Signals across the void –awards and other signs.

There is a lot signaling in a writer’s trade.

By signaling I mean the kinds of sign which says to someone who might read your book ‘pick me up’ (probably based on the cover) and the next signal (based on the blurb) ‘I’m your kind of book’. Or ‘I am not your kind of book’. There’s probably nearly as much unappreciated value in ‘I am not your kind of book’ as there is in opposite, although it takes slightly longer term thinking to see this. Heh. Go to a divorce court, or read about the bitterness, the expense, and the damage it can do to kids sometime, and you’ll see what I mean by ‘better if we’d chosen better in first place’. The short term gratification probably doesn’t outweigh the long term damage.

It’s no less true for an author: selling a book to someone ill-suited to your writing (or even ‘meh’ about it) is great for that 64 cents (the royalty a paperback pays), but not so wonderful, as the reader who feels was ripped off is going to take it out on your reputation (because most readers have no idea how little of that cover price goes to the author. This is an ignorance that publishers and retailers do their best to maintain).

The value of a signal does depend, heavily, on it almost always being right. Short term thinking says “If I can signal something desirable, I get an immediate pay off, it doesn’t matter if that signal is false.” And indeed, the immediate payoff (whether it was sex with someone or selling a book) is there… the first and maybe a few times after that. But… word gets around. The signal’s value is degraded, and in time it changes meaning completely.

Of course people can argue about what the signal meant in the first place. Take the various ‘literary’ awards. What were they intended to do?

1) A recognition of excellence by one’s peers?
2) A recognition of excellence by the public?
3) Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look?
4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums?

Different awards have different purposes, and different values. As a reader and writer only (3) ‘Promote such excellence – signal to others that that is excellent and they should look at the work’ is worth much. Most awards, without careful custodianship, head for (4). At which point they lose their historical value and gradually vanish. They have less and less value as (3), and really (1) and (4) are something only the insecure want, unless they feed (3) – which (4) never does and (1) does badly. To put it brutally, if you need and support an award being (1) or (4) you’re a loser, not big enough for what is a tough profession.

(2) is a different kettle of tea. In real terms you could only get there by systematic polling. It does have a lot of (3) value too, because, true enough, we’re not that different. A book which is really the most popular book around, is worth a look-in. The nearest approximation in sf-fantasy is the Hugos. And it isn’t a great approximation (the sample of readers, by who attends/supports Worldcon is obviously inaccurate, and various problems in the nomination have been exposed by the Puppies. (they’re game-able, they’re not demographically representative of the sf readership) – but it’s the best we’ve got right now. As such it could do a good job for sf. It used to.

It had largely devolved into (4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums – with rapidly declining signal value. And of course the chums, not known for their wider vision or long term thinking were very happy with that, which is why they’re absolutely livid with the Pups. They’ve been running around firstly trying to down-value our signal, and secondly frantically turning to their usual ally, ‘the rules’. We’ve had ‘think tanks’ and endless pontification about how to turn the clock back, how to retain control how to go on with making the Hugo awards a rapidly dying valueless pat on the back for the ‘in’ literary clique.

If they can do it, so can I. I’d like to re-inforce (2) and (3)

Firstly: Publishers, their employees and beneficiaries, and authors, their employees and beneficiaries are not the ‘disinterested’ public. They have an interest in the outcome, and should never vote. They should certainly never ever nominate. That would be the ethical thing to do, but as ethics are few and far between, making it a rule would not be a bad thing. The anti-puppies could cheer, because that would stop Vox Day from nominating books published by his own publisher, which they tell us is his purpose in all this.

I would cheer because it would remove a huge, unfair inequity in the process. Big publishers – like Tor for example, would no longer have 40 or 50 ‘captive’ votes, (enough for a nomination, even if no other person voted for the work) putting them on an even footing with Jenny’s-One-Woman-Publisher. So: a win for all of us, for fairness, for making the process more ‘the public’ and less log-rolling. I look forward to the eager support of Torlings who would of course want things to be fair with the same rules for big and little players. (ha ha ha.)

Secondly: Ever watched the same advert on TV… again. And again. And again. Makes you buy that product after the 43rd repeat… does it? Or makes you go and clean the cat’s litterbox rather than see it again? Advertising either works PDQ or not at all. And, as one of ‘geniuses’ on File 770 put it (it’s a bit like ‘America’s funniest home videos’.) that tragically nasty puppies like me were depriving the poor writers we excluded from having a chance of financial gain from the Hugos. Once I got over the vast guilt… (I have had no rewards, expect none. Yes I know some woman parlayed her Fan Hugo into extra advances from a PC publisher. Oh how will I live knowing I stopped a new one doing that… except it would not have been a new one – it would have been the same ones.). The same. Again. And again.

It came to me that we really need to stop this. No, not the moonbats. Shrug. If people want moonbats, let them have them… But the not SAME moonbats, or even the same nominees, over and over and over again. Let’s give FRESH moonbats a chance! Here’s the thing. Once you’ve got a Hugo, you’ve got a Hugo. If there is any value in putting Hugo Award Winner/nominee on your cover… it’s not something that improves because you’ve got two or five or ninety-three.

Let’s take some of the people who have loudly demanded the Puppies be destroyed, who have told us how bad they are. (these are quick manual counts, I make no guarantees of not missing a few or overcounting one or two.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden – ten nominations, three wins.
Charles Stross – Thirteen noms, three wins.
John Scalzi – 6 noms, one win.

(Because I have been told the Sad Puppies – none of whom have prior slews of noms, are all white hetero Mormon men (even the women) I chose this racially and orientationally diverse group to show how the multiple noms helped the Hugos be more diverse. But it’s actually a broad pattern. If you’re in the clique, you’re in.)

Now here’s my proposal. Let’s have three strikes (noms) or a win, and you’re out. Not eligible again for say ten years if ever.

Just look at the above – even just taking 3 strikes… Another twenty nominations that could have gone to… diversity! (well, it would be hard to be less ‘diverse’) And they want that! They’ve all told us. Lead by example, please! And think, it would eliminate your bête noire John Wright and Vox Day! Ok so 95% of the leading angry CHORFS would also go, but surely they would glad to do this for (capital F) Fandom. Seanan McGuire would be very, very sad, but we all have to make sacrifices. I think I might survive that.

Of course, while these rule changes might help, they’re not going to change the fact that, sooner or later, we need to accept that IF the Hugo Awards are a populist choice among readers in general they’ll need to align roughly with the socio-political demographics of the readers. The only way to do that is to get more people from across the spectrum involved in nomination. We need to stop ignoring this. Trust me, the worm always turns. Those who ignore it willfully now, can be sure will be done to you and yours.

And now we can wait to see what the anti-puppies over on File 770 can do to prove my points for me. They’re really talented at it over there. Last week I wrote about attacking Sad Puppies writers by badmouthing their means of making a living (which is writing)… and lo: Martin Wisse “I pity his poor editors” obliges and others follow suit. Well, I am sure you’re punishing us. Or would you do that? (Pyrrhus again anyone?).

So do I pity my editors. But thank you for proving my point for me.

And I said how this could backfire… and lo: Glenn Hauman starts whinging about how his books got down-starring on Amazon treatment – oddly just after just after he recommended it for the Pup books. Tch. That’s what I still advocate against anyone doing, Glenn. More than you have done.

Mind you, it’s a very ‘creative’ reading set of commenters there. Their ‘proof’ that Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a poor maligned fellow involved proving Brad’s nick-name of CHORF painfully accurate… and completely failing to show ‘how he knew’. They floundered around well, though. The best they could do was Williamson breaking the embargo… is not ‘well I know three puppies were nominated for _Novels_ because of that’. 1) that’s a separate category, one which receives few noms at best. 2) Williamson a regular Con-goer, with a large personal fan base. Why would his win be predictive? 3) There were _four_ pup novel recommendations (all got in, Correia withdrew. So knowing three was more… interesting. 4) How did COULD he know the only other people possible were puppies? 5) No it did not come out of SMOF. “All that made it to SMOFs before the announcement was oblique discussion of a couple of nominees that broke the embargo, with no names attached. To this day I still have no idea who one of the two was.” — Petrea Mitchell.

And you’re missing the point – it is not that Patrick broke the embargo (an embargo is a general limitation, as well as on specific nominees, intended in this case to focus attention on the Hugos and WorldCon –which you claim to support.) (I assume you’re happy he merely betrayed two authors he’d been told in confidence – which of course is better. Not) It’s that he was able to know at all, especially about the puppies.

Anyway, you’re welcome to come and discuss it, 770 people – here. On Mondays. I try to keep Monday as reply and blog time.

And someone sent me this, for your amusement.

“• Blackadder says:
May 31, 2015 at 11:02 AM
This is why I have always felt this whole puppy thing is no big deal. It is time for repercussions. First, yes they stole the nominees but we’ll see how many wins they rack up. Second their little stunt is a one time deal now the fans will join in the nominee process they they will never control it again. Third, not only will they be locked out of the nominee process, they won’t even be published soon. Say goodbye to the puppies, they’re going to disappear.”

Is there a Baldrick in the house? If ever there was a man in need of a cunning plan it has to be this ‘Blackadder’.

Anyway, it is up to you guys –your votes, and whether you buy books and stories by the pups. If you do, it says we’ve got our signal across the void.

If not, it is lost in that void. That’s the gamble we take.

And now once more to work. I was going to write about dialogue and the need to introduce someone as a speaking-part foil for your lead character, but it’ll have to wait.

101 Comments

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101 responses to “Signals across the void –awards and other signs.

  1. Nathan

    The puppies not being published soon is wishful thinking at best. I don’t see Baen dropping Torgersen, Kratman, Hoyt, Freer, Correria, and Ringo (not a puppy but on record as the puppies are right). Nor do I see Baen dropping Flint after his “I am a SJW” rant. Vox isn’t going to stop publishing through Castalia, and the indies can’t be locked out by traditional publishing. And all three publishers draw the majority of their customers outside of congoing fandom. As for Butcher, Anderson, and Wright, anyone stupid enough to try to blacklist them is handing their competition money.

    • Nathan – along with his ‘stole’ comment, the man is clueless. Dropping Larry would be seriously dim for starters. But it shows what their rank and file want. I do believe that you’ll get some degree teh stupid from some publishers, and other trad establishment. Hey, they have form for doing things which serve ideology not sense or even money. But screw them, and the donkey they rode into town on. I’m not worried about publishers. I’m worried about pleasing readers. If I have the readers, I can go Indy, and he and his supply of Baldricks can go over the top for the Trad Publishers.

