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April 1, 2015

Both more and less than political
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:05 PM *

Throughout this long recent discussion, I’ve had a passage from The Left Hand of Darkness rattling around in my head. It popped up because it strikes me that one of the fundamental cultural clashes that we’re dealing with is between the belief that the ends—getting the “right works” or the “right authors” their rockets*—justify the Sad Puppies’ means, and the weirder and more subtle belief that the “right result” of a Hugo vote is unknowable, and can only be achieved by using the right means to go about it.

The conversation in question occurs between Estraven and Ai up on the Ice. Estraven asks Ai why the Ekumen sent him to Gethen alone. Ai’s answer is even more interesting and relevant than I remembered.

It’s the Ekumen’s custom, and there are reasons for it. Though in fact I begin to wonder if I’ve ever understood the reasons. I thought it was for your sake that I came alone, so obviously alone, so vulnerable, that I could in myself pose no threat, change no balance: not an invasion, but a mere messenger-boy. But there’s more to it than that. Alone, I cannot change your world. But I can be changed by it. Alone, I must listen, as well as speak. Alone, the relationship I finally make, if I make one, is not impersonal and not only political: it is individual, it is personal, it is both more and less than political. Not We and They; not I and It; but I and Thou. Not political, not pragmatic, but mystical. In a certain sense the Ekumen is not a body politic, but a body mystic. It considers beginnings to be extremely important. Beginnings, and means. Its doctrine is just the reverse of the doctrine that the end justifies the means. It proceeds, therefore, by subtle ways, and slow ones, and queer, risky ones; rather as evolution does, which is in certain senses its model… So I was sent alone, for your sake? Or for my own? I don’t know.

I was just going to bring this up in an ends-verses-means way, which is in fact important to what the Hugos are. But the passage also echoes what, precisely, is the difference between the rather chaotic means of choosing the Hugo that has evolved over time and the Sad Puppies’ slate-based, goal-oriented one.

When I sit alone with my Hugo nomination page and try to wrestle through the eligibility lists, thinking about the things I’ve enjoyed over the past year, I’m faced with the fact that my relationship with literature and media is both more and less than political. As a single person reacting to what the field has produced I must listen, as well as speak in the way that someone voting en bloc need not. And doing this thing alone, I can’t dictate what “should” win. I cannot change the Hugos. But I can be changed by them. The relationship is not political, not pragmatic, but mystical.

And that’s really the point of SF&F, at least as I love it: exploring worlds that weren’t in my head before I started reading. Encountering ideas I didn’t imagine, or expect, before opening the covers or watching the opening scene. Allowing myself to be changed by what I experienced. Discovering what I wanted by finding it. These are experiences and ways of learning that, in other contexts, are described as mystical. The term fits.

My Hugo nominations and votes are reactions to that broadening-out of my mental universe. As such, they’re intimately, intensely personal. And that’s part of the visceral reaction that some fans are having to the Sad Puppies’ slate: it looks like the institutionalization of a private, particular process in the service of an external goal. It comes across as a coarsening and a standardizing of something that should be fine-grained, unpredictable, and unique to each person participating. It seems like denial of variety and spontaneity, like choreographed sex.

And it ruins the nature of the Hugos as the strange, unpredictable product of all of these solitary musings. It removes the mystery, the quirkiness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness. Then it’s just an election, with partisans and campaigning and slogans and crap. Surely we have enough of those already.

Does this analogy cast fandom as the Ekumen, as a kind of body mystic? Maybe, but it’s an extremely easy mysticism to join in with. Pick up a wide variety of books and be open to what they say. Create your own personal and unique relationships with them. Reflect those relationships in your own distinctive ways on the Hugo ballot.


* Yes, I know that there is also the stated objective of widening the pool of Hugo voters. But that doesn’t require a slate to achieve.

Comments on Both more and less than political:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 04:43 PM:

I am aware that posting a personal, reflective essay in a conversation that treats caring as a potential attack vector is risky. Enthusiasm and love are easily mocked. The unpredictable and the strange are always ripe for a good kicking if a reader is so minded.

On the other hand, both literature and fandom are made up of those very ingredients: caring, enthusiasm, love, unpredictability, and strangeness. Attack them in me, and you betray your own weaknesses.

#2 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 04:52 PM:

Hmmm. Yes. The Hugo ballot (both nominating and voting) is for "what did I love". Not what did he love, or she love, or they love, or even what made the best-seller lists so I guess a lot of people loved....

It's personal, and specific. And when you add up all that personal and specific love... you get the Hugos. So, I guess, it's a rocket fueled by love and joy...

Cassy

#3 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 04:53 PM:

Abi, if it's any help, I think you got it exactly, perfectly right. I want to think more about what you wrote before I post any more response than this, but you've nailed it.

#4 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 04:54 PM:

(an exchange between my wife and I after a book was read)

"Was it good?"
"Well, *I* liked it."

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:03 PM:

'Well, I liked it' is something I've said about more than one book.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:05 PM:

Also, I've voted for stuff that I thought was well-written even if it wasn't pleasant reading. (ISTR that that was 'The Screwfly Solution'. Which - memorable, yes.)

#7 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:08 PM:

Abi -- I think that is quite astute.

#8 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:09 PM:

Love and Joy come to you, and to you your Hugo too?

#9 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:13 PM:

On topic: There seems to be a lack of neutral ground in which to have a fair fight. I feel like we're in our camp riling ourselves up, they're in their camp riling themselves up, and there's nowhere that balanced communication can happen. Of course, every time I check Brad Torgensen's site I get riled up- and I'm not reading the comments - so I may not be part of the solution. I was told once something like (I've forgotten the numbers) 50% of communication is nonverbal and half the rest is tone of voice. The person telling me that was explaining why they don't roleplay [as in RPG] in chat, but it explains so much about the internet.

Periphery: @1002, Jacque: "Anyway, something about an sf con colocated with the John Birch Society, or maybe a college football team...." from the other thread reminded me of a story I was sure I'd told here, but cannot find. My google-fu may be defective. Apparently it wasn't an Au Pair convention, per se, but there were maybe a hundred Au Pairs in the lobby at one point during a gaming convention. One of the guys at my Battletech table had no idea what an au pair was ("Like a nanny."/ "Like a granny?") and finally I sent him out in the lobby to see for himself. His eyes were literally wide when he came back to the table.

#10 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:14 PM:

I don't have an easy answer, but I did nominate for va a bunch of categories, mostly guided by a memory of sensawunda. This genuinely prejudices against a series, since another installment will merely tap into previously created sensawunda whereas new works create new ones.

For the actual voting, I can merely rank the choices, and at that point, new or old sensawunda is maybe easier to conflate.

#11 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:18 PM:

9
One year (I think 1982) Westercon was in Phoenix, and the US Jaycees had their convention there the preceding week. The problem was that they can't leave without electing a new president, and they were having trouble getting to the white smoke. So there were some interesting interactions in the halls and elevators.

#12 ::: nathanbp ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:25 PM:

Continuing from the previous thread...

Does having n+2 final nominees and n slots per ballot actually help that much? Any block voting group can still try to pick n+2 nominees, they can just only get them (x voters)*(n/(n+2)) votes each instead of just x votes each under the previous system. It's not like there's a rule that every ballot from a block voting group has to be identical. They just are now because the rules don't make it optimal to do anything else.

Not sure if that was 100% clear, but in more condensed form: Any proposed change to the rules should also consider how the SP group would change their strategy to get around it.

#13 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:27 PM:

Bother! I tried to post this in the other thread, but Atropos had already wielded her scissors:

==============
abi has opened a new thread.

I'm not sure if it's intended to be a continuation or not, but the opening post is certainly food for thought.

...and I have not read TLHoD, which is an omission I must rectify.

==============

Off to Amazon for a copy of that book, I think.

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:33 PM:

Moose, I hope you come to consider yourself one of today's lucky 10,000 about that book. It's certainly been a very important one for me in many ways throughout my life.

No harm, no foul if you bounce off of it, of course. Tastes vary.

#15 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:35 PM:

Does having n+2 final nominees and n slots per ballot actually help that much? well, to lock up all six slots requires a hell of a lot more organization. Somebody needs to keep a master list and assign people to certain parts of the ballot. It's complicated enough that the US faltzed it up in a Presidential election (Google "Election of 1800" if interested).

#16 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:36 PM:

nathanbp @ #12

Having more entries on the final ballot than the nomination form would presumably make it more difficult for a malicious actor to swamp the nomination process. There should still be some of the genuinely nominated works getting through. (Unless the malicious actor has enough minions to be able to flood the entire ballot, which is less likely as things stand.)

#17 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:38 PM:

Abi - awards have value only if they are perceived to be an honest evaluation of the subject. The Academy Awards don't invite two accountants on stage during the ceremony to kill time. They do so to convince the viewing public and the Academy membership that nothing hinky is going on.

#18 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:39 PM:

I keep hearing summaries that make TLHoD sound like a wonderful thing, but every time I encounter the actual book I cannot find any of the described virtues in the text in my hands.

The same thing is true about Vernor Vinge's Deepness In The Sky/Fire Upon the Deep/etc books.

The only Le Guin I have ever read with enjoyment is Always Coming Home, which is a very strange work by anyone's standards (and yes, I tried Earthsea, and The Dispossessed was assigned me as reading in high school and I know I passed tests on it but I remember nothing except boring abstract political speeches at length and an airport with a knee-high wall around it).

I think the fault is in me. And perhaps I shall grow into it; I read the first five pages of one of Arthur Ransome's "Swallows And Amazons" books semi-regularly for four actual years before suddenly I devoured it and wanted all the rest.

#19 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:39 PM:

Thank you, Abi, for this excellent essay. Your words have clarified a number of things I was feeling, but which I couldn't articulate.

#20 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:40 PM:

abi @ #14:

I have read TLHoD multiple times, both in Swedish translation as all as the English original (only the once, I think) and to date "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" has probably been more influential on my day to day approach to things in my daily life. TLHoD is probably more SF, though.

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Elliott Mason @18:
I think the fault is in me.

I'm not sure there is fault anywhere in the situation. People love what they love, and bounce off of what they bounce off of. Maybe one day it'll click and you'll have one more book you like. That's a winning condition. But putting it down if it's unproductive, and instead reading things that work for you is also a winning condition.

#22 ::: Jon Lennox ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:43 PM:

P J Evans @11: As I hear the story, the Jaycees were happy staying to argue about who should be their president, until the hotel told them that any additional room nights for their group would only be available at the maximum peak-season rack rate (this was in Phoenix in August). After which, the Jaycees agreed on their new leadership in record time.

#23 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:44 PM:

Lorax @933 on the previous thread, which shut while I was in preview :( ...the SP definition where simply having a black character makes a book "about" racism since no character could possibly be other than the default without it being a major plot point.

The interesting thing is that SP-and-adjacent works have black characters, and even black characters who confront racism; there are women kicking arse and taking names, and confronting sexism*; disabled people confronting prejudice, and even gay people hanging about being generically gay. Which is not to say that there isn't a difference in presentation and tone; a tendency for such characters to be sidekicks; their run-ins with prejudice to be specific and put down when dealt with rather than ongoing and all-encompassing; that they often feel not quite fully fleshed out. In fact they're almost like most such characters in popular media.

Circling back to my point, some works such as Ancillary Justice could almost overlap with some SP-favoured works, yet (amongst other things) the description of the work as being about gender and imperialism rather than about AI, cloning and assassination of a tyrant result it in being categorised as non-SP. This is (one of) the thing(s) that frustrates me about this situation.

* Also dealing with sexual assault

#24 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:45 PM:

Ingvar M @20:

I have a copy in Dutch, but I've never read it in that language. I suspect I have the English version so thoroughly memorized that I wouldn't be able to encounter the translated text with any clarity.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was also a real mind-expander for me.

#25 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:45 PM:

Elliott, 18: I think there is no fault involved, on either side. Sometimes books and readers just bounce off each other. (FWIW I enjoyed the one or two Vinges I read, but not enough to remember how many or which ones.)

#26 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:48 PM:

Elliott Mason #18: I think that this is one of the central things we're talking about here. One person's key reading experience, another person's favorite fun ride, another person's boring nadir, another person's torment.

I like "both more than and less than political"-- but I'd add "and also precisely political," because it is. If a thing can be two things, it can also be three things. Or more.

#27 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:51 PM:

Something about how Le Guin writes just isn't ... hooky for me. I have something similar with Elizabeth Bear; in most of her series, I have to push through and work to hang on to every sentence and extract its meaning before moving on to the next. I have to deliberately slow my reading and engage with her text in a very different way than anyone else I read for pleasure ... but I know for a fact that there are Nuggets of Reward waiting for me within (I love ambitious worldbuilding, among other things, and she constructs lovely puzzle plots), so I do it.

Always Coming Home was a crudton of work to read, too, but the constant changing of source and the ongoing puzzle of the worldbuilding rewarded me as I went and helped me stick to it.

Certainly I prefer books that are simple for me to read, where the style is transparent enough that I can dash along the storyline at breakneck enjoyment. As a former English major I feel vaguely ashamed at this urge in myself, as if a book is automatically more praiseworthy the harder it is to read.

#28 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @26: Truth is, after all, a three-edged sword.

#29 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:53 PM:

D. Potter @prev/1015: Somehow, I suspect that wouldn't be as funny today...

...from the department of "Wow. Times really have changed." I was frankly a little shocked, reading it.

#30 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:54 PM:

Abi, thank you for giving me that essay to chew on. That's one of the most profound things I've read about the current culture wars in a long time. It also clarifies a lot of what was bothering me about this whole SP thing. That's exactly what they're doing.

Thank you.

#31 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 05:57 PM:

Abi @#24:

When I first read TLHoD in Swedish, I don't think I could have read it in English. Extrapolating wildly, I was probably ten, maybe nine.

I have read ZATAoMM in both English and Swedish and they're about equal.

I would say that if you like "Escher, Gödel, Bach -an eternal golden braid", it might be worth becoming fluent in Swedish so as to read its Swedish translation, because it is superior to the English original (as evidenced by the Akilles tortoise dialogue the translator wrote and inserted half-way through the book, to motivate why the tortoise is designated by "t" throughout).

#32 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:03 PM:

Elliott Mason @27: As a former English major I feel vaguely ashamed at this urge in myself, as if a book is automatically more praiseworthy the harder it is to read.

As a former English major as well, I offer a sympathetic nod in your direction. My particular version of this was "Real literature is depressing," where I felt that any works I felt happier after reading were somehow lesser literature. I've mostly gotten past that! And partly by encountering people who got real sincere, fannish joy out of bleak literature; it helped me recategorize that particular axis as being completely orthogonal to a book's quality, but instead be a matter of authorial choice and reader taste.

Terry Pratchett helped there, too. I remember putting down one of his very solid books, and thinking about how damn deep it could get, without ever losing the humor and joy. And that was...revelatory. Not all at once. But as a culmination of a lot of thoughts over time.

I happen to enjoy prose of a particular type that sounds like the sort you find a struggle. And yet I can't get into Le Guin at all, which I am occasionally ashamed by. Much like with Zelazny, I feel like I ought to like her works--so many people I admire, whose books I enjoy, certainly do!--but as has been said long before any of us, De gustibus non est disputandum. Your preference for a more transparent prose style is just as valid as my preference for a more, uh, translucent style? (There is a good word for it, but it does not spring to my mind right now, merely pejoratives for it developed by people who dislike it.)

Circling back around to the topic at hand: when I fill out a Hugo ballot, which is certainly not every year, I'm working on two different points. Did I enjoy this? Did I think it was high quality? These things aren't perfectly congruent! There are often things I happen to enjoy that I don't think are particularly outstanding in quality, just remarkably to my taste. There are things I think are of very high quality, and very necessary--especially in areas like Related Works--that aren't necessarily something I enjoy, even if I can appreciate them. Generally I nominate what hits both at once. I like this and I think it is good.

And I am quite happy with everyone voting their heart based on whatever criteria they have for I like this and I think it is good. I get nervous and then angry at people who want to block vote, because it ruins this sense that we're all participating in the same thing honestly. It's a subjective honesty, but that's fine! It's a subjective award. I, personally, liked these things (and have experienced many things, some of which I did not like). I, personally, though these things were good (and have looked at other things and decided they were not as good).

A set ballot can't be that expression for more than one person. I don't believe any two people have such similar tastes that they feel exactly the same on the entire slate of what they want to nominate, out of every possible thing they could nominate that year, unless they're so poorly read that they haven't read (watched, listened to) anything except what's on the set ballot. At which point, why are they nominating at all? If that's all they've experienced, they can't even be nominating based on what they like the most: it's just a list of what they happen to have experienced lately.

#33 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:03 PM:

Elliott Mason, #27: I have been reading books written at varying levels of accessibility/transparency to me recently -- for instance, the business/self-help book "Switch" has tremendously accessible prose, and I can read Courtney Milan's novels pretty quick, zooming along through plot and banter. And then there's Zora Neale Hurston or Toni Morisson or Thomas Pynchon to cause me to really linger over the prose and the nuance and what's NOT being said and so on, more like hiking than driving. I have also felt twinges of that same suspicion that you mentioned, and I appreciate knowing we have shared that experience!

#34 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:05 PM:

(Drat - I meant Morrison.)

#35 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:07 PM:

As far as prose style, dependent clauses and grammatical complication don't necessarily scare me off. I read the Economist for fun, which some friends of mine have said they consider verging on kinky.

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:08 PM:

22
Yes, that's what I heard. As I understood it, some of them tried to check out at their agreed-on time, and then check back in. The hotel caught on pretty quickly.

They still didn't get out until something like 12 hours after they were supposed to have checked out, though.

#37 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:10 PM:

This moose believes he has catholic taste[1] when it comes to SF, having started out with Hugh Walters, Clarke, Asimov, Simak, various Smiths (George O,.Doc, and Cordwainer) , RAH, and Jack Vance. Some authors are best avoided (Donaldson, Hubbard), and Dorothy Parker's comment definitely applies to V.D. and his writings.

I enjoyed the Vinge novels very much, and will certainly give TLHoD a try (and possibly the Zen&tAoMM as well).

Thank you all.

Cadbury.
[1] Though not Tanuki's "Catholic Taste - the new monthly magazine for the discerning cleric".

#38 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:11 PM:

Elliott--

I love both The Left Hand of Darkness and Always Coming Home, and it doesn't surprise me at all that someone could love one and bounce off the other. (In either order.)

Our reactions are significantly different, clearly: part of what I love about Le Guin is her phrasing. There are bits of it furnishing my mind. "The Ice says there is nothing but ice, but that young volcano over there has a word it thinks of saying." (That's from The Left Hand of Darkness, from memory.)

#39 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:11 PM:

Neil W @23: I think those differing reactions are mostly about trust. See, for instance, all those studies which show that people will favor policy X if they think it's coming from their side and oppose it if they think it's coming from the other side.

Ancillary Justice has a woman's name on the cover. So unless she's known to be on side, she's suspect, and SP readers will be on guard for any Ideas about gender, and feel preached at if they find any. Men, on the other hand, will be presumed friendly. The SPs would probably never figure out that John Scalzi was their enemy if his chief leisure pursuit wasn't humiliating them on the twitterblogs.

I bet you could take a bunch of SP readers unfamiliar with the work and give them copies of Lock In with Scalzi's name replaced with generic-sounding pen names and the ones who get feminine names will feel preached at and the ones who get masculine names won't.

Redpillers really have a thing about being lectured by women.

#40 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:12 PM:

Elliot Mason @ #35:

YKIOKBINMK (your kink is OK but is not my kink).

On the other hand, I am almost fluent in pre-spelling-deform Swedish (1914 or so), so I guess I have at least quarter of a pony in this race.

#41 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:15 PM:

Sumana, 33: "Hiking vs driving" is a brilliant way of putting it.

#42 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:16 PM:

I have skipped most of the Other Thread, because reading heated arguments does not improve my life -- and also because I have almost never submitted Hugo votes. (A couple of times, turn-of-the-century-ish. Not since then.) But I've spent a lot of time over the years voting in similar competitions, such as the annual Interactive Fiction Competition and XYZZY Awards. (Both of which, to be clear, I've won a few times.)

Abi's words: "It removes the mystery, the quirkiness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness. Then it’s just an election, with partisans and campaigning and slogans and crap." -- crystalized a thought. Or a couple of opposing thoughts.

On the one hand, the Hugos are a popularity contest. That's what you call putting together thousands of individual loves and desires and trying to divine a winner. The process is personal but the result is adding a title to a list. That's fine.

But: "just an election" invokes the extreme tribalization of US elections, which have gone way beyond "pick a leader who represents what you want government to do." An election is supposed to be an event where you put together thousands of individual dreams of a better future, pick a winner, and give some schmuck a new job. That's fine too.

What we *have* in the US is a ritualized assertion of identity, where They try to crush Our claim to *matter at all*, and vice versa(*). Thus the ongoing arguments about legitimacy of candidates and elections, the ongoing campaign of the opposition party to derail and destroy any act by those in power, and the general air of "anything goes because we are fighting for survival."

I don't regret the idea of the Hugos being "just an election" (or contest). I regret the idea that they will become just another prize that proves somebody's team is on top.

(* I wrote that paragraph in even-handed, "both sides are guilty" mode. I do *not* believe both sides are equally guilty in US politics this generation. But you know those issues. I'm pointing at them *because* I don't need to explain them.)

#43 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:20 PM:

Abi, this post was illuminating. I love it when that happens.

#44 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:21 PM:

Abi, I think you and Serge Broom between you have explained to me why I have always had trouble nominating works for awards, and even voting for the Hugo--it feels so person. *I* loved it--this book spoke to me--but would it speak to anyone else? Is it something of such high quality that even people who bounce off of might recognize quality from the first few pages? (That, by the way, has happened to me; I'll read a book, force my way through it for some reason--usually for a course--and say, "well, yes, wonderful work of literature, but I Don't Appreciate It. Now what?" See, for example, pretty much everything T.S. Eliot ever wrote . . .)

That way indecision and inaction lie. I'm going to have to thing about this. Thank you.

#45 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:23 PM:

Elliott Mason @18: I keep hearing summaries that make TLHoD sound like a wonderful thing, but every time I encounter the actual book I cannot find any of the described virtues in the text in my hands.

A comment by abi in another thread prompted me to pull it down and read it again. I've always found a lot of LeGuin to be quite opaque, and that was true here, as well. I discovered that I had entirely lost any memory of the story before they got up onto the ice.

For me: a readable, if dry, work. Whatever sensawunda it provokes seems to be on an axis I don't have the enzyme to activate. To hopelessly muddle my metaphors....

But: de gustabis, and all that.

Lathe of Heaven, OTOH, most decidedly works for me. Painfully so.

#46 ::: Vicki gets the dread server error ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:27 PM:

Something that occurred to me late in the previous thread:

If SF is really a literature of ideas, it should be addressing questions like what gender is and whether/when it matters. We don't need a literature of ideas to teach the basic rocketry that Goddard and Tsiolkovsky published.

As far as I can tell, "sf shouldn't be political" mostly means "sf should share my politics" and/or "should support the status quo." Where are the attacks on Heinlein for having political content of Starship Troopers or The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress? Yes, people argue with the politics they see there, but that's different from "if this were proper SF the AI wouldn't be part of a conversation in which someone says that she's a Fourth Internationalist" or "stop talking about who gets the franchise, I just want space battles."

#47 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:30 PM:

Vicki @46: I believe it was a previous Making Light thread where it was pointed out that when you disagree with it, it's blatant politics; but if you agree with it, it's just sensible worldbuilding.

#48 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:33 PM:

Responding to Mike Scott's post on the predecessor thread regarding how increasing the number of finalists per category would have an impact on a Worldcon's logistics and financing:

Specifically, it would increase the number of potential finalists (including the Campbell, and counting only existing categories with no speculation on future additions) from 85 to 103. Generally the pre-ceremony reception and seating gets +1, which makes just over 200, plus existing VIP overheads who aren't finalists. (Note that "finalist" here includes "designated acceptor" and assumes you don't have any overlaps like the same person nominated in multiple categories or one person designated by multiple finalists as an acceptor, and that everyone uses their +1. 206 is the worst-case scenario.)

