A Puppy At WorldCon

It’s currently a little before 7am in Kansas City, and I’m getting ready for day 2 of WorldCon.

So far Puppy Central has been enjoyable, if quiet – which I kind of expected, given that it’s the first day and there are still people arriving. Mega thanks to Rob, Jonathan and Betsy, Tully, Dave, and Dexter for their advice and support. I couldn’t do this without you guys. Or any of the other folks who have helped and are helping.

Today’s agenda such as it is is the business meeting from 10 to 1, then back to Puppy Central to eat and relax a bit before people start arriving.

The “interesting” part of all this is that I’ve found my tolerance for crowds is even lower than it used to be. Yesterday I quickly hit a very strong “too many people” reaction at the con – I’ve never liked crowds and tend to start looking for a quiet place to escape rather quickly, but to hit it within 90 minutes is a bit worrisome.

Oh, well. Apparently my uber-introvert tendencies are getting more pronounced as I get older. That or I’m just tired – I’m always worse with this kind of thing when I’m tired (and when am I ever not tired?)

I probably won’t get to comment much, so try not to burn the place down while I’m off being me at people, and I’ll try to pull together something that looks like an after action report for next week.

UPDATE: The preliminary business meeting (with about average attendance – I asked some of the regulars) voted to postpone debate and final voting on EPH and several of the other nomination procedure amendments until the Sunday business meeting. I encourage any worldcon attendees who want to have their say on this proposal to attend and vote.

I personally will be voting against any changes to procedures that make the nomination or voting process less open, more complicated, or less able to be calculated by hand because I believe that any change that does this (including EPH, the new motion EPH+, and 4 of 6) will introduce the appearance of corruption, corruptibility, and favoritism, which in turn will cause immense damage to the credibility of the award and the Hugo management committee.


130 thoughts on “A Puppy At WorldCon

  1. so try not to burn the place down

    Grumple Grumple

    You don’t let us have any fun. 😉

  2. My first con was a World Con and I was 11 and a half and I realized that all those people milling around were potential friends and fellow travelers. I made a lot of lasting friendships at that con and it was the high point of my life up to that point. The last con I went to was a local 300 person con and I was bored out of my skull and spent most of the time writing in my room. That was more than a decade ago. My how time changes your perspective!

    1. Amy, find Rob Howell in the Dealer’s room, near the South Dock. He has ribbons and will tell you where the room is.

      It’s a private party, so I’m not allowed to say where it is in an open forum (Con rules)

  3. Kate, we’ve enjoyed meeting you and the others in person. This in our first Con for me and Betsy, and I’m sure my perspective is going to be quite different. Apart from not commenting on any of the “private” Puppy portions of the Con, I have a much more detailed, but narrower, action report of the first day on my blog. hopefully it isn’t inappropriate to post it here. We don’t have any business-meeting level activity to bog us down, and are trying to shape our big picture pespective:


    On the Puppy Front, let me say that the Puppy Suite seemed quiet for awhile last evening, but then we got the pleasure of that one young lady who was a waitress from a puppy’s restaurant and got invited to stop by. The conversation with her about her writing, and the encouragement the group gave her to keep trying, was heartening. It contrasted quite nicely with the comment I got from a panelist earlier in the day about so many writers dividing a limited audience. Seeing all those puppy writers encouraging a new writer, giving tips and suggestions, yet always assuring here that we were all unique and to figure out what worked for her, was just a wonderful example af true diversity and Human Wave.

    1. Dang it! Don’t you know that we evil Sad Puppies are supposed to be discouraging new writers and driving them away? Sheesh! You keep this up, and we’ll up to our armpits in new people!

      1. Gees, keep encouraging new writers and then we’ll be knee-deep in new stories and interesting books and then where will we be? And who will be able to carefully curate them all? 😉

        1. Not yet… turning her into a male Mormon is one of the later stages of becoming a Puppy, isn’t it?

          1. *glances down at chest* A very late stage, apparently. Still anatomically female. Although . . . as crazy as things are getting, maybe that step’s no longer necessary and true Puppies just start feeeeeeling as if they are cis-male Euro-American Mormons.

    2. The progressive left are obsessed with the fixed pie, if one gains another must lose concept of existence. The entire idea of growing the base and increasing demand over all seems not just foreign but anathema to them.
      What a sad miserable existence they must live in.

  4. “I personally will be voting against any changes to procedures that make the nomination or voting process less open, more complicated, or less able to be calculated by hand because I believe that any change that does this (including EPH, the new motion EPH+, and 4 of 6) will introduce the appearance of corruption, corruptibility, and favoritism, which in turn will cause immense damage to the credibility of the award and the Hugo management committee.”

    Can I ask you why is that? Isn’t the system in some way flawed if a tactically voting 20% can take 80%-100% of the final ballot?

    1. Based on what I’ve read, because the people changing the rules like it that way. Under the existing rules, that is a side-effect of lack of fan participation (interest?), but they would like to keep it that way now that “$40 gets you a vote” has become widespread knowledge.

        1. Bull scat. Counting votes is simple addition. Any attempt to complicate the system is an attempt to control the system. You can’t start judging the motives of the people who vote because you don’t like how they voted.

          1. Well, counting votes is what the rules say it is, so it is not up to you or me or anybody else than the Worldcon business meeting to decide how the system should function. It isn’t simple addition in the final voting round either, to be exact.

        2. No wonder you’re confused. Rule changes will *not* “fix the problem and stop voter blocks getting more than their fair share”. The only system that can do that is the current one where one vote is worth one vote.

          Anything else says that someone wants to make your vote worth something different than mine, which is by definition corrupt.

          1. Everybody’s vote is equal in EPH as well. It’s just a variation on a proportional system, not unlike what is used in Australian elections but without formal preferences.

            1. “without formal preferences” = unwritten rules that can and will be gamed by gatekeepers.

            2. “Proportional” means that some votes are more equal that others. That Australians fell for this scam doesn’t make it reasonable.