      • Nathan

        Oh, I agree. But he’s not been the sole voice expressing that wish in recent days.

        • True. There are a regular stream around most CHORF sites. But when we try to point this out, we’re accused of making it up and get demands to ‘produce the evidence’ which involves trawling through mental sewage. So I thought I’d put this one here for easy access. I think we should actually start a vault of all of it.

          • Uncle Lar

            Still and all, as vile and obnoxious as they are I do believe that laid end to end we’re really looking at between a few dozen and a few hundred anti puppies. Tempest in a teapot as the saying goes. And other than a fair number of them seem to have some association with trad pub just how much real damage can they do? Not that they aren’t annoying gits of course.
            By the way, Celia Hayes has a guest post over on ATH where she goes into great detail about the early days of independent publishing, long before indie as we know it was even possible. She uses a term I’ve not heard before, Literary Industrial Complex, which I take to mean trad pub. I have this feeling it may just catch on, and the possibilities of what to do with the acronym are endless.

            • Uncle Lar, at this point we still don’t know how ‘deep’ their pool is. I think they are relatively few (ergo the clique) but what they’re trying to do (and have always succeeded in the past is to get the middle ground to either be apathetic or stampeded by their propaganda, and any gainsayers too cowed to resist.
              The LIC… heh. Good post that.

              • Nathan

                I’d say well networked, though. Scratch a Puppykicker and there’s a strong chance you’ll find the same three letters in common.

                • True. They swarm around there. It’s hard on some decent authors (but hopefully they can go indy and do well) but hope the UK situation spreads to the US.

  2. I have figured it all out. The Puppies are a clever plot by Vox Day to take over science fiction publishing.

    1) He names people to the Rabid Puppies slate.
    2) Their publisher terminate them.
    3) He hires them for his new publishing house
    4) World domination.

    The man is a genius.

    • I get mental images of him chasing skittish authors around slowly with contracts in hand. “Wait. Slow down. No, don’t scream. I’m not going to eat you. I just want to buy your next book. There you go, read the contract… No, no, it’s not going to bite you either. Yes, it’s a third the length of the other ones, no you don’t need a microscope to read it. Here are the percentages and advance numbers right here…”

      No idea how accurate these images would be, but I am easily amused.

      • Bibliotheca Servare

        Oh…oh thank you…I just giggled for like a minute straight, acting that out in my head…is it still in your head if you do the voices out loud? Yes, I am an odd duck. Anyway, thanks for the chuckle! 😉

  3. So the Puppies aren’t going to be published soon???

    Have you any idea how terrified the big SF publishers are (with the exception of Baen) that fandom will turn on them and punish them for their SJW-fixation by simply not buying their books?

    After publishing a few articles about the Hugo controversy on my blog, I was on the receiving end of what I can only describe as abject pleas by a couple of individuals in mainstream SF/F publishing (I won’t name them), literally begging me to argue against it if anyone else calls for such a boycott. They’re terrified. There’s no other word for it. If the bulk of SF/F fans, most of whom couldn’t care less about the politically correct flavor du jour, ever decided to take out their frustrations on those causing them by means of a boycott (or should that be a buy-cott?), at least one mainstream SF/F publisher (already in a parlous financial situation) would very shortly cease to exist.

    It’s like the dire forecasts claiming that SF/F sales are down by this or that many per cent across the board in this or that or the other year, or period, or whatever. Those figures only reflect mainstream (i.e. traditionally-published) SF/F. They do not reflect indie published SF/F, which (as Author Earnings has proved) isn’t being accurately tracked by mainstream sources of information because most such books don’t use ISBN’s or other ‘traditional’ tracking mechanisms.

    Indie SF/F publishing is doing just fine, thank you. The gatekeepers are still standing at the gate, guarding it fiercely, but the fences on either side have long since been demolished. Most of us are walking around the gates, ignoring the growling dogs chained to their posts, and going on our merry way. Who’s going to be left to feed the dogs when we’ve all gone? Good question . . .

    • Peter, think how terrified they would be if they took a cold, hard look at indie sf/f publishing and realized just how many readers they, the TORs of the world, don’t have. After all, they are the ones who have been telling us for years that the demand for SF/F has been diminishing. But I know what I’m selling and I’ve seen how other indies are doing. That tells me there is a much larger demand out there for SF, and fantasy, than the Big 5 realize or want to admit.

      • I looked over my shelves and Kindle the other day, checking for “traditional” publishers. Mostly Baen, a few DAW paperbacks (which cost 3.99, so you can guess the age), two Pyr (Kris Rusch and Sarah H.), and two from Tor (Brandon Sanderson, purchased used.) If I am representative of S/SF buyers, it’s a very, very bad sign for the major publishing houses.

        • I know. My shelves, real and virtual, are the same. Baen outnumbers the traditional publishers by an order of magnitude when it comes to digital formats. Print, mainly Baen and a lot of old DAW books, probably of the same vintage as yours. But I am buying more and more SF/F now than I have in years and it is because of folks like Peter who publish indie and who write the sort of books I want to read.

        • Even used book sales are way down. After some trouble in April, I took a hard look at our Amazon Marketplace sales and realized that we were having less than 1% turnover in our book stock. We only take books to a few conventions — at anime and comic conventions, they just don’t sell (other than a very few specifically aimed at those audiences: manga, books about Japan, books about comic-book characters and the comics industry, etc). We’ve decided to move away from the books and concentrate more on the t-shirts and Japanese collectibles, which are moving much better.

          • I believe – based on Oz, that the book market has taken a real pummelling, from which it is going to struggle to recover.

            • Craig

              Tennish years ago, I could do a used book tour through the downtown core, with 8 used book shops. Now there are two (one moved, three closed), and one of those the used books are only half the business.

              Not all of that is ereaders. At least one proprietor was blaming Amazon well before that (because it made it easy to find older books in a series you were coming to late, which killed a lot of the easy resales).

        • I think you mean Dave Freer in Pyr. I never wrote for them.

      • Uncle Lar

        Amanda, trust me, they know. They are fully aware of that vast market out there, but even more aware that there is no earthly way they can achieve a strangle hold on that market with the system they know and are comfortable with. At some instinctive level they certainly realize, but they are psychologically incapable of admitting it. Instead they deny its existence in the fervent hope that it will all go away and things will return to the good old days when gatekeepers meant something.
        The death throes of dinosaurs is a terrible thing to watch and often destructive to those in the immediate vicinity. But eventually the small furry animals will pick the bones clean and be the better for it.

      • oaksden

        The only thing I have bought from Tor recently is the Heinlein biography. I am not boycotting, but on a limited budget, I go with the authors I trust.

      • TRX

        It’s not just the traditional publishing houses that should be worried. Right now Amazon is the gorilla in the room as far as ebooks… but that isn’t going to be forever.

        The Kindle exists to direct ebook traffic to Amazon, but most of the people I see actually reading an ebook are doing it on… their smartphone. Yes, the tiny screen is miserable, but a lot of people won’t even wear a watch nowadays, much less carry a separate (and relatively bulky) device just to read with.

        “Download and read a book? There’s an app for that…”

        And once you can do that, it’s only a short step to finding the correct web host, putting up your work, and cutting out *all* of the middlemen other than the generic storefront overhead.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’m tempted to argue for such, just to see how you respond.

      Hayden would need to work much harder at making an enemy of me for it to splash over on Tor, so long as Tor is publishing Drake’s Books of the Elements. Even if Drake’s choice of making certain implicit things very explicit in book three does seem to have been driven by stupid SJW at Tor.

      I’ve considered boycotting Hachette over the crud they tried to pull with Amazon. However, it is senseless to talk about not spending money I don’t have budgeted anyway. Furthermore, Yen Press is the only part of Hachette whose products I know I’m interested in.

      As a buyer, it doesn’t need to matter to me if major publishers are criminal enterprises. They can’t steal my credit card if I go through Amazon.

    • Matthew

      One wonders if that might be necessary (a publisher falling) for the others to realize that what they’re doing is killing their own businesses.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        If they haven’t changed now, they probably are incapable of change. Unless their value depreciates enough that they get sold to someone honest and willing to do the chainsaw surgery needed to straighten out their business practices.

      • I think Bob has pegged it, Matthew. I think they’ll still be saying ‘we just didn’t do enough SJW preaching’ when they sink. Kind of like the people who still say ‘well communism in Russia/China didn’t go far enough! It would have worked if they’d done more.

      • TRX

        I’ve worked for enough companies that sank to see that some companies are institutionally incapable of understanding their problems, fixing their problems, or both.

        The approach of The End is often heralded by “quality consultants”, hired hatchet men firing middle management, selling hard assets, and upper management voting themselves massive bonuses.

    • Peter, they are sowing the seed for a bitter harvest. Their overheads are so high, and authors can do very well without them. And yet they keep scattering the seed, trusting in our goodness. It’s one of those situations that’s just waiting for a single spark, IMO. Tor’s grandees seem to think being the biggest makes them safe. Perhaps they are right. I suspect it’ll be one of the more fragile/smaller companies with some idiot in ‘leadership’ trying to out-Tor Tor for street-cred among the the NYC sf literati – and never thinking about their customers or authors at all. I though Betsy Wolheim’s last performance came that close…

      I’ve written a number of times about the fact that the long term selective exclusion of many authors has meant that they now have almost no influence on those excluded people. The excluded built their own markets, and are doing well enough to continue. They are not dependent on the tradpub crew or their campfollowers – but those excluded people and their readers are still customers of tradpub. If a buycott happens from either side, one side is not affected. I wonder how many percent of sales the Tradpub can afford to lose.

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  5. Angus Trim

    If the Puppies lose this year, so what? The “signal” is out there now, and the word is getting out. Next year, we come back bigger and better.

    In our little blog universe, we have pointed at the SJB’s and yelled “progs!”, “filthy libs”, etc. And a lot of times it’s true. However, not all progs or libs are SJBs, and there are an awful lot of them that like story over message, just like us.

    I’ve found it surprising how many of the people I know in the “real world” are aware of this kerfuffle, and really aren’t on the SJB’s side. One of the most liberal gentlemen I know, likes exploding starships in his SF, and swords, boots, rescuing fair maidens, and derring do in his fantasy.

