A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

aka “The Brand and Bark Concerto”

In today’s roundup are Larry Correia, Cedar Sanderson, solarbird, Jim C. Hines, Stefan Raets, Patri Friedman, Allan Thomas, Steven Saus, Amanda S. Green, Sarah A. Hoyt, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Mike Flynn, Tim Atkinson, Lis Carey, Melina D, and Joe Sherry. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day JJ and RedWombat, and Anna Nimmhaus.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts” – June 18

I’m seeing this narrative pop up that Sad Puppies is calling for a boycott of Tor, but that is simply not true. Speaking as the guy who started the Sad Puppies campaign, I’m not calling for a boycott of anything. I’m not asking anyone to do anything. As far as I’m concerned this mess is between Tor and its customers. I’ve said very little about it so far, but I’ve been clear about that much.

The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts.

[Continues with a discussion of recent history, and outlines Peter Grant’s background.]

After being a soldier, Peter hung up his guns and became a man of God. SJWs are saying that he’s a homophobe because he agreed with Sad Puppies, while in real life he volunteered at a colony for homosexuals who had been forsaken by African society, dying of AIDS. When I first met him, Peter was a prison chaplain, trying to help the fallen and broken, and victims of things you can’t even imagine. Basically, he’s an honorable man who puts his money where his mouth is, and now he’s offended.

Peter asked for a retraction from the Tor editor who flippantly dismissed thousands of fans as unrepentant racist neo-nazis. I don’t believe he’s calling for anything beyond that.

Again, this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it. Yes, those Venn diagrams overlap, but sorry, you can’t blame this one on me. Many normal fans agreed with what Sad Puppies was trying to do, and shockingly enough, they eventually got sick and tired of employees of one of their favorite publishing houses calling them names. I’m not calling for anything, though I can certainly understand why some people are.

If any individual who felt insulted is satisfied with Tom Doherty’s statement saying that his employees don’t speak for his company, good for you. If any individual is unsatisfied and demands further action, that’s also up to you. I’m not going to tell anybody what to think.

For the other side who are saying that Gallo is the real victim here, and she was only speaking truth to power… Yeah, you guys run with that. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can see she her comments were nonsense. The only thing she is a victim of is arrogance.

To the SJWs saying Tom Doherty is a hateful misogynist because he isn’t letting his employees libel people on the clock anymore? Double down. There might be some people left out there who haven’t realized I was right about you yet.

To the Tor authors I’m seeing post about this, the Sad Puppies campaign is not calling for a boycott. If you are upset why people are angry take it up with your art director about why she’s insulting your customers.

To the Sad Puppies supporters, do what you think is right. All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements. Stick with the facts. We’ve got the moral high ground, and the great moderate middle of this debate has seen we’ve been telling the truth all along.

 

Cedar Sanderson in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – June 17

I have blogged extensively on this, in part because Peter Grant, who I am honored to call a friend, asked me to weigh in as a businesswoman. I have not been calling for a boycott or even a dismissal of Irene Gallo. It is simply a horrible example of unprofessional behavior, and an opportunity for Tor to show that they do respect their customers and vendors even though there is a lot of evidence that certain personnel do not.

 

solarbird on crime and the forces of evil

“this is just pathetic: puppy boycott, ahoy” – June 18

Anyway, the demands are ludicrous, but to summarise:

  • Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”
  • Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”
  • Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.”

See, this is exactly what you get when you hang one of your own out to dry for making personal comments on their own Facebook page like Tor did. You get escalation. So I’m honestly having a hard time feeling sorry for Tor Books here; it was as predictable a piece of politics as one can imagine. And I’m not just saying that in retrospect; I said so at the time.

Now mind you, this “boycott” is pretty must sad-trumpet amateur hour for several reasons, not the least is probable inability to make visible economic impact. As Vox himself admitted, he hasn’t bought anything from Tor in years, and I doubt all that many of the others who are going to sign on to this thing have either. A few, sure, absolutely – with the hilarious side-effect that means the writers they might be able to hurt are the ones on their side.

 

 

 

Patri Friedman

[Seasteader, son of David, grandson of Milton…]

“Being intolerant of people you don’t like because they’re intolerant” – June 18

So, there is some kerfluffle about Tor books, because one of their employees (Irene Gallo) said on her personal Facebook page that the sad puppies (conservatives fighting a culture war to make SF less SJW-influenced) were racist, homophobic, neo-nazis. Sad puppy supporters like SF author Peter Grant, who has literally exchanged gunfire with neo-nazis in South Africa were understandably outraged at this characterization. And (not so understandably, to me) calling for firing/resignation/public abasement of these employees. Which is where I have a problem. This sounds a lot like:

“Your business must publicly apologize for the hateful speech of your employee which has offended a small minority of listeners by publicly abasing yourselves, and promising not to do it again. This will show the world that hate cannot be tolerated; the strong cannot abuse the weak; and (incidentally) that our tribe is powerful and can grind your tribe under our boot if you dare offend us.”

Which is what anti-SJWers complain about the left doing. Sorry guys, but it’s bad when SJWs do it; and it’s bad when anti-SJWs do it, because, well, it’s bad. As I’ve previously posted, ideological diversity is important, and ideological intolerance is the enemy of ideological diversity and the progress that comes from having many opinions and beliefs working in parallel. Making people suffer professionally for their personal political opinions is stellar example of harmful ideological intolerance.

 

Allan Thomas on LewRockwell.com

“The High Church of Science Fiction and Tor” – June 19

I had heard, from several reliable sources, that it was next to impossible for a libertarian science fiction writer to break into the field.  I absolutely refused to pretend to be non-libertarian just to get published, and so I followed Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies campaign with interest.  Brad Torgerson and Vox Day were able to gather a core following of 360 voters and completely sweep the Hugo award nominations.  Yes, it only took 360 science fiction fans to completely overwhelm the existing system.

The fallout from that event still has not settled, and the awards won’t even be announced until August.  But the reaction makes it obvious that there is a sizable percentage of science fiction fandom that is “not satisfied with the products and services being offered.” Entrepreneurs have a name for this situation–”market opportunity.”

However, to date, it appears that only Castallia House is focused on providing science fiction for this segment of the market; they have even signed a new deal with legendary writer Jerry Pournelle.

For their part, Tor Books seems content to continue to ignore this dissatisfied segment of science fiction fandom.  And, in fact, Tor employees are content to insult them.

 

Steven Saus on ideatrash

“The Topical Changes In Science Fiction And Fantasy Has Nothing To Do WIth Sad Or Rabid Puppies” – June 18

The change in science fiction and fantasy over the last sixty years little to do with politics, and a lot more to do (ironically) with technology.

The current state of sf (science fiction) and f (fantasy) has a small vocal portion of its readership bemoaning the loss of “traditional” science fiction and fantasy. An oft-repeated quote is paraphrased as “Back in the day, when you bought a book with an astronaut on the cover, you knew what you were getting.”

The historical accuracy of this impression, like much nostalgia, is debatable. But more importantly, it is irrelevant.

To understand why, we must look to the Ferris Wheel….

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Time to take a deep breath, stop and think” – June 18

… I’m going to part with one last comment. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public. That has got to stop and now.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interviews Mike Flynn on Superversive SF

”Interview with Hugo Nominated Author: Mike Flynn!” – June 18

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

A supporting character in Up Jim River had a backstory in which he had journeyed across the face of his home world before making contact with an interstellar trade ship. That gave me the notion of telling his story. The idea is that as he travels east he encounters progressively more technologically advanced cultures. “In the Stone House” was the second of these stories and was originally was the first half of a longer story the second half of which (“Against the Green”) appeared in the succeeding issue of ANALOG.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Of Pigs, Fights and Life” – June 18

When I said that I couldn’t mention the letters “H-u-g- and o” in the same paragraph without getting linked, I was right.  Or I might not mention the Hugos at all, or only in passing on the last paragraph.  But if the post supports the narrative the puppy-kickers are building, sure as shooting it will get linked.  Like my post about a new Golden Age, which got linked because in their blinkered little minds we’re calling for pulp.  (Sometimes one wonders about the minds that build this narrative.  You are aware someone who grew up on pulp would be 100, right?  You are aware that Heinlein not only wasn’t pulp, but was in many ways the anti-pulp.  I mean, I read Burroughs, but mostly Tarzan, and it wasn’t my favorite.  I read him because grandad had him, so I read him by 5 or 6.  Books were expensive and we had those. But his technique was outdated by then.)

