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Douglas Spencer

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If you don't know what this is about, don't worry. [Oct. 5th, 2009|09:21 pm]
Douglas Spencer

In order to dispel any doubt that there may be over my opinion on the matter:

Firstly, It's my firm belief that the correct response of a convention committee hearing criticism of their convention, or its current or previous committees, is to prove those critics wrong by running a great event.

Secondly, it seems to me that banning your critic from your event, refusing to enter into any online discussion on the matter, and refusing to discuss it with any other persons, seems (on the face of it) to be a little odd.

Thirdly and finally, I'm trying to remember any occasion when a committee has banned a critic and then refused to discuss it, and then gone on to find that their public image has improved in any way. No success yet.

Anonymous comment spam:
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-06 11:01 pm (UTC)
I know Padraig, and I have a real hard time to see him as a tosser. He grumbles a lot, but then again, in this instance he was right.

ETA: and frankly, this is the thing that makes me angrier about the whole business. Throw enough mud at somebody, take a nuclear-option action against them out of personal feuding, and suddenly everybody will start thinking that where there's smoke there's fire...

Edited at 2009-10-06 11:03 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-06 11:59 pm (UTC)
So basically the committee had a meeting where they said "Who's the loveliest person in Irish fandom? 'Cos then we'll ban them, seeing as we're eeeevillll!" as they twirl their moustaches.

Seriously, I'm sceptical. And seeing as I read in another blog how he threatened somebody with assault I reckon some of this smoke is fire related.
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[User Picture]From: captainlucy
2009-10-07 01:01 am (UTC)
Oh, Pádraig's no saint, and he'd be the first to say that. He's got on my tits more than once, but that's purely because he calls a spade a spade - when you ask him "what do you think about blah" he tells you exactly that. Sometimes, just sometimes, I suspect he may secretly be a Yorkshireman, but shhh, don't tell him I said that! ;)

As for the alleged threat of assault ... well, I don't know the precise ins and outs of that particular incident, but I know enough back-story to know that the Pádraig of 7 or 8 years ago is a very different man to the Pádraig of today and that, even if true, what happened 7 or 8 years ago should be left 7 or 8 years ago.
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-07 08:19 am (UTC)
Alright, I'll turn this around: Are the people on the committee NOT considered reasonable, sensible people? Other than this action do they strike anybody as an innately antagonistic lot?
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[User Picture]From: jemck
2009-10-07 08:38 am (UTC)
Er, yes, unfortunately. I can't really go into specifics without dragging up a lot of unedifying stuff but hey, they're not going into specifics either.

Are you willing to accept that much from me, on the basis of having been a pro-writer guest at a handful of Octocons this past decade? A writer, who as I told the committee in 2007, won't be going back until I hear reliable third-party reports of colossal improvement.

The two central chaps here detest each other and have done for a decade. There have been encounters with faults on both sides - but I am aware of nothing that even remotely justifies these wild accusations.

I do take pains to get my facts from third parties who work very hard to be fair to both sides and stay as neutral as possible. Which makes the fact so many are now standing in support of Padraig even more telling.

I would also endorse Annafdd's and Captain Lucy's assessments of Padraig's character.

I was at what appears to be the key convention in question - and the Brophy version of events goes so far beyond 'speculative fiction' that it's crossed the event horizon and is accelerating with its arse on fire.
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-07 08:50 am (UTC)
Well I don't know any of the involved, although like I say, I'd heard a lot of really good things about Octocon and hoped to go one day (as I've yet to go to Ireland as well). But if the opinion (from a number of people I do know) is that Padraig has a good rep and the committe somewhat doesn't (from one person I don't know) on balence he looks to be the innocent party.

The only reason I weighed in is I've been on convention and society committees and it always annoys me to see somebody attack a bunch of people who've given up their free time to do something for others. Even if they've not done a good job they deserve respect for effort and being the ones who actually got off their bum and tried. Also in one particular club I'm in it's ones who have done a good job before who seem happiest to attack the current incumbents.
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[User Picture]From: bellinghwoman
2009-10-07 09:00 am (UTC)
I've yet to go to Ireland

Come to P-Con!


Edited at 2009-10-07 09:01 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-07 09:14 am (UTC)
I need a job before I can go to any cons! I was meant to be on 3 panels at next year's Eastercon but have had to withdraw as it looks like I won't get to go :-(
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[User Picture]From: jemck
2009-10-07 09:11 am (UTC)
I'm with you entirely on disliking the way naysayers will so often carp from the sidelines, with no real understanding of the very hard work that goes into organising any successful event/volunteer-based organisation.

I too have served my time on assorted committees across a whole range of things and have seen the behaviours you describe.