    Right after the awards, one gal I knew gave me a real hard time about the Puppy revolution, because she and her spouse had finally saved enough to go to Spokane and got to this World Con. She thought this fight might ruin their good time. Since then, as some of the issues have come to light for her, she’s become more understanding. Even though a self described “communist”, she likes story over message too.

    So, if the signal isn’t strong enough this year, amp it up again next year. If it still doesn’t get through to enough folks, amp it up again.

    We win in the long run. Most people who seek entertainment {games, movies, tv, reading} prefer story over message.

    There will still be a lot of diversity in the stories, because there is a lot of diversity in things we like in things as subjective as what kind of stories one likes.

    • John R. Ellis

      People like good stories that meet a need inside them, it’s true.

      A need that for the most part is not met by a “story” that amounts to “The world stinks, you are doomed to be an abuser or a victim. Let’s all eat worms.”

      • Ya know, if the stories people read meet a need inside them… what does that say about what’s inside progs and libs who read “our” kind of fiction? Could it be they long for a world not of their making?? Hmmm….

      • There is a song that my wife sings when she gets particularly irritated at something. It must be a children’s chant somewhere, but I find it absolutely hilarious when she walks around the house singing it, because it is so ridiculous to see a middle-aged woman singing this in a high, girly voice:

        Nobody likes me,
        Everybody hates me,
        I think I’ll eat some worms!

        And it just now occurred to me that she could be a successful SJW science fiction writer!

        • It is. I think it may date back to England I don’t know. The rest of it goes kind of like this (It’s been a while):

          Long thin slimy ones
          Short fat fuzzy ones
          Icky ucky, dirty little worms!

          Down goes the first one
          Down goes the second one
          Slimy, yummy, tasty worms!

          Up comes the first one.
          Up comes the second one.
          Icky, ucky, nasty little worms!

    • dgarsys

      Can’t stop the signal… and I aim to misbehave.. 😀

    • Angus, I often (er. Make that always) have subtext in my stories. So did Mack Reynold or Larry Niven… but it is only when ‘message’ overwhelms the story (Reynolds is great example, of doing it both right and wrong) does it go to the don’t read pile. Great authors make the subtext very low profile, mostly in the ‘show’ and never in the tell.

      In the end it’s a numbers game. And one side has a small-but-powerful establishment (if they stop being a clique, they lose power, so they can never get big), and the other a possibly vast but individually fairly weak public-in-general. Every time they behave like jerks… they win a few, and lose a few. If we show what jerks they are, it’s a few more.

    • TRX

      Have I mentioned this before? Next year it isn’t going to be just Sad and Rabid Puppies. There’ll probably be half a dozen kinds of puppies, and wombats, and opossums, and walruses…

      “Slates! Slates! Get yer slates here! Three for ha’penny!”

  6. Mike

    Hi Dave,

    I have stopped going by 770 too often. I am unsurprised to hear that it is on par, or nearly so with MLight. I doubt that there will overmuch effort on the part of folks like Matamas (spelling?) to engage here where they can’t rely on allied, partisan moderation.

    Looking forward to the voting results and hoping to support Kate.

    • Yeah, there are a couple of very toxic commenters, who plainly feel no need to engage, but want to destroy. Really, most are easily refuted, but it takes time I don’t have, and while internet arguing is a spectator game (you play to win the audience, not beat the opponent, I think it’s a fairly closed little group. Someone said Matamas was one of the more intelligent CHORF. Having read a couple of his comments that’s… interesting.

      Next year should be very interesting indeed. And Kate is always worth supporting 🙂

  7. I notice Brad Torgerson got the readers’ choice award from Analog’s AnLab for his novelette. When the chips are down* I suspect that means more to him than does the Hugo nomination, because it is #2 and #4 in action. And I wager the editors of Analog might be inclined to agree.

    *As we say out here, when the chips are down, the cow is empty. 😉

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  9. Draven

    Blackadder’s plan:

    1: Sad Puppies nominate some books we don’t like from people we don’t like.
    2: ???
    3: Sad puppies authors continue to not be published by the publishers that were already not publishing them.

    • Yeah, I was wondering how that threat was supposed to work out. They aren’t going to get published any more by the people that aren’t publishing them already. That doesn’t seem to be very well thought out.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        It may well have been felt out instead.

        Sheer intellectual laziness also seems possible. If they assume that everyone who writes either publishes with a mainstream publisher and cannot afford to offend, or is a wannabe who aspires to that sort of servility. In other words, they may not be clear on what key figures in Sad and Rabid Puppies are reporting about who isn’t publishing them.

        • Pegged it. If one thing has characterized the ‘Anti-pups’ it’s that they don’t know anything about us (so they make straw Dave and Straw Larry, and straw Sarah – who behave just as their very limited imagination says they will), and project their own desires and motives and emotions onto us. If I’m going to make a comment about an individual, I do some research. That doesn’t always make it better, but does make it more accurate.

      • Draven

        notice the lack of ‘Profit!’ in the steps because, of course, profit is evil.

      • Like most of their ‘punishments’.
        “I’m going to take away your cell-phone to punish you.”
        “But I don’t have a cell-phone. And you swore you’d never give me one.”
        “Well, I’m still gonna take it away. So there!”
        “I’ve moved out. I have got my own place, I found a great job, I’m doing well, and I can buy my own cell-phone if I want one.”
        “I’m going to take away your cell-phone.”

        I hate to suggest something that might actually work to the anti-pups, but they COULD get at most of the authors on the list… by offering them all the things they have never given them in the past, and are threatening to withhold. So if Tor ran around offering contracts for lots of money, and no funny business (which with Tor is pretty well a non-starter) if you stepped down, all their pet cons offered GoH invites to pups who stepped down, and so on… But 1)they’re in financial strife and we’d be talking about no need to work again money, because you would be quite possibly torching your old fan-base. without actually getting a new one. 2)that’s not how they operate 3)We wouldn’t trust them 4)There’d be holdouts like me.

    • Draven, trust me on this, you are far too bright for this Baldrick. Even if you had a lobotomy

  10. Griz

    About the only Tor books I bought were Weber’s Safehold books. Now I wait for the library editions because of their idiotic ebook pricing.

  11. Uncle Lar

    Dave, regarding your 1-4 numbering scheme in my opinion only 2 really matters and we already have a very good and accurate system of rewards for it. The award certificates are presented by the individual readers. In the US they are green and fit nicely in a wallet. Don’t know what color they are down under, but you get the picture. In any case, that system is well entrenched and I don’t see it changing any time soon, especially now that the trad/pub gatekeepers are less of a hindrance.
    3 and 4 do concern me for the simple reason that 4 has been doing serious damage to 3 for a number of years now. Once the literary SJB crowd started bestowing awards on each other and their buds the system reacted as macro systems are wont to do. Readers stopped trusting the Hugo awards as a reliable guide to excellent new works and authors. Textbooks and sermons have their place, but are not and never will be good entertainment.

    • HerbN

      Textbooks and sermons have their place, but are not and never will be good entertainment.

      I’ll have to disagree a bit here. I own many Dover reprints of textbooks (mostly in mathematics and related fields) which I bought and have worked through as entertainment.

    • “Readers stopped trusting the Hugo awards as a reliable guide to excellent new works and authors.” – this.
      I’m all in favor of money being the most sincere flattery, but sometimes it helps to get readers to know what is worth flattering.

      • Frankly, I find the Sad Puppy nomination list a worthwhile guide to checking out unknown-to-me authors. I’ll be tracking down more of Annie Bellet’s stuff, because her story was good, and waiting for more by Megan Gray.

        Doesn’t matter to me, as a reader, that they pulled out or were DQ’ed; it matters that I hadn’t heard of them, but they were on a list compiled by folks I trust as good stories I should try.

        To be frank, the hugo brand is so devalued that it’s got a value of “avoid this; it’ll be boring”. That may take decades to change. But Sad Puppies Nominated? That’s an award that has cachet for my wallet.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          And the Rapid Puppies slate. He may exclude as trashy stuff I enjoy, but taste differs, and I am grateful to Castalia for Jeffro’s Appendix N stuff. For me, the value of Sad and Rapid Puppies is in having the list to look at, not whatever makes it through the Hugo process.

  12. Scott

    Blackadder’s second point truly shows how clueless he is. ” Second their little stunt is a one time deal now the fans will join in the nominee process they they will never control it again.” and the Puppies cheer wildly.

    Also from what I have heard, the Hugo’s have been a reliable signal for some years now and the Puppies are degrading that. We will no longer be able to reliably not buy Hugo award winners in the knowledge that we have avoided a useless to horrible story.

    • Bravo Scott 🙂 It’s like that Jackass reviewer who won’t review Baen books – well I know if he likes it I won’t buy it.

    • julieapascal

      “…and the Puppies cheer wildly.”

      I read this on my tablet at lunch and this is exactly what I wanted to say.

      Is it simply that people who live for control can’t imagine anyone not wanting control?

      • Scott

        In too many cases, their opinion of themselves is totally dependent on other people’s opinions. It is not control for control’s sake so much as “See these people all do what I say, so I must be awesome.” We tend to not have this problem and really could not care less what other people think of us. It is more important to us that we live up to our own standards.

        This is not something that they are capable of understanding or perhaps even believing.

  13. Mark

    Well Dave, you’ve declined to discuss over in the comments at file 770 and said you’d discuss here instead. Frankly I doubt you’ll get many takers, given that your reaction to a bad review last week was to track down the authors place of work, comment negatively on it, then announce how a Google search could find this info.

    However, I’ll mention something you could reply to. How do you respond to the detailed critique of your claims of bias in the Hugo award in this series of blog posts? https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/on-petunias-and-whales-part-9/

    Following on from that, I’d like to ask you to put some flesh on your claims. If various shortlists since 2005 unfairly featured various “outspoken liberals” due to bias, could you say specifically which books you feel shouldn’t have been on the shortlists, and what their replacements should have been.

