The Madness of Crowds of Puppies 4/10

In today’s roundup George R.R. Martin makes everybody mad, John C. Wright says “We are mad when they lie about us, they are mad when we tell the truth about them” , and Dara Korra’ti says you’re mad if you don’t show up to the Worldcon business meeting.

Kate Paulk and Abigail Nussbaum are mad at the same thing. Lots of others madly type their thoughts.

Then it gets verse.

John C. Wright

What is the Hugo Worth? – April 10

A private conversation with a well placed and influential editor in the New York publishing house was rather eye opening to me. It seems the Hugo, at one time, predictably bumped up sales for a work that won by a thousand books sold. Now, thirty.


George R.R. Martin in Not A Blog

“Where’s the Beef?” – April 9

Condolences, Brad [Torgersen]. You are a Hugo Loser. But hey, congratulations. You are a Hugo Loser. It’s an exclusive club. We get together annually, clank our beers together, and chant, “It’s an honor just to be nominated” in unison. Were you at the con? Did I give you a ribbon? If not, I’ll be sure you get one, should we ever met. Wear it proudly. The rest of us do. If that list I linked to is right, I’ve lost fifteen. When you lose, the fannish tradition is to congratulate the winner and shake their hand, then go to our Hugo Loser Party to get drunk and bitter. When I lose, my friends all tell me I’ve been robbed. Makes me feel better. Even when I know it isn’t true.


George R.R. Martin in Not A Blog

“What Now?” – April 9

(Here is where I will probably piss off everybody on the anti-slate of this mess. Sorry).

Over at Making Light, and on several other sites, various rules changes are being proposed to prevent this from happening ever again. There are so many different proposals they make my head spin. More nominating slots, less nominating slots, weighted voting, eliminating the supporting memberships, outlawing slates, limiting nominees to a single nomination, juried nominations… on and on and on. The worldcon business meeting is never exactly a funfest, but if the proponents of half these proposals show up at Sasquan, this year’s will be a nightmare. And will probably still be going on when MidAmericon II convenes.

I am against all these proposals. If indeed I am at Spokane, and if I can get myself up in time for the business meeting, I will vote against every one of them.

Most of them, frankly, suck. And the mere fact that so many people are discussing them makes me think that the Puppies won. They started this whole thing by saying the Hugo Awards were rigged to exclude them. That is completely untrue, as I believe I demonstrated conclusively in my last post. So what is happening now? The people on MY SIDE, the trufans and SMOFs and good guys, are having an endless circle jerk trying to come up with a foolproof way to RIG THE HUGOS AND EXCLUDE THEM. God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.

I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? How about we try to be better than that? There is nothing wrong with the Hugo rules. If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. Get in our own nominations. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn’t. Fandom danced the usual, “oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot,” and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don’t want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote….

The other approach is less radical. Vote NO AWARD in all the categories that are All Puppy. In the others, chose between the nominees (there are a few) that did not appear on either the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy slate, and place all the rest, the SP/RP candidates, under No Award.

That’s less insane than the “No Award For Everything” idea, but only a little bit. Sorry, I will not sign on for this one either.


Dara Korra’ti on Crime and the Forces of Evil

“we’d better all be ready to go to the business meeting” – April 10

I knew the Puppies bloc – the bloc voting their slate – was a minority in fandom. It’s only yesterday that I found out how small. They’re ten percent.

Ten percent voting in a block got this motley gang of white supremacists, vicious homophobes, misogynistic GamerGate opportunists, and innocent-bystanders-slash-human-shields complete control over most of the fiction awards.

And now we’ve been told that if we don’t sit there, ignore our legal voting options, and give them the trophies that 90% of fans did not want them to have at all… they’ll destroy the awards forever, or at least try.

It reeks a bit of desperation. I don’t think they understood that NO AWARD is a real thing, and now they’re going with threats, and claims of omnipotence, at least in planning. I think the NO AWARD movement has them destabilised.

