Scalzi Withdraws from Dragon Awards

John Scalzi has withdrawn The Collapsing Empire as a Dragon Awards nominee. He explained why in a post at Whatever:

The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured “us vs. them” vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.

My plan was to ignore it, but on further reflection (and further evidence that this nonsense was going to continue through the finalist voting period), I decided this was the better course.

Scalzi had originally accepted the nomination.

Since the Dragon Awards ballot came out, nominee Brian Niemeier has been heating up Twitter with insulting tweets about Scalzi and appeals to treat award voting as a battlefield of the culture wars.

And Scalzi hasn’t been the only target of people trying to leverage their Dragon Awards nominations, Jon Del Arroz has been busy harassing Tor’s Irene Gallo, too.

(Obviously I have the capability to reproduce the tweets here, but I’ve decided against it.)

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

41 thoughts on “Scalzi Withdraws from Dragon Awards

  1. It is sad that the self-anointed “leading Hispanic voice in SF” is such a pest.

  2. I wonder how willing the DA admin whoever they may be to deal with the fact the Awards are being used in this way. Being into rage so calllrped culture wars will taint these for a lot of the reading population that pays attention to such things.

  3. And now Del Arroz is claiming that Scalzi’s withdrawal is part of a deliberate scheme to diminish the Dragon Awards, and is Just Asking Questions about whether Irene Gallo made him do it. Good Lord, man, save the flights of fancy for your novels.

  4. Cat Eldridge: I wonder how willing the DA admin whoever they may be to deal with the fact the Awards are being used in this way.

    On another thread, at least two of the likely admin(s) were pointed out, and at least one of them has a direct connection with a Dragon Awards finalist, so I’m pretty sure that the failure to promote the award to the DragonCon membership is a deliberate strategy to prevent some portion of that large number of people (70,000) from swamping the awards with nominations for popular works… at which point all the Puppies would be S.O.L.

    So I think the fact that the award has not been properly promoted and publicized is intended to be a feature, not a bug.

    The question is whether the DragonCon leadership will, at some point, finally get tired of having their awards turned into turds with glitter on top.

  5. If the Hugos are the gold standard of how to do Awards (and I believe they are), than the Dragon Awards are, well, tin plated. The process is hidden to a degree that’d be the envy of those nations that have fix elections. The fact that they reserve the right to do * anything* they want means no one outside of the Puppies should pay attention.

  6. Makes sense. I said on Camestros blog the inclusion of some of the authors compared to the other nominations felt more like they were added just so someone can say their book beat out that other book. Hadn’t considered it would also be used for a ‘Vote for this to really stick it to those guys’ marketing and really should’ve seen that coming since that’s primarily how a couple of those author market. Of course that’s just speculation based off of how nominees are reacting since no data is available.

    No benefit or reason to be involved when the organizers aren’t.

  7. JJ, what does it mean that Dragoncon isn’t promoting the Dragon awards?

    I went to Dragoncon website, and there was a banner at the top about the awards.

  8. Nancy Lebovitz: what does it mean that Dragoncon isn’t promoting the Dragon awards?

    DragonCon has ~70,000 members. The only people who got e-mails about this year’s awards were the people who participated last year. No e-mail was sent to the general DragonCon membership this year, nor last year.

  9. I’m not really sure what everyone wants the con to do. They have a banner on their main webpage, they’ve made press releases, the hobby press is covering it. I’ve been a dc goer for a while and they don’t really ever spam people with email and marketing crap. Kinda cool. In sampling some of the blogs of nominated authors it seems pretty obvious that a certain group of authors are pleased to be nominated and that’s about it and a different group expected to be nominated via published slates, lobbied hard for it with their fans and now want to start a fight over it. Sure, blame the con but that isn’t the source of misery.

  10. Apparently “prestige” is now declared rather than earned. Interesting.

  11. Maybe Dragoncon’s code of conduct will deal. with Neimeir.. oops, couldn’t finish the statement without laughing.

    Bit annoyed Scalzi withdrew, but I do see his point – he loses nothing but the other guy has one less person to rail against.

    Can’t imagine the concom is terribly amused by the withdrawals.

  12. @Camastros – I’m with JJ, whoever is running the Dragons wants to keep a low profile so the puppies can game them. The lack of promotion is deliberate, I’m sure.

  13. 1. No baby yet. Things are going slowly. Definitely baby tomorrow.

    2. Maybe JDA et al should consider that Scalzi pulling out isn’t damaging the award, but rather Scalzi is pulling out because people like Niemier have damaged the award already.

  14. The solution seems to me to promote them as widely as possible. Share their link on sci fi and fantasy FB pages and fora. “Hey, read these books and vote your favourite!”

  15. @Damian,

    The solution depends entirely on the question. Is the question:
    1. How can we make the Dragon awards one that reflects popular tastes and is voted for by lots of SFF fans/readers?

    2. How can we make the Dragon awards one that has such low participation that a small group of voters can exert enough influence to load the ballot with works by members of their own (perceived) side?

    Your solution fixes question 1. The solution for question 2 is implemented in the way the award is currently run. IMO.

  16. Jack Ketch: I’m not really sure what everyone wants the con to do.

    Send an e-mail to all their members announcing the opening of nominations, and one announcing the opening of voting. That’s not spam. That’s important convention information.

     
    Jack Ketch: Sure, blame the con but that isn’t the source of misery.

    Yes, yes it is. The “source of misery” is that the Dragon Awards are extremely poorly-promoted and have a very low participation. What’s the point in even doing them if they aren’t going to do a decent job of it? Right now, they’re pretty much a laughingstock.

