I Sing the Puppy Electric 4/29

George R.R. Martin, John Ringo, Vox Day, John Scalzi, Aaron Pound, Jeb Kinnison, Jamie Ford, Glenn Hauman and lots of other cool cats and hot dogs sound off in today’s roundup. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.)

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“No On NO AWARD” – April 29

No, I am not saying don’t use NO AWARD at all when you vote for this year’s Hugo Awards.

NO AWARD has been, and remains, a viable and legitimate option for the Hugo voter. I’ve been voting on the Hugos since the 1970s, and I use NO AWARD every year, usually in about a third of the categories. However, I have seldom (not NEVER, just seldom) placed it first. I rank the finalists that I think worthy of the rocket above NO AWARD, and the ones I think unworthy below it. That’s the way I intend to use the option this year as well, in spite of the slatemaking campaigns that buggered the nomination process to the seven hells and back.

NO AWARD is a scalpel, not a bludgeon. Voting NO AWARD on everything down the line… or even (the lesser option) on everything that appeared on either Puppy slate… well, I don’t think it is smart, I don’t think it is fair, and I know damned well that a NO AWARD sweep will kill the Hugos.

I think I have made my disagreements with Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen and the rest of the Sad Puppies abundantly clear in the many blog posts that preceded this one, and in my debates with Correia both here and on his MONSTER HUNTER NATION. And I think I have made my disgust with Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies clear as well. No one should be in any doubt as to where I stand on all this.

As much as I am opposed to what the Puppies did, and what they are trying to do, I am also opposed to Guilt by Association. Like it or not, the ballot is the ballot, and it is before it now, for each of us to deal with as he or she thinks best. For my part, that means it is now about the stories, the books, the work itself. Reading, thinking, weighing my choices… voting.



John Ringo on Facebook – April 28

[Originally a public post, it is now restricted, but a screencap of “Understanding SJW Logic” is hosted at Solarbird.net.]

So let’s drill this down to Science Fiction. Science Fiction has, historically, been something that looked to the future of technology and societies and tried to glean what might be possible. It has also, often, been an avenue for proposing change. Many of the most ‘misogynistic’ and ‘racists’ authors of the early SF years were, in fact, far FAR ahead of their time in proposing racial and gender equity or near equity.

To the Social Justice Warriors (their term and not one of derogation in their eyes) of SF fandom, the TRUE PURPOSE of Science Fiction is solely and ONLY such promotion. Let me repeat that as an axiom:

To the Social Justice Warriors of Science Fiction publishing and fandom, the true and only purpose of science fiction is to promote increased equity in the arena of social justice.

The purpose of science fiction is not to tell a good story. Most of what people call ‘good stories’ are not stories that promote social justice. So ‘good story’ or not good story, (and there we get to matters of taste) they are not good science fiction. Good science fiction is only that science fiction which promotes social justice.

If there is a choice between two good social justice stories, the choice is not based on which is the better story or which is better written. At that point you look at which promotes social justice better. So if Author A is a person of color or a transgenderist and Author B is a cis-male, even if he is a social justice warrior, the BETTER STORY is that which is written by the person of color or transgenderist UNLESS such person writes a story which does NOT promote social justice in which case they are a traitor and shall be treated as such.

The sole an only point is to view every work in a lens of ‘how does this promote social justice?


Font Folly

“It bothers some people that we exist, part 2” – April 29

Being reminded that queer people exist at all drives some people to crazy lengths. For instance, as noted at the Crime and the Forces of Evil blog, the Sad Puppies are angry that books containing queer characters aren’t clearly marked. For those not in the know, the Sad Puppies (and an allied group, the Rabid Puppies) are a bunch of arch-conservative sci fi writers and fans who organized a bloc-voting scheme to game the selection process for the Hugo Awards and put a specific slate of anti-progressive authors, editors, and fans in every major category. Their rhetoric leading up to their success was full of blatant misogynist and homophobic language (and threats), and only slightly-less-blatant racist language. It’s worth noting that they’ve been trying this for a few years without success. It appears that their success this year is primarily due to the fact that they managed to enlist a bunch of GamerGate trolls into the process…

Since succeeding in hijacking most of the Hugo Ballot, the Sad Puppies (that’s their own name for their movement, by the way) have started deleting or heavily editing their existing blog posts and such to downplay the bigotry. Though most of their revisions have been to obscure the racist language, to try to pretend that the most blatant bigot wasn’t considered an ally, and to make some of their threatening language appear to be aimed at individuals rather than whole groups of people. They have removed some of the comments and paragraphs in which they appear to be calling for the extermination of gay people, for instance, though they remain absolutely clear that they object to homos and women being portrayed positively (or at all) in science fiction, fantasy, or any other cultural product.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“THEY are in retreat” – April 29

The main reason SJWs were successful in infiltrating the science fiction establishment and imposing their ideology on it was due to their Fabian strategy of denying any conflict was taking place. Their entryism depended entirely upon stealth and plausible deniability. That’s why the single most important aspect of both #GamerGate and #SadPuppies was the way in which it was made perfectly clear to everyone that there are, in fact, two sides.