So I have been taking your points in the spirit I felt they were meant, and now see that was indeed correct.
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-07 09:13 am (UTC)
I did miss saying that their actions are totally wrong. Even if Padraig did something that bad he should be told exactly what it was and a ban should only be a last resort.
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[User Picture]From: davesangel
2009-10-08 08:42 pm (UTC)
The only reason I weighed in is I've been on convention and society committees and it always annoys me to see somebody attack a bunch of people who've given up their free time to do something for others. Even if they've not done a good job they deserve respect for effort and being the ones who actually got off their bum and tried. Also in one particular club I'm in it's ones who have done a good job before who seem happiest to attack the current incumbents

Couldn't agree more.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-10-08 12:56 am (UTC)

Octocon Brouhaha

What incident 7 or 8 years ago? Is it why James hates Padraig? And you know what? Even if something did happen, like he yelled at someone (I will never believe that he shook his fists at James Brophy, just don't see it, na, no way!), or was very annoyed with them on line for messing things up, like the PA system incident, or the leaving Julit McKenna's bio out of the program, that was either 2006 or 2007, I think, I'm open to correction on specifics though...

Anyway, we're all just guessing and trying to think "What did Padraig ever actually do to warrent being barred? And why wait 2 or 3, or 7 or 8 years to bring it up? It's completely ridiculous!

Do ya think there's any way they can save the con? Or do ya think I should maybe go to the CSI thing in the Ambassador on Saturday instead? Is anyone actually going? To the con that is? Other than maybe me? If they retract their ban and apologise, that is?
Do ya think they'll refund me my €30 if I don't go? Hmmm...
What a mess they now have on their hands!

Bonsaii, aka Caitriona Hamman, and you know I'm Padraig's sister, right?
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-07 09:40 am (UTC)
He used to run Octocon. He wasn't very happy with how it went lately and said so. Loudly (I mean loudly on Twitter). And repeatedly. And he's friend of lots of important people so he got listened to. But honestly, loads of other people were Not Impressed by the lastest Octocons.

As for threatened part, that may or may not refer to the incident at Octocon 2007, where the sound from a movie got piped in through the PA system in the other two rooms, one of which was the one in which the GoH was giving his GoH speech.

At this point various people, including Juliet McKenna, where getting up and threatening action. Commitee members were searched for and not found, apparently having left the con to run on its own. And not having conducted a sound check.

Padraig got the sound turned off by shouting, because at that point shouting was the only way to make oneself heard.
One famous author, btw, at the same con, took one of the commitee members aside and explained in a lot of detail all of the things they should fix if they ever wanted to run a con again. She has said that she won't set foot in another Octocon unless she hears glowing reports for two years running. Octocon used to pull in 300 people, and is now down to around 50.

Padraig meanwhile founded - and then stepped down from but keeps supporting - another con. In Dublin, although it moved to the spring not to crowd Octocon in. This convention, called PhoenixCon, is very successful, attracts a lot of people, attracts a lot of guests, and is basically eclipsing Octocon.

What I am saying is that Padraid is a pain in the ass, who will complain loudly, in details and relentlessly about what other cons do wrong, while running an extremely successful con himself. What he does not is assault people, spread rumors, attack for the sake of attacking, and being generally disruptive. I've read his opinions about Octocon. They are substatiated and widely shared.

By the way, he was singled out by the chair at the closing ceremony of Octocon 2008 for his help and contribution. So he can't be ALL that terrible. And the woman who decided to ban him did so without ever apparently having clapped eyes on him.

ETA: I obviously meant something metaphorically but in the current climate I realized it's better to be safe. Edited to this.

Edited at 2009-10-07 09:45 am (UTC)
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-10-07 11:27 pm (UTC)

Octocon Brouhaha

Seriously, I am his younger sister, I have known him all my life and he has never been a violent guy! Seriously, this is really pissing me off now! James and Padraig had a falling out years ago, James has a serious problem with Padraig, and I will admit that Padraig can be outspoken, a pain in the ass at times and yes, has been critical of the Octocon committee! But he is not violent! I even checked with our mother earlier just in case I'd forgotten anything but she laughed and said "You must be Joking! Our Padraig! Sure he couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag!" And we bough laughed!

James has now fallen on his sword/been thrown to the wolves and the octocon committee remains eerily silent, even though one of them is his very long time partner!!! Not one single person from Irish Science Fition World has come to his defense, whereas, I think it's running to hundreds by now, have come to Padraig's defese! Why do you think that is!

And, yes, absolutely, Padraig can piss on off, but is that really a reson to ban him? Ever heard of freedom of speech????

And as for any alleged insidents of violence 2 or 3 years ago, how come we only find out about it now? And, look, Padraig is a middle aged man, very happily married, works in Chapters book shop, loves books, loves science fiction, loves cons, is a perfectionist, and ran many octocons and p cons very successfully!

I'm tired now but I'm on facebook and know all about the incidents so feel free to ask if you like. Also, the committee have yet to clarify what he supposedly did to justify being barred! And bottom line is, you can't go around banning people cos you don't like what they said about your (the committee's)organisation of something! Again I say to you, Freedom of speech anyone?

You should check out Cheryl Morgan's blog, get there from live journal slovobooks...

Caitríona Hamman (Nee Ní Mhéalóid)
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-10-07 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, You are so right!
Caitriona Hamman (aka Bonsaii but I ca't remember my password...)
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