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June 19 2008

Questions raised about whereabouts of some of last year's CSTS funds. "Equality Now has indicated that they never received the money raised in 2007 by the Can’t Stop the Serenity events held in either Denver or Dallas/North Texas." ETA: The Global Organizer for the CSTS 2008 event responds here.

[ edited by Simon on 2008-06-19 22:05 ]

I swapped round the entry and headline cause our RSS feed is only so long.

I heard this was coming, I hope it can be sorted out amicably and not damage the Can't Stop The Serenity screenings as a whole.
And if it can't be sorted out amicably -- and my sincerest hope is that it will be -- my next question would be whether or not anyone has notified the Denver authorities and filed a report.

I also want to applaud b!X for bringing this appalling situation to light.

[ edited by Serenity Tales on 2008-06-19 19:29 ]
Oh no. Thanks for breaking the news and explaining events so far, b!X. I realize this thread will probably get quite busy soon so I just wanted to say thanks for doing that.
Thanks for letting this be known, b!x.
I agree that transparency is always the best policy. Thanks, b!X.

P.S. I'm going to the Minneapolis screening tonight! Woo-hoo!
I didn't agree with the timing of this before, but I definitely do now. As mentioned above, transparancy is always best. Thanks, b!X.

It's sad that fans would behave this way. To steal from a charity! Shame on them. I hope it will all get sorted out in time.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2008-06-19 19:41 ]
As a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Browncoat contingent, this just makes me sad. Last year's event was fantastic, and the organizer really seemed to be on the ball with everything. I can only hope this was purely an accounting or human error and not something totally malicious.

While I appreciate having this knowledge, it's concerning to think how this may affect our screening this weekend.
I feel a little saddened by this, seems a shame that the organizers this year were not forthcoming a little earlier (or at all), but for a bunch of amateurs I still think these guys are doing a pretty good job. Let's hope lessons have been learned and that this year will prove an even bigger success.
I also agree, the actions of one person can dramatically destroy faith in an VERY awesome weekend and I don't think it's fair to go around this year's organizers and post on the interwebs. Especially since this year's organizer is working fervently to put things into place to prevent this from happening ever again.

This is the type of news that needs to be explained in person. Especially to the Dallas Browncoats. Stuff like this, on the internet, gets retold badly.
"I don't think it's fair to go around this year's organizers and post on the interwebs." I categorically, respectfully, and vehemently disagree.

This was absolutely the right thing to do. The "Firefly"/"Serenity" fans are so good-natured and open-hearted and trusting, they need guardians of the system like b!X.

This was frankly going to happen sooner or later. CSTS is run largely on faith, and the Internet conversation is the only check and balance this thing has. Much as it was for the Flanvention 2 snafu.

I am frankly disheartened not that b!X posted this, but that the current organizers have failed to adequately open-source and publicly address this situation before collecting tens of thousands more dollars from trusting fans.

I hasten to add that I am a proud participant in the Portland, OR screening effort, and I understand that a couple of bad apples don't spoil the bunch. This is an extraordinary effort. It needs to be extraordinarily transparent, as well.

[ edited by Serenity Tales on 2008-06-19 20:01 ]
I think it is fair to post this online to let everyone what has happened (or in this case, didn't happen) to their money. It's fair to the people who are pouring in their money thinking it's going to somewhere, and it hasn't. And to go on like nothing happened without telling anyone is incredibly shady to me.
There is much legal stuff involved, and that needs to be sorted out before it can be ran around the internet over and over.

Obviously if fans were so good-natured no one would have to worry about funds, but sadly, it's an organization that needs to make decisions none of us can really grasp unless we're running the show. This has nothing to do with this year's organizer's quality or integrity.

It's very unfair to point fingers when only a handful of people know the full story.

Also, even from what b!x said, they would tell the fans about what went on. b!x just didn't wait for WHEN the group had decided to say something.

[ edited by BrownCoat_Tabz on 2008-06-19 19:55 ]
"It's very unfair to point fingers when only a handful of people know the full story."

And who is at fault for that? This should have been public knowledge long ago.
B!x, you are a stand up guy, and I am proud to know you.

What you said couldn't have been more eloquently put. The truth always surfaces one way or the other. This will not stop me from participating in this year's CSTS, as I have faith in us.

If we look at it in a different perspective, the money that was taken compared to the total raised seems insignificant. That means that thousands of fans did it right. Hopefully, they will make good on their promise to turn the money over, if not it is their loss.
The problem, Browncoat_Tabz, is that only a handful of people know the full story.

And only a handful of people know the full story before another round of money is to be collected from fans.

In this year's online publication of city-by-city totals, there needs to be a checkmark to signify monies that have actually been delivered to Equality Now as well as raised. This would open-source every aspect of the charity process.

[ edited by Serenity Tales on 2008-06-19 20:27 ]
b!x just didn't wait for WHEN the group had decided to say something.

Yes, exactly. But the time to tell someone his contribution has been stolen is before he makes another contribution, not after. Everyone presumably has the right to make an informed decision about where their money goes. To think otherwise is disreputable and dishonest.
This seems terribly sad to me. Though it's important to keep it in perspective . The vast majority of funds raised did indeed reach Equality Now .

It's just a shame that the organisers for two cities seem to have let the side down

Open accounting is certainly the best way to go , pledges should be recorded as pledges until the money actually arrives then transferred into the donations column . A certain amount of pledges will not materialize, that's the nature of the game, but the accounts should be clear and transparent and independently audited so that these things are out in the open.
If this had become known last week, I'd agree with you 100% Tabz. But it seems to have been realized months ago. And kudos to this year's people for working to address it internally and better safeguard this year's donations. That was the highest priority. But potential effects on this year's attendance don't negate the responsibility to let the broader community know that there has been a problem managing the 2007 donations. Particularly before that community shows up at the 2008 events with cash in hand. It's just not right to not have broken the news yet.

I do think there is a real loser here-- Equality Now, and CSTS's reputation. Although I'll show up Saturday as usual. I really do hope that this has the net effect of only leading to better accounting by CSTS, and there's no drop off in attendance. I still think it's a great event.

In other less significant news, Arlington is showing Firefly episodes Friday night. And in far far less significant news, I got my CSTS forum login to work.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-19 20:23 ]
I'm very glad this information came out, but it should have come out sooner. I've already suffered through the Booster Events debacle, and I'm not interested in getting involved in another. I'm very disappointed that TPTBs though it was okay to wait to put this information out there. As for the people who took the money, I say they need to have felony charges for embezzlement brought against them. There's no excuse for what they did.

My deepest sympathies to the honest fans in Denver and Dallas.

Unfortunately, this is going to make me very reluctant to participate in events such as this from now on. Also, this makes me tired of certain people. Why do they have to do such dishonest things?

Thanks to b!x for getting the truth out, the sooner the better. I feel like we all had a right to know.
It suddenly seems not quite so evil to check out Serenity at the Clay and send a personal check to CSTS or EN directly.

And by less evil, I certainly don't mean nearly as good as (let alone better than) attending an approved CSTS showing.

[ edited by napua on 2008-06-19 22:31 ]
It breaks my heart that this happened. (And it seems to happen, no matter the fandom.) However, I'm glad to read that steps are being taken so that it doesn't happen again.
I guess even with charity the rule of buyer beware is in play. (Sad, really.) The CSTS screenings are trickey because the money is being raised on behalf of a charity and not by that charity, so I'm not really sure what the steps will be that can be taken to ensure without a doubt that the money is going where it's supposed too. Other than ticket sales and raffle money, the only way to really ensure your money goes right to Equality Now is to send it direct. Or cities could put donated items up for auction on Ebay using Ebays Giving service that forwards the funds directly to the charity of choice. (I never bid on an item on Ebay that is supposedly for charity unless Ebay is the one forwarding the money. Equality Now even has a link on their site so people can put up items for auction to raise money for them.) Just saying something is for charity doesn't make it so.

But despite having been burned before, and even reading about those two instances today, I still have faith that large amounts of money will be raised, and will go to Equality Now.
I have faith in the CSTS organizers I personally know - folks in California, Washington (State) and Canada - and a general feeling that these were aberrations - but I get the flapdoodle and the kerfuffle. All it takes is one sloppy money-handler - doesn't even have to be an embezzler, just someone sloppy with money and reluctant to own up - and things get pretty bollocksed up.

I am sorry that this happened, understand why b!X pushed it out, and am still quite comfortable with the way my donations were and are handled here in California.

(I stole $1.50 from the money I raised for Easter Seals in 1967 - wearing a bunny suit - and now I'm feeling like crap all over again. Guilt has a mighty long arm...)

ET: fix consonant-dropping.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-06-19 20:58 ]
Getting this out was the right thing to do. Good on b!x for putting it out.

It's a shame things like this and Flan II happen. But out of thousands of fans, there are very few who are actually dishonest and unethical.

Out of the flames of Flan II rose B3--an event that came together because people donated money, time, and resources to give us a con. B3 will always be special to me not because I got my photo with Nathan or spent all night in hotel rooms giggling with friends. B3 was special because in the face of something that could have been a horror story, people from all over the world came together to give a couple hundred fans stranded in LA a convention. With time, I'm forgetting the anger I had with Booster, replaced by the good will I have for this fandom.

So if anyone is reluctant to participate in the CSTS screenings this year because two people did the wrong thing last year, remember this is a fandom filled with thousands of people who do the right thing all the time.
Ditto to what Dizzy said. (Except I'm still pretty pissed at Booster and wish them chronic diarreha from time to time.)
I think reporting this was the right thing to do. The actions of the few should not affect the intended goodwill of the many. That said, trying to keep the matter hush-hush might have not been done with malice in mind… but, I wish they would’ve thought of the uproar that would’ve surely burn the web if/when a sharp-eyed unknown brakes the news that charity money (not all of it, just from two cities –this needs to be stressed) was pilfered from generous fans and those in charge kept it under wraps for a long time (and be sure that some will forget in their anger that it was a success everywhere else). It really would not have looked good – no amount of valid explanations would’ve staved the intense feeling of betrayal that the fandom would’ve felt.

This was the right decision, and I am greatly thankful for it. It was an honest statement on a sad fact that had occurred, and with the efficiency and support of brown coat loving individuals will not happen again – and will hopefully have a happy ending for many more years to come.
I've been an attendee at the previous Dallas events and this is the first I've heard of this malfeasance.

I pre-bought this years CSTS tickets at the Dallas Comic-Con in April, and I just bought tickets to the Tim Minear CSTS Music Showcase last night...

The e-mails confirming my purchases appear to come from the same organizers as last year... so now you've got me wondering what's up and whether I'm dealing with the right folks?
It suddenly seems not quite so evil to check out Serenity at the Clay and send a personal check to EN directly.


I had a somewhat accusatory statement (well, maybe more than somewhat) written and was about to post.

Instead I want to just say this. Your statement above could be interpreted as accusing the SF Browncoats of possible wrong-doing, maybe even thievery.

Do you really think everyone is like those 2 individuals? Are you lumping everyone into one big pot? That's quite dangerous, and wrong.
Wait... Was it the CSTS organizers who asked you not to post this at this time? Or Equality now? If it was the former, then I think your post is very much needed and appropriate. If it's the latter, then this is really just a matter of an organization's internal accounts receivable, and publicizing it against their wishes is not necessary. Especially if the organization is already working out a payment plan with one of the parties.

[ edited by RayHill on 2008-06-19 22:49 ]
This makes me very angry - the fact that one person apparently used our fandom to steal people's money and the other person was so irresponsible that they essentially lost people's money. It breaks my heart.

I honestly hope this get's worked out and that it doesn't effect the screening in Dallas this weekend (which I will be attending)
I think it makes sense to delay sharing this information with the public.

Were I one of the victims, I too would want to know about it right away…but not at the cost of potentially lowering this years donations to the very charity that I was supporting in the first place.

In the analogy of a mayor stealing money designated for a levee, the people need a levee regardless of stolen funds. In this instance, the public does not NEED to make a donation. It’s completely voluntary. So exposing this issue right before the next screening can have a profoundly negative impact on the amounts of charity they raise this year. NOTHING changes if you wait 2 months to tell people there was a thief and authorities have been notified, and "here's what we are doing to get the money back."

But as a direct result of this information coming out at such a poorly timed moment, only the charity suffers. What further harm is done to the person that made a stolen charitable donation? Their money is already gone. Its not like those organizers that were delaying this news have anything monetarily to gain. (It’s not insider trading or something like that.) It makes sense that they wanted to have the largest possible amount to donate to charity. Why shoot the charity event in the foot? What is the benefit by exposing the fact that money was stolen at this exact moment? The only thing this public notice has done is potentially lowered the amount that will be donated this year. With all this hubbub, obviously this years money will not go missing but there's a good chance there will be much less given. I’m not saying don’t tell the public, I’m just saying the timing was poorly chosen and that may translate to less charitable donations. (No offense B!x, I know your heart is in the right place)
Delay for 4 months? That's not a delay. That's just not saying.
Hmm, a sticky situation. I can respect the organizers' decision to delay this information. A successful charity is their priority, not revealing all the dirty secrets and domestic troubles.

Domestic troubles? A man should keep his house in order.

Too bad all of this happened....
Agreed NYPinTa--I just think waiting another week or two wouldn't make the situation any worse.
I'm not sure why Equality Now need necessarily suffer in any case. Fans are free to donate directly if they do not have confidence in CSTS.
But if you expect the future donations to be lower, that means you expect people to not be happy about what happened. If they don't want to donate after finding out about this, I'd imagine they would be more upset if you take their money then tell them what happened last year. If you don't trust them to donate with full knowledge, why should they trust you with their money? I'm not saying the current organizers aren't trustworthy, I just don't think the logic of maximizing donations first is sound.
I think it's dishonest to hide this until after the event. It makes things look even more hinky if this hadn't come to light before this year's screenings. People don't like being duped. When handing over cash, they have a right to know there has been mishandling in the past, and then decide if they want to attend a screening or send their donation directly to Equality Now. It doesn't matter how well-meaning anyone is in wanting to keep this situation under wraps. People who want to donate have a right to an informed choice on how they donate. Hiding this makes CSTS look bad, not the people who did the wrong.

Bottom line is that it's an isolated incident involving two people. It wouldn't give me pause to attend a CSTS screening. It just reminds me that sometimes some people suck.
Thank you so much for shining the light of day on these unfortunate events. I wish there were more people like you - you should run for public office...

The principle of honesty and transperency is very important in positions of authority.
I get that it sucks for the organizer this year since this wasn't their doing and they were saddled with it, but just how happy do you think everyoine would be to find out after they dontated more money that some that got donated the previous year didn't make it to EN and that they Knew About It? It isn't just about this year. If the screenings are to continue (and I hope they do) then everyone has to believe that those running the show will watch out for the charity and for those donating to it. Even at the risk of upsetting people with bad news.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-06-19 21:35 ]
I think disclosing this information months ago when it came to light of the organizers would have been the best bet. How hard is it to inform us of the wrong doings of a couple of people and the steps taken to correct the issue to regain the confidence of the fanbase?
Kudo's to B!x, now is better than afterwards to disclose us. As a fan and as a person donating to charity, I should be informed (or at least have the information out there so that I can educate myself) on what has happened before, before I put my time, money and effort out there.
As some of you know, I am the Global Organizer for 2008's Can't Stop The Serenity. I'm sorry you've had to hear about this through a second and third hand account from someone other than me. I want to let everyone know that when this came to our attention, we started investigating as soon as we found out. Equality Now has been very supportive of us in this process, and is aware of everything that is going on.

The CSTS 2008 team will make a public statement, and we feel that transparency is the best policy. But we will not do that without all of the facts. To make posts that include conjecture and speculation can only hinder the investigation, and could be libelous. I will not post my personal opinions about this, other than to say I am deeply saddened that it could happen at all. But rest assured that we are already putting safeguards in place to be sure nothing like it can ever happen again. And until we have all the facts, I won't just post accusations. Especially since my post reflects on CSTS as a whole. And that, in turn, can reflect on Equality Now, as well.

We're in the process of finding out what happened to the missing funds. This is an on-going investigation, and needs to be handled carefully for a number of reasons: a) accusations in text form can be seen as libel, b) public announcements without knowing the facts of these situations can hinder the investigation, and c) CSTS has instated a system of checks and balances, including requiring proof of donation and financial statements from Organizers. Equality Now has also given the current Dallas and Denver event organizers their blessing, trust and well wishes for a successful event. Again, we've put in place a number of protocols that make sure this doesn't happen again, and have already begun talks for things to do in 2009 to protect all parties from this ever happening again

Please let it be known, we never wanted to "hide" this information from anyone. Equality Now, the CSTS 2008 Team and other sponsors agreed it was important that the announcement be delayed until the investigation could be completed as to not endanger the chances of retrieving the missing donations. It would be irresponsible of us to make any public announcements without having the whole truth. People are innocent until proven guilty – and until we have all of the facts, we will not make a public statement that might hurt these on-going investigations.

I want to remind people to not judge CSTS based on what is essentially two bad apples. These organizers have very worked hard, some for three years straight, to help Equality Now make money so they can continue to do not only what is right, but what is required. Over the past two years, we’ve helped donate over $160,000 to Equality Now. Organizing these screenings is a labor of love, and no easy task. Please respect the organizers that have been loyal, faithful Browncoats.

[ edited by haldira on 2008-06-19 21:57 ]
It sucks that that happened but it doesn't fully suprise me. The CSTS screenings isn't a fundraiser held in one place by a handful of charitable people. It's a wide spread fundraiser held across the world run by hundreds of volunteers. Statistically speaking, there's bound to be some bad apples. The fact that only 7+ grand out of the hundreds of thousands was lost speaks worlds about the browncoats.

But just like the ebay tickets for the screenings, there are still the few that would take advantage. All you can do is place security measures to hope that something like that doesn't happen again.
In the interests of fairness, I've edit the entry to include a link to haldira's response.
As soon as it was confirmed that funds had disappeared, we should have been told. It's not libelous to give factual information that's incomplete. Otherwise, every report of an unsolved crime would be libelous.
Haldira: Have the Denver Police been made aware of this? Are they involved in your investigation at this point?
What Rusty said.