    • Well Dave, you’ve declined to discuss over in the comments at file 770 and said you’d discuss here instead. Frankly I doubt you’ll get many takers,
      Well Mark, the best reply I can think of came from Adams’s “Deep Thought” (and I paraphrase – too lazy to look it up) on the threat of National Philosophers Union Strike: “And whom, pray, will that inconvenience? By the title of blog I’d assume you are fond of logic. So: given that each word I write professionally earns me more or less 10 cents, if I write replies over in 770 it should either be to a greater return than that, or a pleasure, or likely to serve a purpose which I would value. Given the bulk commenting populace 1) Skim until offended –and then insult on basis of their poor reading skills, which takes a lot of patient correcting, at length 2)Are not going to change their minds with reasonable argument. They’re heavily invested partisans 3)Include friends and associates of ‘Requires Hate’ who faithfully carry on her work, 4)Have never read my books and won’t, and are extremely unlikely to identify with the characters, do you seriously think ‘discussing’ there has any value? Serious question, an answer and explanation as to why is required.
      given that your reaction to a bad review last week was to track down the authors place of work, comment negatively on it, then announce how a Google search could find this info.
      “A bad review” – the writer did NOT review the work. He described me as a sexist and said I was ‘actually insane’. Those are both actionable libels, you realize? He set out with deliberate intent to damage my professional reputation. He either failed to read or understand what I written, but made an ad hominem attack, on me, by name. That is not a ‘review’. Place yourself, or a friend, in the same position. Now what is your response?

      ‘Track down’ is information on the site he used for the libel. ‘Place of work – State employ in London – that can’t be more than a million people. It is possible to pin-point him. I didn’t. Google is perhaps a mystery to a few, but they’re few and far between. Understand this clearly. I was a tiny kid at a very old style military type boarding school – twenty pound lighter and four inches smaller than the next kid. I got the crap beaten out of me for the six months by everyone, including that next kid, behaving as you seem to think I should. Then – long story—but learned that even if you lose, but make it ‘expensive’ for the other party/s beating you up, they find other targets. It left me detesting bullies (which is one of the reasons I dislike 770 – bullying is rife there. The attacks on Will were nothing else. I admire his fortitude), and having learned that bullies only learn when they pay a price. This individual is a position of power and influence, and plainly thought himself safe to enjoy his malice. My mockery and words are my weapon.

      However, I’ll mention something you could reply to. How do you respond to the detailed critique of your claims of bias in the Hugo award in this series of blog posts?

      I’ll repost this on your site, but your principle flaw is that you skimmed until offended, and then did a magnificent job of deconstructing what I did not say. In other words you totally destroyed straw-Dave. Unfortunately straw-Dave and this Dave are not even vaguely same person. You started with an incorrect premise, which meant the edifice you constructed on it could not stand.

      “Dave Freer’s argument does not show what he thinks it shows. The flaws in the argument are:

      1. His description of a left wing category of authors is probably faulty as it relies on key issues that enjoy more popular support in the US public than some conservatives realize.

      I repeat my suggestion of reading Prof Jonathan Haidt of NYU’s “The Righteous Mind” (Haidt is a psychologist, and a US Liberal) It’s an interesting read, but the nub you need is that US conservatives actually understand and know US Liberals quite well, but the converse is not at all true. It’s basically the Pauline Kael error (or as you have just displayed in your UK elections – the ‘nasty Conservative’ error). You are not actually the center of the demographic distribution, you just think you are, and this is a false perception heightened by a compliant media. I’ve pulled together various figures here –mostly from Gallup, or Yougov rather than overtly partisan groups. Remember the ‘nasty conservative’ error – which means pollster tend to underestimate support for conservatives and conservative issues, because the polled are defensive about these issues.

      I think our starting point has to be false perception that ‘conservatives’ in the US are some tiny minority – perhaps 20%. Actually the truth is almost the inverse. In 2011 40% of Americans considered themselves conservative. Just 21% considered themselves liberal. 35% considered themselves moderate, and the trend numbers of moderates is declining.
      Let me be clear here – I do not mean an individual who is openly and loudly supportive of one or two of the criteria I set out and as loudly opposed to the rest, but who is at least broadly supportive of all. Given your contention ‘more popular support in the US public than some conservatives realize’ – Gay marriage for example, would have passed electoral muster in the some of the various states it’s been put to the vote. It has repeatedly failed to do so, even in heavily ‘liberal’ states like California.

      You postulate that the positions I describe as defining the ‘liberal’ side enjoy far greater support among conservatives than I guessed: let’s actually look at the figures. Gay marriage: In the year I wrote this it was 30% among Republicans (71% of whom consider themselves ‘conservative’ – which makes it around 21% of conservatives support it ) Support for abortion among Republicans was 27% in the year I wrote the piece (again 71% of that =19%). Affirmative action – measured as support by those NOT receiving it for college entry, by race, was 22% (take 71% of that 16%). While some more support for some forms of affirmative action, even that peaks at 40%. (which includes the beneficiaries, which means the ‘support’ is lower still.) Militant Feminism – well as only 20% of the US population (23% women) identifies feminist, let alone militant, once again your imagination doesn’t live up to the facts. Among Republicans that sinks to 5%. Take 71% of that, and you’re down to 3.5%… and militant feminism is a fraction of that. Socialism barely scrapes 20% in the total US population, and in conservative circles that would be almost zero (in other words, if you assume some moderates support it, it doesn’t even get all the liberal support.

      I think you need to re-think your ‘more popular support than conservatives think’. You have proved Prof Haidt absolutely correct.

      2. Consequently his estimate of 15%, while accurate for genuinely “solid liberal” people, is too low when considering Hugo eligible authors. The likelihoods he needed to model may have an upper range beyond 50%.

      As your initial premise (above) fails spectacularly, because of your misapprehension of the size of ‘solid liberal’ base – I suspect what you mean by ‘solid liberal’ is what Gallup defines as ‘very liberal’ which is actually 6%, as opposed to 10% ‘very conservative’. Which means I erred on the side of caution, being nearly twice as generous to ‘very liberals’ than ‘very conservatives’. (I gave them equal weighting, and in fact the ‘very liberals’ should only have 60% of the ‘very conservatives’). If you mean ‘solid liberal’ to include ‘very liberal’ and ‘liberal’ then you must do the same for opposite side – which would leave your ‘solidly liberal’ at 21% and ‘solidly conservative’ at 40% – which is considerably worse for your argument. Your estimate has no substance or backing I’m afraid.

      However – I will quote the document you’re criticizing –
      “Guys, you can argue about the figure, but essentially you’re splitting hairs. Take it down 0.00005, or up 0.4 (beyond that allows no undecided votes) – the outcome is the same.”
      And I included your 50% calculation.
      “To forestall the ‘oh but 1/7 is too low’, let’s run it at a ridiculously high ½, which means only red and black balls. No neutral, but they are equally probable. You can’t get more generous and possibly claim that there is no ideological bias in Hugo awards. ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ . – that is still unlikely to happen by chance more than once in every 32 years. There is a 97% chance that won’t happen. Do more complex stats, it’s just as implausible.”

      3. The model he uses in his analogy has some flaws but is not unreasonable and the flaws don’t severely undermine his argument

      Thank you. I was doing my best to keep it simple. Please read my comment in the document you’re criticizing – “Nor do I think no outspoken left-winger should ever win. If that was happening, I’d be here fighting to see they got a chance.” I have a track record of this.

      4. Using his model an expected proportion of 45% for what he calls “red” nominees would produce results that are not highly improbable and which match his analysis of past Hugo nominees for best novel.

      Er. No. Sorry –see my quote above (in answer to 2) running the numbers at 0.5. Besides the facts, established my rebuttal to your (1) that a realistic figure for ‘red balls’ would be 6% IF the figure for ‘black balls’ is 10% – and it still does not matter.
      You are confusing ‘possible’ with ‘probable’. It is not impossible. It is highly improbable.

      5. His choice of years to analyze may be distorted by avoiding 2004 and by including WorldCon years held in countries other than the US, but his analysis would still hold if his assumption of 15% for reds was correct.

      My choice of years was actually influenced by working backwards and running out of time. However I was busy with a larger analysis which showed the Awards gradually become more and more and more dominated by one political wing, year on year. I had a rather nasty computer crash, and will have to do it all over again. I will, but it is slow.
      Mike Glyer – using less rigid metrics than I did (so probably counting people as ‘black ball’ I would consider ‘white ball’ – he described his method as ‘subjective’ – but he does have an exhaustive knowledge of the people in the field) found 19 conservatives winning Hugos (not Novel Category, ALL categories) in the last 20 years. I think you would find most of those 19 are pre-2004. Mike did not do a liberal winners number – but if it is to match the demographic it should be not more than 60% of that 19 – 11, with all the rest being ‘moderate/neutral. This is clearly not the case. I can arrive at 11 in three years, not 20, and that is being extremely stringent about ‘red ball’.
      I don’t know if you’ve worked this out, but I assume you would accept that there is bias in the number of women winning Hugos? Well – over the same period I make that as rough count of 57. So given that women make 50% of the population, and Conservatives 40% because Mike’s definition of conservative is more generous than mine – you then establish that bias against conservatives is actually 2.7 times as bad. Am I suggesting we ignore women? No. But we cannot ignore something worse, and notice women’s participation.

      6. There is some plausible evidence of statistical bias against very conservative authors but overall the evidence of bias is slim

      Perhaps you’d like to reconsider that? The evidence is overwhelming.

      7. Dave’s argument even if it was sound does not address multiple sources of bias – some of which may be beyond WorldCon (or Puppy) influence

      This is straw Dave I’m afraid. I quote: “So let us take the hypothesis ‘There is no ideological bias in Hugo awards,’ which we’d love to prove true and test it mathematically to do so.”
      I wasn’t trying to establish what the sources of the bias were. I was simply establishing there was bias. I have actually written about the sources in several other places. But the point of the exercise was utterly dismiss the ridiculous contention that the outcome reflects a null-bias situation.

      Following on from that, I’d like to ask you to put some flesh on your claims. If various shortlists since 2005 unfairly featured various “outspoken liberals” due to bias, could you say specifically which books you feel shouldn’t have been on the shortlists, and what their replacements should have been.