But it supported the narrative, so it got linked.  The same way that its subsequent “Oh, for the love of frack, no one wants pulp” follow up wasn’t.  The same way my friend Sanford’s post over at Otherwhere Gazette, exploding their nonsense wasn’t.  The same way my post pointing out that I felt they were linking me to homophobia and how stupid this was wasn’t.

Oh, it’s very carefully done.  There is an image being built, and he links to those posts that support it.  Then when caught it’s not his fault and he can’t control his commenters, and he can’t see everything.

And, as I said, I have been conversant with these techniques since dealing with the cobbler’s son next door, while growing up.  (Weirdly he didn’t become a communist politician, and has instead racked up several jail terms.)

So Mike Glyer is smarter than the average bear, and much better at Alinsky techniques, and I’m an idiot to fall for them and come out swinging, which meant I had a spanking coming.

 

Tim Atkinson on Magpie Moth

“Kevin J Anderson’s The Dark Between The Stars: control, not mastery” – June 18

I also hadn’t realised – according to Wikipedia – that KJA has written more than 50 best-sellers. It’s easy to be sniffy about writers who tend to work in already established universes, but you don’t keep getting those gigs unless you are good at what you do.

So, before I talk you through The Dark Between The Stars, it’s hats off to an author doing very well for himself at the commercial end of the market.

Dark is more of what Anderson does – space opera on an epic scale – only in a sandbox of his own devising to play in. And what an elaborate, detailed, techno-baroque sandbox it is too, taking in psychic empires, gas giant mining, insectoid robot, gestalt forests, plague collectors and colours from out of spaaaaaaaaaace.

This world-bling – to borrow a phrase from China Mieville – is one of two main admirable qualities the novel has, the other being the plotting. Anderson juggles a huge cast and multiple plot-lines without breaking a sweat, like the hugely experienced pro he is.

But I’m essentially praising Dark as a feat of literary engineering rather than as a novel. These are virtues of control rather than mastery. The array of characters I found unengaging and rather one-dimensional, the action curiously flat. And the sheer size of the book and number of stories spreads Anderson too thinly, so that no single thread truly breathes in its own right.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Deaths of Tao (The Lives of Tao #2), by Wesley Chu” – June 18

Wesley Chu is a nominee for the 2015 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

…All in all, I nearly bounced off this book.

And then, thirty or forty pages in, the characters started to matter to me, and their problems became interesting, and a bit further in, I stopped caring that this is a story type I normally find really dumb and annoying. What can you do? I kept reading. Best New Writer? That seems a fair conclusion, even with the slates this year having possibly kept other good candidates off the ballot….

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Novellas” – June 18

[Reviews all five nominated novellas.]

So today I got the Hugo Packet and decided I would start to read some of the fiction. I haven’t completely decided how I’m going to arrange my votes around the slate, but I was curious about why certain fiction was chosen to be part of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slate. I gave myself permission to give up on short fiction after at least 6 pages if I wanted to. But when I began reading the novellas, I started to get angry. Really bloody angry. So, of course, I decided to blog about them.

The novella category is one of those which was completely stacked by the puppies. I was expecting fiction which wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but still well written examples of fiction I might not usually choose to read. But, honestly, the writing was shit. I’m going to go into more detail on each of the novellas, but 4 out of the 5 of them shouldn’t have been published with such low quality of writing. The 5th was competent – which was a relief – but nowhere near award nomination quality….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novelette” – June 18

The best of the bunch here is Rajnar Vajra’s “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, though I’m really not sure what the “Golden Age” part of it is all about. Is it a suggestion that the story harkens back to the golden age of science fiction or is it part of a larger Golden Age milieu that Vajra is working in. If the second, I can’t find any other Golden Age tales. Regardless, “The Triple Sun” is a story with some space exploration, adventure, sass, and all in all good fun.

My Vote

1. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
2. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
3. Championship B’Tok
4. The Day the World Turned Upside Down
5. No Award
6. The Journeyman: In the Stone House

1,098 thoughts on “A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

  1. Ann Somerville

    “There are thousands of fans sympathetic to the Sad Puppies.”

    [citation needed]

    Just off the top of my head, didn’t Mike Glyer mention Sarah Hoyt’s blog has 5,000 more followers than he does?

  2. [yay, Mike got the style change to take!]