There are those who want to be able to define what is permissible to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say, (SJWs) and those who wish to read, write, design, develop, play, think, and say whatever the hell they happen to please. (Everybody else)

Jim Hines isn’t “so damn tired” of “an artificial Us vs. Them framework”. He is simply alarmed that their most effective tactic has been exposed and rendered impotent.


John Ringo on Facebook – April 29

Because as a conservative, that’s what you are to all the hardcore liberals. Purest evil. ISIS has nothing on being an American conservative. There is nothing worse than being a conservative white male. We are the ultimate super-villain and nothing can be anything like our equal. (Thus the humorously entitled ‘League of Evil Evil’ started by Sarah Hoyt of which I am a card-carrying member.)

Which is why there have arisen conventions that really avoid letting the CHORFs in at all. So the conservative SF fans can get together and let their hair down and talk about stuff they want to talk about (like books with actual plots and dialogue) and not be continuously insulted by the CHORFs. And even large cons that are ‘balanced’ tend to toss the SJW contingent the minute it starts to be a problem. Because nobody CARES about their issues. Not in the broad sense of what is marketable. (Just as at ‘balanced’ conventions conservatives who insist on being buttheads are tossed. I’ve seen both and I’m all for it. When it’s balanced.)

By the way, I prefer SJBs to CHORFs as a term. SJWs, social justice warriors, is not an insult as many articles have indicated. It’s the preferred term of the SJWs. And there are SJWs who are not SJBs. An SJB is a ‘Social Justice Bully.’ Because they are bullies. They are not even about social justice. They’re about being bullies.

So, yes, there are two different fandoms. And it’s very much a Political divide. And it’s not going away any time soon.


John Scalzi on Whatever

“Drinking Poison and Expecting the Other Person to Die” – April 29

This whole Puppy mess is because some of them weren’t happy, and were searching externally for that happiness, either by seeking a validation in outside rewards, or by punishing people they saw (erroneously and/or conspiratorially) blocking the path to that validation. Envy and revenge, basically. They’re drinking poison and hoping others die, or at the very least, suffer. It’s why they called themselves “Sad Puppies” in the first place: it was about what they thought their Hugo nominations would make people they decided they didn’t like feel.

Which is their karma. It doesn’t have to be mine (or yours).

So, no. I wish the Puppies success in their publishing endeavors, and I wish them happiness — genuine happiness, not contingent on comparison to, or the suffering of, others. I also wish for them the capacity to recognize success, and to be happy. It doesn’t seem they’re there yet. I hope they get there, and will cheer them if and when they do.


Jeb Kinnison on According To Hoyt

“’Selective Outrage’ – Jeb Kinnison” – April 29

Hatred and prejudice harm real people, but the harm echoes on through the generations as the original victims teach and promote an us-vs-them worldview that harms everyone. The people who are less wrong learn to understand where the hateful emotions come from, and start to cut off the sources of funds and fury that feed the continuing conflicts. Understanding the backgrounds of the partisans and arguing toward acceptance of others’ right to be wrong is the beginning of reconciliation and cooperation. I think we can get most reasonable people to agree that an award that supposedly recognizes the best SFF should be more broadly representative of the readers, including the vast majority who can’t take time out from busy lives or afford to go to conventions. Having a tiny in-group select award winners from their friends and people they know leaves out most of the writers, and almost all of the readers.


Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

“2015 Prometheus Award Nominees” – April 29

The interesting thing about the 2015 list of nominees for the Prometheus Award is not who is on it, but rather who is not. Even though the set of authors that make up the core proponents of the “Sad Puppies” very clearly view themselves as being on the libertarian side of the spectrum (and in some cases they have inserted segments into their books that are clearly pandering to Prometheus Award voters), and yet, there is zero overlap between the set of books they promoted for the 2015 Hugo Award and the set of books that were chosen as finalists for the 2015 Prometheus Award. In short, despite sharing an ideological bent with many of the authors promoted by the Puppies, the Libertarian Futurist Society didn’t see fit to even consider honoring any of the novels that were pushed for the Hugo ballot with a Prometheus Award nomination. If the Puppy slate is in fact about recognizing good books that the Hugo Awards have overlooked because they are supposedly ideologically biased, why is it that the works on the Puppy slates have been, with some rare exceptions, pretty much ignored by all of the other genre related awards? In fact, no one making decisions regarding other awards has seemed to think the stories promoted by any iteration of the Puppy slates have been worth nominating. It would be one thing if the works favored by the Puppies were getting nominated for many other awards while being snubbed solely by the Hugo voters. But they haven’t. They have been ignored by all the major awards because they simply aren’t good enough.


John C. Wright

“After Inaction Report from Ravencon” – April 29

A read[er] with the unexpectedly commonplace yet giant-killing name of Jack writes and asks:

Mr Wright: no word on Ravencon? maybe I missed it. Were you barbequed on sight, or just smugly ignored? Or, was it really civilized? At this point I would imagine many of the detractors on the left are wary of confrontation with those of the Puppy and Ilk fame. If so, good. They need a nice dose of apprehension to temper their attack dog tendencies of attack, attack, then worry about truth and accuracy.