The question is whether a 17% increase in the number of finalists would be sufficient to have any Worldcon seated at the time of ratification of the postulated 4-and-6 amendment refuse to follow it by the rule that prohibits WSFS from retroactively imposing costs on a seated Worldcon. Potentially it might take three years after ratification before the new rule was actually implemented, on the grounds that any Worldcon selected after ratification already knew what they were in for when they filed their bid.

(This is pretty theoretical. I don't know of any Worldcon that has actually invoked the Section 6.7 exemption.)

#49 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:36 PM:

Vicki, clearly, for some readers, "literature of ideas" means "literature that always celebrates and supports my ideas".

#50 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:37 PM:

My friend Eric has provided a lovely illustrated takedown of the idea that covers used to represent content.

Alas for those elder days!

#51 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:38 PM:

Elliott Mason @47: Best example I can think of is Dan Simmons' Olympos, which I was more or less enjoying until that regrettable stunt with the penml zhfyvz fhvpvqr-obzore fhoznevar gung jnf tbvat gb qrfgebl gur Rnegu.

"Jesus Christ," I thought. What kind of a schmuck have I been reading? And, worse, liking? I felt dirty.

#52 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:44 PM:

Thanks for an articulate and thoughtful essay.

The more I read Torgerson's antics, the more I have to suppress the knee-jerk reaction of a retired middle school teacher and tell him to knock it off. He's acting like a kid who thinks he's entitled to a Student of the Month award without behaving in the manner appropriate to such/doing the work necessary (and yes, I've had badly behaved kids get into my face demanding to know why they didn't get Student of the Month).

It's annoying and somewhat nauseating to see this sort of behavior exhibited by an alleged adult. Deep sigh.

Meanwhile, add me to the group who loves both Always Coming Home and The Left Hand of Darkness, although my absolute favorite LeGuin is still The Lathe of Heaven. I think the part that resonates with me the most is when George Orr has changed the world so that everyone has a gray skin. He encounters the woman he loves, and thinks that her essential self is gone because the grayness has taken away her edge. The book is boxed and In The Other House, otherwise I'd pull it out and reread that passage.

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:56 PM:

Fade Manley @32: It's a subjective honesty, but that's fine! It's a subjective award.

Never more dramatically demonstrated than in '93, when A Fire Upon the Deep and Doomsday Book tied for Best Novel. AFUTD's second chapter contains the best mind-fuck I've ever experienced since I "got" Boolean Algebra. DB, on the other hand, got hurled across the room after a hundred pages. "Get on with it, already!"

#54 ::: Devin Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 06:57 PM:

What this reminds me of, more than anything, is the people who got into online video games via one game or the other, and then spend the rest of their lives lamenting how no game is as good as that one was, before [x] or [y] changed and made it suck. But the funny thing is, if you give them that old version of the game, it's never good enough, either - there's always some change that makes it Just No Good.

What they really want, and can't have, is that time of their life back again. The dorm room, the free time, the naive and untroubled worldview, the lack of hangovers and abundance of energy. Nothing today will feel like things did back then, because the world has changed.

Some people recognize this, shrug, and move on, occasionally telling nostalgic anecdotes. Some people declare it to be Somebody's Fault, and campaign endlessly for changes to things that won't and can't solve the problem, but are easier to spend energy on than self-reflection. My day job for a while was sorting those types out of the general pool of feedback, and they have a particular feel that I see here as well.

#55 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:00 PM:

A lovely set of observations, abi. Once again, you've contributed a deep and meditative viewpoint which perhaps only you could have come up with. It makes a lovely contrast with the irritants of the preceding thread, like a pearl formed from grit.

To touch on a side note, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was also a influential book for me, particularly as - from certain angles in certain lights - it's a book about literally losing ones mind and going mad at the University of Chicago, and I read it while at the University of Chicago and seriously worrying that I was losing my mind; I felt very near to it at times. It may also have had something to do with my taking up the practice of Zen, although there were other stronger causes for that, and among other points, the "stuckness" parable about the screw on the engine cover has had a lasting influence on me. I continue to come back to the book and renew my acquaintance with it occasionally.

TLHoD, definitely, and without that particularly heavy emotional overtone, and I really need to get a copy of Always Coming Home as I haven't reread it in years. (The ex- got that in the post-divorce collection division, and I've been meaning to replace it ever since.)

#56 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:04 PM:

Jacque @53: That's a particularly entertaining example, because The Doomsday Book is an old favorite who I come back to time and again, and I have been known to wish, on occasion, that it was longer; whereas nothing I've heard about Fire Upon The Deep has ever suggested it was a book I might enjoy, as opposed to one of those venerable classics I might read some day because I ought to eat my vegetables be familiar with the discourse in the field.

But then, I have often been found complaining that certain books were so fast-paced that they gave me no chance to enjoy the story, to the point that they leave me breathlessly annoyed and giving up on the whole exhausting exercise. Which only goes to show that tastes vary in all sorts of ways.

Maybe I should give FUTD a try after all.

#57 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:05 PM:

(Curses, I see that my strikeout tags were removed, which I should've noted in preview. In any case, 'eat my vegetables' was a bit more snide than I really wanted to express, which is why it had strike tags to start with.)

#58 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:05 PM:

me @45: de gustibus—sheesh.

#59 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:06 PM:

Kevin, the argument that the amendment would be "imposing additional costs" on a seated Worldcon strikes me as specious: there's no requirement for the Worldcon to even host a pre-Hugo reception, so any increased costs would be the result of voluntary decisions by the ConCom, not any new Constitutional mandate.

#60 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:10 PM:

Fade, having read about your trials and tribulations with translation, I think there's at least one thread in A Fire Upon the Deep you'd find interesting. The possibilities and limitations of translation are important to the story, as possibly necessary info is scattered widely across a galaxy linked by what amounts to multi-species Usenet.

#61 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:14 PM:

Devin Singer @54: What they really want, and can't have, is that time of their life back again.

I'd go further: they (we) are eternally (like junkies) chasing that first high.

What they (we) forget is that a huge part of that high is the surprise that comes with it. Which (by definition) can never happen again.

#62 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Mary Frances #44:
I wonder if this is one reason why relatively few Worldcon members nominate (~2,000 valid nominating ballots out of ~11,000 members at last year's Loncon. Mind you, 3,587 voting isn't a large number either).

I did nominate for this year (though could only scrape up one or two works in some of the categories) and I think of it as being part of a crowd-sourced process: every bit helps toward getting the shortlist. So it didn't matter that I haven't read much in the way of new stuff within the eligibility window, if I liked it enough to think it Hugo-worthy, it went into the pot*.

I am also less diffident (less intimidated?) about nominating what I liked because it is the first part of a two-stage process, it is the final ballot that counts.

*I wonder how this year's stew will taste.

#63 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:20 PM:

I blushingly admit I bounce off LeGuin and Delaney. Had to read Dhalgren for a book club meeting -- pure torture. To me, the book read as if it was one scene repeating endlessly, I have no idea what the author was trying to say, but I've had sessions in the dentist's chair that were easier.

Sometimes, with some books, I bounce off of them the first time I try to read them, and then somewhere down the road, I pick them up again, and wonder why I had trouble with them.

#64 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:20 PM:

Bruce Baugh @60: The possibilities and limitations of translation are important to the story

This was a thread I enjoyed about A Deepness in the Sky, too. Not just translating language, but translating experience, as well.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:26 PM:

63
I've heard a lot of people bounced off that one. I haven't tried it, but I enjoy Babel-17.

YMMV.

#66 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:29 PM:

It occurs to me that the problems some of us feel about Hugo nominating tie into something I've remarked on in other contexts: the sense that we have to act like pundits, arbiters, or decision-making authorities (judges, chief executives, etc.) when commenting on things.

I'm not really sure where a bunch of us pick up the idea that we have to represent two/more/all sides of a controversy within ourselves when we dare to speak up, but sure is a prevalent one. "To be fair", "but let me play devil's advocate here for a moment", and so many more usages go with the sense that we ought to have no unvarnished opinion of our own, no clear-cut, pure, undiluted reaction if anyone has another. Meanwhile, those who are busily undermining the very foundations of discourse, negotiation, and resolution feel no such restraint at all - they take their refusal to compromise as itself a sign that they're right.

But...as with so much else, the Hugo voting doesn't call upon us to do that. First it's "what do you think other voters may want to consider as one of the best in this category?", and then it's "How do you rank these?" There's no pressure in there to try to represent anyone but ourselves in any of the text or surrounding commentary from people about how the process works...and yet I see that I'm not at all alone in feeling it nonetheless.

This thread, in its two instars so far, has motivated me to act on the unreality of that burden by getting a supporting membership. :)

#67 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:32 PM:

Fade Manley @56 said: Maybe I should give FUTD a try after all.

If it's any help, the derivative works that I enjoy most about that series are Ben Newman's filksongs (do a find-in-page for Vernor Vinge to see them all). Lyrics are linked there, as well as mp3s for several.

A pull-quoted verse-and-chorus (from The Galaxy is Silent) for those who don't wish to click through, because poetry is always on-topic here:

The galaxy is silent, no answer to my ping.
First cacophony and violence, now I can't hear a thing.
I can't get a connection - I can't get on the Net.
It began with the Infection, and it isn't over yet...

For the galaxy is silent, as the network dies,
And there is no comment from the Net of many lies.

#68 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:37 PM:

After the discussion about FUTD here, I've requested it from the library, and while it's joining a rather large stack (I haven't even started on The Black Count yet!), I certainly intend to give it a try! My rate of success with classics of the genre is low. But this whole conversation is intimately reminding me that one person's obligatory classic is another person's personally beloved story. And I can't tell which category a book will fall into until I try it myself.

#69 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:38 PM:

Specifically, Ben's song A Fire Upon the Deep (a href="http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/01/bnewman/songs/music/FireUponTheDeep.mp3">mp3) sounds fascinating to me and I would read that story at trilogy length. Unfortunately, I can't find it in the actual book (or the first chapter thereof, which is as far as I've gotten).

It may contain spoilers. I wouldn't know, I can't make it through the book, but the warning is posted for courtesy.

#70 ::: Lyle Hopwood ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:52 PM:

Reading the previous thread has made me get off my arse - well, to be fair, to sit back down on it - and buy a supporting membership. I'm a relatively rare Worldcon goer, about four times in four decades.

I don't usually get a supporting membership if I have no chance of attending, as I somehow feel (even if it's technically incorrect) that the people actually AT the Worldcon deserve to have their own Hugo and should get go to the award ceremony to cheer on their own candidates. I guess that point is moot now, so I might as well join in!

I'd be interested to see a breakdown of when the waves of supporting memberships came in, after the dust has settled.

#71 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 07:56 PM:

One of my early epiphanies came as a teenager, when I was reading an Acknowledged Classic of Western Literature, and I realized, all of a sudden....

... I was enjoying it.

Seriously. It suddenly struck me that the reason why this particular book had survived the centuries wasn't so much the acclaim of academics and the plaudits of the literati, but simply that it was actually fun to read.

And I think that is true of most books, maybe of all books, that get a reputation as good ones. Of course, fun and enjoyment are very subjective qualities, and it is entirely possible to bounce off a book that others consider brilliant.

Being me, I am interested in dissecting both the book and my own feelings, to try to understand exactly why I find it fun to read. (There are many, many ways in which you can divide humanity into two kinds of people, and one of them is this: there are people who want to know how the magician does his tricks, and people who are just as keen not to know. I'm in the former camp. I want to know how the magic - of conjurers, or of books - works.)

But, whether I know how the magic works or not, it's still there, and it's why I continue to read, and to write.

Perhaps my irritation with regard to the current kerfuffle arise from the way some people are trying to make reading books a tiresome wrangle about the prestige they think they're owed... when, really, reading the nominees should be the sort of numinous experience abi describes. They're talking about a lot of things, but they're not talking about the magic.

(Also, I note unnerving similarities between Cadbury Moose's early reading list and my own. Hugh Walters? George O. Smith?... Since I currently have a beard, I must assume, for the moment, that I am Cadbury Moose's evil twin.)

#72 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:03 PM:

Soon Lee 62: I wonder if this is one reason why relatively few Worldcon members nominate

I couldn't speak for other Worldcon members, supporting or attending--er, occurs to me that my disinclination to speak "for others" is part of the problem! So to speak. That said, I also have difficulty recommending books to people, unless they are close friends and I know their taste well enough to judge. (And even then, sometimes. Even when I'm specifically asked for a recommendation, which is basically what the chance to nominate for the Hugo awards is--asking for recommendations, that is.) So maybe I'm exaggerating out of personal response. But it did seem as if abi had explained something that'd I'd always wondered about . . . so maybe others feel that way, too?

#73 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:06 PM:

abi, thanks for this thoughtful post.

I am sad to discover that my public library does not have a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness. I might have one somewhere in the basement; otherwise I may check interlibrary loan. It's been at least 30 years since I read it, probably more. I remember being faintly puzzled by it at the time and feeling like I was missing something. I suspect I would get much more out of a reread.

Elliott Mason @47 I believe it was a previous Making Light thread where it was pointed out that when you disagree with it, it's blatant politics; but if you agree with it, it's just sensible worldbuilding. and Bruce Baugh @49 for some readers, "literature of ideas" means "literature that always celebrates and supports my ideas"

Yes, she says, somewhat hesitantly. The thing is, there are ideas that I know I don't want to read about, so if I can avoid it, I don't. Possibly I'm missing the opportunity to broaden my mind. In my view I'm just making optimum use of scarce brain time. Some of these are ideas I view as toxic, but others are just Not My Cuppa. Sexy vampires? I'm outta here. Ditto colonial triumphalism. Or grimdark. In theory I don't object to others reading about them, but I don't want to go there, and I'm sometimes snarkier than I should be. I might miss an author who did something new and wondrous with sexy vampires. I'll take the risk. That's my right.

It's equally the SP's right to skim a blurb, say "Not another feminist book, I hate those!" and pass in favor of something that interests them, and say so on their own blog. I don't think we should be playing the card for "they don't like what I do, therefore they are narrow-minded."

To be clear, this only applies to their reading choices and discussion of same. When it veers into attempts to bludgeon or coerce everyone else into ratifying their choices ... No. Just no.

#74 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:09 PM:

Lori 63: I blushingly admit I bounce off LeGuin and Delaney. Had to read Dhalgren for a book club meeting -- pure torture. To me, the book read as if it was one scene repeating endlessly, I have no idea what the author was trying to say, but I've had sessions in the dentist's chair that were easier.

Huh. De gustibus indeed. I read Dhalgren over and over, starting when I was 17 and found it on my bed one afternoon (my mother saw it in a rack at the grocery store and thought it was the sort of thing I'd like). Some of it was difficult going (the Anathemata, for example), but I was stunned by the beauty of the language. One example of the overlap between them was this sentence:

Things that made the obscure obvious by overturning overturned.
The beauty in that was internal, as I finally parsed it and discovered that what happened to me in that process was what the sentence was describing happening to the POV character in the book. The thrill of that experience has stayed with me for nearly four decades.

And Dhalgren is a novel filled with time distortion, but the most undeniable is also the most difficult to find. The internal timeline of the Anathemata has event A preceding event B, which precedes event C...which precedes A.

I also will admit that the gay sex in the book was a drawing card for me early on.

All that said, it's one of those books that, while special to me, I can understand other people not liking. It's like Wicca, mushrooms, and spicy food: not for everyone, and people who it IS for aren't any better than people it isn't.

#75 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:37 PM:

Okay everyone, check your rightwinger bingo cards. Torgersen has just name-checked Saul Alinsky. Is that BINGO for anyone?

#76 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:40 PM:

Thanks for this post; it stirred up a lot of thoughts for me about the joints between public appreciation and private appreciation of a book.

I have been a reader almost all my life; have been a writer, unpublished and then published, for half my life; have been a librarian for long enough to get good at it; I've been a book blogger, and I've been on library committees to argue about what should get our Mock Printz Award (for best YA book of the year) and what should go on our summer reading list. But I still get nervous along the borders where my own response to a book ends and my advocacy for it begins -- whether that's talking it up to a friend on Twitter or advocating for it in a committee. (Will I be revealed as Problematic or unsophisticated if I talk about how much I liked this book? Can I talk about my discomfort with a book without it becoming a personal attack?)

I wonder if this is part of what makes these discussions feel so contentious and so personal -- so many of us are carrying around these little insecurities that What You Like To Read is a synecdoche for Who You Are. It's probably only natural for lots of fans to identify with that a little -- otherwise we'd be people who "just read the stuff" -- but I'm not surprised if people who like Brad Torgerson feel like they're being told "You're insufficiently progressive, you don't belong with NEW science fiction fandom" just like I occasionally feel like I'm being told "You couldn't possibly REALLY like Ann Leckie, you're just pretending to like her books for SJW points."

#77 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:43 PM:

Laertes @75: Dang, that canard is rivalling the old fashioned blood libel for undeserved legs.

#78 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:45 PM:

OtterB, I think that in practice there's a big difference between avoiding some kinds of unwelcome ideas and avoiding every possible significant challenge to one's current way of thinking. If you've gone through the experience of realizing "okay, there is more here than I knew, and this calls for me to adjust this thought, and others that are attached to it", then (as I see it) you're doing life basically right. What I pointed at, in my head, was the folks who proceed on the assumption that every serious challenge must be false, that those making it must be silenced by as much force as it takes to shut them up, and that what cannot be refuted must simply be suppressed.

#79 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:49 PM:

Devin @ 54 -- I think there's a lot to be said there. Maybe there is nothing that will ever be as good as Adventure was when I was seven, or Civilization when I was ten, or Hero's Quest when I was twelve. That sense of terrible excitement that anything could happen next and there were great mysteries and you would eventually see the answers.

At the same time, though--I may be fortunate, but I still do get hit occasionally upside the head with wonder. Katamari left me giggling hysterically and Jade Empire made me cry and I will keep a machine around that can run Oddworld 3 as long as humanly possible.

And with books...well, the first one that kept me up all night reading was "The Madness Season" by C.S. Friedman, and I would have sworn that wouldn't happen again when I was no longer a teenager...and then I read "Perdido Street Station" in my twenties. And I'd have sworn that it wouldn't happen again, and--god help me--I stayed up until three in the morning a few months ago, playing Hatoful Boyfriend of all things, and I would have put that sucker on a Hugo ballot in a heartbeat. That thing made me feel drunk and excited and baffled in the best ways.

So...I don't know. I may be an outlier, but that mad, headlong wonder still crops up now and again...but only when I'm not reading the same old things. But what sets me on fire may do nothing for you, and vice versa, and alas, I know of no way to give someone an infusion of wonder. So even if what the SP's have is a bad case of nostalgia mixed in with their entitlement...well...some things are hard to fix.

#80 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 08:52 PM:

Elliott Mason #69: Looking at the link, that story isn't in the book, it is the book. Those lyrics present a fast but faithful pass over the bones of the story. Which may not quite be trilogy length, but probably half that for most authors who aren't Robert Jordan.

When it came out, people were saying that Vernor Vinge had brought space opera back for the modern age, and I'd agree. I also loved his second book in that universe, A Deepness In The Sky, which takes place on a much smaller scale (a single system rather than the Galaxy at large), but is still mind-expanding and wondrous. It's not a sequel, but rather, linked to the other book by a major character in each.

#81 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 09:29 PM:

Bruce Baugh @78 the assumption that every serious challenge must be false, that those making it must be silenced by as much force as it takes to shut them up

This is clearly the step past "my preference" into "and nobody has the right to think otherwise"

As I commented in one of the DFD threads, "I have the right to my opinion, and you also have the right to my opinion."

But I still think "Don't want to read stuff I don't like" is perfectly justified, no matter what the "stuff" is, and worthy of only mild mocking. The next step isn't justified, and is worthy of the kind of strong response.

#82 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 09:39 PM:

Oh, Abi. That was beautiful. Thank you.

#83 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 09:55 PM:

By the way, I have been reading SFF for going on 50 years and have never been to a con or voted for the Hugos. Until the past few years I didn't know that "real people" could get supporting memberships and nominate and vote. Since then I've held back because I didn't feel like I read enough, or read widely enough, especially in short fiction, or something. I expect I will get a supporting membership this year in order to vote.

#84 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 09:58 PM:

Laertes@75:The post you reference is interesting in what it says about its writer as it is all about Torgersen's fears. He says that he is deeply afraid of saying too much lest it effect his career and that he has been cautioned by others. He very much wants to cry out censored!
I don't actually see that he is censoring himself very much on his blog. He seems to have all sorts of things to say. It's his blog, he can say what he wants there.
His post is an assertion and refutation of itself all wrapped into an untidy package.
Fear of losing things he's never had, fear of controls that are not there and fear of consequences that haven't happened entwine themselves into the prickly vines that are the SP.
Fear is indeed the mind killer.

#85 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:10 PM:

David Harmon @80: yeah, but when I actually read the book I can't find any of the awesome the song insists is there, just a lot of tiresome prose about people I don't care about and nothing much interest G happening.

I haven't tried it in years, maybe I've grown some since.

#86 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:12 PM:

P J Evans, #36: And then there were the shenanigans surrounding Nolacon in 1988, where the fen started arriving on Thursday and were told that their rooms weren't available because this other group (a church organization of some sort) were supposed to have left that morning, but a whole bunch of them had decided to stay over an extra day.

This produced the expected amount of outrage, and a large lobby sing-in of the fannish version of "That Old-Time Religion", and eventually people got their rooms. But wait, there's more! Late Sunday afternoon, someone overheard a hotel flunky giving the exact same spiel about US to someone who was trying to check in -- that this group of science fiction people was supposed to have checked out that morning, but a lot of them had decided to stay an extra day.

Can you say "shenanigans"? Apparently that hotel made a habit of double-booking large groups and then lying about it. My annoyance with the church group evaporated in a puff of smoke, to be replaced with a much higher level of annoyance with the hotel that was running shady practices.

Mary Frances, #44: I've had that reaction with music. Someone once gave me a CD of jazz (I don't remember the performer/group name), and in listening to it I could tell that it was an outstanding example of its class -- but that class was one that comes across as "random noise" to me, and even though I greatly admired the musicianship, I didn't want to listen to it. That CD went to the used-music store, in the hopes that someone who would enjoy it would find it.

Vicki, #46: As far as I can tell, "sf shouldn't be political" mostly means "sf should share my politics" and/or "should support the status quo."

That concept comes up in a lot of areas. Slacktivist has been having some fine discussions of late on its relationship with religion.

Jacque, #61: I think there are elements of both. The nostalgia factor of "I want to be once again the person I was when I read and loved this book," and the desire to have the same kind of NRE* that they got from it the first time. Which, as you point out, is going to be very difficult to find if they keep reading stuff that's very much like what they've already read!

Bruce B., #66: "To be fair", "but let me play devil's advocate here for a moment", and so many more usages go with the sense that we ought to have no unvarnished opinion of our own, no clear-cut, pure, undiluted reaction if anyone has another. Meanwhile, those who are busily undermining the very foundations of discourse, negotiation, and resolution feel no such restraint at all - they take their refusal to compromise as itself a sign that they're right.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity"?
(Which is intended as a meta-commentary on that comment, not specific to the current discussion.)

Mary Frances, #72: I have a couple of friends upon whose recommendation I'll try pretty much anything (sometimes this is limited to things in a single topic). I have at least one other friend who keeps shoving things into my hands and my reaction is that at best they're "meh" and at worst they're just terrible -- not my cuppa at all. It's an excellent illustration of the fact that Mileage Varies, and I don't recommend things to that friend because the odds of him liking them are slim to none.

UrsulaV, #79: Civilization when I was ten

Holy crap, are you THAT much younger than I am? (HH1/2K) (And yes, I think you are, which is a bit startling because I don't feel that old.)

And The Madness Season! I love that book. I love most of her hard SF, although I bounced resoundingly off her first fantasy trilogy; I couldn't make myself care enough about the protagonist to give a shit about his ethical dilemma. (Which is really damning coming from me; usually thorny ethical issues are something I like in a book.) Have you tried This Alien Shore? It's on my list of Desert Island Books.

The last book that kept me up all night was The Goblin Emperor. If it doesn't win this year, I'm going to be mightily disappointed.

