Chengdu Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty Fields Questions on Facebook

Dave McCarty’s Facebook page is where some are trying – without success – to get full explanations for the ineligibility rulings in the 2023 Hugo Nomination Report released on January 20.

McCarty, a Chengdu Worldcon vice-chair and co-head of the Hugo Awards Selection Executive Division, previously gave File 770 this reason for ruling R. F. Kuang’s Babel, fan writer Paul Weimer, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman tv series, and second-year Astounding Award nominee Xiran Jay Zhao as “not eligible”:

After reviewing the Constitution and the rules we must follow, the administration team determined those works/persons were not eligible.

People have been trying to pry more information out of McCarty in a prodigious exchange on his Facebook page. Initially he referred them to the original reply above. And slapped back at one fellow who persisted in questioning with “Asked and answered.” Then, when that didn’t silence the questioner:

And

Clearly, Joseph Finn isn’t Tom Cruise, and Dave McCarty isn’t Jack Nicholson.

Yet it’s an innate part of human psychology to want to be understood and accepted by other people. The need is so strong that even the formidable McCarty had to make some effort to answer this question.

Neil Gaiman has been quite upset about what is essentially a Catch-22 explanation – the Sandman series was a Rule 3.8.3 casualty, but the individual episode that triggered the rule was also tossed as “not eligible”.  Earlier today he had this exchange:

Silvia Moreno-Garcia replied:

When Jon Nepsha tried to lay some guilt on McCarty his friend Tammy Coxen stepped in with a heavy hint that there’s a more noble explanation, it’s just not being said out loud.

But McCarty himself has taken the opposite tack by defending the adequacy of the report.

446 thoughts on “Chengdu Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty Fields Questions on Facebook

  1. @ Jay Blanc I have no idea what time zone you reside in, but Lem Taylor’s “proposal” was such an obvious satire of the gatekeeping proposals from the pale, stale, and male contingent that your serious response means you should probably go to bed

  2. Lem, if that was ironic, my apologies for missing it. My sense of irony mostly died, necrotized, and fell off sometime in the new millennium. I often miss such things now.

  3. Ryan H: I don’t know why this happens, but something in social media flattens perception and often results in a humorous statement being taken as an unironic, seriously-intended statement.

  4. @Mike Glyer: It’s been known for a while that tone doesn’t come through well in printed text. Social media probably makes that worse, because it moves so fast–in the old days, there was a larger chance that if I thought something was meant seriously when I first read it, I’d realize it was intended as a joke before putting my response in the mail, or printing N copies of my commentzine and showing up at the next collation.

    That also makes it easier to think of and post a respose to the first couple of lines or at best paragraphs of something without reading to the end.

  5. Vicki Rosenzweig: Something distinguishes the outcome in social media from how it seemed to work in fanzines. You have a point about the amount of time in the response loop. On the one hand, as you say, if it took longer to produce a response there was more opportunity to recognize humorous intent. On the other hand, social media is an environment where not only can a person immediately feed back their first impression, there are also times when people address an ironic/humorous comment as though the speaker meant it as a way of blunting their effect or embarassing them.

  6. Speculation here, but either “Sorry, Ben, you’re out” or “OK, Ben, we accept your resignation” could have been done quickly, even if writing an explanation takes longer.

    Removing his name as soon as the decision was made would make sense, even if it deciding where to make the announcement and what to say takes longer. The choice might be between answering “why isn’t Ben Yalow still on staff?” and “why is he still on staff?”

  7. If we’re talking about nuance, you might want to actually read what I wrote, and find that at no point was I saying anything other than taking the opportunity to bring up the difference between Worldcon (event) and Worldcon (administration), and the massively growing rift between them. It might possibly be an error to assume everything I say is intended as an attack on someone. I’m not here to win points and imaginary prizes.

  8. Voting itself aside, since there’s no actual obligation to do so and the process of doing it remotely is usually irritating, the cheapest way to get a membership to any year’s Worldcon is to have bought a site selection token.

  9. I tried to post this series of responses last night, but got “internal error” messages; I was working from a Word document (I do not trust WordpPress), so was able to save them. The discussion has moved on in positive ways, but I spent a lot of time on these, so will be posting them – -and then might also respond to some of the newer posts. (I respond to a number of the responses to Brad, which I’ve put in blockquotes, so I hope who is saying what is clear!).

    I suspect that Brad probably fails to realize he is not only gatekeeping but, in the longstanding tradition of dudebros everywhere, digging the hole he is in deeper and deeper with every comment, especially the ones that say “I did not mean what you thought I meant.”