I am pleased to report that there were no incidents of which I was aware at Ravencon. Everything went swimmingly.

No, that is not quite true: I heard from one of the organizers, a friend of mine, that Brianna Wu sat on a panel on Gamergate on Friday (before I arrived), and asked for there to be no photographs. As far as I know, this is a perfectly reasonable request, and, as a matter of professional courtesy, it is usually honored. One fellow — I did not catch his name — took photos nonetheless, Brianna Wu raised an objection (whether reasonable or hysterical I cannot say, hearing of this only third hand) and the photographer was asked to step out of the room. He was not kicked out of the Con. He left a snarky comment on his social media page.

That makes a grand total of one almost-rude incident and one perhaps-illtempered comment. And it was not related to Sad Puppies as far as I know, merely the psychodrama of a seriously disturbed person.

Aside from that, the topic came up only once, at the Trollhunter 101 panel, where the moderator merely described that the controversy existed, but his description of the controversy was fair and free from libel, so he was on our side (whether he knows it or not).



Jamie Ford

“A bystander’s view of the Hugo Awards” – April 29

I joined the World Science Fiction Society so I could officially vote in the Hugo Awards. Not for myself (I don’t even pretend to that kind of greatness) but I had hoped to vote for The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin.

Much to my chagrin, this amazing book didn’t make the ballot because a disgruntled group of conservative writers who felt slighted by the Hugos decided to emotionally vomit all over the voting process.

It’s much more nuanced I’m sure, but to an outsider, that’s what it looks like.

*Tantrum. Barf. Point fingers of blame.*

And I get it. I love Orson Scott Card’s work and have always found him incredibly supportive of struggling writers. But I disagree with his political views, which have begun to obfuscate his stories. And I’ve participated in online writing communities where people were banned for unpopular opinions, which never sat well with me.


Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“The Varieties of Fictional Pleasure” – April 28

One much-discussed Puppy statement is by Brad Torgersen, from January:

In other words, while the big consumer world is at the theater gobbling up the latest Avengers movie, “fandom” is giving “science fiction’s most prestigious award” to stories and books that bore the crap out of the people at the theater: books and stories long on “literary” elements (for all definitions of “literary” that entail: what college hairshirts are fawning over this decade) while being entirely too short on the very elements that made Science Fiction and Fantasy exciting and fun in the first place!

Among the many problems with this statement is that Worldcon members (that Hugo-voting “fandom” of which Torgersen speaks so sneeringly) did in fact give a Hugo to The Avengers, in the same year they gave the Best Novel Hugo to John Scalzi’s Redshirts — a work which, Scalzi admits, can only be called “long on literary elements” if you’re making a joke.


Glenn Hauman on Comic Mix

“Hugo Awards, No Awards and Network Effects” – April 29

[The] question has come up about voting for “No Award” over various nominees, whether it should be done, and whether it would be an unprecedented event.

The answer to the last part is: No, it’s not unprecedented. “No Award” has won categories before, most recently in 1977 when no award was given for Best Dramatic Presentation.

And ironically, that’s really a shame. Because it turns out there was a really great science fiction movie that year that showed us where we were heading. I’m not talking about any of that year’s actual Hugo nominees– Carrie, Logan’s Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, or Futureworld.

No, I’m talking about Network.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“They also serve” – April 29

It was suggested that they also serve, who inadvertently and unknowingly do the bidding of the Evil Legion of Evil through their ludicrously predictable reactions. And lo, a badge for this brigade of Unwitting Minions was created. Evil Legion of Evil minions are free to award it to those whose behavior is so egregiously stupid or shortsighted or self-destructive that they could not possibly serve your Supreme Dark Lord better if they were consciously doing His Evil Bidding. Given that they are, without exception, unique and special snowflakes, they naturally all bear the title “Minion #1”.


Stilicho in a comment on Vox Popoli April 29

Shouldn’t there be some more formal methodology to award Unwitting Minion badges?

No. I am Vile Faceless Minion and so can you.


Fiona L. Woods on Cats and Crime

“Hugo Awards and Puppygate” – April 28

Puppygate is a term George R.R. Martin came up with. There are two groups, one called the Sad Puppies and the other the Rabid Puppies. Each group encouraged their followers to buy memberships for Worldcon so they could vote for stories and novels they wanted to get nominated for the Hugo Awards. Apparently, some of those nominated feel the two groups succeeded in loading the nominations with their picks. Hugo Award nominees Mark Kloos and Annie Bellet have withdrawn their work from the competition.

Panzer says, “What do you expect? They’re not the smartest potato on the truck. They’re puppies. You want smart? Get a kitten.  No kitten would have anything to do with this kind of litter box game.”


William Reichard

“My God, it’s full of puppies” – April 29

Even the roundups of news about the Hugo Awards fracas are getting too long to read all of every day. One thing you have to admit: this topic is clearly a deep nerve.



332 thoughts on “I Sing the Puppy Electric 4/29

  1. The thing I still don’t get is this. The nomination process has been gamed by a slate driven mostly by Beale, you can argue ‘taint so, or, Scalzi did it and so on.