* New Relationship Energy

#87 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:20 PM:

86
I've read The Madness Season (not recently, not sure it's still around), and I agree with you on that and The Goblin Emperor. That one sucked me in just reading the first chapter. (The ones that do that, they're very much worth keeping around. At least until they stop furnishing my mind.)

#88 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:26 PM:

OtterB, I'm a big believer in not reading stuff you don't want to. It's not a job, and there are darned few works of fiction that I can seriously imagine carrying a moral duty to read. What I've been interested in, in recent years, is working out (when I can) just what it is that turns me off of various works/authors/etc., to get a more conscious handle on how my tastes work. Sometimes it leads me to reconsider work I'd set aside without any real appraisal, and that can be cool; sometimes it leads me to think "OK, right, that's a good reason for continuing to leave it alone", and that's cool too. I tend to figure there's no losing outcome to an honest internal appraisal - which, I guess, ties into Abi's point in the original post. :)

#89 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:26 PM:

Bruce Baugh on the previous thread @ 909: "And of course a story can be - and should be, lots of the time - about more than one thing."

I've been trying, and I can't even imagine a story that is about only one thing. What would that even be? Let's take that paragon of Campbellian sf for example: what is the one thing "The Cold Equations" is about? Delivering a vaccine? Space exploration? Pioneer culture? Danger and bravery? Humanity's relationship to technology? Blaming tech for human problems? Gender roles? 1950s sexism? Coming to terms with death? The need for clearer signage?

It's not even that I think stories that engage on multiple levels are better. It's that I don't think it's possible to write something that only engages one idea, that can only be read in one way.

Stories are always about many things. The only question is: which of them catch your notice, for good or ill? And that has everything to do with which things get to be marked and unmarked. SP is unhappy both with the idea that things like white, male, straight, cisgender, etc. can or should be marked, and with the idea that alternative states can or should exist in a story without that becoming What The Story Is About. Because what on earth is it about transgender identity that precludes the possibility that the story is ALSO about kicking alien ass in a nuclear-powered combat suit? Because as fabulous as the handling of gender is in Ancillary Justice, if you think that's what the book is About, you're missing some great stuff about the meaning of civilization and dehumanization, colonization and bureaucracy, and how to be a righteous (not necessarily) human being.

There's something here about how stories' multiplicity of being is part of what makes our relationship with them more, and less, than political--that gives them the power to change with us as we grow. But it's not there yet.

#90 ::: Jeff S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 10:56 PM:

I've been lurking on Making Light for a few years and have followed the conversations with pleasure or disdain and every level in between.
Abi, you so often get to the heart of the matter as Teresa and Patrick so often do, but this time you have reached a deeper truth. The Hugo's to me are the works that made me think a bit beyond the basic love of reading something new. It can push buttons that I really rather would not have had pushed or it can just entertain the heck out of me, making smiles and giggles inevitable.

I can't always say what makes a novel or story hit that upper level, but if I want to read it more than once or it becomes an old friend that I take off of the shelf when I need it, it has that quality.

Since my library has everything from Stanley Weinbaum to China Mieville with stops at Terry Pratchett and William Gibson, it has a wide range of acceptableness. (is that a word? I think it's a word.)

Back on track though. I have read Hugo nominees that didn't work for me and others that kept me spellbound. The point for me has always been, It's a Hugo nominee, it has a perceived value and I owe it to myself to give it a shot!

The whole idea of a slate of certain authors considered worthy by some organized group does not push that particular button for me. In fact it does the opposite.

The fact that an anonymous,to me, group of people all found 4 or 5 items in each category that had worth gives it more validity than a 1000 minutes of late night infomercials would ever do.

Thank you all, Fluorospherians for making me think at a more fundamental level than I do in general.

Jeff S

#91 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 11:03 PM:

David harmon @ 80... people were saying that Vernor Vinge had brought space opera back for the modern age

This reminds me though that, when New Space Opera was The Thing, CJ Cherryh was seldom if ever mentionned as having been writing modern Space Opera for about two decades before almost everybody. So it goes.

#92 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 11:18 PM:

Lee @ 86 - I had to go back and check release dates, and I misspoke and flipped two, I think - would have been Hero's Quest first, (before they changed it to Quest for Glory) and then Civ at the ripe old age of 13. (Which is...uh...marginally better? Maybe?)

I was on an Amiga 500 at the time. That thing was a workhorse!

Loved "Madness Season," loved "In Conquest Born." (I don't know why those don't crop up more often on hard SF lists--I never hear anybody mention them.) I was at the right age/moment in time to be thoroughly enchanted by the antihero in the True Night trilogy, but I keep bouncing off the second fantasy trilogy. (I won't swear that a few rounds of bad relationships hasn't soured me on brooding antiheroes, mind you...)

Apropos of other commentary, I liked "Fire Upon The Deep" but only the Tines. I think I eventually wound up skipping the rest--get back to the Tines! The Tines are cool! I don't care about anyone else in the galaxy, give me more aliens!

#93 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 11:28 PM:

Lee @ 86: Thank you for the quote (and for your sentiments, but I found the quote to Bruce Baugh particularly apropos). Here's one that's been rolling around in my head for the past few days, reading over these threads; it's actually always sort of been one of my "hold on here" mantras in response to yours about the worst being filled with intensity: "The last temptation is the greatest treason:/To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

The reverse is more common--people talk more often about doing the wrong thing with the best of intentions--but still. It's as if questioning our motives, our reasons for acting, isn't important; just the end result matters. Not sure why I've been thinking of that while reading about this situation, but I have been, fwiw.

#94 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2015, 11:48 PM:

I find myself getting skeptical if not worse about some kinds of questioning of intent, for practical reasons:

#1. We aren't ever going to know our own motives exhaustively. Our brains don't work that way. Non-conscious thought, and non-verbalized thought both conscious and un-, really takes place. Knowing that some parts of our decision-making self are simply not open to examination should encourage care in treating the remainder as if it were the whole simply because it's where we can look.

#2. Action transmutes thought and feeling, or, "one describes a circle beginning anywhere". What's true of creative effort is really true of everything we do: it doesn't much matter to the end work where we began, because there are things that all have to be attended to along the way and can be done in various orders.

On the other hand, I'm simultaneously getting more judgmental about people's lack of reflection on the outcomes of what they've done so far. Maybe - quite possibly, really - this is an unfair and distorting focus on my part. But it feels to me like the acid test of one's character and judgment is what you do when you tried what you thought was a good idea, and see what actually happened, how it differed from what you imagined, and how you proceed from there.

#95 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:26 AM:

I am more likely to enjoy rereading Left Hand of Darkness because I know that Abi draws strength from it. Enjoyment is weird like that.

I have sat for several minutes now, gazing at a pot of miniature daffodils, fingers on the keyboard, trying to find what I mean in a way that isn't yes.

#96 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:33 AM:

One of the things that makes me perfectly comfortable with nominating and voting based on my own personal response to a book (rather than trying to aim for some sort of Abstract Quality judgment) is a lifetime of the sort of reaction mis-matches being discussed at the moment. One of the things that makes me drag my feet about taking other people's recommendations for books to read is the many many times that friends who know me well -- ones whose interests are more overlapping than not -- have urged books on me, squeeing enthusiastically…only to find myself unable to do more than find the book competently written.

I'd say that 80% of the time, the mis-match on my end has to do with different framings of gender and sexuality issues. Perhaps the recommender hasn't noticed that there are no 3-dimensional women in the story (or hasn't read so many books of that type as to be unwilling to overlook it). Quite often the recommender is enthusing over characters meant to be a romantic focus (or pairings meant to engage the reader's sympathies) and is overlooking the problem that I've already read two lifetimes worth of stories that erase the existence of my own romantic leanings. Perhaps the book gets all of the preceding "right" but is simply in a sub-genre or has a plot and setting that leave me utterly cold. None of this is an issue with the abstract quality of the books, but there's a validity to saying, "No, I'm sorry, I've had enough of prioritizing other people's stories. To get top marks from me, a book has to actually target me as a desirable audience."

(Which, it must be admitted is, to some extent, the starting position of the SPs?)

I accept that the books that win *my* best book support are never going to win popularity awards. (And for the same reason, I have to accept that the number of books published that can make *me* squee enthusiastically will always be much smaller than those my friends enjoy.) But that doesn't mean I should give up on my standards or my desires or decide to settle for liking the books everyone else likes just be one of the crowd.

So, yeah, I'm going to nominate (and -- to the extent made available to me, vote for) the books that I, in all my lonely idiosyncrasy, love. And I will do it for no other reason than that. And they won't win. Mostly they won't ever get in spitting distance of the ballot. But what on earth is the point of the award if I do anything other than that?

#97 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:10 AM:

me @53: AFUTD's second chapter contains the best mind-fuck I've ever experienced

Sorry—fourth chapter. I always forget how much spin-up is involved in the perception shift.

Elliott Mason @69: Unfortunately, I can't find it in the actual book (or the first chapter thereof, which is as far as I've gotten).

Ah, yes, well then. The first chapter is by far the least interesting. If you're of a mind to try it again, I suggest giving it at least through chapter four.

(And now I'm having a really strong sense of having had this conversation before. Oh yes: you, then me. Just about exactly two years ago, too.)

#98 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:55 AM:

Kevin Standlee, and others, on voting - Thanks! The "last comparison against NA" really helps simplify things, and I hadn't been aware of it.

(As it happened, I did the "A B C NA D (no E)" vote on one section - D was Beale's entry, which was bad but had enough depth to it that I wouldn't have minded if it was one entry in a pulp magazine, while E was Brad Torgerson's appallingly soulless unthinking MilSF. (Hi, Brad, if you're still here - sorry, but that's how I felt about it, and there's plenty of MilSF I haven enjoyed.))

I normally don't vote on the novels, because I normally don't have time to read them all before the deadline, and I certainly wasn't going to finish the whole Wheel of Time, or even Correia. But Orbit's decision to publish just excerpts meant I felt ok about reading an equivalent length of material from the longer works. In this case, it lost Ann Leckie my vote - the excerpt was enough to show there was some interesting depth, but not enough to decide if I liked a book written from the perspective of somebody who seems ok having lots of slaves. And while I didn't think Correia's was Hugo material, it was a solidly fun read and I did finish it after voting was over, but before reading the Whole Wheel Of Time.

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:56 AM:

Steve H., #84: The process you're describing here is what I call "conservatives shouting from the rooftops that they're afraid to speak above a whisper". (Sadly, not original with me -- I ran across it in an SF story somewhere, years ago, and it stuck.)

UrsulaV, #92: Oh, the computer game? That makes it worse. ;-) I was talking about the original Civ board game -- not the later version that was based on the computer game. My now-ex and I used to play that with our regular gaming group when I was in my 30s, which puts it in the late 80s to early 90s.

In Conquest Born has a sequel called The Wilding; it's not as stellar as the first book, but still worth reading.

Mary Frances, #93: I've had to do some thinking about that concept from time to time. In particular, what do you do when (say) there's a ballot proposal, and you have an opinion about it based on reality, and both the supporting side and the opposing side are basing their arguments on woo? IMO, that's a case where you have to accept allies who are doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and cast your vote accordingly.

I'll toss you another one to consider: "Beginnings must be clean to be of profit." Which is from Diane Duane's The Romulan Way, and means roughly that no matter how good the thing you want to do may be, if you start out by building it on a corrupt foundation, sooner or later it'll come back and bite you on the ass. Which seems fairly apropos in this discussion.

#100 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:02 AM:

More on ballot processes - I wasn't aware that voting on site selection (which I'm not usually interested enough to do) automatically turned into a supporting bid for whichever bid actually won. I'll have to consider doing that. For me, the addition of the Hugo Reader Package makes the supporting bid a worthwhile deal even for conventions I don't feel that strongly about supporting, and makes it possible to actually read enough of the Hugo nominees to make an informed vote (and get to read lots of cool stuff.) I've occasionally done pre-supporting bids (more for Westercon than Worldcon), and I've occasionally considered a post-supporting bid for Minneapolis in 73.

#101 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:12 AM:

I have to think that there is some value to expanding the Hugo nominating base, but this may be naive.

On the last thread about this topic, Teresa made the comment along the lines of good works will naturally generate the type of buzz and enthusiasm that causes readers to remember, promote, nominate and vote for the works. The statement was not made, but it seems to me that the inference is that slate voting, because it is done against the perceived natural propensity of good works to inspire voting, is inferior to the sort of grassroots nominating that has been (to a lessening extent, year over year, in my opinion) the norm.

I am not hoping to put words in anyone mouths, but that seems to be the state of the conversation.

Again, I may be naive, but is there really any harm to come from slate voting?

#102 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:14 AM:

abi--

And it ruins the nature of the Hugos as the strange, unpredictable product of all of these solitary musings. It removes the mystery, the quirkiness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness. Then it’s just an election, with partisans and campaigning and slogans and crap. Surely we have enough of those already.

I thought your selection of a quote was really interesting, but this strikes me as odd.

I've never thought of the Hugo's as a mystical thing before. Something to think about for sure.

#103 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:16 AM:

off topic offering for abi @24, Ingvar M @20 -

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road - Kill Him! erected some sturdy and helpful mental furniture in my head in record time.

Crazy(and going back to reading the remaining comments)Soph

#104 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:30 AM:

Elliot Mason @27

I had a spirited discussion with a good friend about Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy - I adored some of the written passages, especially where the landscape of Mars itself became more than a backdrop, almost an actual character, albeit one that interacted on a far different time scale than those newly-arrived simian descendants.

He bounced hard off of precisely those sections.

All of which to say, I have a lot of sympathy for your reactions to works of fiction, even if I don't share them. Our joys are so very personal.

Crazy(and sending comfort for your confession - no, you're not reading below your level, you're reading what you can digest in your current situation)Soph

#105 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:48 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 42

That's exactly it. The Sad Puppies have brought the cultural and political wars into the Hugo process, and we are all much poorer for the fact.

#106 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:03 AM:

Heather Rose Jones: In some ways I think you're being the opposite of the SPs. You're saying to your reading, "You have to acknowledge that I also exist." They're saying, "You have to acknowledge that nothing but me exists, or at least if it must, everything else is inferior."

#107 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:12 AM:

abi: I really liked your OP above and will comment on it later!

This comment is a bit late into the discussion (I keep getting left behind reading these threads - not enough time).

However, having gone and read that post by Brad Torgersen:

He's actually arguing that Nutty Nuggets were the only breakfast cereal that he liked as a child, and he still only likes Nutty Nuggets, therefore de facto Nutty Nuggets ARE the the only breakfast cereal, so no other (porridge oats, or granola, or bran flakes, or wheat biscuits, or muesli or whatever) should be allowed to be described as a breakfast cereal.

And then, finding out that there's an annual vote in which people get to say which they think is the best breakfast cereal, and his preferred Nutty Nuggets are not winning it, he declares that voters should only be allowed to vote between boxes of Nutty Nuggets.

Given all the evidence around him, it is incomprehensible that he doesn't know he's mistaken in recall (or just flat out lying) about Nutty Nuggets being the only breakfast cereal. Therefore everything else is an argument in bad faith. It's stamping his tiny foot and saying "It's not fair!"

#108 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:05 AM:

dh, what if, instead of slate voting, there was a system where every fan except John Smith got one vote, and John Smith got 100? Would you consider that superior to the existing system?

In effect, slate voting gives a lot of extra votes to whoever compiles the slate. Expanding the voter base doesn't make the awards more representative unless the new voters are a diverse representation of fandom and they vote according to their own judgment. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with making the voting base less diverse—an organized effort to recruit voters from a narrow slice of fandom, with the goal of changing the sort of works that win awards, is legitimate. But if these new, less diverse voters are in effect sock puppets, not using their own judgment but merely expanding the influence of a chosen leader, then that strikes at the heart of what makes the Hugos work. The nominees are supposed to be the aggregate preferences of the whole, not the choices of a privileged few. Not even if a substantial minority of voters is rallying behind the privileged few, demanding that the rest of us honor their privilege. That changes the nomination process from a popular vote to a jury system. It makes the process less democratic and less fair.

#109 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:00 AM:

On Le Guin, my daughter (10, and well able to read for herself) likes me to pick and read stories at bedtime. Having read the Mowgli stories from the Jungle Books, I bounced off the Just So stories, and pulled out A Wizard of Earthsea.

I haven't read it for a long time, and I never read it out loud before. I'm delighted to find that it shares with Tolkien that quality of flowing off the tongue just perfectly, unlike so many works that read pretty well otherwise (I'm looking at you, J.K. Rowling!).

#110 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:05 AM:

Laertes @75 He's not exactly wrong. If one stands up and says that exercise is good for you, several people on the internet will start yelling that they were injured exercising, someone will say that you want to order everyone to exercise (just like Stalin) and someone else will say that this is an attempt to create a bunch of good little fascist soldiers. And of course there are well-meaning people telling you to keep your head down and (like in the RWA article from a few weeks back) "take a more neutral approach".

When the topic is on one of the fracture lines of the culture wars* then yes, the things he lists can happen. No matter what position you take. No matter what "side"**. But people do stand up and speak anyway. Brad's not alone in being a (potential) victim here.

* And what isn't? Is there any area of life left that hasn't been fought over so many times that it is left a wasteland of shell holes, barbed wire and entrenched positions?
** Sides made up coalitions of factions of individuals with diverse and often contradictatory viewpoints etc.

#111 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:08 AM:

crazysoph @103: I have never, ever, liked that phrase.

#112 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:50 AM:

Well, only two days to go before we find out if the Sad Puppies get remembered by 'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it'.

#113 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:54 AM:

Serge Broom #91: sigh I keep meaning to read more of her. I have read the first couple or three books of the Foreigner series, which were interesting but didn't "grab" me hard enough to keep following the series.

Alas, right now my "to read" pile is overflowing a mail bin, with my "next" stack featuring Pratchett, my cousin (mainstream YA, I think I linked it here when it came out), Pratchett/Baxter, and then a non-fiction or two. And reading books in general is still competing with the Internet... I do have a couple of long train rides in my near future, so I may be able to clear the logjam a bit.

#114 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:04 AM:

Jacque @97: At least we're consistent. :->

And letting me know about slow first chapters has worked in the past; I could NOT read Cyteen until someone told me to skip ahead to where Ari II is born and read from there. From THAT point, it was a gripping hooky piece of wonderfulness for me. When I finished the book I went back and read the beginning and still don't see how it adds anything to the work, but horses for courses, I suppose, and at least I found the squee of the rest of it.

crazysoph @104: See also Tolkien's Riding Across The Land sequences in LoTR, which are some people's catnip and other people's draggy horrible timewasting slogs.

David Harmon @113: Foreigner is rather different than her Alliance/Union space operas, which are very nice if you like the kind of stories that can be told with a society that's part space stations, part traders-living-on-ships, etc. Parts of it look a lot like the universe Honor Harrington lives in, in the broad strokes, though time dilation is more of an issue in Alliance/Union than Harringtonverse. Like Discworld, it has a lot of potential starting points, some books that stand alone, some arcs best read together, and an overall chronology.

#115 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:12 AM:

dh @101

I'm sure others besides me will welcome you to Making Light! Do you write poetry? I think this counts as an open thread you can post some in, but if it should go somewhere else, someone more knowledgeable will chime in in just a minute.

I think there is nothing wrong with increasing the number of Hugo voters, and even nothing wrong with deliberately recruiting only conservative voters, and even nothing wrong with recruiting conservative voters by playing on conservative anxieties about diversity and societal change.

The problem that I see with the SP slate is that it is an attempt to shut other voices out of the discussion completely. If the Sad Puppies chose what the Hugo voters will get to evaluate--by choosing all five members of a category, to pick a non-random example--then non-Puppies get no voice, except that we are graciously permitted to say which of the Puppies choices we liked the best. Or we can say "Hey! No fair!" which is what No Award would mean in this case.

Normal Hugo nominees each have a different constellation of nominators that liked them. The group of people who nominated Annihilation (I wouldn't be one of them) will be different in composition from the group of people who nominated The Goblin Emperor (I would be one of them) though there would be some people who nominated both. The Sad Puppy slate has replaced this set of constellations of varying sizes with a slate that heavily influenced its constituents to all nominate the same thing. One constellation traced over and over until it is the only thing in the sky, if that makes sense.

Does that help you understand where I am coming from?

#116 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:23 AM:

David Harmon @ 113... Like Elliott Mason just did, I'd recommend starting with her Alliance/Union stories, which she started writing before Weber's Honor Harrington tales, I think. Anyway. I'd actually suggest that you start with "Merchanter's Luck", a short novel that's probably considered a minor one in the whole oeuvre, but it's the one that has resonated the most with me. Of course it may not do so for you, but who knows? Oh, and we all know what it's like to have too many books on our to-read queue.

#117 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:28 AM:

#105 Alex R.

The Sad Puppies have brought the cultural and political wars into the Hugo process, and we are all much poorer for the fact.

Agreed.

I'm going to apologise up front if this comes out the wrong way, but this is also the culture wars through a particularly US-centric set of lenses from the perspective of this side of the pond.

In a twelvemonth of The Three-Body Problem, a huge WorldCon in London, bids for a Chinese Worldcon etc etc this is a particularly depressing piece of parochialism for the future of fandom and the Hugos. And this is from a British point of view: possibly the most Americanised viewpoint outside the North American continent. To an SF fan in Guangzhou this is just going to be incomprehensible and irrelevant, just as we want to be reaching out.

Again, I'm not accusing anyone here of that (far from it - the opposite).

#118 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:42 AM:

Lee @99: My recollection (which is usually pretty good about these things) is that Poul Anderson used it -- about liberals during the Red Scare of the early '50s. I admit I don't remember exactly where.

#119 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:03 AM:

Of the chief Parts of the Ruling Passion,
only this can be truly said:
Hate has a reason for everything,
but Love is unreasonable.

(No, I don't know why this seems to fit the conversation. I may be wrong that it fits.)

#120 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:07 AM:

James Harvey #117: Ooh, a Chinese Worldcon would totally change the game, just from anumbers point of view!

#121 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:18 AM:

Brad Torgersen has coined a new acronym, CHORF. I came across it on a different page and had to google for the meaning. It turns out to be "cliquish, holier than thou, obnoxious reactionary fanatic."

The beautiful irony of Puppies using that to refer to non-Puppies is something I will leave for the appreciation of the reader.

To find it, however, I had to restrict my Google search to the past week. Its older and more common meaning is "Christ on a rabbit farm!"

Which I think is deliciously appropriate. They don't even do thirty seconds of research! Chorf!

#122 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:30 AM:

I was thrilled to the point of delirium when Among Others was nominated for a Hugo, and that felt like enough. I never thought it would win. The first time it really occurred to me that it might actually win was in Chicago, when large numbers of people I barely knew or didn't know at all came up to me individually, stopping me in the corridor, or after panels, to say "I know it won't win, but I loved it so much, and I want you to know I voted for it."

I'm just mentioning this to endorse Abi's point.

#123 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:36 AM:

abi, I'm working on a post about how easy it is to nominate and vote for the Hugos, and it's gotten clear to me how very much I want it to be about individual reactions to sf.

From the previous thread-- I can't really imagine The Left Hand of Darkness as a Western, but somehow, I'd like to see the version with a trek across a desert rather than across ice. I don't know whether it could retain the lovely bit of symbolism about needing shadows as well as light in order to see, though.

As a result of thinking about the conspiracies fighting over "that mud-colored worm, the common man" (approximate quote), I'm rereading Lafferty's Fourth Mansions. It's much better than I remembered, though I don't know whether it will shed further light on the difficulties with the Hugos.

#18 ::: Elliott Mason

The weird thing is when something like that happens to the same book-- I loved A Deepness in the Sky when I first read it, and have made several unsuccessful tries to reread it since. Nothing is obviously wrong with it, I just don't get interested.

#54 ::: Devin Singer and #56 ::: Fade Manley

Two for C.S. Lewis-- he's got a bit in The Screwtape Letters about (some?)people who are obsessed with getting their food just right who are actually trying to relive better parts of their lives, and he's got an essay about wanting fine moments in fiction while not being interested in one exciting event after another.

#63 ::: Lori Coulson

Delany varies a lot. If you're willing to give him another chance, I recommend Nova. It presages some cyberpunk themes, but it's relatively cheerful space opera. I never sorted out the Arthurian symbolism, but I don't think that matters.