    @Bruce Baugh who responded @ Brad Templeton with:

    Nor, contrary to your ignorant and offensive garbage, am I any kind of unique special case. Fandom’s been full of people subject to harsh physical constraints – health, poverty, caretaking, etc – from the outset. Fandom has long had a markedly higher proportion of such people than the general population, because we are more likely to end up needing + wanting to read (watch, listen) to more and because it’s been so open to participation from a distance. I am genuinely disgusted and furious, and will be taking some time off to simmer down because of the harm this level of angry stress can do to me. I wish that you had not written the single most appalling suggestion and the stupidest, most ignorant defenses of it this side of McCarty.

    I’m glad you’re taking some time away to recover, but want to leave this note of gratitude and offer a virtual solidarity fistbump to thank you for what you said. I’m feeling much better myself seeing your comments, and the others that follow! And I’m glad to see you’re back in the more recent comments.

    I mean, from the start of U.S. fandom (which is the one I know best, and let’s keep in mind that there are fandoms all over the world, all in different national and regional contexts) asynchronous textual communication happened. It was the origin — the fans writing to Hugo Gernsback’s scientifiction magazine (which published addresses) started writing each other and then started getting together with other, local, fans. And then came larger cons and clubs.

    Before the internet, there were APAS and Letterzines and fanzines (with LOCs), all full of fen interacting with each other remotely. And as Henry Jenkins has pointed out, fans were among the earliest adopters of the internet.

    My fandom spaces include a small campus Star Trek club, Earth’s finest apa (APF-5), regional cons (Seattle, Portland), and then the best of all, LiveJournal (starting in 2003, online LOTR fandom).

    @Andrew (not Werdna) in response to Brad’s challenge about membership:

    (as it is, various issues have kept me from attending more than a handful in several decades). I have voted for the Hugos and site selection virtually every year since that Worldcon, and had I been unable to attend, I would have no doubt done the same.

    Thank you — I liked your point about how the location made it possible for you and your wife to attend your first con as well as the “what if” speculation! And even though you can sometimes attend f2f, the virtual mode has also been important.

    @GiantPanda also in response to Brad’s challenge:

    That was me for several years. I have attended one Worldcon since then but probably won’t do so again (too many people make it too stressful). I certainly wouldn’t have attended that Worldcon had I not been a Hugo voter before.

    Thank you! The idea that a virtual membership can be a good introduction or foundation for f2f attending is applicable for many of us including me! (May I say your username is great!)

    It’s so nice to have the conceptual framework of the introvert hangover these days — and that so many of the people I know attending cons (primarily academic conferences but they’re a lot like fan conventions!) know the concept and understand it (and heck often feel the same).

    @Brad Templeton (excerpts from two different replies) said:

    #1: But as long as you can buy a vote for Hugos or site selection, it does seem there will be problems that are a challenge to solve.

    Brad: I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that you tend to be describing a whole lot of people (often facing major barriers that you apparently are privileged enough not to face or to even realize exist) as “problems.” I’m sure you don’t intend that meaning, but as the responses to you including mine show, that’s sure as heck what’s coming across. I hope you avoid escalating your metaphor to a “war” one (which often happens in Anglophone rhetoric: see, for example, “the war on poverty,” and “the war on drugs”).

    #2: Certainly there has been zero talk of interfering with remote voting. None of any sort or form, so I am surprised you got that impression. The question is about voting by people who have never attended a Worldcon (including the one they wish to vote during.)

    I got the same impression. You keep wanting to duck out of discussing specifics to focus on Major Philosophical Principles, but really, what a lot of people are pointing out is that “remote voting” has happened (it was US!), is happening, and will be happening, often by people who have never attended a WorldCon f2f. And the more you keep having to tell people that “they” didn’t understand what you meant, the more I doubt the problem is with our understanding.

    Stop digging.

    @Mike Dunford to Brad Templeton (two responses) said:

    #1: Possibly you start out by taking a hard and humble look at all the barriers that may be blocking those who want to join the community as members, removing them, and extending them the grace of assuming that they are starting from a love for SFF rather than a desire to supplant the precious perquisites of those who came before?

    Thank you for this lovely and concise takedown (and also thank you for the information on trademark issues!). I always enjoy reading comments by people who are knowledgeable about fandom issues and about specific professional arenas (in this case, the legal stuff).

    #2: My dream involves certain people getting over themselves for long enough to realize that the ONLY person who is EVER in a position to make a valid judgment of whether someone is a “trufan” is that fan. Not you, not me, and not the guy down the pub. They get to decide for themselves. Nobody else does.

