The L-Space Web: The Timelines: Terry Pratchett "leaves" AFP

Terry Pratchett "leaves" AFP

3rd February 1999


Following a number of posts speculating on the future development of some Discworld characters, the following article appeared:


Subject: [R] Leaving afp, was 'Vimes: promotion'.
From: Terry Pratchett
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 10:57:50 +0000

In article <36B74569.5766@hotmail.com>, Typoman writes:

>Now There's an idea, Samuel Vimes would make a most unusual parent,
>probably effective though, even if all he passes on is his moral code.

>Nothing wrong with a child at their age, the question is, will Pterry be willing
> to use this potential subplot, now that it has visited afp?

Okay, folks, please try to understand this...

The Fifth Elephant contains, as a minor plot thread, the possibility
that Vimes is soon to become a father.

This may survive into the second draft.

It would be ridiculous to expect a fan group not to speculate about
future events on DW -- it's a fundamental part of fanac. So I am, as of
now (as of this post, in fact) ceasing to subscribe to alt.
fan.pratchett. It's pure 'luck' that this thread has triggered it, and
it's not the fault of anyone in it; there have been a few others in
recent months that have veered close enough to stuff dealt with the T5E
to make me sweat.

Of course, it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to suggest that a
couple may have kids. But, despite everything, RSN someone is going to
plonk down some theme or situation which is right in the *heart* of a
story that I'm planning. I do not want to end up faced with a public
accusation of plagiarism or theft; the fact that it might well have no
legal foundation is beside the point. You don't have to be hugely
imaginative to see that this could be damaging in other ways.

I've tried to take the view that if people post ideas to afp then it's
*their* problem, but reality suggests that this attitude wouldn't
prevent trouble. A couple of weeks ago, I inadvertently included in a
post a sentence that could be read two ways, if you ignored the context;
this led to a long, pointless and occasionally unpleasant thread which
told me quite a lot about today's afp. A meaty suggestion that I'd
nicked an idea from afp would rumble on for months and turn up in other
places, and life is too damn short.

This is not meant unpleasantly. I shall continue to hang out on abp and
post anything of interest and, of course, there are even people without
telephones who know my email address:-) But I'm now thinking that the
best thing for a fan group is to leave it to the fans.
--
Terry Pratchett


From: Mark F
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 12:27:48 -0000

I'm really sorry to see this and quite understand - it must be the price of fame.

Yours in fevered anticipation of SoD, T5E and the next work of art <g>

M


From: "Brett Taylor"
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 16:34:41 GMT

AOL. but I can see his point of view AFP could by its very
nature could trigger discusions witingly or unwitingly
theames that could be potential plots and sub plots.

So long.
<fx sound of brett sobbing in sleeve>


From: Brett Dixon
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 12:23:54 -0500

It's those &*^*( [R] threads! That's what's responsible![1]

[1] Unless the Discworld starts to take an unatural interest in cheese,
beer, wibbles, and such.[2]
[2] Oh, dear. Perhaps I see the reasoning now.

--
Brett Dixon


From: Richard
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 14:15:49 +0100

Terry Pratchett wrote:

> It would be ridiculous to expect a fan group not to speculate about
> future events on DW -- it's a fundamental part of fanac. So I am, as of
> now (as of this post, in fact) ceasing to subscribe to alt.fan.pratchett.

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Doesn't make it
any less to be deplored, though.

[snip explanation of reasons for leaving - I should hope no afper would do
the things described, but PTerry's right, these days you just can't run such risks.]

> This is not meant unpleasantly. I shall continue to hang out on abp and
> post anything of interest

That, otoh, is good news. It does mean, though, that we'd better be _very_ careful
on abp. Who does the newsgroups FAQ? I think it would be a good thing to put
a warning in there regarding this, rather stronger than it is now.
Afp could be used as a dire example...

> But I'm now thinking that the best thing for a fan group is to leave it to the fans.

Unfortunately, you are probably right.

Richard


From: Opabinia
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 14:33:19 +0000

I think I speak for us all when I say that I am sad that this has
happened. I can quite understand pTerry's position. It would seem that
many fans are able to predict what he might write in the future,
probably because of what has gone before sets up future storylines that
may (or may not) be followed up. Goodbye pTerry, we will miss your posts
to this newsgroup.


