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Oct 20 2013

I Got It Wrong

I made a mistake, and I owe Christie Wilcox and this community an apology. When I wrote this post, I mistook being part of a set of events as they unfolded as being the same thing as having a full enough view of those events to know that I could comment on them without getting her perspective. I should not have done that. As a result, I published an account of her actions that has not fully stood up in the face of further scrutiny. For that, I am truly sorry.

There are other issues at play here, including when a pattern of nonconsensual sexual behavior becomes a community matter and how various competing interests affect that process, as well as the impact and importance of harassment that targets men, but they deserve their own consideration separate from any apology. I will be listening much and thinking much as those questions are discussed, but I don’t plan to comment on them now.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    brive1987

    You have highlighted the need for an apology, when will you actually issue one that conforms to the requirements previously laid down to CFI?

    “That has not stood up in the face of further scrutiny” – is that code for “false and misleading”? You risk appearing to use weasel words. Wy not be clear?

    Now we are dealing with principle, you have established the need for getting both sides of a story before going public. Especially when it comes to issues surrounding human interactions. I am glad that you at least will not be dropping unbalanced blog ‘grenades’ in future.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    brive1987 and others sure to come along in the future: you do realize there’s a large swathe of the story as originally told that does, in fact, stand up to further scrutiny? That part was wrong doesn’t mean the whole thing was wrong.

  3. 3
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, it’s “code” for “I don’t want to point somewhere else, because I want people to understand that I take responsibility for my actions.”

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    And I appreciate the impulse, Jason, but people should let me handle this one.

  5. 5
    Ace of Sevens

    I know this got pretty heated on Facebook. I think it was big of you to admit wrongdoing.

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ace of Sevens, thanks for the sentiment, but I don’t want to suggest it was anything but necessary.

  7. 7
    hjhornbeck

    Zvan @6:

    Ace of Sevens, thanks for the sentiment, but I don’t want to suggest it was anything but necessary.

    Sometimes, the necessary thing is the toughest to do. You could have dug in, flipped the bird to everyone involved and proceeded to burn as many bridges as possible. You could have gotten away with it.

    But you didn’t. You did the right thing, even when it hurt. That’s appreciated, and worth noting.

  8. 8
    Great American Satan

    This idea of naming names is new, and Janis in the comments here makes a pretty strong case it’s still a potentially powerful tool against the kinda shits that ruined her dreams. So to not toss the baby with this bathwater, how can naming names still be conducted without the thing happening that went wrong here?
    -

  9. 9
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    OK, as someone who read your posts, I’ll bear in mind that anything I read about Christie Wilcox may be in error or incomplete. Thanks for pointing this out. It is very respectable for you to understand your error quickly upon further information, point out your error, and apologize to Ms. Wilcox promptly.

    You’re a good example to follow when having done something wrong.

  10. 10
    freemage

    Stephanie: The link to the piece that you’re apologizing for goes to “Page not found”. While I understand that you may want to make your retraction crystal-clear (and like others, I’m glad to see someone I admire do the right thing), it does make it a bit trickier to know what the error was in the first place.

  11. 11
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Freemage:

    No, not really. I say that having read the referenced piece before it was pulled. What you see in the first paragraph here is about as specific as it gets, at least for now.

  12. 12
    David Marjanović

    What you see in the first paragraph here is about as specific as it gets

    As what gets?

    Is the post so horrible that it’s not even possible to slap a big red disclaimer at its top and restore it then, just as a matter of historical record?

    Deleting stuff from the Internet is a really extreme measure. It always gives rise to conspiracy theories.

    Most mistakes are better off published as a warning than hidden. I sometimes find it easier to use myself as a bad example than to recruit others for this purpose.

  13. 13
    Bernard Bumner

    Most mistakes are better off published as a warning than hidden. I sometimes find it easier to use myself as a bad example than to recruit others for this purpose.

    If making an example of yourself involves bringing disproportionate harm to someone else, then no.

    I think it is fair to say (judging from social media at the time) that Christie Wilcox did not wish to give a full account of her side of the story, apparently in order to avoid implicating a third party.

    Therefore, at best, any disclaimer Stephanie wrote would be vague. It necessarily wouldn’t go far enough to prevent even disclaimed allegations from becoming a smear. It is clear that there was admittedly poor behaviour involved, but not clear that it deserved to be highlighted in that very specific and public manner, and as an example of something it possibly was not.

  14. 14
    David Marjanović

    apparently in order to avoid implicating a third party.

    Oh, that probably makes sense.

    It is clear that there was admittedly poor behaviour involved, but not clear that it deserved to be highlighted in that very specific and public manner

    That, on the other hand, makes less sense as far as I can tell.

  15. 15
    Bernard Bumner

    I was deliberately oblique in order to avoid recapitulating the substance of the post which Stephamie is clearly also avoiding in the OP, having deleted the linked post. Sorry.

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