    But it was done and done effectively.

    But in the vote it’s an Instant Run Off with a larger pool of voters, it makes gaming those results much harder… Sure you can get every slot and hope that you can best No Award, but it’s weak tea in the Novel Category and everybody knows it. Short of there actually being a published ‘vote in this order’ list I’m not sure what the puppies plan to happen now?

  2. If you agree with our slate below — and we suspect you might — this is YOUR chance to make sure YOUR voice is heard. This is YOUR award.

    They are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are. I think it is abundantly evident that these various and meritorious works put both the Sad and Rabid Puppies’ nominees to shame.

    1. Ancillary Sword
    2. The Goblin Emperor
    3. The Three-Body Problem
    4. No Award

    I think you agree I know what’s best for us all — so vote accordingly.

    Now, THAT’S a slate.

  3. Daveon, I don’t think there can be any exact equivalence between award nominations and a political slate of candidates. The mechanism of party politics (though it doesn’t always work!) is that you vote the straight ticket in order that your desired party can gain control of government and enact the policies you want.

    To the extent some slate-supporters may think there is an equivalence, that is a fatal flaw in their campaign. For example, if the campaign for “more space princess! less left-wing message!” (or whatever) “wins,” “winning” means that a ripping space yarn that doesn’t beat you over the head with a left-wing agenda (or whatever) has won a fan award in a particular year. Period. The winners don’t get to declare a new policy that from this day forward only thrilling space operas will be popular and win awards.

    Some people have used “slate” in a more general sense, as in “list of things I want to nominate and I think you should too.” I personally think that is fine in principle but it does seem a bit crass when so many popular authors do it on their blogs. Frankly if everybody did it (if thousands of Worldcon members read widely every year, posted their quote slate unquote of award recommendations and debated them vigorously with friend and foe alike), I doubt any group would have a chance of sweeping the ballot. I could be wrong – I’m neither a truefan nor voting systems expert – and I think have to defer to others about whether a formal rules change is appropriate until I can learn more about the technicalities of that and think about them very carefully. I do suspect that enforcing a GRRM-esque Code of Silence about slates in the future is not going to work, given what tends to happen when you tell fans what to do. I suppose I could be wrong about that too, who knows.

  4. “I’m not sure what the puppies plan to happen now?”

    In all honestly, my assessment of that is that they plan for more participation in the Hugo awards process to happen. Because as you say even if they did have some more nefarious goal, they’d have an awful hard time achieving it, at least on any consistent basis!

    That would be my one caution (and I say this strictly as a personal observation, not to dictate to anyone else) about urging others to vote no award. If voting no-award in lots of categories is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as “going nuclear,” one would imagine that retaliation is virtually a sure thing. Personally, I’m fine with most categories going to No Award for the next couple years, as the rival camps duke it out or what have you, but it does seem like a shame if newer writers struggling for recognition did not benefit from the extra visibility a Hugo could bring them.

  5. @Laura Resnick: The first rule of the Uberhunden Drinking Game is that you don’t talk about the Uberhunden Drinking Game…

    Now you’ve done it. My wife Deirdre Saoirse Moen is threatening^W offering to make a t-shirt.

  6. @Brian Z.: If voting no-award in lots of categories is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as “going nuclear,” one would imagine that retaliation is virtually a sure thing.

    Like what specifically?

    Do the math and get back to us. Remember that the final ballot is IRV followed by No Award Showdown and has massively higher turnout. Remember that the Sasquan Business Meeting may elect, via a process that would need ratification at the Midamericon II Business Meeting in 2016, to alter the nominations phase algorithm starting 2017 to one less gameable but still completely non-partisan (one of several options being weighted).

    If your point is that the 2016 Hugo nominations ballot is likely to be, pardon the Britishism, a dog’s breakfast, that’s already likely irrespective of what Worldcon fandom does. So, tell us something new and save the vague opinion-emission — because, as the San Franciscans say, that plus $2.25 will get you a ride on Muni.

    Rick Moen

  7. Laura Resnick: “The first rule of the Uberhunden Drinking Game is that you don’t talk about the Uberhunden Drinking Game…”

    Rick Moen: Now you’ve done it. My wife Deirdre Saoirse Moen is threatening offering to make a t-shirt.

    Where’s the Kickstarter link?

  8. Rick, are you sure that the “less gameable but still completely non-partisan” will be both effective and satisfactory to all parties? I haven’t been convinced of that. I would appreciate if you could point to discussions or literature I maybe haven’t seen or else break it down here, but if that’s sea-lioning, I withdraw it, since I’m still getting the hang of commenting from dry land.

    I take your point that the 2016 ballot is probably toast anyway. Maybe I was speaking out of a forlorn hope that maybe just maybe it isn’t.

  9. I don’t think there can be any exact equivalence between award nominations and a political slate of candidates. The mechanism of party politics (though it doesn’t always work!) is that you vote the straight ticket in order that your desired party can gain control of government and enact the policies you want.