In the case of Denver, the person ultimately responsible for the estimated $1,900 raised — the co-organizer there who was serving as the event’s accountant — apparently has since disappeared and reportedly become completely incommunicado. That money, as near as anyone can tell, simply is gone forever, although no one knows why. Equality Now reports having no record of those funds.

In the case of Dallas/North Texas, the roughly $5,600 raised wound up in the account of the lead organizer there and got “lost”. He currently is under a signed agreement to make monthly payments over the next two years to Equality Now.


It sounds like the organizers were in possession of enough relevant fact to go public with without raising libel concerns. People raised money in the name of a charity, and almost a year later, that money has yet to be turned over to the charity by those who were obligated to do so. That is the relevant fact at issue. If the Dallas situation had been investigated and addressed to the point where there is a signed agreement to pay the funds in installments, just what more were they investigating?
I think we understand the notion behind not disclosing information before you have all the facts. But the fact is, that will probably never happen. If that day does come, it will be months and months from now if ever. During the time of waiting to gather all the information, things are bound to be leaked out, rumored or otherwise disclosed to the public in a way that is out of the control of the folks who should be telling us. We don't necessarily need to know the details of the wrong doings, especially when there may be other factors involved and investigations in place. Perhaps a general message acknowledging that something happened and detailed steps on preventing mishandling in the future would have been sufficient. Right now, you are on the defense, justifying your actions that a little bit of offensive proactive information sharing (without hindering your investigation) would have prevented.

All of this, of course, is hindsight.

... and what BrewBunny said.
haldira, I get that you're in a bad spot and trying to do the right thing. But there is nothing wrong with letting people know there's been a problem and it's being investigated. No blame needs to be assigned, and no investigation would be hampered by doing that. Bringing this to the public's attention sooner rather than later would serve to engender faith in CSTS. By keeping the lid on this--no matter what your intention--it looks like CSTS is hiding something. Instead of being a story about two bad apples, it becomes a story about a cover up.

I have complete faith in the CSTS people and I'm astonished at what the hard-working volunteers have raised in the last two years. I myself was involved in a fan-run charity group a couple of years ago, and the entire issue of trying to find ways of collecting donations in an honest, transparent way was one of the toughest things we had to tackle. As others have pointed out, the fact that only a small amount of money has gone missing despite the hundreds of people involved and hundreds of thoudands of dollars raised? Amazing, and speaks to the honesty of the vast majority of people involved.
Truth is a defense against libel.

Truth:

* Equality Now reported not having received Denver's 2007 funds.
* There were on-going troubles trying to track down the whereabouts of Denver's 2007 accountant.
* "That money, as near as anyone can tell, simply is gone forever, although no one knows why." (That last bit, you'll note, ascribes no motives whatsoever.)

Truth:

* Equality Now reported not having received Dallas' 2007 funds.
* Said funds ended up in the organizer's account and got "lost".
* Said organizer is on a payment plan to pay the money back.

Truth is a defense against libel. The "we were waiting so we didn't libel anyone" argument is ludicrous.

And, to be honest, falsely accusing someone of committing libel itself could be considered libel. So be very, very careful how you characterize what I posted. I spent three years covering local Portland politics. I know what libel means and what it is. What it ISN'T is a wall to hide behind.
There's a difference between being a news agency and being a party involved. If you'll remember when the police got involved in investigating Booster Events for fraud they told people to stop posting online.

And even the news has to be EXTREMELY careful what they say about crime.

I've known Beth (haldria) for awhile now and she's been an extremely standup person. If she says she can't say, she can't say.

And Beth said nothing about what b!x posted - she only said why they hadn't said something.

[ edited by BrownCoat_Tabz on 2008-06-19 22:44 ]

[ edited by BrownCoat_Tabz on 2008-06-19 22:46 ]
its a truly sad situation, but at the same time, unsurprising.

I think that b!x said the right thing. Keeping secrets is oft the way for distrust and disunity to form
While I agree that the information should be made public, it's a shame about the way it was done. EN had expressly requested that this information be kept in house for the moment, while investigations are ongoing. It saddens me that, with full knowledge of this request, b!X has gone a head and posted anyway. I just hope that this has not damaged their efforts to resolve the issue.
One thing I do want to point out, Bix. Comparing this situation where a few thousand dollars is missing for unconfirmed reasons is not comparable to Flan 2, where the organizers walked away with an estimated third of a million dollars worth of fans' money and didn't even deliver the event that they promised. That's like comparing apples to twenty foot tall oranges.
As an active member of not only this fandom but the Dallas CSTS staff I have plenty to say. But I will keep most of it to myself for the time being.

I was heart broken when this news was brought to light. Not only for obvious reasons but because I know last years Dallas organizer fairly well. Please be rest assured that the actions of ONE individual does NOT reflect the Browncoats in the Dallas/North Texas area. Frankly I am appalled. Being one of the 300 people sitting in the Hilton lobby during Flanvention 2/Back Up Bash I can honestly say that "I know how it feels." Meaning...I feel the betrayal, the anger, the confusion...again.

Being a Browncoat means more to me than just liking a television show. It means being a loyal, trust worthy, and dedicated person of integrity. To find out that this is going on "in my own backyard" is devastating. However...the person in question is NO WHERE NEAR the event this year. The proper actions have been taken and this year is going to be very successful.

Dallas/North Texas....things will be done right this year. Come out and help us support EQUALITY NOW with Tim Minear. (and say hello to me!)
If I had attended a CSTS screening in one of these two cities and it was later disclosed that the funds had never been forwarded to Equality Now, it would certainly make me hesitant to participate in this year's screening. If I then discovered that the organizers were in fact different this year, I would do my homework and determine for myself whether or not I felt comfortable in participating again.

If, however, I only learned about this very late in the process for this year's event and then through a source other than the organizers, I would be -extremely- hesitant to attend. I believe that I would have every right to be distrustful and more than a tad pissed.

I understand that this year's organizers did not want there to be a decrease in attendance and donations; nevertheless, a deceit of ommission is hardly the proper approach for such a charitable endeavor.

It is regrettable that Equality Now will perhaps not receive the same amount in donations because of the actions of a few and I certainly do hope that this does not dissuade people from attending CSTS screenings in other cities.

Like many others, I also tip my metaphorical hat to B!X for being forthcoming and honest.
I think this issue needed to be made public before this year's events but maybe not with all the details now revealed. The organizers might have said something to the effect that some financial anomalies occurred in last year's events in Dallas and Denver and that the issue is being investigated, more details when this is done. Then add that steps have been implemented to prevent this malfeasance from happening again.

Transparency in the face of misappropriation of funds is always the best way to ward of the "I wonder what happened to my money" way of thinking. To have kept this to just a select few makes it seem and smell like its a cover-up. Fans who are doling out money to support this events should be told and not kept in the dark. That way if they feel uncomfortable with their local situation then donations directly to Equality Now in the name of the CSTS charity can be made.

I agree that a premature announcement with all the details may not have been the smartest thing to do but given that so much time has lapsed it probably was the only option to prompt the current organizers to respond.

I hope this issue does not devolve into fans taking sides. Issue the official statement today and take down the blog entry with too many details.
Plenty has been said about what happened and what should have happened, so I won't add to the piling on, but I will say this:

Regardless of who is at fault, to what extent they are at fault, and whether that fault was intentional, it is critical for the health of this fandom that we separate the individuals from the collective group effort. Do not allow the seed of mistrust to blossom or it will overwhelm us. Fear and suspicion can, in a heartbeat, overshadow the good we have done and keep us from doing the good we know we can do.

RayHill is right. This is different than Flan II. But from that shared experience, we all discovered how remarkable and special the Browncoat fandom is. You have seen the altruism, the selflessness, and the power for positive action that exists among us. Think of how much money has been raised for Equality Now over the last three years. Think of how many cities participated. Think of how many volunteers signed up and worked tirelessly to make their events successful. And why? Because they each wanted to be a part of this extraordinary effort to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for an exceptionally worthy cause.

Whether these problems arose out of a lack of altruism, disorganization, miscommunication, or something more nefarious, I don't know. But even if they were acts of outright theft, it's critical that we not ascribe the negative qualities of a few individuals to the greater CSTS effort, or worse, to Browncoats as a fandom.

The future of our fandom, and our ability to do good works, may depend on it.

[ edited by lexigeek on 2008-06-20 00:44 ]
lexigeek....you're *still* my hat master. Very well said sir.
This is quite a moral dilemma. I’ve re-read B!x’s post a couple times now and I better understand his point. However, I don’t see it as black and white as many of you do. I really see a funky shade of gray.

On the one hand, as it has been stated, the organizers wanted to wait until all the facts are known. On the other hand B!x makes a good point that it is, “unethical not to make this information public.” Personally, I think it would be unethical to NEVER make this information public. However both sides agree that this WAS going to be made public at some point in the near future. So B!x is not suggesting that it was never going to come out but that it should be made public prior to this weekend’s screenings.

Based on the posts by the official leadership of the organization, it looks like he just disagreed with the way the “official group” of people decided to handle this situation and just did what he felt was right. Some might call B!x’s decision to drop this bomb whistle-blowing. Others might call his potentially-catastrophic unilateral actions unscrupulous. That is for each of us to decide.

If it were determined tomorrow that vampires actually existed, as long as people were not in danger, I could understand why the government (or Scoobies) would attempt to keep that information confidential until an appropriate time to share with the general public. That tact can eliminate mass hysteria, jumping to conclusions and lots of misconceptions (some vamps are nice). In this case, it seems the organizers were doing just that. It’s no surprise that immediately people started using terms like, "cover up" “dishonest” and "hiding." These words insinuate ill intentions. With Flan still fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s understandable that people within the fandom might assume the worst.

Good, bad or indifferent, this situation has been made public and unfortunately I think the only real loser is Equality Now.

[ edited by alexreager on 2008-06-20 00:33 ]
Lexigeek...

word.
Lexigeek...well said.

I still love you B!xy
Just to be clear... when I used the words "cover up" I didn't mean that's what I thought was going on. My point was that by not addressing this issue from the beginning, it gives the appearance of a cover up--a conclusion people might jump to once they find out CSTS knew about this but waited to say anything.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2008-06-20 00:51 ]
What Lexigeek said.

Myself, I'll be at the Pasadena screening tomorrow night. And the one in Irvine Saturday.
What Dizzy said. Lack of disclosure breeds distrust.

I also just wanted to add that I plan on attending two different screenings over the next two weekends in two cities and I hope that others will attend their local screenings as well. I still have faith in the vast majority of browncoats out there. As others have correctly mentioned, we have all seen numerous examples of browncoat actions that we can be extremely proud of.
All opinions aside, I am pledging my continued support for CSTS 2008.
"This is an on-going investigation"

Despite the use of the word "investigation", it sounds as if the police have not even been told. That is more disturbing than the concern about public relations. The concern should be whether not reporting the crime has aided and abetted his flight from justice.
Wow, the whole thing really sucks. Not enough to keep me from going to the Minneapolis screenings three nights in a row, but it does suck.
Does anyone know if you can donate online and have it counted in the total for your location?
Well said Lexigeek!

We'll be going to the Denver CSTS screening and we'll be donating to CSTS just like last year. The Bedlam Bards were kind enough to do a special Shindig at our house earlier this month in coordination with the Denver CSTS screening so we'll be bringing those dollars also. We continue to have faith in the Browncoat family as a whole. Browncoats really do rock!
This makes me so furious.

Bix has no real proof...

But anything more than that is merely my opinion, and people don't seem to be able separate my opinion from CSTS global's so it is withdrawn.

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2008-06-20 02:31 ]

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2008-06-20 02:34 ]
According to b!X's blog, "Addendum: In the wake of all of this hitting the Web over the course of the day, a number of things have transpired. The least important of these is the fact that I’ve been summarily banned from the global CSTS discussion board — not just the private organizers forums, but the publicly-accessible ones as well. In the end, it doesn’t matter, but it does demonstrate that the response to having to deal with not living up to their own responsibilities in this matter is to opt for pettiness."

If b!X has been banned in this fashion, I'd have to agree with him that this is a very poor reaction to his blog and his concerns, regardless of what one thinks about his timing, as long as there is substance to his concerns and allegations. There's a whole lot of history that none of us out here knows, but I think I'd have to see any such step as a big mistake.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-06-20 01:56 ]
Ivalaine...
Good points all around.
OK, people need to CALM DOWN.

No matter how justifiable anyone may feel in their anger at b!x, you ARE NOT helping the CSTS cause by flaming him here.

If b!x was wrong in what he did, deal with him, but flaming him on a site as visible as this one comes off as childish and makes CSTS look very bad indeed.

I understand people are upset. But no matter who is right or who is wrong, no matter if things should have been kept quiet or put in the open, the real people at fault are the two organizers who didn't get the money to EN. Everything else is petty behind-the-scenes stuff. People are going to make judgments--right or wrong--about CSTS based on how this is handled, and right now it's CSTS that's coming off looking bad.

Y'all need to stop the bickering and accusations, because it would be a real shame if this spirals out of control and kills CSTS. So much good has been done. Don't let what happened last year take away from all that.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2008-06-20 02:14 ]
Oh and RE the banning thing...

I am the forum admin for the CSTS forums, and I was sleeping after a long day yesterday of pleading with Bix not to post, and watching a new nephew struggle to breathe at the hospital, so when Beth ask he be removed from the Organisers Only group (Which he was left on as a courtesy only, being not even an organiser for Portland, let alone global) I was not awake to do so, and in the attempts to get this done, the person doing so (not beth) accidentally banned him from all the forums. This was quickly rectified.

Not everyone inherently knows how to use PHPBB commands. Twas an honest mistake, and was not meant to be a malicious attack.

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2008-06-20 02:48 ]
Regardless of your reasons, Ivalaine, you're not impressing me with your rant. You didn't want b!x to spill dirty laundry, so you retaliate by doing so yourself?

And this part is so intriguing, I hope someone uses it for a movie like L.A. Confidential, Chinatown, or the Usual Suspects.

Oh and BTW. How do you know that Denver's money did not get lost in the mail such as happened and accepted by everyone for another city? Just because the person who was supposed to send the money is unreachable, you assume the worst. For all you know, he could be in witness protection or even dead! Far-fetched maybe, but you are making assumptions and there is no proof. you have no statement from his bank saying the funds never left it. NO PROOF whatsoever. And as for Dallas... well, the money is getting to EN, even if later than expected. So it's not exactly "stolen" any more is it?

Also, with your little tidbit that b!x chose last year's global organizer, it appears like you're trying to put all the blame on him.

Now I understand why he posted what he did when he did.

Thank you so much. Everything is clear.

Who's crying? Browncoats don't cry. What are you talking about?
Ok. Let's cool down on the finger pointing. Any more and there will be people heading for a timeout, possibly permanent.
Who is attacking the global team? All I've seen are people saying, yeah, it would have looked better if this had come to light earlier.

And no, the facts about what's going on between the global team and b!x do not need to be made clear. That's not what people are concerned with. It's dirty laundry, behind-the-scenes stuff, and it's going to swiftly turn into a he-said, she-said thing that won't help anyone. People are concerned that the money they are donating will go to EN. Not what b!x and the global team of CSTS are arguing about.

Like I said, this kind of petty arguing will only hurt CSTS, and that would be sad indeed.
What possible positive personal gain does b!x get from this, huh? Shunning on a board dedicated to an event HE helped start? Loss of faith in an organization with whom, for some of us, his name is synonymous? Potential loss of income for a charity for which he's sweated blood? Yeah... That b!x sure is a guy with a messed up agenda.
My own personal response to this is "what, as Browncoats, can we do to turn this into a positive situation" Personally, I will pledge to double what I was intending to give this year to make up for the "errors" that have occurred at the hands of a couple of individuals - perhaps if enough Browncoats pledge to do the same, then THAT is what will be remembered out of this situation, that yeah, something bad happened, but in true Browncoat fashion we took that stick and we...well... we took it! and used it to do something better.

Let's turn this around - if we can more than make up for the amount that was lost by pledging to donate a little extra, then that's a good thing, and when the missing funds are eventually repaid by those responsible for its loss then we're all winners.
Who's crying? Browncoats don't cry. What are you talking about?


Considering that I was a right sook after I first saw Serenity, I'd have do disagree. Browncoats cry. We just do it all... all manly like and stuff ;)

Plus, I just lost a buck in the vending machine and now I can't have chocolate!
*shuffles off to sulk about the mean ol' vending machine... but in a manly fashion befitting a Browncoat*
Beth'll, I think that's a great idea. I'll hop on that bandwagon and donate a little more than I had originally planned to. Anyone else?
I went to Denver last year and I will go again this year. The fandom here is fantastic and our organizer rocks. It is too bad we were taken advantage of and I hope the situation will be resolved sooner rather then later. I have faith that it will.
We are all upset about this. Everyone is going to have an opinion as to the best way a situation should be handled. We are doing what Equality Now has requested, and what has been suggested by the lawyer we contacted about this issue. I'm sorry I can't post more facts now, but I will as soon as I am able. Until then, I hope people will be civil. (We all want the same end result - we just have different ways of getting there.)

I also want to clear up that we never accused Christopher/b!X of libel.

"The CSTS 2008 team will make a public statement, and we feel that transparency is the best policy. But we will not do that without all of the facts. To make posts that include conjecture and speculation can only hinder the investigation, and could be libelous."

This is our feeling about *us* prematurely discussing these issues without all of the facts. We have not named b!X in our public statement, nor are we accusing him of libel.

These are on-going investigations and I have been informed that I cannot post any information on public boards about them until they have concluded. I'm sorry if this isn't enough information for everyone. Believe me, I want this to be over with. I also wish it never happened. But it did. And we are doing what we can to make sure that money is found and returned.

I wish Roseivy in Minneapolis good luck on her first event. It begins in an hour - and I'm sure it will be a success.

I want to thank everyone for the outpour of support today. Browncoats are amazing people, and I am proud to be one.

[ edited by haldira on 2008-06-20 02:43 ]
Not everyone inherently knows how to use PHPBB commands.


Not taking sides, but just a technical response as someone who has used the software in question since prior to v1.0: in version 2.x (which you are running), its a series of clicks to change permissions. If you were running v3.x, I might understand confusion over permissions masking and such. In either case, its clicking in a browser; saying commands does make it sound way more complex than it is.