    Brian Z: “didn’t Mike Glyer mention Sarah Hoyt’s blog has 5,000 more followers than he does?”

    You know, that’s the kind of conflation that if any one else had done it, you or Ms Hoyt would be screaming like a banshee about #notallpuppies

    Not all Mike’s readers are against the puppies. The assumption that all Hoyt’s readers are pro puppies is unproven – how many of them are just checking out the latest craziness? And how many of those who aren’t, are actually interested in the slates or the Hugos at all?

    I’m off to play Angry birds, Michael Z Williamson’s heartlessness having sapped any energy I have to argue with you or anyone else this evening. Have fun.

  3. Aaron on June 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm said:
    So MZW used Monty Python as a defense in his blog post about his tasteless racist “joke”. He also referenced the Holocaust. Did Python ever do a joke or skit about the Holocaust? Did they do a bit making fun of the victims of some mass murder?

    I suppose one might raise their Spanish Inquisition routine, but I would see the difference there being that Python was making fun of the Inquisition and mocking them, and not the victims of the Inquisition.

    I’ve seen a lot of Python, and I don’t remember seeing any kind of skit that would be even remotely in the same category as MZW’s “joke”. I could have missed something though. So, anyone? Does such a joke from Python exist?

    Not that I can recall. The Python troupe had too much class. (And yes, I know.)

    I did notice John C. Wright in one of his quotes about dragging people out and lynching them from lampposts said that observers should quote Monty Python jokes and laugh as the victims’ feet kicked.

    So maybe the Puppies have a thing for Python humor.

  4. @Brian Z

    The Sad Puppies are running a virtually identical email campaign concurrently to Grant’s, and Grant is running a boycott. Sad Puppies are aiding a boycott campaign.

  5. Noah: Yes, but unless I’m overlooking something advanced search cannot search your own collection of books, only books available for purchase.

  6. The Sad Puppies are running a virtually identical email campaign concurrently to Grant’s, and Grant is running a boycott.

    I think Nightingale is giving Peter Grant too much time away from his apprentice duties.

  7. Ann Somerville – sorry I don’t have hard numbers. Knock down something for me!

    Meredith, what email campaign is Sad Puppies running?

  8. Brian

    The email campaign that their inner circle as you define it were dog-whistling (puppy whistling?) about yesterday.

    Personally, I like Johan P’s post on that

  9. snowcrash, I started to write a response about how it can’t be “running a virtually identical email campaign” to Peter Grant’s when no emails are called for and the post is titled “not calling for any boycotts” but then I realized you’d just have me chasing my own tail.

  10. @influxus “I think Nightingale is giving Peter Grant too much time away from his apprentice duties.”

    Just wait to see what he’ll say when he finds out what Peter has been up to!

  11. @Meredith & Snowcrash

    Surely that’s a boycott and not an email campaign any longer? The linked post by Johan seems to be talking solely about the boycott and I have not heard anything about the email campaign continuing.

  12. Just wanted to add that Brian Z doesn’t understand E Pluribus Hugo (based on his comments) and instead of educating himself has started in a FUD campaign.
    He’s lying. There is no penalizing, much less a harsh one for picking more than one nominee. As the FAQ makes clear, nominating more than one work is only a disadvantage if (a) the other work is competing for fifth position (b) by a single vote or fraction thereof. Which is highly unlikely and more importantly impossible to determine in advance (hence strategically nominating just one work is pointless). Even if it occurs, the voter in question still get’s their other choice (in the case of 2 nominations) on the ballot. Which said voter might not have gotten by nominating just one work, because the second choice is subject to the “fraction of a point when competing for fifth place” problem too. And it’s impossible to tell in advance which is which.

  13. I tried to move my reply over to the next thread but it disappeared. Let me try again here.

    So, I’m concerned that 1) with the concern for fairness, the commitment to identifying excellence may get lost in the shuffle; 2) we don’t understand well how might voter behavior actually change; 3) to my non-expert eye, this seems potentially vulnerable to a variety of exploits and I wonder if that can be examined by an independent group of specialists, at least before any final ratification if there is not time to do it by August. Otherwise, thanks for responding to my concerns and I look forward to continuing the discussion.

    For those playing along at home there is some relevant text from the EPH FAQ Question # 7.