I've never made it through Dhalgren, though I've been told it gets better after the first fifty pages. I suppose that's just for people who liked it.

#71 ::: Steve Wright

If you don't mind, what was the classic?

#76 ::: Emily H.

I've been thinking about a rant about the importance of the Hugos being a *secret* ballot... and it keeps turning into being a sacred ballot.

#124 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:51 AM:

Today, on Twitter, I saw somebody asking what the Hugo awards had to do with the rest of the world.

What saddened me was that the tweet came from somebody from Singapore.

What make me feel worse is that I am wondering if the person is real, or a fake from the new Sad Puppy allies.

#125 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:54 AM:

Laertes @39:

Redpillers really have a thing about being lectured by women.
True.

I don't see that as a characteristic that can exist in isolation. I don't believe it's possible that they can genuinely like me, or respect me, or see in me a human being whose value is equal to their own, if they can't tolerate my occasional use of language that has a power component.

If the same speech is an explanation when a man says it, but a lecture (and intolerable) when a woman says it, they're seeing the category, not the person -- and they're hostile to the category.

Guys like that don't actually like us as people. They'll act offended if you say so, but they don't.

#126 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:37 AM:

Jeff S @ #90: Seconded. I come back to ML time and time again because it feels like a slice of a better, more contemplative, more joyful world. Our hosts have made something truly great here.

#127 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:06 AM:

dh@101:
On the last thread about this topic, Teresa made the comment along the lines of good works will naturally generate the type of buzz and enthusiasm that causes readers to remember, promote, nominate and vote for the works.

I think there's a bit of a paradox here. We want - I agree with everyone - nominations to reflect people's solitary and independent judgements. But, as these references to buzz and promotion imply, we don't people's judgements to be completely isolated from one another, but to reflect what's being discussed, what's generating interest. ('Reflect', of course, isn't the same as 'be governed by'; we can legitimately say 'Everyone seems to be enthusing about The Serpent of Brfgh, but I think it's rubbish'.)

I mentioned earlier the kind of gentle, low-level campaigning that regularly goes on, on the lines of 'Hey, have you noticed...?', and suggested this was a good thing. It does produce some convergence, but I don't think that's bad; it's desirable that people converge on a set of nominees which between them can command the support of the voters - which is quite different from a slate of works, all of which reflect the same outlook. It also brings to light works that might not have been obvious at first. I think that without the kind of interaction which helps to form the ballot, votes would be more divided but also more predictable.

I'm finding it difficult to express how I see this, but I'll try. Hugo voters are engaged in a conversation. That, I'd suggest, is why the connection of the Hugos with a convention makes sense; historically a lot of this conversation was going on at conventions, (and in fanzines and in local science fiction clubs, whose participants overlapped with those in conventions). Now, much of it takes place online (which is where I found it). I think we all want to increase participation in the Hugos; but I'd say that's not just so we can take account of all the independent views that exist, but rather so as to draw more people into the conversation.

#128 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:22 AM:

Andrew @127 - Hugo voters are engaged in a conversation.

I think you're right. But more than that (and taking on board some thoughts from the original post); Hugo voters are part of a larger conversation and the Hugo awards are an especially visible and organised part of that conversation. Some of the SP agenda seems to want to frame the Hugos as the most - only? - important piece, and then treat it as a referendum to be won or lost.

Whatever we do, we need to keep talking.

#129 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:22 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @123

:: shuffles and looks a bit embarrassed ::

It was, err, Dante's Divine Comedy. (In translation. I'm not that pretentious, or at least I'm not always that pretentious.)

(Dorothy Sayers' translation, actually, which has many merits - clear, vigorous and, err, unpretentious verse.)

#130 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:24 AM:

Teresa, your #125 is very fine, and very true, and is the kind of thing I love seeing people point out.

I'm reminded tangentially of a funny thing Joe Haldeman said on GEnie. Another author was in the process of doing something very publicly that rested on grievous misunderstanding of how some Internet-era tech works, and there was discussion as to whether someone might be able to take him aside and set him straight. Haldeman remarked, "Being explained to isn't [that author]'s best thing." Ever since, I've had "Being explained into isn't their best thing" as a label on one of the mental drawers I file annoying people into.

The whole rotten scene the SPs are part of is that in excelsis.

But yes, it's true that they object in ways that show how little humanity they sense in everyone unlike themselves.

#131 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:33 AM:

Steve Wright @ 129: I'm most familiar with the John Ciardi translation, which I enjoy a lot. How would you compare it to the Dorothy Sayers translation? Or should I just find out for myself?

#132 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:52 AM:

#129 ::: Steve Wright

It's alright. You're allowed to like high-status things.

This being said, I've started to feel self-conscious about liking reading a lot, and not being especially fond of movies and television-- there are a few things in those media that I like, but on the whole, I don't focus on movies and tv as easily as on print.

It feels pretentious to talk about it, but it's also the truth about how my mind works.

#133 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:10 PM:

dcb, #107: Well, that's just nutty. :-)

ISTR that we had that discussion once here about pizza, with one person stoutly insisting that PIZZA consisted of a white-bread crust with tomato sauce and any combination of about 6 toppings, and anything which looked like it but didn't have exactly those things could be described as "exotic flat bread food" but was absolutely not PIZZA, while the rest of us blinked in gobsmacked disbelief. That about describes my reaction to the Nutty Nuggets thing.

David H, #113: Foreigner isn't the series I'd select to introduce someone to Cherryh. I'd pick either the Chanur books on the hard-SF side (and they are absolutely space opera!) or the Morgaine series on the fantasy side. The really interesting thing about the Chanur series is that it's space opera with only one human in it -- all the main characters are well-realized aliens, and some of them aren't even humanoid. The lone human is (IIRC) a captive from a survey team that met a bad end; Earth, and human-space in general, are a long way from the part of space where these stories take place.

Cat, #115: If I am understanding correctly what a couple of SP representatives said in the last thread, the process by which the slate was selected was (1) collect a whole bunch of recommendations from readers of a conservative bent, and (2) "curate" them into the current form, with a maximum of 5 selections per category and exactly 5 selections in many of them.

Nobody here is objecting to Step 1. A lot of people post recommendation lists, or solicit recommendations from the people who read their blogs, and if Torgerson had stopped there this entire conversation wouldn't be happening.

Where the line is crossed for me is at Step 2, where even most of the recommendations of "conservative" readers were thrown out in favor of a picked slate. Whether the criteria for picking were "the ones I think have the best chance of winning" or "the ones I personally like best" or anything else, that substitutes the judgment of one person, the "curator", for the judgment of the individual fans who made the recommendations in the first place. And that's not kosher.

David, #118: Yes, thank you! I still don't remember the story, but that was indeed the context. It generalizes perfectly well, though, as the cry of Privileged Group X that they aren't getting enough privilege.

Nancy, #123: I don't know whether it could retain the lovely bit of symbolism about needing shadows as well as light in order to see, though.

I don't see any reason why not. Vast expanses of light-colored sand on a sunny day can produce an effect similar to snow-blindness.

#134 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:11 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @131 - I don't know the Ciardi translation, I'm afraid. The only other version I know well is Laurence Binyon's - which is a fine poetic translation, but rather more, umm, stately than Sayers'.

Looking around the Internet, I've found a very scrappy-looking transcript of Ciardi's version of the Inferno. A very quick first glance suggests that it's aiming for the same sort of accessibility that Sayers did - which is fine; the original was written in the Italian vernacular of the time, so it's evidently intended to be accessible language, and a verse translation that respects that is a Good Thing. I think Sayers' scansion might be slightly more regular, but I've only had time to skim-read the first couple of cantos, and really you want to read it aloud, anyway, to be sure of catching the rhythm of the language.

(Also, it's a very scrappy online transcript. Though not as bad as some... I will not soon forget that online biography of Hannibal, that described him as a man of great diatinotion at the time of the Pfnic Wab.)

#135 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:16 PM:

Nancy @132: I can relate. I prefer, in general, to read. But when it comes up in conversation that I don't own a TV, the other party invariably apologizes for watching so much of it. I have a set of self-deprecating replies I've developed over the years. But really, I want to shout "Look, enjoy what you enjoy - your leisure time is not a competition!"

#136 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:17 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @131
Steve Wright @ 129: I'm most familiar with the John Ciardi translation, which I enjoy a lot. How would you compare it to the Dorothy Sayers translation? Or should I just find out for myself?

I have found everything I’ve read by Dorothy L. Sayers to be well done and enjoyable, if problematic in places (I recently re-read Whose Body? and, er, um). In addition to her Dante, I recommend The Man Born to be King which is the text of a set of radio plays about the life of Jesus, along with her introduction and instructions to the actors and director. I wish someone would re-do those plays and sell the audio. Or the BBC would find the original and sell that. I also enjoyed her play The Zeal of Thy House.

#137 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:17 PM:

dh @101: Again, I may be naive, but is there really any harm to come from slate voting?

It depends -- in nominations, with a set number of slots, it will mean that works that are equally worthy that are not favored by those who prepared said slate may not get on the final ballot. In the final voting round? Well, if you've managed to get only the works you favor on that ballot -- it's all gravy.

Look, OVFF has a "brainstorming page" where anyone interested in nominating filks for the Pegasus Awards can submit suggestions for the current year's nominees. The reason this was done is that we had many folk who faced the nomination ballot and said, "I don't know what to nominate." They read through the lists and either choose from the list, OR it reminds them of another song/filker that they deem worthy, and they get the ballot done.

Note -- neither OVFF's concom nor the Pegasus Award committee say "You may only nominate from the Brainstorm lists." It's there to help those who wish to participate. The last thing we want is for filking fandom to believe we'd dictate or manipulate the results. It's always fun to watch the process each year, and I love it.

In the past OVFF has seen some attempts to stuff the ballot box. While I will not detail what was done, I can say that the attempts were so clumsy they were easy to spot. It's my opinion that anyone who studies a ballot system long enough CAN eventually come up with a way to game the system. More's the pity...

#138 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:17 PM:

For me the issue goes something like this:

Politically speaking there are two kinds of people, and I'm not talking Liberals and Conservatives. There are the kinds of people who quietly believe themselves to be correct, and there are those who believe that being correct gives them a license to be a jerk.

A conservative "quietly believes himself to be correct" baker, when faced with a Gay couple looking for a wedding cake says, "Guys, I've got a ton of orders for late March already, and if I take on any more work that week I'm going to mess up someone's wedding. Let me recommend a competitor of mine over on Main Street."

A conservative "license to be a jerk" baker says, "Hey guys, the Bible says that homos like you are abominations, and I think that faggots should be put to death, so get the heck out of my store."

Understand please, that I'm not happy with either of these bakers, but I can live, albeit a bit uneasily, with the "quietly believes himself to be correct" baker, and if that baker wins our town's annual (and entirely fictional) Amazing Cake contest I walk over and shake his hand and congratulate him. We can have a beer together.* Our kids can play on the same soccer team. Etc.

This is because the "quietly believes himself to be correct" baker and I are on the same team. We're both on the side of Making Civilization Work Despite Our Differences. Do we have lots of differences? Sure we do. Do we try to resolve them amicably? Of course. Does it get heated sometimes? Sure. Do we calm down later? Of course. And that's because despite our differences we're both civilized.

Meanwhile, the "license to be a jerk" baker is running a campaign to be declared winner of the Amazing Cake contest, not because of the quality of his cake, but because he's anti-Gay and "better represents the Christian tradition of our town."

The "I have license to be a jerk" baker is not on the side of civilization. Thus I shun him. I can't have a beer with him. My kids don't play with his, and we'll never have a beer together as long as I live.

If we're going to discuss real conservatives who might be up for an important Science Fiction award, mapping the "quietly believes himself to be correct" baker onto someone like David Weber is fairly easy. Mapping the "license to be a jerk" baker onto Larry Correia is also a no-brainer.

* I don't actually drink beer, but that's not the point.

#139 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:22 PM:

Alex R @138: Well-said. Thank you.

#140 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:28 PM:

In addition to thinking back over the Hugo eligible novels that I have read during the course of the year as I do my nominations, I also make note of books that I really like as the year is going on. It would be weird if I didn't notice that I had really liked something.
It occurs to me that if everyone shares the fact that they really liked something during the year rather than at the end when it is too late to read them, then that can't do anything other than help.
So, for example, this year, so far, I have already read two books* that I think have high potential to end up in my top five. They are, "The Mechanical" by Ian Tregillis and "The Just City" by Jo Walton.
A whole post on "The Just City" has already been done on Making Light so I'll just say that I concur in its coolness.
I found "The Mechanical" equally cool and completely different. Briefly, it concerns an alternate history set in 1926 where, in the 17th century, Christiaan Huygens made use of Newton's alchemical work and other things to create clockwork servants that enable the Dutch to completely win the religious wars with France and become the dominant force of Empire. Incredible world building and exploration of free will, love and duty.
Here's a link to an NPR review of The Mechanical.
I am always interested in hearing about current books that really gripped you, from anyone.

*I'll note that I am in the acknowledgements section of both books to avoid any appearance of whispering, but that I would have loved the books irregardless of any small part on my part.

#141 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:33 PM:

#133 ::: Lee

My issue with slates isn't about whether they're curated.

I think I'd be just as unhappy with a process that started with "nominate the kind of thing Nancy Lebovitz might like*" and then a process of choosing the things with the most votes to make a slate to recommend as Hugo nominations. Well, almost as unhappy.

My problem with slates is that they make it too easy for people to nominate and vote for things they personally don't care about very much.

*My friends have occasionally mentioned that they're bewildered by my preferences. I think the problem is that, in addition to ordinary human weirdness (why do I like Nova and Babel-17, but bounce off The Einstein Intersection? Why did I think Neuromancer was no big deal?), I can also have a fondness for things which are different from other things I've read. Dynteryx
is cool simply because it's a tragedy, and there aren't many of those in science fiction.

#142 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:35 PM:

I thought Idumea Arbacoochee, had closed the other thread sooner than she did. I see I missed some comments there addressing me.

Mike Scott @1016 in the other thread
The problem with increasing the number of nominees is that it creates some financial and logistical problems for the Worldcon. The pre-awards reception and the Hugo Losers' party are already pretty big and expensive, and there's already a lot of seating at the ceremony that has to be reserved for nominees and their guests. It's already quite a lot of work to contact all the nominees before the shortlist is announced. If we double the number of nominees then we double the size of all of those problems.

P J Evans @1017 in the other thread
The proposal ULTRAGOTHA is referring to would have fewer spots on the nomination ballot than on the final ballot.
There was also discussion about how to get the word out so more people will nominate and vote.
(No one was talking about increasing the number of nominees.)

^^ This. My understanding of the proposal is that it would DECREASE the number of works/people a nominator may nominate while leaving the actual number of Hugo Finalists the same. Say 3/5.

Or, perhaps, change it to “You can nominate up to four works for six finalists slots” which would, indeed, increase the potential number of finalists. If the business meeting goes with anything that results in more than five finalists per category, I would look askance at arguments that the reception and looser party expenses are a reason not to do that. The tail oughtn’t to wag the dog. There are other ways to fete and honor the nominees if cost becomes that much of an issue.

Was that a real argument against, say, adding a Best Graphic Story category? Or splitting the BDP category into short and long?

#143 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:36 PM:

I want to say thank you to abi (OP); there is a bit of moderator magic here. The tension is a lot less and the discussion is more considerate. Some is the passage of time, but a lot is the original post setting a tone.

#144 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:38 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @131, Steve Wright @129: My recollection is that Sayers stuck to terza rima, necessitating a certain amount of stiltedness, while Ciardi used a less rigorous rhyme scheme and more idiomatic English. I definitely preferred Ciardi, although Sayers was perfectly readable.

Tom Phillips' amazing version of the Inferno is my favorite, albeit more for his illustrations than his (blank verse) translation.

#145 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:40 PM:

Alex, #138: That sounds like an application of The No Asshole Rule. (Link goes to a discussion of the principle, not to the book itself.)

The typical asshole response to having The No Asshole Rule invoked against them is to accuse the invoker of being themselves an asshole; this is often expressed as some variation on, "If you're so TOLERANT, then you have to tolerate me too!" To which the answer is, no I don't. Tolerance is a two-way street; if you want me to respect your views, or you as a person, then you have to be willing to grant me the same courtesy. Those who insist on being given respect themselves while refusing to allow it to those they disagree with are (1) bullies and (2) a cancer on the body of civilized society.

#146 ::: Lara ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:42 PM:

[Delurk] John A Arkansawyer @131 : I'd say Sayers is a shade more literal than Ciardi (in the sense of trying to preserve word for word order and meter). It can come off as a little quaint or florid in places where she's working to keep the rhythm, but it retains heart and flow more than Mandelbaum (which I found cold and clunky) or Longfellow (which I found tortured). For casual English reading _I'd_ say Ciardi, then Hollander, then Sayers. For closer study, maybe Hollander, Sayers, Ciardi. But they're all good and make an interesting comparison. [/Relurk]

#147 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:53 PM:

#138 ::: Alex R.

The problem with polite excuses that have prejudice behind them that they're no big deal if they're rare, but can shut people out of a lot of opportunities if the refusals are common, and it's harder to tell what's going on.

This being said, I have some sympathy for the bakers-- it's a lot of ask of people that they make something with their own hands that they hate.

I've turned down the occasional button order because of content myself.

#148 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 12:57 PM:

I'd pick either the Chanur books on the hard-SF side (and they are absolutely space opera!) or the Morgaine series on the fantasy side.

The Morgaine books sometimes get labeled fantasy, but they are actually set in the Alliance/Union Universe (as are the Chanur books). It's just that characters in the Morgaine books see her high technology as magic . . .

#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:08 PM:

123
On the Hugos being a secret ballot
Frisbie said once that he wanted the results to go to a computer-controlled engraving machine, which would tape over names on the placques as it finished. No one would know who won until the tape was removed - at the ceremony.

#150 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:15 PM:

Steve Wright @134: My all-time favourite bad digitization is an epub of one of the Horatio Hornblower books, in which a character at one point appears in a doorway in his naval unicorn.

#151 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:18 PM:

Lee @145: I had a recent realization while making this discussion with someone who asserted that "you liberals" (me, that is) hold "tolerance as your primary virtue."

No. Tolerance is a side effect. My primary virtue is that ALL people deserve to be treated with equal dignity and politeness in their exercise of their rights as citizens and humans.

Touting tolerance as the be-all and end-all of all 'leftist' endeavors wags the dog with the tail: I have no need to tolerate behavior that fights AGAINST my primary goal (equal participation in civic life without rudeness or discrimination against traditionally-downtrodden groups).

#152 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:19 PM:

Politically speaking there are two kinds of people, and I'm not talking Liberals and Conservatives.

IMO, the biggest "two kinds of people" division in the human race is: Do you, or do you not, give a sh*t about other people's business?

Which I think may be related to the quiet/jerk distinction.

#153 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:30 PM:

Lee @133

Well, yes, the issue that the "curation" of the slate represents just the POV of one individual (or a handful; it's not really clear what is going on there) is a problem.

But I think, as I consider it, that I'd have a problem with a "five-of-everything" slate that was chosen by a vote among the Sad Puppies also. Because the problem is, they're still voting in a small pool, where their votes count for more, to produce a slate purely to overwhelm the voices of the rest of us, who spread our nominations out over hundreds of eligible works.

Amazing Stories has an interesting editorial up, which is also the route I was thinking about going even before I saw it.

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:34 PM:

Elliott Mason @114: slow first chapters

In this case, I don't know that he could have done without it, but I kind of bounce every time. It's got some necessary set-up for the next couple of chapters. Second and third chapters are kind of slow and confusing, but the confusion is a big part of what makes the fourth chapter work. (For me.)

#155 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:45 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 147: This is true. What I appreciate about silent or hidden differences is the lack of public approval for such behavior. What I mean is, it's hard to get external validation for homophobia (or other forms of bigotry) if no one else knows you have these thoughts. It does indeed lend itself to being overlooked, in the short run; my personal feeling is over the long run, a lack of outward hatred translates slowly into a lack of hatred, mainly as a byproduct of it not being demonstrated publicly, but it requires that people not acknowledge their inner bigotry at all outwardly. Once someone indicates they're anti-anything, it becomes something to be validated, and it will be validated because we haven't eradicated the underlying bigotry.

This is not the answer to all forms of bigotry, and I firmly believe in a strong public response against any form of bigotry, but I think there are many ways to deal with it. Eh, it's complicated. I keep feeling like I've convinced myself I'm saying the wrong thing for the wrong reasons, and then I change my mind again as I'm typing. I know we can't all love one another, but at least behaving civilly counts for something, doesn't it?

Ugh, that's too close to the Tone Argument. Never mind.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 01:46 PM:

so: now I am a supporting member of Sasquan.

#157 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:08 PM:

Elliott, #151: Ooh, nice! That argument is going straight into my arsenal, because it explains exactly why "tolerance" cannot include "tolerance for people who are trying to take my rights away, no matter what excuse they use to do so".

Carrie, #152: There are 10 kinds of people in the world -- those who understand binary and those who don't.

(Tossing a little humor into a serious discussion. Carry on, don't mind me.)

Ginger, #155: I don't think that's the Tone Argument at root. (It's also worth noting that the Tone Argument is rarely deployed against people in power, which is part of what makes it suspect to begin with.)

What I think you're actually discussing here is the tension between "hidden nastiness can't be pushed back against" and the Overton Window, aka "what is discussed openly becomes perceived as being legitimate". And that's a valid and difficult issue. On the one hand, you have the argument that hidden bigotry festers and becomes worse. On the other, you have the argument that overt bigotry becomes respectable (or respectable again -- for several decades, racism was a deeply-hidden bigotry because to express it overtly wasn't socially acceptable). There's no easy answer here.

#158 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:16 PM:

Ginger @154, Lee @157, the thing about the hidden bigotry is that, it seems to me, since it's not getting external validation it might actually start fading away...if not in the bakers (per your example), then in the baker's children. If the baker's children aren't explicitly taught by their parents (because they're hiding their bigotry) that it's ok and expected to be bigotted toward some group or other... is that second generation likely to be less bigotted than their parents?

I don't honestly know if it works like that or not. But it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that it COULD work that way.

#159 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:23 PM:

PJ Evans @149, that’d be pretty entertaining when someone accidentally set up the machine wrong, or the engraving head slipped out of calibration, or whatever, and the plaques turned out illegible.

#160 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:24 PM:

Lee @157: In re the Tone Argument only ever being used to punch down with, a thoughtful article (that is also angry) on that subject from Amanda Marcotte.

#161 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:25 PM:

What does it mean to say 'I have taste'? What does it mean to say 'I have built an emotional bond with this artistic work'? Is there a valid distinction between the two? It strikes me that a good deal of literary criticism is spent navigating the space between those two statements.

#162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:33 PM:

I note the comments on LeGuin with interest. The book that hooked me on LeGuin was The Dispossessed. It was an immense revelation to me. I read it after having read Kropotkin's Mutual Aid, and the interaction between the two was magical. Never before, and granted I was twenty at the time, had theory and literature come together for me in such a way. There had been other books that made worlds come alive for me ('time that with this strange excuse pardons Kipling for his views'), but never a book that made an abstract set of ideas live as clearly as LeGuin made Kropotkin's.

#163 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:35 PM:

Elliot Mason #35: Economist kinksters unite! It's the obit page, isn't it?

#164 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:35 PM:

Cassy @158:

The problem I see here is that while the bigotry may be hidden to the face of the oppressed, it may be frankly explained to the next generation of bakers. The baker's children may be being taught that it's OK to discriminate against gays/blacks/women/etc, as long as you do it quietly.

There's a long history of civil rights groups sending black patrons into public stores/hotels/etc to be told "sorry, we are too busy/sold out/booked solid", and then sending white patrons to the same locations to be told "no problem, here is it, what sort of room would you like?". Polite discrimination is still discrimination.

Just because the baker politely turns away gay customers while lieing about the reason as opposed to condemning them publically doesn't mean s/he's a better person.

#165 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:42 PM:

Buddha Buck @164, that's a valid point, and one I didn't consider.

#166 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:42 PM:

Avram@159

And it's yet another Hugo for MERGE ERROR, this time in Best Related Public Error.