But even without that, the rules can and will be changed. It takes two years, but unless they’re going to brownshirt-up the business meetings for the next two Worldcons, those rules changes are going to happen and this is going to be stopped…

…but then again, they do say they’re prepared for all eventualities.

Maybe they’ve tipped their hand. Maybe brownshirting up the business meeting is exactly what they mean to do. Come in a bloc, ram through round one of any rule changes they might want (like getting rid of NO AWARD, perhaps?), and most importantly, block any attempt to work around their awards manipulation. That’d be real high on their agenda, given that they’ve already announced they’re going to do all this again next year.


Brad R. Torgersen

“Vox plays chicken with Worldcon” – April 9

Frankly, I think everybody should just do what Mary Robinette Kowal and Dan Wells and Scalzi and Correia and Jason Sanford and myself have been recommending you do, and read your voter packet and vote like the stories and books are just stories and books.

If Vox borks the Hugos in 2016, he is the biggest asshole SF/F has ever seen in its history.

Vox, please don’t be an asshole.

If the people who hate Vox bork the Hugos in 2015, they are the biggest assholes SF/F has ever seen in its history.

Vox-haters, please don’t be assholes.


Brad R. Torgersen

“Sad Puppies 3: were they contacted?” – April 10

Yes, I tried to contact as many people as I could. Hundreds of messages and e-mails. A few people turned me down, both before and after the slate went live at the beginning of February. I graciously pulled those who said, “Wait, I want off!” Many more have been unhappy about being later drafted for Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies alter-ego slate. For the latter case, I don’t blame them a bit, because many of the people I contacted for SP3 specifically said, “Don’t put me on anything Vox Day is going to be on,” and in point of fact, Vox Day is not on Sad Puppies 3 anywhere. I can’t be responsible for what Vox does. Only what I do. And I worked pretty damned hard to be courteous and reach out to people. Because I knew it was the gentlemanly thing. And I am sorry I missed some individuals, and that these individuals were unhappy with it. And for these failures, I accept full accountability. My bad.

But really, can I ask the field to step back and examine a deeper question? To go along with what George said above?

Why does being on a list force any author, artist, or editor, to have to explain anything?

Poor Annie Bellet had to roll out a long list of progressive bona fides to “prove” she is not in league with the dark forces. That she is a child of the light. That she is not now, nor has she ever been, a member of the Communist Party!

Why did Annie have to do that?


Mark Bernstein

“Help the Bitten” – April 9

But there are people, specific people, who have been harmed this year. I mean the people whose works and bodies of work would have earned them a place on this year’s final Hugo ballot, had they not been pushed off by the Puppy-slate entries. These are the folks who have been well and truly bitten by the Puppies….

I hereby announce the Help the Bitten initiative. Here’s what I propose, and plan to do:

1) Over the next four months, set aside a little money each month. Whatever you can afford, nothing more.

2) Once the figures are released, I (and, I hope, others) will create and post, as widely as possible, the Puppy-Free Ballot (PFB). In each Hugo or Campbell category, the PFB will list the top five (or more, in case of ties) nominees that did not appear on either Puppy slate.

3) Within the limits of your budget, choose actions from this list:

– Buy nominated PFB Novels

– Buy nominated PFB Graphic Novels

– Buy nominated PFB Related Works

– Buy anthologies that contain nominated PFB Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories

– Subscribe to magazines that contain nominated PFB Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories

– Subscribe to nominated PFB Semiprozines

– Buy works by PFB Campbell nominees – Buy works edited by PFB Editor nominees (both Long and Short Form)

– Buy books or prints by nominated PFB Artists

I admit to being at something of a loss as to what to do for the PFB nominees in the Fan categories. I’d love to hear your ideas.


Cataline Sergius on Reactionary Times and Dark Herald

“Sad Puppies IV: The Enpuppying” – April 9

Scenario 4.  The Enpuppying.  Puppies both Sad and Rabid run the table at WorldCon.  Vox Day wins for best editor Long Form.  No Award doesn’t appear on the final tally for anything.

