It’s probably the only thing that con men, politicians, lawyers (ok, most pols are lawyers, go figure) and sf authors have in common.
To be successful at any of these, you have to be credible. Writers (at least when they’re writing) have it easier than most of the others, because you can go back and edit those little mistakes, and make your characters just that much more plausible. It’s a convenience most con men, politicians, lawyers and other liars have to envy us for. Heh. They have to envy us for something. It’s usually not money.
The big problem – as most successful writers know — is that credibility is fragile. Break it once and the reader starts looking for more. The pleasantly gullible reader is gone, and with him, so often is the enjoyment of the story. The reader trusted you. That’s why you don’t make mistakes. That’s why you check your facts. That’s why you work on your characters, so they would do what you claim they do.
The reader trusts you. Fail once…
Now he doesn’t.
Getting it back is a bitch. You’ll be lucky if you ever succeed, and if you do, it’s hard work. In this way life is no different to art. The only way except for the reader totally rejecting the book, the author, now and in future is long, hard involves passing enough of the trust tests for the reader to continue. Even so: you can never ever go back to the naïve trust.
In the normal course of events, you’d start with an apology (this is tricky in writing a novel). A real apology – as Eric Flint put it here.
“Retract the statement publicly and issue a simple and straightforward apology. ”
and in the comment here
Eric Flint says:
June 8, 2015 at 9:31 PM
I agree, Dave. A real apology means “I’m sorry I said that.” Not “Gee, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.” [Left unsaid: “But I didn’t do anything wrong, you thin-skinned jerk.”]
It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to involve any self-flagellation. You don’t have to explain why you said what you’re now apologizing for. But you do have to apologize for it and you do have to retract it.
It’s not really that hard. Any person who’s married has learned how to do it — or they’re not going to be married for very long.
Not an Irene Gallo ‘I’m sorry you’re offended’ – which is adding insult to injury, or Mary Robinette Kowal apology ‘I accept that you could be so dumb as not fall in line with my totally implausible interpretation of Chicom as an ethnic slur.’ A real apology: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I withdraw that.”
As Eric said, every married person learns to say that, or doesn’t stay married. I am a great believer in real equality. I don’t think women like Irene or Mary have any excuse to be less capable than anyone else – not if they believe in equality.
Let’s set out a few definition here just so we’re all sure we’re talking about the same thing.
A slate: a list. Nothing more, nothing less. Locus sets one out every year. It’s like a gun. In itself utterly harmless. The number of items on it- whether one, five, or twenty makes no difference. What matters is what is done with it.
Ballot stuffing: a form of electoral fraud where some person entitled to one vote makes multiple votes. Logically the fingerprint of this can be identical vote numbers for all their favored candidates. They could be clever and vary them slightly, but low variance would indicate the possibility.
Bloc voting (also sometimes spelled block voting, which is quite appropriate under the circumstances. The clearest example of bloc voting in the Hugo awards was with intent to block) – where a group of people votes the same way, not on the basis individuals taking a decision, but because they belong to a group or clique, whom they allow to take decisions on their behalf, and then vote in accordance with that decision, not as individuals. The ‘fingerprint’ of bloc voting is seen as issues or candidates getting close to the same number of votes – what would be called ‘low variance’. So for example if candidates a, b, and c in three categories – all candidates endorsed by one group or individual, got 2546, 2501 and 2550… while other candidates got between 80 and 1500 votes , you could safely say there was a bloc vote. If candidates endorsed by one group got between 80 and 1500… (high variance) you may be absolutely certain they did NOT vote as a bloc, but on the basis of individual decisions and individual conscience.
Inclusive: means all groups are included. The signature of inclusiveness is that that barring some impeccable reason (such as the absence of men in a mothers group, or paraplegics in a running group) the group has roughly the same demographics as the population they’re drawn from. So for example the running group, or reading group would have about the same percentage of black people as there are in the pool from which they can draw, and likewise with less tangible things like religion or politics. A group of American readers with 13% black members, 50% women members… and they’re all Buddhists or neo-Nazis is not inclusive.
