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30 August 2011 @ 11:58 am
Worldcon supporting memberships: well, this is nice :)  
Well it's been almost a week and things seem to have worked out awfully nicely :)

- Thanks to purplefrog26 and kirizal also offering supporting memberships, we had three!

- And three awesome people signed up: scamis, tithenai, and prezzey :) So, you guys, we're getting you all supporting memberships! Er, details about how to be worked out as soon as I have a spoon or two.

Doing this has been eye-opening. I hadn't fully understood how many barriers there are in the way of multiply marginalized people participating in the nominating/voting process; money is very clearly not the only one. Of course financial difficulty doesn't exactly go with tons of leisure time, but also seems from conversations I've had in the last few days that the overall normativity of the field is also a huge barrier.

...Which, okay, is not exactly news. I know it's triggery to be erased and misrepresented, and that it's hard and risky to find work that doesn't do that. And I knew that was a problem for me given all my spoonfails. But I hadn't realized how much my experience was part of a larger problem here.

All of which is to say I'd also like to extend gratitude and admiration to scamis, tithenai, and prezzey for being willing to take this on :)
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Dashspacehawk on August 30th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Yes. I think there are multiple access issues: one of course is the money to buy it, but another is the mail system internationally, which doesn't always work or work in a timely enough fashion. Not everything can be purchased digitally online and I've heard of it taking months for books to arrive in some places.

Supporting someone's membership frees up those funds to purchase books, but only the books that one can actually get. (I do not know of a solution to this, other that to convince more publishers to sell digital copies of the books.)

I fully support the creation of a fund to help people get access to stuff where money is the principal barrier -- it would be awesome if we could get corporate sponsorship for this, too. I think the advertising and positive word of mouth would help publishers who contribute to the fund.
[ein od milvado]: samnmax_bookprezzey on August 30th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
Yes this. Thank G-d lately Book Depository has done a reasonably good job getting books here (to Hungary) without charging an arm and a leg extra, but for some reason I couldn't set up a wishlist on their site, only on Amazon (which is kind of useless - I once got a gift certificate from a friend and I ended up spending most of the money on shipping costs, not on actual books). I set up my wishlist on BD and it vanished the next day, I did this twice and I couldn't manage to keep my list from vanishing. Maybe I should ask them directly. (I never thought it would occur to anyone not in my immediate family to buy me books from my wishlist, so I didn't put much effort into this...)

Also, lots of places have DRMed ebooks, and I'm very opposed to DRM both for moral and technical reasons. I use Linux and I've been in the situation where I couldn't even open something I legally owned, without resorting to methods explicitly banned in the user agreement.

The Worldcon supporting membership came with a huge boatload of ebooks last year AFAIK, but I don't remember anything about DRM. I guess that depends on the publisher. There are many publishers that do offer non-DRMed ebooks, or ebooks with softer forms of copy protection, like watermarking... Angry Robot comes to mind.
A Wandering Hobbitredbird on September 1st, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
That pile of reading that comes with the Worldcon membership is of things that are already nominated. So useful to the voter, and nice to have stuff to read, but it won't help with deciding what to nominate.
[ein od milvado]: garfield_ideaprezzey on September 1st, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Wow, I've just posted about this exact issue five minutes ago! (Please respond there; I don't want Shweta to be flooded with EVEN MOAR comments. ^^;)
Dr. Kvetchrose_lemberg on August 31st, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
This; another issue is that in some places, books don't arrive even when sent. Post is often unreliable.

I'm wondering if we could do a Book Exchange setup, not just monetary, but to connect people who own books (and wouldn't mind to give them away or to loan them out) with reviewers who need them.

It won't solve the postage problem, but it might help people in the US who want to vote for Hugos but cannot due to money issues.
Dash: Agendaspacehawk on August 31st, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
Yes! prezzey has told me about books that never even arrived! >_<

A book exchange would be great. Who knows how to set up a website to do that? (We could do it over LJ I suppose.)
Dr. Kvetchrose_lemberg on August 31st, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
LJ would be too bulky. There are a few ways this can go: a wordpress blog (better than LJ for categorizing and accessible archivng), a forum, something else I am not thinking about.

I would take this on (website), but between the job, disability/health issues, advocacy for my son, writing, ST, MoC and other projects I am stretched impossibly thin and cannot commit to anything else.

(speaking of, not sure if Shweta even has the spoons to read this... :P

But it could be done, and shouldn't even be that hard. At the same time we could also set up a recommendation depository for the Hugos and Nebulas for people who can vote and are interested in diversity and social justice. I suspect this would greatly help both the voters and the diversity-oriented nominees, and could be done in the same space.

Another thing I thought about are e-readers. Provided post issues do not exist (hah!), we could potentially fundraise to purchase 3 e-readers (such as the nook), and loan them out to current sponsored people, who would then pass them on to next year's sponsored people (provided this continues into next year, but I don't see why not, provided we can fundraise). How to fill up the e-readers is another question.

Perhaps this discussion should move away from Shweta's blog onto some other space, as I am, again, concerned about clogging Shweta's spoons.

Edited at 2011-08-31 04:24 pm (UTC)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on August 31st, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Really glad this discussion is happening! And it's fine for it to continue here, but yeah I have no spoons to deal with this level of organizing, so it might be more *useful* to have it continue elsewhere...
[ein od milvado]: garfield_ideaprezzey on September 1st, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
OK I've made some blog posts
Done #1
Done #2

Everyone, feel free to continue over at my blog! (Wow, I rushed so much to put this up that I managed to break my comments field, but it should be OK now... let me know if you can't comment.)
[ein od milvado]: garfield_ideaprezzey on August 31st, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I can definitely do the recommendations / lists / etc. on my blog, I love to make lists of everything and I've been thinking of doing this myself anyway (because I don't want to miss anything - I read fast, so that's not an issue once I actually HAVE the stuff I want to read). I can set up a database too if the lists grow really big, and I can host it unless the traffic grows too extreme for my provider - I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon though.

I can also set up a forum, phpbb is very easy to set up and maintain - but in my experience, forums are not a really good idea unless things really get rolling. Even with about, say, 20 people, a forum looks sufficiently deserted that it actually scares away potential contributors.

I think Pocketbook has the most versatile e-readers (I have a hardware reviews column at a Hungarian magazine and I've tried out quite a few e-readers, unfortunately I can't keep them LOL!), but they can get quite pricey. (Also, their Android tablets are crap.) I don't think I really need an ereader, because I have a tablet PC. (It's quite bulky and dates back to the times when tablet PCs were hopelessly niche items, but I like it a lot!) Sure, an e-ink device is better in some respects than something with a LCD screen, but it's not an indispensable thing for me. Not speaking for the others though - I've read lots of books on an old CRT monitor back in the day, so I'm hardly representative ;]

scamis mentioned Angry Robot had ARCs for reviewers, I didn't know that - we should take a look at other publishers too.

I can make a list of things to do later today (G-d willing), and then we can decide who wants to do what, and how, etc. I'm totally OK with lots of traffic to me re this, I'm really enthused about the project and right now I also have the time to spare.