From: Tony Sheppard
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 15:14:24 +0000

Although I have only been hear for an extremely short time I have
been a fan for years, this week is the first chance I've had to get onto
afp. It seems a shame that pterry might have problems with things that crop
up within newsgroups. It is saddening to hear the all too real fact that those
horrible blood-sucking leeches (Lawyers)(apologies too any afpers in that
profession) might get involved.

However, there is a way round all this.

If I understand the nature of the trousers of time there is a Vimes that
does have children and a Vimes that doesn't. Likewise there is one who becomes the
Patrician and one who isn't. Basically, if something might possibly happen then,
undoubtably, somewhere it does.

So no matter what afpers post it would eventually be written somewhere
by one version of pterry or another. I apologise if this is a long post but I
am sorry to see pterry go.

PLEASE COME BACK!!??

Missing your words of wisdom already
Tony


From: Chris Horry
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 15:31:36 +0000

Reply sent via e-mail, we're very sorry to see you go pterry.. :(

Chris


From: Heather Knowles
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 15:36:42 +0000

So - congratulations to all those who ignore requests not to post
speculations and fanfic ideas, and who persistently refuse to read the
FAQs. Welcome to your Brave New Newsgroup, and pat yourself on the back
for having driven away the best reason most of the rest of us have for
reading afp.

And to Terry - thank you for your posts, and for the time you have taken
over our replies. See you on abp.
--

Heaven


From: "Antti Lehtola"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 18:07:08 +0200

Heather Knowles wrote:

>So - congratulations to all those who ignore requests not to post
>speculations and fanfic ideas, and who persistently refuse to read the
>FAQs. Welcome to your Brave New Newsgroup, and pat yourself on the back
>for having driven away the best reason most of the rest of us have for
>reading afp.

No...Terry is one of the Great People I've "met" through this group, but there are
others - you, Heather, being one of them...

I am sad that Terry feels he can no longer read this group and maybe the magic
will die with his leaving...

But I've made a lot of friends here, and hope I'll continue to do so...

Terry was a major part of afp...maybe a part that afp needed to survive.
But his posting here wasn't the major reason I fell in love with the group...

It was *you* guys - Terry being one of the guys who's leaving will hurt a lot...

But no more than the leaving of a lot of you other people would...

So - can we make afp into something Terry will want to come back to?
There are a lot of people here who I *know* can help in doing just that...

The [M] threads *aren't* going to do it, I'm afraid...

>And to Terry - thank you for your posts, and for the time you have taken >over our replies.

AOL!

Antti
--
This is a very sad sig.


From: Brett Dixon
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 11:17:18 -0500

In article <799s87$3tr$1@library.lspace.org>, "Antti Lehtola" wrote:

> No...Terry is one of the Great People I've "met" through this
> group, but there are others - you, Heather, being one of
> them...

There are some other regular poster's I'd miss more... There's a certain
pedestal-standing thing with him, really.

<snip hopes that PTerry isn't a vital component of this newsgroup.>

> So - can we make afp into something Terry will
> want to come back to? There are a lot of people
> here who I *know* can help in doing just that...

I think it's the legal system... Too easy for someone to sue him for a
vauge mention. Even if they have no real chance of winning, he's got to
talk with the lawyers (Possibly throwing them some cash), deal with a
trial (or settle, basically admitting guilt) and do other messy things
that basically result in him not having time to spend with his family,
write, and deal with email, etc.

> The [M] threads *aren't* going to do it, I'm afraid...

Nope...

> >And to Terry - thank you for your posts, and for the time you have taken
> >over our replies.

> AOL!

AOL!
--
Brett Dixon


From: "Owen Morgan-Jones"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 18:21:29 -0000

Dear god. A thread I participated in has helped to trigger Pterry's
departure. Now thats a guilt trip worth savouring. I know that from
now on I shall consider myself partly to blame, as is probably the
case.

AOL to the idea of making afp something that he would want to
come back to but it strikes me that, short of moderating, there is
nothing we can do about it other than relentlessly flaming anyone
who tries to speculate about the future of DW. As one of the
guilty parties I voluntarily tip a can of petrol over myself and
proffer a cigarette lighter...

Owen, needing the consolation of the first line of his sig. more
than ever today
--
The Beat Goes On
Be Yourself, Be Free


From: "Melody Shanahan-Kluth"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 19:04:04 -0000

:o(

I am gutted..totally. As a 'newbie' to afp posting but as a reader of the
group for a few months I feel that *we* have killed off maybe THE most
important part of that self same group. Its corny I know but the song 'When
will we Ever Learn' springs to mind.