In this unlikely scenario expect the SJWs to walk out of WorldCon and not participate in 2017  The Hugos and Worldcon will be abandoned due to their non-combative nature, they simply won’t want to fight a  at all.  Clearly the Koch brothers bought the Hugos and hired Vox Day to run it for them because they he is jealous of John Scalzi’s success.  There is no point in fighting when you are this out gunned.  They will set up their own juried award at another convention.


Steven Barnes on Facebook – April 9

I haven’t commented about the Sad Puppy situation. But as for gaming the Hugos, one possible rule change that would make this harder is to allow votes only to attending memberships, with pass-codes given at registration. Its a pity that thoughts like that are necessary. Karma is going to be interesting on this one.


D. Markotin on The Anarcho-Geek Review

“If I can’t have the toy, then I will destroy the toy” – April 10

Now, I’m not saying straight white cis-male conservative authors shouldn’t be writing fiction. But this sour grapes thing is bullshit. Doing this Sad Puppies thing in the name of “diversity” is laughable, on one hand, and on the other hand, is proof that our language, the language of diversity-as-a-positive-thing, is the dominant discourse. Even the conservatives want in. Doing this thing in the name of “anti-authoritarianism” is insane. Power structures such as white supremacism, patriarchy, and capitalism are every bit as authoritarian as the state. There is no such thing as conservative or right-wing anti-authoritarianism.



“Hugo drama MegaThread! Mad, sad, glad? This is the place to talk about it.”

Why this thread?

Since the Sad/Rabid Puppy Hugo Shortlist Takeover Debacle (SRPHSTD for short), we have had dozens of people from other subreddits coming to ours and generally breaking our rules. This has lead to hours upon hours of work for the other mods and myself, all of it unpleasant. Racist rants, casual misogyny, flame wars, trolling, recruiting people for political agendas, you name it. All behavior that is very much not welcome on /r/printSF.

You have probably not seen much of this, because the mods (and especially myself) have spent hours actively watching and moderating this subreddit to keep the level of discourse at the high mark that we expect of it.

In addition, there have been over a dozen threads submitted about this in the past 5 days alone. Enough to drown out other discussion on our small subreddit.

In an attempt to stem the tide and contain this all, we’ve set up this thread. All Hugo drama discussion is fair game, although our usual rules of civility apply. If you’d like to discuss the books themselves, you can do that elsewhere, but all drama-related Hugo threads will be removed, as will comments in threads that are not this one, and anyone trying to circumvent this removal on purpose or otherwise stir up shit in the rest of the subreddit will be banned.


Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

How Not To Write a Hugo Nomination Acceptance Post –  April 9

Now, the Hugo award is still, despite the graying of Worldcon and various other things, more or less the most prestigious award in our genre, so it’s not all that surprising that people who are nominated for one will squee a bit on their blogs.

There is, however, a right way and a wrong way to do this. One of the nominees has provided a magnificent example of the wrong way.

It starts well enough with the nominee stating how gratified and stunned they are, and offering links to the nominated work (which, I might add, is well worthy of the nomination despite certain flaws in the assumptions behind the work. I recommend reading it).

So far, so good, right?

The next paragraph brings out the warning signs. First comes what looks on the surface like expressing the desire that the sequence of events – which lead to the piece that generated the nomination – had never occurred. The next paragraph is unremarkable, but then the real fail begins.

Yes, our oh-so-enlightened nominee explicitly links Sad Puppies to Requires Hate, and calls the Sad Puppies campaign “bigotry-driven”. I don’t know about you, but the last time I heard the definition of “bigotry” did not include “wants to see good stories regardless of who wrote them”. Just saying.


