Many of you are probably unaware just what is going to happen to FSFnet within the next couple months, beyond what has been mentioned in recent issues about my graduation. The current plans go like this:
In late August, I will be graduating from UMaine, and coincidental with that, FSFnet will stop production. However, before I alarm you too much, let me mention that the Dargon Project will continue under new leadership, and there are plans to begin a new magazine after FSFnet ends, and all users who are subscribed to FSFnet at the time of its last issue will automatically be subscribed to the new magazine when it begins publication. The new magazine will be edited by John White <WHITE@DUVM>, and will publish Dargon Project stories, and everyone who is subscribed to FSFnet will automatically be subscribed to the new magazine. Several people I’ve talked to have asked “Why bother ending FSFnet and starting a new magazine if they’re going to be so similar?” In a discussion in FSFNET CSNOTICE (available from the server CSNEWS@MAINE) I talked about why I think it better to end FSFnet; what follows is a reprint of that discussion. All readers are welcome to join the discussion and add their comments via CSNEWS.
First of all, let me mention that running a magazine is a gratifying experience. It would be silly of me (or any editor) to deny some degree of emotional attachment to his magazine, particularly if the magazine is successful. With that in mind, here’s the basic reasons why I think the ‘new’ magazine should be considered a separate entity from FSFnet, even though they will be almost identical in their basic nature, as Leo pointed out.
Firstly, but not necessarily most importantly, I’m posessive about it. I’m rather attached to it, and the thought of turning it over to another editor, whom I don’t know and over whom I have no control, is difficult for me to accept. This is putting things a little more bluntly than is actually the case, but I do feel some defensiveness/protectiveness about it, and that’s natural for any editor to feel.
The flip side of this is the real reasoning behind ending FSFnet. Presumably, if FSFnet continued, a new editor would be recruited and be forced to adhere to formats and policies which I set three years ago. I mentioned that editing a magazine is a personal experience, yet I suspect that editing a magazine which, in the end, is not your own creation, lessens this tie. The new editor would probably find running FSFnet much less rewarding and put less effort into it than if he were running a magazine which was his own creation, and could make his own policy decisions from scratch. Sure, the two magazines will be very similar (particularly with the continuation of the Dargon Project in the new mag), but because of the change in editors, they will not be identical, and separating them (at least theoretically) into two distinct magazines will make both parties happier.
So, what appears to be best for everyone, is to discontinue FSFnet as such, while starting up another (very similar) magazine to fill its void. Let the old editor have his wish of not letting someone else get their hands on ‘his’ magazine, and let the new editor start a zine which he can take pride in and truly call his own, without being bound by the policies of the old. Keep the readers involved by allowing the new zine to make use of the same mailing list. The key to improvement is to not to be afraid of changes, and I feel that a change in (at least) the name of the magazine will permit the new editor more freedom to improve than if he were bound to a set of guidelines not of his own choosing.
So that should give you a fair idea of what is going to happen, and why. I’ll keep producing issues as frequently as I have enough material (hint hint), and I anticipate perhaps two more issues before the end of summer. Speaking of which, there will be a (hopefullly) large gathering of FSFnet people at the Pennsic War this year, and if anyone is going to be around, drop me a line to be included in the planning. But back to the matters at hand; we’ve got a very interesting issue here. It includes two very entertaining SF shorts, Becki Tants’ newest installment, and the first in an excellent series by Max Khaytsus; I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.