#167 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:42 PM:

159
I don't think it's going to be done any time soon, for that and other reasons. (But it's certainly an idea that belongs in this field: Hugos of the future, untouched by human hands?)

#168 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:49 PM:

Fragano Legister @161, taste is accompanied by (perhaps a product of) understanding of the medium. Emotional bonds require no such understanding.

#169 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:50 PM:

Lee @133: Speaking of de gustibus, Foreigner is an interesting example to me, because my previous attempts at Cherryh had left me bemused. She was clearly telling good stories, but I had difficulty following them, or engaging with them. The Chanur books in particular: I read two in a row, then set them down, and said, no more! too fast! I couldn't deal with the way tension was handled in those books, much as I liked the characters and setting.

But when I got to Foreigner, and a protagonist who would spend eight pages thinking in angry circles and tangents about a single line someone just said, I felt like someone had cracked open my brain and looked inside and then written something almost exactly to my specifications. I could finally enjoy her plots, because the PoV character was leading me through them in a way I could follow. And so I end up recommending it to friends as a starting point, but with a mention that if they find it too slow, they should try the Chanur books instead...

Nancy Lebovitz @132: I've spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time lately writing novel-esque fanfic for a single movie I watched recently. I am deeply of the opinion that people like all sorts of stories, in all sorts of different media, engaging with them in all sorts of different ways, and that this is a Good Thing.

--

On the issues I have with slates: well, I already said my piece on that up above, I suppose. But a briefer version is this:

I compared theoretical Best Novel nominations with a dear friend who has many very similar tastes to mine. We recommend novels to each other all the time, get fannish over the same characters, have multi-hour discussions about why we like the same sorts of things in the same sorts of books.

Our list matched on three out of five. Three! Of the two she picked that I didn't, one I'd liked well enough but didn't think was good enough to make my top five, and the other I had rapidly realized was so amazingly not my thing it could've been written to a list of things I don't like.

If someone I share so much in common with only gets a 60% match with me on that category, how can I possibly believe anyone who votes a set slate is voting honestly? The person who put together the slate, I suppose, is giving their opinion. Anyone else who sees that slate and votes it too isn't giving an honest vote. They're just trying to let the first person get extra votes himself. It's a rules-allowed version of ballot-stuffing, and my kindest interpretation of someone who supports that is that they haven't given it enough thought.

I suppose that ended up not being very brief after all.

#170 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:57 PM:

PJ Evans @167, take it even farther: What if the awards themselves are never touched by human hands?

WSFS could create a certain number of Hugo award statuettes each year, with no plaques, lock them away in a vault, and issue nominees certificates (in proportion to vote tallies) allowing them bragging rights: Each nominee who got at least one vote (or maybe just those who beat No Award) would be considered a winner in proportion to how many certificates they held, compared to the total issued for that award. The recipients could them swap/sell these certificates like currency. If a Hugo winner fell on hard times, a large number of people could become winners of the 2020 Best Novel Hugo, to some tiny degree.

#171 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:57 PM:

Cat @153. The problem with That Amazing Stories Editorial solution is that No Award is treated exactly the same as any other vote and my votes below No Award can be counted in subsequent passes.

As an example:

Take last year’s short story contest. Let’s say I voted like this (which I did not, this is just an example)
1 The Ink Readers of Doi Saket
2 No Award
3 The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere
4 Selkie Stories Are For Losers
5 If You Were a Dinosaur My Love

First Place
Pass 1, my vote for Ink Readers is counted, and it comes in 4th for first place. No Award comes in 5th.
Pass 2, my vote for Ink Readers is counted, and comes in 4th for first place.
Ink Readers and No Award are removed from consideration and my remaining votes are re-distributed
Pass 3, my vote for Water *is counted* even though I ranked it *below* No Award. Water Comes in 1st and Selkie comes in third.
Pass 4, my vote for Water *is counted* even though I ranked it *below* No Award. Water Comes in 1st Dinosaur is second.
No Award and Water are compared and even though my ballot is in the “No Award” pile for the last round, Water wins. *with my vote in two passes*.

If I’d left Water, Selkie and Dinosaur off my ballot entirely, Water would not have been given my vote in Passes 3 and 4 (though it also would not have ended up in either the the No Award or the Water pile in the run off).


If I’m not right about this, can someone say why that’s wrong?

#172 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 02:58 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @163: That was one of the things that hooked me in. Then I got addicted to their coverage of US politics.

Then I was well and truly enmeshed, and started finding their deep inside-baseball macro- and microeconomics articles fascinating.

Now I read at least the first two paragraphs of every article in it, cover to cover, which has greatly broadened my awareness of things like Nigerian politics and the issues faced by textile companies in Chile. (face in hands, shoulders slumped)

#173 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:19 PM:

The discussion of one person bouncing off of a book that someone else loved, and vice versa, is reminding me of the Booklist review of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin.

Booklist doesn't publish* bad reviews, but this one was mixed at best. I like Dean's writing so I read the book anyway, and absolutely adored it. (Still do; it's one of my comfort reads.) Everything the reviewer complained about was in fact true--those were the good parts!

*If their reviewer thinks a book is terrible, they just leave it out.

#174 ::: Kelly Jennings ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:21 PM:

Lee #157: There are 10 kinds of people in the world -- those who understand binary and those who don't.

You made me LOL!

#175 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:30 PM:

Does that help you understand where I am coming from?

Cat--

Thanks this is helpful. I have to think on it. The generalized complaint that slate voting is less democratic I think is wrong, anything that increases the numerical number of voting people is inherently more democratic than not. So bringing in more people to vote, no matter how they vote, is increasing the democracy involved.

I think a more accurate description is that slate voting is less representative (or less republican) because it amplifies the voice of the people who compile the slate. So more democracy, less representation/variation/diversity.

From my point of view, the reason I am asking "what is the harm", is because the Hugo system has a process for not awarding the prize when the nominations are not in step with the general voting membership. This is literally what "No Award" addresses. So I have to go back to, "what is the harm?"

To the larger point, which Teresa made yesterday about how nominations and awards usually happen - as a result of the excitement and passion of readers - I think is also flawed.

In my opinion, Sad Puppies voters are not like other fans. The fact that they are new, or mostly new to the process, is one strong bit of evidence. But also, they are self-described right-wing, libertarians, conservatives, right-of-center, or even in a few cases, Republicans. The traits that Teresa assigns to Worldcon voters reads almost like a description of your typical privileged (and not in a bad way, in a Western wealthy comfortable way) liberal - positive, effusive, recommending to a larger community, etc.

The Sad Puppies voters, however, do not share those traits, by their own admission. They read something they like, usually early on in their formation, and that is the beginning middle and end of the conversation for them. Witness the over reliance on the golden age of SF/F, the hero worship of some of the pioneers of the industry. That is the end-all of the genre. To them, conformity to a norm is an ideal to be obtained. Individuality in terms of progressive thinking and exploration is a negative to be disfavored.

So I see slate voting on the side of the Sad Puppies to be emblematic of the categorical differences between left-wing and right-wing people. A right-winger is going to be a lot more receptive to the notion of listening to an authority figure, digesting their wishes, determining that this slate is acceptable and even desirable, and then going along with the slate when it comes time to vote.

Contrast that to the Making Light segment. How many threads of 1000 posts would it take to decide on a slate? And then, how many readers would sign on? How many would go through and pull the lever for voting? The past incidents of light-touch campaigning (i.e. "hey, it's nomination time, I can be nominated for XX works") now look somewhat quaint.

Finally, this is fairly strong evidence that the many readers and commentators here who posted last year somewhat gleefully that they were not going to read Correia's or Day's nominated works, and would bloc vote them below No Award because of the politics of the authors sight unseen, were entirely short-sighted. There were many who did read it (or tried to), decided it was terrible and voted according to that judgement.

A more principled stand then would have left a lot less equivocation now about why slate voting is not-acceptable, and more importantly, would not have limited options for dealing with slate voting without making hypocrites of a lot of respected authors and industry people. Instead, we are left to dance around the edges.

#176 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:30 PM:

Mary Aileen @173: I had occasion once to review a book that I liked very much until the very end, where the author did something that I felt undercut the entire book and ruined it.

I then later discovered (through ego-googling, back when every instance of my first-and-last-names on the internet meant me) the author linking to my review and noting that she'd really enjoyed reading it at first, because I got EVERYTHING she was doing, and she felt all warm, but then I got to the end, and GOT everything she was doing in it, I just thought it was despicable and she thought it was cool.

She noted that she'd gotten negative reviews of that book by people who didn't understand what she was doing, but that this was her first where I understood every word and hated them all.

(It was a stunt-writing move, executed masterfully, I just didn't like the stunt)

#177 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:30 PM:

Ginger @ 155: Amen to your comment there, and I think you really are on the right track.

A personal experience: I had an employee "M" working for me years back, a very devout Christian raised in the extremely strict Plymouth Brethren sect, who had very strong feelings that homosexuality was Wrong and also a serious belief that Christianity means loving everybody without exception. He was also a very naturally mild-mannered and polite person, the kind where a sincere "I'll pray for you" was practically the harshest thing he'd ever say to anyone. (Canadian, eh?)

M spent a number of years working side by side in tech support and system administration with a gay man and thanks to his deeply engrained sense of politeness, he ended up getting to know him and his partner quite well, as both of them are also incredibly nice and interesting guys. Over that period of time working together, M's opinions about gay people completely shifted. We're still in touch, and in the further years since, he's become a fervent supporter of LGBT civil rights and of marriage equality.

People really do change, and a commitment to civility and politeness helps create the space for that to happen.

#178 ::: nathanbp ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:32 PM:

ULTRAGOTHA @171: See Erik K #926, Mike Scott #927, and Kevin Standlee #771 in the previous thread.

In short (I think), voting "A B C NA D E" and "A B C NA" are the same in their relative treatments of NA with respect to D and E, and only differ in their treatment of D and E with respect to each other.

#179 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:44 PM:

ULTRAGOTHA @ #171: "No Award" works almost like any other vote, with one exception: The No Award Showdown rule. Once a potential Hugo winner has been picked, it has to win one final, head-to-head contest against No Award, ignoring everything else on all the ballots. This has never made a difference so far, but it protects against some odd-ball scenarios.

As I understand it, if you wish to accurately express your preferences on a Hugo ballot, you should vote like this:

  1. Amazingly Awesome Story
  2. Pretty Good Story
  3. Story Which I Didn't Read, But Which I Hear Is Good1
  4. No Award
  5. Tedious Fiction That Does Not Deserve an Award, But Which is Better Than Hideous Yuck
  6. (Leave off?) Hideous Yuck

This ballot expresses the idea that "Neither (5) or (6) should win a Hugo, but if it comes down to a choice between the two, we should give the Hugo to (5)." In practice, the only reason to explicitly list a work below No Award is to do damage control: Everything you like is already off the ballot, and No Award just lost, but you still have an opinion.

Be warned: This is not quite the whole story.2 But if any of this is incorrect, I would appreciate corrections.

1The tricky part here is (3). Since we haven't read (3), we'd like to leave it off the ballot entirely, and let other people decide. But if we leave it off the ballot, we're actually scoring it below "Tedious Fiction"! If we want to vote "neutral" on a work without punishing it, we need to pencil it in explicitly just above No Award. Works which you leave off the ballot are treated as if they were tied for last place.

2Instant Runoff Voting has some weird mathematical behavior in certain cases. But I generally try not to worry about that.

#180 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 03:53 PM:

179
Barring the 'Na Award' check, which is after the last time I voted or even paid much attention to the voting, what you say is how I have, on at least one occasion, actually voted. Damage controlo, yes, but also How I Feel About Them.

Ballot counting in IRV is always an interesting exercise. (Especially if you're dealing with telling the computer how to do it.)

#181 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:05 PM:

Avram #168: You're right.

#182 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:11 PM:

Elliot Mason #172: I've read the Economist since, ahem, 1973. While I don't share their politics, I find their reporting to be excellent and thoughtful. For a long time, they were the only newsmagazine to pay attention to student readers; they had a regular section, back in the 70s, devoted to students explaining issues in economics and economic policy in clear language.

(Abi bait: I remember, from 40+ years ago, a report in the magazine about a proposal by some Dutch MEPs to make Latin the official language of what was then the European Community. It began 'Senatores quidam Batavi...' and continued for the next few hundred words entirely in Latin. More recently, they've done articles entirely in Lowland Scots.)

#183 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:19 PM:

dh @#175 wrote:

The generalized complaint that slate voting is less democratic I think is wrong, anything that increases the numerical number of voting people is inherently more democratic than not. So bringing in more people to vote, no matter how they vote, is increasing the democracy involved.

But they're not doing that. Their nomination slate is going (and has been intended) to act as a filter against the opinion of everyone else's nominations, effectively restricting the final voting round to only works that they approve of.

It's a carefully designed "Screw You, Jack; you're going to give your precious award to something I like, this time." scheme.

Here's a simple, easy to understand illustration of how it works.

Take a sheet of squared paper, number the squares across the bottom to represent eligible works for an award. Number the squares up the left hand side from zero to whatever as vote count.

Take everyone (except the SP group)'s nomination forms and fill your chart in: each nomination gets an X in the next free square for the column representing that work. Once you've finished you will have a sort of "comb" plot (or bar chart ) of popular choice.

Now take a ruler (or cover the chart with another sheet of paper) and slide it down (keeping it horizontal) until you have five columns with one or more 'X's exposed. Those are the most popular nominations.

Next sort the SP slate votes and add those to the columns. Because they're restricting themselves to the same five works, they will preferentially boost those totals to the exclusion of everyone else. Get your ruler (or sheet of paper) out and see what that has done to the result. Only something that they approve of (unless it's an extremely popular choice by the rest of the nominators) gets to appear on the final ballot.

That is why it's unethical and must be opposed, even if the price is that of not giving out any awards this year.

(If they try it again, a lifetime ban would not be inappropriate.)

#184 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:23 PM:

ULTRAGOTHA @171:

You are correct in your assessment, but by the point that your vote for Water is counted, No Award and Ink Readers have already lost. You did all you could for them. Rather, you helped Water win over Selkie and Dinosaur.

Arguably, that's a reasonable outcome. It's what you get with IRV, at least.

One way of looking at it is that your ranked ballot wasn't 1 vote, it was 10: Ink > NA, Ink > Water, Ink > Selkie, Ink > Dinosaur, NA > Water, etc. The different rounds look at different collections of those votes, discarding some unseen if they aren't needed by the procedure. So by the time your votes "for" Water were counted, they were the votes Water > Selkie and Water > Dinosaur.

Come to the Condorcet side, where all 10 votes are counted, every time, and for all voters.

#185 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:39 PM:

UG @142:

Or, perhaps, change it to “You can nominate up to four works for six finalists slots” which would, indeed, increase the potential number of finalists.
That proposal ("4 and 6") is the one I expect to see on the Business Meeting agenda. Reducing the number of finalists is perceived to be an unpalatable choice.
Was that a real argument against, say, adding a Best Graphic Story category? Or splitting the BDP category into short and long?
Yes, it was, along with the fact that it lengthens the Hugo Award ceremony. In fact, adding categories actually does directly increase a Worldcon's unavoidable costs because it increases the number of trophies you have to build. (Each trophy including the rocket typically costs between $300 and $500 these days, which is not a huge cost relative to the $1 M turnover, but is non-zero. In the 1960s, trophy costs were a much more significant portion of the convention's total cost.) A Worldcon could refuse to issue the additional categories if they were seated before the addition was ratified, on the "no new direct costs" rule. No Worldcon has ever been so politically tone-deaf as to do this, particularly if they're that worried about the marginal cost, they could almost certainly get a grant from one of their predecessors with a surplus to fund it.

(Side point that I suspect many people reading do not realize: Every Worldcon is a legally and financially independent entity. Worldcons are not financially obligated to each other. Most Worldcons do participate in a form of surplus-sharing, but beyond that they are not obliged to do anything for their predecessors or successors. To that extent, Worldcon isn't an ongoing event: it's a series of large, expensive one-shot conventions, and that's just one of the reasons that it's not a monster huge San Diego/DragonCon-sized event.)

PJ Evans @149

Frisbie said once that he wanted the results to go to a computer-controlled engraving machine, which would tape over names on the plaques as it finished. No one would know who won until the tape was removed - at the ceremony.
An interesting idea, but incompatible with getting results online, press releases issued, on-site newsletters with the results and details handed out as people are leaving the ceremony, etc. The key thing is people understanding and respecting the concept of embargoed news. That seems to be a difficult idea for some people.

How do you think the Worldcon and Hugo Award web sites get the results online the moment the ceremony ends?


#186 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 04:53 PM:

Steve Wright @ ::945: what do you have against Mark Clifton? Pairing him with L. Ron Hubbard is beyond low; for one thing, he was an honest man. Granted that a book he co-wrote may have been the worst thing ever to take a Hugo -- but on his own he wrote some Swift-class satire.

ULTRAGOTHA @ ::953: it's a good thing I no longer eat lunch at my desk....

Lori @ ::983: I suspect that it has depended as much on time (how much is available in the schedule) and economics (of the individual publisher), combined with their senses of what they think will work. A publisher who was short of money or time might take anything because that was cheaper than commissioning a work; OTOH, some publishers had relevant covers even in the 1950's.

abi @ 0&1: A fascinating quote; I remembered the tone but not the specifics. I wonder whether Le Guin was deliberately echoing Buber.
       While I tend to approach most things called "mysticism" with an eleven-foot pole and a barrel of disinfectant, I am entirely with you on looking for works that can change the self -- or at least make clear that the self doesn't see (let alone know) everything.

Devin @ 54: exactly. Most of us would love to step in the same river twice -- at least for some rivers; those who can in memory, and still value the present for what it is, are lucky.
      There's also the pitiable opposite, of course:
      Buddy: Wouldn't you like to be young again?
      Ben: No thanks -- once was enough.
                  James Goldman, Follies

Bill Stewart @ 98: I read Ancillary Justice as a person-who-learned-better story (type 3 in one version of RAH's classification). The parallel times made it easier to get into than (e.g.) A Million Open Doors, where you have to watch the narrator be an ass for over half the book. You might also bear in mind (if you want to give Leckie another shot) that the narrator began as an AI, not a person; it was molded to a form, and watching it break out is as fascinating as watching Mia Havero learn better in Rite of Passage.

Lee @ 133: The Morgaine books are no more fantasy than non-WitchWorld Norton (i.e., some fantasy tropes in an SF frame, and how people without a tech frame see tech); the reason the Gates have to be destroyed is that they screw with causality, more or less by breaking relativity. (Crude explanation -- I am SO not a physicist.) That doesn't mean I don't recommend them (I'm a huge Cherryh fan), but there is plenty of Cherryh fantasy (Dreamstone, Rusalka, and Fortress books) to recommend.
      Thank you for an apt summary (one curator over many choices) of the SP issue; I've deleted the explanation I was working on. I do think it's ironic how these independent thinkers will move in lockstep when the right person tells them to....

Avram @ 159: or the programmer simply screwed up the specs -- as is discovered way too often when real-world data is first used. (I still cringe over the misreading of what I thought were clear instructions for 2 GoH plaques that produced "GoH: X" and "2nd GoH: Y".)

BB @ 164: exactly. This is a common problem in housing, even in parts of the country (e.g. Boston) that pride themselves in having a less-lamentable history wrt prejudice.

Ultragotha @ 171: In spite of the new, referenced, and old explanations, I think in this case that Amazing is using the wrong tactic because he's increasing the odds that the last nominee standing will evade the NA showdown rule. I guess it depends on whether you want to hope for NA to win, or fear that too many voters won't see what's going on -- in which case you might want to hold your nose and rate the slate members. No, I have no idea what I'm going to do.
      I really wish George Flynn were still alive to debate around this; he was the most thoughtfully ethical (ethically thoughtful?) fan I've ever known (including in his handling of the 1989 slate mess), but he argued frequently that the definition of the award as "best X of the year" left no room for No Award.

dh @ 175: the harm you don't see starts with No Award being the nuclear option; the last time it happened was when the year's best movies were all mediocre compared to Star Wars (not on the ballot, but came out before most ballots were sent in). Having to apply it to fiction would be ... painful.
      Also, getting enough people to invoke this solution would probably require the same sort of campaigning that we've been saying all along is inappropriate. You touch on the question of fannish cat-herding in your discussion of how an ML slate is improbable.
      Finally: consider the people who don't even get nominated (let alone win) because of the sewage flooding the ballot. Are they not harmed? Is the field as a whole not harmed by losing the collective sense of the most worthwhile works (not just the winners but all the finalists)? (The latter may be less relevant given the Locus lists -- but IME those are harder to find later, while the nominees are permanently on the web.)

BTW: has anybody preserved a copy of the SP slate? Once the nominees are announced, I'd really like to see just what happened, so I can share Ultragotha's dilemma (as if I wasn't going to have enough to think about by the deadline -- space planning \always/ has weird late issues, and this year it's starting late).

#187 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:01 PM:

Among others, Andrew Plotkin @42: Background datum: I'm hearing blips of information from the non-pro and nonfiction Hugo categories, so I'm assuming the entire ballot may be involved.

The SP's constantly mutating excuses for messing with the ballot have almost entirely focused on the fiction categories. If what I'm hearing means they've taken the trouble to sabotage the entire ballot, they're sending a broader message: There's nothing you love that we can't trash.

Or, to borrow a distinction once spelled out by a Supreme Court Justice: except for such rights as we may enjoy at their mercy and sufferance, we have no rights which they are bound to respect. It's a radical denial of equality: You have no privileges that are or could ever be binding on me.

(NOTE: I am not implying that the issues are equal, the causes are equal, or the suffering engendered is equal, and I am not laying claim to one tiny bit of the moral capital that attaches to the Dred Scott case. I'm just observing that a couple of things have an interestingly similar shape.)
Onward.

Thinking about the SPs, PUAs, Gators, MRAs, and related species got me to thinking about all those news stories where men who go postal and start shooting because their ex-girlfriend has hit them with a restraining order, or their wife's divorcing them in a community-property state, or a judge has ruled that they really do have to pay their child support. Or, for that matter, guys who shoot up small New Hampshire towns (primary target: a town councilwoman) because they've been told they have to finish building a cabin that's stalled at the "tarpaper shack" stage.

Apparently, some people (men, mostly) feel there's an important borderline between situations that can be construed as voluntary compliance, and situations in which it's made clear that other people have rights that can override your own. It's exacerbated if they feel dissed, and in many cases exacerbated still more if women were involved in the pushback.

So, timing. I'm wondering whether this SP nonsense is getting additional fuel from stuff like Vox Day getting kicked out of SFWA, arguments over the editorial content of the SFWA Bulletin, and the increased visibility of codes of conduct and anti-harassment protocols at conventions.

(I saw a Men's Rights book title while I was clicking through some links: If Men Have All the Power, How Come Women Make All the Rules? Well, duh. It's the people who don't have power who need there to be rules.)

I'm not suggesting that SPs have been harassing women. What I do know is that some men in the SF community have gone through spells of spluttering and fretting about this new regime in which some woman you might not even know could just decide to be offended about something.

As Graydon used to say, "Bad personal anxiety management."

#188 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:03 PM:

dh @ 175

So bringing in more people to vote, no matter how they vote, is increasing the democracy involved.

If I may offer a reductio ad absurdum to counter this: If I were to take a large sum of money and round up 10,000 people and give each person the sum of one supporting worldcon membership + $50 in exchange for their buying a worldcon membership and submitting a particular, specific, nomination slate, that would be "bringing more people in to vote, no matter how they vote." I very much fail to see how it would be increasing the democracy involved.

#189 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:07 PM:

Kevin Standlee asked @ #185

How do you think the Worldcon and Hugo Award web sites get the results online the moment the ceremony ends?

Telepathic squid, of course. (I thought everybody knew that.)

The "S" in "SMOF" does not stand for "Secret", that's just the cover story. <Oops!>

#190 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:08 PM:

Chip @ 186
BTW: has anybody preserved a copy of the SP slate? Once the nominees are announced, I'd really like to see just what happened, so I can share Ultragotha's dilemma....


I made a Do Not Link to Torgersen's blog post from Feb 1 where they list their slate.

http://www.donotlink.com/dgbl

Do Not Link lets users rate sites. That one is rated "nonsense". The comments are ... Well, I'd avoid them.

