have the right to share their stories and opinions, but others also have the right to find them offensive and label them as such.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:02 am
If this is how the community has decided to view Violentacrez’s little rallying cry then, honestly? I am truly sorry. I don’t want one of the most popular websites on the net to be terrible. I’d love for it to at least be a vaguely positive place, with a net positive impact on its surroundings.
But the message I’m getting here is that you guys haven’t learned, and the only time you as a community develop anything approaching empathy, it’s when something affects you all personally. Your administrators are fine with people swiping pics of children off facebook and exploiting them for the erotic pleasure of at least thousands of adults spread out across multiple subreddits, all of them exclusively focusing on at least the sexualization of minors, and at most the trading of what in any courtroom would amount to child pornography (a kid doesn’t have to be naked and getting molested for something to be CP, y’all). And what do the admins say? ‘Don’t leave pictures of yourself lying around the internet.’ Tough love, right?
Well, here’s some tough love coming from the rest of the world, and I could just kiss Jim on the mouth for being as reasonable and adult about it as he’s been. Reddit is developing a horrible reputation, and it’s all because you guys pretend that you have nothing to do with each other and refuse to moderate your community’s behavior. Why do you think people are so quick to assume that your rape confessional thread is horrible and filled with horribleness? Seriously, think about it. Like it or not, you’re judged by the company you keep. And Reddit has decided that its company is anyone, and they can say and do anything, and if anyone has a problem with it, with the community, with the atmosphere, well they must hate free speech. And that’s fine. It’s within your rights (when it’s not CP) to create that kind of community.
But this is what you asked for. If you want to be the wild west of the internet, that’s great. Just don’t expect the rest of civilization to sit down and make themselves at home.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:11 am
Not all of us jump on the “we should accept all free speech” bandwagon. There are rabid defenders of “free speech at all costs, and to hell with anyone offended,” but I wouldn’t paint most of us with that brush. Most of us never see anything like the rape thread, and if we do, we remove that subreddit from the list of things we see. Reddit itself is a platform, the individual subreddits are the communities.
I avoided joining reddit for a long time because all I saw were the default subreddits. Now I never see them and it’s not even the same site in my mind.
That said, I can’t fault Jim’s decision.
It’s difficult to explain the way most of us see reddit to people who aren’t redditors. “Yes, I’m a redditor, but my reddit is different than the one you’re thinking of.” It’s still the same company. /r/Fantasy may be moderated by a few great folks and populated by the same, but reddit is corporate-owned and that company is making money off of the rape discussion and pictures of dead kids. If someone refuses to get involved in that, I can’t fault him.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:11 am
Free speech is certainly NOT asking for the speech of others to be removed, let alone doing so as an ultimatum.
Jim has every right to find the discussion in question morally reprehensible and potentially dangerous, but he can’t call himself a proponent of open dialogue and ask for the censorship of views he opposes without being a hypocrite.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:17 am
I have no idea whether what Jim did was logical or not. I admire that he is prepared to take a stand though and the debate about free speech it has generated is interesting. If we have the right to free speech then we also have the right to not agree with some of it and respond to that in our own way. We can debate, argue, leave or withdraw our custom. A company who thinks it might lose money or reputation might start looking at things differently if more people did as Jim did. But who knows?
Just out of interest; if this thread was how people who had got away with murder felt about it now and were allowed to re-tell what they did would it still be allowed on Reddit?
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 10:20 am
Is it an ultimatum to say, “This is the choice I’m making, and here are the reasons I’ve made it”?
July 28, 2012 @ 10:22 am
On reddit as a whole? Yes. On most subreddits? No.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:24 am
Where did Jim issue an ultimatum? He didn’t say “take these down or else I won’t do an AMA!” He said that he could not in good conscience use the site to promote his work when it also allows people to harm others.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:25 am
You could always do an Ask Me Anything on your blog. I’m guessing anyone who was going to come to reddit would come to the blog, too. Sarah Monette did something similar when Corambis came out, and it was awesome all over.
As always, <3 for being a vocal ally for women, survivors and folks who’s voices are not always heeded.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:25 am
He did say that:
“Earlier today I emailed the person who was coordinating my Reddit event to tell him I will not be doing it unless that thread is removed. Given the nature of Reddit as an open, relatively unmoderated community, I don’t expect this to happen.”