    2. You ask “Isn’t the system in some way flawed if a tactically voting 20% can take 80%-100% of the final ballot?”

      Well, yes, Scalzi’s “Vote Pimpage” posts, where he begs his readers to vote for his and his friends’ books does, indeed, make the Hugo look bad. Besides the tastelessness of explicitly calling it “pimpage”, it reduces the Hugo award to “who has the biggest blog”.

      However, he has been doing that since 2006, and Harlan Ellison complained about Hugo self-promotion way back in 1994, and apparently the community doesn’t care about this. You can also make the counter-argument that there are tens of thousands of eligible books published each year, and if 20% of the voters believe that a particular one is worthy, that is an amazingly large vote of confidence. At the worst, shouldn’t the conclusion be that “this community is not one that has the same interests that I do”, instead of “the voting scheme is broken”?

      To my eyes, the real problem is that the Hugo explicitly allows vote buying by publishers. For just $50 or so per vote, a publisher can buy votes for their own books, and rumor is that this has been done for decades. And it looks to me like this is quite intentional. Who believes that it actually takes $50 to process a single voter’s vote? This is simply a way for the Worldcons to make money by selling Hugo votes.

      Notice, however, that there is not a proposal to do away with this vote buying. The Worldcon attendees like having a much larger and extravagant event paid for by selling Hugo votes. No, all of these schemes are aimed at keeping the dirty lucre, but making sure that only the “correct” votes count. However, the complexity of these schemes themselves make the awards suspect: if it takes multiple PhDs to fully understand a voting scheme, how on earth are we to trust that the results mean anything at all? Personally, I suspect that the real aim is to make sure that the publishers continue to pay the Worldcons lots and lots of money to have the publishers’ votes count.

      1. Well, I have some good news for you. The chances of publishers (or any other slate vote schemers) gaming their agreed list of works on the ballot won’t be as easy if the proposed changes are made.

        1. Sorry, but that is just bovine scat. Counting votes is simple addition. Anything else added to the process is just an attempt to control the process. You really don’t get to judge why a voter voted the way they voted, because you can never really know what that reason is. You aren’t psychic and you aren’t G*d, so stop pretending to be.

          1. And furthermore, spacefaringkitten, why do you think that they did the “experiment” where they ran their voting algorithm on the past Hugo ballots? They explicitly stated that their aim was to test whether the outcomes of the past pre-puppy Hugos was going to be the same. In other words, they wanted to ensure that the Scalzi-pimpage and the publisher-paid voting would continue to work.

        2. With rather more respect than this idiotic statement is due, that is pure bullshit. The more money an organization has, the more ability it has to enrol people to vote according to a specific agenda.

          More than that, the publishers are the ones with the ability to pay someone to build a model that will tell them exactly what to vote and how to vote to get whatever they choose pushed forward – and worse, the secrecy and confusion these proposals will cause will leave increasing numbers of people convinced that the awards are corrupt.

          Unless you want the Hugos to become the “publishers circle jerk award”, of course, in which case by all means support EPH and co to your hearts content.

          1. I don’t know that Vox is in favor of EPH… but it would make it trivial for him to wield his Vile Faceless Minions to hammer any specific category.

    3. You appear to be suffering a few misconceptions here. Allow me to explain further, in (mostly) small words.

      First: the current vote tallying system for the Hugos is not under consideration. All the changes are to *nomination* procedures, which are currently very simple and easy to follow. Final voting confuses people and causes some to think that the result is rigged when it is not. This is not good for the award.

      Second: I am against increasing complexity. All proposals to change nomination rules increase complexity. Increased complexity makes it harder for individuals to follow the process, without adding much if any of a barrier to those who wish to game or corrupt the process. This is not good for the award.

      Third: It is not possible for a “tactically voting 20%” to take 80 – 100% of the final ballot, UNLESS a sizeable majority of the other 80% of eligible voters don’t bother to vote (that is your “20%” is actually more like 45-50% of people who vote even if it’s only 20% of eligible voters). The preferential voting system stops this happening – as can be seen very clearly in the voting breakdowns on the Hugo site. It is no fault of mine if you lack the mathematical knowledge to understand the data.

      Fourth: ALL systems are flawed. All systems will be gamed in some way because people are people. This is why simple, open, and easy to follow almost always works better to keep things honest that complicated rules that mean your vote isn’t worth the same as mine depending on how you voted and how I voted.

      Fifth: After last year’s disgusting display, I think that ANYTHING which makes the awards less accessible to members and fans will kill it. Unless you can give me an explanation of how EPH and its friends will make the nomination process more open, more clear, and easier to understand, then you are part of the problem whether you will admit it or not.

      1. The point isn’t to make it more clear. The point is to make the manipulation easier to hide. If you think Vox Day doesn’t understand the mathematics enough to game it, you are vastly underestimating him and his crew. The more complicated the system, the easier it is to hack.

          1. “If you think Vox Day doesn’t understand the mathematics enough to game it, you are vastly underestimating him and his crew. The more complicated the system, the easier it is to hack.”

            Actually not. Even for Vox Day’s mathematical prowess, capturing a whole category with a voter block of 20% is impossible under the proportional EPH system. You’d simply need a larger block. That’s the whole point.

      2. //It is not possible for a “tactically voting 20%” to take 80 – 100% of the final ballot, UNLESS a sizeable majority of the other 80% of eligible voters don’t bother to vote (that is your “20%” is actually more like 45-50% of people who vote even if it’s only 20% of eligible voters).//

        I assume Spacefaringkitten is saying 80-100% of the positions on the final ballot i.e. the proportion of finalists. Indeed, I’m quite sure he is given the context.

        The point is that 20% can out vote 80% if the 80% are voting more variedly when it comes to nominations.

        //the preferential voting system stops this happening //

        In the final voting, yes. That is why a minority can dominate the positions on the final ballot and still lose quite badly when it comes to the final vote.

        EPH brings that a step earlier.

        If the claim that has been made on this website before is true – that there is a significant group of fans voting in the Hugos of a less ‘SJW’ nature, whose choices have in previous years been underrepresented in the lists of finalists, then EPH will increase the chance of that group’s nomination votes getting works onto the lists of finalists.