#191 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:08 PM:

Teresa I don't think the examples you bring up support the claim that men are reacting to a perceived or real faltering of their power base anymore than examples of women lashing out at men (portrayed in the Oxygen cable shows that generally have the 'he had coming' flavor to them) would support the idea that women are what PUA's say they are.

I don't regret the idea of the Hugos being "just an election" (or contest). I regret the idea that they will become just another prize that proves somebody's team is on top.

Reacting to this, it's not a hard case to make that this has already been the status quo. The "teams" are not right or left, but publishers. A very small number (hovering around 1 or 2) publishers have won a huge share of the awards. So do those 1 or 2 publishers really snap up that proportion of the award worthy content, or is that publisher overrepresented within the subset of fans who vote for Hugos?

If the later, it is now somewhat problematic to complain that you don't like losing the privilege that your team used to have.

#192 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:10 PM:

If I may offer a reductio ad absurdum to counter this: If I were to take a large sum of money and round up 10,000 people and give each person the sum of one supporting worldcon membership + $50 in exchange for their buying a worldcon membership and submitting a particular, specific, nomination slate, that would be "bringing more people in to vote, no matter how they vote." I very much fail to see how it would be increasing the democracy involved.

I don't think that's absurd. In the realm of publishing, that sort of thing would hardly be surprising, let along absurd.

It still increases the democracy, which is, more people voting. It just once again dilutes the republican representation of the voting base.

#193 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:11 PM:

Kevin, where did I say there wouldn't be any results ready for release? The idea is that no one knows who absolutely doesn't have to know, including the people who make the placques. (Because you don't know who they know, or what they think is fun to have. We had some of the pictures that were supposed to become slides for the Hugo ceremony disappear at the extremely-professional photo place.)

Been there, done that, have a nametag somewhere with a rat sticker. And memories of using the 1972 ballots for testing the 1984 ballot-counting program.

#194 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:23 PM:

191
Is this an argument from ignorance of SF publishing, or are you being ingenuous? There are only a handful of Big Publishers of SF, so of course most of the winners will be published in only a handful of outlets. I'm sure that Our Hostess and Our Host can tell you more than you want to know about reality in publishing. Somehow this has not been a problem for voters over the last mumble years, but became one when the SPs decided that they weren't getting enough ego-boo.

192
Democracy is not a larger group of people voting a slate Approved By Someone Else, and most especially not nominating from said slate. (You seem to be missing this, repeatedly.) More voters, okay; but those voters are supposed to be voting based on their personal opinions.

#195 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:29 PM:

Re: Ciardi's translation of Inferno, the OCR at Internet Archive is, indeed, of the worst. What's good, though, is that they also have a PDF that is just scans of the pages, and I'm fine with those (especially when the alternative is Dam]o's 1fen^o).

#196 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:31 PM:

Chip @186 - I suppose the "co-wrote the worst Hugo-winning novel" thing is the one people remember Clifton for, most clearly - and it's not a good thing. You're right, though, of course - he doesn't really deserve bracketing with Hubbard. Hubbard was very much sui generis, and we shall not look upon his like again. I leave it to others to decide whether that is a good or a bad thing.

I have recently read one of Clifton's stories, the title of which I can't immediately recall. I wasn't terribly impressed, but I have one of those big, cheap Kindle anthologies of his stories, too, so maybe he will grow on me, given time. (See? I don't just read fourteenth-century Italian poetry.)

#197 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:32 PM:

TNH: "I'm wondering whether this SP nonsense is getting additional fuel from stuff like Vox Day getting kicked out of SFWA, arguments over the editorial content of the SFWA Bulletin, and the increased visibility of codes of conduct and anti-harassment protocols at conventions."

I'm not wondering. I take it for granted that it is thus.

Going back again to my IF experience: the IF web forum where I hang out has a code of conduct. This is a recent development, and it came out of a nasty exchange that was *about* GG and what kind of online space is safe for various people (and groups). It's all one issue.

The discussion, BTW, was resolved but not in any simple way. Some pro-GG people *and* some anti-GG people bailed on the forum as a result. A schismatic alternative forum was launched. I like to think "my side won", in that we have a CoC page that says "be polite" and "respect people", and in that I think we have the right kind of folks as moderators. But not everybody on "my side" agrees with me -- which is my dose of reality for the subject, I guess.

#198 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:32 PM:

(That said, the text version is pretty clean for Archive. Thumb up!)

#199 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Actually, quite a lot of books not published by Big Publishers of SF have won Hugos - e.g. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell etc. To be sure, they are mostly published by Big Publishers of Something Else, but it shows it's not so much of a closed shop as is being suggested.

(Of course, this argument can only apply to the novel Hugo in any case. And perhaps novella, since more novellas seem to be appearing as books nowadays.)

#200 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:41 PM:

Andrew M: Digger was nominated (for Best Graphic Story) on its strength as a self-published webcomic. UrsulaV asked that her paper-edition publishers be included in the nomination.

#201 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Steve Wright @ 196: Try the novels if you can find them; the short work varies, but Eight Keys to Eden and When They Come from Space cut deep (at least in terms of their time; nowadays even that degree of bitterness may be routine).

Ultragotha @ 190: has anybody copied this, just in case Torgersen tries to hide the data later?

#202 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:50 PM:

dh @ #175: I read all the Sad Puppy nominees last year, using the same standards as I did for everything else: If something was painfully boring or badly written, I stopped reading and marked it below No Award.

As for organized slates promoting specific works: The fundamental problem with slates is that they allow any big-name author to flood the Hugo process and win an award whenever they want. Can you imagine it?

Year 1: J. K. Rowling tells her fans to get her a Hugo.
Year 2: The International Communist Conspiracy gathers 5,000 nominators and takes over every nomination.
Year 3: Michael Bay tells his fans to get him a Hugo.

…and so on. Now, most hugely successful creators would never actually do this, because they're far too classy, and they would see no value in winning an award by gaming the process.

Personally, if the Sad Puppies want to host a big enthusiastic blog party gushing about their favorite books, sharing lists of things to read and consider, and then each go fill in their own nominations, I have no problem with that. There are factions in fandom which are much stranger than the Sad Puppies, and they've always brought their voices to the table.

You also wrote:

To the larger point, which Teresa made yesterday about how nominations and awards usually happen - as a result of the excitement and passion of readers - I think is also flawed.

In my opinion, Sad Puppies voters are not like other fans. The fact that they are new, or mostly new to the process, is one strong bit of evidence. But also, they are self-described right-wing, libertarians, conservatives, right-of-center, or even in a few cases, Republicans. The traits that Teresa assigns to Worldcon voters reads almost like a description of your typical privileged (and not in a bad way, in a Western wealthy comfortable way) liberal - positive, effusive, recommending to a larger community, etc.

Huh? Conservatives can't be effusive about books and recommend them to a larger community? That's a really startling claim. I know several wise and kind conservatives1 who are often positive and effusive about books. Any of them would be perfectly capable of filling out a Hugo nominee list honestly and thoughtfully, based on books they genuinely loved. In fact, I trade book recommendations with some of them.

1To be fair, these conservatives do not have an angry or discriminatory bone in their body, and they would find GG-style movements to be either incomprehensible or a blight upon modern civilization. Results may not be typical of modern conservative activists.

#203 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 05:54 PM:

dh @192:
If you sincerely believe that a huge number of people voting exactly as they are ordered to by some authority is "democracy" - for clarity, we're now discussing Heather's thought-experiment @188 not the SP slate - all I can say is you're not using any definition of the word in normal use.

There *are* various dictatorships around the world which periodically hold elections with no opposition on the ballot, and armed soldiers hovering over the public as they fill in the ballots, and then announce that their President has been elected again with 99% of the popular vote. By the standard you seem to be giving, you would consider them genuine thriving democracies. Is that correct?

Is that what you believe about life and elections in general? Or is this special because "realm of publishing"? Or are you trying to find in "democracy" some justification for shenanigans that you'd like to be able to approve of?

(And BTW, I really have no idea what you mean when you say that's completely normal in the "realm of publishing". Do you honestly believe that the SF book publishers have been rigging all the Hugos up to now?)

#204 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:10 PM:

201
I just saved the slate to a text file.

#205 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:21 PM:

me @ 186: AAUUGGHH! I have probably misunderstood the showdown rule; I haven't tried constructing a case, but if I read http://www.wsfs.org/bm/const-2014.pdf correctly, the showdown is head-to-head rather than who's-on-more-ballots (see 6.5, with a connection to 3.11.3), so just not rating the SP nominees won't let NA defeat them in a showdown.

3.11.2 does appear to offer an option: if 75%+1 of the people sending in ballots mark only No Award (or nothing at all) in a category, No Award wins that category. AFAICT, this means that if the category has only SP nominees, not ranking them at all would give No Award an edge. (I am reminded of the scene in The Probability Broach in which the most fanatical of L. Neil Smith's libertarians proudly point to the year "None of the Above" won the Presidential election; I wonder if Smith is paying attention to this mess?) OTOH, if 50%+1 of the voters put NA first it would win anyway, so not rating the SP nominees doesn't seem likelier to produce No Award. And if there's even one non-slate nominee, rating all the slate nominees means the ones you dislike less have an edge over the others, if all of the non-SP nominees are eliminated.

#206 ::: nathanbp ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:47 PM:

CHip @ 205: I don't think so? I feel like Section 6.5 is a little unclear in the case of not ranking all the nominees. If you mark No Award and don't mark another nominee at all, then you could be said to be "preferring the run-off candidate to the tentative winner" (run-off candidate in this case refers to No Award). Surely the opposite consideration is made when deciding if a ballot is "preferring the tentative winner to the run-off candidate".

For example, in a simple case of 3 ballots being cast:
1) A
2) B A
3) NA A

A becomes the tentative winner with 3 votes after B and NA are eliminated in the first round. If the only way to express relative preference between No Award and A is to have both of them on your ballot, then in this case there is 1 ballot for NA>A and 0 ballots for A>NA and No Award wins the run off (and the Hugo).

This doesn't make any sense, so I'd think that any nominee marked must be counted as "preferred" to any nominee not marked at all.

#207 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:51 PM:

@ 200 - And to the credit of the Hugo people, they were very gracious about including Sofawolf Press when I asked them to. As much blood, sweat and tears as they put into the print volumes, I would have felt like a dirty rat leaving them off.

Heck, I once showed up at SDCC after having fallen into an estuary looking at shorebirds and they still let me sit behind the table, estuary smell and all.

#208 ::: Stefan S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 06:56 PM:

Not We and They; not I and It; but I and Thou.

Oh, Abi. And, Oh, Ursula K., whose stories have shaped my heart and mind like no other.

To me the phrases like SMOF and "all fandom was aflame with war" were funny because they *weren't* true, not really; but now these people, these lachrymose lupines, they make a sinister cabal out of shadows who will "blacklist", "d*xx" them, "harass family and friends"... what? Really?

There's such a disconnect between the tiresome sort of strategizing, voting blocs, counter-campaigns, damage mitigation that this whole "slate" idea brings and the glowing reflective rocket falling in the hands of a wordsmith by the power of thousands of heartstrings/ pageturnings/ caught breaths/ books exchanged with a burning look/ the thought of a new strange thing under the sun.

What alchemy will turn an act of strategy back into an act of passion, after this vote is done? That magic is most vexing to rekindle.

#209 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:04 PM:

CHip @201
"Ultragotha @ 190: has anybody copied this, just in case Torgersen tries to hide the data later?"

I am sure I'm not the only one with screen prints.

#210 ::: Michael Eochaidh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:06 PM:

After two threads and nearly a thousand comments, I'm just going to say that y'all have convinced me to vote for the Hugos.

#211 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:16 PM:

ULTRAGOTHA, #190: Blog posts can be taken down. I made a copy-and-paste Notepad list, partly for easier later reference, partly Just In Case.

dh, #191: A very small number (hovering around 1 or 2) publishers have won a huge share of the awards.

I'd be very interested in seeing your supporting data for this claim, because that's not the feel I've had from the awards at all over the last few decades. It may have been more true when there were fewer large publishers printing SF.

CHip, #201: See above.

UrsulaV, 207: *giggling helplessly*

#212 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Tangential, in reply to Grace @150:

Something could be done with naval unicorns, I think. After all, Poseidon was a horse god.

OK, let’s start by changing one more character of the OCR: Hornblower appeared in the doorway on his naval unicorn.

#213 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:31 PM:

CHip @201:

The Wayback Machine hadn't marked the page for archival; it often doesn't do so automatically for Wordpress posts, but it allows them to be archived if one requests it, which I have now done:

https://web.archive.org/web/20150402232240/https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/sad-puppies-3-the-2015-hugo-slate/

This url should continue to display the version of the post that exists this evening.

#214 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:36 PM:

dh @175

"Anything that brings in more votes is inherently more democratic"

When the process that brought in more votes locked everyone else out of choosing the nominees, I really don't see how that could be.

Is this something you can explain better, or is it just "more votes equals more democratic" even if someone has, for example, distorted the nominations with a slate so I'm effectively stuck with choosing between five different MacDonalds in this "more democratic" election for what was supposed to be the Best Restaurant award?

There is indeed "No Award" as a way of saying "Hey! No Fair!" and I plan to keep it in mind.

The harm is that something that in the absence of a slate would have won a well deserved Hugo (possibly even something on the slate that could have earned its way onto the ballot honestly) will not get a Hugo.

In divisions that still have some nominees that didn't get an unfair boost from a slate, other nominees will get crowded out by those that did get an unfair boost from a slate, and will not get their opportunity to be considered for a Hugo.

Depending on how badly the ballot has been diddled, that may happen to a lot of things.

"A more principled stand then..." I'm sorry; I was not a regular reader of Making Light back then, so I can't help you with that.

I will say that what some readers of ML say doesn't bind other readers, and that most intelligent people will change their minds when the circumstances call for it. Indeed, the disdain that conservatives have for people who change their minds is one of the reasons I eye their views with caution.

I did see some people I admired saying in other venues that they didn't feel they had an obligation to read the work of one particularly objectionable author. I have no problem with that. If you've seen enough of someone's writing to know you don't enjoy their work, you already know where to place it on the ballot. The piece in question was deadly dull (for me) and widely disliked, and it ended up where it belonged.

And while I intend to read all the nominated works (depending on length (sorry, WoT) and with the right to stop if I don't like them) because I still want to rank them, I'm not going to tell other people how they have to treat entries that got an unfair boost from a slate.

#215 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:38 PM:

dh, @191: A very small number (hovering around 1 or 2) publishers have won a huge share of the awards.

That can be disproved just by looking at the Best Novel category, and there are at least eight different publishers in the last 14 years in Best Novella and seven in Best Novelette and Best Short Story.

Best Novel:
2014 - Ancillary Justice - Orbit
2013 - Redshirts - Tor
2012 - Among Others - Tor
2011 - Blackout/All Clear - Spectra
2010 - The City and the City - Del Ray
2010 - The Windup Girl - Nightshade Books
(Tie)
2009 - The Graveyard Book - HarperCollins
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union - HarperCollins
2007 - Rainbows End - Tor
2006 - Spin - Tor
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Bloomsbury
2004 - Paladin of Souls - Eos
2003 - Hominids - Analog Science Fiction and Fact
2002 - American Gods - William Morrow
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Bloomsbury
2000 - A Deepness in the Sky - Tor

#216 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:38 PM:

Grace Seybold @213: It's still best to make a local copy as well, because a site can use their robots.txt file to tell the Wayback Machine "stop crawling my site", and the Wayback Machine will respond by also making all records of that site no longer publicly available. As I understand it, they still have the data, but it's marked "non-public". Or at least, that was the way it worked a few years ago when I talked to one of their engineers about it.

#217 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:51 PM:

dh@191: When you say "A very small number (hovering around 1 or 2) publishers have won a huge share of the awards." You are dead wrong. I know this, because I went to look. Here are the Hugo novel winners, with publishers. From 2000 to the present:

Tor 5
HarperCollins 2
Bloomsbury 1
Del Rey 1
Eos 1
Night Shade 1
Orbit 1
Spectra 1
William Morrow 1

Is 36% (Tor's share of winning years, including ties) "huge"? Is 50% (the share for Tor + HarperCollins) the massive domination you're thinking about it?

Here they are back another twenty years, 1980 to present:

Tor 8
Baen 3
Bantam Spectra 3
HarperCollins 2
Ace 2
Bantam Books 1
Bloomsbury 1
DAW Books 1
Del Rey 1
Dial Press 1
Doubleday 2
Eos 1
HarperCollins 1
HarperCollins Voyager 1
Night Shade 1
Orbit 1
Spectra 1
Victor Gollancz 1
Warner Books 1
William Morrow 1

Or is it Tor's 24% here? Or the 41% held by Tor + Baen + Bantam Spectra? What is it you are thinking of, and why?

#218 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:52 PM:

A very powerful piece of truth from stimmyabby and kyraneko on tumblr:

stimmyabby: Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

kyraneko adds: The respect of being treated like a person is something everybody deserves automatically. The respect of being treated like an authority, you need to fucking earn.

This is Elliott again: Oh my goodness how did I never notice those very different homonyms in use? Because wow they are right. It's like the difference in what "pride" means in these two sentences:

I have great pride in the quality of my work.
Today we celebrate Gay Pride by watching a parade.

They are spelled and pronounced the same, but their meanings are distinct.

I feel a need to requote part of it and stare at it for a while: people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

#219 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:52 PM:

212
ROFLMAO! (Naval unicorn: one with fins on its legs? Or covered in fish-scales or sharkskin?)

#220 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:53 PM:

Cat@214: It helps to remember that what they mean by "democracy" is pretty much always first-past-the-post plurality voting, supported by the kind of apparatus that can make Bush president in 2000. All this other stuff is, to them, not real democracy.

#221 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 07:57 PM:

In re democracy, I think it's important to note that "increasing the nominal size of the electorate" does not always result in "increasing the number of people who make a choice about the question being decided."

I say this because I'm from Chicago, where quite regularly local bosses would move heaven and earth to help "their people" get to the polls on time, providing transportation and sometimes even a family meal for all that voted, in return for "their people" bringing a slip of paper into the booth and voting down the line for their boss' candidates.

The Sad Puppies are pikers compared to either of the Carter Harrisons, but it's the same basic behavior.

#222 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:00 PM:

Bruce Baugh @217

Snap!

#223 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:01 PM:

TNH: "I'm wondering whether this SP nonsense is getting additional fuel from stuff like Vox Day getting kicked out of SFWA, arguments over the editorial content of the SFWA Bulletin, and the increased visibility of codes of conduct and anti-harassment protocols at conventions."

I think they haven't *quite* admitted it in so many words. But if you look at the other things the Sad Puppies said between that time and this, yes, they were very upset about these things.

dh @175 (yes, again)

On second reading I don't see why you're talking about hypocrisy. If people who opposed nominees that got an unfair boost from a slate last year, oppose nominees that got an unfair boost from a slate this year, where is the hypocrisy, exactly? That seems perfectly consistent to me, whether or not they choose to do it by refusing even to read such nominees.

#224 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:08 PM:

So I'm convinced. Prior to this thread, it never occurred to me that voting for the Hugo was something I could do, and through most of the thread it didn't occur to me that it was something I had any business doing. But I think I understand now, so this year I'll be doing my tiny bit. I've been a consumer of the Hugos for decades. They've steered me toward great stuff I'd otherwise have missed. I guess it's only fair that I lend a hand.

#225 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:13 PM:

Elliott @217

Re: respect meaning "treat like a person" vs "treat like an authority."

Wow. Nailed it. Nice.

Jeremy @216

I have a copy of the SP3 Slate saved locally. I think a couple of other people also said they did. Someone mentioned screenshots, though it must be a pain to try to get that whole slate onscreen and visible at once. I think we're covered.

#226 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:34 PM:

P J Evans (219): (Naval unicorn: one with fins on its legs? Or covered in fish-scales or sharkskin?

Oh, my. I feel a Chutneying coming on.

#227 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:51 PM:

ULTRAGOTHA #215 & Bruce Baugh #217:

Where do you get off bringing facts (facts I say!) into an argument? Darn you and your logic & rationality!

I've seen claims that some publishers win more than their fair share of the Hugos as evidence for a rigged award. What? All things being equal, you might expect a larger publisher to win more awards, but all things are not equal. Publishers and their books are not fungible. You can't take away my John Ringo book & replace it with a Charles Stross book and expect me to think that it was an equivalent swap.

None of the reasons SP give for what they are doing withstand scrutiny, which leaves me to conclude...

#228 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:53 PM:

CHip @205:

...the showdown is head-to-head rather than who's-on-more-ballots...
No, that's not the case, it never was the intent, and no administrator has ever applied it that way. And in particular, WSFS Resolution 2013-1 says:
In administering Constitution Section 6.5, a ballot should be counted if it has a vote for either the tentative winner or the run-off candidate or for both.
In other words, when the showdown is run, the only ballots that count are:
  • Ballots that include No Award
  • Ballots that include the Tentative Winner
There's a logical OR between these, not an AND.

If you vote No Award with no other preferences, it counts exactly the same in the Showdown as if you marked any or all of the other candidates and No Award somewhere.

I was there when the No Award showdown wording was adopted. There has never been any intention of having it count only ballots that list both the Tentative Winner and No Award. No administrator has ever interpreted it that way. The ballot-counting software doesn't count the ballots that way. Don't worry about it. There isn't some trick built into the rule.

Of course, unless you're a regular Business Meeting watcher, you aren't likely to be following the minutiae of things like the Continuing Resolutions; however, the people who administer the elections are the sort of people who regularly attend WSFS Business Meetings and follow rules changes closely.

nathanbp @206:

Your interpretation is the way the rule is intended to be read. Leaving a choice off your ballot prefers it below any choice that is on your ballot.

Also, on the Hugo Awards web site page about The Voting System, we wrote (emphasis added):

The valid ballots are divided into three piles: those in which No Award is ranked higher than the prospective winner, those in which the prospective winner is ranked higher than No Award, and those in which neither No Award nor the prospective winner have preferences listed. Note that a ballot that contains a preference for the prospective winner but does not contain a preference for No Award goes into the “prospective winner higher than no award” pile. This is because lack of preference is, by definition, lower than any preference.

I hope this reassures people that voting NA and none of the other candidates will still mean that their NA vote will count in the Showdown.

#229 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 08:59 PM:

A rumination on the 21st century Hugo novel winners: taken as a bunch, they really do represent what I think of as sf & fantasy quite well. We have...

- Military/space opera from an AI's point of view with language issues interwoven with diplomacy and all.
- Comedy space opera with metafictional touches.
- Contemporary-world fantasy, with a character that makes all the hardcore fans of every gender go "yup yup yup, me too".
- time-travel drama.
- biopunk dystopia.
- slipstream-y overlapping-worlds mystery, with a look at politics and consciousness.
- coming-of-age with ghosts and secret societies.
- alternate-history police procedural.
- near-future medical drama + conspiracy action.
- slices of life on an Earth subjected to cosmological engineering.
- epistolary historical fantasy.
- epic quest fantasy.
- parallel-worlds encounters with parallel hominids.
- modern-day secret-magic road-trip adventure.
- modern-da secret-magic adventure at an academy for magicians.

That is...a whole lot of classic kinds of sf, and some new ones, many of them busily talking to each other and learning as they go. These are all things I may well talk about when I talk about sf&f - I recognize all of them, as being part of a system of mental kinship with me.

That's a cool thing to know.

#230 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:00 PM:

A rumination on the 21st century Hugo novel winners: taken as a bunch, they really do represent what I think of as sf & fantasy quite well. We have...

- Military/space opera from an AI's point of view with language issues interwoven with diplomacy and all.
- Comedy space opera with metafictional touches.
- Contemporary-world fantasy, with a character that makes all the hardcore fans of every gender go "yup yup yup, me too".
- time-travel drama.
- biopunk dystopia.
- slipstream-y overlapping-worlds mystery, with a look at politics and consciousness.
- coming-of-age with ghosts and secret societies.
- alternate-history police procedural.
- near-future medical drama + conspiracy action.
- slices of life on an Earth subjected to cosmological engineering.
- epistolary historical fantasy.
- epic quest fantasy.
- parallel-worlds encounters with parallel hominids.
- modern-day secret-magic road-trip adventure.
- modern-da secret-magic adventure at an academy for magicians.