    The single worst thing for or in fandom is this idea that there is some standard that fans must meet to really be fans. It’s pervasive, it’s been around forever. And in its own way it is every bit as toxic as the damn puppies. (To whatever limited extent there’s even a difference.)

    And, I would add, little about the toxicity is diluted by the “just joking” excuse!

    Even more gratitude for this lovely expression of welcome (rather than gatekeeping). And yes, it’s been around forever, and I think that the Sad and Rabid Puppies were just one of the more extreme manifestations of the phenomenon, especially because they targeted writers (many of whom were fans first and yet were being told they didn’t belong, and even more nastily, that they were only winning Hugos because of who they were, not the quality of their work).

    @Madame Hardy said:

    Brad, you just asked, “Is it worth preserving the fandom of people standing right here next to me?”

    Yes.

    Thank you! Yes! Brad keeps talking about “the problem” while ignoring the fact that he’s talking about people (as the problem).

    @Joyce Reynolds-Ward to Brad Templeton said:

    As for your anecdotes–I was a supporting member of various Worldcons before I ever attended one. I have vague memories of voting in Torcon2 and Discon2. I was under 18 at the time, and unable to travel. Furthermore, it was at least 20 more years before I was able to attend an in-person Worldcon.

    Brad really has no idea about the existence of all the types of fans who don’t fit his very narrow dudebro definition of fandom, I got awfully tired of that attitude in the 1970s, and have no patience at all for it in the 21st century!

    If all goes as planned I’ll be attending my first in-person WorldCon at age 70! WOOT! (I’m also planning on getting third tattoo to celebrate making it to 70).

    @rahaeli said to Brad:

    If you must persist in gatekeeping access to fandom, fannish identity, and the entirely out-of-date, historical, reactionary, and long-discarded shibboleths to qualify as a fan, despite the numerous people in this conversation telling you that it is unproductive, hostile, exclusionary, and would affect them in particular, I feel the need to point out that a trufan would know it’s spelled trufan, not truefan.

    Quotes the whole thing just to admire and fangirl the sheer beauty of the prose (especially the syntax!) and the BURN!!!! Thank you!

    @PhilRM

    Thank you! solidarity fistbump

    @Cassy B said:

    Hear, hear! Speaking as a person who has been the subject of gatekeeping for 45 years, because I’m female and yet have the temerity to play RPGs (starting with what is now called Basic D&D, aka The Little Brown Books, back in 1977 or so)… Well said, sir.

    I could never get into any of the gaming, but had lots of women friends who did, and yeah. The RPGs fandoms have been amongst the most toxic over the decades (as Gamergate proved way beyond any doubt).

    @Meredith, and @Bruce Baugh:

    Meredith said:

    Just going to point out that I have only got more housebound and emptier-pocketed over time, so the idea that I will – desire and enthusiasm aside – magically teleport to a Worldcon in the years left to me… is sure a thing. Nice to know that disabled fen can be handily discarded by some, I suppose.

    @Meredith: So lovely to see you! High fives, hugs (if welcome), and solidarity fistbump!

    Bruce said:

    I don’t want Worldcon to be only for trufen. I want it to be for everyone who’s kinda interested in sf/f. Some will become trufen down the road. Some won’t. And that’s fine! Rivers and seas need to be oxygenated and so do fandoms. Dabblers should be welcome, not barely tolerated.

    Fantastic metaphor — and yes!

    And really, the idea that there’s some inherent/essential “trufan” that exists all on their own is sooooooo limited (libertarian theory of fandom, perhaps???).

    How does anybody know that the “dabbler” won’t become more involved if, you know, they are welcomed rather than insulted or shunned?

    Thank you all!

    holds breath and presses post comment [after copying the text again]

  10. happy dances

    Mike: thank you for unspamming my earlier comment, and responding so quickly to my report of problems with this one. You rock! And I hope you were able to get enough sleep last night!

    More later — must run out to walk dogs and then grocery shop for the week.

  11. Jay Blanc: I feel uncomfortable about Ben Yalow’s removal to persona non-grata status. Particularly done by unannounced erasure. From the various comments made inside and outside of China, that after Ben Yalow’s “Worldcon In China” bid won it was coopted by a a consortium of Publishing and Resort Development concerns. And that Yalow was relegated to figurehead.

    Do not portray Yalow as an unwitting dupe.

    He knew exactly what he was doing when he chose to avidly spearhead the Chengdu bid, and he advised Chinese fans how to ensure that they won Site Selection. He made numerous promises to Western fans about the bid (oh, yes, of course we’ll be able to run a clean Hugo Awards program!), and — assuming he didn’t already know that wouldn’t be the case, which I highly doubt — he had the ability to publicly walk away when it became clear that they could not, in fact, run a legitimate Hugo Awards program. He was also one of the Hugo Administration team.