        1. If you wanted it to work a step earlier, all you’d have to do is require voters who want to vote in the final to vote in the nomination phase. It’s their participation in final that makes the process work. Again, it’s simple addition.

          1. No, all that would do is reduce the number of voters in the final stage.

            The problem is that at the nomination stage there are very wide fields to nominate from. So, additional coordination can mean the set of nominees are actually unpopular with the overall set of voters.

            Here is an abstract example. Imagine a vote for a color. There are 25 red voters and 75 blue voters. In the nomination stage blue voters nominate cyan, eggshell blue, cerulean, azure, ultramarine etc etc – a hundred different shades. Red voters nominate blood-red, scarlet, pink, burgundy and crimson and nothing else. Because the red nominations are more concentrated they can sweep the nomination stage so that the only thing on the ballot are reds, even though a lot more blues voted. When it comes to the final vote, most voters aren’t going to want to vote for any of the reds.

            When a nomination/primary stage fails, you end up with a final ballot where many voters feel like none of the choices are palatable. That tends to undermine the democratic process.

            1. The selection that gets the most votes wins. That’s democracy. If you don’t like the result, participate in the process at the nomination level too. If you can’t be bothered, don’t cry foul afterward.

        2. er no.EPH was specifically contrived, by ‘voting system experts’ brought in by a group whom had been historically mysteriously the disproportionate beneficiaries of the existing system (which as noted allows voting by financially interested parties (such as a large publisher like Tor, who just entirely co-incidentally orchestrated the bringing in of these ‘experts’ who, just purely by chance had a historical association with the financially interested parties, one of whom miraculously knew who the nominees in the lucrative (ask Kameron Hurley, who provided the figures) novel category were last year, while they were under embargo, and weren’t his authors. Then by pure serendipity the Hugo administrators decided to release the data in secret to these two — data which had been refused to everyone else… and then assisted them in testing them… purely by chance of course that they needed to use the real data (which of course I am absolutely certain – given the track record of fair and open non-secretive transparent behavior was anonymized – of course some of the results claimed cannot be obtained from anonymized data, but details, details) – which has no value for testing that cannot be simulated – but has a great deal of value for cheating or gaming. Of course precisely the same assistance they rendered to… no one else. But this pair then declared that it would make it fairer… oh wait.They didn’t. They actually declared it would make somewhat harder for the puppies to game. Camestros I can’t be arsed to pull apart their system (it’s complexity alone should disqualify it. Complexity reduces transparency – which given that we think they’ve been cheating for years – starting in the log-rolling in Nebs – doesn’t help)- except to point out that it is intrinsically flawed because it started from the wrong premise: that they had ‘stop’ one group – the puppies dominating, and they played their tests off one set of data about which they had serious pre-conceptions. If instead of their dishonest obtaining of the actual data, they’d started with data simulating various non-preconcieved possibilities… they would realize that all this system does is to guarantee one place to the second largest bloc -who will probably win because of less vote splitting. If you believe their dodgy ‘experts’ were unaware of this, well you believe all those ‘lucky’ things that led to it too. What doing it properly would have shown is the effect they don’t seem to have factored in, with their intent to reduce voting numbers (complexity always does this – and they had to be aware that their faction – with at least 40 prepaid votes could shoo-in whatever they liked) – the effect of multiple blocs (and yes, the Hugos had 2 SJW blocs in the past. Will probably again.)

          1. //Camestros I can’t be arsed to pull apart their system//

            Oh Ok then. All the other points you raise we’ve discussed to various extents before – with mixed success at keeping the discussion on the rails.

            1. Well, if you believe it 110% straight, Camestros, put your money where your mouth is. Go on: You can do it on 770 and making light, your friend Space-faring kitten can get up at the BM and propose it. In order to clear any feeling of misconduct: All the data from this year can be given to Vox Day’s pet statistician/s – exclusively. Under conditions where no one will ever know if he has every last detail of each voter. If there was nothing wrong in doing this, then there really is no problem, and while you’re at it the previous years. You’ll be delighted to show us all how happy you all are with this! There is no one rule for thee, and another me, no never! Oh of course the Worldcon staff will be happy to assist in his experiment with the data for any voting scheme he might propose, and assist in writing up the process. No problem I am sure. And then you can ensure he has the results of the nomination process in advance before the public – which he can tell people about on his blog and none of you will raise an eyebrow. In fact you’ll invite him to be GoH… because it is all 110% normal. Nothing in the least unacceptable about it. Go on. Show us. Then I’ll believe you.

              1. Or even simpler Dave, instead of throwing out unsubstantiated accusations of misconduct, you could actually demonstrate how EPH is somehow terribly biased or unfair or whatever it is you are claiming.

                You are more than numerate enough to do so. The algorithm is easy enough to code – if you coding skills aren’t up to it Kate P’s are.

                Here is a rule of thumb that has stood me in good stead: people tend to put their best argument they are capable of forward. If you actually fault the EPH system was faulty THAT is what you’d present. The fact that instead you lead with a genetic-fallacy argument and a conspiracy theory strongly implies that you don’t have a better argument. When you can argue the numbers you do argue the numbers, when you can’t…

                1. Indeed – by your own rule you have just proved the conduct and method was inexcusable and you would not be prepared to have the situation reversed. Your proof is easy, would take moments, mine would take me days – and as I’ve been through your maths before Camestros, I’d then be up for a further week of explaining it you – none of which I get paid for, and none of which would make any difference. But you could do it in seconds, open, clear, public. But you won’t. Because you know their conduct was inexcusable, and you know you should have done the honorable thing and said so. But you didn’t.

                  1. //Your proof is easy, would take moments, mine would take me days//

                    It wouldn’t take you long to write up your understanding of the mechanics of EPH if you had already spent anytime looking at it…but then if you haven’t spent anytime actually looking at it then yes, it might take you awhile. I am forced to agree that yes, it is much easier for you to attack something ‘sight unseen’ than it is to make substantive attacks.

                    Your counter ‘proof’, is based on me brokering the cooperation of Vox Day. Quite why he’d want to help establish the veracity of EPH, you don’t know. Quite how he would do so you can’t say (his stats ability is not great Dave – he is fairly smart but even he admits maths is not his strong suit). The earliest Business meeting such a plan could be added to the agenda now would be 2017. Notably, although it is your idea you DIDN’T propose it for the business meeting nor did Kate mention it in her Worldcon plans above.