I realize that speculation will appear when discussing literature , art etc
etc but the thought that litigation could follow due to posting on a
newsgroup is appalling, though I understand how , especially in this case.

Fare thee well pTerry I look forward to your future works and to your
contributions to abf. Lets hope that ppl learn a valuable lesson from this
sad episode :o(

Melody

I dont know pTerry's email addy and I remember the looong threads about him
cutting down on emails so this is instead of a personal note.


From: Jamie Crowther
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 19:35:43 +0000

Melody Shanahan-Kluth wrote:

> I am gutted..totally. As a 'newbie' to afp posting but as a reader of the > group for a few months I feel that *we* have killed off maybe THE most > important part of that self same group.

I feel pretty much the same. But despite the now lost chance for Terry
to ever be ironic at us, let us face the future and make this the best
damn newsgroup it could ever hope to be.

>Its corny I know but the song 'When will we Ever Learn' springs to mind.

I think my sentiment was cornier...

> I realize that speculation will appear when discussing literature , art etc
> etc but the thought that litigation could follow due to posting on a
> newsgroup is appalling, though I understand how , especially in this case.

It is a depressing thought, and I wouldn't want to think that *anyone*
on the ng would be selfish and heartless enough to do such a thing. But
I suppose it is a necessary step, and these days you do have to be very
careful over possible legal matters.

> Fare thee well pTerry I look forward to your future works and to your
> contributions to abf. Lets hope that ppl learn a valuable lesson from this
> sad episode :o(

A sad AOL to that. At least he will still grace us with his presence on
abp. We will miss him. But we can still go on, there is no doubt about
that. And there's always the next convention!

yours depressedely,

Jamie
Who's been trying to hold back, but, but i-i-its no u-u-use....
Boohoohoo!! Bawl!! *sniffle* 's'ok, think 'm ok now...


From: Miq
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 20:06:14 +0000

Please - everybody - get off the guilt trip. This is *not* the way
Pterry wanted it. Read his post again if you don't believe me.

The only way we could avoid his worries entirely would be to ban
all mention of Pratchett and his works from the group. Anyone
think that's a price worth paying? And if so, any ideas about how
to enforce it?

It's just the Man being cautious. No blame attaches to anyone here.

On AFP, the one thing we all have in common - apart from an internet
connection - is a love for Terry's works. If we allow conversation about
pretty much everything - as we do - it's inevitable that the Disc, and all
things attaching to it, are going to come up in conversation. Often.

ABP, on the other hand, is dedicated solely to a discussion of his works.
That means there's a lot less speculation and sheer creative imagination,
which means he can read that with a much lower degree of trepidation.

Be sad if you must, but don't blame yourself or anyone else.

>I dont know pTerrys email addy and I remember the looong threads about him >cutting down on emails so this is instead of a personal note.

If you want to know his e-address, you'll find it on the post a bit further up this
thread. But I imagine he doesn't really want dozens of mails saying "Waaah!",
so please just add it to your address book for use when you've got a *good* reason.

--
Miq


Please note that all email addresses have been removed from Timeline posts......including Pterry's


From: "Shim"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 20:21:43 -0000

*ahem*

This is going to AFP on the grounds that PTerry has renounced the use of his
email inbox as a viable contact method...

I feel slightly guilty here; I speculated once, IIRC. Not much, but every
little bit is a problem. I support whoever said that we should try to avoid
such things in future, *especially* with crossposting - but, as Owen said,
what can we do?

Nowt.

Ah, well, I'm sorry to see you go, PTerry. My USENET time is sadly limited;
I'm already a participant in three NG's, and I don't have the time to add
ABP. AFP will be... different. Still, it won't falter, but it'll be
different.

Oh - Mr Pratchett, if you're reading this - I didn't mention V*mes. :)

--
-Shim.


From: "Sam Farrell"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 20:32:37 -0000

Antti Lehtola wrote in message <799s87$3tr$1@library.lspace.org>...
[sad snippery]
>The [M] threads *aren't* going to do it, I'm afraid...

Big, big guilt trip. I'll never post to a meta thread again. Except to
advertise the FAQs, of course.

SamF

--
sig. changed in honour of pTerry leaving. Does that sound strange?
FAQ ad: go to http://www.lspace.org/faqs/ for the FAQs. That or get flamed.


From: "Jan Uzzell"
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 21:01:46 -0000

Oh dear, I feel so small now.