    The equivalence isn’t exact, but for the voting process it is similar enough that a comparison between the two is fair. You vote the straight ticket (the SP or RP slate) in order that your desired party (the Sad or Rabid Puppies) can gain control of (the Hugo nominations) to achieve the results you want (have an unrecognized SFF work win a Hugo award).

    Even though the two differ in what is being “won” – ability to make policy vs. ability to advance to the final Hugo vote – the political process for voters during the “election” stage is the same.

  10. Brian Z: “Rick, are you sure that the ‘less gameable but still completely non-partisan’ will be both effective and satisfactory to all parties?”

    You still don’t get it. There is no “all parties”. There is the WSFS, whose members sponsor, and administer, and provide hundreds of unpaid volunteers hours and effort every year to put on the Hugo Awards program.

    If the Puppies wish to come to the WSFS Business Meeting and try to prevent the rest of the WSFS members from making appropriate changes to the nominating and voting process, they are quite welcome to do so. I am reliably informed that arrangements have been made for a venue of appropriate size, as well as security measures to ensure that canines who wish to behave badly will be appropriately handled.

  11. Wildcat, sure, what is being “won” is different but the process is similar. There are still differences, though. For example, in the US, Democrats don’t organize slates in a primary so that no Republicans can get on the final ballot. I think “slate” is a term of convenience, and its use in the Hugo awards does not have an exact equivalence to its use in political elections.

  12. BrianZ, I think that example fails to work not because the political maneuvers differ but because there aren’t two political parties participating here in the Hugo votes. There’s the Puppies and no other party contesting them. So it would be the Democratic Party organizing a slate against non-party-endorsed candidates who are participating in the same Democratic primary.

    Daveon also had an example from student politics in his comment at the bottom of the last page: http://file770.com/?p=22231&cpage=5#comment-255413

    So I feel that “slate” is more than a term of convenience because that’s how slates actually are used in various elections in the political world.

  13. Brian Z. wrote: Rick, are you sure that the “less gameable but still completely non-partisan” will be both effective and satisfactory to all parties?

    {shrug} The attending members of Sasquan who show up at the Business Meeting will decide whatever they decide — and will take effect if also ratified by the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting. The only people they answer to are WSFS, so whatever they decide is ‘effective and satisfactory’ is what they’ll vote for. Or, to be more exact, whatever they vote for will be what they vote for. ;->

    (As JJ says, ‘all parties’ don’t get a vote; WSFS attending members do. And, sorry, just because you yourself choose to post an idle question to the Internet doesn’t make it meaningful.)

    Practically anything other than first-past-the-post is less gameable. No, I’m not going to point you to discussions or literature, but read up on voting systems.

    Rick Moen

  14. Wildcat, hmm. Maybe the Hugo process is somewhat analogous to elections in a country with a one-party system. Thanks for raising those interesting points.

    Rick, just to be clear, my sole reservation about changing the rules is that the rules have led to picking excellent works in a reasonably consistent manner in the past, and I am not sure new rules would lead to the same frequency of excellent picks in the future.

    Beyond that, whoever has a voting system that can’t be gamed, bring it to the table, it might work – I’ll look at it carefully like everyone else.

  15. Further to Brian Z: Do you remember the question? The question was: Like what, specifically?

    Your ignoring that question and barraging me with questions instead was rather seriously less than impressive. Fix that.

  16. Thanks for bringing up the problems with the analogy BrianZ, it made me think about the comparison a bit more.

  17. “just because you yourself choose to post an idle question to the Internet doesn’t make it meaningful”

    Fair enough, I suppose, but even if not everyone has the means, motive and opportunity to travel physically to the next two business meetings, I’m not sure that make their questions utterly meaningless either. Fandom has shifted online like everything else.

  18. “Like what, specifically?”

    You answered it – I was referring to the potential backlash in 2016. And I’m less certain than you that a quick fix rule change will solve the problem in the years after that.

  19. ‘Note you are all jumping on Coelcanth right? ‘

    Because we’re not buying in to your forced negative bad faith attack-dog interpretation. There’s a high horse in there somewhere as well, trying to get out.

  20. “Like what, specifically?” ctd.

    You are right that I’m completely not up on the math, but I fear there may be more competing slates next year, and I do understand that No Award has two chances to win, whereas other candidates get just one.

  21. ‘Its amazing the nuance of meaning you will give to your side on’

    You don’t disagree that you lied.

  22. Brian Z: I would appreciate if you could point to discussions or literature I maybe haven’t seen or else break it down here.

    “And I’m less certain than you that a quick fix rule change will solve the problem in the years after that.”

    Why do you keep expecting people here to educate you? Why don’t you do what the rest of us have done, seek out the places on the Internet where alternate methods of nominating and voting are being discussed, and educate yourself?

  23. @Brian Z.: You answered it – I was referring to the potential backlash in 2016.

    I don’t want to sound too testy about this, but I also said ‘do the math”, and I said ‘specifically‘: You are actually not bothering to say what scenario you are envisioning, which to the woefully cynical mind of yr. present correspondent suggests that you have actually little or no understanding of this subject.