                    1. Let me give you the clear, simple reason why EPH and the already proposed EPH+ and the further dicking around Baldrick Quinn proposes to get the ‘desired’ result. In one word: Calvinball. When you were winning – you didn’t want to change the rules. You lost, so now SUDDENLY you do.

                      Actually, I sat down and wrote the equations for modelling EPH – the awards are a multispecies, multicountry fishery in concept, so I am familiar with the requirements, as well as understanding the advantages and limitations to the ‘Australian’ preference voting system – which fails to produce a good for tests of ‘best’ winner, but is quite good at producing ‘least disliked’ – which I suspect you are aware of and want. It’s a terrible way to pick ‘best’ – but that is not your aim is it? It’s excluding those you hate.

                      It’s not understanding it that difficult, it’s writing out clearly with examples at a layman level that is hard – and given that last time I did that, you still managed to get lost or sow confusion and derive imaginary answers – and that I don’t really care. It hardly seems worthwhile.

                      I laughed a lot at the transparent excuses offered for need for the actual data to test it. You don’t need that. You do… to test a specific outcome or to game it. If you know how many votes your opponent has to distribute, and how many you have, you can effectively target either prevention or selecting how many nominees you will target getting in.

                      My counter-proof : You’re asking us to trust you, to accept your claims, to invest in playing along with your Calvinball, because you’re honest, decent, trustworthy and true and it’ll ‘help us’. I’m not asking you to ‘broker’ anything – that would imply I trusted you to be honest, ethical, honorable. I’m asking you to _prove_ that the conduct of your side has been honest, fair, trustworthy, ethical and honorable. If it has been: why should there be ANY problem permitting your foes the same things? If there’s nothing wrong with the methods and practices your side have employed – if they’re honest and fair you’d be delighted to extend the same opportunities to people that you want to show how honest you are.

                      In summary – you’d be completely happy that the representatives of a financially interested rival faction were given exclusive use of this year’s voting data (without the consent of the voters, and without any verifiable anonymizing process). Now: _I_ would object to this, were it Tor books,or one of heir allies, or Baen or Castalia. I did object, I pointed out in no uncertain terms that this was unethical and reflected terribly on the Hugo committee. But you were silent, and are now supporting the results of that conduct and method. So: if I was a silly moo, and your side are honest, ethical and trustworthy, and there is not a problem in the world with it, you’ll all be delighted to extend the same opportunity and conditions to anyone. Go: tell all your friends on 770 and Making Light that this will restore trust and as there was nothing wrong with it when your side did it, there’s no problem if the other side gets exactly the same thing.

                      But you won’t. Because there is a problem. A huge problem. They’d be having seventeen thousand screaming hissy fits if the situation had been reversed. You were happy to ignore it when it was your side.

                      So: It’s not the veracity of EPH you need to establish.

                      It’s your own.

                2. Oh and for the record – none of the conditions I proposed extending to Vox Day are unsubstantiated. They are things your side did, verifiably, last year. We’ve documented all of them. The conclusions reached from them — well I’ll leave that you and your friends to display when you have to face the same. Grasp this Camestros: Your side are up shit creek without a paddle, with a sinking canoe, and with lead weights on your feet. The industry – your canoe, is taking water fast. We tried to reach and help you before – and we got this from you. Baldrick Quinn can save you – and good luck with that. We’re eating popcorn and drinking beer on the bank and taking bets on who goes down first. No more concessions, explanations or help. You gave us none.

                  1. As a guy with a Ph.D. who serves on multiple editorial review boards and deals with statistics – Mr. Freer is right.

                    If WorldCon will not release the voting data to any interested party who is reasonably qualified in statistics – then the entire process is suspect.

                    I can game anything if you let me, and myself, and I be the only ones who control the raw data.

                    For anything to be considered “fair” you have to allow other people with the training replicate the findings including giving them the actual data. This is part of the scientific process (replication). And I’ve also published papers in leading journals on the importance of replication to the scientific process.

                    1. Yes, but throwing around accusations about the sort of white supremacist who would vote for Trump or Clinton. That is totally a compelling counterargument.

      3. “It is not possible for a “tactically voting 20%” to take 80 – 100% of the final ballot, UNLESS a sizeable majority of the other 80% of eligible voters don’t bother to vote…”

        Last year, Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies campaign managed to capture complete categories through nominating a complete slate (that’s what he explicitly told his followers to do and that’s what they say they did, so I guess we can all agree that that is what happened).

        In the editor categories, for example, about 160 nominations were enough to do that. Of the complete count of nominations in those categories (720 and 870), that is roughly 20%, is it not? Check the result sheet and you get similar percentages (or even less than 20% in some categories) across the board.

        Whatever the other 80% of the voters (the normal Hugo voters as well as the Sad Puppies) did, they had absolutely no impact on the results. I think that the need to change the rules to stop this nonsense is quite obvious.

        “ALL systems are flawed. All systems will be gamed in some way because people are people. This is why simple, open, and easy to follow almost always works better to keep things honest that complicated rules that mean your vote isn’t worth the same as mine depending on how you voted and how I voted.”

        All systems are flawed but gaming others is easier. Tell me again how my vote, your vote and a Rabid Puppy’s vote are worth the same if only the last one can affect the result.

        1. You are missing the point. If 160 votes are enough to sway a result, the voting base is too small. The way to defend against Vox or anyone else who wants to manipulate the process is to open it up and make it as inclusive as possible. Playing statistical games with the voting process is just going to make it easier for a guy like Vox to screw it up.

          1. “Playing statistical games with the voting process is just going to make it easier for a guy like Vox to screw it up.”

            Can you maybe walk me through how one games EPH (or the proposed EPH+) and explain how that is “easier” than with the current system? It is a lot harder.

            1. Its not easier, but if you think a smart group of people like the VFM can’t game EPH, you’re not just reading sci-fi, you’re living it.

