Earlier tonight, an Open Letter to the Steampunk community was released on Facebook. I caught it on the Steampunk group in a post from the Noddy Brothers. The letter is reproduced in whole below, but I encourage everyone to read the discussion on the original thread:
An Open Letter To Steampunk Fandom-
Over the last five years the Steampunk Community has grown by leaps and bounds through social media, publishing, film, art, conventions, and many more diverse avenues. Even as Steampunk’s success draws it into the mainstream popularity, what remains vibrant and unique about the community is that it is an open source fandom; no one entity owns Steampunk; we all do.
This shared ownership naturally brings with it a varied spectrum of ideas, definitions, practices, influence, and responsibility. Everyone has a say in what Steampunk can be, but inevitably there are some who through their work and prominence in the Community bear more influence on the Steampunk movement, and with this comes a greater responsibility and commitment. Frequently these esteemed Steampunks will be featured guests at events and conventions, sharing their experiences and knowledge with the wider Steampunk Community; it is a wonderful thing to see individuals and groups who genuinely care about the movement using their talents and skills to build up others and promote Steampunk culture.
It is, however, unfortunate that there are some prominent Steampunks who have and will use their influence and positions of power in negative fashions to promote their own agenda at the expense of others. Abuse of power to censor others or threaten them creates a toxic environment that works counterintuitively to all that makes the Steampunk Community great. Recently there has been an increase in these negative behaviors that have prompted many Steampunk and Alternative History Convention organizers to confer and agree to take a form of action on the topic.The undersigned Conventions have reached consensus that individuals or groups who display destructive behaviors and negative actions towards the works, careers, and reputations of others in the Steampunk Community will not be invited to participate as guests, speakers, panelists, or hosts of any talks or lectures at their events. The undersigned Convention organizers are unified in disassociating themselves from anyone whom they consider harmful to the spirit and culture of this fandom.Civility, honor, and integrity are some of the highest held values in the Steampunk Community and the organizers of the undersigned Conventions encourage the continued practice of these values, especially in those who bear positions of responsibility. The goal of the undersigned Conventions is to maintain a safe, fun, and nurturing environment for fans of Steampunk and Alternate History; let’s enjoy this wonderful thing that we share.
Others of the undersigned will make their own individual announcements on this subject.
Steampunk Empire Symposium
Steampunk World’s Fair
Some other developments have recently come to my attention, also happening today. Namely the indefinite hiatus of World Steam Expo, which I saw announced in the Steampunk Revolution group by Arthur Geissler — the primary organizer. Whether the one event is related to the other has yet to be determined. We at Doctor Fantastique’s will be releasing more information as we find it out.
On to the letter itself then. It is the policy of this magazine to remain a neutral observer as it regards the Steampunk world. We report on the Steampunk community; we don’t influence it. Whatever led the organizers of the listed conventions to write and sign this letter clearly disturbed them enough to make an official statement. And we’ll try our best to gather all sides of the story from everyone we can.
Because at the end of the day, we’re reporting on your Steampunk world … one cog at a time.