    But please, feel free to prove my nasty suspicious mind wrong and give us a specific (you know, specific?) 2016 scenario based on credible 2016 figures, and then we can have a discussion. Until you do, you have not bothered to address the aforementioned ‘Like what, specifically?’ question at all. And I am profoundly unimpressed by your ignoring that question and hitting me with a question instead, and especially one phrased as if the WSFS membership were answerable to you for what you will ‘look at’.

    Don’t get me wrong: If you bother to have a full attending Sasquan membership and show up at the WSFS Business Meeting in Spokane, you get the same vote as any other WSFS member who shows up. But your ‘looking at’ things is really your problem, not mine.

  24. I just thought of another example of slate use in an election, with a bit more relatedness… the slate organized by John Scalzi and co. in the 2010 SFWA officers election: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/01/25/dear-the-internets-i-am-running-for-president-of-sfwa/

    Turned out to be a darned effective slate too, because the candidates listed swept all three contested categories (and any write-in challengers): http://www.sfwa.org/2010/05/sfwa-2010-election-results/

  25. Rick, if you want an example, OK. I’ve admitted to not being an expert on the math, but suppose in 2016 there is a Sad slate, a Rabid slate, a brand-new anti-Sad/Rabid “Kitten” slate and several less popular slates.

    If Rabids no-award everything not on their slate in retaliation for a 2015 Apocalypse led by Purists, Kittens no-award the Sads and Rabids, Sads no-award the Kittens and no doubt the Rabids who have announced their intention to no-award unilaterally, and the Purists again (like in 2015) no-award anything on anybody’s slate period, No Award may have a strong showing.

    By the way, as an eligible voter can I object in a polite fashion to the idea that my opinion is worthless unless I “bother” to show up in Spokane. You must intended it as a gentler rebuke than how it sounds, but the way it came out was a tad harsh.

  26. @Brian Z: “For example, in the US, Democrats don’t organize slates in a primary so that no Republicans can get on the final ballot.”

    Funny story: A couple of years ago, a conservative candidate entered and won my state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Since the state has open primaries and is rather overwhelmingly Republican, Republicans were “acting within the rules” when they showed up at primary time and voted for him in the Democratic primary. As a result, the general election featured two conservatives (and a smattering of independents) on the ballot. Some choice. Unsurprisingly, the incumbent Republican (the one with an R after his name on the ballots) was re-elected.

    This year’s Hugo ballot seems very familiar in that respect. A relatively small group decided that competing fairly wasn’t good enough, so they attempted to stack the ballot and shut out dissenting views. They can call it whatever they like, and maybe butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths as they proclaimed the righteousness of their stated goals, but it’s still about squelching dissent.

    Mighty funny behavior from people who claim to value individuality and freedom.

  27. @Brian Z: “By the way, as an eligible voter can I object in a polite fashion to the idea that my opinion is worthless unless I “bother” to show up in Spokane.”

    You can object all you like, but your opinion on matters taken up at the Spokane meeting IS functionally worthless if you do not show up. Just like all other supporting members, you get no vote in that meeting. There’s no electronic component, no virtual presence – either show up and have your say, or don’t show up and have no say. Even attending members who stay up too late and oversleep lose their voice.

    In short, the business meeting is real-time and happens in meatspace. If you ain’t there, you don’t get a vote. Simple as that. I won’t be in Spokane, so that’s true for me as well. Them’s the rules.

  28. Rev. Bob, does the fact you won’t be in Spokane mean that your opinion on what should happen with the awards is meaningless and you should not participate in online discussions about it? I don’t find that to be the case.

  29. Rev. Bob, reading your comment again, I see you qualified it by saying that our opinions are only “functionally” worthless – OK, I agree, that’s fair enough as far as it goes, but I would hope we can still state our views and have a discussion.

  30. Brian Z: “Does the fact you won’t be in Spokane mean that your opinion on what should happen with the awards is meaningless and you should not participate in online discussions about it? I don’t find that to be the case.”

    Point 1: You apparently haven’t bothered to educate yourself on the various methods being discussed for changes to the existing Hugo nominating and voting processes.

    Point 2: You apparently expect other people here to educate you, so that you can then proceed to argue with them about those methods.

    Point 3: You seem to think that the WSFS should make special changes to their existing process (which is mandated by their constitution and by-laws) to assuage your feelings that you should be able to provide input to the decision-making, even though you’re not going to be at the Business Meeting in Spokane.

    Google for the WSFS website. Educate yourself. Google for discussions of nominating and voting changes. Educate yourself.

    When I was at university, I met a significant number of guys who’d spent their entire lives having their cooking, and cleaning, and laundry, and bedmaking, and just about everything else done for them. These guys expected someone to do everything for them. They expected to be handed everything. They were nothing more than oversized, spoiled children.

    Do not expect people here to educate you. Do not expect the WSFS to change the Hugo process to suit you. If you want to be a part of the Hugo Awards process, then you need to become part of the WSFS — and that includes learning the rules, and working within them.

    If you have a problem with that, you are, of course, quite welcome to go start up your own awards program. No one is keeping you here.

  31. I’ll note that Brian, felt free to accuse me of sending him “gratuitous insults” but when asked to point out some of these insults, he moved on to other topics. He should consider such things when wondering why people call him a sealion.

