Reposted from my Facebook page from Wednesday night:
The web site for the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) has been down most of the day because of a cyber-attack. The interruption apparently commenced at 10 a.m. and the site has been up and down all day The attack is called a DDOS, which I had to look up. The best explanation I read said "DDOS, short for Distributed Denial of Service, is a type of DOS attack where multiple compromised systems -- which are usually infected with a Trojan -- are used to target a single system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack."
The SFWA is in the process of having its annual election, and there has been some real viciousness in its forums. An officer stepped in a couple of days ago to moderate the forums, and things quieted down considerably - and then this attack happened.
Most people would assume the two things are related. I really don't know, or care. After I launched my campaign for vice president last year, and saw the way I was attacked, I stopped campaigning and helped organize a new writers group (although I remain a member of the SFWA).
SASS (Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling) fills in the middle ground between people who are fans and readers, and hard-boiled pros who make (or want to make) their living as writers. It's a nice for someone like me, who has a day job.
One thing I'm proud of is SASS - which has its own Facebook page - takes a lesson from fraternal groups (such as the Masons) and specifically prohibits internal discussions of religion or politics. That way people of all faiths and political backgrounds have a neutral common ground where they can learn and encourage each other in writing and appreciating speculative storytelling.
I shared the post with all the interim officers of SASS. Dario's comment on his own page is worthy of repeating:
Dario Ciriello: Lou, I was honoured to be invited last summer to be interim Chairman of the new SASS until (now imminent) board elections, when I will step down, and I accepted the post precisely *because* SASS expressly disavows political or religious agendas and prohibits members from doing so under its auspices. As I've frequently stated, I abhor intolerance, incivility, and proselytizing of every kind.
Even as an atheist with some ultra-liberal leanings I'm frankly amazed that everyone that happens to hail from Texas or who has strong religious views--as many of my own good friends do--is vilified by certain people in the SFF community, as was the case in this recent Tweet (names omitted, publicly searchable): "...too bad SASS never got off the ground--it'd be a great resource for identifying the racist a-holes in SFF."
Wow, sounds like someone's creating an enemies list, doesn't it? This sort of thing has disgusted me since my first Worldcon, when I saw Larry Niven booed and hissed by half the audience on a panel for simply making a rather mild joke. Intolerance, rudeness, and ad hominems disgust me whether from the far right or far left. A plague on ALL their houses.
Well, I think it's great that SASS *is* getting off the ground. A neutral, safe forum for fans, readers, and new, non-pro writers is both needed and doesn't threaten any existing organizations. Power to you, Lou.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Why can't we all get along?"