As far as the issue, I'm sure it can be worked out. Browncoats are carig and passionate folk, so it may not be pretty for a while, but I'm sure that this will be worked out. Let's continue to support EN and CSTS, as everyone agrees these were aberrations.
It was because only I had admin access to the group to edit it.

And having been new to phpbb myself this year, it is actually a little difficult to work out what everything does.

But regardless, it was a mistake and has been rectified. We in no way wanted him banned from the whole forum.
JenskiJen, I think Captain Mal would approve of manly like and stuff crying. but I don't think Captain Mal would approve of sulking over the vending machine. He'd first beat it to death, and then he'd make Kaylee come and try to fix it.

But remember, in real life, if you beat on the machine, the machine might very well crush you! Be careful!

I appreciate you manning up and I, as a fellow Browncoat, am quite proud of you. I still hope you find some chocolate.
Lexigeek thanks, I hope more people follow suit and help bring something positive out of this
If the (possible) Denver thief says at his hearing "This is what I do darling... this is what I do", I'm gonna hafta slap him.
Succatash, That would be purely for medicinal purposes, ... right?
Beth'll, that's a great idea and a true browncoat sentiment. I'll gladly follow this suggestion.
But regardless, it was a mistake and has been rectified. We in no way wanted him banned from the whole forum.


That's whats important. Here's to many years of trouble free flying for CSTS!
I hate it when people do bad stuff and then sweep it under the rug.

Good on you b!X!
In an vitally important chocolate update, my somewhat unmanly (and yet totally adorable) pouting efforts have born fruit. More specifically, it has brought forth a Fruit & Nut chocolate bar from a co-worker. Success!! :D We have achieved chocolate. And one more person attending the Melbourne CSTS event!
Just want to say that this year's events are exceptional. I hope to see lots of Portlanders, Oregonians, and Washintonians at the Hollywood theater this weekend.
JenskiJen, I'm quite sure Captain Mal would applaud the way you cajoled chocolate out of your co-worker. Mal would agree that it's the ends that justifies the means, every time. But he'd be a lot more profane and Jayne would be grumping about stealing your damn chocolate.

Another recruit. Waaahooooo!!!

[ edited by avidrdr23 on 2008-06-20 04:47 ]
This is no time for an Inquisition- Spanish, Frankonin, or otherwise.

I take exception to b!x's post for many reasons. While he is entitled to his opinion on the matter, he's not really entitled to label it as 'the truth'. It may be HIS version of the truth, but it's woefully incomplete, its facts are selectively convenient for his purposes, and the whole article smacks of self-agrandization.
He states that his 'sense of ethics isn't up for a public vote', and yet he's holding up for judgment the ethical sense of at least three other individuals, not to mention the entire list of organizers, because it didn't match his. Where is it written that the organizations and individuals involved have to follow the b!x Code Of Ethics? Aside, of course, from b!x's blog, that is. He says he has no authority right at the beginning of the article. So, what authority does b!x have that enables him to direct policy and public statements from an organization that he has had no official involvement with for months? Why is it that he can 'vote on' someone's sense of ethics but we can't vote on his? And most importantly, where does b!x get off casting aspersions on Tara's character, not to mention Moon and Beth?

I really cannot speak about Beth's or Moon's experiences, but I can for Tara's.

I've witnessed first-hand Tara's efforts to recover missing funds on behalf of Equality Now and CSTS. I've seen her deal with the betrayal of trust by someone she had held dear. I've seen her work through her personal pain - and it was considerable - to go well beyond the call of duty to try and pin down what happened, when, where, and why, even while her eyes teared up. I have been amazed at the strength, fortitude, and - yes, I will say it because it's true- sense of ethics, both business and personal, that she's displayed through it all. I have been even more amazed at the results she's gotten. Tara only got wind of the problems from last year less than a month ago, and she dealt with it as best she could. Last year is between the culprits and Equality Now, but she shouldered that responsibility and accepted it as her own personal mission. Her results have been nothing less than spectacular. If not for Tara, Dallas would be in a whole lot bigger world of hurt than it is now thanks to b!x.

Had Tara, Beth, Moon, or Amanda Sullivan made any public statement regarding the situation, Tara would not have had the opportunity to do what she did, as the offender would have disappeared completely. Tara is THE Big Damn Hero of 2008, and yet here is b!x, not involved, not responsible, not at all connected in any way to the effort or organization any longer,trying to dictate public policy on moral grounds. Did anyone mention that b!x had tried coercion and emotional blackmail on these people to get them to conform to HIS sense of ethics before he posted? Isn't THAT itself unethical?

Casting people in a bad light is very easy to do, as you can see here. Tara is my friend, a very honorable, wholesome, reliable, truthful, honest and delightful individual. She will do what it takes, and then without pause, do much more than is required. She does not deserve to be thrown under the bus by anyone. I won't stand for it.

For b!x to question the motives behind a decision that was made - rightfully so- without b!x's input is one thing, but to bring into question the character of people he's never met just because they're now in charge and abiding by that decision is quite another.

The Dallas event will kick some serious butt this year. In addition to the screening and Tim Minear Q+A, several local bands will be playing ( for no fee, I must add ) at a very popular live music venue the night before , celebrating women in music, and Tim will be there signing whatever gets put in front of him- except a libation, he'll probably drink that. This will be an extremely fun weekend, and it's all because of Tara's hard work, extra effort, attention to detail, and commitment to the cause that it's happening at all. It would have been so easy for her to simply have told CSTS that she couldn't do anything about it and walk away, but Tara doesn't take the easy way out. Tara does what's right, not what's convenient. As far as I can tell, so far this year, b!x's efforts have amounted to writing one extremely negative article and dispensing loads of negative vibe. Where is the balance here?

There were two bad guys in this mix, and now, I posit, there are three. b!x attacked the ethical decisions and express wishes of two organizations and three innocent people- Beth,Tara and Moon. Why would he do this? I really do not understand, and I emailed him TWICE asking to talk to him about it before I said anything- and of course, there was no response. I fully expect him to have one now. I expect him to come in and rip me to shreds. He can, he's intelligent, he will use few words to leave me in tatters. He won't hesitate to defend himself, but Might does not make RIght, even when the weapon of choice is the keyboard. I won't hesitate to defend Tara or her efforts.

While I am very riled up over this, I'm also adult enough not to turn this comment section into a brawl pit. But I expect b!x to have more of his say. So have at it b!x. Claw at me all you want, but leave everyone else out of it.
Lexigeek very rightly says:
"Think of how many cities participated. Think of how many volunteers signed up and worked tirelessly to make their events successful."

I also agree with B!x that completely honesty about the facts is the best way to keep faith with all the fans who have donated to a good cause. There is no reason to believe that there was premeditation in the lost funds, sometimes handling money is too great a temptation. But when people know there have been problems in the past then it makes it easier to put safe guards in place.

I know that the vast majority of people who worked on these events all over the country have done a spectacular job and deserve nothing but praise.
While I am very riled up over this, I'm also adult enough not to turn this comment section into a brawl pit. But I expect b!x to have more of his say. So have at it b!x. Claw at me all you want, but leave everyone else out of it.

Ed R - Hee Haw, you just did it. The brawl pit thing. But I'm just immature enough to giggle and enjoy it!

[ edited by avidrdr23 on 2008-06-20 04:37 ]

[ edited by avidrdr23 on 2008-06-20 04:49 ]

[ edited by avidrdr23 on 2008-06-20 04:50 ]
Ed R - I feel the passion in your words, and I honor your defense of your friend, but I have to caution you - and other members - not to enter into personal invective. If you wish to confront b!x about his allegations, there are other fora and means to do so. We will not turn this site into a mud-wrestling match. Unless it's constructive discussion, I ask you to take this elsewhere.

I have to add that I personally believe equating b!x's actions in speaking out with the actions of individuals who may have embezzled money is crossing the line. He did not accuse anyone other than the two individuals of malfeasance, only of staying silent when they should have spoken.
I'd have left it on b!x's blog but there was no comment section. I understand your concern for whedonesque.com, but I had to defend my friend.

I suppose I was lumping b!x into the same category as the alleged embezzlers, but my intent was not to call him a thief, just to point out that his action, however moral it may have seemed to him, had innocent victims that he was well aware of, and still he posted. His act has negated quite a bit of hard work on many people's part.
I've been peeking in and out keeping alight of the events, and I've decided to bring a small flame of light into the black with a story.

As I was reviewing this thread, I heard someone ask if I was a "fan". Freaked out because it's after-hours and I'm at work, I looked up to see a woman pointing to my Serenity poster. We got to chatting and it seems that I've discovered another Whedon fan to add to our mist. If it weren't for Serenity and the CSTS screenings in San Diego, I wouldn't have the chance to meet this person and other SoCal Browncoats that I work close to yet never really knew, if you know what I mean.

So, in addition to seeing an awesome film on the big screen (which I missed out on in Hong Kong), picking up my shirt, donating to charity, and having a blast, I get to share the experience and meet others of "our kind" that I may have missed out on if it wasn't for the CSTS. In honor of that, and maybe a little extra cash, I'll go with Beth'll & Lexigeek's words and give a little extra this year.

Thank you, fellow Browncoats! *salutes*
I hear you, Ed. I hope, as others have said above, that we can ultimately draw something positive out of these unfortunate events, whether in the form of increased ex parte donations to Equality Now! (which is what this is all about, of course) or through improvements in the way we manage our affairs. Both those outcomes would be splendid.
With a bit of awe and complete sincerity, I have to say to karkster, "Can I be you when I grow up?"

Thanks for the cool after the storm.

[ edited by avidrdr23 on 2008-06-20 04:57 ]
I'm happy to go buy two extra tickets to the Pasadena viewing as my show of faith in CSTS as a whole.

Additionally, I will pay for two tickets to any other CSTS showing for the first person to email me and say they weren't planning on going to their local CSTS showing because of money issues - my email address is in my profile, and you should give me the name you want me to book these under, and the showing you want to attend. Don't be shy - having money issues at this point in the economy is not at all unusual, and no reason to hang back - and rest assured that your real name is safe with me. I give good "Cone of Silence."

I'll edit this post to say that someone's gotten these freebies once someone emails me.
WOW! SoddingNancyTribe is now golden! Congrats!
That's an excellent offer, QG!

Did you get my e-mail yet? ;-)

And ta, RavenU - it's always good to see your moniker here.
What the bleeding hell!?!? You guys need to take this behind the scenes. You're airing all the dirty laundry and honestly, I'm turned off with CSTS at the moment. And not for not telling us but because this whole thing has devolved into this mess of he said, she said. Same goes for biX, who could've taken it private after that blog post. This is something you should do not in front of us all. Compromise people. Issue an official statement now - the cat is out of the bag - spare us all the gory details. And biX, man take the high road, take the blog post down. This is seriously messing up the karma here.
Thank you, b!x. When dealing with charity fundraising outside of our own little group, absolute transparency is of paramount importance. Had I been new to CSTS, I would have been appalled to learn of such things after my first screening/donation/introduction to the 'verse.
I'm not new to CSTS, I was there the night b!x created it. As the creator, b!x will always be involved, even if he never speaks to another Browncoat again, even if he never sees Serenity on the big screen again. A smudge on CSTS is a smudge on his reputation even two years removed. It is a pity he had to be the one to speak up.
I regret that I cannot make it to yet another year of the Big Damn Movie on the big screen, but I will make it my business to make up in some small way for the failings of my fellow 'coats. We're all out here together, so we'll just have to pick up the packs dropped by our comrades...like it or not, those two were part of us too.
Whoops! Stupid internet connection conks out on me just as I post. Sorry

[ edited by oregon on 2008-06-20 05:10 ]
In the same spirit as Quoter Gal's offer, the Portland CSTS has an angel ticket program where you can purchase a ticket for someone who can't afford one.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2008-06-20 05:37 ]
"to bring into question the character of people he's never met just because they're now in charge and abiding by that decision is quite another."

But...that's what being in charge entails, isn't it? Being answerable to decisions?
Here's how it is, people.

Yes, the information needed to be made public. At the proper time. NOW WAS NOT THAT TIME! Whether the authorities have been brought in or not, the fact remains that there are ongoing investigations going on, those directly involved already knew about it . . . They already knew and measures are already being put in place. I already knew about the mess here in Denver, as did anybody else who asked Moon whatever happened to whatshisname. And he wasn't exactly doing any other Browncoats any favors by implying that their donations might not make it to EN, especially this close to the screenings.

[ edited by SoddingNancyTribe on 2008-06-20 05:27 ]
I've already asked for no more personal attacks. I meant it. So the last post has been edited accordingly.
Could be a long night, SNT;)
Eh, I wasn't figuring on getting much sleep in this heat anyhow . . . :-)
Thanks, ESG, that's a cool thing - and btw, if no one takes me up on my offer, I might donate via something like that - although I didn't offhand see anyway I could do that online at the PDX Browncoats site, and I don't really want to take the time to join the forum in your link & get approved so I can PM the member who posted that thread... any thoughts, anyone, on how folks can donate online so someone gets to go to a show?


(Not that it's really anything new to you, SNT, but you might really be earning your orange tonight the hard way. And it truly is hotter than orange blazes here in the Lost City of Angels...)
QG. Actually, I think it's possible to do that. One ticket at least was donated from someone out of town via credit card. It's worth asking about.
No doubt. Out here in the IE it's bad too. It was 101 when I left work today, and that's degrees, not the freeway. And it was after 5 PM. I sure hope it cools down a little for the screening tomorrow night.
Ah, it's orange. I was confused on the color. Thanks, QG! And that's very nice of you, BTW. And you too, ESG. Kudos!

And thanks for the kind words, avidrdr23, but I don't think you want to be crazy. :)

Speaking of heat, what the hell-kind of whether is this? I'm in San Diego, yet it feels oddly like Texas. *scratches head*

Sometimes I wonder how people read a thread. Do they just read the headline and post? Or do they read all the other posts first? 'Cuz it seems like some latecomers post in the thread their angst, causing SNT to edit, modify, and scold (really working hard tonight, SNT! Earn those colors!), when we've already moved on to making this a better situation. *scratches butteyeball*

Eh, maybe I can get my mom & bro to come with me. And I'm SO looking forward to meeting the faces behind the monikers! Do we get capes?
It's nights like this that I am really glad that I moved out of the valley. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm always glad that I moved out of the valley.

Here is wishing cooler weather for the screening tomorrow.
I wish the Philly CSTS screening didn't fall through, and I wish I had the money to pay for the gas to go to the Arlington, VA CSTS screening. :(

At least I'm closer to screenings than I was when I lived in Arkansas where the closest screening was three hours away.
Please forgive me as I rarely read any boards and didnt see the answer to this question yet:

Is the investigation being done by the proper authorities? (i.e. the police)

(and not of the person already on a payment agreement, because that seems to be a good way to me to take care of the issue, but of the one nobody seems to have any contact with). The reason for my asking is that no matter how big this fandom is, and how mighty (because we are), an internal investigation isnt impartial. Everyone in the fandom is emotionally involved. A third party investigator would be a good idea if it's not already in place.
As far as I know, the Philly screening is just delayed, not canceled.
korkster-How hot was it in San Diego today? It was 92° here in Southeast Texas today.
DanRegal said:

As far as I know, the Philly screening is just delayed, not canceled.


I meant that to say that, but it's still a shame that it's not happening this weekend. It won't be until September when it will be up and running, by which I might actually have a job which may take me out of the area.
Ah, well that sucks if you end up not being able to make it to a screening this year.
Well, Yahoo says it was 79F today, menomegirl, but I don't believe that for a bit. At least mid-eighties. And, it's true we don't have the humidity that Southeast Texas has, but when the weather should be "perfect" and it's not, I wish it would just hit 100F so I can stay home with aluminum on the windows.

You know?
Is the investigation being done by the proper authorities? (i.e. the police)

As per haldira's post further up...

These are on-going investigations and I have been informed that I cannot post any information on public boards about them until they have concluded.

From which I gather that the parties involved in the investigations aren't in a position to give further information on the nature of said investigations (be they internal, legal, criminal or otherwise). I'm sure we'll find out more once the investigations have followed their due course.
Firstly: If someone gives me the info, I'd like to try and buy someone, somewhere, a ticket. I'm still looking into my whole situation about can I/can't I go; it's contingent on my health and injuries, boo. Regardless, I sure as hell want to contribute some way, somehow. I'm going to make a contribution in my hometown via internet, but I would love to help someone go who otherwise couldn't.

And now, my own two cents (worth about $.ooooo2, in this economy):
I've been following this all day, feeling like the lurker I used to be pre-membership, and feeling disheartened at times, incredulous at others, skeptical, and sometimes even riled. This is a touchy issue, and it's raised much dander.

I have my own story to tell in relation to this issue:

I am an umpire in a local little league. I do get paid for this; the league gives money to a "head umpire" every year to pay for officials. For two years, I got paid for every game I umpired. But then, one year, I didn't receive my last paycheck, worth about $300.

Long story short: I wasn't able to contact my boss, and the league had technically already paid us, so it wasn't their fault. I thought about just letting the issue go--I didn't want to harm the little league, which is a nonprofit organization. It was "only" $300, which is about half of the cost of books for my semester, but I thought that it wasn't worth making an issue out of.

Finally, persons older and wiser than I helped me resolve the issue, reminding me that I wasn't the only one who was hurt by this. It became an issue of "who will this hurt more?" I finally ended up taking the matter to persons higher up the chain of command, who ended up paying the umpires out of the league fund. They still haven't caught the guy, to my knowledge, but the league's okay, and all of the umpires got paid.

So I understand where b!X is coming from; it's hard to have knowledge like this that pertains to so many people and not do a thing about it. I applaud him for his actions in that matter, as I think it is a good thing for us to know about--not as a scandal, but as a cautionary tale if you will to make damn sure to do all we can to make sure our money goes to the right place.

I also understand why people are getting upset about this. Some issues require discretion in not saying anything, in hopes that the situation will be rectified before a public announcement is necessary. However, there is only so long that one can be silent.