      No.
      I quote: “Try, if you can, to realize this is not an attack on any one individual or work, I’m not saying so-and-so should have won. https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/08/25/a-very-surprised-looking-sperm-whale-and-a-bowl-of-petunias/
      I quote again. (of MGC) “it is essentially a constructive site… of being very supportive of any writers” https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/11/10/we-build/
      I quote a third time: “So far, to best of my knowledge, the Puppies, both sad and rabid, and their followers have avoided attacking things which make people a living.”
      I tried not to stoop to attacking other writers. If you want attacks on writers: Go and ask Natalie Luhrs, or Elizabeth watshername on File 770. https://madgeniusclub.com/2015/05/25/making-a-living-and-things-that-may-interfere-with-it/ Actually, you can find plenty there.
      I have suggested that authors with 3 noms or a win should not be there again. That would make a huge amount of space, and be very fair.
      As for their replacements: Well, here is a challenge for you. Basically to show the playing field is level YOU need to find them. When we’ve tried, we’ve had vicious attacks from the traditional clique. You hated what we did. So: you do it. Name five authors that conservative readers would recognize as outspoken conservatives, with good work. And, as all the puppies and their supporters, we are informed are now tainted and can never be nominated let alone win. Larry Correia has said will not stand again. I look forward your list. Do ask your ‘friends’ on File 770 to help. Then perhaps you can ask the hard question: ‘why is this so difficult?’

      (And this is $200 of my time, Mark, I hope you appreciate it)

      • Hi Dave,
        Thank you for the feedback. I’m not Mark and I wasn’t aware of his comment until your recent cross-post. I’ll try and write a longer response back on my blog.
        I’ll only say I wasn’t looking to be offended. I enjoyed your original post and I thought it was an admirable way of discussing the issue. There has been lots of heat and not much light in the multiple discussions. I regarded your suprised-petunia post to be one of the better sources of light.
        So thanks for responding.

      • Mark

        Just checking if bold and italics work properly before I post.

      • Mark

        Well Mark, the best reply I can think of came from Adams’s “Deep Thought” (and I paraphrase – too lazy to look it up) on the threat of National Philosophers Union Strike: “And whom, pray, will that inconvenience? By the title of blog I’d assume you are fond of logic. So: given that each word I write professionally earns me more or less 10 cents, if I write replies over in 770 it should either be to a greater return than that, or a pleasure, or likely to serve a purpose which I would value. Given the bulk commenting populace 1) Skim until offended –and then insult on basis of their poor reading skills, which takes a lot of patient correcting, at length 2)Are not going to change their minds with reasonable argument. They’re heavily invested partisans 3)Include friends and associates of ‘Requires Hate’ who faithfully carry on her work, 4)Have never read my books and won’t, and are extremely unlikely to identify with the characters, do you seriously think ‘discussing’ there has any value? Serious question, an answer and explanation as to why is required.
        Well Dave, you are in no way obliged to comment on File770, or anywhere else for that matter. But in fact you did comment on File770. Or at least, you stopped by, avoided replying to tricky points, disappeared for a week, then declared there were far too many comments to further reply to. So the question would really be: why did you comment on File770 if you didn’t want to?
        Feel free not to comment on File770 again if it’s not to your benefit, but as it’s a news site where plenty of the pro-puppy side have commented before, I find your stance odd. I think that reversing your point (2) is reason enough not to discuss your characterisations in detail, but I’ll point out for (4) that your Hugo-nominated works have been read and discussed there.
        “A bad review” – the writer did NOT review the work. He described me as a sexist and said I was ‘actually insane’. Those are both actionable libels, you realize? He set out with deliberate intent to damage my professional reputation. He either failed to read or understand what I written, but made an ad hominem attack, on me, by name. That is not a ‘review’. Place yourself, or a friend, in the same position. Now what is your response?
        I’m sorry that you think that reviews can’t be short and highly negative, but the fact is they can be, and this one was. Incidentally, he didn’t describe you as a sexist, he described Cedar Sanderson as anti-feminist and then appeared to include you in the same category. Are you in fact pro-feminist, Dave, and I’ve just missed that in your writings?
        As much as you dislike having your Hugo-nominated works being called “actually insane”, an opinion in a review is highly unlikely to reach to the level of “actionable libel” in any legal jurisdiction you may have access to. In the US you’d be laughed out of your attorney’s office, let alone court. In Aus/UK law? Slightly less laughing, but still no dice. I’ll quote Ken White of Popehat for you: “vagueness in legal threats is the hallmark of meritless thuggery”.
        The more interesting point there is that you say “He set out with deliberate intent to damage my professional reputation.” This professional reputation thing is a real bugbear for you and some of the other puppies, it seems. You appear not to realise that the natural result of doing something deliberately intended to annoy a whole bunch of people is that those people end up liking you less. I’m not sure what else you expect. Despite much bluster about being blacklisted and damaged, you’ve really struggled to come up with strong evidence of this.
        Gerrold points out that Cons whose members you’ve insulted might not want to give you a prestigious GoH gig? Natural result. You get some bad reviews? I thought you’d been a writer for more than 5 minutes, and were out of your teens. James Nicoll says he won’t review Baen any more? He’s a private individual who can review what he wants. Do you think reviews are your right? Your reaction to them suggests you don’t like them when you get them.
        For the record, my response to criticism is to consider the source, and learn from it as appropriate.
        ‘Track down’ is information on the site he used for the libel. ‘Place of work – State employ in London – that can’t be more than a million people. It is possible to pin-point him. I didn’t. Google is perhaps a mystery to a few, but they’re few and far between. Understand this clearly. I was a tiny kid at a very old style military type boarding school – twenty pound lighter and four inches smaller than the next kid. I got the crap beaten out of me for the six months by everyone, including that next kid, behaving as you seem to think I should. Then – long story—but learned that even if you lose, but make it ‘expensive’ for the other party/s beating you up, they find other targets. It left me detesting bullies (which is one of the reasons I dislike 770 – bullying is rife there. The attacks on Will were nothing else. I admire his fortitude), and having learned that bullies only learn when they pay a price. This individual is a position of power and influence, and plainly thought himself safe to enjoy his malice. My mockery and words are my weapon.
        You carry on to claim your reviewer was a bully. I think at best you’re punching sideways here, Dave. If your response to a bad review on a blog is to moan about it on your blog, fair enough, welcome to the internet. Neither of you is at school. However, your response crossed a line, which is what I was calling you on:
        It is possible to pin-point him. I didn’t.
        Sorry Dave, but this won’t fly. You provided clear info on how a search could pinpoint his exact place of work. The fact that you left your readers one google short of the answer is a very thin dividing line.
        I’ll repost this on your site, but your principle flaw is that you skimmed until offended, and then did a magnificent job of deconstructing what I did not say. In other words you totally destroyed straw-Dave. Unfortunately straw-Dave and this Dave are not even vaguely same person. You started with an incorrect premise, which meant the edifice you constructed on it could not stand.
        I’ll let you respond to Camestros’s post on his site then; he is much better placed to discuss the sources than I am, though I’ll look to join in. I was certainly interested to see your response though. (While I was composing I notice he corrected your misapprehension here, so at least that’s clear)
        I notice that you launch into your “you skimmed until offended” claim though. Could you identify what was so clearly skimmed? In your response you don’t point out a single thing from your article that’s been skimmed. In fact, it is very clear that Camestros is disagreeing with your premise about political demographics with stats to back it up, and then you are disagreeing with his stats. Sounds like a valid discussion, with evidence introduced on both sides. You’ve had a detailed and reasoned response to your argument from him, and you wish to dismiss it as skimming, in the same way that you dismiss others who disagree with you as poor readers? You’re getting a different response to your argument from me but, as we see below, you are declining to engage.
        Me to you: Following on from that, I’d like to ask you to put some flesh on your claims. If various shortlists since 2005 unfairly featured various “outspoken liberals” due to bias, could you say specifically which books you feel shouldn’t have been on the shortlists, and what their replacements should have been.

        You to me: No.
        Seriously?
        I quote: “Try, if you can, to realize this is not an attack on any one individual or work, I’m not saying so-and-so should have won. https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/08/25/a-very-surprised-looking-sperm-whale-and-a-bowl-of-petunias/
        I quote again. (of MGC) “it is essentially a constructive site… of being very supportive of any writers” https://madgeniusclub.com/2014/11/10/we-build/
        I quote a third time: “So far, to best of my knowledge, the Puppies, both sad and rabid, and their followers have avoided attacking things which make people a living.”
        I tried not to stoop to attacking other writers. If you want attacks on writers: Go and ask Natalie Luhrs, or Elizabeth watshername on File 770. https://madgeniusclub.com/2015/05/25/making-a-living-and-things-that-may-interfere-with-it/ Actually, you can find plenty there.
        I have suggested that authors with 3 noms or a win should not be there again. That would make a huge amount of space, and be very fair.

        Sorry Dave, but it’s money-where-your-mouth-is time. You’ve made a very clear set of claims about specific authors being on the ballot due to bias, because you identify the number of “Red Balls” each year, and for each year it’s entirely obvious who you mean. You say you won’t attack other writers? You already have. You don’t think (for example) Charlie Stross could read your article and be entirely sure that you think he made the ballot 4 years in a row due to bias? Charlie is a very smart cookie, and you don’t have to be very smart to parse these claims. Your figleaf of “I didn’t name names” and “I don’t mean every red ball…just most of them” is small, wilting, and entirely inadequate.
        You claim there should be less than one one red ball per year. So, I’ll give you one per year, and challenge you thus: you have identified 29 red balls over 10 years. Lose one per year, that’s 19. Give me 19 Hugo noms 2005 to 2014 that were on the ballot unjustly.
        If you think this is a terrible hardship, and a distraction from your core audience, consider this: Jo Walton did an excellent (and popular) series of blogs on the Hugos from conception to 2000, identifying which ones she liked, which she didn’t, and what should perhaps have made the ballot instead. http://www.tor.com/features/series/revisiting-the-hugos/
        I think your readers would love an equivalent series where you dissect the Hugos 2005-2014 year by year and show what should have made the ballot. You’d be proving the puppy case in detail. I’d happily turn up and debate books with you; I invited you to do so for 2005 on File770, but you declined.

        As for their replacements: Well, here is a challenge for you. Basically to show the playing field is level YOU need to find them.
        What?
        What…?
        Seriously Dave, what on earth makes you think this? You’re pointing at someone who thinks the Hugos lack bias and ordering him to prove your case for you?
        When we’ve tried, we’ve had vicious attacks from the traditional clique. You hated what we did. So: you do it. Name five authors that conservative readers would recognize as outspoken conservatives, with good work. And, as all the puppies and their supporters, we are informed are now tainted and can never be nominated let alone win. Larry Correia has said will not stand again. I look forward your list. Do ask your ‘friends’ on File 770 to help. Then perhaps you can ask the hard question: ‘why is this so difficult?’
        The entire claim that conservatives are excluded is yours. I don’t think there is this rump of outspoken conservatives with hugo-worthy yet excluded works. You think that, not me. This attempt at a turnabout is lacking in foundation. Your claims, your need to prove.
        If you’d like me to identify some conservatives who I don’t think deserve to be on the ballot, I’d be happy to do so. I can start with Tom Kratman or John C Wright, they being the writers whose nominated works I had the misfortune to read out of the Hugo packet yesterday. Or I can start with yourself, if you wish, but I suspect I’ve identified my misgivings about your Hugo-nominated works already.