            2. It’s easy. All Vox has to do is decide what outcome he wants and then run the algorithm in reverse to get the right inputs that will create it. His folks will give him whatever inputs (votes) he wants. He is more than capable of being subtle, and this new system will make it harder to see what he did until it is too late.

            3. From the EPH report:

              “EPH does have a measurable effect on the resulting ballots and long lists if it is implemented. The issue is that it is both less and more active than was suggested when the system was proposed”

              “Where nominator coordination is present, it does generally result in the swapping of one position on the ballot with an item that was not on the ballot. It does not, however, eliminate a number of entries to bring the coordinated nomination block down to a representative size. This allows a small minority to continue to control almost the entire ballot.”

              In other words, EPH is a failure.

              1. Or a too small step in the right direction. Maybe you’re right and there are indeed better ways to weed out what needs to be weeded. EPH+ or a preliminary candidate elimination round or both are in the talks. Time will tell.

                1. Or you could lower the barriers for entry, spend a little money on advertising, and grow the participation in the award so that groups of 600 get swamped out as noise by the larger community.

                  That said, if the award ceremony can keep from poking people in the eye, I suspect some of this will be moot next year. Fewer people are willing to throw good money after bad on the Hugos.

                  1. For starters, nominations dramatically increased this year, so there’s certainly increased participation. However, because non-slate nominators did not all band together and decide in advance what to nominate, Vox’s slate was still able to partially dominate.

                    Worldcon also is a non-profit organization; it doesn’t have a great deal of money to ‘spend on advertising,’ and it isn’t necessarily the main goal of Worldcon to increase voting participation in the Hugos. A lot of Worldcon’s members are perfectly happy with it being around the same size it is. Growth is not necessarily a positive. The only problem is that the nominations are being interfered with by a bizarre, obsessive stalker who hates the Hugos and can’t get over losing an internet debate in 2005 (he admitted this, on his blog.)

                    1. Greg – those grapes you can’t reach are awfully sour, aren’t they? WorldCon celebrated increased numbers and participation. Where were those ‘lot of members who are happy with it being the same size’ protesting the growth last year? (crickets). Anyway, it’s not ‘the same size’ you need to worry about. It’s aging, shrinking and becoming smaller and relevant than a big regional con. It’s already gone from THE sf big meetup to well down the list. It’s ‘value’ as such is historical and size. It doesn’t have one hell of a margin to play with. As for advertising – word of mouth and bloggers cost nothing. Only the is no growth for you in the increasingly insular left. You’ve tried and failed.

                      Secondly while you sound like a conspiracy nutter afraid to mention Vox Day’s name — if he is what you’re terrified of, you ought to work out that dividing sf into ‘them and us’ is so far in his favor as to make your – and the rest of your short-term thinking friends – efforts, the best help that has ever come his way. I will be posting something on the maths of this next week. You lot just don’t seem to get it – untity, even fractious, is hugely in your side’s favor, division even incomplete, near-terminally bad. Yet you’re pushing the former. It has me scratching my head and saying “No one can be quite that stupid, and blind.” And you go and prove me wrong again.

        2. Tell me again how my vote, your vote and a Rabid Puppy’s vote are worth the same if only the last one can affect the result.

          Meh. That’s how I feel about the final voting process after last year’s No Award debacle. The votes of people who actually read the nominee packets are irrelevant. The people running the show don’t want fans interfering with the voting.

          Just rename the awards the Breens and be done with it.

          1. Vox’s actual vote doesn’t count as much as anyone else’s, he just has the ability to convince others to vote the exact same way. It’s like when Scalzi convinced his Hugo voting fans to no award anything he didn’t like. I’m not sure you can outlaw people influencing (through money or ideology) other people on how they vote.

        3. The real slate voters last year were the ones voting in more than one category for only one “No Award” it is disingenuous for them to whine about others engaging in so called slate voting

        4. Since it has only taken 20% of the electorate to win a nomination, recorded in many years pre-Puppy, 80% of the electorate have had no impact on the results in every category. What you’re complaining about is which 20% gets to play this year.

          The solution is to grow the electorate instead of changing systems to something that violates the Evil Overlord Rules. Oddly enough, that’s the one solution WorldCon had shown it does not want to embrace.

    4. Looky! It’s Team Disingenuous De-railer, here to spread compost and keep you in the dark. (We ‘shrooms can spot this kind of thing :))

      And these two wankers won’t even bring coffee or bourbon.

      They still think their con job that a scheme cooked up by the folks who log-rolled and back-room dealt the Hugos will “fix” it is plausible if they just repeat the lie often & loudly enough.

    5. Here’s the thing that got lost in the shuffle. If every person that nominated in the Best Novel category nominated in all the other categories, Rabid Puppies would have at best taken one or two nominations. The numbers to do so were there in those 4000 voters. However, in most categories only one to two thousand of the eligible cast ballots. Don’t blame the system for the electorate’s apathy.

      1. If the system is too easy to manipulate, it can be fixed. I prefer a system that produces good results — that is, Hugo nominees that reflect what people (others than the 20% block) actually nominated and that the majority of voters really want to give the award to. Sadly, the current system failed badly with this.

        Two nominations (40%) for a 160 voter block in a field of 4000 (4%) would hardly be a sign of a robust system. 😀

        1. Interesting. You can’t do math (quick, what’s 20% of 4000), and you don’t understand that the supermajority of voters do not get their choice in any category during any year. Why should we listen to you?

          Show up, participate in all categories, and increase the electorate. Otherwise take the blame for Vox Day’s next bright idea succeeding.

          1. There are not 15-20% voting blocks any year.

            Showing up, participating and increasing the electorate is nice. Showing up in the business meeting to pass proportional voting (or an extra voting round where troll candidates can be stricken down from the ballot) is even more effective.

                1. The less votes there are, the less he needs to play his games. He has a highly disciplined following who are willing to spend 40 or 50 bucks just to screw with people they don’t like. So unless you are committing to just discounting votes you see as “wrong”, his picks get on the ballot.

                1. lets see…

                  the nominations list matching the Locus recommended reading list for many years?

                  The nominations list matching the newsgroup discussions for many years?

