July 28th, 2007


Since When Is This 'Spam'?

I am not speaking officially for the Montreal Worldcon bid here. Although I sat behind a bid table for them and hosted a party for them at Westercon, I am not on the Montreal in 2009 Worldcon bid committee. This is my own opinion, and it's a strong one, and touches off unhappy memories of the 2005 Worldcon and some unreasonable but similar attitudes I encountered there, too.

I am flabbergasted by this message complaining that the Montreal Worldcon bid sent him -- and all of the other pre-supporters for whom they have e-mail addresses -- a message that amounts to "Don't forget to vote, and if you've missed the mail-in ballot deadline, you can send your ballot to us and we'll carry it to Japan for you." He's announced that this is "spam" and that he will therefore no longer support the Montreal bid, that they've obviously destroyed any chance of winning the election, and that he won't attend their Worldcon if they win.

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Here's a hint, folks: If you don't want someone to contact you, don't give them contact information. If you give your address -- paper or electronic -- to a convention or bid, you should assume automatically that they are going to contact you. Most people want the convention to contact them. Indeed, one of the biggest complaints you hear about a convention is that "they aren't communicating; I haven't heard anything from them."

Honestly, I'm fuming over this display of excess fannishness. It's complaints like this that sometimes make me want to gafiate entirely, because it's a prime example of "damned if you do, damned if you don't." Contact your supporters and you're told you're spamming them. Don't contact them and people say, "Well, they never communicate."

And to anyone who does think that a bid sending e-mail to its members amounting to, "Don't forget to vote" is spam, then put yourself in the bid's shoes and tell me, "How do you propose to get the word out to your supporters at this late date that it's their last chance to vote?"

Update, 10:00: Included a link to the text of the message itself, as posted by Robert J. Sawyer.