I think it's a shame that this happened, and I'm disheartened but not discouraged by it. Meaning, it makes me sad that things like this happen, and that there are people who work to make such things happen. But it won't stop me from contributing and thinking that this is a great event.

I do also think that it's a shame that people are getting extremely riled to the point of personal attacks. Obviously people are passionate about this, which is great. It means that we'll see to it that we emend the situation as best as possible, and work to make sure it doesn't happen again. But, words said/posted in anger may be cathartic at the time, but can cause real harm to the person in reference, as well as regret for the poster. That's just not us, guys. Part of why I love this fandom is that we're passionate, positive, and constructive.

As for weather, all of you whining about anything under triple digits are sissies! :) It got up to 118 here, and that's in the shade.
Very well-said.
How awful. I'm not throwing any stones, I was just wondering if it would be possible to make an announcement or have a bucket at the two cities affected to try and make up the funds that were 'short' from last year. Not to negate the efforts that are being made to rectify the situation, but I thought if the money that was short could be raised and donated more now-ish it might be a good faith gesture that could clear some of the clouds that are now hanging over CSTS. Or perhaps a Paypal type account could be set up to solicit donations (outside of the CSTS events) to make up for the shortfall. Don't know if this is feasible, or advisable, it just seems like the sooner we could make good on these funds the better. Granted it doesn't take away the fact that it happened in the first place, but I know I'd feel a lot better if EN had that money in hand. It's awful to see something that has done so much good step in something so unpleasant. Anybody else have any thoughts on this? I would think a Paypal type donation thingamajig could get a lot of hits from people such as ourselves wanting to see this made right.
If the folks in charge of fixing this need any help from us in the peanut gallery, I'm sure they'll ask. I'm also content to wait for an official statement from those who are actually working on this matter, rather than the latest dispatch from Mrs. Kravitz peeking over the fence.

Otherwise, any "help" is, at best, meddling, "information" is nothing more than gossip, and as such, is not helpful and may be downright counterproductive, regardless of the alleged ethical basis such "assistance" is offered.

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-20 07:56 ]
Captain Robert April, those of us who have donated in the past, are very interested in knowing all the pertinent information and unless an officer of the court has instructed people to not speak on this issue (which has not been made clear, at all) then a full and forthcoming explanation is necessary now.
Just to reiterate

As per haldira's post further up...

These are on-going investigations and I have been informed that I cannot post any information on public boards about them until they have concluded.
What needs to happen is for everyone to let this play out as needed. We've already been told that no further comments will be posted until their investigation is concluded. It doesn't matter whether that directive comes from an officer of the court or not. A full and forthcoming explanation is not necessary now.What part of that is so difficult to understand? I'm going to the Dallas screening this Sunday, and I hope we raise even more money than we did last year. I am among those who have donated in the past too. Whats more, I did my donating at last years Dallas screening. That was some of my donated money that went missing. But that was last year. I'm more interested in raising as much as possible for EN THIS year. I'm concerned that this issue will adversely affect that.
Right on, Rican.

I also attended last year's Dallas screening, and some of that money was mine. But there's no way that one ugly incident is going to shake my faith in my fellow Browncoats, or keep me from showing up this weekend. We're bigger than that. I trust that the event organizers are doing the best they can to do right by all of us, and to handle the situation as ethically as they know how. It's easy to criticize someone else's judgement call when it's not yours to make, and you don't have all the pertinent information. We don't have that information because Equality Now has asked that it be withheld for now, and that's fine with me. Seems to me, if anyone should be calling the shots on this, it should be them.
I have faith in our organizers. I have faith in the Browncoats. We're not going to let one bitty blow drag us down.

Beth'll and lexigeek - you're on! I can dig a little deeper, to see how mighty we can be.
It doesn't matter whether that directive comes from an officer of the court or not. A full and forthcoming explanation is not necessary now.What part of that is so difficult to understand?


What part of "that's your opinion and other people don't necessarily share it" is so hard to understand? We're going in circles, so I think it best that we cool our jets a bit. People are very passionate and are reading things into both sides responses that aren't necessarily there, so lets take a step back. We should all be able to agree that CSTS and EN deserve our support and that everyone involved deserves our respect - including b!X and haldira, who are both trying to do what they feel is best and right, whether we agree with them or not. If anyone wants to post something along the lines of "Yeah, but X is right and Y is an @$$#0l3, then get ready to enjoy your quiet time.
zeitgeist is right and the Reavers are @$$#o13!!!! ;-)

On a rare serious note, I have to say that I have a strong *personal* preference for full disclosure, having had to deal with fallout from behind-the-scenes financial stuff that ended up being unrelated to the PBPs but still reflected poorly on those of us who organized it. But I also see that distrust in CSTS caused by this disclosure could further harm the completely-blameless Equality Now, and that only worsens the situation. A big "go you" to the folks willing to try to counter this by upping their donations and donating tickets. :-)
Hear hear. Cheers to all who are sending money to EN or angel'ing tickets to those who are unable to attend. That shows the real spirit of this fandom (well, that and arguing over minute metaphysical distinctions ;)).
*tap tap* Is this thing on? My first post here & so different than the OB. I hope I get it right. Some thoughts...

First, I think Bix did the right thing by informing all of us before this year's event. I also think he did the right thing when he assured us that this year's organizers were NOT involved in last year's missing funds; AND that they have taken steps to keep any similar problems from happening this year.

[From Bix's blog: "That’s true even if the organizers this year are different, and processes have been put into place to prevent it from happening again (as they have been)."]

Second, I'm sure that this year's organizers also believe they were doing the right thing, when they chose to remain silent.

In fact, one might say both sides were acting like true Independents - in doing what they saw as the 'right thing', no matter what others might think. (I hope you can all learn to forgive each other & come back to some sort of civil relationship.)

Lastly, and most importantly, thanks to lexigeek & Beth'll for making the first posts in this thread that were truly all "Browncoatish". And to the great suggestions that followed from others (you know who you are!), including & especially onthedrift & his/her idea to set up "make up buckets" at this year's events!! Knowing all this NOW - regardless of whether you think Bix was right or not - gives us the will, the opportunity & the spirit to do more this year to make up for last year's missing funds!!

And those of you feeling some apprehension about donating to CSTS right now? Fine, do what always works - give directly to the Equality Now (& include a note that you are a Browncoat participating in CSTS)! :)
Korkster, see you at the San Diego screening. Introduce yourself to me, John, as I am one of the organizers.

crzygolfa, (kevin), sorry to hear about the philly screening. But hopefully it will come off eventually.

I was going to post something yesterday but deleted it because I felt the emotions making it too raw at the moment.

The important thing is that we come together as browncoats and make this a success. EN should not be penalized furthur because of disagreements over how this should have been handled. (And frankly, if payments are being made for one city and the are still investigating /looking for the other person it seems that they are doing what they can.)

There will be plenty of T-shirts and Poster sales at LA, OC and SD that will all go to EN. So let's make it up to them. EN and Joss still deserve our support.
Yes, FlyHead, Whedonesque is a far cry from the OB, but there is the same independent Browncoat spirit at both. I enjoyed your first post, and I agree with all who have suggested some kind of extra 'make up' donation, which is specifically ear-marked to go to Equality Now to make up for last year's short fall (even though that means they won't be counted in this year's donation total). I don't want to see Equality Now waiting for funds that were promised last year, it is better for our fandom to keep these problems 'in house' without letting this fine charity suffer (ie wait indefinitely while any one person tries to pay it back).
I agree that this information should have been stated on the local CSTS sites/boards as soon as a reasonable amount of investigating had been completed. I was unaware that it had not been made public as I worked for one of the sponsors for the Dallas screening last year. And I think that the new Dallas CSTS organizer should have counted on the fact this was a sanctioned screening and that someone as intimately involved with the show as Tim Minear's appearance would assuage any misgivings that local fans would have after hearing about the unfortunate outcome of last years fundraiser. I predict that more money will be raised than was last year and that with the new safeguards all will go as planned. However not informing the public of previous problems as severe as this is a failure in not only communications but responsiblity as well. Dallas-ites are very generous people. They host a multitude of charity fund raisers for very worthy and underfunded causes. CSTS folks please trust us Dallas fans to do the right thing in the end regardless of the embarrassing circumstances. This is why for my local non-profit fan group, I have gone to the trouble of applying for a non-profit license and setting up a non-profit account even for the few hundred dollars we'll probably ever raise to donate. Mostly we've raised money for Firefly for Fire Fighters and are trying to do things for EN and Make-A-Wish. When money for charity is involved always cover your ass.
~GJM

[ edited by GothicJossMinion on 2008-06-20 18:25 ]
If anyone is on the fence about attending the Arlington screening on Saturday or unable to buy a ticket, send me an email. You'd need to meet me at the show to get the ticket, but I could cover up to 2 other people. First emailed first served. Let's say by 5pmish EDT today since I won't have computer access tomorrow.

If no one emails, I'll toss the equivalent amount into the raffle or something. I just don't want to reserve any seats that I don't know someone will be sitting in, since one of the shows sold out last year. And that was without a very talented VIP like Jo Chen.

Important note: Theatre has real food and a bar.
Note to self: Next year find a theater with a bar!

Everyone, as Kaylee would say, "Have good CSTS!"
Yeah, I was gonna say...Out theater has...seats...a screen...speakers...and...uh...carpet!

Try and beat that Arlington!
Yeah, I was gonna say...Out theater has...seats...a screen...speakers...and...uh...carpet!


Well, I guess OUR screening's gonna be even BETTER than yours ... our theater has a projector! :P
Our theater will be showing it in HD! And it has a funny smell in the lobby! Ha! Beat that!
Yeah, I was gonna say...Out theater has...seats...a screen...speakers...and...uh...carpet!

Try and beat that Arlington!


They bring the food and beer to your seat! Which is a big comfy leather chair!

Only downside: it's in VA, where there's still smoking in bars. Also NoVa is a bit of a trek for me.
"our theater has a projector! :P"

Dammit! That's just mean. We're bringing flashlights and will do shadow puppet Serenity. In black and white.

Sunfire, Arlington sucks even more now. By which I mean, that's really awesome and I'm totally jealous.
Our theater just won the NBA Championship. Neener. ;-)
What I do find interesting is that there's not a peep about this on the Firefly forums/boards I lurk at elsewhere.
'Cause Whedonesque is where all the action is at, Simon -- everyone knows that :)
Some of these theaters have projectors?! Everyone have fun at your local CSTS screenings and be good to one another!
I think everyone at the OB, who would care, is also over here, Simon.
Cuz everyone is here. Edit: what TamaraC said.

The thing is, if this situation had been brought to light sooner, I have a feeling that the "Browncoaty suggestions" of donating double to make up for the shortfall would have been made sooner and that amount probably would have been doubled by now and no one would be stressing just days before the screenings, (as I'm sure more than one organizer is.) I get that no one wanted to jump the gun on announcing something like this, but 4 months is ample time to do any investigation, official or not. And honestly, especially after the reaction to Flan 2, all of the Browncoats should have been trusted enough to handle the news. I think we've earned that.
I'm also a little confused as to why the concerns of the sponsors was given more consideration than the thousands of individual Browncoats that donate to this in deciding whether or not to say anything earlier.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-06-20 18:12 ]
I think everyone at the OB, who would care, is also over here, Simon.


You could be right. The wider ramifications of this are fascinating. The Browncoat fandom is perceived to be tightly knit, loyal, very friendly and devoid of the faction fighting that plagued the Buffyverse fandoms.

However I think I would right in saying that this is the first major event to negatively affect the fandom. The Flanvention fiasco was one of the rare things where a fandom rallied and plucked victory from the jaws of defeat. But this time round the damage came from within the fandom itself. It's a real shame to see what happened.
As for weather, all of you whining about anything under triple digits are sissies! :) It got up to 118 here, and that's in the shade.
BandofBuggered | June 20, 07:18 CET


I'm not a sissy!

No really. I checked last night, and San Diego's inland (where I was) was in the 100's. I'm hurt that the WeatherChannel LIED to me. Evil bastard.

firefly4ever, alright, I'll see you there! :) Speaking of which, is that when we pick up our shirts and stuff? It's my first CSTS. I know. I'm slow... but I'm learning! Today we did math! 2 + 3= 6. Do I get a cookie now?

And, Sunfire, beer and leather seats? I'm so there! Beer makes everything better. And the smell of leather rocks!

Simon, why lurk elsewhere when WHEDONesque is the BEST? Just curious.
Hey Korkster! Yes, everything will be at our will call tables in the lobby. Although if you must wait in line and don't want to leave, we will be delivering tickets and merch out to you while you wait. Probably not going to be an issue since this is a smaller theater, but with a huge lobby. Most likely we'll just all be milling about having a grand time.
@Simon from what I've heard from other boards, people don't want to start a big old riot. The Firefly podcasts I work on are also trying to decide how to handle it correctly... This really is a tough call to make because it HAS caused some fractions and that's not what the Browncoats need.
As a participant in the last two Denver screenings, I am saddened by this news. But, this news would not deter me from going to the next screening. As a volanteer organisation, statisicaly this was bound to happen sooner or later. I imagine this is very embarrasing to the organisers and they were hoping to get the funds back before the news hit like this. I'm not going to say whether waiting was right or wrong, I believe that our fandom is stronger than this setback and trust that all is being done to fix this.

If the Air Force hadn't moved us out of reach of a screening, my husband and I would be there.
I don't think this is going to have any lasting repercussions, Simon. It seems like it is being handled well, even though the communication ball was completely dropped. I think the fandom is stronger than that.
But this time round the damage came from within the fandom itself. It's a real shame to see what happened.

Well, the women of Booster tried to claim they were Brownocats as well, so until they showed that they weren't, I did consider them to be Browncoats and part of the fandom. And that fiasco wasn't even for charity! I'd say that a lot of us here have a very special place in our hearts for Equality Now and would (and still can) create another Flan 2 like response by pulling together and making it right. After, of course, we talked about it a lot.

Also, I think it would be a good idea, (maybe healing in some way) to keep track of the extra donations this situation has inspired. (Mostly by Beth'll. :) ) So I put up a thing in a blog I started to try and put all Browncoat stuff in one place. (We are so spread out!) It's here if anyone is interested: Double Shiny Donation Effort

Lastly, I would still like to know about the sponsors question. And where it says, "Equality Now, the CSTS 2008 Team and other sponsors agreed it was important that the announcement be delayed" what exactly is meant by other sponsors?
Simon, I don't see this as something that is going to tear the fandom apart. Let's face it. Shit happens. For an event that involves so much money being handled by so many different people who aren't really accountable to much of anybody, it's impressive that less than 5% of what was raised over two years went missing. Setting aside the difference of opinion over how and when the issue should have been publicly disclosed, that's hardly something that should cast a pall over the shinyness that is this little collective. I'm of the view that disclosing something like this sooner rather than later is the best way to salvage (and sometimes even enhance) credibility, but I can also be persuaded that sometimes there are also valid reasons for keeping something quiet for a little while. But in the end, we all know about it now and hopefully can learn the important lessons from it and move on with the fun.
BandofBuggered, I'd like to take you up on your offer but I have no way of contacting you. Email me please.
Simon, I don't see this as something that is going to tear the fandom apart.


I don't think it's going to tear the fandom apart either, just make the fandom look more mortal in the long run. Financial chicanery is not good for anyone.

And where it says, "Equality Now, the CSTS 2008 Team and other sponsors agreed it was important that the announcement be delayed" what exactly is meant by other sponsors?


I took that to mean the sponsors of CSTS 2008.
All of them? It's the term, "other" that raises the question for me.
I don't think it's going to tear the fandom apart either, just make the fandom look more mortal in the long run.

So you mean to suggest that we are immortal? Beware, because those could be fighting words for all those Highlander freaks so hung up on that "there can be only one" thing they've got going. ;-)
So you mean to suggest that we are immortal?


Timeless ;).

All of them? It's the term, "other" that raises the question for me.


Well when the public statement from CSTS does come out, I would recommend that it be as detailed as possible. Full and open disclosure is really the only way forward to allay fears and misgivings. And personally I think the statement needs to come out as soon as possible.
One of the most upsetting outcomes of this thread, anyway, is that it has driven people to mention math several times, and I frankly find that as terrifying as space monkeys.

I know that organizers must all be completely maxed with last minute CSTS work, so now that the fit has hit the shan, as my Mom usedta say, I don't expect any kind of full statement from the main organizers 'til after their showings...

And not terribly surprisingly, I guess, no one has taken me up on my offer to buy them their CSTS tickets, so if an organizer emails me with the information about buying Angel tickets online for their local screening, I'll do it. Some events have shut down their online ticket sales, naturally, so if any enterprising organizer emails me a link to their online donation form, I will buy 4 Angel tickets from them, if they have such a program and it can be done in time...
Call me naive, but I have a feeling that we're gonna come out of this stronger than ever. It's the Browncoat way. Sorry if I ruffled some feathers or really annoyed anyone. I was...frustrated. Here's to a great CSTS weekend and weekends to come.
Some of us organizers are just sitting around whistling. Nothing going on, nope, just sittin' here.

I had to get one last comment in before this went off the main page.

Thank you everyone. For 3 years of support of CSTS. For caring enough to put so much passion behind your comments here, no matter what your comment was about. For being Browncoats.

I said it on our group and I'll say it here, I'm proud to be a Browncoat.
Word, danregal (long fancy, to quote Joss).

I too think that this will work out some way or another, because I have faith in us as a fandom and an altruistic one at that.

I'd also like to add, as a real positive (at least for me)...I have convinced my brother, who has not seen Serenifly at all, to accompany me to the screeing here. This is awesome for me, as I could not go without him to drive me. So I'm quite happy and quite ready to help make this year's CSTS the best one yet.

And for every year after this one, as well.
Best. Sentence. Ever.

One of the most upsetting outcomes of this thread, anyway, is that it has driven people to mention math several times, and I frankly find that as terrifying as space monkeys.