                  Do the blinders you’re wearing prevent you from seeing everything not exactly in front of you, or only things to the right side?

                  1. @Draven

                    For 2015, the Locus Recommended Reading List had:

                    -28 SF novels, 22 fantasy novels, 19 YA books, 13 first novels;
                    -27 collections, 12 original anthologies, 11 reprint anthologies;
                    -7 nonfiction books, 18 art books;
                    -18 novellas
                    -32 novelettes
                    -66 short stories

                    I don’t know about this “newsgroup discussions” you mention. How many recommendations were in those?

                    1. Do your own research, i’m sure that somewhere the newsgroup posts from 20 years ago are logged.

            1. Ah. Spacefaringkitten. The supreme judge (self-nominated, self-elected, safely anonymous) of good and bad, and of course entirely trustworthy, credible and has always displayed the height of integrity, with a long track speaking out courageously against any practices which even looked unfair, especially when they favored it or its partner, friends or allies. Having come to fore with its speed to condemn the false accusation about the puppies made by its friends in EW, torn into PNH about knowing the Hugo Novel noms when they were under embargo, led the charge for Irene Gallo to issue a full unconditional apology, demanded that every appearance of impropriety in the secret hand-over of data to partisan researchers be dealt with. Who always spoke out about the ‘shit’ that won, who was loud in constant calls for socio-political diversity that didn’t reflect its own point of view… Who called on on voters to actually read and decide on their own what to to vote for in the Hugos. To treat people with dignity and decency and not to attack their lives and careers, and condemning utterly people like David Gerrold who did.

              oh. WAIT.

              You’ve never done any establishment of credibility. In fact your reputation is the inverse. You’ve relentlessly defended and participated in the worst abuses. Yet YOU purport to be a fit judge as to who ‘a bad actor’ is? You have delusions of grandeur. I wouldn’t trust you to speak my weight if you were a talking scale. Your negative evaluation of someone makes me believe there must something good about them.

              Something you puppy kickers haven’t got, which I have explained to you over and over again: We were not your enemies until you decided to attack us. We were not the Rabid Puppies friends either. There was very little crossover. Now… well, if I had to rank ‘bad actors’ who have done writing, writers, sf/fantasy and Hugo Awards harm, from a list of PNH, Scalzi, Gerrold, Martin, Glyer, and yes, you, and Vox Day… He’d place last as least damaging, and most trustworthy, with some positives. That’s not praising him to the skies – that’s just the level of his competition, based on your actions. I suspect most sad puppies feel the same way. You’ve made yourselves despised and distrusted. We will do nothing to help you and cheer when things go wrong for your side. We will no longer buy your books or follow your recommendations. You’ve lost credibility, market share and influence. I’m not sure how you thought your conduct has helped your side.

              You have a long, long hard build to re-establish any credibility. Playing Calvinball just makes your hole deeper, and you less trusted and your pet award worth less. The choice is yours, but anything you would vote for, I would take as a commendation to vote against.

              1. David:
                That was so well expressed that it should be copied and pasted as a reply to any and all of the CHORFs visiting the puppy websites. It would save an enormous amount of time. I especially liked the summation of all the things they didn’t do and the final statement, “anything you would vote for, I would take as a commendation to vote against.” I couldn’t have improved on any of it.

                Bravo sir, bravo.

              2. Dave, I’m sorry but your dislike of Nielsen Haydens, Scalzi and the rest of them doesn’t make them guilty of anything else than what normal Hugo voters do: vote for their favorites, discuss them publicly, and have a good time at it. Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies managed to disrupt it last year with their slates, and Rabid Puppies did it again this year, but the final results show how the Worldcon fandom feels about these shenanigans.

                As for your dislike of me, there is probably nothing I can do, or want to.

                1. Because we all know they never said anything untrue or made any untoward accusations about any of us. the Neilsen-Haydens and Scalzi are all pure as the driven snow.

                  And on the other point, the Hugos aren’t supposed to be about what a tiny segment of fandom- Worldcon congoers, a segment that until oh, the last several years, has been reducing every year… it is supposed to be The Best of sci fi. The Worldcon folks even insisted that’s what it was, until it looked like Sad Puppies might affect the outcome of it, then it became ‘their’ award to give to ‘their’ favorites. Considering how many more people seem to be enjoying the average John Ringo, Larry Correia or Marko Kloos book than the average Hugo winner these days, that seems to be a rather small segment of the overall reader population picking ‘the best’ out of only their ideologically approved books.

                  1. Just a thought: People who like different things than you are not necessarily doing it out of spite or because of ideological reasons.

                    If what you feel should win awards isn’t getting any, it’s not as well liked among the voters as you think.

                    1. ‘among the voters’ who are, as stated, an ideologically insular group who deliberately excludes people who don’t share their ideology. In a contest for an award that is supposed to be the years best in SF, not the year’s best in SF as voted for by Worldcon. The former is how they were billing the award before Larry started Sad Puppies, the latter is what they changed it to in order to make it look like they are not attempting to shut out people that they don’t like.

                    2. With regard to 3SV: if you’re not supposed to Yea or Nay on “aesthetic grounds” then the remaining choices are that a work is given Yea or Nay on either personal or political grounds.

                      That completely taints the concept, by making it flamingly obvious that it’s all about “keeping out people or ideologies we dislike” rather than “keeping Crud off the ballot” (which would be, uh, “aesthetic grounds”).

                      I could possibly get behind voting “Crud” off the ballot (tho your and my definition of Crud may not even nearly overlap). I can’t get behind voting “people/ideas I hate” off the ballot (even tho we probably wouldn’t overlap there, either).

                      Or, hey, let’s just vote up or out the creators from now on without troubling to inspect their works, and admit forthrightly that’s what it’s become about.

                2. Spacefareingkitten – you know, spin is really your only skill. I didn’t say anything about ‘dislike’. ‘feelz’ are fine for you and your little friends to base their decisions on. The rest of us more capable and more rational. I am perfectly capable of disliking someone and yet respecting and trusting them. I said I despise and distrust you lot, and for good reason.

