The Write Agenda Can Teach You How To Avoid Untrustworthy People… Like Themselves.

If you mention Writer Beware (or SFWA) on social media, you will probably get the attention of “The Write Agenda”.

And you’ll have my sympathy, and a recommendation to hit that “Block/Report” button right quickly.

There’s an explanation for that recommendation – as well as some background links, and a screengrab of the rudeness that this anonymous person spewed at me personally and toward people that I care about.  They’ve got a huge hate-on for Victoria Strauss in particular, demanding that she go debate them in NYC, at which time they’ll reveal their true identity, and…

…yeah, it sounds like a substandard Venture Brothers script to me.  With a usericon that looks like someone wanting to copy the DJs from Mars, but couldn’t afford the cardboard box.

But all their singleminded focus on hating Victoria actually helps highlight something very important.  By and large, Author Beware (as well as myself and others who help people steer clear of scams and sleazy predatory folks) look at behavior.  For example, my post about the Dark Crystal writing contest.  Yes, there’s a particular example – but it’s an example of a principle of behavior.

Likewise, the post about Writer Digest’s Self-Publishing award .  It’s a post that talks about specific companies, but the problem is the principle of conflict of interest.

But it’s not about the specific people.

Could even infamous author-exploiting vanity press Author Solutions clean up its act and treat authors reputably, like a real publisher?  Sure – in fact, many of us hoped that it would after being acquired by Penguin Group.  Unfortunately, the behavior remained the same, leading to the class action lawsuit going on this year.

As I keep saying, we cannot focus on people so much as behaviors:

And that’s when we have to remember that we care about behaviors. If someone’s behavior is flawed, we must call them on that behavior. Not just because of ethics (though that’s enough), but because it helps our friends grow as human beings.

And that’s why principles like Yog’s Law (with Cthugha’s Corollary) are so important.  Why knowing how contracts work is so important.   Why setting an ethical standard for Kickstarters and backer rewards is so important.

Because that way we can focus on the behaviors.  Learn the ways that scams are run, and you won’t have to point to each and every scam out there – you’ll be able to identify them for what they are.

And people – like the Write Agenda – who are singlemindedly focused on hating a person rather than a behavior? 

Well, now you know to avoid that kind of behavior too.

Background on the Write Agenda:

Sadly, this is a typical exchange.

Yes, that’s right.  He spammed a link WHILE insulting people.  Another big red flag.

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