(I might have found something more terrifying than space monkeys to compare math to, however. I don't know any personally, but they sound like guaranteed adorable mayhem2 to me.)
Math is easy. Heights are scary.
What about a really tall building made out of fractals with a space monkey at the pinnacle?
Just finished reading the whole thread. My conclusion? Since Denver is already sold out, I am just going to show up anyway, buy some shwag and donate directly to EN at the screening. I was going to skip the whole even but a few bad apples can't keep the Browncoats down. And this whole thread made me realize our pockets are pretty darned deep!
*blows a raspberry to get the bad apple taste out of my mouth and cheers on the rest of the Browncoats*
Someone threatening to drop me over a cliff unless I can solve a calculus problem in my head sounds scary. I hear it's how you get to really know someone though.
I can't come here anymore if you're going to invade my nightmares with math and heights and torturous space monkey calculus. If just one of you mentions rats (oh, shit - I just did... nevermind.) *sigh*

Honest to Pete, we were on the 101 headed to downtown L.A. today, and all 4 lanes paused to let a lil' mouse cross the freeway... I'd never seen that happen before.

But if it had been Ms. Calculus or Mr. Trig I would have floored it and knocked it down.

(It's so odd - apparently Browncoats have such deep pockets I can't give my 4 CSTS Angel tickets away...)

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-06-21 00:22 ]
@DeadBessie and anyone else in a donating mood.... In previous years, you could make a donation directly to Equality Now through their website and flag it with a code saying which CSTS city you'd like it attributed to -- I think it was supposed to be entered in the "Where did you hear about us" section, but I could be misremembering that. I'm not sure if such codes have been set up yet for this year, but if one of the lead organizers can let us know -- bearing in mind that we may have to wait till next week for that info as a fair number of organizers are extremely busy running their screenings this weekend!

A big "break a leg" to all whose events are tonight! And I hope everyone who attends a screening this weekend has a great time. Looking forward to ours in Chicago in July....
It's not the events which is preventing a full statement, it's knowing all the facts. Which we knew you would all want when the time came. We do not have them yet, and as advised, will not make a statement until we have them. So it could be a while. Investigations, internal, criminal, whatever, take time, you all know this I'm sure.

As for affecting CSTS on the whole... Someone has to be the new coordinator for next year (as per tradition), and that someone has to deal with all of this. It's hard enough to find volunteers, but we will see what happens.

And... how did it take so long for terrifying space monkeys to be mentioned?
And... how did it take so long for terrifying space monkeys to be mentioned?


Finally, someone willing to ask the difficult questions!
Last year I donated one of my hand-knit Jayne hats, complete with box, straw, note, etc., to both Dallas and Denver. I'm distressed to know that the hours I put into them were for nothing. But would I do it again? In a heartbeat. In fact, Dallas requested one this year and I was thrilled to offer them my support (bid early, bid often!). And if they ask again next year, I'll jump at the chance.

Firefly fans are good people. I've never had someone stiff me on a payment or be less than gracious and charming, in all of the nearly 1000 hats I've sent out. Never. 1000 customers to 0 jerks is a pretty amazing ratio, until you realize that they're Browncoats.

In my book, there may be two bad apples here, but neither of them are haldira or b!x. Please, don't let this sad business sour your experience. Go to CSTS, support Equality Now, and believe that there are competent, determined, and good-natured people on all sides trying to sort this out. That's what I'll be doing - if we're not sold out!
Awesome post, Tvini.
Now, I don't want to get my post edited like my hubby did, so I'm only going to make my comments in the most general sense:

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS. Maybe not necessarily in the sense of "sinking" the CSTS screenings, but it could drive the person responsible for the missing funds even further into hiding if they were to learn that they were being hunted down (sorry, but those were the only words I could think of). Opening one's yap and blabbing about issues such as these on a blog or any other public forum is a surefire way to guarantee that the person will go even deeper into hiding. NOT a smart move.
No, no, no...
It's "people who live in glass houses sink ships," "a penny saved is worth two in the bush," and "why don't you make like a tree and get the fuck out?"**

As long as it's not clowns doing calculus on top of a cliff whilst entertaining terrifying space monkeys, I think I'll be okay. Unless they are eating cockroaches.

Tvini, that so rocks that you knit Jayne hats. I've never been able to figure out knitting, though I did once crochet a hat that could keep a watermelon nice and toasty-warm. Can you make a tea cozy? (How does one pluralize that, anyway?)

**These are not intended to be insulting to anyone; they're quotes of mis-quotes from Boondock Saints.
StephS, that would only be true if the sole issue here was recovering missing funds, but as this thread plainly shows, many folks think there are other issues involved, such as responsible disclosure and financial transparency.

I'm not saying that I know exactly where I stand on all of this, lacking enough of the inside information to decide... but the fact that there is such tiered access to information that affects so many more folks than were aware of this situation suggests to me that it has not been handled satisfactorily or with sufficient openness...

It's only "NOT a smart move" if money is the only concern - but for many folks, it's just not... not to mention that if someone did withhold or make away with funds intended for EN, they were already fully aware that folks would be looking for them and trying to get it back. If it took this discussion to tip them off, then I submit it's probable that they are ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray.

And finally, I must respectfully suggest that writing "opening one's yap and blabbing" could be seen inflammatory enough to warrant a similar edit...
I don't think it was a secret that I came this close to recommending that coverage of CSTS events be curtailed here at Whedonesque due to this crisis and the response to it.

The only reason that it hasn't happened is cause individual posters who I regard quite highly are trying to do their best to put on a good event. But I will be watching what goes on very closely indeed.

StephS: shooting the messenger is never a good policy here.
I was only making my comments in the most general sense; if anyone feels like they're being attacked personally, then there must be something that they did to warrant the feeling. I'm a very blunt person when something p***es me off, and it'll be a cold day in H*** before I apologize for being that way.

Put another way:

"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
StephS your tone is not appreciated. Consider yourself removed.
Bottom line: Equality Now! is the injured party, and it was their decision that no public statement be made until an investigation was completed, or at least reaches a appropriate stage where something substantive can be said on the matter.

b!x is not an organizer, is not a part of the investigation, apparently isn't a member of either the Denver or Dallas groups, has no legal standing in this matter whatsoever, has no authority to make any statements regarding these events, has only second or third hand information at best, and was specifically asked NOT to go forward with his blog post by those who are directly involved.

b!x ignored that request and went ahead anyway, doing nothing to further the investigations (maybe even hindering them) or alerting those who actually needed to know (they already knew) and resulting in nothing more than publicly embarassing the Denver and Dallas groups, CSTS, and EN. As StephS and I are members of the Mile High Browncoats, we take that very personally.

So in this instance, the message isn't really the issue (the Browncoats all seem to be taking the news in stride and assigning blame where it belongs, to the two twits who were making unauthorized dips into the cookie jar), the messenger is. At least the issue of just what the frell he was trying to accomplish by shouting this news from the rooftops. How does knowing about this in San Diego help them at all with their screening? Or Philly? It sure as hell doesn't help in recruiting new fans when you have to start answering questions about something your group probably had nothing to do with.

So yeah, sometimes shooting the messenger isn't such a bad idea, particularly when the "message" doesn't serve any purpose other than stirring up acrimony and other unkindness. At the very least, it might make the next "messenger" think things through a bit more before making a groundbreaking announcement that breaks no ground, but stirs up a lot of mud and doesn't do anything to better the situation.

As to StephS's point about "NOT a smart move", yeah, there are other issues than recovering the money. Things like a probable criminal investigation where a lot of discretion is needed in order to conduct said investigation. In other words, full disclosure and financial transparency work great in theory, but sometimes a little thing called "reality" gets in the way and you need to keep things to yourself in order to get certain things done and not cause unnecessary grief, particularly to those who aren't involved, which, by the way, is just about the only thing that b!x's blog accomplished!

I think her "tone" is the least of our worries around here.

Simon, I think we need to discuss this further in private.

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-21 17:02 ]

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-21 17:04 ]

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-21 17:08 ]

[ edited by Simon on 2008-06-21 17:38 ]
Here's my viewpoint as an outside witness to all this... Yes, the fans have taken the news in stride. Knowing this fanbase as I do, that doesn't surprise me. But many people in this very thread have posted their thanks to b!x for bringing this out into the open, which means the fans are not only taking this issue in stride--this is an issue the fans felt they had a right be made aware of.

For the life of me, I can't understand how the personal issues anyone has with b!x are relevant to anyone outside CSTS. The news is out. Deal with it. Continually bagging on b!x isn't going to change the fact that this news is now public. As I've said a few times, airing the internal issues out in such a public forum merely makes CSTS look bad--it does nothing to clarify the situation for those of us on the outside looking in. It just looks like CSTS can't handle things professionally, which is probably not the image you all want out there.

Just my opinion from the outside.
Captain Robert April and others speaking for the CSTS organizers, I don't know any of the parties personally, but IMO your posts on this thread are only hurting your cause and the reputation of the current CSTS management.

I found it interesting that though B!x's post never actually accused the former organizers of anything, the posts from the new organizers and their supporters, who have said that they were constrained from discussing this because of the possibility of libel have called them "bad apples" and described them as "the two twits who were making unauthorized dips into the cookie jar".

I have reread B!x's blog post. It seemed like a well balanced post that gave credit to new organizers for working to clean up the mess, but takes exception with the idea that this is something that the general fandom should not be told about until after they have contributed more money. That attitude, BTW, smacks of paternalism, among other things...which is ironic in itself.

From what I have seen here, no one who agrees with what Bix did, has attributed bad intentions to the new organizers, but the people supporting the decision of the new organizers have attributed all kinds of selfish and self aggrandizing motives to him. This does not show you, or the group you support, in a good light.

Admittedly, I am predisposed to agree with the concept of keeping people informed, so agreed with B!x's post. On the other hand, after reading B!x's post I had no strong negative opinion about the new management of CSTS. I thought they were probably struggling with a tough moral question and came to a different decision than I would have. After reading these posts, even after editing, I have much less respect for them, or trust in them.

Bottom line: Equality Now! is the injured party, and it was their decision that no public statement be made until an investigation was completed, or at least reaches a appropriate stage where something substantive can be said on the matter.

IMO the injured parties here are EN and the people who went to the Dallas and Denver showings thinking their money would be going to EN. If I give my money to someone who has said they would give to a 3rd party on my behalf and they take it, they have stolen from both of us, not just the third party. Some would argue that it is more a theft from me than the third party. Your post sounds as though the fans were not victimized in this and do not matter. And as far as it not being the business of the rest of fandom, this is advertised as a global effort; we are either in this together or we are not.
I'm not going to address the underlying merits of what happened and who is responsible.

I'm taking the opportunity to point out that *how* members use Whedonesque is fundamentally the concern of the people who maintain this site - it's not "the least of our worries"; in fact, at bottom, it's our only worry. If members post insulting or threatening comments, those comments will be edited or deleted, and those members will be cautioned and may be banned, regardless of the topic.

In other words, "how" a member comments is as or more important as what she is commenting about. If that's still unclear to anyone, I suggest you e-mail the admins. Thanks.
Word, newcj.

You know, the one thing that gets me is the idea that nothing could be said because of an ongoing investigation. I just don't understand that defense. Part of transparency is letting people know about the issues as they occur or soon after. CSTS is collecting thousands of dollars from people, and they have an obligation to those donating to reassure us our donations are going to EN. CSTS is answerable not only to EN, but to us as well. CSTS could have easily made an official announcement that there had been an isolated problem with two sites from last year, it was being investigated, and steps were being taken to prevent it in from happening this year. It could have been kept very vague, with no blame assigned.

And since b!x isn't a part of CSTS anymore, CSTS has no call to say what he can put in his blog. He knew about this issue, he felt others should know, so he put it out there. That happens every day in the world. It's called journalism or whistle-blowing or following a personal moral code.

Like newcj, when I first read b!x's blog, I thought what happened was a shame, but didn't reflect on CSTS. Through posts here, I'm starting to reconsider my opinion.
I, too, wanted to comment on the "only injured party was EN" thing, but newcj beat me to it.

About ethics. IF someone ran off with ENs money, that was unethical. IF someone had an oops and didn't let relevant people know, the not letting people know (and possibly the being careless with other people's money) was, not as bad as theft, but unethical.

IF withholding the information that some of the money intended to go to EN and its beneficiaries (ultimately, the third wronged party in this) was out of fear of less money brought in, that was, at worst, borderline, ethically, and probably more just a case of bad judgment.

IF telling about it hampers finding out exactly what happened or actually getting the money back, that was poor judgment at worst, with no ethical tinge at all. IF telling doesn't hamper investigation or getting the money back, then it was clearly a Gold Star in the ethics bin.

After all, it ain't ENs money until donors cough it up. Donors do have a right to know about their money not going to the intended recipients before they cough up more. (From what I've read here, it seems EN will be better off for this being known, as I'm seeing a lot of "it's not all cities! New proceedures! I still am giving, and will try to make up for the loss" and am not seeing "no money of mine ever going to EN or CSTS again!")

On another thread: Pretending that the person (I gather) was actual founder, or one of the actual founders of this whole thing is now completely irrelevant is simply silly.

Just because b!x isn't currently an organizer and has no current, direct responsibility for the running of the charity, does not mean that b!x should just shut up. He IS, after all, responsible for all the money collected (responsibility he shares to a lesser degree, with all other organizers after the invention, and all who actually gave money).

And that he still feels responsibility for what happens after he isn't directly involved with the thing he founded (helped found?) is not a bad thing but a good thing.

Finally, thank you moderators of this board for enforcing the principles of civility. I must say that "blabbermouth" (or whatever) IS insulting (suggesting otherwise is disingenuous at best), and "I speak my mind" is NOT an excuse for incivility. As Miss Manners points out, it's when temperatures are running high that civility is MORE important (though harder) than when everyone is all kissy-poo.

Well, post-finally, what's with all the "space monkeys" talk when there are REEVERS loose in the 'verse?????? (And thanks, too, for those injecting extraneous levity into this sad, yet oddly rousing, topic.)

Post-post finally. Gee, QuoterGal! Wish my net connectivity weren't so spotty these days, I I'd be tempted to take you up on your offer -- IF I knew when the SF screening was. (I could get my friend what I turned on to Joss to take me, maybe.)

Now, I must go to a wedding of a couple of clowns (really, it's a "Clown Wedding" as the people marrying -- a second cousin of mine, and very lovely young man -- are both clowns).
I strongly agree with several others that the "injured parties" include Equality Now and every single person that spent .01 cent at either of the screenings in question. The organizers appear to maybe have lost sight of that fact - at least several of the organizers or friends of the organizers that have posted here (to be fair though, I did not get that sense from perhaps a couple others' posts such as those of haldira).
At this point in the thread, I'm seeing three types of comments:

1. Reasonable people with reasonable questions about missing money -- and ethical concerns about whether those questions should be made public before more money is collected.

2. Reasonable people with differing opinions on this issue.

3. People making threats; people attempting to make a villain out of the concerned founder of this charity effort; people invoking some sort of "authority" while doing so; and people accusing anyone with an opposing viewpoint of being an enemy whose "loose lips" could endanger an "investigation" in which the most basic particulars (are the police involved?) have not been answered despite repeated requests.

That third camp disturbs me profoundly.

And now, following some investigating of my own, I have two additional questions:

1. Is it true that, on the private CSTS board itself, discussions in which people asked who was doing the investigating -- and whether or not those investigators included the police -- have been shut down in the past?

In other words: At some point in the past several months, were other organizers discouraged to pose their questions about the investigation in a non-public forum?

2. Also: Are those questions about the particulars of the investigation now allowed -- and answered -- in the non-public CSTS organizer forums?

I sincerely hope the answer to (1) is "no" and the answer to (2) is "yes."

[ edited by Serenity Tales on 2008-06-22 00:50 ]
It's fairly obvious that this discussion is never going to be resolved on this board. We all have our opinions, may of them uninformed, to a greater or lesser degree, and until such time as all the details are revealed discussing this further serves no purpose but to create more ill-will.

I would urge those that have information to make an announcement as soon as they are able and I would also remind them that everyone at this point still supports CSTS and wishes them well in their endeavours but that if the information remains unforthcoming, that there will always be people who remember.

Here's to another year of raising money for the good people of Equality Now, and here's to Serenity rising again, again.
Reading through this thread, a lot of good points have been made, by posters on all sides. And it was also nice to see both the attempts to lighten the situation, and suggestions to increase donations.

But, while I can see the point of both sides in the argument, and am not completely on one side or the other, there is something which I feel needs to be said. Some seem to be blaming the CSTS organizers for choosing not to reveal this information. If Equality Now requested that this be kept quiet for the time being, I don’t see how the organizers actually had much choice in the matter. Bix, no longer directly involved with the organization, had the luxury of being able to reveal the situation without CSTS essentially saying “F off!” to Equality Now, which is what basically would have happened if the current organizers had brought forward the information at this point.

And, space monkeys? Bunnies are scarier;).
Word! This is my third post on the issue... Thank goodness for reasonable Browncoats. As someone who has attended past screenings and donated directly to EN in the name of CSTS, I cannot help but feel slighted that there are walls and levels of information about money that is being given. In fact, today is the day after several events in various cities and I would hope that CSTS disclose some information regarding this matter before the next set of showings. Believe me, this news did not make Browncoats donate less, it made them wary of who's collecting the money - which is good. If you give money to a charitable cause it is most certainly a responsible thing to know the money is going to where you intended it to go. There are some questions that need answers - first and foremost how are we guaranteeing the money donated this year is going to be there. Secondly, what system is in place to do the accounting of these monies going back in time. The way this is being handled is raising more questions. The hesitancy to say anything at all makes it look like the investigation has been compromised. And by the way is who conducting this investigation? Is it an independent body? And how long has it been going on? As an outsider looking in it looks like a cover-up and with more questions being asked and even less information coming forth, it seems like the CSTS is covering-up for itself. It makes someone like me wonder if all the monies are accounted for and that a closer look at things because of what happened in Dallas and Denver has uncovered more anomalies - not per se money missing but maybe late remittances to EN or unaccounted for expenses. See how this is working to the detriment of CSTS? They should issue a general statement - the cat is already out there - saying what steps have been taken to guarantee full remittance and who is doing the investigating. All this can be done in broader terms without compromising details. When all this started, like most Browncoats, I did not think the current CSTS leadership was compromised at all (not in terms of missing money but in terms of responsibility for funds now) but now four days later, with even less transparency and a seemingly complete disregard for the donating public it seems they are as much on the hook for stonewalling this.
If Equality Now requested that this be kept quiet for the time being


That is one of the two questions that people seem to be most interested in at the moment. Do the CSTS organizers have the authority to speak for EN on this issue or not? And, is there an investigation taking place by an agent of law enforcement or at the very least an independent party? Because if its an internal investigation only, I think you'll find a lot more people who are wary of CSTS in the future and thats truly an unfortunate outcome. An outcome which a higher degree of transparency could avoid.
Yes, the Equality-Now-requesting-this-be-kept-quiet thing doesn't seem quite right to me. Really? All this time? Since last year's tallying identified MIA funds, this globally respected non-profit has encouraged organizers to keep it on the down-low? Having worked with many nonprofits large and small, that doesn't ring quite true, and I suspect that there's more to that story. Were they themselves in the dark for most of the year while friends "investigated" friends? Were they taking a back seat and relying on organizers to do the right thing? Were they encouraging transparency for months, but then agreed to let it go to keep the focus on this year's events as they drew near? I don't know. But surely, there are people who do.