                  I accept your assurance that you and your little friends normal Hugo behavior is to engage in public slander, orchestrating smear campaigns in the media, threats against future employment, social lives and deliberate damage the welfare of authors, and that this your and their idea of a good time. We didn’t know that once, but we had actually found out before you admitted to it. It has shaped the view we hold of you.

                  Anyway: It’s not dislike you and your little friends need to worry about: it is economics and maths. When you look up the stats distribution for the potential reading market – 26% of them identify as left-wing, and of that about 6% would identify with all your positions, and indeed, the positions expressed by the bulk of traditional publishing, and the individuals referred to above. They have historically made their living by selling their wares… to almost everyone, including extremes like Vox Day, and somewhere in the middle people like me. I’m not a wealthy man but I have a budget about $50 for books per month. That used to go, at least in part, to puppy kickers – who I didn’t know were puppy kickers. If they said a book or con or movie was good… I’d certainly have had that added to my consideration. I mostly didn’t know them – and if I did: I didn’t have to like them as individuals to ascribe a normal level of trust. Now – I quote: “We will no longer buy your books or follow your recommendations. You’ve lost credibility, market share and influence.”

                  I’m a very typical -and also fairly influential – ordinary sf/fantasy reader. Your little friends – with the possible exception of Martin (and even he would be hurt by their crash) are dependent on a very very shaky financial edifice, crumbling, and contracting. For most of them they have as much of 26% as they will ever gain. There is no more there. Even the smallest withdrawal of readers from the 76% is not good news. On the other hand your little friends have pushed discrimination against authors from the 74% on your faithful for years. I’m damn certain neither you nor any of your little friends ever read or positively commended a book that didn’t come from your circle-jerk. Those authors outside that – like myself – have next to nothing to lose. Your lot have 3/4 of the market to lose. But you thought alienating them was a great idea. Gifted. It’s about on the level of the rest of your thinking.

                  Anyway, that’s enough from you. Go and celebrate what you’ve achieved – people who used to buy your little friends’ books and helped kept their companies afloat… who won’t anymore. People who you wished to influence, who will assume that everything you say is a lie.

                  Don’t comment on this post again. We’ve been tolerant and patient enough. You’re tedious and any further comments will be deleted. Push it and you go on the Spam register.

    6. Any system of voting more complicated than a pencil and a checklist is most likely crooked. That’s how we do it in the Great White North, and it is a system very resistant to bad behavior.

      As soon as you start complaining about “tactical voting” you’re not concerned about fair representation, you’re trying to manage the outcome. The award bureaucracy doesn’t determine the winner, the voters do. You don’t like the voters, maybe start restricting the memberships to “The Right People.”

      1. What do you think all the spanking new definitions of harassment, hostile environment, etc. are all about?

        Anyone disagreeing with the groupthink can be banished, but only after they’ve been fleeced for a membership. Win-Win.

  5. The problem is the 40 dollar price tag on voting. It limits the number votes to those who can afford it, so the voting pool is small enough to be manipulated by politics and money. Playing statistical tricks with the voting process will just mean the process will be manipulated in different ways.

  6. I consider Kate a friend, and admire and respect her for all the hard work she’s put into the Sad Puppies 4 effort this year. That said, I have been a science fiction and fantasy fan for over 50 years and for most of them held the Hugo awards in great esteem, right up until a few years ago when I realized that they were no longer relevant to me as none of the winners were works I would ever choose to read.
    And as for me, the Hugos died last year at that obscene spectacle of an awards ceremony, and the nails in the coffin of its rotting corpse were those disgusting wooden asterisk awards.
    The Hugo awards are dead, long live the Dragon awards.

  7. Here’s the EPH analysis prepared by Quinn and one of the Hugo Adminstrators, McCarty, who after last August seem to have quietly arrogated to themselves the right to analyze the private nomination data for several years in a row, since even though the past contests are not really any of MAC II’s business. (There are a few insiders who help Cons run the awards most years and then hold on to all the data.) These are their (unsolicited by the Business Meeting) recommendation.

    I’m not sure of the logic of waiting until the convention to release this, since those able to vote at the Business Meeting are already at the con, it’s a long document, and they don’t have a lot of time to read and talk about it. Charitably, one reason for delay might be their desire to finish crunching the numbers on this year’s contest before making any recommendations.

    And McCarty said that he’ll be distributing an announcement about what the short list (and long list?) would have looked like under EPH before the business meeting on Sunday. So that people’s vote on EPH can be a referendum on the results? Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

    Interestingly, the two authors came to different conclusions about EPH.

    McCarty concludes in part:

    “This method of trying to resolve the issue of nomination coordination does not offer enough benefit to offset the hurdles it puts in place. There appear to be other suggestions available that will be more successful at addressing the problem and do them in manners that are possibly far more open and democratic.”


    “Even should we decide to adopt the currently pending 3SV proposal or
    something like it, I believe that at least EPH is still necessary to prevent a slate from taking over the Long List.”

    Click to access EPH_Analysis_For-MidAmeriCon.pdf

    1. Serious breaches of trust and confidentiality issues should raise major questions about the integrity of both Quinn (who is bluntly unfit for work in Science IMO) and McCarty, and all the other parties who had any part in this.

      1. Agreed. The fact that they won’t honour the resolution to release Sasquan nomination data to ALL World-con members while handing it out to SOME interested partiess proof of a cover-up.

      2. A while back I pointed out to Jameson Quinn that trying to fend off barbarians at the gate is pointless since so long as a relatively coordinated interest group like the Vox Popoli crowd who seem to have hewed close to Vox’s list continue to nominate a few broadly popular items as well as more obscure ones, like they did this year, they’re inside the walls and EPH won’t work as advertised. Quinn never replied, but he went on to propose that, after the membership nominates, EPH is run to produce a long list, and the attending members get to vote those off the island whenever they don’t like them, the Committee should have the power to further extend the list of finalists at their sole discretion. Continuing to fiddle with things like that just makes it worse. Sad.