That is...a whole lot of classic kinds of sf, and some new ones, many of them busily talking to each other and learning as they go. These are all things I may well talk about when I talk about sf&f - I recognize all of them, as being part of a system of mental kinship with me.

That's a cool thing to know.

#231 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:30 PM:

There is one thing that confuses me a bit still about IRV

Suppose there are 5 nominees, which I will title

Great
Pretty Darn Good
Okay...
Sawdust
Poison Oak Soup

If I give as my preferences
1 Great
2 Pretty Darn Good
3 NA

I think I have just left Okay..., Sawdust and Poison Oak Soup tied for 4th.

So if I understand correctly, I should write it all the way out as:

1 Great
2 Pretty Darn Good
3 No Award
4 Okay...
5 Sawdust
6 Poison Oak Soup

so that if it comes down to a choice between Okay... and the others, or between Sawdust and Poison Oak Soup, my preference for Okay... or Sawdust is counted.

Do I understand this correctly?

#232 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 09:47 PM:

Elliott @218: people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

Yes! I've been groping for this concept. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

#233 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:00 PM:

Cat, that's exactly right. Although it's also perfectly legitimate to say "I hate all three of these books, but it's too hard to decide whether I prefer Leaf Trimmings to Sawdust or vice versa, so I'll just put No Award in the #3 slot and leave the rest of my ballot blank."

#234 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:24 PM:

Eliot #218: Hmm. Passing this around got an interesting response from one of my sisters:

It's interesting and idealistic but I'm not sure I agree. This can be taken in different contexts depending on the generation and right now it implies police do not deserve respect until they earn it. Is that also true for teachers? What about <her kids>;'s friend's parents? People can lose respect but I think it should be given.

I responded:
My own take on that: A group like police or teachers can earn authoritative respect as a group, but they can also lose it as individuals -- and if enough individuals blow it publicly, they can also cut into their group's respect. See also; Ferguson et pluribus al, and remember that deference to power or position is not the same as respect.

I'll even grant that a child should be taught "default respect" to various groups, including "adults in general", as part of socialization -- but as they grow up, they do get to reconsider that.

In any case, I'd certainly say that respecting someone as a person does include recognizing the job they're tasked with doing (including parenting).

Note how I needed a lot more detail to answer a couple of brief examples. "Thinking of the children" really can complicate things.... Comments?

#235 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:34 PM:

And I added an addendum: Even children shouldn't take adults in general as fully authoritative. I'm sure you can think of cases where <kids> should not accept the authority of even their friends' parents.

#236 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:40 PM:

Cat @231:

You are right that if you want to express any opinion between the things you rank below No Award, you should use the second version of your example. And in any event, by ranking No Award ahead of those three, you have said, "I'd rather none of these win."

If one of those three works wins the preliminary IRV count, the Administrator will do one more test, the No Award Showdown, and in that case your vote for No Award counts first.

#237 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:47 PM:

People are tying themselves up trying to parse Instant Runoff Voting. Try imagining it as you being at an in-person meeting of 100 people trying to elect a new club president. There are five people running. The election is by show of hands, and to win you have to get a majority of those people actually voting. (That means that people present who don't vote don't count.)

At the end of the first round, nobody has a majority of the votes cast. The person who places last drops out of the election, leaving four candidates. Everyone then votes again. If someone got a majority, they win; otherwise, the last place candidate drops out and you repeat the process with three candidates, and then if necessary with two. Having done this, you eventually get a winner, even if that winner wins 2-1 with 97 people not voting.

Now, you're not done: This final finisher now stands up and the question is "Shall we elect this person President, yes or no?" If there are more no votes than yes, then the person who "won" the original multiple rounds of election does not win and your club doesn't have a president.

What I just described is how the WSFS version of IRV works. It just doesn't require everyone to gather in one room and go through multiple rounds of balloting.

#238 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 10:54 PM:

@217

" You are dead wrong. I know this, because I went to look.

Your data does not support the stridency of your opinion. I did not claim that any publisher won most, just a huge number, of awards. The examples you have - with two publishers winning 50% of the awards in a category, for example, are telling. Looking at the first subset of data, with two publishers winning 50% of the awards, the next winningest publisher won.. 1 award. In fact all the other publishers are tied with.. 1 award. The two dominant players have won combined, as 7 times as many awards as the 3rd place finisher. This is a text book example of a duopoly, with two players dominating the field over much less significant competitors.

@214

Is this something you can explain better, or is it just "more votes equals more democratic" even if someone has, for example, distorted the nominations with a slate so I'm effectively stuck with choosing between five different MacDonalds in this "more democratic" election for what was supposed to be the Best Restaurant award?

The problem is with this statement is the word "distorted". "Distorted" implies a deviation from the norm, or the mean, state. It implies a defect. Can you try to imagine rewriting your statement without making a value judgement on any nomination. Your statement is written from a point of view "obviously MacDonalds is inferior, and so, any award that MacDonalds wins must be defective, because MacDonalds is inferior". The Hugo's are not a pure quality award. For that we have the Nebula. The Hugo's are a popularity contest. The criteria is whatever the voters say it is. Back in the last round of award voting, there was a strong opinion that voters could decide the criteria is "we don't like the author, therefore his or her work is disqualified, they are not entitled to have me read and judge their works". Others read the works, and made a value judgement on the work, and still others read the works, and made a combined value judgement about the work and the author as a unit. Notable folks in the field like repeat-Hugo winner John Scalzi expressed the sentiment that you could make the decision how to vote however you like.

If you were to try to judge the process of the award without considering the results, I think you would see that any "popularity" based process that has a greater share of voters has than any other process is more democratic. Having uniform voting blocs says nothing about the process. For a democratic system, which Hugo's purport to be (and which, in another time and place I would quarrel with that label, because any voting system where such a vast proportion of the worlds peoples' are excluded for privilege reasons related to money and technological superiority is deeply defective), it is a simple formula: more voters, good.

I did see some people I admired saying in other venues that they didn't feel they had an obligation to read the work of one particularly objectionable author. I have no problem with that. If you've seen enough of someone's writing to know you don't enjoy their work, you already know where to place it on the ballot.

And that is the nutmeg of the hypocrisy. I think that opinion is fine, but on the other hand, I am not going around wringing hands that a group of people feel no obligation to vote for other works in order to make up for the deficiencies of less motivated fans of other authors. It's especially galling because in this case, Sad Puppies are not even voting against a thing, they are instead, voting affirmatively for something. The problem with calling this dishonest or wrong is that it assumes that another author has the inherent privilege and is owed a nomination, and perhaps an award. No one is owed a Hugo who hasn't been nominated and then voted for according to the rules.

I think you've put a lot of thought into this, but it seems like it's centered around judging the process by the outcome. It's a lot of work and mental backflips to try to get to a reasoned form of "I am unhappy that more people did not vote for people I don't object to".

The nearly universal refrain, that you have just echoed, is that the objectionable authors from the last Hugo cycle got what their works and persons deserved - last place, or below last place finishes. The nearly universal retort to their complaints of maltreatment was "the voters got it right", and if you don't like it, make your own award. It's pretty clear that Sad Puppies don't feel the need to make their own award, instead, they've decided to participate effisuvely and effectively within the framework of the Hugo's.

@221

In re democracy, I think it's important to note that "increasing the nominal size of the electorate" does not always result in "increasing the number of people who make a choice about the question being decided."

That's a very fair point, but it seems quite likely that this years nominations will be the largest in history, or if not the largest, certainly near the top. So it might not be particularly relevant.

@203

(And BTW, I really have no idea what you mean when you say that's completely normal in the "realm of publishing". Do you honestly believe that the SF book publishers have been rigging all the Hugos up to now?)

No, not the Hugo's. But it's certainly not beyond publishers and authors to use accounting gimmicks, bulk buys, selective strategic buys, and outside chart pushing companies to get books onto bestseller lists, reviewed, or in the hands of influential people who can move the market. Anyone who follows the SFWA's author beware posts can see the long string of tricks employed by publishers in the genre and history. Publishing, along with Hollywood, are businesses that still retains some of it's legacy of accounting problems. For the Hugo's, it's probably not worth it. An author in a different thread mentioned that a Hugo nomination put, I think, $100 in her pocket in increased sales. There's not really much upside to any attempt to game it. My point was, it's hardly feels absurd to imagine that some publisher might at some point dedicate a marketing budget to try to sweep an awards process.

There *are* various dictatorships around the world which periodically hold elections with no opposition on the ballot, and armed soldiers hovering over the public as they fill in the ballots, and then announce that their President has been elected again with 99% of the popular vote. By the standard you seem to be giving, you would consider them genuine thriving democracies. Is that correct?

No, I wouldn't. There are three very important differences to your proposed situation, and why the analogy falls apart.

1. In your example, there is no opposition because it is either explicitly or implicitly illegal. In the Sad Puppies scenario that is under consideration, there was no barrier except a $40 poll tax applied equally, to nominations. In the award voting, there is whatever choices were nominated in sufficient numbers to appear, and even that does not guarantee an "award". So, short version, there is opportunity for dissent in both phases of voting.

2. In your example, there is the implied threat of violence for voters and opposition candidates. It's comical to have to say this, but I don't think any Hugo voters or nominators are living in some sort of fear of assassination for their ballot.

3. In your example, the powers that be do not want opposition. In the Sad Puppies case, you have past winners, like John Scalzi, who are actively encouraging changing the Hugo's, saying: "Change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating.". . That's exactly what's going on here, which is the opposite of what dictators do.

All in all, I think John has it perfectly right:

The (apparent) majority have voted, and the reaction here and a few other places is to disparage them and their intillgence and motivation. John wrote:

As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.

Who am I to argue with the likes John Scalzi on this matter?

#239 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:03 PM:

Serge Broom #91: I think we are living in a golden age of space opera, which makes me very happy. Cherryh of course, but also the Bujold Vorkosigan books, the Honor Harringtons (until Weber kind of ran out of steam), some of John Scalzi, and even some of Iain M. Banks (e.g., Surface Detail). And the best thing is that there's plenty of room in space opera for more "serious" themes (Bujold and Banks again).

#240 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:27 PM:

Btw, dh, I saw you casually say that everyone on here who objected to last year's Sad Puppy slate had then voted against it without reading it.

Eric mentioned he'd read them, to an extent. I remember quite a number of people who read some or all of the SP novels, and also the novelettes. (I don't remember specific comment on novellas/short stories/etc). Some people did say they weren't going to/refused to, but there was no mass consensus.


I don't have a dog in the hunt, not being someone who voted last year, but it sort of bugged me.

#241 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:32 PM:

dh @238 -- if you actually think the Nebulas are a "pure quality" award rather than even more of a popularity contest than the Hugos, I have a very nice bridge to sell you. And speaking of bridges: Bridge Publications did try to get L. Ron Hubbard a Hugo for BATTLEFIELD EARTH, in a way similar to what you describe, and failed miserably. The publishers generally don't have clout that works that way.

#242 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:34 PM:

dh:
Either you're now being intentionally dishonest and weaselling here, or it seems you are unable to read and parse the most basic English and the most basic logic.

Here is the sentence you deleted from the excerpts of my post to which you responded:
If you sincerely believe that a huge number of people voting exactly as they are ordered to by some authority is "democracy" - for clarity, we're now discussing Heather's thought-experiment @188 not the SP slate[...]

As a reminder, that thought-experiment was:
If I were to take a large sum of money and round up 10,000 people and give each person the sum of one supporting worldcon membership + $50 in exchange for their buying a worldcon membership and submitting a particular, specific, nomination slate, that would be "bringing more people in to vote, no matter how they vote."

And you insisted in response to that, if you've forgotten, that would be more democratic, even if the slate were specifically dictated and the voters would have no choice in it. So, would you now care to respond again to the actual content of my question?

#243 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:38 PM:

238
The data does not support your claim, and especially not your implied claim that publishers collude on the Hugos - I say of my own knowledge that publishers don't have input other than the same ballots every other individual has. And the computer that counts the ballots doesn't know who published the work: that's not what people are voting on.

If you're wrong on that, which is easy to demonstrate is wrong, should I trust any of your other claims?

#244 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:42 PM:

Jeremy Leader @216: Thanks, I didn't know that could be done. (I seem to be learning a lot of things from this thread that are only slightly related to the main topic.) My thinking was that a copy in a "neutral" place might forestall any claims of inaccuracy, if there's a concern about multiple versions showing up later.

#245 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:47 PM:

238
Just to refresh your memory, this is what you said about publishers, in 191:

Reacting to this, it's not a hard case to make that this has already been the status quo. The "teams" are not right or left, but publishers. A very small number (hovering around 1 or 2) publishers have won a huge share of the awards. So do those 1 or 2 publishers really snap up that proportion of the award worthy content, or is that publisher overrepresented within the subset of fans who vote for Hugos?

If the later, it is now somewhat problematic to complain that you don't like losing the privilege that your team used to have.

Note that your claim of 'a very small number of publishers' has already been shown to be wildly wrong.

#246 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:55 PM:

@240

Btw, dh, I saw you casually say that everyone on here who objected to last year's Sad Puppy slate had then voted against it without reading it.

I don't think I said that. I certainly don't think that's true. I think what I wrote was:

"Back in the last round of award voting, there was a strong opinion that voters could decide the criteria is "we don't like the author, therefore his or her work is disqualified, they are not entitled to have me read and judge their works". Others read the works, and made a value judgement on the work, and still others read the works, and made a combined value judgement about the work and the author as a unit. Notable folks in the field like repeat-Hugo winner John Scalzi expressed the sentiment that you could make the decision how to vote however you like."

I don't have a dog in the hunt, not being someone who voted last year, but it sort of bugged me.

I don't think there was a single opinion, but there are certainly many who comment here, including Teresa, who flat out said they would not read it, the work was disqualified by the authorship alone. I think this is a fair position, but then, turnabout is fair play.

@241

dh @238 -- if you actually think the Nebulas are a "pure quality" award rather than even more of a popularity contest than the Hugos, I have a very nice bridge to sell you. And speaking of bridges: Bridge Publications did try to get L. Ron Hubbard a Hugo for BATTLEFIELD EARTH, in a way similar to what you describe, and failed miserably. The publishers generally don't have clout that works that way.

The Nebulas are a form of jury award. They are not intended to be democratic, but rather, republican and meritocratic. There is no pretense of a simple voting majority (or IRV plurality) taking home the prize. Voter qualifications require membership in an exclusive private club. In that regards they are a pure quality award as popular. There is no general instruction for voters to choose a popular work, or to represent readers, or to represent anyone but themselves. There is no element of "popularity" in terms of a democratic election. If you are saying, that among the very small, elite, electorate popularity factors into the voting decision, I can live with that.

, that would be more democratic

Of course it would be more democratic, more people are voting. Just because you don't like the reason's doesn't make it less democratic. In your thought experiment, I completely discounted this element because it's totally irrelevant. Saying "They have no choice" is not accurate. The alternative is that they simply pay the $50 themselves and vote however they want. Or they can elect to take the free membership and vote according to the slate. That is a rational basis for making a voting decision.

Once again, you have to examine the process separate from the results. If you don't like the results, that's fine. It's a totally fair thing to say "the results make me angry". But it's non-nonsensical to complain about any actor in a democratic process doing whatever is within the rules to increase the number of voters. It's especially nonsensical in this case, there was absolutely no reason to let newcomers take the advantage so easily, except a feeling well displayed here that certain authors or works are entitled to a nomination.

Incidentally, Worldcon in partnership with publishers are doing essentially the same thing themselves in hopes of getting voters to vote their way. I remember explicitly them promoting voting memberships for $40 or $50 last year in order to get some many great works. I registered and got WoT series plus tons of other great works that far outweigh the cost of the membership. The essential elements are the same: "hey, vote for us, and you'll get you something of value".

#247 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2015, 11:59 PM:

Note that your claim of 'a very small number of publishers' has already been shown to be wildly wrong.

No, it hasn't. Two publishers have won 7 times as many awards as the next place finisher in the data that another commentator posted. Those same two publishers won as many awards in that category as all the others combined.

Do you care to answer the question:

So do those 1 or 2 publishers really snap up that proportion of the award worthy content, or is that publisher overrepresented within the subset of fans who vote for Hugos?

Is it your opinion that the two publishers produce the majority of award worth content in the genre, or do you think that there fans are over represented within the Hugo nominating and voting base?

#248 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:16 AM:

The data does not support your claim
Why not? Two publishers won 50% of the awards in the top category in the last 15 years. 7 times as much as the next contender.

and especially not your implied claim that publishers collude on the Hugos
I did not claim that, or anything like that. It has nothing to do with the publishers colluding. As others have noted, the publishers don't select the winners. This has to do only with voters. You have fabricated a claim to be offended by.

I say of my own knowledge that publishers don't have input other than the same ballots every other individual has. And the computer that counts the ballots doesn't know who published the work: that's not what people are voting on.
I don't doubt this at all. I am not the one alleging voting irregularities or fraud.

I restate the original question: do the top two publishers really snap up 7x as much award worthy authors and works as the next publisher on the list (really any of the ones tied for 3rd place), or are fans of those two publishers over represented among the Hugo voting base?

This is not a trick question or a hard question. Look at 2014's Best Novel: Ancillary Justice, written by Anne Leckie and published by Orbit. I have no insider knowledge, but my gut feeling is that it was a commercial success. Especially since there is a sequel, it seems like the publisher must be at least nominally happy with it. It won Best Novel, comfortably.

But the question is, why did it win? It won because voters who vote for Hugo's liked it more than any other choices nominated by people who nominate for the Hugo's. Why didn't more commercially popular works win? For example, Allegiant, which is in the same genre space, also published in 2013, was conservatively 10x more commercially successful than Ancillary Justice (anyone care to fact check that claim? Publishers Weekly reports at least 500k copies sold). Therefore, the only two reasons why this work wasn't nominated and didn't win in a democratic vote are:

1. The fans of Ancillary Justice nominated and voted in greater proportion than the more numerous fans of Allegiant; making them over represented in proportion to their overall popularity.

2. The fans of Allegiant, in signficant enough numbers, are not aware of, or do not care to participate in, Worldcon or the Hugo process.

Either way, nothing nefarious or bad or evil or wrong or nasty happened in 2013. The voters who cared to vote, voted, and a winner was chosen.]

Likewise, the same formula will apply to Sad Puppies. Assuming the scenario contemplated happens, and the slates are largely dominated by the Sad Puppies options, we can reliably say one of two things is true:

1. The fans of Sad Puppies nominated in greater proportion than the more numerous fans of the previous years powerhouses; making them overrepresented in proportion to their overall popularity.

2. The fans of not-Sad Puppies, in significant enough numbers, are not aware of, or do not care to participate in, Worldcon or the Hugo process.

Either way, the "solution" is not to feel bad if you dislike the results, the solution is what the solution always is in democratic processes - more voting.

#249 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:18 AM:

I think, dh, that you and I parse the world very differently. And that getting to understanding will take more work than either you or I is willing to put into this discussion.

#250 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:19 AM:

Yeah, it was a different part of your comment at 175: "Finally, this is fairly strong evidence that the many readers and commentators here who posted last year somewhat gleefully that they were not going to read Correia's or Day's nominated works, and would bloc vote them below No Award because of the politics of the authors sight unseen, were entirely short-sighted. There were many who did read it (or tried to), decided it was terrible and voted according to that judgement."

I'll admit, you said "many," which does not equate to all of, or even most of. Just... a lot. A bunch. Therefore this somehow makes any statement on slates at Making Light not worthwhile. Mysteriously.

(And as I said, I remember a whole bunch of people reading them. Mostly, I admit I remember this because most of them complained about Vox Day's writing, but that's not the point.)

I'll try and get my brain around the rest of what you said in a bit, I'm trying not to snap at you for no good reason. (The original post doesn't deserve me snapping at you in it.)

#251 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:20 AM:

Yeah, it was a different part of your comment at 175: "Finally, this is fairly strong evidence that the many readers and commentators here who posted last year somewhat gleefully that they were not going to read Correia's or Day's nominated works, and would bloc vote them below No Award because of the politics of the authors sight unseen, were entirely short-sighted. There were many who did read it (or tried to), decided it was terrible and voted according to that judgement."

I'll admit, you said "many," which does not equate to all of, or even most of. Just... a lot. A bunch. Therefore this somehow makes any statement on slates at Making Light not worthwhile. Mysteriously.

(And as I said, I remember a whole bunch of people reading them. Mostly, I admit I remember this because most of them complained about Vox Day's writing, but that's not the point.)

I'll maybe try and get my brain around the rest of what you said in a bit, I got irritated and I'm trying not to snap at you for no good reason. (The original post doesn't deserve me snapping at you in it.)

#252 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:21 AM:

Whurp. Can someone delete the first one? I didn't think it'd posted.

#253 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:21 AM:

Someone with more patience than me could run the numbers to show the proportions of eligible books published by different publishers compared to those that are nominated. Some publishers do bring out a lot of books.

#254 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:23 AM:

dh@247: "Is it your opinion that the two publishers produce the majority of award worth content in the genre, or do you think that there fans are over represented within the Hugo nominating and voting base?"

I'll bite. Do you have evidence of a really substantial population of sf/f fans who genuinely loathe or even simply never care for what Tor and Baen publish? What I see, when I look at the Tor and Baen lists, is a whole bunch of really popular authors, and the kind of strong editorial presence that leads folks aware of who publishers are to take a flier on someone unfamiliar because of the publisher. These are folks who'd sell well wherever they are (and who in many cases have sold and do sell well when published elsewhere) because they write stories a lot of sf/f fans like to buy and read.

And I think there are two other things at work.

#1. In the previous thread, someone (I forget who right now) made the insightful point that a lot of Hugo winners aren't "pure" examples of any of our various sub-genres. They may well have an identifiable type - military space adventure, modern hidden-magic fantasy, whatever - but they mix in other stuff that doesn't go with the pure strain. And this contributes to their success with the rest of fandom. Pretty sensible, and a good argument for more sub-fields having their own awards, to commemorate the good work with less crossover appeal.

And check it out: Tor and Baen publish a lot of work with that kind of crossover appeal. They each do some work that really settles strongly into one niche, and some that doesn't.

#2. The winning authors are often ones with good relationships with parts of fandom outside their core audience. Not always, but fairly often. Someone might find Gene Wolfe's or Steven Brust's politics reprehensible and yet enjoy their fannish nattering, raconteur yarn-spinning, and so on. Winning authors tend not to say anything like Beale did about N.K. Jemisin or continues to do about John Scalzi, or the sort of pernicious bitter claptrap Jorgensen is spewing at the moment. Turns out that if you go around telling a lot of people that they're subhuman crap, they don't vote for you as much, and in honest elections, your loyal fans' votes only go so far.

Basically, a winning strategy for the SPs would be to go back in time and hush up their younger selves a decade or more ago, and invest in lessons in etiquette and rhetoric.

#255 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:23 AM:

DH@246, in this post you are making an articulate version of the "Nothing in the rules against it" argument. The rules are made to provide a broad range of nominations for the final ballot, not the choices of a particular small faction. They certainly aren't made to arrange for a particular author to put his own works on the final ballot. No, there's nothing in the rules against it. No-one has tried this before and there was no reason to make rules against it. But this is not what the rules were made for, either.

#256 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:29 AM:

246/247
It would be nice if you told us where you got your misinformation on the balloting. Because you are really seriously misinformed (or underinformed, which is nearly as bad).

Tor 5
HarperCollins 2
Bloomsbury 1
Del Rey 1
Eos 1
Night Shade 1
Orbit 1
Spectra 1
William Morrow 1

That doesn't look like a bad distribution. It does tell me that Tor publishes books that people like to read. And publishers are not driving either the nominations or the balloting.

I realize you're probably used to the methods used by conservative publishers, but they're not used in this field. You might want to check your assumptions about how things are done.

It's also clear you don't understand that the Nebulas are awarded by the writers, not the fans. How SFWA does it is something that the Sad Puppies could tell you - but they're not selected by the general readers.

And generally speaking, you clearly don't understand democracy, since you seem to think that a voting slate is more democratic than letting people vote on nominees chosen by ballot.

Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.