When you're in the business of soliciting money for charity, paid or no, you're entering into a moral contract with the giver, asking them to trust you to shepherd their gift to the cause. And the cause is counting on you to operate blamelessly in their name. Trust and transparency are the real currency here, and they're what you're judged on when folks are deciding whether or not to write the next check. Regardless of where any fault lies or whose hearts are in the right place, it would be deceitful to solicit/accept new monies without living up to the transparency portion of this moral contract.

I only hope that the people who gave with a generous spirit last year, especially those who were financially-strapped, but donated anyway because they believed so fully in Equality Now and CSTS -- that those people learn the truth about what happened to their money, and what has happened within CSTS since it went missing.
It seems to me that some of these discussions about procedures and safeguards that have been/can be put in place to ensure donor confidence might be worthwhile taking over to the CSTS forum, so that they don't get forgotten or overlooked in future planning (as this item falls further away from the front page).

There's a "Planning for 2009 and beyond" thread in the Big Picture section (public), if people would like to contribute and discuss ideas.

And lastly, there is also a freely available CSTS 2008 How To Guide if folk would like to know some of the procedures around sending the funds raised to Equality Now. I'm not sure if it answers all of the questions that have been raised here about the safeguards that have reportedly been put in place, but it might help some, or at least facilitate discussion on how things can be improved going forward.

I think that all organizers (current, past and future) would be very open to ideas on how our wonderful global community of Browncoats can continue to make CSTS a great event.

So it's clear, I'm not speaking for CSTS or anything like that, just as a dedicated supporter of CSTS who wants to see these events keep going and going strong.

[ edited by JenskiJen on 2008-06-23 00:42 ]
I am also one of the people who was disappointed in the responses here of CSTS organizers and their friends in the know. This is the first year that there's been a screening planned in my city, and I'm not sure whether or not I'll attend. It's still a few months away.
I think this whole situation is very unfortunate. I personally agree with certain things boths sides (not that I want to make this an 'us vs them' scenerio) and I disagree with certain things on both sides. However I honestly believe that everyone involved (CSTS Global and b!x) has done what they believed to be in the best interest of CSTS. People may have different opinions on how it should be handled, but I'm sure everyone will agree that no one has said anything to be malicious or try and harm CSTS, that they just believed the way they handled it was the best way.

I think some people need to chill and realise what's done is done. Rather than throwing stones and assigning blame, we need to come together and support this years CSTS organisers and do what we can to make each and every event kick some serious butt! What better way to bounce back from this than not only reaching our target of US$150,000 but by completely surpassing it?
The Portland Mercury weighs in on the missing funds....
"Whedon nerd hangout"? That hurts.
Wow, newcj. Your words - every bit of them - are my sentiments. Exactly! Thanks for stating them far better than I ever could have.
I'm not a nerd! I'm a geek.
I also agree with newjc. And I think you're all huge nerds.
Ah, Sunfire, I'm pretty sure you're more of a nerd than I am. When it comes to Whedon and other stuff. I take an active interest, but I'm not 'versed well with the material. Every day I learn something new here. Even from you.

In that capacity, you're a nerd. I'm a geek. :)
Interesting what you can find out with public records on the internet: for example.
Damn, that sucks.

ETA: ok, korkster. We're all huge nerds.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-24 20:43 ]
Sucks is the word, Sunfire. I can't say that I have been at all impressed by anything CSTS-related just lately except for 1) the incredible resolve and efforts of individual screening organizers, volunteers, attendees and donors to rise above all of this and make the best events possible - which have apparently succeeded and 2) b!X's investigative and reporting skills. I'm hoping for an official CSTS explanation and event timeline that makes sense out of some of these time lags and discrepancies.

I haven't been able to get an answer to the very basic question I posted on the CSTS public forum - but I'll assume for now that's just 'cause everyone's still pretty busy with the CSTS wrap-up. This isn't the only question I have by a long shot.


ETA: Oh, yeah, I'm also a Big Honkin' Nerd, and I believe I'm also a Geek of some sort...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-06-24 21:01 ]
I haven't been able to get an answer to the very basic question I posted on the CSTS public forum - but I'll assume for now that's just 'cause everyone's still pretty busy with the CSTS wrap-up. This isn't the only question I have by a long shot.

Yeah, I've been keeping an eye on the thread over there too. Figured the same, with the after CSTS busy-ness is at work.
I've also been keeping an eye on that thread, QuoterGal because I was going to ask that same question.
You people are going to self-destruct if you aren't careful.
I'd like to point out that, whilst B!x did find a jeremy vinding in colorado with a judgement of ~$1900, that a simple white pages search found more than 1 Jeremy J Vinding in colorado.
And I'd like to point out that my post specifically refers to "person or persons known as Jeremy Vinding", precisely because I cannot (right now) specify if they are the same person or merely related.

That said, however, we do know that "Jeremy Vinding" and "Jeremy J. Vinding" have physical addresses in common, if you look in all the right places. If you'd like me to post all of that and walk you through it very slowly, I can do so.

So it's safe to say they are not entirely unrelated from one another, regardless of whether or not they are the SAME Jeremy Vinding. From there, what you do with the timeline laid out in my Denver post is up to you, and to the Browncoats in Denver. Hopefully, interested parties here are bothering to actually read the linked Denver item zeitgeist mentions above for themselves.

But if you're somehow trying to suggest, Miranda, that this truly is some sort of totally random coincidence -- that the fact that a Jeremy J. Vinding owed $1900 to a debt collector and managed to pay that $1900 debt within one month of CSTS Denver raising $1900 and entrusting it to a co-organizer named Jeremy Vinding is just one wacky happenstance -- then I'm actually for once at a complete loss for words.

ETA: Actually, I should mention that also in the info I have, which I didn't remember until now, was that "Jeremy" and "Jeremy J" have the same birthdate and SSN, and an address which also appeared in the vanity domain owned by "Jeremy". Make of that what you will.

Still think he was just in the hospital or witness protection, Miranda?

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-06-25 01:08 ]
I have to say, that not hearing anything from the CSTS global steering committee at this point in time is disturbing. Can someone please detail what is being done now to prevent something like this from happening again? If not for the post from Bix, none of us who are buying movie tickets and merchandise would have even suspected this could happen - such is our faith in the Browncoat way of doing things. Right now though, I am questioning that naivete. It seems to me that there is more going on here than just the missing funds in Denver and Dallas. If CSTS asks us for money, they better be able to explain themselves more than "we can't talk about it right now because we're investigating". This happened a year ago, EN did not say anything about it till last January. Clearly, there are huge gaps here. And there is the dawning suspicion that the investigation isn't what it seems - that it has been compromised. Throw in the sponsorship questions, the lack of any transparency at all, the banning at boards, the personal attacks - tho whole thing just reeks.

When all this started, I was just a browser here but hey, I gave some hard-earned cash to EN through CSTS - I'd like some answers please. And I think a lot of us would like the same.
Self-destruction, here you come.
Many of us are worrying over that very thing, Ed R. Predicting it repeatedly in a contentious thread is not furthering the discussion though.
Yeah, I'm not seeing what that warning repetition is in service of, Ed R - and while a number of folks are worried about some aspects of fandom solidarity and cohesion as a result of this brouhaha, I would like to point out that discussion of a problem isn't the problem - the actual problem is the problem, which discussion can both reveal and help resolve.
You people are going to self-destruct if you aren't careful.


I'm trying to parse this, but I'm at a loss.

"You people"? Which people? Members have commented from different perspectives and to different effect. There isn't an undifferentiated mass of "people" here.

"Self-destruct if you aren't careful"? Again, that can't be a possibility for a group of individual members, none of whom individually has the capacity to "self-destruct." If we're talking about Whedonesque, have no fear - the site will not implode on account of one discussion thread regarding one issue, as important as that issue may be to many. And, in any case, I've read nothing here that would trigger such an event, only a bunch of (largely) reasonable and calm comments. And we'll be keeping an eye out to make sure it stays that way. Ta.
I think he meant CSTS, SNT. But yeah, misdirected comment nonetheless.
I am a fan who gave money. It DAMN well is my right to know if my money or my friends' right to know if their money hasn't yet made it to the charity A YEAR LATER.

Bix, you aren't always my favourite, but thank you for doing the hard right thing and telling us. We have every right to know.

I'm not mad at CSTC. I'm mad at whoever screwed Equality Now and Browncoats out of their hard-earned money. 'It just got lost'. My muscular buttocks.

I'm mad as hell, but you know what, I still went to my local CSTS screening, and still donated.

I would have been madder if this news were released AFTER I had donated again.

I don't care about proof and what not. You don't have to name names (and I don't think anyone did, because I've been trying to figure out who to curse and cannot find the names of the suspected thieves), but a courteous, "The money from two of the cities from last year STILL hasn't been accounted for or received by Equality now, but we're on it and investigating it, email us with questions," SOMETHING would have been appropriate.

People trying to shut Bix up is ridiculous. Yes, it may have affected how many people came out to the CSTS screenings, but you know what? It's our frackin' money and we have every right to know if something fishy is going on.

I'm still donating, although along with my CSTS donation I'm going to be making private ones to Equality Now as well.

But this is pathetic. Pulling another Booster events! By the way, Booster, you and your three still suck lobster balls. Did you ever even apologize? I looked for it, never saw.

Again, I understand the concern in keeping it under wraps, but being afraid that it would mess up this year's CSTS screenings is NOT a good enough reason for this to have gone on A YEAR with no word.

THANK YOU BIX! I still have faith in the fandom, and I don't hold every CSTS person individually responsible for the theft. I know how hard it is to put together and host one of these. Again, I do think whoever was part of the decision trying to keep it underwraps was misguided, but hey, I'll forgive you. The fandom will forgive you too. But you need to gorram promise us, if something like this goes down again YOU WILL INFORM US WITHIN A FEW MONTHS of the screenings, not wait until it leaks into the fandom a YEAR later, for Buddha's sake! (This rambling is from emotion and may not make total sense but I am sincere and I feel BIX did right by the fans and everyone).

[ edited by Carmencita on 2008-06-25 06:04 ]

[ edited by Carmencita on 2008-06-25 06:05 ]
Color me shouted down.
I didn't mean CSTS or Whedonesque.
I reread all the comments, and I'm still with Bix. Even EQUALITY NOW (if they did in fact 'forbid' anyone from being forthcoming about the missing donations) DOES NOT HAVE A RIGHT to keep this information from me since I am voluntarily DONATING. Now, I'm not annoyed at Equality Now (I loves them), but I simply maintain that no one can tell me that I cannot know the truth about my money.

You guys should have come forward with this MONTHS ago, and again, BIX did the HARD RIGHT thing. He knew HOW IMPORTANT it was to come forward with this before another year's worth of donations went in the kitty.

Again, I still support all the people who are hosting and running the CSTS screenings. I will still donate to Equality Now. I still HEART all true Browncoats.

But we had a right to know, and Bix, I still cannot commend you enough for coming forward even though you're taking so much flack. And I'm not anti-Tara or anyone in particular (save mebbe the thieves). People make mistakes, and most everyone here was just trying to do right as they saw it.

[ edited by Carmencita on 2008-06-25 06:03 ]
Carmencita, can you refrain from repeated shouting? Thanks.
SoddingNancy, that is how I put emphasis places because I don't know how to do bold or italics on here. But even if it were meant it as shouting, that would be okay, since I am angry, and it's my money we're talking about as being part of the Browncoat community who donated last year. It's not like it was in all caps, anyway.

A lot of fans still didn't know about this. Many who went to the screening I went to didn't know either. That's a rotten shame. They still donated, but now they're going to try and be part of the solution to make every dollar accounted for.

even if it were meant it as shouting, that would be okay, since I am angry



No, it would not be 'okay since you're angry', since you are currently a guest in our house. Were you to step outside and shout in your own space, it would be ok. In here, please adhere to our policies and respect instructions from our moderators.
So, now we know why Jeremy ripped us off, but that doesn't get us any closer to getting reimbursed.

I don't think it's wholly unreasonable to assume that EN had very good reasons for not going public with this matter beyond simple embarrassment, like the oft-cited ongoing investigation. Considering the dollar amount, I think it's also not unreasonable to assume that the police are involved, and it might very well be the police's insistence that things be kept quiet until the investigation reaches a certain point.

Now, suppose, just suppose, that blabbing all this in front of God and everyone has sufficiently hindered the investigation that tracking down either Jeremy or the missing money is now impossible?

What're the chances that EN might choose to then target the aspiring whistle blower who screwed up said investigation? Or, if the police are involved after all, that they might not feel compelled to bring a charge of obstruction of justice against this civil minded busybody?

Just wonderin'....

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-25 07:21 ]

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-06-25 07:24 ]
Honestly? Aside from anything else, that "obstruction of justice" thing seems like a mega-overreach - j'en doute, bigtime.
Far be it from me to claim to speak on behalf of EN (the way some others have been doing in this thread), but I think it's safe to say that the organization has neither the plan nor the desire to target me for anything other than the thanks they gave me for starting CSTS at this past weekend's event in Portland.

As for obstruction of justice, publicly posting public information is no more obstruction of justice here than it would have been if a newspaper had published information about the mayoral embezzlement example I gave in my original post on all of this.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-06-25 08:56 ]
Captain Robert April, see, this is what I was talking about. That scenario just sounds far-fetched and silly. If I were one of the people on the side you were defending, I would have my head in my hands right now wishing you would stop.
Captain Robert April - be careful of personal attacks.
I don't think it's wholly unreasonable to assume that EN had very good reasons for not going public with this matter beyond simple embarrassment, like the oft-cited ongoing investigation.

But again, the question of whether or not Equality Now insisted that this be kept quiet or was going along with others' suggestion has not been made clear. And that does matter to me. Besides which, ultimately, the decision to keep this quiet rests with the global staff and not Equality Now. And to use them as a shield to deflect responsibility for that deicsion isn't right, IMO.

Nor has the question of what kind of investigation is being conducted. It's been four months. I do not uderstand the logic that by telling us all that funds did not reach Equality Now four months later is suddenly going to make it impossible to get it back. Either it was a honest mistake and the person that made it would see this and immediately take steps to fix the error, (since apparently no one can get a hold of that person otherwise. Putting it out publicly might be the only to reach that person.) Or if the person who has the money has it because they never intended to give it to Equality Now... well, they never intended to give it to Equality Now.
What're the chances that EN might choose to then target the aspiring whistle blower who screwed up said investigation? Or, if the police are involved after all, that they might not feel compelled to bring a charge of obstruction of justice against this civil minded busybody?

Pretty low in both cases. See: Obstruction of justice. You're just throwing around scary legal terms you don't even understand. Seriously, stop scaremongering.
Outrageous, Sunfire. I agree. And I think it's fairly well-established that b!x has a cordial, even friendly on-going relationship with the folks at Equality Now. I'd venture that he had a pretty good idea of where the organization actually stood before he decided to come forward, and given their presence in Portland this week, I'm guessing he's continuing to speak from inside the loop.

This "EN requested that we wait," along with the "friends-investigating-friends" thing, leaves a very distinct impression that information is being parsed even further into half-truths to sound official and justify previously-made decisions, after the fact. There were ten different practical opportunities for transparency here that would have hindered nothing, and that could've saved everyone, organizers included, a world of hurt. Here's hoping that someone will step up and grab a few of them, even if it is after-the-fact.
QuoterGal - Good on ya! People need to ask the hard questions. If you drop by there - they've responded the same way. Someone should ask them what is going on now to make sure funds get to where they are intended to go. If CSTS won't answer questions about the missing monies in Denver and Dallas, then tell us exactly what is being done to protect the monies being collected now. In a way, that will mollify my feelings of distrust of the whole thing. Right now, I am more inclined to donate directly to EN in the name of my local CSTS - but that undercuts the notion of Browncoat community engendered by donating directly to the local CSTS. A lot of us gave hard-earned cash at the last weekend's events - I think I have the right to know how its being safeguarded.
I'd rather that they focus on handling this year's money first and foremost, and then release a statement that addresses questions. But I do think they need to answer them very soon.
I've had a request from Tara, this year's Dallas organizer (who, as I pointed out in my original post, "did not know until about a month or so ago and has been instrumental in getting the situation addressed"), to post some remarks from her:

Would you be so kind as to please post a statement on Whedonesque.com (I am not a registered member of that, or any other fan site) restating your knowledge of the fact that I only knew about the missing funds since after the middle of May, and I am using every legal effort to help regain those funds from last year's organizer (who had also started out to be this year's organizer) for Equality Now. I also, in those 4 weeks, completely organized the local event. I did so in every effort to "make good" on the (already promised by the original organizer) tickets and packages purchased, and to recover this year's funds, because otherwise, I believe this year's event would not have happened. AT ALL.

I believe this is a good time to say that if anyone reads something directly pertaining to them here on the Black and would like to respond, please email an admin and we'll help you find your voice.
Tara sounds like she really stepped up, with very little time to prepare, and made it happen in Dallas. She must rock extra hard.
Indeed. While I'm critical of some of the decisions made about going public with what was going on, I do recognize that there's been a lot of superhero-level effort going on behind the scenes to make sure that this year's events went off without a hitch. Especially in Dallas and Denver.
Quite so, well done to all you organizers struggling out there to make a magical night and a better world. Good on you!
Anyone here know what's happened with the CSTS forum? It seems to be down at the moment.

