Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thoughts on WSFS online

I'm new to the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS).

I've been following the Hugo awards for decades. The Hugo awards have introduced me to some of my favorite authors over the years. I've been maintaining lists of the Hugo award winning novels on Amazon (broken into two guides, before 2000 and 2000 through present because of the way Amazon guides are made). I also recently added similar guides for Hugo award winning films (before 2000, and 2000 through present).

I've wanted to buy into the World Science Fiction Society for a long time, and only just last year finally felt that I had the means to do it. Last year was my first read-through and vote on the Hugos, and my first WorldCon. I've been to a number of media and gaming cons over the last few years, but WorldCon was my first literary con. I AM HOOKED. This is my kind of con. Loads of interesting people whose interests are similar to mine. Many of my favorite authors. Kaffeeklatsches with two of my favorite authors! Scientists and NASA folks letting us pick their brains. So many kinds of awesome. I'll be going to as many WorldCons as I can, from here on out. Which won't be many for at least the next few years, but that will just make the ones I can attend sweeter.

And that's on top of the voter's packet that comes with the supporting membership. Most of the nominated materials in e-book form, included in the cost of membership. Try as I might, I wasn't able to get through everything last year, and had to submit an incomplete ballot. But I loved the whole thing.

Since WorldCon, I've been wondering why I can't find an online WSFS community. I was really surprised by the lack of a place for us all to come together in between WorldCons and continue the conversation. I've been wondering whether I'd be allowed to start up and run such an online community. Surely I'm not the only one who wants such a thing? Right?

Well, now that I've completed my first nomination period, and see how the community explodes and how a lot of the community members treat each other online when the list of nominees is released, I see why there is no official WSFS online community. Wow. I know I shouldn't be surprised that people often behave with less civility online than they do in person. I know that very well. Why was I surprised?

Farther down the line, when I have more time and feel like I want to deal with moderating such a passionate online community, maybe I'll revisit the idea of creating a space for us all to get together between WorldCons. But not today.

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