    I mean, it’s no surprise that Yalow would blatantly take actions that would screw over Worldcon members. Back in 2015-2016, he was extremely vocal about advocating that what the Puppies did was perfectly fine, and he worked very, very hard at trying to sabotage the passage of EPH.

    The only surprise is that it’s taken this long for SMOFs to finally put a stop to his sabotage of Worldcon and the Hugo Awards.

  12. MODERATOR’S NOTE. I’m going to turn off comments overnight. Will reopen them tomorrow when I’m available to moderate.

  13. I am not personally on Facebook, but a person who is has sent me this public statement posted by McCarty last night on his Facebook page:

    For those playing along at home, get your bingo cards out because it’s time to mark the hard-to-fill space.
    I am apologizing.
    Last week, I posted on my page that the Hugo statistics had gone up thinking that I was talking to just the few folks that had popped in before and asked me about them. I didn’t really think at any time that it would be seen by pretty much everyone that wasn’t me as speaking for the convention and the Hugo team.
    Clearly, I think we all agree I was wrong.
    The responses put me in old habits and I got defensive. Most of my responses there were inappropriate, unprofessional, condescending, and a number were clearly insulting. I made things worse.
    I apologize to the Finalists.
    I apologize to the Worldcon community.
    I apologize to the Hugo Awards community.
    My actions there caused pain and damage to people and communities that I love. Worldcon has been a core part of my life for more than 20 years, and I have to live with the knowldge of the damage I caused here by acting that way.
    I am going to turn off commenting on both this post and the past post about the stats. The statement that the administration team has previously made about elegibility decisions is the only one I can share. Any further questions or concerns about the 2023 Hugo Awards should be emailed to [email protected].
    Sincerely,
    Dave

    I note that it’s a handsome apology for acting like an asshole, but says nothing at all about the evident subversion of the Hugos. I expect folks here would rather that McCarty kept being an asshole as long as he admitted what actually happened (Incompetence? Coercion? Soft censorship? Hard censorship? Some combination of the above?) to make the Hugo results so obviously problematic.

  14. Mike, I’ve reposted a statement from McCarty on his Facebook page which has gone into moderation; I don’t THINK it breaks any rules, but I apologize if it does. Or perhaps you just have strong moderation enabled on this thread, which I completely understand….

  15. I expect folks here would rather that McCarty kept being an asshole as long as he admitted what actually happened (Incompetence? Coercion? Soft censorship? Hard censorship? Some combination of the above?) to make the Hugo results so obviously problematic.

    I for one would.

  16. Cassie B: Because of past experiences with commenter interaction I moderate for the word “asshole” so I can look at the context before releasing a comment that contains it. Most get approved and yours has been.

  17. Jay Blanc: I feel uncomfortable about Ben Yalow’s removal to persona non-grata status. Particularly done by unannounced erasure. From the various comments made inside and outside of China, that after Ben Yalow’s “Worldcon In China” bid won it was coopted by a a consortium of Publishing and Resort Development concerns. And that Yalow was relegated to figurehead.

    And I feel uncomfortable with Ben and Dave being on any Concom or bid committee, because they are still hiding facts involved in this whole matter.

    I’ve worked with Ben for several years, and being relegated to being a figurehead is the last thing I believe he’d accept.

  18. @robinareid: oh wow. Thank you, on my own sake and for the marvelous collation.

    @Casey B: I apparently retain enough of my Protestant youth to read McCarty’s apology-shaped post and think “yes, but where are the fruits of repentance?” He’s not fixing any of the problems – neither the unexplained actions nor the outright impossible-for-honest-work calculations – and not actually promising too anything differently in the future. He just wants us not to be mad at him.

  19. I expect folks here would rather that McCarty kept being an a*****e as long as he admitted what actually happened

    I mean I’m not expecting either of those things to really change.

  20. Re: Apology:
    Good that he appolized for his tone, but its still weird, that his Facebook is the only connection to the events.
    That he doesnt apologizes for the kerfuffle itself was not to expected, since its what “he had to do”

  21. I also agree that Glasgow had to let Ben go, it they wanted to build trust.
    It is a volunteer job and no one is garantied that they can do it.
    Ben was one of the people responsible for the Hugos and hasn’t sad anything about this.
    Talking with lawyers is good and fine, but at the moment I (and many more) don’t trust that guy, he betrayed us. I don’t think this can be repaired.
    It was probably also for the best that they let him go without anoucing it (okay a Ben is no longer part of our team would be okay), because anythink else ads more drama, that is bad for the con.