  32. Alexvdl, you mean after you asserted you will mock me without engaging in discussion? Get a grip on yourself and go bother someone else.

  33. @Brian Z: “Rev. Bob, does the fact you won’t be in Spokane mean that your opinion on what should happen with the awards is meaningless and you should not participate in online discussions about it?”

    Those are two separate questions, and should have been asked as such. (And yes, I did see your followup “I saw the ‘functionally’ qualifier” message.)

    First – Yes, my opinion about rules changes is, in that very real sense, worthless. I will not be at the meeting, so my opinion on what should happen there is irrelevant; I am unable to bring motions or vote on them.

    Second – People can have online discussions about anything. On this topic, I have been looking at the different proposals and voicing my opinions for two reasons. First, to spread the word that people who will be there are talking about these options, and second, to say why I like one more than another. I’m a computer guy; I like algorithms, and this is right in my wheelhouse. (I also work with games, which is another way I’m interested in such things.)

    Finally, I wrote that message to correct your apparent misconception that being a supporting member makes you an “eligible voter” with respect to the business meeting. Whether that’s what you meant or not, it’s what you said, and it just ain’t so. As I explained, supporting members get to vote on the Hugos, but not on WorldCon business. Thus, you (and I) can opine all day long, but we can at best hope to influence the thinking of others who will be there.

    While this is a new problem for WorldCon, it is not a new problem in general. Work has been done in this field; WorldCon need not start from scratch.

  34. Rev. Bob, ah, I see how you were being helpful, then. Yes, I did know that people not present cannot vote at the business meeting, but thank you.

    I’m personally interested in hearing opinions about to change the system (or whether to keep it the same) from anyone who has made a material contribution to WorldCon (be it only forty bucks), or even those who care a lot about it but can’t afford the forty bucks. I sent in a little money simply because I think the institution is valuable and I want to support it in whatever small way I can, and I believe that may be true of others as well.

    Even if I can’t make Spokane, which seems quite likely, I’ll certainly watch the recording/stream of the meeting and will do my best to join you all in meatspace the following year.

  35. Daveon @ 11: 56 pm- Thank’s for the slate recommendation. I will weigh your suggestions based on: 1) my opinion of your good faith (low); and, 2) my own reading (high).

    Complaints about slates are not worth the ink they are printed on. A recommendation list still requires a free person to undertake multiple voluntary acts (the first of which registering and paying a fee, etc) based on his or her individual decision making.

  36. Steve Moss, you old sea-lion, you. Please give Daveon a little credit – there are valid reasons to be against slates, especially if organized by authors with committed followings who tell them vote exactly as is. Or even authors who bow their heads and say “for your consideration,” or those who beseech you to “vote No Award” or “under no circumstances vote No Award.”

    But I agree with you, at the end of the day it all comes down to individual choice. My intuition is that people willing to spend 40 or 50 bucks for some thing probably care about said thing (I know I do). So the way to go might be appealing to the voters without demonizing authors they are fans of who had the audacity to create lists.

  37. “Short of there actually being a published ‘vote in this order’ list I’m not sure what the puppies plan to happen now?”

    I don’t know. Maybe reading all the stories and voting for the one they liked the best?

  38. @Brian Z.: Thank you for trying (I guess) to be specific — even though you still didn’t, as requested, do the math. I will attempt to help you construct your hypothetical, since you seem to be utterly unable, or unwilling, to grapple with the latter concept.

    Suppose 500 impassioned ideological wack jobs each each spend the US $50 MidAmeriCon II supporting membership fee, and substantially all of them vote one or more deliberately obnoxious slate of 5 candidates in seven of the least-nominated categories, thus concentrating on short fiction categories, editor categories, best fan writer, etc. This means they will totally determine the contents of those categories unless about 3500 habitual Hugo Award voters bother to vote for the affected categories (given demonstrated ability of about a 15% bloc to control categories). It may or may not be feasible to sustain a precautionary high turnout of non-bloc voters in 2016.

    This is about right. About US $25,000 in spare change can be spent to clobber some number of nomination categories in 2016 unless there is offsetting high nomination turnout of habitual Hugo Award voters, the final time this sort of exploit can be carried out if nominations reform gets voted by the Sasquan and MidAmeriCon II Business Meetings. OTOH, if habitual Hugo Award voters, warned by the 2015 exploit, nominate in high numbers, to required number of bloc voters (and cost) rises proportionally. Note that if the attempted bloc vote just misses the ~15% mark relative to other voters, then the whole $25,000 for 500 block voters, or $50,000 for 1000 voters, etc., ends up being a dead loss for the ideologues in question — because close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, atomic weapons, and CBW, but not gaming of Hugo Award nominations.

    Now, having taken the trouble to do the math for you, I get to the obvious question for you: What’s your point? I regard it as likely that some bunch of bozos with US $25,000 to waste is going to attempt to do that, so what is your point beyond ‘Oh, some stupid bollocks is likely to happen in 2016’, which is obviously true already?