Back to lying and credibility. The Sad Puppies, actually the Puppies in general, were accused of 1)Nominating a slate for the Hugo awards. In clearer terms, they were accused by multiple Puppy Kickers, many of whom were multiple prior nominees, and all of whom are very much part of the closed and un-inclusive clique, of bloc voting for the slate put up by the Sad and Rabid Puppies. Brad Torgersen –and others, repeatedly said it was a recommended list, not a dictate. Here are the numbers. Look for yourself. Brad is completely vindicated. Those who made this accusation were attacking an innocent man, and supporters of puppies who acted with integrity. An integrity not displayed by the bloc vote for ‘no award’ and those who proposed and went along with it.
I think that calls for an apology (the method of doing it properly is given above, as it is apparent you Puppy Kickers haven’t understood it.)
Ballot stuffing: Once again there are multiple accusations of the puppies doing this. In the strictest definition this didn’t happen, and there is no fingerprint of the same. As the Hugos require individuals to pay to vote, it could be interpreted as someone paying for others to vote was ballot stuffing. This did happen: Puppy Kicker Mary Robinette Kowal did so, by a mechanism that cannot be described as free of bias to an outside observer. You can reach your own conclusions as to how independent those bought votes were, but once again, the only people who did it, were the puppy kickers.
I think that calls for an apology (the method of doing it properly is given above, as it is apparent you Puppy Kickers haven’t understood it,)
We have been called racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, fascist, even neo-Nazi, AS A GROUP. When called on these ridiculous slanders – for which there is a huge amount of evidence AGAINST which the puppy kickers could not squirm out of, they retreated into ‘guilt by association’. We note that the puppy kickers are as a group just as ‘guilty’ by association with pedophiles, cheats, ballot-stuffers, bloc voting organizers, bullies who have intimidated and threatened the livelihood of anyone who failed to co-operate. Much of what we’ve been subjected to, in method, is precisely what the Puppy Kickers thought vile when one of their own, the blogger ‘requires hate’, applied it to them. We haven’t conducted whisper campaigns to exclude (mysteriously all vote ‘no award’) to shame (several authors gave up their nominations under this) to deny places at cons or in publications. They have.
There are many individuals who deserve an apology from various Puppy Kickers for this. They acted as individuals, which is visible in the voting record.
I could go on for a long, long time. The clique and those who camp-followed did everything from cheat to bully and lie. And make the new SP4 leadership into Mormon men.
The truth was not in them. Not once. They lied. And then they lied again, and accused us of that. Just as Larry Correia put it here (you should read the whole thing):
I said the Hugos no longer represented all of Fandom, instead they only represents tiny, insular, politically motivated cliques taking turns giving their friends awards. If you wanted to be considered, you needed to belong to, or suck up to those voting cliques. I was called a liar.
I said that most of the voters cared far more about the author’s identity and politics than they did the quality of the work, and in fact, the quality of the work would be completely ignored if the creator had the wrong politics. I was called a liar.
I said that if somebody with the wrong politics got a nomination, they would be actively campaigned against, slandered, and attacked, not for the quality of their work, but because of politics. I was called a liar.
The Puppy Kickers proved they project well. And this year again proved every single point Larry made, in spades. Steam shovels even.
I see you all shrug. The puppies knew this. We’ve proved it, but that changes nothing. The Puppy Kickers are still dancing in glee, spitting abuse, and celebrating giving the Hugos a cat’s ar…asterisk –a calculated insult to all those voters who nominated as individuals, according to conscience. An insult to many good folk who were nominated and caught up in their pettiness
They won’t apologize. They were wrong, but it takes integrity and decency to admit that, and as we have seen, they have none. They have their insular little shrinking world of Traditionally published sf, and they’ll destroy it rather than lose control.