  14. If people are still reading some more London fantasy

    Mike Shevdon – The Courts Of The Feyre series, and the first book Sixty-One Nails in particular.

    Tom Pollock – The Skyscraper Throne series. I’ve only read the first of this series The City’s Son but it has some really good sections in it.

  15. Someone named “Ian Tregillis” isn’t British?! What the actual —

    He’s from Minnesota. Damn.

    I hear a rich billionaire bought Britain and moved it to Minnesota some time in the seventies.

    (Terrifyingly behind on this thread but anyway.)

  16. @Kurt Busiek: “The idea that FIREFLY didn’t have challenging themes is kinda like the idea that STAR TREK didn’t. Or the Robin Hood legends…”

    From which I still get no royalties… 😉

    @Harold Osler: “I still think that part of the animosity is about e-publishing and that a lot of the puppy-types are e-pubbers who don’t think they’re given respect/fair treatment/equal shot/whatever.”

    I don’t really see that, myself. I’m very much into indie publishing, and buy/read a lot of indie books. Furthermore, I’m trying to build a sideline business in the indie e-formatting and copyedit-for-hire segments, as well as dipping a toe into the actual content-creation part of the biz. Ann Somerville and RedWombat are also into self-publishing, while the big three Alpha Puppies are either traditionally published or trying to get a small tradpub house off the ground.

    There seem to be e-folk and tradfolk on both sides, is all I’m saying. If there’s a marked split along those lines that parallels the Puppy/not-Puppy divide, I sure don’t see it.

    @Cmm: “I really hope we hear whether Tor saw a noticeable sales surge today.”

    They probably won’t be able to separate today out from the rest of the month, and maybe not even this quarter. Maybe if they know to look, and think to ask big retailers for numbers, maybe they can get an inkling… but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  17. @Rev Bob

    I agree, but Mad Genius Club in particular seem big on their theory that TradPub is collapsing and ePub will be the brave new world for which they are already stockpiling audience and blog-followers. Hmm, that makes them sound like survivalists, actually.

    This leads them into the unfortunate conclusion that Amazon is an important part of breaking TradPub and so they should embrace it. They don’t appear to realise that whatever Amazon do to TradPub will be for Amazon’s own benefit, and whatever they do next will be equally Amazon-orientated.

  18. JJ mentioned unlocked.
    Unlocked can be read for free at Tor.com, or purchased for $1.99 on Kindle.
    On kindle it is available in some of the best from tor.com:2014 free.

  19. I always wondered if there was some sort of long-term plan to show the Alliance side to have morally just reasons for their actions,

    Two shoes I was assuming/hoping would drop in future seasons – where all the Chinese were (some sort of big Turn Inward?), and that the Browncoats deserved to lose, big time.

  20. BrianZ is not banned from Making Light. If he sincerely wants to come and have a discussion about E Pluribus Hugo, there is now a Q&A thread to do it in. I’ll be moderating that thread from the back end, and Keith “Kilo” Watt is certainly an able host.

    Because of his previous record, he may not have the full trust of the commentariat. I can’t do anything about that. I’d suggest that he start by clearly defining all of his terms, and explaining the strengths of the existing system that he feels are lost in the proposed one. And given his commenting history, I also request and require that any assertions about things said on other sites be backed up by actual quotes and working links to the specific comment (or, where that is not possible, good search terms to find the place on a page).

  21. I’m open to the idea that some of the people voting for the Slates may disagree violently with the statements made by the slate makers and organisers,

    Though it would require a frankly intimidating level of commitment to the idea of slates.

  22. Brian Z:

    The tragedy of “E Pluribus Hugo” is that it replaces the original goal of excellence – shortlisting the five works that the greatest number of fans identify as among the very best of the year – with the goal of fairness – selecting five works that make the greatest number of interest groups happy

    Brian if you really want to have a discussion around this instead of spreading FUD, you could start by not redefining words like excellence and fairness away from their ordinary meanings.

    EPH has nothing to do with bringing happiness to interest groups. It is shortlisting the five works nominated by the greatest plurality of fans. The current system shortlists the five works with the greatest plurality of nominations by fans. EPH is no more about fairness than the current system, it is no less about excellence either.

    while at the same time penalizing the voter quite harshly for choosing more than one thing should one of them be something that many others also agree should win… you are penalized for selecting a work that already has a reasonable chance of making the ballot because its success sucks the strength from your vote for an equally or more beloved but less-popular work

    Under the current system if you nominate more than one work and some of them are shooting it out for a spot on the ballot, your favourite contender might get knocked off the ballot by your other nominations. This is also the case with EPH.

