It’s Not Hard to Find the Real Numbers

Today I read an indie author telling his fans that creators inevitably have to deal with “haters.” Then I scrolled through his recent posts and discovered he had written another assuring everybody he is unimpressed by the 2018 Hugo Award winners — and that his views must be widely shared because just look at the mass exodus of Hugo voters.

It seemed bizarre that someone capable of pointing people to the publicly-available 2018 voting statistics (as he did) thinks no one will notice his made-up “10,000 voters” number, which he offered as the figure from which this year’s electorate has supposedly declined.

Here are the number of final ballots cast in the past seven years, from the official Hugo Awards website. (Links to PDF files.)

2012 Chicon 7 1,922
2013 LoneStarCon 3 1,848
2014 Loncon 3 3,587
2015 Sasquan 5,950
2016 MidAmeriCon 2 3,130
2017 Worldcon 75 3,319
2018 Worldcon 76 2,828

Of course, you’d expect participation to jump in 2014 because Loncon 3 broke a Worldcon membership record that had stood for 30 years, and it picked up a couple hundred Correia voters because that was the first year of Sad Puppies, (“Somewhere Puppies Are Smiling”).

The next year, 2015, the Sad and Rabid Puppies took over the ballot (“Re-Entering the Lists: The Slates Impact on the Final Hugo Ballot”). However, while there were even more Puppy voters than the first year, the final results show a huge influx of voters joined to oppose them.

The people who joined to vote for Vox Day’s slate in 2015 didn’t stick around. And the even larger group of fans who answered the firebell that year didn’t all stay after the crisis passed.

But consider this graph –

The number of 2018 voters is still over 50% higher than in 2012, the last pre-Puppy year. So this looks to me a lot more like a new, higher plateau than it does free-fall.

And I have to wonder if the fellow lecturing about “haters” owns a mirror.

62 thoughts on “It’s Not Hard to Find the Real Numbers

  1. It seemed bizarre that someone capable of pointing people to the publicly-available 2018 voting statistics (as he did) thinks no one will notice his made-up “10,000 voters” number, which he offered as the figure from which this year’s electorate has supposedly declined.

    Demonic possession is one possible explanation.

  2. Sadly, I suspect he may well know all of this, but he doesn’t care-and neither does his fan base. It’s likely he knows his fan base will eat this up with a spoon and ask for more.

  3. It took me a few tries to figure out which author it was, since it’s not one of the most obvious suspects, but I finally found it. Turns out he’s not just wrong about the Hugo voter numbers, but also seems to believe that the Hugo electorate declared two years ago that N.K. Jemisin would win the triple. Even though I don’t recall anybody saying that in 2016.

  4. @ Robert: Not only that, but from now on the “10,000” number that he pulled out of his ass will be passed around as gospel truth, just as someone else’s lies are. There’s a lot of overlap, after all.

  5. Ah, found him …that is amazingly skewed. No, I don’t remember anyone saying Jemisin would win 3 in a row in 2016. Book 2 came out just a few days before win 1. So really, who would have guessed? It was far from a given.

    I imagine the Hugo Packet, ebooks in general, and online availability of stories have helped more people participate.

  6. Took a lot of work to find that pile of puppy poo, but it was definitely not worth it in the end.

  7. Did the person in question just purge their website of all their blogs and other rantings?

  8. Marshall Ryan Maresca: Did the person in question just purge their website of all their blogs and other rantings?

    He must have fucked something up really bad, because in response, he’s deleted his entire website and locked down his Twitter account to hide the evidence.

  9. JJ, I don’t know who this person is and I have zero interest in doing the detective work, but haven’t they heard of the Wayback Machine? And screenshots? Nothing is ever truly deleted from the interwebs.

  10. @Marshall Ryan Maresca
    It’s not the one who deleted his website/blog recently, though last I saw that one was getting ? from his own people for having the wrong opinion on Comicgate.

  11. Ah, I found the post in question. It’s by one of the minor Puppy-hangers-on who’s apparently still striving for relevance. Unfortunately for them, pretty much everything they say in that post is demonstrably wrong, and the grapes in that post are so sour you can smell them from here.

    Cora, they’re not claiming that people declared that Jemisin would win three-in-a-row in 2016, they’re claiming that it was said in 2015. Which is hilarious.