But I don’t have a problem with issuing that kind of ultimatum.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:30 am
That is truly gruesome.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 10:32 am
Oh, good point. Hm … okay, now I’m getting caught up in my head about what is and isn’t an ultimatum. I can see arguments on either side, depending on the definition you use.
To the Bat-Dictionary, Robin!
July 28, 2012 @ 10:34 am
I think Jim’s line of reasoning is sound, if reddit as a whole is a community. I’m not sure it is. I think it’s more a technology platform. Individual communities exist and all have that platform in common, which makes it easy to cross-over to many communities.
I think not doing a r/Fantasy AMA because of something happening in a thread on an entirely unrelated subreddit community is akin to no longer answering fan mail because someone else is using the US Postal Service for a marketing scheme.
I respect Jim’s decision, but I don’t think I would have come to the same one myself.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:37 am
Luke, I occasionally frequent reddit, and my boyfriend goes there every day and shares things he finds there which he thinks I will enjoy. I agree that reddit is a large site with a great deal of subreddits that are not repugnant. I understand your disappointment at Jim canceling his AMA, but I’m going to tell you a (seemingly irrelevant) story, and ask you if you can see what I’m getting at.
I recently broke my leg, annoyingly on the day I had decided to do a full overhaul style cleaning of my apartment. In the days leading up to the cleaning day, I had left a lot of crap around rather than put it away, figuring I could deal with it when I cleaned. Instead I spent the day in the ER and had a very hard time getting around my place on crutches. My mother, who lives relatively nearby, offered to clean my apartment for me while I had surgery done. I live in Prince George’s County, MD, which is known to be a not-very-safe county, but I am in a very safe building in a very safe area in that county, and I feel safe here. On the day of my surgery, when my mother arrived, I showed her were the laundry room and trash rooms are (on the floor, but not in the apartment) and told her she could spend the day with the door unlocked. I regularly do that when I am home. Her reaction was to beg me for my keys so she could lock the door because it upset her and made her feel unsafe to have the door to my place unlocked, despite the fact that she does so at home.
Should Jim do something he is uncomfortable with because other people are not uncomfortable with it? Should I have refused to give my mother my keys because I don’t feel I have to lock my apartment door during the day?
July 28, 2012 @ 10:40 am
Information should be free. Actions should be controlled. You are supporting suppressing information, which inevitably will lead to uncontrolled actions. You are hurting your own cause. No one is going to unintentionally read a Reddit thread and suddenly decide to rape. Rapists do not need or want a Reddit thread to help them rape. Rape is an astounding part of society, with ~1 million women raped by men annually, same-sex rape is wildly unreported enough for statistics but some say rivals male->female rape, and female->male rape is basically ungoverned and taboo to talk about by societal standards. This being the case, the more information that can be spread, the better. The biggest power rape holds is that it silences victims, and you are now contributing to that rather than supporting. Isn’t it always better to give a voice to the voiceless so that cooler heads can prevail? I fully expect you to delete this with all the other critical comments I don’t see in your replies.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:42 am
I haven’t seen anything deleted, and I’ve been watching this post all day.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:46 am
I understand, you’ve found a nice group of people there. Obviously you’re not all foaming at the mouth, otherwise this second AMA wouldn’t have ever come up at all.
And there will always be a few bad apples in any community. I’ve got Redditor friends, I know they’re not rape apologists or anything like that.
But the foundations just seem so cancerous to me. I’m not sure it’s fair to paint Reddit as simply a platform when ‘Reddit Culture’ is a thing that exists. The stereotypical Redditor is a thing that exists in people’s minds. The in jokes, memes, references, etc, these are all communal things that preclude it from just being a platform. Simple platforms don’t usually come with political manifestos. And if they did, you wouldn’t fault someone for not using it.
And if at the end of the day you find yourself repeating things like “yeah, but I’m not like *those* redditors”, well…do I need to say it? Why would you good people want to stay? There’s got to be healthier communities out there that would love to have you, you could even make your own.
Sorry for sounding like something very close to a condescending ass, I really do appreciate you representing your fantasy community so well.
July 28, 2012 @ 10:47 am
I think the issue wasn’t about people coming to reddit to see Jim’s AMA. It was about Jim interacting with a community of over 17,000 users (the current number of r/Fantasy subscribers), along with whoever else was going to come along.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 10:47 am
My thoughts on comment moderation are here. My blog is not an unmoderated space, but I haven’t felt the need to delete any comments yet. (I hope you won’t take that as a challenge.)