        • Well Dave, you are in no way obliged to comment on File770, or anywhere else for that matter. But in fact you did comment on File770. Or at least, you stopped by, avoided replying to tricky points
          Someone PM’d me that a post of mine was being quoted there. I went to have a look. ‘avoided’ – you mean I didn’t give the Straw Dave answers you wanted. You IIRC wanted to know if I had actually had a response to the various ‘blacklist’ calls. You simply have no real idea of the time-frames involved (which is years. The call has been out what a month?) I answered. You repeated your question – wasting my time. I work, Mark. Family and my community first, writing is my job, the farm feeds us, my interest in keeping my field healthy for others takes 4th place. I’m going to comment on Camestros when I’ve done with you, because he/she was pleasant to talk to, even we differ.
          “I’m sorry that you think that reviews can’t be short and highly negative, but the fact is they can be, and this one was. Incidentally, he didn’t describe you as a sexist, he described Cedar Sanderson as anti-feminist and then appeared to include you in the same category. Are you in fact pro-feminist, Dave, and I’ve just missed that in your writings?”

          Well, plainly your skimming until offended is not working too well. If you have actually read my writing -doubtful on the evidence, you would have come across this in various forms ‘I believe in equality before the law, and equality of opportunity. I believe in equal work for equal pay.’ Curiously that was what feminism did stand for, historically. More 80% of Americans agree with me. Yet only 20% support modern feminism, Now, what do you mean by ‘feminism’? As for your review opinions, I have reviewed what you’ve written, I will apply your rules to you. You can moan about it on your blog, not here. Here is my review of what you say: Bullshit.
          “I notice that you launch into your “you skimmed until offended” claim though. Could you identify what was so clearly skimmed?”

          This where I start feeling it is not worth wasting further time on you, Mark. Because your question showed you’ve skimmed. See point 7.

          You to me: No.
          Seriously?

          Mark, No from me means No.
          And if you attack individual authors again I will put on the ‘Troll’ list. This is your one and final warning. You may offer reasoned critique “I didn’t follow his Sally Sarah transition easily” – that is fair. But I will not give you a platform for badmouthing authors, just because you do like them. That’s your personal taste. Be sure to say that if you offer such statements.

          You’ve just illustrated the ‘skim until offended’ perfectly BTW. The post above explains why ‘3 bite or one win’ would open up the field. It would affect John Wright as much as Charles Stross. I have avoided “my taste is superior to yours/others.” You want to argue subjective values. I’m a scientist by background I do not do that. You love Stross. I don’t. That’s not ‘award worthy’ or not.

          The entire claim that conservatives are excluded is yours. I don’t think there is this rump of outspoken conservatives with hugo-worthy yet excluded works. You think that, not me

          I quote from Camestros “There is some plausible evidence of statistical bias against very conservative authors but overall the evidence of bias is slim”
          I showed that his estimates (45%) were a long way over the polled reality of _6%_. Which makes the plausible evidence not slim, but solid.

          I think the bulk of your argument comes from this point on which you are seriously deluding yourself. “identify some conservatives who I don’t think deserve to be on the ballot…. Or I can start with yourself, if you wish,”

          1) I set out the criteria which defined authors I would consider as ‘conservative’ or ‘right wing’ clearly. I’ve just set out the numerical defense of those criteria Have you actually bothered to do even elementary research on the person you’re attacking? I fail in a lot of those. The only person who would consider me ‘conservative’ would be someone a long way to the left of Lenin. Yes, I have a long term and openly stated stance against neo-apartheid – a philosophy now popular on the far left of US politics. (Apartheid was not, as some people imagine ‘separate’ but the privileged group were allowed access to anything and everything. The rest were allowed – selectively, access to a part. So whites could go any black area, do any job. Blacks were restricted in white areas, and could only certain jobs in certain areas. A white could sit on any bench in any park. A black could only sit on his designated bench. Different laws applied to different people on the basis of their skin color.)
          2)I have repeatedly for years and years said I have no interest in awards. I’ve explained why over and over. You can find references if you look. I don’t care if you do, or if I win or lose. I didn’t want to be nominated, I said so publicly, I said ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ and the only reason I didn’t recuse myself when I found I had… is because doing so would encourage the vile bullying being engaged in on ML, Facebook, File 770. The conduct of anti-pups needs to be opposed, and if I don’t do so, I make it harder for others to do that. Then bullying wins.
          3)The benefit of the puppies winning Hugos… is not to them. Look at the state of the traditional sf industry – down another 18% this year I believe (after a long run of falls) with Tor UK editor out of a job and possibly the whole of Tor UK being wound up. Jobs are bleeding, advances are for new entrants to around half of when I started. I’ve written extensively on this, on the narrowing of the writer base toward a very small proportion of political spectrum (the figures I quoted above suggest it’s largely in being drawn from a 6% extreme.). Year after year it sells to less outside that group, and the group gets narrower. The authors outside of that – such as those you badmouth, and myself and Amanda and Cedar, have seen our sales _rise_ year on year. If every trad pub (including Baen) went into receivership tomorrow, we’d be fine. Almost all of your darlings that don’t have someone supporting them already would be having to take day jobs, their books would disappear or happen three-four years. Some of them are good, even if I hold a more moderate political position. Some of them are decent people. I don’t want them crushed – yet the anti-pup want us crushed. Some of my customers buy your friend Stross. Stross’s customers do not buy my books. His winning or not Hugo has no effect on me, or on the market. He already has what he is likely to get, he’s had huge push. His core is around the left 20% of the market, which probably makes half his sales. If Correia had won a Hugo, some of Correia’s customer base (large, and growing – his core is around right 40% of the market, and he’s popular with the middle too) would possibly have bought other Hugo winners. He didn’t – and they won’t. We’ve said this before in so many ways, and places. The reason we have any interest in the Hugos is because we love the genre. We read books from across the spectrum (you can even look on Vox Day’s sidebar for an example). The anti-pups are thinking of short term personal benefits. The loudest of them – are multiple nominees. We are not. But you’re never going to believe it.

          And really, that is enough of this.

          • Mark

            (I’m cutting out and excerpting previous comments for space and comprehensibility. DF in bold.)
            Someone PM’d me that a post of mine was being quoted there. I went to have a look. ‘avoided’ – you mean I didn’t give the Straw Dave answers you wanted…
            I’ll do the only available thing here and take you at your word. You say that the only comments you read were the ones you directly responded to, and you didn’t read the other comments I and others directed to you? Accepted.
            … ‘I believe in equality before the law, and equality of opportunity. I believe in equal work for equal pay.’ Curiously that was what feminism did stand for, historically… Now, what do you mean by ‘feminism’?
            The point of my question here was that claimed to be called sexist, but weren’t. You did appear to have been called anti-feminist. I probably didn’t express the point very well, as I’ve diverted you into a discussion of your personal definition of feminism. Given that you contrast equality against “modern feminism”, I suspect we disagree on the definition. Hopefully we agree that no-one called you sexist though?
            As for your review opinions, I have reviewed what you’ve written, I will apply your rules to you. You can moan about it on your blog, not here. Here is my review of what you say: Bullsh*t.
            This isn’t the main thrust of what I was seeking to discuss, so I’ll simply leave this here.
            This where I start feeling it is not worth wasting further time on you, Mark. Because your question showed you’ve skimmed. See point 7.
            Point 7 is a reply to Camestros, who you appeared to be accusing of skimming. I’ll let you discuss that with them.
            Mark, No from me means No.
            Unfortunately, as this is in fact the main thrust of what I wanted to discuss, I won’t be agreeing to disagree here.
            And if you attack individual authors again I will put on the ‘Troll’ list. This is your one and final warning. You may offer reasoned critique “I didn’t follow his Sally Sarah transition easily” – that is fair. But I will not give you a platform for badmouthing authors, just because you do like them. That’s your personal taste. Be sure to say that if you offer such statements.
            Dave, let me be explicitly clear here: at no point did I attack any “individual authors”. One author I named was Charles Stross, who I brought in purely as an example of someone you appear to be identifying as an outspoken left-winger. Mind you, I don’t think naming Charlie as such would offend him, as he’d think it was an entirely accurate description. I also mentioned Jo Walton, describing a blog series she wrote as “excellent”. Also, not an attack. I am disagreeing with yourself, but that would fall into your “reasoned critique” category.
            Perhaps you refer to my offer to discuss why I didn’t think the works of JCW and TK (for example) deserved to be on the ballot. That discussion would obviously be a critique of their works, and you lack any foundation in my words to read it as an offer to simply make a personal attack. In fact, I have recently posted comments elsewhere which are a reasoned critique of those works.
            None of this amounts to an attack on an individual author, and so threatening to ban me on spurious grounds doesn’t show much confidence in your position, particularly as you explicitly invited me and others to come here and comment. If I’m wrong, if I did name an author and launch a personal attack, please point out where and I will apologise unreservedly and leave the field.
            You’ve just illustrated the ‘skim until offended’ perfectly BTW. The post above explains why ‘3 bite or one win’ would open up the field. It would affect John Wright as much as Charles Stross. I have avoided “my taste is superior to yours/others.”
            Are you saying I skimmed your 3 bites/1 win suggestion? I didn’t address it, true enough, because I didn’t think it really addressed the point of mine it was replying to. If you’d like me to address it (and I’ve already commented to this effect on F770), briefly I think it’s coming from a valid place – opening up the field – but has clear mechanical flaws that mean I wouldn’t support it.
            You want to argue subjective values. I’m a scientist by background I do not do that. You love Stross. I don’t. That’s not ‘award worthy’ or not.
            I’m honestly not sure where this is coming from. I’m arguing subjective values and you’re arguing objective values? Where precisely is this happening? In your 3 bites/1 win? If so, then obviously it’s objective as its simply a numerical rule. I’m not sure what I’ve suggested that’s subjective, apart from that we’re discussing subjective options of SF works. Are you saying that “award worthy” needs to be an objective measure?
            Incidentally, I find it interesting that you say I love Stross. I am a big fan of Stross but nothing I’ve mentioned here shows that. I simply picked him out as a useful example of an outspoken left-winger under your criteria.
            I quote from Camestros “There is some plausible evidence of statistical bias against very conservative authors but overall the evidence of bias is slim”
            I showed that his estimates (45%) were a long way over the polled reality of _6%_. Which makes the plausible evidence not slim, but solid.