  22. I find it impossible to interpret

    Any further questions or concerns about the 2023 Hugo Awards should be
    emailed to

    followed by the completely unresponsive Worldcon email address as anything but McCarty flipping off everyone who’s upset with him.

  23. The email I sent days ago about In the Serpant’s Wake (which should be answerable?) didn’t actually bounce but probably got lost (trashed?) in the flood of WTF emails.

  24. I think Glasgow’s been very savvy with quick, reassuring communication via official channels. I hope there are more statements to come, but I would expect going into greater detail (e.g. who’s resigned or been booted, etc.) might require additional consultation amongst the conrunners and with a lawyer (given that there’s now precedent of Worldcons being sued and widespread talk about legal exposure). I at least would be surprised if we see any substantive statements in the near future.

  25. For the record, “trufan” doesn’t mean what people think it means.

    The Enchanted Duplicator.

    What THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, written in 1954, is about is entirely long obsolete and irrelevant to 21st century fandom, but it’s where the term came from.

    For the record.

    I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy. Let me repeat: I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy. I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy. I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy. I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy. I have no other point in noting this other than historical accuracy.

    Anyone who claims that noting the etymology is itself gatekeeping will be glared at. Please move along now. Thank you.

  26. It’s been known for a while that tone doesn’t come through well in printed text.

    People have been claiming this since the internet began interneting, and yet somehow writers such as P. G. Wodehouse and Art Buchwald and Mark Twain and Dave Barry and Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams and a thousand other names have demonstrated that this is utter and complete nonsense.

    Tone doesn’t come through if bad writers are writing or if people are looking for something to fight over.

    If sufficiently skilled writers of humor are writing, and people give the writer the benefit of any doubt, tone comes across pretty well in many cases.

    This is why satire is a thing, even on the internet.

    I’m a fan of Alexandra Petri these days, myself. Among other funny contemporary writers.

  27. @Bruce Baugh: Longitude? Balderdash! It is self-evident that it should be required that the locations of any four consecutive Worldcons constitute the vertices of a tetrahedron whose interior includes the center of the Earth.

  28. @Patrick Morris Miller: Ah, the natural extension of Brunner’s game called “fencing” (from Shockwave Rider)

  29. @Gary Farber

    For the record, “trufan” doesn’t mean what people think it means.

    I skimmed the text of that and read a summary and: please elaborate as to how.

    And even if you’re right about the meaning in 1954, that was written 70 years ago and that’s plenty of time for words to take on new meanings. Arguments from etymology only have so much power anyway, the usual example is a particular word meaning “miserly”.

  30. @Jake

    It starts on page 26:

    This, he knew, must be the Tower of Trufandom—and on its top The Enchanted Duplicator! On either side of him were numerous parks and gardens, great and small, and of varying types of beauty, and in them walked shining, godlike figures whom he knew to be the Trufans. Now and again one of them would notice Jophan, and come to greet him and wish him well, and with each encounter his eagerness grew to reach the Tower and become one of their number.

    […]His skin was glowing with the same golden radiance he had noticed in the bodies of the Trufans. His limbs were being invested with the same godlike strength. As the revelation came to him, there was a sound of golden trumpets in the air, and he heard again the voice of the Spirit of Fandom.

    “Yes, Jophan,” it said, “you are now a True Fan: and it is yourself that has made you so, as it must be. And now you will realise the second great truth — that this is indeed The Magic Mimeograph, and it will produce The Perfect Fanzine. For—” and now the song of the trumpets filled the air, ringing out across Trufandom to the far mountains- “FOR THE MAGIC MIMEOGRAPH IS THE ONE WITH A TRUE FAN AT THE HANDLE.”

    And Jophan found that it was so…

    A fun bit of etymology, but I don’t really see it as revealing an alternative meaning of ‘trufan’. Even in a fictional context, it’s still being used to mean “true fan” – a more humorous/allegorical definition than how it’s been used in subsequent decades, but the same basic concept. Anyway, I agree with you that even if it did mean something different in 1954, that wouldn’t mean people were inaccurate for using it with the contemporary meaning. Language evolves.

  31. @Brad Templeton

    a) Hugo administrators may not disqualify works or count ballots except as outlined in WSFS constitution and must issue a statement that they have complied with this with the final ballot and results.

    How is that different from what Mr. McCarty did? He said all that… he simply will not specify what portiona of the WSFS Constitution justifies his actions

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