As for not seeing any critical comments, um … might I suggest you slow down and read a little more closely?
July 28, 2012 @ 10:56 am
Thing is this type of unmoderated thread does not give a voice to the victims. It gives rapists out there validation. ‘Oh look all these guys do what I do – might not be so wrong after all?’
I am genuinely interested in what people really mean by freedom of speech and what would definitely not be allowed on something like Reddit (which i know very little about) and why.
July 28, 2012 @ 11:09 am
“I am genuinely interested in what people really mean by freedom of speech and what would definitely not be allowed on something like Reddit (which i know very little about) and why.”
On reddit as a whole, anything is allowed that isn’t illegal in the US. It’s like that because the site owners (and frankly, probably most of the users) want it like that. Some users post the most disgusting, offensive things they can find *just to exercise their right to free speech.* Think of a million little Larry Flynts, all using the same url to share pictures and stories.
Most subreddits wouldn’t allow those things, but most subreddits are relatively small. While I have no data to back this completely anecdotal observation up, I generally see 1000 – 15000 subscribers in the smaller subs, and among those, I’d guess that less than a quarter (if that) are active commenters – maybe 10% are active posters. A rape discussion on /r/fantasy or /r/PrintSF would be squashed unless it was about the presentation of rape in fantasy or science fiction literature.
The big subreddits are different. /r/videos, /r/pics, /r/funny, /r/wtf, /r/askreddit – there are hundreds of thousands (and even millions) of subscribers on these forums. Within their self-imposed rules, found on the right side of the page, anything goes. Comments in those subs go incredibly far off topic and generally devolve into blatant racism, sometimes ironic, but usually genuine.
July 28, 2012 @ 11:12 am
I might or might not agree with Mr. Hines’ reaction.
But I find the swollen sense of entitlement of some Redditors to be distasteful.
Mr. Hines gets to react to things however he want. Human reactions to things are idiosyncratic. Mr. Hines saying “gross, I don’t want to have anything to do with these people or anyone associated with them” is free expression as surely as is the thread he is reacting to.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 11:16 am
Matt – I just wanted to say I appreciate your comments here, and you sharing your experience and perspective on Reddit. Thanks.
July 28, 2012 @ 11:17 am
Thanks. I suppose ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and we turn to tribes even on theineternet! At least most of the scumbags are contained in one place!
July 28, 2012 @ 11:21 am
But still did so?
July 28, 2012 @ 11:35 am
I appreciate what you are doing, Jim, but if you are going to publicly make a moral stand like this please pull your books from Amazon and B&N. They host material far more damaging than the Reddit rapist AMA. There are plenty of books, novella, and other media promoting Rape Fantasy which goes quite far in reinforcing the rape culture which still exists in society. Additionally there far more examples of how to commit a rape written into the books these retailers sell than are in an obscure Reddit thread.
It’s one thing to kill your own AMA and garner more support from you fans, but will you really take a stand when it affects your check book?
Ashley F. Miller
July 28, 2012 @ 11:39 am
I understand why you’re making this choice and I am all in favor of you doing what you think is the right thing to do. That said, I don’t know that it’s really a logical choice. That’s fine, logic isn’t the only thing involved in choices nor should it be and being grossed out by the association is a completely legitimate reason not to do it, but it does have the air of giving an entire class a zero because one student didn’t turn the assignment in.
I am not a big fan of Reddit and that thread was difficult to read. There were only two kinds of commenters: rape apologists and rape victims reading every post to see if maybe their rapist had written about them. It was twisted.
Agree or disagree about whether that does more harm than good, agree or disagree about the value of free speech in this case, but I think that you’re only punishing people who support you and not those who created and promoted that thread. It’s like refusing to work with wikipedia because their article about rape doesn’t condemn the crime. That’s a legitimate thing to be bothered by, but it’s not the point of the site and your punishment implies, rightly or wrongly, harsh judgment on those who continue to associate or don’t feel one flaw justifies rejecting the whole.
Just my thoughts, I don’t really comment here, I think you’re a wonderful writer, please don’t take this as an attempt to be mean or anything, it is not meant that way.
