I want to torture you. I used to love it, and it's been a long time. I mean, the last time I tortured someone, they didn't even have chainsaws.

Angel ,'Chosen'


The Great Write Way, Act Three: Where's the gun?

A place for Buffistas to discuss, beta and otherwise deal and dish on their non-fan fiction projects.

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-t - Mar 07, 2022 9:26:47 am PST #6628 of 6637
I am a woman of various inclinations and only some of the time are they to burn everything down in frustration

OK, I'm only 10 pages in, but, yeah, it is!

Is it weird that I feel like I might be able to apply some of this to constructing emails?


Karl - Jul 14, 2022 6:24:45 am PDT #6629 of 6637
Love one another.

A resignation letter:

Here's the thing, you see: I'm a hobbyist. This is what I do for fun.

Yes, I've been administering mail on Linux and Unix systems since about 1994. But they were my systems; I didn't need to answer to anyone but myself. I have done similar things for ASI/BayCon with a bewildering array of email systems, all of them on underpowered hosts with unconventional interfaces: I make sure the email gets from point A (usually outside) to point B (usually a set of staff members.) Like racing tiny sewing-machine-motor go-karts, the constrained environment is part of the fun; doing more with less is a chance to develop and enhance a certain set of skills. I have never had to deal with retention policies, administrative lock-outs, massive email abuse, or any of the thousand other insults that corporate email administrators cope with every single day; those are not in the skill-set I have chosen to develop.

There's a reason I didn't choose IT as a profession. I'm a mathematician by training, an early user of social media by happy accident, a science fiction fan by some force related to but quite unlike peer pressure, a writer of prototypes in both code and prose by temperament, and lately, a manager of engineers by slow evolution. None of these aspects of me are particularly well-known for compliance or even acquiescence.

When I look at the future of ASI, on its evolutionary journey from "five sci-fi fans in a trenchcoat cosplaying as a corporation" to a real, serious 501c(3) tax-exempt non-profit comparable to SFSFC or AAE/FurCon, I do see places where I might be able to help. But I volunteered to do non-profit systems management for the STOP AIDS Project in San Francisco twenty-plus years ago, and it looks nothing like what I do for fun. Handling email that might have indications of someone's HIV status in the days before widely-accessible treatments gives a whole new meaning to "are you sure we need to hang on to that?" And it was in that spirit that I made my promise to [Registration Head] and [Registration Second] that we would use people's freely-volunteered health data [proof of vaccination, required to receive a badge for this year's con] wisely and discreetly, and that we would get rid of it the first moment we reasonably could.

Being told by ASI's Compliance Officer that "the first moment we reasonably could" is in fact two years from now rather than the day after con was, to put it very mildly, a shock. Being told that after the data had been collected, rather than, say, when the possibility of it being collected was being discussed on this very list, was rather more than a shock. "If you collect this from people, we're going to have to hang on to it for two years to comply with our data-retention policy" would have been a great thing to know before I pushed the button to create the list. But that button cannot be un-pushed, just as the data cannot be un-collected.

So, [Head of Registration], would you be so good as to convey my apology to [his Second, who is not on this mailing list]? Because I do feel that I have broken the spirit of my promise to you both, if not the letter. My word means a great deal to me, and I don't break it lightly, even when there are changes to external circumstances.

And having done that, and apologized for it, I find that I need to step away from my hobby for at least a little while. Just as one does not expect a tiny sewing-machine-motor go-kart to carry two years' worth of spare tires and lug nuts, the current mail system will need to be replaced by one that has provisions for rolling retention windows and other corporate necessities. I have no interest in (and no aptitude for) driving an SUV of an email system; that is best left to those with both the training and the inclination. But I hear that ASI's Compliance Officer is working for a company that specializes in training people to do such things; perhaps his company might train the next Postmaster, at ASI's expense?


dcp - Jul 14, 2022 6:45:05 am PDT #6630 of 6637
Lo que será, será.

Nice, Karl. Very clear.

the current mail system will need to be replaced by one that has provisions for rolling retention windows and other corporate necessities.

Translation: "You are going to have to spend some resources. Time, money, energy. Remember the saying 'Good, fast, cheap: pick any two.'"


Karl - Jul 15, 2022 12:08:56 pm PDT #6631 of 6637
Love one another.

Thanks, dcp. Got feedback from some folks I sent this out to for beta, and the consensus seems to be, "Very nicely written, but no one on the Board is going to care about either the vaccine card retention or the creeping autoritarianism inherent in one person calling himself the Compliance Oficer and then ordering us all around like we're a bunch of minions. Yeah, corporate compliance is a pain, but we have to do it and he's the only one among us who knows how."

Hope everyone else is having a better Friday than I am.


-t - Jul 15, 2022 2:59:22 pm PDT #6632 of 6637
I am a woman of various inclinations and only some of the time are they to burn everything down in frustration

Even so, having your letter lay it out for them might lead someone who doesn’t presently care to eventually do something.


Gudanov - Oct 04, 2022 9:18:40 am PDT #6633 of 6637
Coding and Sleeping

I've steadfastly avoided running my own mail server because it is such a PITA. They were lucky to be able to lean on you for so long.


Karl - Dec 03, 2022 3:35:19 am PST #6634 of 6637
Love one another.

A draft of something that may become a blog post, or worse, the header to my LinkedIn profile:

Ok, here's the thing. If you're a white man, don't assume I'm going to agree with you because of what you can see of me when I appear on the Zoom call. If you're not a white man, I already expect that you will rightfully ignore any "statements of allyship" and pay attention to what I do and who it benefits; I don't have to tell you how all this works.

"My people" are not all people who look like me. And not all people that I recognise as "my people" recognise me as theirs. That's ok.

I shouldn't have to disclose to you which communities are "most" important to me. I shouldn't have to disclose to you what my mother did for a living when I was a teenager to "justify" my feelings about cops. I shouldn't have to refer to any religious basis when I tell you that my people are the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.

If your space is visibly dominated by white men with beards, it won't be welcoming to me even though I am, in fact, a white man with a beard. Yes, even if most of them are queer.

If your space isn't welcoming to GNC folks (non-binary people or anyone else who doesn't perform gender "appropriately"), it won't be welcoming to me, even though my gender presentation is about as Silicon Valley-typical as you can get.

If your space isn't welcoming to Black trans women, it won't be welcoming to me. And if your organization is claiming to want to do good in the world and you don't have a single Black woman in leadership, I am going to side-eye you and your organization forever. This is table stakes, people.

These all apply whether your space is online or off.

I have always felt most comfortable, most welcomed, most valued as a colleague, when in the company of furries, queers, trans folk, and self-described freaks with their own self-described 'freak flags.'

And finally, though I can't believe I actually have to say this: I am not interested in "winning hearts and minds" of people who want my people and me out of their sight or dead. This includes the vast majority of US Republicans and right-wing Europeans. The rich and selfish are not my people; they mean harm to me and mine.


Beverly - Dec 04, 2022 4:58:34 pm PST #6635 of 6637
Days shrink and grow cold, sunlight through leaves is my song. Winter is long.

(Stands to applaud)


Laura - Dec 05, 2022 6:51:28 am PST #6636 of 6637
"Against all evidence, I keep thinking the assholes are outliers." - James Holden

I'd love to see that as a LinkedIn header, or really anywhere.


erikaj - Dec 06, 2022 1:05:46 pm PST #6637 of 6637
This machine kills fascists

Reminds me how often I am told awful things about people on benefits or who are poor...how long it took me to complain(Because I was Special at being special..) and how much I've had to brush aside "I didn't mean *you*--which, incidentally, sucks as a compliment,


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