        1. And the proposal to allow the list of finalists to be extended by the Hugo Administrator was defeated at the Preliminary Business Meeting by a vote of 81-36, with McCarty, and every other former Administrator present, voting to defeat that proposal. No Administrator that we’ve ever had (or are likely to be used in the future) would want that sort of power, Hugo administration is a ministerial task, and does not call for deciding what works belong on the ballot (that decision is left to the nominators), except on factual questions such as the year of publication, or the word count, etc. — and the past Administrators have all made it clear that they want to keep it that way.

          (Note that defeating a proposed Constitutional amendment at the PBM requires a 2/3 vote, since it means that the proposal doesn’t even get a chance to be debated or voted on at the Main meeting, where it can be defeated by a simple majority. Killing a new proposal at the PBM is deliberately made hard — but that hurdle was overcome in the case of this particular proposal.)

          1. Thanks for the update. Glad to see that particular proposal — extending the list by the Administrators — was voted down.

          2. Ah. Was this the Kevin Standlee “But it’s really my wife so I don’t have to give up office” attempt at Calvinball and display of ethical standards? It was monumentally, laughably stupid – not surprising really. It would have killed the Hugos in 2-3 years instead of the present prognosis, which isn’t good either, but is better that. The Hugo administration needs to perceived by all parties as neutral and fair – and making a serious effort to be that – for the process to be considered credible. That’s not what dicking around with the nominations – or exclusively assisting one partisan group – as McCarty has done, will do.

            1. Definitely one of those “careful what you wish for” ideas. Because nobody in Hugo administration would be able to do anything else, day and night, but be lobbied by people wanting their stuff on the Hugo ballot. (Probably the same twenty obsessive people. One of them would probably be Clamps.)

              1. (Probably the same twenty obsessive people. One Nineteen of them would probably be Clamps in various easily-seen-through disguises.)

                Fixed that for you.

  8. As mentioned elsewhere here, if it only takes around 200 votes to sway a category, it only costs $8K to lock in a Hugo for your book. There are some authors for whom $8K is a good investment. Someone with a $3 million dollar book deal would easily spend more than that on dinners during a book tour.

    Is a Hugo worth more than $8K in sales during a reasonable year? Probably, right?

    1. The monetary value is actually pretty tepid, and almost entirely reflected in the ‘extra’ a publisher is prepared to pay for the privilege and your prestige. Kameron Hurley reported on it – it increased her advances – not earnings above advances IIRC there were none – by 13K. I’ve spoken to Toni, and a couple of others – awards do not have any major positive impact on sales. What they do is pat the ego of the author and the publisher. This was NOT historically the case – the value in sales of an award was dragged up by popular authors. It’s an exercise in branding: done well it can boost less known authors. Done badly it can actively damage careers.

      1. Well, it’s not doing anything for what I read… I noticed some years ago that Hugo winners tended to leave me unsatisfied at best, and at worst, bored. I began looking at the award as a warning. Needless to say present shenanigans are not improving matters; the warning has gone from a quiet bell to sirens and flashing lights.

  9. Just FYI if you weren’t at the last business meeting on Sunday they ran the number for this year through EPH for everything but short/long drama and from what I could tell Rabid Puppies would just about have swept the hugos this year instead of how it did go.
    If was beautiful watching the fear and horror of us little slavering puppies and VD. I really believe VD understood EPH better than it’s SJW supporters did.
    I wasn’t a Rabid at first but after last year I “leaned in” that way and after actually attending and after the SJWs shit a brick and clutched their pearls over Dave’s remarks and getting dirty looks and hissed at for my “Wrongfan” badge flair I’m totally all in for letting it all burn. In fact I’d go further, a la Aliens, nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure!

    1. TM – I have seldom come across such collective idiocy as the CHORFs display. I must admit I keep being misled into thinking “No one can possibly be that stupid. No one can possibly not see the consequences of that action.” And yet… they do. Time after time after time they take the actions with the short-term, superficial ‘pay-off’ without working out even the medium term consequences let alone anything beyond that. They’re like the guy with a dollar in his pocket – which he has to have to get to work the next day, at the end of which he paid, who sees a pretty cheap plastic rocket in a shop window for a dollar… and promptly buys it.

    2. and from what I could tell Rabid Puppies would just about have swept the hugos this year instead of how it did go.

      Huh? Someone took a look at the runs including both EPH and 5 of 6 on the results for 2015 and 2016, and the results were thus. – showing an increased number of at least one none-slated item in every category (bar one).

      As this was the (partially) intended effect, I’m not sure why you would consider this an undesirable outcome, from the perspective of the non-Rabids

      1. There are more complete analyses for EPH (although not 5 of 6, since it was passed after the analysis was done) showing the effects for 2016 and 1941, in addition to the original report on 2015/2014, which can be found by going to the bottom of the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting web page at:

        Those show the detailed point as well as vote totals, and compare what would have been on the ballot and the original ballot.

        They do not indicate Rabid/non-Rabid sources of the works, so, for that analysis, you need to go elsewhere.

      2. The (fully) intended effect being no Puppy related works appear in the top slots?

        Be honest, if EPH was in effect for this years vote, and those results had been in place, in your (considered) opinion, would EPH have worked, or would it need additional “Tweaking”?

      3. The (fully) intended effect being no Puppy related works appear in the top slots?

        Be honest, if EPH was in effect for this years vote, and those results had been in place, in your (considered) opinion, would EPH have worked, or would it need additional “Tweaking”?

  10. @Andrew

    The details of EPH – it’s intent, what it does, and what it is as yet unable to do – are available in the report on the page that Ben Yalow has kindly provided. Please feel free to read it, it better answers your questions than I am able to.

    1. @snowcrash

      My question, which you avoided answering, is this:

      Assume EPH was in effect this year, and the results as provided in the report were what Hugo voters were to vote on. With that in mind, in your opinion, did EPH have work as intended?

      If no, why?

      1. If you’re interested in my personal views on the intent of EPH, they’re concurrent with the intent expressed in the report. The very first paragraph answers your question, if you’re interested in the purpose of EPH, and on what it was intended to do.

        With regards to the effectiveness, please refer to the conclusions section of the same report, which (insofar as it refers to EPH\s effectiveness) I concur with.

        I apologize if you find this roundabout, but I think it’s important to read the actual report.

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