    The creators, proponents, and cheerleaders will tell you it is not about fairness and nothing will change, but they are shading the truth, deluding themselves, and have not thought it through carefully, respectively.

    Your accusations against all three groups are baseless ad hominem. EPH should stop the impact of bloc voting. If it is passed this year, all other ramifications should be ruthlessly examined, tested and debated before it comes up for ratification next year.

    Vastly expanding the number of nominators won’t prevent all “disaster scenarios”, but it is going to help a lot. It also means that the Hugos of the future will never again look like the Hugos of the past. Sorry.

    “E Pluribus Hugo” doesn’t add any extra hurdles to people becoming hugo nominators.

  23. Abi Sutherland, thanks for your kind invitation and if folks would like to discuss the several concerns I mentioned here over there, I’m willing to join them.

    I’ve mentioned before that I have no complaints about the moderation of Making Light, aside from a general (personal) distaste for the disemvoweling thing that I recognize may not be shared by others. I’m not sure who was spreading a story that I was banned – probably JJ! 😀 I do remember that time I made a comment about a conversation over on your site without linking to the specific point I was talking about, and I do apologize for my thoughtlessness.

    There may or may not be time between now and August for an independent review of EPH and possible vulnerabilities. At least, maybe something like that might be arranged before ratification, if passed.

    Best of luck with presenting the case for the proposal.

  24. @Jim Henley: “Separately, might this finally be the place where other people recognize that Wilfred Mott is obviously the Doctor’s father, passed through a Chameleon Arch.”

    Hush, or I shall explain The Prisoner to you. I’m not bluffing, and it makes sense.

    @ULTRAGOTHA: “On an utterly other topic, does anyone else think young John Barrowman would have made a perfect Ivan Vorpatril?”

    You may have something there.

    @Peace: “John Barrowman seems to be a genuinely sweet guy”

    Oh, very much. I encountered him at a media convention – you know, one of the huge, densely packed monstrosities that some people think Worldcon should be? – and while I was in line for his autograph, I realized that I didn’t want to be That Fan who says one of the same ten things he always hears from fans. So, when I reached the front of the line, I asked him something different: “What was it like to work with Mel Brooks?”

    He just lit up, and proceeded to regale me with the story of how the sound engineer kept getting upset because whenever Mel would drop by, he’d end up telling stories and eating up recording time. It was great.

    @Brian Z:

    Your Gish Gallop on EPH reveals that you do not have the faintest idea what you’re talking about on that subject. I would say it was painful to behold, but I’ve seen The Creature Wasn’t Nice. Compared to that, you’ve got nothin’. (And just for good measure, I also watched The Wall twice in a row, stone-cold sober, and understood the damn thing the second time around.)

    @Jim Henley [again]: “retirement-community superheroes”

    Please tell me you’ve heard of SuperFogeys. If not, Google it immediately…

    @RedWombat: (MZW being a jerk on social media)

    Now you know where Wisdom From My Internet came from. Look, this is a guy who regularly wears a T-shirt that says “Infidel” in Arabic, just for giggles and to score points with his base. He falls into the “nice in person if he thinks you’re of his tribe” category… and yes, I speak from experience.

  25. influxus, I feel a “shading” was pretty explicit in for example Question 7 of their FAQ, “Isn’t it true that any voting system can be gamed (or strategized, etc.)?” An earlier post pointing to that vanished – multiple links? – so let me reiterate. There are many ways there might be potential for changes in either individual members’ voting behavior, or groups of members looking for ways to game the system, and I would like to see more evidence for the FAQ’s conclusion:

    There are many ways for your strategy to fail, or even backfire, and only one, highly-specific way for it to work.

    Nominating what you think is Hugo-worthy really is your best strategy.

  26. BrianZ,

    if folks would like to discuss the several concerns I mentioned here over there, I’m willing to join them.

    Only way to find that out is to go over there and comment. No one else is going to go and say “Over on File770, BrianZ is worried that…” Nor should they; these are your concerns.