ETA: Never mind, it's back up. I seem to have a knack for trying links at precisely the wrong moment.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-26 14:44 ]
We are experiencing server issues at the moment. Nothing we can do at our end, but it has gone down at least 3 times in the last 6 hours that I am aware of. Hopefully the problem will be resolved at our server's end soon.
You people are still discussing this? Really? I think it's best for everyone if this matter is dropped until the organizers CAN say something.
Well, to be precise, we really haven't been talking about this for 25 hours and 21 minutes, or in w-esque time, for 351 whole comments, until you mentioned it again.

But with the natural perversity that seems to be mine, I must respectfully disagree that it's best for everyone if it's dropped until the organizers decide they can say something. Based on recent history, what's best for some might not be best for others - and I'm not particularly inclined at this point to appoint Global-CSTS as keepers of the BC conscience. It's for each person to decide what they want to bring up, ask, or impart.

That said, though, that's all I have to add to the conversation, at the moment. I'll be sure and post here when I have something more to say... ; >
Yes, thanks BrownCoat_Tabz for bringing this thread back to my attention. I had missed a number of these last posts and I generally come down on the side of communication.

Oh, and Tara has come out well in this whole thing from the beginning. Good for people like her who are willing to step in and take up such a gargantuan job.
Yes Tabz, and as people, I feel qualified tell you it's not going to stop any time soon. It's how people are. We chat. And the less actual information disclosed, the more people tend to chat. It's basic human behavior. It's why I'm surprised the timing of an official statement is so slow. Generally PR people want to move as fast as possible to avoid the chatter. But CSTS is a volunteer fandom effort, so I think a bit more patience is due. On their part, CSTS leadership must recognize that there's a real trade-off for that slow timing: we have time to chat, and we will. Patience is all anyone has a right to ask for from us CSTS supporters in this. Patience, but not silence. And even patience has a limit.

At this point, I've had a little time to dig around on other boards and feel the fan mood out. And to paraphrase an excellent quote from someone else: the "it's better to keep quiet" attitude is the exact last thing anyone should ever expect of Browncoats. This is a group of people rallying behind "Can't stop the signal" and a story about a group of people risking their lives to get a message out. And no, a financial messup is not equal to that. That's exciting drama, and this is mundane reality. But given the power of Mal's soliloquy, which is entirely about publicly disclosing information that a group of well-intended people who made a mistake thought it best to keep quiet, anyone repeatedly asking this particular fandom to sit still and be quiet for the greater good is talking to the wrong crowd entirely. Furthermore, it's very insulting to be repeatedly asked to be quiet when this is about the most reasonable and least accusatory conversation anyone could ever hope to see take place about missing money that was donated for charity. Please give us the respect we are due-- we are quite capable of discussing this reasonably. Whedonesque is the best place to discuss this because the rules of discourse are very clear, the standard is very high, and the mods do a fantastic job of keeping the conversation from becoming anything accusatory.

Like everyone else, I'm waiting for the official statement. I'm not being obnoxious about it. I'm trusting the CSTS leadership to get that statement out soon now that they've seen the reaction to this. But I will not stop discussing the issue among other CSTS supporters. It troubles me that anyone would ask that of me.

It is troubling to me that we were not informed sooner. But it is far more troubling to me that the reaction to what's been disclosed thus far includes people darkly muttering about the dangers of discussion. Fear of all talk-- not just misinformed talk, baseless rumors, accusations, personal attacks, but all discussion whatsoever-- is not something I can get behind. Not ever. And frankly I don't understand how anyone could expect those of us rallying behind Serenity in particular to agree with that line of reasoning.

In other words, I get the message that some people consider any and all discussions of the issue to be a kind of misbehavior, regardless of the content and quality of those discussions. Now here's the thing you must understand: what you have here is a group of people who aim to misbehave when they feel it's called for. I'd expect CSTS supporters of all people to understand that, but since many of you clearly don't, I do hope I've clarified things a bit.
Wow, Sunfire. I'm stuck between silent awe and applause! That was brilliantly and beautifully put. I agree with every. single. word.

Bravo!
Ah, newcj and Sunfire, you never disappoint. And that was especially inspired, Sunfire. What you both said.

"The entire web of culture and ‘progress’, everything on earth that is man-made and not given to us by nature, is the concrete manifestation of some man's refusal to bow to Authority. We would own no more, know no more, and be no more than the first apelike hominids if it were not for the rebellious, the recalcitrant, and the intransigent." - Robert Anton Wilson, with Robert Shea, Illuminatus! Trilogy (Appendix Teth: Hagbard's Booklet)

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.” - Noam Chomsky, Red and Black

"You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson." - MR. RHINEHEART, Larry and Andy Wachowski, The Matrix
Nicely written Sunfire! There was a post on the Mile High Browncoat's board that took Mal's speech and modified it
for the events at hand...

"This record here's about [one] years old. [CSTS/Equality Now] buried it and it stayed buried until [b!x] here dug it up. This is what they were afraid [we would know]. And they were right to fear. There's a universe of folk who're gonna know it, too. Someone *has to* speak for these people.

Y'all got on this [list] for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this - [it could happen] again. Maybe [in] another [city], maybe [in] this very [city] swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... [unaware of the details]. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave. " -- Malcolm Reynolds


[ edited by dcubed on 2008-06-27 23:28 ]
Yeah that was what I meant by paraphrasing what someone else had written elsewhere. I saw that on a different board though. Mal had some other messages mixed in there I didn't want to convey here, but I thought the rewrite was brilliant.

ETA: Actually I see I wasn't clear on that before. So now you know!

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-27 23:37 ]
Sunfire: Brilliantly said.

Love the Mal's speech rewrite too.
Well, this is Tara from Dallas.
I finally joined as a member of this wonderful, informative site.
I am not a lawyer, and this investigation about the missing donation funds for CSTS Dallas 2007 will rack up a large bill very soon. If you'd like information about contributing towards it, please e-mail me privately.

Sincere thank yous,
Tara
Ugh. Why do I suspect that the lawyer will cost more than the amount of the missing funds?

Thanks, Tara for being crazy uh foolish generous enough to take this on. You are an example of the people that always awe me in this fandom.
I understand the modified Mal speech, but I would caution people to be careful of equating this to something more absolute than it is. Remember that by all accounts this is a bunch of Browncoats, who until proven otherwise, had the best intentions for doing whats right for this fandom (b!X and the CSTS Global folks both). I also worry that it lumps EN in with CSTS in keeping things on the dl when that may or may not be true. CSTS has implied that they speak for EN, but no one will come out and say that its the case (which makes me think that its not the case).

I realize the allure of such a mythic and obvious comparison as the Alliance also by all accounts had good intentions, but its really something to think about as it has the potential to be very (and needlessly) divisive.

I will also go out on what is not a limb at all and say that discouraging discussion for any reason is not something that I like/agree with/support. Talk away! That's what we do. That's how we learn and grow and get to know one another. That's how we can get through things like this together that have tremendous potential to divide us. If anyone tells you you can't, you point them to the email address in my profile and I'll explain to them how things work here.
Vinding allegedly comes out of hiding at least long enough to drop a donation, and some sort of unspecified apology, to Equality Now.
Well that's good. And the other amount is being paid back on some sort of schedule by the other person, correct? So Equality Now may be well on the way to getting their money back?
My goodness. All this kerfluffle from CSTS Global for nothing. No matter what b!x said, the situation is being resolved. And the timing is curious, so who knows? It could have been his whistle-blowing that brought this person out of hiding. And if not? Well it certainly didn't hinder them from doing it.

Winners? The people who donated, because finally their money is going where they intended it to go. EN for finally getting the pledged money. b!x for being a stand-up person and letting everyone know the situation.

Losers? CSTS. How they handled this has left a bad taste in my mouth, and I know I'm not the only one. Their reputation can be fixed, but they're going to have to drop the attitude and make strides in actually being transparent, rather than just putting words to it. I think they can overcome this, and I hope they do.
Well, well, well. That would be good news, indeed - good on everyone that was a catalyst in making this happen, if so.

And Dizzy says it, as she tends to do.

(I'm a day late and a dollar short - or at least slow to catch this - but honestly, deadlines are kicking my butt...)
*slips QuoterGal a dollar*
*slips it gratefully into her ComicCon-dwindled bank account.*
*slips QuoterGal a dollar*

And nothing says thank you like dollars in the waistband ;)

Here's hoping "allegedly" is soon confirmed as fact. Good to hear things look like they are finally getting resolved.
It is Equality Now itself which told me JV submitted a full donation via their website. I hedged with "allegedly" only because I have no way of knowing if it was actually JV or someone on his behalf -- although the inclusion of an apologetic statement of some sort would tend to pretty clearly suggest that it was actually him.
Any word on when Beth and the rest are going to finally say something? This is ridiculous. Are they trying to wait until no one cares anymore? Wait until a new global organizer is appointed and she can pass the buck?
TamaraC, I asked them about their timeframe on their forum within the first few days of this story breaking. At that time, Beth said they hoped to get it out within a month. While I still stand by my earlier statement that some patience is due (I'm sure managing CSTS 2008 has been time-consuming), I do think faster would be better.
Have to remember that the decision on when & what to say has never been completely up to CSTS Global. Since the very beginning Global has had to coordinate with EN and others officially involved in the investigations for all progessions, while most are also trying to make '08 a success. The fact that there doesn't seem to be a great uproar from a large amount of individuals in either of the troubled cities gives comfort that it is highly unlikely that those that would be considered victims in these cases feel as such themselves and/or feel that their respective organizers are taking care of them.
Have to remember that the decision on when & what to say has never been completely up to CSTS Global.

I'm sorry, but no. The decision is not up to anyone else but the Global Team. Equality Now could have asked, but it is still up to the organizers themselves whether or not to tell everyone else that there was a problem. And there might not have been a "great uproar" because a lot of those people still have no idea that there was a problem.
This is not just about those two cities anyhow. It's about every singler person that handed over money to someone that they probably do not know believing that it will get where it is intended and that TPTB will make sure that it does, or inform everyone if there is a problem if it doesn't. That is the only way to ensure that everyone feels that "their respective organizers are taking care of them." Hiding what happened? Not taking care of anyone but themselves.
What NYPinTA said!
There actually IS a big difference in "hiding" and not making a public announcement. Just because it hasn't been broadwaved to everyone in the 'Verse doesn't mean the affected public didn't know. I've DEFinitely gotten information that pertains to my personal involvement in different events over the years by other means than a full-on broadcast. There ARE other means of communication than public announcements. Also, EN would be VERY influential in how this was handled as the recipient of the funds and the only legally recognized organization in this matter, and I can't imagine CSTS Global would want to jeopardize the relationship with EN if this annual event was desired to be continued. I've similarly been on both sides of this coin as previously working for a non-profit organization and having organized a event to raise money for a charity, and in all my experiences the legally recognized organization has a great deal of pull when dealing with individuals or groups that are trying to do good works in its name.
What is the difference? And who in the "affected public" knew? Did anyone who gave over their hard earned money really know before bix's post?

And Equality Now may be "influential" in the decision, but it is NOT their decision. And whether or not CSTS has a good relationship with EN isn't going to matter a whole hell of a lot if CTST doesn't have any relationship with the thousands of people that go to the screenings and give up their money.

Also, Equality Now has never made any statement one way or the other if it was them that wanted the missing funds issue to be kept quiet. The only people that are claiming they have are the same people that did not disclose the problem in the first place.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-07-04 03:12 ]

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-07-04 03:12 ]
I won't speak for either city on who knew what when because it's not my place to do so as I'm surely not the authority. I will just say that assumptions are what often get people in trouble. Also, would it matter a whole hell of a lot if EN decided to NOT participate in CSTS any longer? Obviously there are other charities out there, but if CSTS burns a bridge with one will others want to have anything to do the event? Seems to me that Global would be stuck no matter which way they went. It's really easy to crucify CSTS Global from a single dimension point of view, but I'm just saying as a person that has a variety of experience in this sort of stuff (and NOT involved in any CSTS funds investigation) that there is always more going on behind the curtain. That's just how organizations of any variety work, and, again, EN being the only legally recognized entity could very well be the final decision-maker. I, too wish they'd make a statement regarding their stance in all this, but I will also continue to try and look on this as objectively and practically as possible.
There have been no bridges burned between CSTS and EN as a result of this. Just to set that issue aside here.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-04 04:35 ]
This whole "EN wanted to keep the situation quiet" angle really seems like a load of bull to me and is getting very tiresome. I mean, how can anyone honestly think that a charity who has been the recipient of over one hundred sixty THOUSAND dollars without having to invest any of their normal work time to raise that money (writing grants, major staff effort, make individual donor solicitations, etc.) would consider disassociating from that fundraising source over a measly few thousand dollars that is being repaid anyway. I realize that no matter what the amount it is important to the CSTS donors--and to the legitimacy of the entire CSTS effort and all of us who support it--but EN doesn't have to do any work to get those funds and they don't keep the books on these events and while I'm sure they care, I can't imagine them turning down the money or disassociating with the effort. No way. And for that matter, I can't imagine them getting involved to the level of making demands on the organization regarding public disclosure.
Efforts to recover the funds missing from Dallas 2007 are:

a) ongoing
b) expensive
c) very sensitive
d) extremely nerve-wracking for everyone involved
e) strictly of a voluntary nature
f) all of the above



The correct answer is f.


No,I'm not involved. I'm no official spokesperson. But knowing the people who are involved, and seeing the tremendous obstacles in their path, and recognizing their true character, I can safely say that all of the above are true statements.

One thing that I find missing from the expressed opinions on this issue is trust. People have twisted script soliloquies, questioned authority, cheered others doing both, and demanded to know the truth- but they are not trusting the people involved in recovering funds. I've seen, up close and personal, how this issue is affecting everyone actively involved, and how they are handling it. I can tell you, this is no walk in the park and none of this armchair moralizing or Mal Reynolds quoting or second-guessing is making it any easier.

See, it's CSTS 2007 money that's missing. It's not CSTS 2008's organizer's problem, but she's doing what the job needing done requires because she feels it's the right thing to do. I trust this person's judgment, instincts, ethics, and personal character implicitly and explicitly- if this person says she needs something, she doesn't just WANT it, it's an honest requirement of the task at hand.

Note that she hasn't asked any of you for anything so far, except to point out that the attorney bill will be high. She hasn't asked anyone to stop talking, or to stop expressing opinions, or any of that. She's not even asking for general help in the matter.

What she needs most in all this, I think, is trust. She needs your trust in her. I know her well, and she would never ask for it- she would tell me that she thinks she has to earn it. She earned my trust long ago, and if you knew what she'd already done for CSTS this year alone, you'd feel she's earned yours as well.

I realize that I'm asking you all to act on a little Blind Faith here. You're being asked to trust someone you don't know by someone ELSE you don't know- not exactly a situation that engenders a warm fuzzy. If she has to do this without your trust and support, so be it, she will, she's up to the task- I don't think there's anything this woman can't do. But it would make things easier on her, not to mention much more rewarding personally, if you let her know that you trust her and support her efforts to recover these funds for CSTS and Equality Now. It would really do her some greatly deserved - and truly needed - good right now if you dropped her a private email that showed your support for her ( Good vibes, people. She need 'em, I think ). And it would knock her silly if you gave her 5 bucks toward the lawyer bill. Well, sillier, anyway. She'll probably still be mad at me for begging on her behalf, but that's a hit I'll have to take for the cause. I believe in her and I know she'll do everything possible to recover as much of the funds as she possibly can. Please trust her!
One thing that I find missing from the expressed opinions on this issue is trust. People have twisted script soliloquies, questioned authority, cheered others doing both, and demanded to know the truth- but they are not trusting the people involved in recovering funds.

Actually that is totally untrue. I have not seen one statement that indicates a mistrust of the new Dallas coordinator (or whatever her correct title is) or anyone trying to recover funds. The indication has been that the new Dallas coordinator is, and has been, going above and beyond in to take care of a problem that had nothing to do with her. There have been thanks and cheers for her.

Trust is what every person who attends a CSTS screening does. They trust that the money that they expect to get to EN will get there. That tust was broken in two cities. This whole thing is about whether that trust was broken again when that broken trust was not communicated in a reasonable period of time or whether B!x somehow broke a trust by whistle-blowing. Even if your point were true that people were not blindly trusting people you knew personally to be trustworthy, why should we when we don't personally know the people and this whole thing started because trust has been broken. I think your outrage is misplaced.
Please do not send money to me personally.
I have not made this request.
Although Ed means well and has been of great support, some of his statements are incorrect. I did however ask for you to e-mail me if you have expressed concern with helping, and if the need arises for assistance with the legal bill, and I would make arrangements with the firm for any donations to go straight to them.

CSTS Global has been amazing with their help and advice with the matter of the investigation of missing donation from CSTS Dallas 2007. Also let it be heard that the effort, support and connections offered and made, by DFW attendees and close friends, are of an unparalleled strength and a true force to reckoned with.

If all goes as well as suspected, this resolution will be swift and justified.


Thank you,
Tara
the NEW organizer of CSTS 2008 North Texas
(We are all volunteers, so a title by any other name is just as sweet. I am just a newish fan and a supporter of equal rights and treatment of women all over the verse.)

[ edited by TaraInTexas on 2008-07-04 16:53 ]

[ edited by TaraInTexas on 2008-07-04 16:56 ]
Well, it's become obviouser and obviouser that I can't keep up with all you big boys and girls so I'll just go find a nice kiddie pool to splash around in.
Enjoy your adult swim, now;)
Apparently, telling Bix, self-appointed whistle blower, to "mind your own damn business" is considered a personal attack, and thus, the post that was in this space has been deleted from on high.

No matter, I simply dug up the original message, changed a few pronouns around, and sent it directly to him.

My point, and I do have one, is that no matter how high minded his intentions may be, or how many disclaimers he sticks in the preambles, his continual rants and dragging out internal business of groups he isn't even a part of, constitute a backhanded attack on the Denver and Dallas groups, and that is not something I am going to let happen, at least not without a fight.