            You disagree with Camestros, fair enough. It doesn’t change the fact that the claim you are making is yours, not mine.
            I think the bulk of your argument comes from this point on which you are seriously deluding yourself. “identify some conservatives who I don’t think deserve to be on the ballot…. Or I can start with yourself, if you wish,”
            Dave, I think you skimmed until offended here. The bulk of my argument is to ask you to flesh out your claims that books have received Hugo nominations due to bias, that bias coming from the authors being outspoken left-wingers. You’ve not responded to that, or rather you appear to be refusing to respond to it. I’ll respond to some of your numbered points then come back to this.
            1) You don’t self-identify as conservative? Fair enough. I withdraw my offer to use you as an example of a Hugo-nominated conservative whose work I don’t believe deserves to be on the ballot. My offer to talk about JCW or TK still stands, of course.
            2) Dave, I’m not going to disappear too far down the rabbit hole of this point, but an argument that it’s all one side is lacking in examination. For example, consider Puppy-nominated Jeffro Johnson, who commented on File770 yesterday. I think the harshest comments came in my critiques of some of his blog posts, being a combination gamer/SF reader myself. We ended up discussing the 80s moral panic about D&D and swapping reading recommendations. The general consensus was that Jeffro was a polite and impressive commentator. Bullying?
            3) There’s a good deal of material in this point
            a) The demise of trad pub has been long predicted, and those predictions have at least as many opponents as proponents. Only time will tell. Given your dislike of people’s livelihoods being threatened, I find your enthusiastic discussion of the trad pubs going under, both here and elsewhere in the comments, to be contradictory.
            b) I’d be fascinated to see your evidence that the sales of the “6% extreme” are dropping faster apart from the general drop in book sales, while the non-6% extreme have rising sales. Have you categorised authors and analysed their sales? Please do share.
            c) Again, I’d be fascinated to see the figures you have for the political leanings of the customers for you, Charles Stross, and Larry Correia. How do you know Stross’s customers don’t buy your books?
            d) I don’t see the logic in LC customers buying other Hugo-winning books in any real numbers if he wins. I can see isolated incidences of someone who hadn’t heard of the Hugos googling them, following some links, and making a purchase, but in any real numbers? Seems unlikely to me. In any case, surely there would be more effective ways of publicising the Hugos?
            e) “the anti-pup want us crushed” – really not. The “anti-pup” (to the extent that there is such a category) doesn’t want slates.
            f) “The anti-pups are thinking of short term personal benefits.” – I’m opposed to the slates, what are the short term personal benefits to me?
            g) “The loudest of them – are multiple nominees” – There are some extremely loud opponents who have never won a Hugo. And some multi-Hugo winners who haven’t expressed much of an opinion.
            Swinging back to the main point of my argument, I have challenged you to move from the general to the specific, to say which books received undeserved noms, and which missed out due to the bias you claim exists. I think this is a reasonable challenge, as your claim of bias is a very serious one, and unproven in the eyes of a great many people.
            I accept that expecting you to do this for every book straightaway is unreasonable, and I suggested you could work through the years, or whatever other method you wish. Or, for an easy starter, why not just name two – one undeserving, and one who should have replaced them.
            Obviously I understand that you don’t wish to do this, and have declined to do so, but I reiterate that it is a reasonable challenge following your claims, hence why I am repeating it.
            I don’t find your argument that you weren’t targeting anyone in particular to be at all compelling – you’ve already identified them en-masse, and categorised them as red balls in sufficient detail to be clear about who you mean. Therefore, saying you won’t identify and insult individual authors is redundant, because you already have en-masse – all that is left is for you to put your money where your mouth is and say what – and who – you mean.

            • I don’t ‘disagree’ with Camestros. I put up the evidence to show his contention of 45 % was wrong. His only viable defense (making it slight rather than extreme bias) was that 45%. We agree there is bias. You’re the one in denial.

              1) I don’t ‘self identify’ as being such-and-such. I use measurable, objective standards. I treat this just as I would identifying a fish. I take known measured characteristics (both in things I actually done, and beliefs and positions I hold) and see if I have a reasonable fit to them. That was how I tried to ID the political position of the authors.

              2) Good, I hope all 770 votes for Jeffro. He’s a nicer man than I am, with more time. Also it will not be without humor if he wins.

              3a) It’s the collateral damage (to authors) that has us concerned at all about Trad Pub, trying to suggest they change their path – for the sake of those authors. And that again is something we’ve said over and over. Our enthusiastic discussion is largely as a result of the financial (and other) damage they do to authors. There are many discussions on MGC about actual contract terms. If you thought the recording industry is predatory… We try to present alternatives, hybrids and the facts about both,

              b) Sigh. One publisher has taken on staff (which one is that, do you think? Yep… outside that 6%). Staff shedding is widespread, and well reported. Well known editors ‘pursuing their own interests’ Hugh Howey has done a good job of compiling stats for those outside trad pub and their earnings. Other than that I’m networked with a surprising number of authors across the spectrum – left, right, trad etc. I can’t, obviously, betray their confidences, but no-one has ever popped up and said ‘that’s not true’. If you want one e.g. Kameron Hurley (who I think you’d agree would be ‘red ball’) gave her figures publicly a while back. Her writing earnings are not large. I know 3 indies (outside the 6%!) getting six figure incomes from it, rising (you can look at Hugh Howey’s figures for the growth in top earning Indy income. He has kept track) and a earning a lot more than she is. My own income is rising, while I hear desperate trad friends talking about lower advances, and worse basket accounting practice. Look, the tradpub won’t die tomorrow (that we’ve said too, often), but expect further consolidation, and contracts to become more restrictive.

              c) We appeal to very different markets. But part of what I do is to keep a watching brief on Amazon’s ‘customers who bought also bought’ I then go and look at what their customers are buying in turn. I am dealing with a lot of people I can’t see or speak to. I like to try to understand who they are and what they like. What I have seen in my tracking is how the customers are slowly moving to more indies. When I look on those – and some sell huge numbers… my books are often there.

              d) The Hugo logo is put on the cover. (either printed or as stickers). So is ‘Hugo award winner/nominee). Associating a logo with a product you did enjoy makes it more likely you will pick the next. If you have been buying Hugo winners for years (as I did the the 70s and 80s) a Hugo winner you don’t like won’t stop you trying again (brand retention is a well studied thing). If it keeps up… it becomes anti-seller. On the other hand putting it on a book with a large audience who do not buy Hugo Awards introduces the award to them (and if he’d won last year, the regular buyers would -as a result of the performance – not have bought it – no loss to him, but a gain to other books with the Next year they might pick up a book with that sticker, or a book from a past winner.

              e) See the quote at the end of this Blog post (there are hundreds more – Into which if you substituted ‘Jew’ or ‘Black’ or ‘women’ are shall we say not pleasant). The ‘slate’ story really won’t wash – we’ve dissected this at length, but the only difference is this is a public process not run by a narrow clique, in private. We’ve finally had admission of this – Talk to Brad about it, not me.

              f) Bluntly, you are following the lead of various people who are heavily invested in maintaining the status quo at all costs. If it hadn’t been for them you would probably not even have known the pups existed. Even if you had, you’d be so small as to be irrelevant.

              g)In order of volume it’s been hard to beat the NH and their camp-followers, closely followed by David Gerrold. The degree of vituperation seems directly proportionate to their prior nominations. When you start looking who the rest are: they are in vast proportion dependent either for status or livelihood on those who have benefited. Sarah made an excellent post on how this works. There are outliers, but they’re rare.

              For the rest of your diatribe: I have answered this before. You didn’t read or perhaps understand. I’m giving you benefit of the doubt and assuming you really don’t understand what ‘subjective’ means. I will discuss this in my next Monday post. I think it plain you don’t understand publishing, and somehow consider the nominees ‘special’. With rare exceptions they’re not. They’re lucky or well-connected. There are many potentially ‘deserving’ winners – including some from the far left – who do not actually get lucky enough to get a traditional publishing contract at all, let alone nominated. I’m more interested in a fair go for them, than yet another repeat of anyone, Stross or Wright.

              This is a writers site, for writers. We have IIRC troll-banned 2 commentators in ?6 years, and millions of visitors. Compare that to any comparable site. We have people from all walks of life and socio-political stances who want to write, who want to get published. They are fragile and take statements like your subjective ‘Misfortune to read’ as objective comment. Frankly you’re a good example of the flak they’ll get, but of no other value. I would appreciate if you made the effort to be polite, no matter how the personal views of an author offends you.

              • Mark

                Dave, care to release the full details of your “objective standards” and how you applied them to the Hugo nominees 2005-2014? I’m sure that as a scientist you kept your workings.
                a/b) If Trad Pub is in such danger, then I guess time will tell. One of us can chortle over how right we were in 5 years time. However, you seem to be presenting little more than anecdata to support your position, so I will remain unconvinced.
                c) So, loosely collected second-hand Amazon data of minimal evidential value then?
                d) So, pure speculation on your part, but at least we agree that having lower-quality works win the Hugo is bad.
                e) The claims that the slate was arrived at publicly have been shredded with objectively collected evidence.
                f) Rank speculation on my motives without a single shred of evidence. You claim that as an SF fan, I wouldn’t have heard of Hugo-related events without my mystery leaders? Dave – Fans talk!
                g) May I suggest an alternative correlation: that their “vituperation” is proportional to how much they value the Hugos and hate to see them getting damaged? It’s a useful suggestion, because it better explains why myself and many many other ordinary fans are up in arms about the slates, rather than being led by the nose by a mysterious cabal.
                This is a writers site, for writers. We have IIRC troll-banned 2 commentators in ?6 years, and millions of visitors. Compare that to any comparable site. We have people from all walks of life and socio-political stances who want to write, who want to get published. They are fragile and take statements like your subjective ‘Misfortune to read’ as objective comment. Frankly you’re a good example of the flak they’ll get, but of no other value. I would appreciate if you made the effort to be polite, no matter how the personal views of an author offends you.
                Dave, I have actually debated with TK and he was in no way fragile. You simply skimmed until offended and claimed something was an attack when it clearly related to works not persons. Your continuing attempts to paint me as a troll, or impolite, or launching personal attacks, are utterly lacking in foundation. I gave you the opportunity to prove otherwise, and you did not take it. In addition, I feel I have maintained higher standards of politeness than the man whose one reply was “Bullsh*t”
                For the rest of your diatribe: I have answered this before. You didn’t read or perhaps understand. I’m giving you benefit of the doubt and assuming you really don’t understand what ‘subjective’ means. I will discuss this in my next Monday post. I think it plain you don’t understand publishing, and somehow consider the nominees ‘special’. With rare exceptions they’re not. They’re lucky or well-connected. There are many potentially ‘deserving’ winners – including some from the far left – who do not actually get lucky enough to get a traditional publishing contract at all, let alone nominated. I’m more interested in a fair go for them, than yet another repeat of anyone, Stross or Wright.
                I look forward to your Monday post then. I assume it will back up your claims that the nominees are “lucky or well-connected” and benefited from “ideological bias” by actually identifying the undeserving nominees and suggesting some deserving non-nominees.