    I’m sure that you’re keen to have said concerns validated or put to rest by the people who understand EPH best; I know you were very eager to do so during the proposal-building time. Now is the time! And since their attention is there more reliably than here, the best way to bottom the issue out (rather than leaving it as FUD) is to go there and tackle it, straight up.

    Door’s open, is all I’m saying.

  27. I know the door is open and I thank you for it.

    One reason I have for bringing up my concerns here (other than that I mentioned a couple of them on ML already) is that some Speakers to the Puppies have been hanging around File 770 recently and I would like to know their reactions as well. (I suspect many are quite supportive of your proposal.) But that doesn’t preclude coming to ML and I’ll accept your invitation to join discussion there, perhaps once others have had a chance to ponder and weigh in.

  28. Rev. Bob on June 20, 2015 at 4:08 am said:

    Please tell me you’ve heard of SuperFogeys. If not, Google it immediately…

    Ow. I got burned pretty badly by the Superfogeys Kickstarter.

  29. @Rev. Bob:

    I have a good friend who is currently very bummed about Mark Z. Williams. I guess MZW can be amiable. But oh, dear.

  30. As you say that is the conclusion. It follows from a detailed example as part of Question 7 of the proposal ‘s FAQ. You can find the exact section by searching that page for “Isn’t it true that any voting system”. If you have a problem with the example given, or think the example is not as general a case as I do, then by all means take it up at ML in the Q&A thread.

    There are many ways there might be potential for changes in either individual members’ voting behavior, or groups of members looking for ways to game the system

    There are, but as you have pointed out, this should be evaluated not against ideal ballots from the past, but against the potential changes to individual voting behaviour after the clearly demonstrable exclusionary success of bloc voting this year.

  31. influxus, it appears we agree on several of these points in principle, but disagree on how comprehensively the FAQ covered the ramifications of potential changes in voting behavior of individuals and (potentially multiple) groups in 2017, and perhaps also on whether File 770 is a suitable venue for discussing that concern.

  32. I’m happy to discuss it here.

    But I also think you need to make an actually argument about why Question 7 of the FAQ is insufficient and then possibly take it up with the authors before accusing them of shading the truth.

  33. Yeah, accusing people of “shading the truth” over here rather than talking to them directly doesn’t strike me as either ethical or effective. Given, of course, that what you’re really after is the truth and the best outcome for the Hugos.

  34. influxus, I take your point that “shading” was harsh. OTOH, when something like this is introduced one might wish to see potential exploits and negative outcomes discussed more thoroughly than they were in that particular FAQ example. I hope they can be considered as carefully as possible in the time available and as you also mentioned that provisions are made for outside expert scrutiny.

  35. Brian Z.: I’m not sure who was spreading a story that I was banned probably JJ!

    I did not spread any rumors about you being banned from Making Light, and I’ll thank you not to tell any more lies about me — or about E Pluribus Hugo as you are currently doing.

    Brian Z.: The tragedy of “E Pluribus Hugo” is that it replaces the original goal of excellence – shortlisting the five works that the greatest number of fans identify as among the very best of the year – with the goal of fairness – selecting five works that make the greatest number of interest groups happy

    Not True.

    Brian Z.: while at the same time penalizing the voter quite harshly for choosing more than one thing should one of them be something that many others also agree should win.

    Not True.

    Brian Z.: The creators, proponents, and cheerleaders will tell you it is not about fairness and nothing will change, but they are shading the truth, deluding themselves, and have not thought it through carefully, respectively.

    Not True.

    At any point, you are welcome to provide concrete evidence that the lies you’ve posted above are true.

    Of course, this won’t happen, but hey. I’m certainly interested in what sort of B.S. you’re willing to mock up in the attempt.

  36. Abi Sutherland, specifically I’m concerned with the FAQ’s implication that because “voting strategically” is deemed in the FAQ to be “technically risky”, members will choose to vote the way considered normal/traditional.

    Yes, I hope for the best outcome for the Hugos, thanks for asking.

  37. I’ve not paid any real attention to E Pluribus Hugo, as it quickly appeared that some very smart people were delving into the detail and I could safely wander off and wait for a clever result. I shall now remedy that.

  38. Kurt Busiek: If there was a boycott of Castalia House, how would they tell?
    *snort*

  39. Brian Z:

    specifically I’m concerned with the FAQ’s implication that because “voting strategically” is deemed in the FAQ to be “technically risky”, members will choose to vote the way considered normal/traditional.

