More Hugo Stuff: Say NO To Slates (of ALL kinds)

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I think everyone knows by now that I’m pretty happy with the results of this year’s outcome of the Hugo Awards.

But it is a qualified happiness.  I’m not happy at all with what took place this year before we got to the awards.  I’m not happy with what’s going on after the awards.

I’m not happy that the fans were forced to make hard, previously unnecessary choices when voting this year.

I’m not happy that we’ll be going through this all over again next year (yes, we will).

The amount of self-delusion on display by those claiming a WIN for puppies is flabbergasting; I can’t yet tell if this is the result of political messaging (not so bad) or true belief (very, very scary when you consider how very, very difficult it is to maintain this belief in the face of the evidence) or some combination thereof.  In either case, this reaction brings me closer and closer to a belief that there are actually some people who ought not be allowed to play in fandom’s sandbox.  We’re supposed to have some connection to reality in this field and it’s starting to look like some have absolutely none.  Which makes them unpredictably dangerous – especially in light of some of the things they’ve written.

I’m not yet sufficiently annoyed to begin calling for banning, but….

I’m also annoyed by the argument:  “if you voted No Award, you must not have read the works.”  I voted No Award.  I also read everything (and then some) in the voter’s packet.  Which means that those making this ridiculous argument are calling me, and probably a lot of other voters, liars.  I don’t like that.

It is kind of fun though to think about the fact that some of the puppies are so deluded that they believe that their work is so utterly fantastic that anyone reading it would have to vote for them to win.  And then you remember that there were four other titles in those puppy-dominated categories who also apparently believe the same thing and you come to the conclusion that when the puppies voted in those categories (picking a single work to put in the #1 slot), they were rejecting their fellow puppies in exactly the same way they are accusing the SJW’s of doing.  Yet another (somewhat amusing) hole in their logic.

I’m very annoyed with those who are trying to make a case that those who voted No Award did so as a “slate” and are trying to create a false equivalence with actual slate voting.  Here’s a definition of Slate:

A slate is a group of candidates that run in multi-seat or multi-position elections on a common platform.

Two elements in that definition:  “group of candidates” and “common platform”.

Both apply to the Rabid and Sad Puppy slates.  The Rabid platform was to “burn down the awards”.  The Puppy platform was to get their friends a win (and other confused stuff). Neither applies to No Award votes.  No Award is not a candidate.  Those voting No Award did not have a common platform.  Some vote No Award every year for certain categories in order to object to the category.  Some voted No Award in specific categories because they believed that was the right thing to do.  Some voted No Award across the ballot to register displeasure with the entire thing.  Some (like me) voted No Award in all Puppy categories and voted for a candidate in the mixed categories, followed by No Award.

We’re one week on and the volume has been turned UP, rather than down.  There’ve been a few attempts at reconciliation (Frank Wu’s proposal here for one).  They’ve not been accepted in the spirit with which they were intended.  I’m not surprised (neither is Frank), but it IS telling that I’ve seen no such offers coming from Puppies (apologies if I missed any).  What I’ve seen instead is doubling down.  Vox Day – no surprise.  Kate Paulk (leader of SP IV) I’m a bit surprised, mostly because the rhetorical nastiness has gone up a notch or two.

I remain of the firm belief that Fandom, WSFS and the Hugo Awards sent a very clear message that it will not be gamed.

Moving forward, there is an opportunity to curtail or even eliminate hard choices at next year’s Hugos.

The Puppies collectively claim that there is a cabal that doesn’t want them, be it for religious, political or thematic reasons.  Those of us who retain some level of sanity know this is not true, but grant the argument for the purposes of discussion.

Everyone else, the rest of the fannish community, take the Puppies at their word and accept that RP & SP DO represent a cabal/slate/clique.

Both are complaining about what the other “side” is doing to influence/fix the vote for nominations.

If the vast majority of potential nominees state that they will not participate in slates/organized voting campaigns, BOTH “sides” will benefit.  Doing this would eliminate puppy fears.

Most importantly of all, doing this would eliminate the agony that was presented to many voters when voting for categories like Best Editor.  Suppose Toni Weiskopf had, prior to the awards, stated that she did not want to be included on a slate, and further suppose that when her name did appear on a slate, she stated that it was done without her permission.

I am sure that many of those who vote No Award in that category this year would have voted for her instead, and could have done so with a clear conscience.

Will the Puppies still put out slates?  Probably.  And most likely some of those candidates will be on the final ballot next year.  But if those candidates who do Hugo-Worthy work have disavowed slates previously, we can still ignore their inclusion on a slate and vote on quality, rather than on politics.

If enough potential nominees take this step it could entirely eliminate the effectiveness of slates.  It would also return Hugo nominating and voting back to the way it is supposed to be.

The fact that there are already protests being leveled at this concept is an indication that it will negatively affect some puppy strategies (just as the suggestion to vote No Award drew tremendous ridicule and protest when it was proposed).

There are a couple of routes that the Rabid Puppy strategy can take:

  1. make astute choices and put together a slate that is comprised of people/works representative of the perceived SJW Cabal, forcing voters to choose between No Award and what would arguably be favorites/popular choices in a non-puppified year, or endorsing the slate
  2. do the same as above but less obvious;  put works on the ballot that are popular, but not necessarily perceived as being of the non-existent cabal.  Again, the electorate is forced to choose between voting against what they would probably normally vote for or endorsing the slate
  3. bringing in enough voters from “outside” to dominate categories like they did this year (but likely more completely*)

Possibilities 1 and 2 would be gutted of their effect if the majority of potential nominees took the “No slates, no bloc voting, no campaigning” option now.  Possibility 3 would be rendered ineffective (though it would lead to another year of No Awarding), because in year two of this bullshit, it would be painfully obvious what was being done and much easier to support the position that the Rabid Puppies are just fucking with us because they can.  Saying NO to that is easy.

EVERYONE – puppies, SJWs, fans – say they are against slates.  Some are against it because it is not within our tradition.  Some are against it because they feel they’ve been marginalized by secret slates.  If we are all against slates, lets get rid of them.

A sample statement can be found here.

For a slightly different take on this subject, I recommend John Scalzi’s post here.

*several commenters have stated that since there are so many more likely voters for next year that it will be difficult for a Rabid Puppy slate to get items on the final ballot. I disagree. More voters voting honestly and non-slatedly probably means a much wider pool of nominees, and therefore a BETTER chance for bloc voting

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