Transcriptase has been up for a few weeks. I meant to link to it a while ago, then put it off, then decided to say something substantial about it.
My first reaction was pretty negative. I wasn’t directly involved in the debacle or the ensuing debates, but it seemed to me that a lot of people had a draconian, puritanical reaction My feeling was, yeah, what he said was reprehensible, but I support the rights of people to hold ugly opinions without having to be drummed out of polite society. The reaction to the incident should not have been to brand Sanders with a scarlet R and purge him from sff-dom. Thus, Transcriptase seemed like a bad idea.
Then I read their “About” page and the accompanying author statements. This gave me a much broader view of the controversy, and a better view of the motives of the participants. The key was seeing Sanders’ reaction to the whole thing. It’s one thing to use insulting language in a private letter; it’s quite another to act like an asswipe in public. Plus, many of the author statements up at Transcriptase said basically the same thing I just did. With that in mind, my feelings shifted: whatever the proper reaction to the first incident was, the subsequent response was just asinine. The writers at Transcriptase have every reason to want to get their work away from that.
Plus: Transcriptase has an RSS feed, and Helix doesn’t. That right there makes me about 100x more likely to read it.
Thanks for writing this, and for listening. I’m glad you kept an open mind. My feelings about the whole thing are very close to what you describe here.