July 28, 2012 @ 11:40 am
This. Girls and women are not raised to defend ourselves. All my life, I was taught to be “nice.” I was raped in a park when I was 17. It was somewhat violent in the beginning, with him (a “friend”) pushing me down onto the ground, basically letting me know that he was able to force me. During the act itself, I was silent, petrified. It took me a long time to come back from that, and to be honest, I’m still not “all the way back.” A couple of years ago, another “friend” forced me down and got on top of me. And you know what? I was LOUD and VIOLENT in my response. I kicked, screamed, scratched and punched. He got off me in a hurry. I promised myself NEVER AGAIN and I’ve kept that promise and I’m proud of it. This happens to women more than people realize. Because we are silent about it.
Mr Hines – I’ll be honest, I’ve never read your books before, or even heard of you (I’m a voracious reader, but not much into the fantasy genre). But next time I’m in my local book store, I’ll pick up one of your books, read it, and I’ll pass it on, and I’ll tell them about this and why I like you as a writer and as a man. Thank you.
July 28, 2012 @ 11:42 am
RE: the “child porn” thing — what the deniers are saying is that there weren’t explicit nude pictures of children, or pictures of children in sexual acts. There do not seem to have been such in public forums, though what triggered the shutdown was somebody suggesting he had some and being bombarded with private messages asking him to share it.
What there *was* was an immense forum dedicated to sharing pictures of children in varying degrees of scantily-cladness, many of them stolen from innocent contexts, and presented in a sexual context (the forum was called “jailbait”). Legally, that is a form of child porn, softcore though it may be, and it was not only tolerated by the site owners, it was one of the most popular subreddits of all till it was the subject of a piece by Anderson Cooper. And after it was shut down, a horde of others sprung up in its wake, which were themselves not shut down, for many months, before a group of Reddit users decided to publicize them to as many news outlets as possible, at which time they were “reluctantly” shut down.
Reddit has a huge problem with misogyny and rape apology. Nerd culture in general has a big misogyny problem. Jim is doing the only responsible thing by not *literally putting himself in the same category as a serial rapist* by being the subject of a Reddit AMA.
I hope more people follow his lead and the moderators of Reddit somehow grow a goddamn conscience.
Though honestly they’ve had many chances and do not have a good track record.
May I remind everybody that while the “technically child porn but not hardcore child porn” subreddits are gone, http://www.reddit.com/r/beatingwomen still exists, despite many calls for it to be shut down.
Let me repeat that.
http://www.reddit.com/r/beatingwomen still exists, despite many calls for it to be shut down.
http://www.reddit.com/r/rapingwomen also still exists, despite many calls for it to be shut down.
(TW: DO NOT EVEN GO THERE.)
REDDIT WILL NOT SHUT DOWN SUBREDDITS SPECIFICALLY DEDICATED TO DEPICTIONS OF WOMEN BEING BEATEN AND RAPED.
These fora have been there for *years*, there have been complaints about them for *years,* and they are still there. And many others just as awful.
Is it any wonder that the rapist AMA was filled with rape apology, on a site that explicitly
And Jim doesn’t want to be part of a site that allows that? That encourages that? Well how terribly, terribly un-PC of him
July 28, 2012 @ 11:43 am
I am a redditor and I read the thread yesterday, and as a rape survivor, I was horrified by 95% of it. Reddit is full of crap threads about “friend zoning” and other items that explain why men feel entitled to women’s bodies and I know alllll about their frustrations when they find they have no access to women’s bodies. Sorry, but the larger subreddits are full of pigs.
The Freedom Not To Participate | Popehat
July 28, 2012 @ 11:43 am
[…] chilling and creepy thread at Reddit calling for men to talk about their experience being rapists. So he cancelled. In the comments on his thread, and in the a fantasy subriddit thread about the matter, some […]
July 28, 2012 @ 11:49 am
Any disgruntled anti-rape people are welcome to come to Enter the Fray: http://www.enterthefray.org/forum/index.php? We debate things, even things like rape, but it’s mostly respectful.
Sorry Mr Hines – hope that plug is okay. If not, please just delete.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 11:53 am
It’s interesting that you think backing out of a spotlight discussion in a community with 17,000 fantasy fans doesn’t affect my checkbook.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 11:55 am
It didn’t come across as mean or unkind in the slightest.
I understand people describing my choice as a punishment or an ultimatum. I might not necessarily agree, but I see where they’re coming from. In the end though, right or wrong, this was the choice that allowed me to sleep last night, if that makes sense?