    Puppies keep believing that if they say something enough times, it will magically be true. Too bad that has never worked for them. 😀

  12. Because I’m 12, I cannot look at your graph without it reminding me of giving someone the middle finger (even though the person making the gesture has too many fingers).

  13. Apropos of nothing —

    Am I the last person in the world to notice that the URL “jondelarroz.com” forwards to democrats.org?

    ;-D

  14. Contrarius on September 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm said:
    @C.A. Collins — Hey, is that an Anatolian in your avatar pic? I have one too! ?

    I didn’t even know people had these outside of Turkey and there are two of you here on the file?

    They are impressive dogs.

  15. So maybe 2500 is going to be a new normal plateau for Hugo voters? Time will tell. I do wonder if there is going to be a big drop below that in the 2020 Worldcon in NZ, since attendance is likely going to be much lower than a US/Europe Worldcon.

  16. @rob_matic —

    They are impressive dogs.

    They are great. They’ve become much more popular — still not common, but more than they were — in the last couple of decades. As you probably know, they are designed for livestock guardian work — and recently they have been very helpful in decreasing lion and other large cat predation on villagers’ herds in Africa, as well as being used for more mundane types of protection throughout the US.

    Mine (Tashi — more-or-less Turkish for “Stony”) is a very affable girl — she affs all over everything that belongs to her. She is mostly very laid back — which is a good thing, because she is BIG (haven’t weighed her since she was a pup, but at least 150 pounds — she makes my 90-pound dobermans look small). But she does have a stubborn side, and a lot of them are not so easygoing.

    I originally bought her along with her sister, who was much more strong-willed; unfortunately, the sister frequently had to be chained (strong chain, not rope or weak chain — she ate ropes, broke weak chain, and broke many weak latches or locks) to prevent her from going over fences and chasing baby goats, and she eventually managed to hang herself. Mind you, I have six fenced acres, but that was not nearly enough territory in her mind. That was a sad story, and an object lesson in dogs who just refuse to be confined!

  17. @JJ

    Cora, they’re not claiming that people declared that Jemisin would win three-in-a-row in 2016, they’re claiming that it was said in 2015. Which is hilarious.

    Now that’s really a feat, since The Fifth Season only came out in August 2015, shortly before WorldCon, at a time when most people probably hadn’t even read it, let alone the sequels which wouldn’t even be published for another year or respectively two.

    Never mind that The Obelisk Gate wasn’t the clear frontrunner in 2017, where the best novel ballot was extremely strong. The Stone Sky was the clear frontrunner this year, but then the best novel ballot was weaker overall and included several “love it or hate it” books.

    Of course, this minor puppy also claims that N.K. Jemisin said that she would win a triple, when she has never said such a thing, at least not to my knowledge.

  18. @Paul

    So maybe 2500 is going to be a new normal plateau for Hugo voters? Time will tell. I do wonder if there is going to be a big drop below that in the 2020 Worldcon in NZ, since attendance is likely going to be much lower than a US/Europe Worldcon.

    I’m pretty sure the overall attendance in 2020 will be lower. On the other hand, WorldCon in NZ makes it easier for many Asian and Oceanian fans to attend, so maybe the attendance will be higher than expected.

    As for how many of those who cannot attend will buy a supporting membership to nominate and vote remains to be seen. I will probably do it, funds permitting, but I’m just one person.

  19. @Contrarius

    I’ve seen them at work in Anatolia with flocks and cattle. They are very intimidating when they stand their ground and give you a warning bark.

    My wife had one when she was a child in Ankara and apparently it was in charge of the entire neighborhood.

  20. @Contrarius: 3/4 Anatolean.1/4 boxer. He was about 6mo old when that picture was taken. What’s your pupper like? Jack is mellow, but shy of new people.

  21. I’m pretty sure the overall attendance in 2020 will be lower. On the other hand, WorldCon in NZ makes it easier for many Asian and Oceanian fans to attend, so maybe the attendance will be higher than expected.

    Not that much easier for China, a little better from say Singapore. Anyone from outside Australia will be doing a domestic leg from Auckland (although it is less hassle than getting on a domestic flight in the USA). I note that our eGates for Passport processing accept passports from China, so that makes things smoother.

  22. @CA —

    3/4 Anatolean.1/4 boxer.

    Yeeeesh, I’d be afraid of combining all that boxer energy with all that Anatolian size! ;-D

    What’s your pupper like? Jack is mellow, but shy of new people.