    Firstly, “technically risky” is not a quote from the FAQ. It is:

    In this system, “strategic voting” is technically possible, but extremely risky: There’s no good way to know ahead of time whether a given strategy will help, or backfire.

    Filling in gaps, I take you to mean that you are not persuaded that people who might be tempted to nominate strategically are necessarily going to correctly gauge their optimum strategy. So showing that they are gambling, and gambling poorly, with their nomination if they attempt to game the system might not be enough to dissuade voters from only picking their bestest book.

    Is that more or less your objection to that point?

  40. @Meredith: “Also, for fuck sake. How many mass shootings and how many racist murders have to happen before people start changing shit? What the hell is going on over there?”

    Financial blackmail of politicians. The NRA (the big gun-rights group) straight-up tells politicians that if they do anything at all to control guns, the NRA will not only decline to donate to their campaigns, but will also use its might to smear them as gun-grabbing hippies. This is how 90% of the population can support a reasonable measure like universal background checks and still see it get defeated.

    @Jamoche: “Even sadder: For sale: Puppy books. Read once.

    For sale: Puppy books. Started once.

    @Mike Glyer: “Just as you break 1K comments I post the new roundup. Serendipity!”

    (looks at clock, sobs quietly)

    @Mark: “Mad Genius Club in particular seem big on their theory”

    …which explains why I haven’t seen it.

    @Peace: “Ow. I got burned pretty badly by the Superfogeys Kickstarter.”

    Didn’t even know about it. Still, minis aren’t really my thing; I’m happy reading the comic.

    And yes, MZW can be quite amiable. As I’ve noted, he’s quite friendly if he perceives you to be of his tribe. He also subscribes to the belief that invoking Political Correctness immunizes him from criticism for anything he chooses to label a joke, regardless of how much bad taste it’s in. I wish I could really say I was surprised by That Comment… but I’m not. Similarly, I would be tempted to take it up with him in person, but I don’t think it would do any good.

    And, with that, I’m caught up. On this post. Dammit.

  41. @BrianZ:

    Yes, I hope for the best outcome for the Hugos, thanks for asking.

    Well, that’s a relief. I’m sure you can also explain how accusing people of “shading” the truth in a venue where they aren’t reading (but lots of others are!) and making assumptions when you could easily fact-check them supports this objective.

  42. Rev. Bob on June 20, 2015 at 5:46 am said:

    Didn’t even know about it. Still, minis aren’t really my thing; I’m happy reading the comic.

    I would have been too. Comics were involved.

  43. influxus, you thought of one valid concern, but other implicit assumptions worry me too.

    How can we accept the premise that people will uniformly perceive an incentive to go back to behaving as straight and narrow, “traditional” or “normal” Hugo voters, and return to the “correct” pattern of nominating a set of things they each individually find most worthy, as a result of the rules have been changed to make alternatives apparently “too risky”? Actual Hugo voters, including those who thought they didn’t have a prayer of getting their stuff on the ballot, have done things like 1) loosely congregate and each nominate a couple of things they liked from a list of suggestions, and 2) follow the advice of a favored author/publisher to vote a straight ticket “as is.” At a gut level (at least) I don’t feel penalizing this behavior by making “non-acceptable” voting strategies more risky will be any more likely to convince people to pipe down and go back to behaving the way they are “supposed to” than launching a campaign to No Award their beloved authors sight unseen.

    I’d also wonder how the risks of voting strategically can be mitigated by cooperation together with others and increasing one’s knowledge (or a group’s knowledge) about the likely behavior of others. We have several ready-to-wear factions already in existence, possible incipient ones, and social and technological means by which one might learn more, broker that information, and influence behavior.

    If everyone had a set mental list of 1-5 things most desired to “win” we wouldn’t have a problem in the first place. (Actually, it is a fan award, so it isn’t the nominated work or author that “wins” – it is the fans that “win” when they see the happiness of an author cherished by the community as a whole, beaming when their name is read out, but maybe that is for a separate discussion.) So what if many voters and groups are motivated by desire to support a wider set of works/authors/community-members without caring exactly which one wins? What if some are just interested in making a political statement and are happy as long as they feel they’ve made their point?

    Just a couple questions off the top of my head, sorry if I am rambling slightly.

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