    My ethnic group were, back in the day, on the receiving end of the Danegeld, which by all reports was a pretty cushy way to live. But this is 2015, and we don’t do that game any more.

    No Danegeld,
    No Award.

    Rick Moen

  39. Brian: you don’t see the similarities? Heh. I got nothing then, it’s blindingly obvious to me and I’ve not had this issue with anybody I’ve discussed it with, not with a lot of people here who also don’t seem to struggle grasping that what was done was done to deliberately game the nomination process, especially effective in categories where fewer people nomination a lot of different works… Hence the historical problems stories have had with the 5% threshold rules.

    Andrew: yes, I’m sure they’re going to do that, just like everybody read for the nomination phase and didn’t take Beale at his word. That’s why Wright did so well, people just read those stories…

  40. Steve Moss: yes rec lists do require reading, slates do not especially ones which say you shouldn’t do so. Just because you did something doesn’t say anything about anybody else.

    The results speak for themselves frankly, you can ask for more proof but it’s been given and your repeated statements have been answered over and over again, restating and reframing the question won’t get you a new answer, not even today.

    As I’ve also said, I’d mind less if the puppy lists had done what they said they were going to do, but this far, with one exception, it’s been dross.

  41. Brian Z: By the way, as an eligible voter can I object in a polite fashion to the idea that my opinion is worthless unless I “bother” to show up in Spokane.

    What I actually said was:

    ‘Don’t get me wrong: If you bother to have a full attending Sasquan membership and show up at the WSFS Business Meeting in Spokane, you get the same vote as any other WSFS member who shows up.’

    I would appreciate it if you would not (a second time) misrepresent what I say.

    Rick Moen

  42. Rick, my reaction to your wording choice was to think that lots of people would surely love to go to the business meeting at Sasquan but can’t be there for some legitimate reason related to work, money, geography – not that they can’t be “bothered” to participate. But I accept that it was a minor point, not worth of tacking on to my last message, and I withdraw it with my apologies.

  43. No problem, Brian Z. For the record, my specific objection was to your claiming I’d said your opinion was worthless if you didn’t attend and show up at the Business Meeting. That is absolutely nowhere in anything I posted.

    I did say that the WSFS membership aren’t accountable for you as to what (proposals) you are willing to ‘look at’.

  44. Daveon,

    By “don’t you see the similarities” I take it you mean “between award nominations and a political slate of candidates.” Yes, I see some similarities, but I also recognize that Brad Torgersen explicitly called his “slate” a “list of recommendations.” I also think we should be careful about the term “game,” since I don’t think Torgersen expected to sweep a whole bunch of categories (sometimes, he didn’t even fill the five slots).

    Sure Vox Day must have done the math when he said to his followers “vote precisely as they are,” and I’ve said too that I think that was wrong.

  45. Rick, you called my views on rule changes “your problem, not mine,” but I overreacted, and I apologize.

  46. Rick, back to your point: if you would like numbers for the scenario I gave you, say you Purists are a thousand strong and easily beat down the “bad” categories with No Award. In 2016, Rabids swell to 500, let’s put Sads at 400, a new anti-canine slate at 300 and 100 declaring for very esoteric slates. That’s 2,300 voters standing ready to destroy the village in order to save it. I’m not saying mass no-awarding in 2015 is wrong in an absolute sense, I’m just wondering if it will further encourage all sides in 2016 to come out shooting. It’s your call.

  47. @Brian Z.: Again, what I said was:

    “But your ‘looking at’ things is really your problem, not mine.”

    This was a direct response to your upthread comment: “Beyond that, whoever has a voting system that can’t be gamed, bring it to the table, it might work – I’ll look at it carefully like everyone else.”

    This was a polite suggestion that you fix your attitude: Nobody is here to do your homework. You are totally free to do basic reading on voting systems and proposals to replace the gameable first-past-the-post vote used for 62 years for the Hugo Award nominations phase. (Among the things you will learn is that all voting systems are gameable if given sufficient force and the right inputs.)

    However, more to the immediate point, nowhere in anything I said was any suggestion that your opinion was worthless on account of lack of attendance at the Sasquan and MidAmeriCon II Business Meetings or for any other reason. And frankly your pretending as if I had, comes across as passive-aggressive ankle biting.

  48. Brian Z:

    1. You still aren’t actually doing the math. Work out the actual math, including the fact that your multiple hypothetical slates are going to have offsetting effects, in addition to costing 1300 (not 2300, as your addition was wrong on your own numbers) ideologues spending a total of US $65,000 and possibly having nothing to show for their money, if at least approximately 5300 (800 / .15, assuming partial synergy between the two largest blocs) habitual Hugo Award voters also nominate.

    I have now fixed your hypotheticals twice, and am now done. Figure out how to do the math yourself, and until then, please do not try to waste my time with half-assed hypotheticals again.

    2. You seem to have somehow missed what I said, that I’ve already taken as given that nominations will be subject to gaming in 2016. So, what’s your point? You suggest payment of Danegeld? No, no Danegeld, sorry.

  49. There are some very detailed discussions of possible voting systems for nominations going on in a dedicated thread on Making Light.

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