    She is very mellow. She lives strictly on my fenced acreage as a guardian dog, so she very rarely sees strangers, but she seems to mostly ignore a person she doesn’t know. She is NOT especially cooperative when she doesn’t want to do something, though — not at all aggressive, but she puts all that muscle mass to good use. LOL. It’s a good thing that I am a very big person and used to dealing with large and determined dogs!

  23. Paul Weimer: I do wonder if there is going to be a big drop below that in the 2020 Worldcon in NZ, since attendance is likely going to be much lower than a US/Europe Worldcon.

    Even though total membership for Aussiecon 4 in 2010 was down by 1,000-2,000 from Worldcons before and after, it had the highest number of nominations ever at that point, and as many voting as the biggest Worldcons in that time period (Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Montreal).

  24. Laura, it was the eejit who announced in January that they were setting up a competitor organization to SFWA that was totally going to overshadow SFWA in terms of number of members and benefits provided to them — and then never did anything more with it. 🙄

  25. Jack is only about 105lbs at a year old; he might go 125 filled out. The combination was as follows. Grandpa Anatolian lives 3.1 miles away as the crow flies. Grandma Boxer was a fence jumping girl. Mama 1/2 Anatolian was also a fence jumper. Love–and associated activities found a way.

  26. My first Worldcon was 2010 (an excuse to visit Australia, naturally), and I was really surprised that it was less than half the size of the largest local convention. However, since I’ve never been to a convention outside of the Twin Cities except for Worldcon and Eurocon, I probably have false expectations for convention sizes in large US metropolitan areas, with the exception of Dragoncon.

  27. @CA Collins —

    It’s hard to keep em down on the farm when there’s a sweetheart just a few miles away! ;-D

  28. @Contrarius–Sounds normal for a livestock guardian breed. Devoted to their families, but, they will listen to your opinion and take it under advisement. They think humans are adorable, but have questionable judgment.

    And, you know, try proving they’re wrong. 😉

  29. Mike Glyer: The Hugo Voter Packet is probably very important to elevating the voting numbers.

    Yes, and that’s one of the reasons why I would expect the 2019 and 2020 Worldcon Hugo nomination and voting numbers to be comparable to 2018. But even Glasgow’s and Aussiecon 3’s numbers were comparable to those of the contemporaneous U.S. Worldcons, and those were several years before the packet came into existence.

  30. @Lis —

    Ha! Yes, you can almost see her thinking “No, I don’t think so” at times. 😉

    I’m going to see if I can get some photos posted to my wordpress site tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got lousy connection speed here, so the uploads aren’t cooperating right now.

  31. JJ,

    Ah, thanks. While searching for that guy’s group, I saw that there was an earlier attempt at a “non-political” writers group — SASS (File 770 post). Somehow SFWA has managed to hang on to its membership in spite of this!

  32. @Bruce A (re con size): do you have any guess how many people commute to the local conventions, or stay at the hotel after a short drive? When Boskone was at its peak 30+ years ago, we guessed half of the membership was daytripping (based on a hotel pickup of 1 room per 4 attendees, vs indications that most of the rooms had just two people in them). Australia spreads less than a tenth of the US population over an area similar to the contiguous US, so there aren’t as many people who can get to a given convention without serious expense or effort; I heard (secondhand, and from a source I don’t absolutely trust) of a pair who drove from Perth to Melbourne in 1985 and found the Nullarbor Plain so desolate that they sold their car and flew back.

  33. Chip Hitchcock, I wouldn’t necessarily trust hotel room occupancy numbers; hotels routinely charge for more than two occupants, so there’s a financial incentive to lie to the hotel, and I well remember the days of cramming eight or ten fen in a room. If you’re poor enough to split a hotel room eight ways, you really can’t afford the occupancy surcharge. If you weren’t lucky enough to score bed space, the next best thing was the closet. Seriously. It has a door, it’s usually big enough to curl up in unless you’re very tall, and you’re not going to be stepped on. The bathtub SOUNDS like a good spot, until you realize that people will be coming in to use the bathroom all night…

  34. Keeping them down on the farm: Yeah. I spay/neuter. I got Jack because my neighbors thought the male Great Pyrenees hanging at my place was the sire of the litter. There were some fuzzy pups in the litter–so maybe two different daddies–but Jack has no Pyr in him at all. Oh well. He’s still a sweetie.

  35. I didn’t get a chance to upload pics today. I’ll post a link if I get them done tomorrow. 🙂

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