Thanks for commenting.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 11:58 am
No worries. I’m not familiar with the site, but the comment and link seem to be on-topic, so it’s all good.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 11:59 am
July 28, 2012 @ 12:03 pm
Thank you for posting this. I am not yet a fan of your work, but I will be purchasing a copy today based solely on this excellent post.
July 28, 2012 @ 12:11 pm
I have a hard time believing that most of us who currently buy your books would stop because you cancelled an interview, especially an AMA on Reddit. However, removing access certainly would. It’s anecdotal, but I would never have read the Goblin Series, which got me into your writing, had I not seen it recommended on Amazon.
I can’t fault you for a moment for the work you’ve done in the victim support and education arenas, and I certainly don’t really want you to pull your books but you made the statement that you couldn’t participate on Reddit because of the type of material hosted there all the while selling your books on Amazon which stocks and sells things that are much worse in this same vein. I believe if someone steps up to make the moral argument they should follow it through to it’s logical conclusions.
Making a stand on Reddit like this will bring you positive support and I would be hard pressed to believe people will decide not to buy your next book because of this. However, pulling from the major retailers would have a direct and immediate negative impact on your livelihood. One really cannot really take the moral stand only when it’s beneficial and shying away when it isn’t. That’s just marketing and if I may be frank, I think you are much stronger and braver than that.
I would like to see you reinstate your AMA and use that platform to discuss not only your writing but your works to improve society.
July 28, 2012 @ 12:13 pm
I dislike the way you have polarized reddit. You’re judging millions based on the actions of a few and I feel many readers of your blog now have an incomplete picture of what reddit is really like. Reddit is a bastion of free speech and with that comes a few undesirable elements but we hold that the greater good will always prevail. I have been turned on to very many new authors thanks to r/fantasy AMA’s yours being one of them Mr. Hines. r/fantasy is one of the most respectful fantasy forums I have ever seen on the internet and has greatly increased my exposure to the fantasy genre.
I will ask that you be consistent by abandoning other social media sites like facebook and twitter if you ever see something taboo discussed there.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 12:15 pm
Fair enough. I was looking at it as the loss of potential new readers. I think you’re right and I doubt many of my current fans are going to stop reading me over this. (Probably a few, but there’s always going to be someone who does that, pretty much no matter what you say or do.)
July 28, 2012 @ 12:16 pm
So you don’t like Reddit, but you’ll use tumblr to smear people by using their real names – is that right MadGastronomer?
July 28, 2012 @ 12:18 pm
Good on you, sir!
I have never read your books, but I will certainly look into them now.
I support your choice and for many of us who are assault survivors on reddit, that thread was a complete horror show.
Salon has also done a (better, in my opinion) article on the event. You can find it here: http://www.salon.com/2012/07/27/inside_the_mind_of_a_serial_rapist/
I cannot stress strongly enough how thoroughly I support your choice to distance yourself from the whole community based on its actions.
I look forward to reading your work!
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
There were 11,000 comments on that post the last time I checked, and a commenter just above you has pointed to communities about beating and raping women. I disagree with your characterization of this as the actions of a few.
That said, I agree with you that there are some wonderful people on Reddit, too. Like I said, I had a blast doing an AMA there earlier this year.
But in my opinion, based in part on some of the comments and examples that have been brought up here, this does not appear to be an isolated thing. And I personally don’t feel comfortable participating at Reddit.
I understand and respect that you disagree with me, but I hope you’ll respect my choice as well.
July 28, 2012 @ 12:26 pm
There are many for-profit companies that “provide space for this filth”: Facebook, Google, Twitter, newspapers, broadcasting companies, publishers, etc. I’m willing to bet Mr. Hines still spends some of his time and energy on these companies’ services. His website makes use of WordPress technology. WordPress is another company that “provides space for this filth.” If it is really so logical that Mr. Hines does not want to give his time and energy to companies that do things he finds abhorrent, why isn’t he little more consistent?
July 28, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
Good on you, really.
Jim C. Hines
July 28, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
I feel like I’ve missed something significant here…
July 28, 2012 @ 12:32 pm
I don’t find it surprising that redditors feel that their mythical “free speech” trumps your free association. Free speech doesn’t mean speech free of consequences.
Jim Hines, you’ve just gone to the top of my “Books to buy” list (and your blog has been added to my feed). Thanks for taking a stand on this issue.