Abigail Nussbaum on Asking the Wrong Questions

“The 2015 Hugo Awards: Why I Am Voting No Award in the Best Fan Writer Category” – April 10

There is a huge difference between acknowledging that something has value and giving it an award.  The message that the latter sends is one that I, personally, am not comfortable with.  To begin with, there are huge problems with Mixon’s report.  Some of them are not her fault–Sriduangkaew’s self-editing and the fact that so many of her victims would only speak on condition of anonymity mean that Mixon lacks citations for many of her claims, and I can see feeling that the importance of her cause justified ignoring the conventions of good journalism.  Others, however, were entirely within her control.  The report consistently treats all of Sriduangkaew’s excesses–her rage-blogging, her public bullying, and her private abuse and harassment–as if they were equally bad, whereas to my mind only the last one justifies the opprobrium that has descended upon her.  In a particularly ill-judged segment of the report, Mixon divides the people who have sounded off about Sriduangkaew into “pro-abuse” and “anti-abuse,” even though it should be clear to anyone that this is an enormously complex situation with many nuances.  (UPDATE: I had misremembered that this segment was in Mixon’s report.  It’s actually in another LJ post by azarias.)  The report’s emphasis on mathematical “proof”–Mixon includes charts and graphs to demonstrate, for example, that Sriduangkaew predominantly targeted women of color–feels perverse, especially given that Mixon is missing most of her sources.  Worst of all, unsurprisingly, are the comments, which confirm my impulse from back in 2012 that most of the people who would take an anti-Requires Hate stance are ones that I want nothing to do with.  It takes a mere instant for someone to show up and announce that Sriduangkaew’s existence proves that all anti-racist writing is bullying.  Another wonders aloud whether Sriduangkaew is “really” Asian.  In her essay, Loenen-Ruiz writes that giving Mixon a Hugo demonstrates the genre community’s commitment to protecting the weak and vulnerable.  I think the comments on Mixon’s report demonstrate something very different.


Pat Cadigan on Facebook – April 4

Well, folks, if you don’t like this year’s Hugo ballot, don’t cry over it––vote.

If you want to like next year’s Hugo ballot, frickin’ buy a supporting membership to the worldcon so you can nominate and vote.

There is no “them.” You just weren’t there.


Anonymous blogger on Respectawards

“In Light of Hugos, Puppies, and Other News” – April 10

If our beloved Hugo awards, once reliable standards of quality sf content, have been subverted by malcontents, then we have little choice — we must abandon them to the malcontents. When someone shits the sandbox, you do not cover up the shit with more sand and say, “well, maybe the shit won’t stink next year.” It will. I promise.

Which leaves us with precious few options. But I believe that we can harness the power of emerging technologies, of the Internet, and of collective action to reclaim the awards space and create something new, something better, something immune from being turned into a political tug-of-war.

I call them the reSPECt Awards, honoring speculative fiction in all its forms. While this idea is newly gestated, I think it the proper course of action. We will make our awards better, stronger… well, you get the picture.


Steven Schwartz in comment on Novel Ninja – April 9

[third and fifth stanzas]


There’s room for both the sickly tales

and more robust ones; neither entails

sole claim on bookshelf space,

and, indeed, it’s not the case

that either one’s about to die,

so, Sad Puppies, no need to cry

unless you want, and need, and crave to drive my sort of tale to the grave….


And then, when puppies stop their barking,

and their smelly territory-marking,

perhaps we’ll get back to fannish games —

complaining about awards, muttering names

of people who we think should win,

without trying to get under each other’s skin.


Matthew Bowman in comment on Novel Ninja – April 9


You say there’s room for all tales here.

Room for heroes straight and queer.

Room for stories, pop and lit,

Room for all that seems to fit.

It seems to me that you can’t see

The Puppies happily agree.


Marcus Bales on Facebook

“Ballade of Sad Puppies” – April 10

[final verse]


Fans! It’s not good politics

to vote for views, not writing, here —

vote ‘No Award’, not for the fix

that fakes the prose of yesteryear.


62 thoughts on “The Madness of Crowds of Puppies 4/10

  1. Alan Ziebarth:

    Is the business meeting before or after the Hugo Awards?

    Before, generally. The Business Meetings are scheduled for 10 AM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Hugo Awards are Saturday night. Normally we have finished all of our work by the third meeting and adjourn for the year then. The last time we held a final-day (Sunday this year) meeting was in 1992 because of the then-in-force “snap election” rules for NASFIC.