[ edited by Captain Robert April on 2008-07-06 17:10 ]
That last comment was nothing more than a personal attack from beginning to end and, so, was deleted. If you want to engage in that, fine, but it's not going to happen here. Thanks.
Captain Robert April - there are ways to discuss something constructively and not engage in personal attacks. Others on this thread have shown that, while you go the other route and then act befuddled when you get called on it. When an admin edits your post, the smart thing to do is probably not to re-edit it to put the objectionable material back into it. You'll have plenty of time to think about that now that you aren't going to be posting.
So what about Denver? Is that resolved? Where are the details on that? Where is the announcement from CSTS? Still waiting...

And I don't see any reason to trust anyone when the initial trust was broken and then covered up.
I've been keeping my ear to the ground on this subject, and all I've got to say is, can we PLEASE drop it? There are those of us who think that what b!X did was way out of line, and those who defend him. Let's just all agree to disagree and drop this whole subject before things get too hot in here. I may be a newbie, but this kind of infighting makes me mad.
As a MHBC and someone who loves what CSTS stands for, I second the motion.
. Let's just all agree to disagree and drop this whole subject before things get too hot in here. I may be a newbie, but this kind of infighting makes me mad.

There's a lot of ground for discussion that lies in the space between infighting and silence. Welcome to Whedonesque!
That sentence should probably be displayed somewhere in bold text, Sunfire ;)
What Sunfire said.

Playing the blame game may not be useful, but there is still plenty to work out on this subject. I hope the personal attacks will stop, but I hope the discussion of the important points continues.
( ) Infighting
( ) Silence
(X) Discussion, openness, transparency, consensus
Okay, here's my analysis of the whole situation, based on what I've heard and the things I've read on this board so far (note to mods: any critical comments I make about b!X or any of the other parties involved are not, repeat NOT, personal attacks. I'm just looking at this from all sides):

1) Could the Mile High Browncoats have released the inforamtion with regards to the missing funds sooner?

This is kind of a fuzzy area, at least to me. If MHBC's leadership were indeed under some sort of gag order, whether from Equality Now or any legal counsel that might have been involved, then they had an obligation to keep it quiet for the time being. Granted, they should have been given leave to make at least a minimal statement, but if legal counsel were indeed involved, then they might have had good reason for staying quiet.

2) Did b!X foul up by trumpeting the information without giving the personalities involved a chance to explain themselves?

Yes...and no. While there is a right for the fans who go to the CSTS screenings to know where their money's gone, it is my opinion that the way b!X went about it was akin to the tabloid media's disclosure of the identity of Katelyn Faber, the girl who accused Kobe Bryant of rape. Had b!X made inquiries to the Denver group I'm fairly sure they would have given him an answer, even if it was only that they couldn't discuss it for whatever reason.

3) Do I "hate" b!X for posting the information regarding both Denver's and the Texas groups' money issues for God and everybody to see?

There is something that I've heard in Trekkie circles with regards to Brannon Braga's mishandling of the entire Trek franchise: "I don't hate you; I hate what you've done to Trek." I don't hate b!X, but I do hate what's been happening on these boards as a result of the questions that have arisen. I hate divisiveness, and that is precisely what these posts regarding the missing CSTS funds have generated: divisiveness and animosity among Browncoats.

4) Do I "hate" Jeremy Vinding?

Heck, no! If anything, I pity him. His actions have cost him a lot, and I see his repayment of the missing funds plus an extra $600 as too little, too late. I think there's going to be a lot of hard feelings on the part of certain people toward Jeremy for a long time, no matter how many mea culpas he makes.

Anyway, that's my opinion on the situation, and you know what they say about opinions..... ;-)
Just to clarify something: Regardless of one's position on when or if information should have been made public, the "gag order" thing is a red herring.

While some legal authority might request or (if a judge) impose a gag order on discussing specifics or details, outside of national security you're not really going to find anyone requesting/imposing a "gag order" even on the act of publicly disclosing simply that money is missing and an "investigation" (of some variety) is underway.

That money was missing and some sort of unspecified investigation was underway never was some sort of privileged or protected information (if it were, it never would have even been revealed to anyone outside of CSTS Global), except in the personal opinion of a handful of people.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-07 20:04 ]
I totally missed the part where any of this was like a tabloid. Clearly I should read tabloids more often.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-07-07 19:58 ]
Two other clarifications, which are actually intertwined.

Prior to my going public, I told CSTS that I would be doing so. If any involved party had anything to say, either on their own or as a response to my own piece, the opportunity was given. So the argument that I did not give Dallas or Denver a chance to respond is, simply, false.

But this also underscores my point above: If there really had been some sort of legal/judicial prohibition on the release of the information, the forewarning I gave to CSTS, Denver, and Dallas would have been enough time for them to have a lawyer contact me to tell or ask me not to say anything.

At no time in any of this has anyone's legal counsel, any police officer, or any officer of the court contacted me in any capacity or to say anything to me, despite plenty of time to do so both before and after I went public.

So, let that put to rest any of that nonsense once and for all.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-07 20:08 ]
The more people are told to stop discussing the issue, the more skeptical I become of those telling us to just hush--and frankly, the more I think it needs to be discussed. The burden of disclosing information at this point is on CSTS. If they refuse to provide actual answers and only give vague statements no one outside of the inner circle can verify, they must expect the public will talk. Additionally, as someone who has donated to CSTS in the past, I feel I have a right to continue this discussion, and resent the directive from anyone that I should just be quiet. From the beginning, CSTS Global have handled this like a nightmare, and they continue to place blame in the wrong places. And the fact that they think we, the fans and folks who have donated to CSTS should just trust everything they say, when everything they’ve said has been defensive and evasive? Well, I gotta say, it ain’t this fandom that’s in trouble of falling apart.
The issue of the missing funds, b!X's blogs and the ensuing discussions did not "cause" division - it may have more clearly revealed some divisions, but it didn't cause them.

There are and have been disagreements within the fandom about 1) the most effective leadership/organizational models, 2) the most democratic leadership/organizational models, 3) decision-making and financial transparency 4) means vs. end and 5) theory vs. praxis 6) inclusion vs. exclusion, and so on. (Oddly, these differences in the fandom reflect political differences throughout time and all over the world.)

This will probably be true as long as there is 1) more than one person in an organization and they are 2) doing stuff. It's the nature of the political beast, and b!X served as a gadfly in this instance.

You don't blame the gadfly for the specific problem(s) - it's like trying to kill the messenger. You try to resolve the political conflicts that brought us here - and some of the steps necessary to do this include revelation, discussion, acceptance, willingness to change, etc. You don't solve a problem by pretending it's not there, and you don't heal a dirty wound by slapping on a band-aid.
but this kind of infighting makes me mad.


Fandom is typically fractured. The Browncoats aren't an exception. But through division and schism we grow stronger or something like that.
But through division

There you go, bringing math into this again.
I know, I really should know better.
But when you divide by a faction... er I mean fraction the result is larger. Or something.
I like what toast said the other day:

"... what doesn't kill us, usually leave us weakened enough that the next thing to come along is able to do the job."

I thought it was beautiful - like Nietzsche The Pietzsche - only even more depressing.
I was thinking about that same quote for awhile, only in Firefly context. There I think it's "What doesn't kill us usually gives us some really neat wounds and/or scars to show to other people later."
(note to mods: any critical comments I make about b!X or any of the other parties involved are not, repeat NOT, personal attacks. I'm just looking at this from all sides)


Just as a note to all reading, disclaimers like this are no defense if you then make personal attacks on someone. Badger1 - you're on thin ice with the "exposing a rape victim" analogy. It's entirely possible to look at something from all sides without saying things that make you feel as if you need a disclaimer, we do it here all of the time.
Hmmm. I always thought that that which doesn't kill us makes us really pissed off and dangerous.
It also makes us a might peckish.

ETA - any definition of peckish will work there, though I was going for the more humorous "hungry" definition.
True, I know I also get pretty grumpy when I'm hungry.
Hmmm. I always thought that that which doesn't kill us makes us really pissed off and dangerous.

If you're Mal or Jayne, yeah. Zoe and Book are just dangerous.
I always thought it was, "That which doesn't kill you, missed."

But I kind of like QuoterGal's the best. So what does that say about me?

PS As someone that also loves CSTS, I do not agree to just drop this issue.
This just in, sports fans...

From: milehighbrowncoats@yahoo.com
Sent: 7/8/2008 9:53:36 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time
Subj: [MHBC] DENVER CSTS 2007 MISSING FUNDS STATEMENT


I am pleased to report that all missing funds from Denver CSTS 2007 have been paid to Equality Now by Jeremy Vinding. Amanda Sullivan of EN has received a confirmation of a payment in the amount of $2500 as of this morning. This includes funds for our original estimate of $1900 plus an additional $600 funded by Jeremy personally. Please know that the additional funds were given voluntarily and were not demanded or even expected.

Over the past year Jeremy Vinding has had several health problems, and these struggles impeded the immediate payment of the EN funds as well as his ability to communicate with the necessary parties. At no point were the funds used by Jeremy to pay any bills or debt; they have been secured in his account this entire time. Representatives from both EN and CSTS Global have been working tirelessly with me over the past several months to find a way to get in touch with Jeremy to determine the status of the funds. While it can be easy to assume the worst, we wanted to find proof of what happened to the funds, and retrieve them as soon as possible. Family assistance over almost that entire span of the investigation had alluded to medical issues, yet nothing was verifiable until now. Issues of this severity - missing funds and failing health - each hold an intense sensitivity that require the utmost care in their handling and demand both ethical and professional considerations that could not be forced forward. We desperately wanted to avoid speculation, because the repercussions of posting conjecture can bring on worse than legal trouble. It can wrongly accuse someone that is innocent of the "suggested" crimes.

We are grateful for the hard work of those involved in bringing this matter to a favorable resolution, and thank you for your patience and understanding of the delicate information regarding this case.

Moon Knoke
Organizer CSTS Denver
Director of the Mile High Browncoats

From: milehighbrowncoats@yahoo.com
Sent: 7/8/2008 10:01:01 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time
Subj: [MHBC] A personal statement from Moon :)

It has been hard to remain mostly silent throughout the worst of this situation. Part of my silence was upon the request of CSTS Global and EN. Honestly the other reason was a true fear of making things worse. Many times I felt the need, while reading posts from people who knew nothing about our situation, to respond and defend myself, Denver and our group. I know in my heart that I made the right decision. I will not stoop to name calling nor will I attack anyone on a public board for any reason. Many people have made up their minds and trying to change their opinions is a challenge I’m not up to at the moment.

I do want to assure everyone that after many emails, phone calls and a few sleepless nights, I can say in my heart that I believe Jeremy never intended to hurt us or Equality Now. I also think that his own personal contribution to the 2007 CSTS donation goes a long way in proving that he had the funds all along. I can’t ask you to forgive Jeremy, but I do ask that you keep an open mind and heart as he tries to earn back our trust.

I would love to finally put this behind us and move on. This leads me to great news. I am pleased to report that Equality Now has received our donation of $2,400 from this year’s screening, You guys really came through with the love and to me are the “Big Damn Heroes!“ $220 of the donation was from our June Shindig with the Bards. Big heartfelt thanks to Dan, Sandy, Kimie and The Bedlam Bards for putting together a “Mighty fine shindig!”

I am still in awe at the support and trust you have given me over the last few weeks. I have never been so honored to know a finer group of people than all of you here on this board. I think Adam Baldwin said it best when he told me, “Moon, the Mile High Browncoats really do rock!”

xie xie
Moon :)

Mile High Browncoats ~ Already Breakin' Atmo!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MileHighBrowncoats

http://www.cobrowncoats.com/index.html
************************************************
After reading all that, right about now I'm feeling 5 kinds of stupid. I am a Mile High Browncoat, and while this whole thing was going on I must admit I was suspicious of Jeremy myself, especially when certain things about the case were unexpectedly brought to light. Having read Moon's statement, now I feel rather embarrassed and ashamed of my suspicions, even with the coincidence of the settlement in the Jeffco court, which, it turns out, had nothing to do with the situation Jeremy was in with his health issues and all. If I happen to run into that poor boy again, I'm going to give him a big hug and an apology.

Now, can we all get back to talking about the Whedonverse and put this subject to bed? I'm tired.
If he had the funds all along, what prevented him from emailing, calling, light signal fires, send a telegram, a text message, a note in twitter, a blog post or god knows what other form of communication we have in this present day to someone like oh, I don't know, a year ago? What about 6 months ago? Does it really take a year to donate money that has always been present?
Sorry for being skeptical here, but the week after the money didn't get donated, wouldn't someone get a hold of him to assist him with donating the money that hundreds of his local browncoats donated? In this day and age, I'd venture to say it's pretty impossible to stay hidden unless you wanted to be and that donating money isn't a labor intensive process. I'm glad the money got donated along with the extra, but... oh hell, nevermind.
The issue (for me at least) was not the details of why the money went missing (because these things happen), but how CSTS handled this. I honestly don't care why this was kept quiet--that it was kept quiet at all disturbs me. I do care that TBTB still don't understand that mistakes were made, or why people are upset, and why people are still talking about this. There seems to be resentment that we should be asking any questions at all and that people aren't filled with trust. I could deal with mistakes from good intentions, but CSTS Global doesn't seem to think any mistakes were made. That doesn't give me faith that future issues will be handled well, and thus, makes me question my continued support of them.
The quoted statements above are from the Denver CSTS/MHBC group and as far as I can tell, CSTS Global has yet to make an official statement. Me thinks that lots of folks are waiting for that statement...
for anyone still looking here, a new discussion is happening under this topic: http://whedonesque.com/comments/16823
Word, Dizzy. What you said.
Just a quick reminder that feedback and suggestions on how to improve CSTS (both at a local and global level) are being sought at the CSTS Forum (www.cantstoptheserenity.com). Apparently, the term for the Global Coordinator ends on 31 August, and the process is being started to find the next one(s).

A lot of the suggestions regarding transparancy, record keeping, process and proceedure are really important IMHO, and I think that there should be more input across the fandom on how CSTS Global functions.

I highly recommend that if you have concerns and have some possible solutions to offer, that you make them known at the CSTS forum. And if you're willing to help develop and document, please make an offer. The more input that this process has from the wider community, the greater chance we all have of ensuring that CSTS is a set up we can be happy with.
I do not logg-in but maybe once a week since I joined last month.
I have retained an attorney and he has been working on recovering the funds from CSTS 2007-Dallas. I can't make a statement regarding those actions until the attorney provides me with an approved statement to release. But I can address a comment I read this morning from JenskiJen. I do not know how to "code" a quote, so please see the following...

"...Yes, this all should have been made known in the months immediately following the events of 2007. And it should have been addressed by the 2007 Global Organizer (Devin) and the Global Steering Committee (Devin and Bix). Why it has only come out many many months later is extremely curious. Was it not known when the handover was done to the new Global Organizer? If so, why not? The 2008 Global Organiser has inherited a problem that really should have been cleared up before handover (or at least notified upon handover that the issue was still to be resolved)...." JenskiJen


For you that do not know, Devin who was the CSTS 2007 global organizer, was also the local organizer for the Dallas event for 2007, and was also the organizer for CSTS 2008 -Dallas, until I became aware (in mid May 2008) of the missing funds. This, I would assume, is why the missing donation from CSTS 2007 -Dallas was not investigated, not disclosed to the public, because it would have been Devin investigating himself. I am not aware of what communication went on between b!X and Devin about this matter, nor do I know of what communication happened between CSTS 2008 Global and Devin [edited] concerning the handover of Global organization [edited]. I did NOT know about the missing donation from CSTS 2007 Dallas until just less than 5 weeks before our local event was to take place, which is why I took it upon myself to reorganize our local event. I did NOT know last year about the missing donation. I was NOT covering anything up for months as eluded to (I can't remember who posted said suggestion.) I was, and am, still actively seeking answers and resolution.

My congratulations to all 2008 organizers as well as 2008 Global for a job well done and for their immense support of North Texas. Please note that CSTS 2008 -Dallas' donation to Equality Now for $4,318.64 has been received, confirmed and posted on the www.cantstoptheserenity.com home page.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Tara
CSTS 2008 Dallas events organizer

[ edited by TaraInTexas on 2008-07-10 19:09 ]
And it should have been addressed by the 2007 Global Organizer (Devin) and the Global Steering Committee (Devin and Bix).

I missed this before, but it needs to be addressed because people keep insinuating baseless things against me in this thread. While this timeline has been pointed out again and again, apparently we need to spell it out one more time.

The first I knew there had been no money donated from Dallas and Denver was when Equality Now brought it to everyone's attention in February. I've addressed this before, but let's go through it again:

When the news first came across, I concurred with the premise that we needed to try to determine WTF had happened. But as the months passed, no one giving any information even within the private organizers forum, no explanation for what the "investigation" was or was not, and events growing near, I did not feel right with people not knowing prior to being asked to give money again.

So. the reason it wasn't "addressed by the 2007 Global Organizer (Devin) and the Global Steering Committee (Devin and Bix)" was (1) none of us knew until February; and (2) all things considered, looking to Devin to address it seems like a rather nonsensical thing to suggest, no?

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-10 18:49 ]
Thank you for the clarification.
Your support has been quite helpful.
Bix, I was not seeking to insinuate anything about you personally. I understand your original vision of CSTS and agree with many of the points you have raised in the past.

Rather, my intention was to highlight for those who may not know that some of the issues here came to pass because there was a lack of checks and balances in the system. This could have happened to any individual in those roles, where there are conflicts of interest or a lack of communication.

To be honest, I'm not interested in assigning blame or vilifying people. What's done is done. I'd rather focus on how we can build CSTS so that this can't happen again. And I hope that you will be a part of this process.
I'm just cranky. You're quite right about the issues regarding the amorphis and ill-defined structure. The reality, IMHO, is that the only real ways to correct those issues are fairly dramatic ways that I'm not sure would go over very well.

Really, a lot of the structural thing comes up because we've basically gotten away for three years with a loose "hey guys, let's put on a show" approach. I don't think, heading towards year four, that's a viable formula.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-11 01:21 ]
I'm just cranky.
theonetruebix | July 11, 01:06 CET


You've been neglecting your Happiness Gourd, haven't you. ;)

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