      • Mark

        On the off chance that anyone was reading this and wondering, I have replied to Dave, but it is stuck in moderation (again). No doubt he will free it and respond when next he has time.

  14. Tor UK is laying people off right and left, according to the rumor mill.

    I finally took a look at the vote-rigging scheme they’ve got cooked up to present to the business meeting. Here’s a partial fisking of that:

    > We could, in theory, simply put everyone’s nominations on the final ballot, but that would make for a very long ballot indeed.

    Here in the future we have these things called “computers” that are very good at dealing with long lists of stuff…searching, sorting, collating, all kinds of magickal things.

    > We therefore need to narrow the nomination list down.

    No, actually, you don’t. There’s absolutely no reason why there needs to be a final vote at all separate from the initial nominating process; indeed if you truly wanted to avoid “bloc voting” that’s what you’d do. What you’re describing is basically just another primary system, and those are guaranteed to reduce the diversity (real diversity) of the election, not enhance it.

    Some alternatives:

    a) No “final vote” at all; the work with the most nominating ballots wins. End of story.
    b) Same as above, but rather than there being a single Hugo Winner, the top ten (or five, or fifteen, or twenty) vote-getters are declared Hugo Winners. There’s no law that says There Can Be Only One. You’re not voting for the supreme leader of a country. You’re not voting on a binary issue such as whether or not to give a defendant the death penalty. The whole idea of there being a single “best novel” is pretty damned stupid ab initio.

    (description of baroque and pointless elimination process elided — you can stir a shitpot as much as you want, but when you stop it’s still going to be a pot full of shit)

    >2. E Pluribus Hugo?

    And these people were taking VD to task for “bad Latin”? Mmm…kay. Reading that phrase physically hurts my brain.

    > Since slate works tend to live or die together, they tend to eliminate each other

    “Since wishful thinking always works, I will now make a blanket claim based on extremely limited data.”

    Hint: VD and L. Ron Hubbard are perhaps not representative of the entire population under consideration. Perhaps. Maybe.

    >9. Isn’t it true that any voting system can be gamed (or strategized, etc.)?
    > Yes, there is a theorem which proves that all voting systems must have inherent flaws. The objective is to choose a system whose flaws are not in an area of concern to the electorate.

    Read: Yes, there are ways this can be gamed, but we think it will prevent crimethink works from getting on the ballot, and that’s all that counts. We don’t care about collateral damage or any other distortions might be introduced.

    > 10. What are SDV-LPE’s flaws?
    (description of straw man flaw elided)
    > This situation was extremely rare using realistic data (in fact it never occurred in any of our situations with realistic data),

    1) If they think that’s the only exploitable flaw in this hot mess….Heh. I repeat: Heh.

    2) Here again, their “realistic data” is grossly non-representative. Things have changed. A lot. People outside their little Stalinist sewing circle are now aware that they’re eligible to vote. Thanks to the gross stupidity of certain loudmouths on their side, GamerGate is now aware that they’re eligible to vote. By this time next year, the My Little Ponies fanfic community is going to be aware that they’re eligible to vote.

    Future elections aren’t going to be anything like past elections, so extrapolating from the results of past elections is arguably worse than simply flipping a coin.

    If they managed to get this passed, I will really, really be looking forward to watching My Little Ponies duking it out with Twilight fanfic at the 2017 Worldcon.

    > 11. What are SDV-LPE’s benefits?
    > Simply put, it reduces the power of bloc voting without eliminating the chance that works that do appear on slates will make it to the final ballot. Conversely, it makes it very difficult for slates to prevent non-slate works from appearing on the ballot.

    1) No, it doesn’t and 2) No, it doesn’t.

    >It is true that much of the discussion for this system occurred on Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s “Making Light” discussion board, and it is also true that groups such as the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies consider TNH and PNH to be The Enemy, and therefore completely biased and not to be trusted. Other than serving as occasional moderators, TNH and PNH had no real input in the discussions of the system, however.

    Where “occasional moderator” is defined as “instantly banning anyone who questions the party line”, you mean? Please.

    > Politics should play no role whatsoever in whether a work is Hugo-worthy or not.

    Sure thing, buddy. What you’ve been doing is politics, by definition. It’s explicitly aimed at changing the rules to keep works you don’t like off the ballot. Whether that’s because they appeared on a “slate” (as you would have it) or because they contain crimethink (as your opponents would have it) is irrelevant. It’s still politics, you ninnyhammer.

    The lack of introspection, it burns.

    • Peter O

      Hey now! The Dresden Fillies crossover is pretty decent, and I’m someone that only has a meme level knowledge of MLP.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I liked the Dan Gibson one, and probably would have been happy with what I’ve seen John Biles and Admiral Tigerclaw do if I had stuck with them.

        When I realized that existing rules permitted it, I was disappointed that I hadn’t known the previous year so that I could advocate for Vathara’s Embers.

        Then I realized that with the legally precarious position of fanfiction, drawing the attention of CHORFs and people with access to lawyers and money would not be doing the authors or the websites any favors.

    • Pretty good fisk, Dr Locketepus The funniest is the ‘Enemy part’. So: let’s play this logically. If you want to be credible you get two people in whom there is no trust at all to be your ‘moderators’ and then claim ‘but of course they had no input.’

  15. Christopher M. Chupik

    David Gerrold has said a great many foolish things of late, but this isn’t one of them:

    “Some people have advocated going to Amazon and Goodreads and other sites to post one-star reviews of works by authors whose views they oppose.

    Please, don’t do it.

    It’s a failure of integrity.

    If you’ve read the work, then post your honest opinion, good or bad. But punishing an author by down-voting his/her work — that’s not fair to the author, to the work, or to readers who are looking for useful reviews.

    If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.”

    This time, at least, we are in agreement.

    • Actually his ‘please don’t do it’ is about the only example of acceptable behavior I’ve ever seen from Gerrold. He of course pisses it away in the next part, with his usual ‘this is what you do just in case you haven’t thought of it. But I’m not telling you to do it. Never.’ Look – it is simple as this, thanks to the way he and his friends have played right now: if the anti-puppies post a bad review (even if it is honest) it WILL- by the way the behaved to date assumed to be malice. That is trouble with not stomping on malicious behavior at once – and as he encouraged and fostered it – his belated ‘not a good idea’ and ‘oh, claim it was honest’ are not going to work.

      He and his malicious little friends have put the pups in a position where ANY negative opinion about their work is justifiably assumed to be malice.

      It’s a failure of intellect rather than integrity. They have yet to show any integrity, so that has not failed.

  16. Chris French

    Huh — never thought I’d see my girlfriend quoted here.

  17. Our votes, and spending $$ on stories by the pups says we’ve ALREADY got our signal across the void. Our votes may or may not be counted, depending on how things get ‘played’ by the Hugo committee, but they know we’ve been there.

    • Old NFO, good on you!

      I think they must be aware that wholesale crookery could be a very serious downfall. It just takes a poll of people afterwards to get a larger number of votes for xyz than they recorded to discredit the whole process. I know there are startlingly dim people in the Anti-pups. I hope that doesn’t apply to the Hugo Administrators, because that would really, really be a stupid move, personally and for the Hugos.

      • Scott

        Larry used his Sad Puppies I and/or II to check on this and said that the Administrators appeared to be honest to him & he is a CPA so he knows numbers and how to check for dishonesty in reporting them.

  18. Reality Observer

    I cannot remember where I read this, so it may be misquoted (it’s old enough it only mentions trad publishers).

    You know you are beginning to make it when your publisher, albeit with much shedding of blood, tearing of hair, and gnashing of teeth, actually has to disgorge a royalty check.

    You are doing reasonably well (and better than most) when your day job becomes part time. And you’re not TOO worried about being laid off.

    You have made the professional ranks when you hire your first CPA.

    You’re a midlister when you can afford to take said CPA out to dinner for the money he’s saved from the tax man.

    You’re a bestseller when said CPA takes YOU out to dinner, because you are one of his best customers.

  19. An interesting thought about the Hugo voting. At London there were 3587 ballots for the Hugo awards. There are already over 5100 supporting membership sold for Sasquan. http://sasquan.org/member-numbers/

    I assume that everyone who buys a supporting membership is going to vote, so there are going to be more supporting members voting this year than there were total votes cast last year. It will be very interesting to see which way all those supporting members vote.

    But if nothing else at $40 a supporting membership, the puppies have really helped the budget for the Sasquan folks.

    • B. Durbin

      You don’t necessarily vote as a Supporting member. An artist who wishes to display, but can’t attend, needs to be a member. A person who wishes to vote in Site Selection has to be a member. And so on. So do not assume that “Supporting” automatically means “voting.”

      I’ve been thinking all along that Sasquan is laughing all the way to the bank. A Supporting membership is about 50% profit (administration and print costs do account for something), so when they start racking up, it makes their lives a whooooooole lot easier.

      • B Durbin, I hope the organisers and people who love Worldcon realize that they can kill the golden goose stone dead by going along with ANYTHING that comes out of the CHORFs at ‘Making Light’. A vote for anything out of ML will cost you at least 2000 people x $20 in profit. We need to rub that in often and hard.

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