    The Business Meeting is not required to adjourn at the end of the Saturday meeting. It could decide to wait until Sunday. However, the deadline for submitting new business to the meeting is two weeks before Worldcon starts, so it would be difficult to submit new proposals without a supermajority’s consent even if the meeting waits until Sunday.

    2. When are the nominating statistics released, especially the number of supporting memberships? Can the number of supporting memberships be released after the voting deadline but before the business meeting?

    The number of supporting memberships the convention has sold are updated regularly on the convention web site. If you’re asking about a separate breakdown of how attending and supporting members voted on the Hugo Nominations and Final Ballot: that’s never been broken out.

    Traditionally the top-15 list of nominations is released after the Hugo Award Ceremony along with the final ballot voting breakdowns. There is no constitutional impediment IMO to the nominating data being released earlier, although I would strongly object to information about the number of nominations received per finalist being released before the final ballot voting deadline.

    3. Without the possibility of an individual’s ballot being made public to anybody (even if it’s only one person) can a program be run to give a number on how many individuals only used the SD/RP suggestions in their nominating ballots?

    I haven’t a clue. There is no constitutional impediment of which I’m aware to anonymized voting information being released, particularly if such information is not able to affect the final ballot voting.

    Nel C:

    I believe that no-one who has an attending membership bought for them by a non-family member is allowed to vote anyway,…

    There is no such restriction. What Mike Said.

    What Administrators are apt to watch out for is what I call “voting the phone book:” buying a bunch of supporting memberships with random names and voting them all identically. The last time this was suspected of happening, the convention counted the nominations, but put the sixth-place finisher on the final ballot as well. It was pretty easy to tell who the odd duck was, and the duck eventually withdrew. (There was never any hint that the odd duck was behind the campaign. It appears to have been overly-enthusiastic fans.)

    As a past administrator myself, I think that the only time I’d ever feel even vaguely comfortable disqualifying a vote would be if I had a reasonable belief that it was not cast by the individual to whom it was registered, and I don’t mean a person marking a spouse or child’s ballot for him/her. (This does happen, but the amount of harm done is negligible.)


    Day didn’t buy a single vote.

    How do we know that?

  2. “Evidence that all (or even 80%) of SPs voters all voted the same list?”

    Oh, I get it. So what you’re saying is that the Sad Puppies are wrong to be claiming a victory here. They had nothing to do with what ended up on the Hugo nominations this year. You’ve totally fooled me with this really clever twist.

    Again, why lie about it now? It’s obvious that the Sad Puppies campaigned to have their slate put on the Hugos and hey, it took over the Hugos, That was the whole point. Have you simply become embarrassed by the Sad Puppy campaign? Realized that the slate voting tactic makes you look worse than the SLWs you are railing against? Why the change of heart?

  3. Kevin: Good information. Only I’m not keen to see someone who is a steward of the Hugo (given your responsible role) begging the question wheher someone is privately buying memberships who is the author of one of these slates If you knew tha you presumably would be at work on the issue.

  4. How do we know that?

    Because he hasn’t, that’s why. He has no need. None. People were happy to join Worldcon on their own dime to see the awards fixed or blown up.

    Kowal, on the other hand, can’t inspire anyone to her bloc vote slate without footing their bill. I though PNH said that the Awards committee had mechanisms in place.

    You really think those mechanisms wouldn’t have kicked in against an attempted-purged lifetime member of the SFWA if he were funding extra votes?

    The real question is if they will exercise those mechanisms against Kowal’s naked voter bloc purchasing.

    This is a microcosm of how the Xanatos gambit works: If Kowal is allowed to buy votes, then vote buying is legal, and the corruption of the award is proven. SP wins. If Kowal is banned from doing, then vote buying is illegal, and SP proven virtuous in its conduct. SP wins. Also, if Kowal not banned, then vote buying legal…and PNH proven a liar. SP wins.

    Anti-SP’s best bet is to act as if the slate is legitimate, vote for the best of bad choices, and try to organize better slate for next year. Yes, SP still wins in that scenario, but at least the anti’s have a way forward and have a shot to recover the awards in the future.

    But the truth is that they don’t care about the integrity of the awards. That’s why this all has happened in the first place. They aren’t going to pick the best option for them, even if it also happens to be the least electric option for the SP.

    My best guess right now is that the anti-SP elites are going to start a separate award and are hoping to blow up the Hugos on their way out. They sure are acting like it.

  5. Andrew, statistical variation on this year’s slate is actually significantly higher than many of the nomination in the past. You do not want to get into an argument about variety for 2015…because the stats and blocs are pretty damning well before SP entered the fray.

  6. xdpaul — Where is Kowal’s slate? She says, “I am in no way constraining how that member nominates or votes.” If she’s imposing no conditions, then she’s not buying any votes. Let me repeat that, Kowal is not buying votes.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat the lie, it doesn’t become true. Especially when everybody can read the truth themselves.

  7. Mike: Sorry. What I mean is, “How would we know if anyone were buying up memberships for other people, by any mechanism?” We can’t. It’s neither provable nor disprovable with the information available. After all, if I’d suddenly come into $100K and decided to start reimbursing people the cost of supporting memberships without telling anyone about it, there’s be no record of it, now, would there?

    Both “sides” of this issue are projecting their worst fears onto their “opponents.”

    Anyone who knows MRK knows that she’s a wonderful person who made this generous offer with the very best of intentions: to introduce more people who could not otherwise afford it to Worldcon and the Hugo Awards. She’s inspired other people to do join in. To that extent, it’s the same as various programs that raise money and offer “scholarships” to fund people to attend SMOFCon. Or the Fantastic Detroit fund that funded people who couldn’t afford it on their own to get memberships to last year’s NASFIC.

    Aside to anyone who wants to say, “See, they’re taking in millions of dollars for nothing!” — Supporting memberships cost Worldcons money to service. They’re not free money, particularly if the members want paper publications. In the latter case, Supporting memberships can lose money if the member is not in the USA due to international postage costs. Anyone thinking that Sasquan has Uncle Scrooge’s Money Vault out on the island in the Spokane River thanks to all these supporting memberships coming in is kidding themselves.

  8. Kevin: “How would we know….?” You have Mary Robinette Kowal and others publicly announcing that they’re doing this and all you do is applaud. Earlier in this thread you came across all sinister because somebody behind one of the slates couldn’t be proved not to have done it. At least be consistently indifferent to abuse.

  9. I think that anyone who offers in public to buy other people’s memberships in a way that doesn’t require them to vote in any particular fashion is fine. Secretly doing so and/or making the purchase contingent upon voting in a particular way is not.

    Having Vox or any other Rabid Puppy supporter anyone else say, “I offer to pay for X supporting memberships for Y of the next Z people who ask, selected randomly,” is open and above-board, and I’m not troubled by it.

  10. “People were happy to join Worldcon on their own dime to see the awards fixed or blown up.” — xdpaul

    Remember, it’s about ethics in voting.

  11. @Andrew, I ask you for evidence, I provide evidence indicating your argument is incorrect, you only provide invective. Point proven.

    As far as MRK and company buying memberships, sure, if they really are open to anyone selected randomly. I think she – or some of our people insisting it’s not about stacking with people from one viewpoint – should go post the link to sign up with hashtag #GamerGate on Twitter.

    Oh, is there a problem now? Hmm. Point proven.

    As far as Day buying memberships, why would he? He’s been driving his enemies crazy without spending a cent as is. You don’t pay for something when you can get it for free, after all.

  12. @Alex

    And in what universe exactly is GamerGate a “randomly selected” group of people, pray tell? If she wanted to find a bunch of people interested Worldcon and the Hugos without any particular foreknowledge of their political leanings, wouldn’t it be more sensible to post it in a hashtag like #sasquan or #hugoawards?

    And it seems as though many people missed the implication that Kowal’s followers are more likely to be poor than VD’s. Which makes sense. Marginalized people rarely take up the causes of individuals who want to eradicate them.

Comments are closed.