Please please please don't go away

BIG ZEN HUGS

Jan Uzzell

--

Too sad for usual sig


From: Karen
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 21:13:49 +0000

I am replying to a number of the comments in this thread - Richard's is
just a handy hook as it were.

In article <36B84C05.257F@fdhoekstra.nl>, Richard writes
[Terry unsubscribing]

>Well, it had to happen sooner or later.

Well, no it didn't *have* to happen.

>[snip explanation of reasons for leaving - I should hope no afper would
>do the things described, but PTerry's right, these days you just can't run such risks.]

Unfortunately they have - repeatedly - despite persistent requests not to.

[Terry still on abp]

>That, otoh, is good news. It does mean, though, that
>we'd better be _very_ careful on abp. Who does the
>newsgroups FAQ? I think it would be a good thing to put
>a warning in there regarding this, rather stronger than
>it is now. Afp could be used as a dire example...

It already *is* in the FAQ's. Also in the FAQ's there are the details of
the fanfiction mailing list set up specifically so that fans *could*
speculate on plots whilst leaving afp a place where Terry could post.

People don't damn well read them because trying to "fit in" to a
community - to get to know it, is a bit of an effort. And increasingly
people are not prepared to make even the smallest of efforts to get to
know the place they are barging into - even after months of warnings.

Terry has asked people not to speculate on plots here - in the past that
and the FAQ's and the fanfiction mailing lists, coupled with just a
modicum of self control, have been enough. Apparently that is no longer
the case.

To all others posting in this thread - Antti if you feel that [M]
threads are not the answer you are quite right - [M] is just about all I
have posted recently - ditto some of the others of us that could see
this coming (especially since Terry's recent post to abp). I would love
to know what is. Because I am running out of things to try. And there
are people here (and no longer here) who have been trying for a lot
longer than I have. If you have the solution I would love to see it -
and that is truly not meant with sarcasm.

And to those of you who have posted to say that Terry is not the only
reason to post here. All I can say I that you just don't *get it*. What
made afp a special place on usenet was *not* simply the fact that "Terry
Pratchett posts here". It was the fact that it was the *kind of place*
where he *could* post here, and enjoy doing so, that made it different.
Where there was fun and irrelevance but with a degree of wit and self
control. Where he could make a post without it being followed up by
fifty more either pedanting him, accusing him of plagiarism or drowning
in the godawful mock sycophancy, all posted without a vestige of any
wit.

OK - well your challenge is to make it better agin isn't it? I sincerely
hope you do - but I regret that I won't hold my breath.

Anything But Down eh?

ttfn,

Karen


From: Orin Thomas
Date: 3 Feb 1999 21:27:46 GMT

Terry Pratchett wrote:

> telephones who know my email address:-) But I'm now thinking that the
> best thing for a fan group is to leave it to the fans.

I think it pertinant to note that as far as I can tell
Terry is/was the second longest serving poster to afp.

So before anyone gets too excited and says "yes we shall
all change - please come back" I would suggest that
Terry knows this group better than most of us.

Literally hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more
regular posters have come, contributed, and left
afp in the time that Terry posted here.

I wasn't subscribed to alt.fan.pratchett when
he first did post here - but I knew someone
who was. It was 1992 and I was a first year student
in a computer lab and my friend said, whilst reading
the terminal next to me "my god, Terry Pratchett
just posted to his own newsgroup"

Terry has put in a truly herculean effort. The
fact that there are few posters still here from
even 4 years ago, let alone 7 should give people
an idea of the effort required to stay around
that long.

A job truly well done and probably much more
than anyone should be asked for.

with respect,

Orin


A little over a month later, the following appeared in alt.books.pratchett:


Subject: The future awaits...
From: Terry Pratchett
Date: 10th March 1999

Okay, folks. Call it a seven year experiment, and it was fun
for quite a lot of the time. But there's all kinds of problems
if an author hangs out in their own newsgroup and now, I think,
life is too short to deal with them.


Twenty-six posts followed, of varying lengths, expressing their regret and speculating as to the underlying reasons for Terry's decision. One of the later posts, however, summed up what many people felt


From: Orin Thomas
Date: 11th March 1999

Sad to see, but not completely unexpected.

I hope that the great discussions of ABP continue
on unabated. We are a good newsgroup to read and
contribute to. I would hate to see posters like Tamar
and MSN leave as much as I hate to see Terry leave.

Orin

(founder of ABP)


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