Well. Yes. The inner circle. The Nielsen-Haydens, the Tor staff, their loyalists, File 770’s little clique, David Gerrold, John Scalzi – the usual suspect nominees of the ‘inner circle clique would indeed.
But SF is bigger than that. Even WorldCon is bigger than that. And even not all of the CHORF’s are incapable of working things out. A few brighter people are plainly looking at the math… and some like this fellow are beginning to understand that they’ve entered Vox Day’s 4th generation war.
Science Fiction resembled in many ways Syria, (or South Africa, or Malaysia or… But Syria is closest). Let’s call it Syfia. One small group, with some powerful allies outside sf, ruled a vast country. From their position of power they dispensed largess – for which they expected obedience, and spreading their influence and ideas. Divergence from this was punished brutally – ask John Norman. Progress of an individual without their support was orders of magnitude harder than with it. Ask Sarah Hoyt. They owned almost all the power, and all the wealth, and only they could reward or punish. Not surprisingly there were people with issues with them, people who would have liked some change, and people who just wanted them destroyed. And then their monopoly on power was compromised. Other folk started making money without them, and being able to reward… and indeed punish.
One of them, quite a moderate fellow, who loved Syfia, but felt some changes were called for, dared question the ruling clique. The clique did as they always had, and attempted to put him down. They failed, despite atrocities committed in the effort. And the result was the rebellion spread. The atrocities didn’t (as in the past) frighten people. A few yes, ran and kowtowed hastily. But most of them just got mad. And the people who didn’t just want change, but to destroy the whole show got involved. The ruling clique didn’t differentiate – actually it saved its worst behavior for the softer target, the moderates. This actually pushed the moderates towards the extremists. To stop the moderates and extremists capturing five beloved villages, the clique set fire to them, burning lots of people who weren’t either moderate or extremist, not hurting the actual attackers at all, but denying them the prize.
Then someone worked out… the combined insurgents were not – at present – numerous enough to take all the villages. But they were numerous enough to make the rulers destroy them just in case they did.
They Clique ruling Syfia face de facto a long counter-insurgency war. A war with lots of damage, and possibly no overall winners. A war which will eventually result in various fiefdoms, and the Clique still absolute in their villages in the mountains of literary sf – infertile and unwelcoming, where their people starve. It is possible to win a counter-insurgent war. But it is hard, long and requires, essentially, winning over the hearts and minds –and pockets, of the ‘moderates’. The end point, survival for Syfia, and at least the people of the Clique if not its leadership means not only the quite mild changes suggested by the moderate fellow at first, but a lot more (look at any state that survived an insurgency. Basically, it cost them ALL plus a lot more than original issues. And all the leadership who caused the issues. They survive, but vastly, vastly changed.)
The Clique need desperately to make peace with the moderates. To give them what they asked for. To accommodate even extremists to slake their fury.
The trouble is… the Clique’s leaders know it’s their heads and their control that’s at stake. They value that far more than Syfia. And on the other hand… the moderates have no reason to trust the Clique. Why should we?
After their previous actions they have little or no credibility. The extremists might be extremists, but they’ve not attacked or betrayed the moderates. Only the Clique has done that.
Who do you think the Sad Puppies should trust?
And when TNH says they’ve never excluded us… who should we believe? Her or our experience, or lying eyes?
If you’re a puppy supporter, or a neutral – remember which side has lied continuously. Don’t believe them, insist they show you. The numbers don’t lie. When they can show that awards, publications, and cons are really, by numbers of people from demographically proportionate religious and political points of view, then they can claim ‘inclusivity’. Until then, like everything else, they lie.
If you’re a Puppy Kicker or a Neutral who loves Syfia – you need credibility. You need us. WE DO NOT NEED YOU. We’re no longer prepared to be _told_ anything. Every time you tell us… it’s a lie, to the point that we may as well be the villains you accuse us of being, because you’re going to lie about it anyway.
So if you want to survive, to change your ways, to include us… Show us. And the price you’re going to pay grows the longer you wait.