  17. The organizers didn’t even do a very good job of making sure previous voters got nominating and voting information. I had to email them twice before I got my ballot, even though I voted last year. I’m not saying that my prior voting history had anything to do with the omission. That would be silly, right?

  18. @Rich Lynch: I envy you your ignorance. Niemeier was the Rabid slate’s pick for a Campbell award last year; I read and (God help me) reviewed his novel Nethereal for that. I’m not exactly keen to dwell on that memory.

    Frankly, I don’t think Niemeier or the Dragon Awards have any particular credibility at this point. Niemeier is a lost cause in that respect, but the Dragons might be able to salvage something if they publish a) some stats about votes and nominations (as given for the Hugos), and b) some idea of what precautions they take against ballot stuffing. As things stand, as far as I can see, I could win a Dragon Award if I had a self-pubbed MS, plenty of time on my hands, and a sufficient quantity of throwaway email addresses. It would be nice if they could show their security is good enough to prevent that….

  19. This neo-puppy movement – Niemeier, del Arroz – is so cut-rate that I can’t even get my girlfriend to the eye-rolling point. She gets all glazed and confused when I try to talk about the latest silliness.

  20. JDA in particular just seems to be a series of harassment campaigns on twitter. I think the only reason there hasn’t been any consequences is that he’s not a particularly effective harassment campaigner.

  21. I would ask “Don’t these idiots have anything better to do (like writing, maybe)?” but the answer is obvious.

  22. I understand why JS pulled out. He’s pretty much over this whole thing and would rather not play. I’m of mixed mind about it though, because I fully expect puppies to crow about this as a significant victory. ‘We’ve driven the hated SJW from the field! He’s afraid to compete with us in a FAIR award!!!11!1’ Etc, etc, etc.

  23. I nominated and voted in last year’s Dragon Awards; this year, I received an email after nominations had closed with a link to vote for this year’s awards. If you really want to represent a large fan base, at a minimum you should a) email people involved in the previous years process, and b) email the con members. To not do those basic things tells me they didn’t want a lot of input as to who was on the ballot.

  24. JJ: Send an e-mail to all their members announcing the opening of nominations, and one announcing the opening of voting. That’s not spam. That’s important convention information.

    I don’t think the con does email outreach at all. They don’t spam people all the time with convention news. While certainly more people would be interested, a large number of people would be put off or even pissed off getting spam about something they don’t care about. For the years I have been a going, I can’t recall much email marketing at all. It seems like if you are on the mailing list you’ll get your pre-pay postcard and your little summer booklet and that’s about it (discounting social media.)
    —-
    JJ: Yes, yes it is. The “source of misery” is that the Dragon Awards are extremely poorly-promoted and have a very low participation. What’s the point in even doing them if they aren’t going to do a decent job of it? Right now, they’re pretty much a laughingstock.

    No, no it isn’t. Your idea of promotion is getting spammed and you don’t know what the participation is or isn’t. As they have stated the point is to build a list of works everyone can enjoy. They may not be doing it like you would but they are making the attempt. It’s year two – one hopes it grows. There are outside forces trying to influence things and they cannot be excused even if you think dc is doing a bad job at promotion. Hey, send ’em your ideas. Can’t hurt.

  25. @Jack Ketch,

    If getting emails notifying you that as part of going to a particular con, you also have the opportunity to nominate & vote for an associated award is being spammed, then the Worlcon has been spamming its members about the Hugo awards for years.

    Those sorts of emails really aren’t spam. I think you are being disingenuous. How else do you expect an award to build itself up? By keeping everything on the downlow? That makes no sense.

  26. I don’t see the Dragon Awards as an issue that needs solving but. I can see how their current state maybe more concerning for people with more connections to Dragon Con.

  27. I’ve never considered two emails a year to be being spammed, personally. Three if they also send out a winners list.

    I’m a big fan of mailing lists with options. Just want the absolute bare minimum? Option for that. Want the minimum plus Thing A? Option for that. Minimum plus Thing B? Option for that. Minimum plus all the Things? Congratulations, option for that, too. More work to maintain I’m sure but they’re very convenient for people who want control over their inbox.

    At the moment I would not be surprised if the number of Dragon Con attendees participating in the award was fewer than the number of non-attending Filers. The award is not being promoted enough, or handling ballot distribution effectively, or, possibly, Dragon Con attendees don’t really care about having an award so why does it even exist?

  28. If DragonCon wanted a lot of people to vote, they’d tell their members about it. And not allow ballot box stuffing.

    But since the admin(s) seem to be friends or at least fellow travelers with Puppies, it’s working exactly like they want. Participation trophies for talent-free trolls.

    Of course, since they never put out any stats, we don’t know how many email addresses are voting, let alone how many people are. Nor do we know which nominees or winners the unknown admin(s) are adding to the ballot — the rules say that the admin(s) are allowed to monkey with the nominations and winners all they want, regardless of what the voters say.

    If they really promoted it, actual quality works instead of self-published screeds would be on there. Or at least a wider variety (politically) of self-published screeds.

    There’d be all sorts of fanfic nominated (much of it gay; Johnlock alone could fill a category). “Harry Potter & the Methods of Rationality” (sp?) was better-written than anything Teddy’s ever barfed out, and I’m not even an HP fan. More romance of all sorts. Stuff about cosplay, gaming, etc. Apocalypse would go to plucky girls and the boys who love them, not muscle-brained gun humpers. Paranormal romance would swamp urban fantasy. Puppies wouldn’t get a thing except maybe milSF.

  29. Pingback: Dragon Con Refuses To Let Authors Withdraw from Dragon Awards | File 770

  30. If the response that Alison Littlewood received is any indication, pulling out is not an option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *