And Now, a Quick Check-In With the Hugos

Question in email:

You’ve been pretty quiet about the Hugos this year so far. Now that voting is open on the finalist list, do you have anything to add?

Not really? I mean, after the initial bit of freakout, everything seems to have settled down, hasn’t it? The Puppy attempt to troll the Hugos this year consists of three categories: a) Stuff that was going to get nominated anyway, b) Stuff from people they classify as “SJWs” that they nicked off the Locus Recommended List, c) Their own stuff. My response to each category is, a) no credit, b) nice you can read someone else’s list, c) hmmm, well, this is still basically mostly shit, isn’t it? And I’ll likely vote accordingly. But it hardly seems getting much worked up about.

The only other thing to add about the Pups is that at least this year we can dispense with the polite fiction that their trolling the list is about anything other than trolling; there’s no ideological battle here, it’s just assholes trying to make other people unhappy. Which is what it was last year, too, mind you, but this year there’s no quasi-political fig leaf on it. Assholes gonna asshole, and that’s the size of it.

I do note there is a push to disqualify these trolls from the ballot. My thoughts on that: One, it’s too late for this year, the ballot is what the ballot is. Since at least a couple things on the ballot go out of their way to trash me, I think my opinion here carries a little weight (I, uh, won’t be ranking those very highly, I will note).

Two, moving forward, in a general sense I don’t have a problem with declaring ballots with obvious slating on them invalid, because slating is bullshit and contrary to the intent of the awards. That said, the Worldcon needs to make that declaration well ahead of the nomination process (along with the notation that its rulings on the matter are final and not open to debate), and it needs to make sure anti-slating rules are applied no matter who is attempting to slate. I’m also of the mind that if anti-slating procedures like E Pluribus Hugo and 4/6 are ratified and effective, then best to let them do the work.

Bear in mind that no amount of rule tweaking will keep specific bullshit off the finalist lists. There has always been stuff on the final ballots that have made people wonder “how the Hell did that get there?” The goal is to make sure that bullshit is there because people actually liked it, not because they had marching orders from the sort of sad waste of skin who has nothing better to do with his or her life than futz with the Hugo ballots.

From my own personal point of view, this year there’s enough on the Hugo ballot in most categories that I would be happy to give a rocket to, and in relatively few categories where there’s not, well, that’s what “No Award” is for. Which means, no offense to George RR Martin and a couple of other folks whom I admire, I hardly think the Hugos are wrecked, this year or permanently. There’s good stuff in there. Let’s reward it. Twenty years from now, no one will remember the silly bullshit or the assholes who spewed it, but they might remember the good stuff we chose to honor. That’s how the award is supposed to work.

63 Comments on “And Now, a Quick Check-In With the Hugos”

  1. For anyone who notes that for being on “semi-hiatus” I am suddenly very chatty on Whatever today, the answer is that I am sick and my creative brain is not firing on any cylinders. So I might as well blog!

  2. Glenn:

    You know, a fair amount of what I nominated overlapped with the Puppy list, because as noted they intentionally went after stuff in several categories that was already popular and/or recognized as good, as opposed to last year’s collection of subpar nonsense that Ted Beale happened to publish. I’m not going to penalize that stuff I liked just because Beale rubbed his shitty little asshole over it for his own silly reasons (especially since neither of the Puppy lists would take people off of them when requested).

    Likewise, I know that much of the stuff I didn’t personally nominate, but was on the Puppy slates, was nominated by other people who I respect. They also don’t deserve to be ignored because Beale is running around screaming “Xanatos Gambit!!!” at the top of his lungs.

    If you want to “No Award” the whole ballot, Glenn, go ahead and do so. But I think this year it’s a stupid thing to do, and I won’t be doing it. I’ll vote for what I think is good, and if happens that what I think is good was also on a Puppy slate, meh. I’m not going to compromise my vote on Beale’s account.

    (Note well that last year I also planned to vote for what was good, regardless of whether it was on a Puppy slate or not. And indeed at least a couple of Puppy-slated works finished above “No Award” on my ballot. Much more, mind you, ended up below it. So my behavior, with respect to the slates, is consistent.)

  3. Not voting this year, but I still think (as I believe you’ve advised before) that the fair thing to do is to read all the nominees—or at least as much as you can—and vote accordingly, slate or not. There are valid reasons for taking a different view, of course. But the situation this year is somewhat different from (than? My editor always gets me on this) last year, when the whole ballot was hijacked. There seems to be a lot of decent stuff to choose from. The rest? “No Award” is always a viable option.

  4. Last year’s Puppy kerfuffle got me interested in reading contemporary scifi again. Sadly, brand new books are a luxury at the moment. But I am reading Interzone magazine again, which is a start.

    Also, it got me thinking about representation in the stuff I write. I live in a diverse country, but may not have been reflecting it as much as I could.

    Perhaps in twenty years people will look back at the Puppy era and credit them with encouraging positive change, no matter how hard they tried.

  5. Bear in mind that no amount of rule tweaking will keep specific bullshit off the finalist lists.

    I’m hearing some chatter of people wanting a rule change that would empower the Hugo committee to look at specific ballots, go, “This is bullshit” and remove them. Which is an idea that fills me with dread. Because people are right now just thinking about stopping slates, but for all we know in a few years we’d got a ComCon who’d be all, “Any ballot that doesn’t have {BOOK} as Best Novel is clearly bullshit, and they’re out.”

  6. Unfortunately, it appears that EPH isn’t going to work as well as people hoped it would. An analysis of last year’s data showed that it would have prevent the slates from sweeping categories, but they would still have taken 3 or 4 of the slots in almost all categories.

    I did my own analysis of 4/6 (not yet published), and I discovered that it wouldn’t make any difference provided the slates made some minor tweaks in the way they direct their people. They’d still sweep almost all categories.

    Kevin Standlee has three new proposals, of which I think the 3SV (three stage voting) proposal has the most promise. It essentially introduces an extra step between nominations and the final ballot in which fans can look at the top 15 items in each category and elect to reject any or all. But a rejection only takes effect if a very large number of fans (e.g. 25% of eligible voters in that phase) votes to reject. (Calculated to predict that the item would go under no award on the final ballot.) So really awful works like “Space Raptor” and “Rape Room” would meet the bar and be struck, but merely mediocre works could still go to the final ballot. Between that and EPH, there ought to be enough room for fans to have serious things to vote on, and maybe this will take the fun out of it for the griefers.

  7. Marshall Ryan Maresca:

    Yeah. Targeting individual titles is bullshit. You’d have to be looking for a widespread pattern of collusion. How does one do that? Well, fortunately, that exists in a realm of someone else’s problem. But I do think anyone who is suggesting that it’d be okay to throw out ballots because of slating also needs to acknowledge the potential for abuse of that power.


    Adding those to the system would also take two years, yes? In which case that’s another two years at least of potential mischief. So it’s possible that an administrative decision to toss ballots with obvious slating might be useful. But again how that would be administered is the question.

  8. What if it was up to the organizers to nominate works for the awards? Then the fans can make the final vote still. There’s enough randomness with different hosts every year.

  9. Matt Phelps:

    You can make that suggestion at the WSFS Business Meeting if you like. My guess is that it won’t get very far, however.

  10. Is there any chance that Day might call his followers off after this year? Or at least not do a full-on slate in 2017? I don’t even have a problem with the Castalia House imprint showing up on the ballot from time to time – VD’s fans have as much right to vote as anyone else. But he’s not just trolling his enemies here. His slates are causing irreparable damage to the awards. And he must understand this – he’s an SF fan himself, not some entryist outsider.

    I wish he would let it go. He’s made his fucking point.

  11. MRAL:

    Beale gets off on being an asshole, so no, he’ll keep doing it unless for as long as he can. It’s sad for him that futzing with the Hugos is a high point in his pathetic excuse of a life, but there you go. He doesn’t have a point, other than being a shithead.

    That said, again, no, he’s not causing irreparable damage to the awards, since last year the awards were given out to deserving work, and this year the same thing is likely to happen, despite his attempts otherwise. At the end of the day, as long as good stuff wins the awards, they’re doing just fine.

    I know people are invested in the drama of Beale and his little party pals destroying the Hugos, but I honestly wish all y’all would dial it back a notch. The little shithead gets a tingle in his nethers every time you give him that much importance. It’s why he’ll keep doing it. See him for what he is — a sad little man who has nothing better to do with his time — and deal with him accordingly.

  12. My personal take is that the sad puppies actually took the slate criticisms to heart, and really did try to avoid the slate, for example not listing exactly 5 entries per category, up to 10 entries per category, etc., and their influence was comparable to many other best of year lists. They still have more rhetoric against the “SJWs” than I would like, but then many of the anti-slate side have been tarring all puppy supporters with a broad brush that I think really only the people riding the VD clown car deserve.

    It doesn’t help matters that last year’s sad puppy slate meister, Brad Torgersen, who was not involved in this year’s the sad puppies list, is still going ballistic, including writing a blog post about the WSFS business meeting that has no basis in reality. (Has our gracious host or his editor even attended one in the last 3 years?) I can understand Brad not being happy about how he was characterized last year, but some of it was justified, and he needs to get over it. I doubt he ever will.

    It’s clear that many of the puppies just don’t get that the WSFS attendees and supporters don’t object to good SF (& creators) of a conservative bent being nominated, we object to slates, and especially slates with substandard crap deliberately included on the slates, skewing the nomination process so no other SF/creators get recognized. All of these attempts to tweak the nomination rules are not to prevent conservatives from getting nominations, it’s attempting to minimize a minority’s ability to overwhelm the nomination process with a slate. Hopefully the slates will go away in a year or two, and most of the fans will get past this. One question is whether enough of VD’s minions have/will purchase memberships in this year or next year’s worldcons for them to be able to nominate next year anyway.

  13. John: I admit to looking at it in reverse. My counter-example is The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, which was kept off the Best Graphic Story ballot by Teddy and which Neil Gaiman himself said was “the best graphic novel he’d read in years”. I don’t want to give Beale the satisfaction of picking the winner by packing the nominations in a complete category and tilting the field.

  14. Glenn Hauman:

    However, unless you are privy to secret knowledge that none of the rest of us are, you have no way of knowing whether or not The Sculptor was close to being on the ballot at all, so your example isn’t that strong. When the tallies of what was nominated are released, you may have a point. But for now, you don’t.

    Beyond that, I nominated Sandman: Overture, as an example, and I don’t give a good goddamn if Beale did, too. You in my opinion rather snidely opined that Neil didn’t need a “pity Hugo,” but my response to you is, basically, fuck you, I’m not going to be voting for that work out of pity, I’m going to be voting for it because I found it genuinely good. I’m more than a little insulted that in your rush to condemn everything Beale touches, you also (clearly unintentionally but even so) minimized the idea that I or other people would vote for a thing based on its quality and independent of whatever that little shithead might do.

    For fuck’s sake, stop giving Beale power. It’s bad enough the little prick is exploiting a flaw in the nomination process, and this year selected already-popular and/or good stuff precisely to watch you and others do what you’re doing now. I’m basically flabbergasted that you’re indulging him.


    Re: Brad Torgersen: Bless his heart, and that’s all I’m going to say about him. But more generally, it does seem that the Sad Puppies do enjoy painting themselves as victims, and if that makes them happy — and apparently that does — I won’t deny them their joy. And no, I haven’t attended a WSFS Business Meeting since 2010, when I was there to announce the guests for Chicon 7.

    Mr. Tuefel:

    I’ve been enjoying it, mostly. I think there’s a non-trivial chance Tingle might win, in part because nominating him has backfired on Beale so spectacularly and partly because I think people might think it’s funny (the Hugo voters do generally appear to have a reasonable sense of humor about themselves). I would not be horribly put out if he won, for those reasons, although, as ever, this should not be construed as a hint to my own vote in the category. I wouldn’t be revealing that until after the voting is closed, if at all.

  15. “However, unless you are privy to secret knowledge that none of the rest of us are, you have no way of knowing whether or not The Sculptor was close to being on the ballot at all.”

    I’ll give fifty bucks to the SFWA EMF if I’m wrong.

  16. Glenn Haumann:

    And just to make sure SFWA EMF gets paid, I’ll give $50 to it if you’re right!

    (“Right” in this case being: if The Sculptor would have been on the ballot if the slated finalists weren’t there. I’m going to spot Sandman: Overture for this because, come on. It would have been there no matter what.)

  17. IMHO, the Hugos cannot be destroyed by slaters, because of the No Award option. That is the only way, right now, that clearly inferior works can be dealt with, and that is exactly what has been foisted onto the ballot by the Beale faction, whose stated goal is to destroy the Hugos. The No Award option will mean that Hugos are not awarded in categories where the “trash the Hugos” nominations swamp the legitimate nominees.

    This may mean several years of fewer actual award being given, while we wait out the Rabid Puppies. Maybe they will get tired of fucking with the Hugos and pick another target.

    Clearly the Sad Puppies went in another direction — reccing fic people enjoyed, creating long lists of works they wanted to recommend. No problem there, this year, as far as I can see.

    But the Rabids did indeed game the system AGAIN. Highlighting the known flaw in the nominationg process.

    (I confess I can’t figure out what the Beale faction is trying to do by nominating works that would have made it onto the Hugo ballot anyway. Whatever long con they are involved in is beyond my power to understand. Maybe bolstering their “victory conditon”? Or something? Who knows.)

    Many smart and committed people are engaged in creating solutions to the known flaw in the Hugo nomination/finalist process that made the award susceptible to slate voting. As many have noted, this flaw was not a problem until the Puppies decides to Be That Guy. (Except for the Hubbard faction 30 years ago which tried to game the system. The way the Worldcon committee at the time dealt with that makes for interesting reading, and might serve as some kind of precedent.)

    It seems to me that as long as people are willing to wield their No Award power, the Hugos have no risk of lousy and undeserving work winning an award. Beyond that, whether it is possible to create a mechanism for preventing slates from dominating the nomination process is a question for the mathemeticians and voting experts. The convention’s process for creating rules is by design slow and methodical, which I respect, and people who are crying out for quick solutions are going to be frustrated by the existing process, which calls for patience and thought above all. And shies away from anything that allows a small group of SMOFs to pick and choose which works get nominated. The Hugos do NOT want to be a juried award. They want to be an award that is decided by voting by fans. But the mechanism for ending the power of slate voting that is undertaken in bad faith ( that is, for some other reason than to give an award to the best work in each category ) is turning out to be quite complicated. Unlike what fans such as Mr. Martin hoped and dreamed of, merely getting more nominators and voters was not enough this year. A record number people participated, and because of the way the nomination process is structured, the slate still dominated.

    So that is something that will either be solved by A. People tolerating the solution of wielding the existing No Award option as long as necessary, as people evaluate the crappy slate works on their merits, and/or B. A solution that will cancel the power of slate voting at the nomination stage, which is quite a gnarly math problem, I am gathering.

    But I don’t think the Hugos can be ruined. Thank goodness the No Award option exists and has always existed.

  18. @Dana: If the majority of the Hugo Awards got No Awarded for the next 5 years, thanks to a carefully managed group of 200 or so VD minions, it would certainly diminish them to near, if not complete, irrelevancy. Make no mistake, that is Ted Beale’s goal.

  19. “… the sort of sad waste of skin who has nothing better to do with his or her life than futz with the Hugo ballots”

    John, I know (or seem to recall) that you support the use of the singular ‘they’ rather than ‘he or she’. While it’s pretty clear to whom you’re referring here, would this not be a place where a singular ‘they’ would be more elegant?

    (Apologies for typos; am on phone keyboard)

  20. But Day clearly does have some influence – considerably more than I initially would have guessed. He’s got enough “Vile Faceless Minions” (or whatever) to break the voting process of the most prestigious awards in American SF/F. Not even Hubbard’s followers could do that. I do think that some of his fans are in it for trolling purposes – as opposed to genuine agreement with his weird politics – but that doesn’t make it any less shitty with regards to the Hugos.

    I don’t know. It’s true that I’ve been feeling kind of shitty lately (again), which tends to distort my understanding of, well, reality. But watching Day’s campaign alongside Donald’s has not been a particularly people-affirming experience. There’s just too much hatred, from all directions. I need to block everything.

  21. greghullender is right, even if both EPH and 4/6 pass, it will have only a small effect on the fallout from the rabid slate. It is likely that the fiction categories will benefit the most, as the slates will probably only take one or two of the slots in each of those categories. But other categories that fewer people vote on, and where the vote is more spread out among candidates, could still have four slate candidates pushing deserving nominees off the ballot.

    I do think that EPH and 4/6, while helpful, are still just a way for WSFS to be “fair” to everyone, including slate voters. I agree with John that they are going to have to stop being “fair” if they want to stop slate voting. John’s “this is bullshit” proposal can work, so long as there is a criteria in place for administering it. I’m sure WSFS can come up with a way to identify when the number of ballots cast with a high percentage of identical nominations is a statistical outlier, and have a procedure in place for disqualifying such ballots. They will probably have to come up with a standard for individual categories as well as entire ballots, as the trolls will most likely try to get around it by only bloc voting in a certain number of categories rather than the whole ballot.

    3sv sounds like a solid plan too, because it leaves it up to the member fans rather than a small committee. However, I would only be in favor of it if it limited the number of NO votes a person can cast in each category to say, 4 or 5 or 6. I don’t think we need a situation where a bunch of people are casting NO votes on the twelve novels that weren’t on their ballot to try to give their own favorites a better chance. Of course, the flipside to 3sv is that the rabids are just as capable of bloc voting in the second stage to (possibly) keep works by people like N.K. Jemison and Ann Leckie off the final ballot. That is, assuming they can muster enough voters the meet the threshold.

    I think I’m a little more inclined toward “this is bullshit”, as long as there is an incorruptible standard in place for administering it. I hope WSFS realizes sooner rather than later that something like what John is saying is necessary to protect the integrity of the awards.

    As for this year, three of my own choices were on the Rabid slate, too. It pissed me off, but I felt no inclination to change my votes. I think once the final statistics are released, I will find that those works would have made the ballot anyway without the Rabids’ “help.” I plan to vote on the final ballot by placing those works where I think they belong in relation to the other nominated works. I hope everyone else will do the same.

  22. MRAL:

    “He’s got enough ‘Vile Faceless Minions’ (or whatever) to break the voting process of the most prestigious awards in American SF/F.”

    Not the voting process, the nomination process. And all that takes is a couple hundred people. Honestly, it’s never been hard to game the Hugos. People didn’t do it because generally speaking they’re not complete shitholes. Beale is a complete shithole. So are his pals.

    The fact that he in fact spends his time trying to break the Hugos shows that in fact he’s pretty penny-ante, in terms of influence. If he was more influential, he’d be inflicting himself on other things that would offer him a bigger spotlight. He can’t, so we’re stuck with him.

  23. Do we know yet how many of the Vile Faceless Minions bought a membership for MidAmericon versus how many are using their nomination rights from last year? Because they’ll need to ante up again to nominate next year*.

    * I suspect at this point, the voting itself isn’t a draw; they know that on the final ballot, a few thousand pissed off fans outweigh them.

  24. John Scalzi said: “Beale is a complete shithole. So are his pals.”

    Yes and that some of his pals decided to sit this out wasn’t out of the goodness of their little puppy heart. I suspect that the market is starting to have an effect. There are a lot more fans then their are puppies and even more if you include occasional readers of the SFF genre. So those that were target marketing their stuff by trolling the Hugos may be reaping the whirlwind. I admit it. If you are an author and you pissed in the punch, I don’t really see any reason to read your stuff even if you write something really great next year. There is tons of “really great” that I just have not gotten around to reading. So I won’t be reading yours. I don’t suspect I am alone.

    On the bright side and like an earlier poster noted, there are a lot of works I would never have read simply because I was not that tuned into SFF. I read lots of genres. But I have read a lot of good contemporary SFF including Scalzi’s since the attack of the mongrels.

    In my opinion EPH, 4/6/ and the no award option will be enough to weather the storm. But I do like that option by Standlee of an extra round of voting. The goodread’s awards have multiple rounds of voting and I think that is a good thing.

  25. i think Tingle deserves a Hugo, chuck has certainly put his/her heart into their niche erotica.

  26. Since I don’t participate that much in fandom and don’t do anything in awards (except occasionally read the winners) this comment might well be dismissed, but what’s the point of allowing members to nominate five works in each category anyway? Is it just to ensure that a sufficient number of works are considered? Is there precedent in other nominations for awards?

    Having members submit only one work in each category would pretty much eliminate slates, no?

    Or is this simply a matter of tradition?

  27. I think all the ballot tinkering in the world won’t really fix the base problem, which is who votes in the Hugos. If all it takes for someone to vote is to be whipped up in a frenzy on some website, told where to go to pay your money, and then handed a list of titles to type in, then this will continue to happen to some degree. It may be that the Hugos will need to take a good hard look to see it really makes sense to tie the ability to vote to something as simple as a last minute purchase of a supporting membership for a con. They may need to divorce the Hugos from WorldCon. If it required a membership to an independent Hugo Society for two years before a person could cast a ballot, a lot of the trolls would quickly lose interest. (They could still present at WorldCons and pay a fee to the Con to cover the costs of hosting.) It might even lose some of that “bunch of insiders” grumbling it was a stand alone organization with its own newsletters, etc. and members weren’t paying just to vote.

    The Hugos might want to see this whole mess as an opportunity to rethink the long-term future of the award. Because there may be a day where the World Cons no longer happen. Does the Hugo die as well?

  28. >> Because there may be a day where the World Cons no longer happen. Does the Hugo die as well? >>

    Well, it’s Worldcon’s award. But I would assume they’ll cross that bridge if and when they come to it, and don’t need to worry about it until then.

  29. Dear Folks,

    OK, this whole “irreparable damage” or “destroyed or permanently tanished” stuff is just plain ridiculous. The only way this puppy-slating does permanent damage to the Hugos is if it continues permanently. When it burns itself out, and it will because the winds of politics never blow permanently in one direction, it’ll become a footnote in fannish history. It will be noted that for the years 2015 to 20XX, the Hugo awards were unreliable because there were people fucking around.

    Fandom has long memories. It’ll be remembered as an anomaly, nothing more.

    As for “No award” protecting the Hugo brand from damage, the brand is in no danger of damage, regardless. There have been awards given in the past for works that the consensus today holds were utterly unworthy– “Whatever were they thinking?!” moments. It happens. It doesn’t diminish the Hugos, in total, one iota. Voters are fallible, that’s not news.

    It’s fine to be severely aggravated by these assholes. It’s another thing to imagine they make a lasting difference. They don’t. Down the line, they’ll just be another weird footnote among many that comprise fannish history.

    What John said– don’t whip yourself into a frenzy of imaginings and hand-wringing that affords them far more power and credit than they merit (which is to say, zip).

    pax / Ctein

  30. @Gary C.
    “3sv sounds like a solid plan too, because it leaves it up to the member fans rather than a small committee. However, I would only be in favor of it if it limited the number of NO votes a person can cast in each category to say, 4 or 5 or 6. I don’t think we need a situation where a bunch of people are casting NO votes on the twelve novels that weren’t on their ballot to try to give their own favorites a better chance. Of course, the flipside to 3sv is that the rabids are just as capable of bloc voting in the second stage to (possibly) keep works by people like N.K. Jemison and Ann Leckie off the final ballot. That is, assuming they can muster enough voters the meet the threshold.”

    That last sentence is exactly why neither the rabids, nor random fans wanting to give a one work an unfair boost, could easily game it.
    The rabids or your proposed too-enthusiastic supporter would not be able to manipulate 3SV because the threshold for removal will be set high enough to outnumber the rabid bloc (and frankly, I’d want to double that figure), while still low enough that it is an amount attainable by motivated voters.
    Genuine voters greatly outnumber rabid slaters, and the threshold is set to take advantage of that.
    You wouldn’t get enough random people deciding, say, they wanted to remove Seveneves cos they wouldn’t have nominated it themselves, but you’d almost certainly be able to get enough thumbs down to remove something like this year’s list of related works.
    The numbers people are working on exactly what should constitute a quorum for the purpose, and what percentage of that should be required to remove a work.

    Secondly, to clarify, remember too that the new intermediate step does not alter the order of nominated works as determined by the membership.
    The order as presented for voting would be random, but the initial nomination ranks 1-15, would not shift.
    If voters chose to remove slate nominations that took slots 1-4, the resulting new ballot would then contain works 5-9.
    That is, the memberships’ nominations are not interfered with beyond their own policing of the ballot – they are not adding to or manipulating nominating decisions.
    All that can happen is a work can be dropped because a sizable portion of the membership believe it to be not worthy of being on the Hugo ballot.
    Think of it as a pre-emptive No Award.
    (Which might actually be a clearer name?)
    For each of the top-voted 15 candidates, voters would be deciding “Belongs on the Ballot” or “No Award.”
    Not ranking them; not picking out a winner.
    Merely deciding whether or not each work legitimately belongs above No Award.

    Therefore you would not want to limit the number of No votes that an individual can make.,
    If there are five stinker nominees bloc-voted onto the ballot, you want a voter to be able to vote to remove them all.
    And if each voter cannot all vote down an entire slate, their votes could even be scattered, and perhaps not sufficient to remove all the duds.
    (I’d have to do math to figure out the exact dilution effect and it’s late – but it makes sense, right?)
    And if the threshold is set correctly, it seems unlikely that regular fans would randomly combine to eliminate things for anything less than extreme need, no matter how many No votes are accessible to each individual.
    Basically, after combining their votes to take out what most voters see as extreme garbage, what would remain would basically be the normal number of people deciding No Award on an array of random things that probably would not come near the needed threshold level.

  31. [Note: this post will probably get nuked, so read quick and learn fast – no nastiness or lies, just a probability that certain things should not be Public]

    Some of us have been learning their Finnish and looking into the networks surrounding certain publishing houses. Finnish being notoriously hard to crack as an outsider, part and parcel of the cover (OH, ICELAND). Oh, and all those legacies from the Cold War and Godwin’s Law applies in full force (like the Ukraine, it’s suprisingly easy to find the Fascist under the surface – old tech people don’t understand the modern world, they have auras they don’t notice shining in the dark).

    The results are somewhat surprising and lead to all manner of blogs and ideologies and people (“Therewillbewar” – part of the mimetic landscape that forks into the Breivik reality sphere, and no, he wasn’t a 5GW lone wolf, We See You).

    Still, we’re surprised at the American angle (hint: no, we’re not). But, if your aim to ruin nice things and crap over the beautiful ones, be aware that Queensberry Rules might not apply to you.

    Quite the thing to see how the Hugos relates to certain Shadowy little Men and their security aparatus.

    Oh, but… Finland is subject to EU law on such matters, they don’t do that whole “1st amendment” thing. Hmm, there’s a certain irony to it all, I wouldn’t mind if the stuff wasn’t all so trite and boring amidst the hate[1]. There’s the last warning on that one.

    Be careful of wolf metaphors: that Alpha / Beta pack nonsense is all lies, it’s not how they actually work.

    If one wanted a comparison, I’d look into Indiegogo and Fontus and the absolute scam that’s going down as we speak ($350,000 to break the Laws of Physics? Impressive, someone contact CERN and slash their budget) and the shame that should be attached to the blatant nature of it all.

    Americans behind that one as well. But, again: EU Law still applies, given the founder’s location.




    [1] We’re not as simple as you: we full well know why dirty 3-letter money pushes the Far Right. Does your boy in the Temple of Delphi know though? About the only thing saving his Christian Halo of Protection at the moment – and you’ll find the Sad Puppies are probably not pro-spook, despite being pro-Mil.

  32. I’m not going to nuke, but I do admit to being unclear what it has to do with anything related to this thread other than merely cursorily.

  33. I don’t know diddly about Hugo’s, but “Assholes gonna asshole”. That right there is a keeper!
    And oh by the way, love the nod to Prince!

  34. Wow, that is one pile of insane mush there. Now I remember — listening to the Elder Gods speak is supposed to cause gibbering lunacy, right?

  35. Beth/Scalzi: There’s usually the skeleton of a point in there somewhere, but today it’s beyond my own oracular powers, pitiful as they are, to discern it.

  36. Wow, that is one pile of insane mush there. Now I remember — listening to the Elder Gods speak is supposed to cause gibbering lunacy, right?

    Ah, you need some translation from the Old Tongue I see:

    Castalia (/kəˈsteɪliə/; Greek: Κασταλία), in Greek mythology, was a nymph whom Apollo transformed into a fountain at Delphi, at the base of Mount Parnassos, or at Mount Helicon.[1] Castalia could inspire the genius of poetry to those who drank her waters or listened to their quiet sound; the sacred water was also used to clean the Delphian temples. Apollo consecrated Castalia to the Muses (Castaliae Musae).

    Erudition is no longer fashionable. Le Sigh. (Greek over Latin, always!)

    A further translation is that there’s direct evidence that certain people who work with other people are running Far Right blogs and are part of nasty business[tm] and that their personal histories are full of surprising things[tm]. Of that well worn and old fashioned Red and Black Flag type (no, not the anarchist one, that other one) and of the spooky kind (*insert another Ghostbuster joke here*).

    You probably won’t understand the Fontus joke (Latin – a Font is something you find in a Church, the nymph is in charge of Delphi’s spring, get it?) and the surrounding drama that’s playing around that particular eddy (lots of goober friendly outrage, by the MRA friendly youtube community, but it looks like it’s true this time: some fairly clued in people are looking like being involved with an illegal scam even if only by association / PR), but there’s the dogwhistle to show I’m paying attention to things-in-general[tm].

    I’m avoiding libel / slander here, quite deliberately.




    Be careful of accusations of insanity – quite often it’s just translation or requires a bit of knowledge.

  37. The Hugos are Doomed. The Hugos will Survive.

    So, who really knows about the Hugos, anyway?

    Check this out:
    That link will take you to Google Trends, where I put together a simple line graph charting internet search interest over time for the Hugo Awards, the Nebula Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. I also added the Academy Awards and the Denver Broncos (who just won Super Bowl 50) for control purposes.

    Bottomline: Unless you read SF regularly, you’ve probably never, ever heard of the Hugos.

  38. Does anyone even read what CSJWT writes? I know I just skip right over it. And I notice that it’s been months since anyone has even tried to substantively respond. I only even notice it when some like Beth points out how nuts it all is.

  39. If anyone is interested, I’m hosting discussion of the Hugo finalists in every category. Sure, some will be more interesting to discuss than others, but if anyone is interested in discussing the works on their merits (including all of the Retros), come on over!

    I just now posted the discussion thread for the 1941 Best Movies! aka BDP(LF) It should be interesting to see what people think about whether something with long-lasting cultural impact like Fantasia or Flash Gordon (in general) should matter, or whether something less known like Dr. Cyclops deserves to be lifted up for new recognition.

  40. Well, Godwin’s Law gets invoked by Americans so much it’s quite funny to find a case where it is, in fact, literally true (and, again, driven by Americans looking for hook-ups to Foreign Caucasian Lands. The Reach of the South is so predictable).

    I’m not in the business of doxxing, but the veil in this case (another Delphic reference) is rather thin. Almost Transparent. #jesuismilo perhaps?

    That’s not to say The Chuck Tingle[All Rights Reserved to HARD BUCKAROOS] move is exclusively American however:

    Soldiers of Odin: Name of far-right group patented for use by ‘glittery unicorn’ clothing range IB Times, 18th May 2016

    I shall leave your shores to their safe beaches, time to swim in deeper seas once more. It’s worth noting that the 1st Amendment is not global, however.



  41. EPH will at least make it harder for Teddy and his minions to game next year’s Hugos, assuming it passes in this year’s business meeting. If 3SV or any of the other add-ons get adopted, it’ll take them until next year’s business meeting before the do anything, but it’s only one extra year (plus added complexity after they’re implemented)

    And who knows – probably Dinosaur Porn IN SPAAACE! is better than any of the other puppy chow that got nominated this year, maybe it’ll even beat No Award, and Chuck Tingle’s responses to the discussion have also been suggested for Best Dramatic Performance or Best Related Work next year.

  42. I love that Correia, in his post about this year’s Hugos, said (paraphrasing) “if you’re going to be an elitist trufan you get Space Raptor Butt Invasion,” as if a) that’s a punishment, and b) normative “actual” sci-fi fan (as opposed to trufan) doesn’t want anything other than mildly kinky straight sex in their leisure reading. Because “bad” “SJW” SFF is over-imaginative in that and many other regards, and “good” SFF is a straight-up-the-middle space battle and monsters and junk with some boobs and maybe a tiny bit of beyond-vanilla sex play. DOWN WITH OVER-IMAGINATIVE SFF.

    Apropos of nothing, I vote for more CSJWT because by god, comments on the internet should strive.

  43. @docrocketscience: “Does anyone even read what CSJWT writes?”

    I do. As stream of consciousness goes, it actually tingles . . .

  44. Lawduck:

    I think it’s reasonably well understood that the Puppies, Mr. Correia no less than any of them, are notably bad at modeling the psychology of those they believe are in opposition to them. I also suspect they were not prepared for Chuck Tingle, whose work it’s pretty clear they hold in some contempt (which is why they got it on the slate for its presumed shock value) to basically troll them back harder and more effectively then they were trying to troll everyone else by getting him on the ballot.

    But then this is Puppy Mode all the way: Do something, have it blow up in your face, not actually understand why. And then say that you meant to do that and declare victory anyway.

    Bless their hearts.

  45. ” I also suspect they were not prepared for Chuck Tingle…to basically troll them back harder and more effectively then they”

    That sounds like the premise for another Chuck Tingle story…cue the 70’s porn music. Pounded in the Butt by Chuck Tingle’s Meta-Trolling. Chuck Tingle meta-trolls consistently and thoroughly, just ask Poochie the proactively Rabid Puppy.

    On an abstract playing field, inanimate object butt porn is not my thing, nor what I would normally give a Hugo. But I would rather be associated with Mr. Tingle than any of the Alphas over at Going Galt Kennels.

  46. CthSJWT is way too fond of cryptic conspiracy-speak instead of plain English. If they’re trying to say, “VD is a fucking neo-Nazi white-supremacist with friends in similar groups in Europe and who may be staying out of the country because the IRS & FBI really, really want to talk to him about his old man’s activities, if not his own…” well, that was already said via file770 during last years’ puppy debacle. In plain English. It’s not news.

  47. Addendum: CSJWT is also hinting that they live in a country without the U.S. 1st Amendment protecting free-speech rights, and one that may have nasty libel laws, and so can’t speak plainly, for their own safety.

  48. Lawduck/others: if you cannot get enough of CSJWT, there might, might be a similar entity lurking in many of the threads on Charlie Stross’ blog. (cough) (cough) Not that I could possibly confirm that of course.

    There is a certain poetry to the Deep One’s ramblings, particularly if you are not looking for the more usual variants of conversation. But a lot of it (but not all) is theater and not all of it is good; so I don’t blame you if you choose to ignore her. It is an eldritch taste of, I mean take on life.

  49. Lara Amber:

    It may be that the Hugos will need to take a good hard look to see it really makes sense to tie the ability to vote to something as simple as a last minute purchase of a supporting membership for a con. They may need to divorce the Hugos from Worldcon. If it required a membership to an independent Hugo Society for two years before a person could cast a ballot…

    There already is an “Independent Hugo Society.” It’s called the World Science Fiction Society. The membership dues are (this year) $50. If you want to attend the society’s annual convention, you have to be a member ($50) and also pay the Convention Supplement (currently $160 on top of the $50 WSFS membership).

    Perhaps this would be more obvious if you had to send the $50 to one address and then the $160 (if you wanted to attend) to another, but that’s the actual legal situation. Another reason it may not be that obvious is that WSFS outsources nearly all of the administration of the Society (save a tiny number of things like intellectual property protection) to the individual Worldcon committees, and therefore the “headquarters” of WSFS moves around from year to year. This year it’s in Kansas City, but next year, it will be in Helsinki. While we’re in KC, the members of WSFS will decide where they want to locate the headquarters for 2018: San José or New Orleans.

    Incidentally, there is a deadline for joining WSFS if you want to nominate for the Hugo Awards. It’s currently January 31 of the current year. However, if you join far enough in advance, you can end up nominating (but not voting on the final ballot) in three elections, because WSFS grants nominating (but not final voting) rights to people who were WSFS members last year and who have bought WSFS membership for next year as well as those who have paid this year’s membership dues.

    The Hugos might want to see this whole mess as an opportunity to rethink the long-term future of the award. Because there may be a day where the World Cons no longer happen. Does the Hugo die as well?

    Yes. WSFS owns Worldcon and it owns the Hugo Awards. They aren’t separate things. It’s not as though a Hugo Awards Committee came to Worldcon and said, “Hey, let us give our our award at your convention.” (There are numerous other awards presented at Worldcon that are administered by other groups. Worldcon hosts those awards, but does not run them or own them.)

    If WSFS dissolves, so do the things it owns. Although presumably the intellectual property (those things are registered service marks) could be transferred elsewhere. But in general, Worldcon is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society, whose members present the Hugo Awards, and whose members make the rules for presenting the Hugo Awards. The Hugo Awards are not and never have been independent of Worldcon, and I think they ever will be.


    The rabids or your proposed too-enthusiastic supporter would not be able to manipulate 3SV because the threshold for removal will be set high enough to outnumber the rabid bloc (and frankly, I’d want to double that figure), while still low enough that it is an amount attainable by motivated voters.

    The current draft (not at all final) suggests a threshold of 20% of the members eligible to vote in that stage of the election, or the number of nominations the work received, whichever is higher. (It would never have been higher in any case last year.) Using last year’s Worldcon as an example, it would have taken about 1,100 votes at a hypothetical second stage to reject any of the works that made the cut of the “top 15.” That’s around three times as many nominations as any of the “griefer” slates received, even for the highest-placed votes. It’s also roughly half as many votes as were cast for No Award as first preferences on the final ballot.

    (It’s probably surprising to many people to note that voter turnout for the final Hugo Award ballot in 2015 was 50% of the eligible members of WSFS. Based on historical figures, that’s extremely good. In the 1990s, the turnout was around 20%.)

    There are ongoing discussions about hypothetical second-stage elections, and no formal proposals have been drafted and submitted by anyone, but this is the current state of play of the version that is, well, I wouldn’t say “most popular” but rather “least disliked.” But then again, the final ballot in the Hugo Awards doesn’t return the most popular choice either; it awards the least-disliked candidate as a consensus of voter opinion.

  50. CthSJWT is way too fond of cryptic conspiracy-speak instead of plain English. If they’re trying to say,

    I’m not saying that VD is a neo-Nazi or that his legitmate publishing company or his website are in breach of EU Law. Because, you know, that’s actually illegal in Finland, and anything close to libel/slander will just get VD all het up and in need of some hot and heavy flagellation to whip up his relevance.

    Finland’s Supreme Court has ordered controversial Finns Party MP Jussi Halla-aho to pay a fine for his anti-Islamic blog posts dating back to 2008. He is also to delete certain writings from his blog.

    Hint: that’s the weakest slappiest slap on the wrist ever seen – and that guy actually wields power in Finland.

    Please note: there’s a YUUUGE difference between an opinion (protected under the 1st amendment) and actually breaking the Law.

    I’m actually saying something a bit different. Well. Almost.

    Think of it in terms of Delphi and Prophecy and seeing into the future. It’s like that sketch with the delectable Patrick Stewart: “I’ve seen everything, I’ve seen it all“. Something something bed, fleas, never understood that metaphor, Dog fleas don’t bite humans, only Cat fleas do (True Story).


    No, I’m not going to link to trash on JS’ blog, but there’s a clear link between the Kochs and European (yarp?) Neo-Nazi’s here.

    It’s kinda beautiful watching the blocks fall into place (while maintaining high class Greek level snark).

    Puppies are not Wolves. They’re probably going to realize this… oh… in 2020?


    Going through a bit of a transition at the moment, translating deep one’s ideas into Light is hard hard hard.

    It’s very easy to do the fear, hate and anger direction. Making it into something better is a bit of a grind – and as the Fontusgate thing shows, there is still light, even in the silly land of MRA and goobers. Yes, yes, #oneofus and all that.

    Just remember to read it through the lens of the Dark, not the Light and it’ll become clearer (and yes: βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι’ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι Corinthians 13:12 – shit was a whole lot easier when Camels and Needles were metaphors that made sense).

    And yes: this is all about taking back Christianity from the Breivik perversions.





    Yes, you did just see the rare tasteful Hitler joke made via Ultravoxx. Like Unicorns, it does exist, but they’re not common (and yes, the lyrics of “you mean nothing to me” are a condemnation of NAZI ideology). Takes a bit more than Twitter and #HashtagEdgeLordPepeMeme. Like the case of Fontus: you can be right and on the side of Truth even when you’re also a total asshole – that’s the redemption bit.

    No, that does not mean Hitler gets a pass or muppets who are buying into a bankrupt ideology that lost to second-place Communism 70 years ago are anything but a minute side-show.


    Meta, Meta, on the Wall:

    Of course the Hugo’s survive this. It’s all an ecology, the entire point has been that various canines are still part of the biosphere, this isn’t weakness, it’s strength.

    But, the real meta-lesson is that they’re really not the Ur-Predators they imagine they are.

    As for the actual Bad Guys… Well, they’re not writing fiction, sadly. I’m for an entire award to best Nazi fiction if it kept it from reality.


    Hugo’s 2020: We need a Best Jewish / Christian / Islamic Eschatology Award, Stat.

  51. @Dana Lynn:

    (I confess I can’t figure out what the Beale faction is trying to do by nominating works that would have made it onto the Hugo ballot anyway. Whatever long con they are involved in is beyond my power to understand. Maybe bolstering their “victory conditon”? Or something? Who knows.)

    That’s actually pretty simple; it’s so that when one of the works on their slate wins, they can claim a victory for their campaign, even though the work would’ve won anyway, & bonus points if the voters/committee zap otherwise perfectly reasonable nominations just because the Guppies slated them. VD is all about pretending to win, regardless of whatever happens.
    People really are taking this thing way too seriously. Insofar as slating actually is an issue – which I’d argue it mostly isn’t, except in the sense that it was something of a DDOS against worthy works last year, it’ll cease to be an issue next year, when the new rules will have kicked in. The Sad/Rabid Guppies will claim they’ve ‘won’ no matter what happens, & the sensible thing is to just ignore them & leave them to enjoy their sad, lonely little yearly circle-jerk – ideally somewhere where the rest of us don’t have to look at it.

  52. As a Finnish SF fan, who’s friends with a whole bunch of people deeply involved in the Finnish SF / con scene, including a number of people who will be arranging Worldcon 75, I would like to once again note that VD’s publishing house being in Finland is as much a mystery to us as it is to the average Whatever reader. It certainly has no connections or involvement in the Finnish fandom, or of the con scene, or apparently anything.

  53. Nop:

    …it’ll cease to be an issue next year, when the new rules will have kicked in.

    Except that the initial studied using the EPH algorithm and last year’s voting data showed that the slates would still have pretty much dominated the ballots, getting at least three and in some cases four of the available five slots on the shortlist. It’s not the panacea you seem to think it is. If you think that allowing 20% of the electorate to have 80% of the available space on the ballot is acceptable, then you’ll be content with the proposals up for ratification this year.

  54. Kevin

    I accept that EPH is not a panacea; this is probably easier for me than some since I didn’t think it was one in the first place.

    I do, however think it needs to be ratified this year, as well as moving on the possibilities outlined, for example, on intermediate voting. There remains a lack of knowledge on the basics, even from people well disposed to the Hugos, notwithstanding your sterling service in endeavouring to enlighten us; I don’t see an easy route around it, though I hope, in time, that people will stop running around like headless chickens.

    I appreciate that hoping for sensible suggestions from people who, for example, think that Neil Gaiman would get a ‘pity Hugo’, is several bridges too far, all of them indistinguishable in practise from the trolls living beneath them, but there are plenty of fans who see the drawbacks in helpfully handing TB what he wants. It’s a question of bringing sensible suggestions to the business meetings at Worldcon, and fact based discussion helps that process.

  55. Stevie says:

    I hope, in time, that people will stop running around like headless chickens.

    You and me both.

    One of the biggest challenges IMO has been the constant screaming for Immediate Drastic Action This Second. Some people (on all sides) are convinced that the entire system is Doomed, Doomed I say because Strong Man did not Issue Orders and take Immediate Action last year. This makes me feel bad because it represents a complete rejection of democracy and of an organization governed by its own members, in favor of Strong Man Giving Orders.

    WSFS does not move quickly. This is not a bug, it’s a feature. We don’t take action until there has been a broad enough consensus (two Worldcons in a row) that action must be taken.

  56. Honestly, I think that the best solution is to fix the rules so they can’t be as easily gamed, and then call the Puppies out for the assholes they are. Are they actually hurting anybody by calling names? No. They are being massive jackholes, but see, the US, EU, and other Western political bodies have this thing called free speech. You can say whatever bigoted bullshit you like, and people are allowed to respond by calling you an asshole.

    There are some limits, but still. Broadly speaking, you can’t have legal action taken against you for saying something bigoted, otherwise Trump would be in prison about 18 times over. You can get in trouble in Europe (and in some cases the USA) for falsely accusing someone of breaking the law, but that’s a civil matter rather than a social one; saying that someone’s a racist pig or being yourself a racist bigot is unimportant legally since that generally falls under free speech, but accusations of criminal misconduct or activity generally have to be backed up since that’s a legal accusation.

    In this case, though, the important part is this: the thing that these particular jackholes want most is attention. Therefore, call them assholes once, patch the rules, and then just ignore them.


    Hint: that’s the weakest slappiest slap on the wrist ever seen – and that guy actually wields power in Finland.

    That’s a massive punch in the face, actually. The Finns are incredibly serious about hate speech, to the point of restricting free speech; if that guy said those things over here, he’d be on national news and sweeping the Republican primaries with throngs of cheering people clamoring for him to ‘make America great again’. Instead, he gets into actual legal trouble.

    If you really think that some asshole saying incredibly racist things is a justification for serious legal action, you’re way across the line. Then again, I may be completely misinterpreting since I literally have no goddamn clue what you’re trying to say half the time.

    tl;dr: I think that Mr. Scalzi is in the right by advocating for reform of the Hugo rules, and then basically ignoring the Puppies as much as possible. It probably pisses off RSHD and his craven lickspittles to have the object of their pathetic little collective crush ignore them, too.

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