Saturday, May 11, 2013

In the beginning...

The first draft of bylaws for a new writers group was created March 9, 2012. Ultimately two dozen writers  ranging from accredited professionals to fans participated in a study group which worked meticulously for a year to come up with rules and bylaws for the new group – the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling – SASS.

The self-imposed quorum (in the bylaws) of ten dues paying members from among the study group being reached for the organization to go forward, SASS is now taking membership applications from the public.

All members as of July 4th, 2013, will receive formal membership packets as well as a ratification ballot for the drafted bylaws. Nominations are also being sought for permanent officers and board members, with an election being held in the fall.

Comments and questions are welcomed.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious what you mean by, "membership is revocable for any such “breach of the peace” inside or outside the organization." By "outside" it seems you are saying that if someone expresses their personal beliefs outside the organization, which could be interpreted by someone else as breaching the peace, then that person would be removed, even if they were not intending to breach the peace. I can accept not discussing religion or politics inside the forum or at SASS meetings, but I don't like the idea of having what I say outside the organization being policed. Please clarify.

Lou Antonelli said...

I think the way this has been meant by the people who worked on the bylaws is that members should not attack each other inside or OUTSIDE the group. Like the Masons, members should not speak ill of each other.

Polite disagreements are fine, but what has happened in other writers groups is that, when someone has a disagreement with someone else, they will viciously attack them on their own blog, disgusting bystanders and intimidating others.

No one is SASS cares about personal opinions expressed outside the organization.

SASS is not a professional organization and has no pretensions to accreditation or authority; it is a private group, as as such membership is voluntary.

"Breach of the Peace" is a semi-legal term usually used to denote a fight or attack, not a discussion or disagreement.

Any other SASSanians want to weigh in?

Bryan Thomas said...

I have to be honest and say I'm pretty uncomfortable with the wording of that paragraph as well.

"SASS expressly disavows any socio-political goals while asserting the right of its members to discuss and explore any and subjects in speculative fiction writing."

There seems to be an extra "and" in this part which makes it confusing but respecting members rights to discuss any subject seems to conflict with part two:

"Overt ideological or political proselytizing of any sort is discouraged, for the sake of organizational amity. SASS prohibits any discussion of politics, religion or any similar personal beliefs under its auspices, and membership is revocable for any such “breach of the peace” inside or outside the organization."

Who's to define under its auspices? To me, this is so open to interpretation it could be abused or misinterpreted many ways. It's just setting up potential for conflict.

I think no one representing political or religious opinions while serving in an official representative capacity of SASS is one thing, but you can't really police fairly what happens off site between people personally and if you try to do that, you are going to create a lot of misery for everyone involved.

Lou Antonelli said...

Bryan -

Thanks for catching that typo, the word "all" was missing.

I think auspice means on the web site here, Facebook page, or our private discussion board, the Inkwell.

As far as off the premises, to expand on an earlier comment, I think we are talking here about vicious PC-motivated attacks. As I told someone else in a pithy comment elsewhere, the group is for people sick of PC bullshit.

Of course we can't police what people do on their own blogs, but as a private group, we don't have to let them in SASS. This group is a safe haven for people to meet together over their common love of speculative fiction. If someone WHO BELONGS TO SASS attacks anyone in the group for something that NOTHING to do with speculative fiction, they don't need to belong SASS. They can join other outfits.

There needs to be someplace that is PC free in spec fic. The verbiage you refer to indicates we will hold top that standard.

SASS has no possible political agenda, so it has no political to correct. We are talking about civility.

If I say I love dogs, and someone says Lou Antonelli is insane for loving dogs and starts a vicious smear campaign against me, they will get their asses tossed, and if I respond in kind, I'd get my ass bounced, also.

Nulli bellus ignus = No flame wars.

I hope that's a little helpful.