#257 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:29 AM:

kate--

I am not defensive, you have nothing to be sorry for. I apologize in advance for some of the problems in grammar. I'll admit I am very weak with my English. I could use an editor. It's partially ESL, and partially low IQ.

Therefore this somehow makes any statement on slates at Making Light not worthwhile. Mysteriously.

I don't think the opinions so far on slate voting are not worthwhile, I just think that it's yet again very shortsighted. I felt at the time of the last Hugo slate that it was very shortsighted to say 'this author is disqualified, and you should consider doing the same'. I also think it's very short sighted to now say 'slate voting is not acceptable'.

I also bristle immediately at any claim that having more voters in a democratic process is less desirable, under any circumstance. That opinion can only come from a position of privilege - that a particular position or person or in this case type of book is entitled to votes. That concept alone really rankles me. The amount of glee that some people had - here, at other blogs, in private forums - over a very petty slight delivered by last years electorate now looks positively tiny.

Do a thought experiment. Imagine that 1/100th of a 1% of all active video gamers are pro-GamerGate. And imagine that of those, Sad Puppies can bring in, 1% to the Hugo voting process. Do you have any idea how many people that is? The top category on last years ballot had 3,587 voters. Just Sad Puppies plus that 1% of 1/100th of 1% could easily be ten times that number. Thinking on that, is it really smart to disqualify works based on authorship alone?

#258 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:41 AM:

257
I also bristle immediately at any claim that having more voters in a democratic process is less desirable, under any circumstance.

I'm sure that Tammany Hall and the Chicago political machines felt the same way about voter turnout. 'under any circumstances' is what's killing your position. That is not how democracy is supposed to work.

I suggest you imagine trying to explain your views to your high-school government teacher. Better yet, find a real one, and try explaining why voting slates are good for democracy.

#259 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:46 AM:

DH, of course, nobody is proposing to disqualify works based on authorship. They're talking about ways to detect people voting in a bloc without having any informed opinion about what they're voting on beyond OUR GUYS GOOD, THOSE GUYS SUCK. I'm about worn out, but I've got one more thing to add:

You are a terrible advocate for your cause here. The problem, for you, is that you're up against people who parse for fun - amateur and professional linguists, translators, and others who love to read closely and analytically. Have you looked around the site enough to see Teresa's annual Christmas post, recounting the nativity in several dozen languages and versions? (Heck, have you been reading the posts right here between Kevin Standlee and others about the syntax and implications of the Hugos' particular implementation of instant runoff voting?) It's possible to work flimflam on this crowd as on any, because we're all human, but it's very difficult to work the kind of flimflam you're engaging in. It's just the wrong audience.

#260 ::: Nat Lovin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:48 AM:

If the gators just buy memberships and vote straight ticket sad puppy, without reading the books or being sf fans, just to stick it to "the SJWs", of course that's a bad idea.

#261 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:49 AM:

@254

I'll bite. Do you have evidence of a really substantial population of sf/f fans who genuinely loathe or even simply never care for what Tor and Baen publish?

No idea. I don't personally follow SF/F and I haven't read any of the works in decades.

Tor and Baen may be big publishers in the genre, but when you compare them to any novel published from the super blockbuster category, they are very small. What I think is very clear is that among people who vote for the Hugo's, these two publishers are far more popular than the other winners who have snapped up an award at one time. I think what would be a good metric would be, what percentage of total genre sales do the top two publishers represent?

Your other two points are well made and give me something to think about. Thanks for that. The very small number of ballots makes determining which of the possible reasons is responsible very difficult. It's possible that someone could win best novel with, say, 50% of fans making up a strong voting bloc, and it's also possible that a work could win with 1% of fans making up a larger but less enthusiastic voting block.

Basically, a winning strategy for the SPs would be to go back in time and hush up their younger selves a decade or more ago, and invest in lessons in etiquette and rhetoric.

That's one way, or another way is exactly what they are doing, which is to expand the tent with new voters who agree with their etiquette and rhetoric. Your basic premise here is "become acceptable to publishers who tend to win, and then you'll also tend to win". I don't think that's a good message to be sending.

@255

rules

I don't find any support for your version of what the Hugo rules are for in the actual rules or the website for the Hugos. Interestingly, I do find this:

Can I vote for something I have not read/seen?
"No, don’t nominate or vote for something you have not read or seen, and don’t vote based on reputation — the Hugos are meant to honor your choices and judgments, not the rumor of someone else’s."

Which is the exact opposite of what a good sized slice of fandom did last time around with certain works by unpopular and much hated authors.

@256

PJ--

And generally speaking, you clearly don't understand democracy, since you seem to think that a voting slate is more democratic than letting people vote on nominees chosen by ballot.

The mistake here continues to be made "letting people vote". There is no mystical force that propels people to vote a slate. It is not less democratic to vote a slate. There are no guns to heads. These are like minded fans voting with other like minded fans. Your comment really doesn't make any sense beyond that category error. Those voting for a slate in this case are nominating. A slate vote for a work doesn't do anything to any vote you make for another work. Every vote is equal. The slated votes are not double counted. Your favorite work is not entitled to extra votes, or extra weight, because that would make you feel better. More votes = more democracy. It's really that simple. Everything else is complaining about outcomes, which again I think is fine.

Also:

That doesn't look like a bad distribution. It does tell me that Tor publishes books that people like to read. And publishers are not driving either the nominations or the balloting.

I almost agree with this sentence. It tells you that Tor publishes books that a lot of Worldcon voters in the year of publication like to read. I agree that it is not publishers driving either, although, they do campaign for both nominations and votes, by discounting or giving away the works and through their online properties, and through their authors. Baen, I know, typically has a "eligible works" page around nomination time.

#262 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:54 AM:

Bruce--

What do you think my cause is, exactly?

DH, of course, nobody is proposing to disqualify works based on authorship.

Yes, some people are. For example, there was one reaction to Day's nomination on the last Hugo award:

There’s only one way to deal with people like Day, who see themselves as above basic human decency, and that is to cut them out of the community like a tumour. Shun them, ignore them, no-platform the hell out of them. Our conventions, our fanzines, our anthologies, our community is not open to people whose racist arguments could have come straight from the mouths of slave-owners.

This sentiment was pretty well expressed here and elsewhere. Not exclusively.

#263 ::: Nat Lovin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:58 AM:

dh 261
Which is the exact opposite of what a good sized slice of fandom did last time around with certain works by unpopular and much hated authors.
Actually, I would imagine that's what most of that chunk did - they didn't read them, so they left them off the ballot, and so didn't vote for them.

#264 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:58 AM:

Bruce--

What do you think my cause is, exactly?

DH, of course, nobody is proposing to disqualify works based on authorship.

Yes, some people are. For example, there was one reaction to Day's nomination on the last Hugo award:

There’s only one way to deal with people like Day, who see themselves as above basic human decency, and that is to cut them out of the community like a tumour. Shun them, ignore them, no-platform the hell out of them. Our conventions, our fanzines, our anthologies, our community is not open to people whose racist arguments could have come straight from the mouths of slave-owners.

This sentiment was pretty well expressed here and elsewhere. Not exclusively.

I view my cause, such as it is, to say that all votes in a democratic process are good. There is no such thing as a "bad vote". This is independent of outcome. The greater the share of the possible electorate who vote, the better. The counter argument is that slate votes are worse than not voting at all. This opinion is anti-democratic. The real flim flam is trying to equate this position with the claim that slate voting is good for democracy. The choice is not between slate voting and not-slate voting. The next biggest flim flam is that slate voting and vote campaigning are anything new to the Hugo's. Hopefully no one here would fall into that trap. Sad Puppies is surely more organized and effective (probably) than past attempts.

#265 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:59 AM:

dh, #257: Interesting; this is the second claim of "English is not my first language" from a SP partisan. I'm more inclined to believe it from you than from the last one, though, based on sheer quantity of verbiage. You're putting in a level of effort which suggests a determination to push past things like language-related handicaps, which is admirable.

What I do feel like I'm seeing in your posts, however, is an odd combination of "merely corroborative detail, intended to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative," and old-fashioned goalpost-shifting -- you refuse to recognize when your points have been refuted, and simply restate them again with a slight tweak in hopes of hitting that magic sweet spot which will cause everyone else to bow down and acknowledge your Superior Correctness.

And your final paragraph @257... is there any reasonable interpretation under which we should NOT consider that to be an active threat? Especially since there is already evidence that mobilizing the GGers is exactly what the SPs are trying to do? "Nice awards you've got here, be a shame if something should happen to them..."

#266 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:02 AM:

@263

Nat--

I am not an expert are reading the results, but from the numbers, it looks like out of 3,587 ballots, 2,785 had a preference, and that twice as many voters expressed "No Award" (1232) over "No Preference" (698).

Correct me where/if I am wrong.

http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2014HugoStatistics.pdf

#267 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:10 AM:

@265

I think that you are mistaken about my loyalty to SP, as well as to GG. I have not the inclination nor the ability to influence either.

Reality is, whatever will happen with nominations is already done and in a day or so we will know. Based on the amount of concern I see around the regular places, it may already be a done deal. The point in bringing it up is that there are a tiny number of votes involved here, and the larger media world is so much larger than Worldcon. The presumption previously was that Sad Puppies were full of impotent rage, but I don't think there is anything impotent about it.

Actually what really strikes me is abi's introduction about the mystical quality to the process, and the somewhat solid consensus forming around the idea that "more voters" would ever be bad. I am shocked that you would judge the quality of the process as poor because the outcome does not comport with your own preferences. It's shockingly illiberal and, in my view, shortsighted.

And really think on that. What are the remedies that can be put in place if this becomes the new norm, and there is a consensus to change it? It becomes an exercise in futility. The remedy is the only and also the best remedy that is ever available. More voting. The answer to what is wrong with democracy is always more voting.

#268 ::: Nat Lovin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:11 AM:

dh 266
That's a third of the no award/preference. We don't know how many people read it and gave no award vs didn't read it and gave no award.

Plus, you're looking at the most toxic one - if you look at Novella, there were 2699 ballots, 2126 had a preference, 525 were "no award" and 573 were "no preference"

#269 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:16 AM:

@257 -- Enh. No need to go around insulting yourself in order to try and seem reasonable. It's cool.

I may come back to the democracy thing, but first I'm going to talk about publishers.

The Hugos are voted on by a bunch of people who sort-of-vaguely know each other, or know of each other, or anyway, do things with each other (at times). Some of them (many of them) are friends with each other, or friendly acquaintances, or know each other enough to nod to each other.

So one aspect of voting/nominating may mean that they tend to pay more attention to a familiar author or publisher, or a book their friend/blogger they read/person they see on Twitter mentioned, or a story that was mentioned at their local con.

There's nothing particularly wrong with this.

Also, Tor's big, at least in terms of F/SF. So're Baen and Orbit. I don't find it a problem that any given publisher publishes more of the books that win.

(In case you're confused about the pushback related to the discussion of publishers, some people are sensitive about the "but Tor publishes many of the winners!" thing because many Sad Puppy people then expand it to mean something akin to, "Tor, which is linked to the Neilsen Haydens, publishes a lot of books (which are not good), and those books get Hugos via malfeasant influence from the Evil Neilsen Haydens." Frequently, there's also additional misogyny directed in Teresa's direction. This is, obviously, all rather tiresome.)

Getting back to the point: I do find it a problem when the electorate becomes insular, and focuses on comfortable things because it's easier, or because they don't think to consider other things, or whatever. It's human nature, mind you, and I don't really consider it a malicious thing, but it does happen. I think some parts of SF-book-fandom has done some of that in the past 20-30 years, but this isn't a new observation.

(This sort of insularity is what you mean when you talk about Allegiant, right? Of course, I think the Allegiant you mean is from a Young Adult imprint? If so, that's a problematic example, since the Hugos and YA novels have a bit of a fraught relationship.)

I also don't really have a big issue with some folks who think, "I want more of the folks I hang out with to vote on the Hugos, let me urge them to do so!" Viz, SP folks. The more the merrier.

I mostly just have an issue with targeting nominations in a focused way, but I don't think you're going to be persuaded on that front, because we're getting bogged down in discussions of "democracy".

I think, if I were to go less specific, my metaphor of choice for targeted nominations via slate vs non-targeted nominations would be a tight spray-hose versus a sifter. It's not an exact metaphor, but it works to some extent.

This comment is a sprawly mess. Pardon.

#270 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:16 AM:

and old-fashioned goalpost-shifting -- you refuse to recognize when your points have been refuted, and simply restate them again with a slight tweak in hopes of hitting that magic sweet spot which will cause everyone else to bow down and acknowledge your Superior Correctness.

I don't really have that expectation, and I am typically quite happy to agree when I am wrong. Not perfect, but usually pretty good.

I am a little bit surprised that you think I am shifting goal posts. I made a statement that 1 or 2 publishers win a huge share of the awards, and another poster promptly said, no, two publishers only have won 50% of the awards in the last 15 years. Is that your idea of moving the goal posts? If so, I am at a loss on how to resolve the disagreement. This is a very lopsided distribution and it suggests that two publishers either publish award worthy books at a rate 7x higher than their competitors, or that their voters are over-represented in the voting pool. No one has really taken up resolving that decision, or provided an alternate explanation, so I remain unchanged in my assertion.

Or is it expected here that if someone higher up the foodchain says "no", I should demure?

#271 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:30 AM:

Kate--

I'll admit I have no idea about the Tor inferences tied up in SP, so I will defer to your experience with it. I'll say, logically speaking only, the question about Tor and Baen is either they are publishing a huge slice of worthy books, consistently for 15 years OR they're voters are over represented in the voting pool. I think your claim is that the SF/F genre is fairly cozy, and so, it's the later?

It's human nature, mind you, and I don't really consider it a malicious thing, but it does happen

I strongly agree with this. That is why I think it's short sighted to essentially blackball an author because of his or her politics, or his or her associations, and refuse to evaluate his or her nominated works. Or, at least if you do this, don't be surprised when you are treated the same way. Democracy, as in democratic processes, are what you make of it.

I view the Sad Puppies movement as a reactionary movement, like most conservative movements, they are in response to something that is disagreeable to adherents. Expanding the tent and bringing in more voters and more participants is the natural way to react. In fact, what you said when you wrote:

The Hugos are voted on by a bunch of people who sort-of-vaguely know each other, or know of each other, or anyway, do things with each other (at times). Some of them (many of them) are friends with each other, or friendly acquaintances, or know each other enough to nod to each other.

..is the crux of it. You have the group of people who are arguing for cutting the Sad Puppies authors out of polite SF/F fandom - cons, events, publishers, etc. That means, of course, cutting off the traditional way which you see promotion working. The jovial, good natured, networked, social recommendation that comes from years of involvement. So given all that, it's totally predictable from my point of view for a Sad Puppies style response. They've been cut off from the traditional methods of winning awards. Yes, they could change their views to become acceptable to the existing voters, or, instead, as many prominent members of the SF/F community told them, they could bring their own supporters to the table. Which is exactly what they've done.

I think, it would be helpful for me to understand what was expected to happen to the authors left on the outside of the warm, inviting world of SF/F fandom. I can't decide if the thought was "Well, they don't have any fans, they are essentially just vanity authors" OR "they'll just go quietly and leave the community". Either way, or another way, it's pretty clear Sad Puppies isn't going away. They're already planning for next year.

#272 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:40 AM:

That is why it's unethical and must be opposed, even if the price is that of not giving out any awards this year.

(If they try it again, a lifetime ban would not be inappropriate.)

I sort of glossed over this. It is not, in my opinion, unethical to promote who you want to be nominated. Because no other person is entitled to your choice. It is your choice, and no one else's.

I think this is another case of saying, well, the process is broken, and even, we must ban people, because there is disagreement with the results.

If the results really are a clean sweep in a category for the slate in question, all that means is that the majority of all voters want those nominations. The other works who lose out are not privileges and entitled to a nomination. In short, no one is entitled to me facilitating their preference.

#273 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:41 AM:

Actually thanks for the conversation. Some very good things to think about. Goodbye.

#274 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:43 AM:

dh @267: If you think that's why we object, you should drop the supercilious routine, because your reading comprehension isn't nearly as good as it should be.

I'm sorry. Did you imagine that Brad Torgersen had directed you to an easily won argument? He's not that generous.

#275 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:49 AM:

Here, this will muddy the waters... It is of course true that the SF book preferences (and movie preferences etc) of Worldcon are not identical to the SF book (etc) preferences of the world.

Is this a bug or a feature?

That's a loaded question, but the lading brings in all the implicit questions of community in this discussion. The underlying question really is "who are 'we', the community that the Hugos are supposed to represent?" All this stuff about slate-voting rules and publisher proportions is secondary to that.

...This is the sense in which the Hugos are neither more nor less than political, but *exactly* political. It's an argument about the construction and inhabitation of a community. Yes, it's a hifalutin' way to put it, but what else is it?

---

Separate point: let me agree with Lee #265 that to talk about bringing pro-GG people into any online interaction is a threat. It's a threat even if you talk about it hypothetically. If you don't get that, you are insufficiently educated on what GG is.

#276 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:54 AM:

Andrew, my feeling about "bug or feature" is "it depends".

For instance, I met a bunch of folks during Racefail who are second- or third-generation sf/f fans who've had bad experiences with racism in convention fandom and not felt like they wanted to keep hammering. They're fandom in every way that matters to me, but have lacked a voice in proceedings, because when you spend your life dealing with crap, you don't necessarily want to do it as your hobby as well. That's a bug.

On the other hand, if someone's really genuinely only interested in one or a very few kinds of sf/f and has no interest in dealing with the unwashed masses who like anything else, I tend to regard their absence as a feature. Even more so if their idea of acceptable discourse involves routine bigoted attacks, threats of death and sexual violence, and like that.

So I'd need to look at cases.

It looks like at least four or five regulars here who've never taken part in the Hugo process will this year, and I think that's good.

#277 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:03 AM:

Thank you, Teresa.

#278 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:04 AM:

dh @271: You have the group of people who are arguing for cutting the Sad Puppies authors out of polite SF/F fandom - cons, events, publishers, etc. That means, of course, cutting off the traditional way which you see promotion working.

You've misconstrued the argument -- No one here is "cutting the SPs out of fandom." In no post on this or the previous thread has denying them membership at any con they care to attend, or participation in any fannish activity they choose, been recommended, nor would any here ever be in favor of doing so.

What has been discussed is how to respond to a group that has decided gaming the system is the right thing to do. By the way, this isn't the first time this has been tried in Worldcon's history.

I tried to read the stuff that the SPs got on the ballot last year, and frankly bounced off of it -- if I can't read it, I'm going to vote it below 'No Award.' I will not try to rate a book, novella, or what-have-you if I can't read it. It's not fair to the author--it would boil down to judging the item by its cover.

The problem with slate voting is that it promotes laziness. There are some folk who will look at it, copy it onto their ballot, and will NEVER bother to read the nominees. To me, any result from that procedure is invalid.

I'm all for expanding the pool of Hugo voters, but I want them to be people who don't march in lockstep -- folks who really will go where no one has gone...before...

#279 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:06 AM:

@274--

Teresa, I am basing my conclusion on several posts, which I have interpreted:

#108 - more votes amplifies the voices of a few and makes it less democratic. Those who vote in consideration of a slate are sock puppets.

#115 - increased voters electing a slate lock out competing voices that are not in lockstep, and therefore, non-puppies can only choose no award or sad puppies slate, leading to less choice.

#127 - having a set of converged upon generally acceptable nominees to select from is not the same as slate voting because it is not as rigid.

#133 - the process started out garden variety and fine, but the curation process substituted BT's judgement for his voters, and because of that, it's more than just campaigning, it's malevolent.

#183 - the goal of slate is to filter out alternate opinions, therefore it is unethical, and we should consider banning those involved if it repeats again

#188 - the end result of slate voting could be vote buying

#194 - slate votes are not legitimate because they are bot genuinely believed by the voters, but controlled by the curator

#202 - new voices are welcome so long as they don't make choices as a solid whole bloc

#254 - SP voters would be fine if they agreed with us or were agreeable, but since they don't, this tactic is not acceptable

The common thread here tends towards more voters good, and also slate voting is bad because it excludes other voices that are not part of the slate. I think my comprehension is fine. I am fairly interested in the discussion. I can honestly say I've never been in a discussion where it is frowned upon that one side in an election wants to win. Unfortunately my plane is finally here and I have to board shortly.

#280 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:14 AM:

The idea of lifetime ban's have been floated in this thread, and in previous controversy, it was also visited here.

I happen to agree with you about slate voting being lazy voting. In last year's voting, there was a lot of concern that came down to some authors are such bad people that their nominations are illegitimate, and we can just vote them below "No Award" without reading the work. I distinctly remember that no one is owed readership. Lazy voting is both discarding an author based on things that aren't the nominated work, and also, based on a slate.

The Worldconn FAQ specifically directs people not to vote for or against anything on reputation and without reading it. I copied the text earlier. Are people voted against Day's work without reading (or trying to read) also lazy?

We differ on if this action by the Sad Puppies is "gaming", or if it's legitimate voting. I do not think there is any such thing as an illegitimate vote in any democratic vote. All votes are equally weighted and equally valid (within the published rules).

I'm all for expanding the pool of Hugo voters, but I want them to be people who don't march in lockstep -- folks who really will go where no one has gone...before...

This supports my assertion that Teresa uses to say I can't comprehend what has been written. Your sentiment boils down more voters are good when they will vote in ways I find acceptable. I don't agree with this at all.

#281 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:16 AM:

Oh, dh -- your bleeding heart reaction over someone's dislike of "Vox Day?"

I have a hard time giving serious consideration to the writings of someone whose nom de guerre is a play on the Latin "Vox Dei." I mean, Voice of God? Really?

That's a turn off right there. And I'd never heard of the person until zie surfaced in the a Hugo nomination.

#282 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:17 AM:

I don't have time to write more right now, but dh, this is important: don't mistake disparate comments in this conversation for any kind of consensus or party line.

I, for instance, don't agree with all of the statements you quoted above.

This is a conversation where many people say many things, but no official opinion is expected to arise. People may come to agree with one another, or they may not. But you can't judge anyone here on any words but their own.

#283 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:33 AM:

Well if I'm damned for disliking slate voting, fine. And I'm willing to go to the nuclear option if given a buffet of what I consider "no award" material.

What the SPs are doing is unethical in my opinion. As someone who administered an award program I find what they are doing to be unacceptable behavior.

I do not expect you to agree with me, I am telling you why I don't like it. But you will not see me recommending "cutting people off" -- the ability to communicate must remain available to all.

#284 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:40 AM:

Lori--

The thing is never about a person. But now the Hugo's are very close to broken. If it's all Sad Puppies, and choices are not palatable, then it's going to be No Awards across the board. That will be 10x bigger news than any of the last 10 Hugo winners.

Secondly, this is a common misconception. People see what they want in the name, but it's really a pun, that comes out to be the "Voice of Theo".

abi--

I don't ascribe them to any particular person, as in, I don't hold you accountable for them. Thanks for pointing this out.

#285 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:41 AM:

Lori-- I really like how the Hugo's are structured because of the No Award option. It shouldn't be considered a bad thing. It's a legitimate choice.

#286 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:58 AM:

How about the statements I'm all for expanding the pool of Hugo voters, but I want them to be people who don't base their votes on a coin toss or I'm all for expanding the pool of Hugo voters, but I want them to be people who don't vote based on alphabetical order? Would you seriously argue that an influx of thousands of voters who all ranked the choices in strict alphabetical order would be good for the Hugos because more voters means more democracy?

Nobody here is objecting to new voters because their aesthetic taste differs from ours. Your rephrasing our objections as "... when they vote in ways I find acceptable" blurs an important distinction.

Also, FYI, you've used the term "majority" (meaning over half of all voters) when the term "plurality" (meaning the largest minority, in cases where no majority is present) would be correct. This, again, blurs an important distinction.

To answer another of your questions: I do believe that Tor publishes a large fraction of the works in the field that are good enough to be considered for a Hugo, that they have done so consistently for many years, and that their representation on the awards ballots is in line with what I'd expect. Two of the novels I nominated this year were by authors who I've followed for a long time, who have been with other publishers in the past, and who ended up at Tor because Tor does a good job marketing the kind of books they write.

#287 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:04 AM:

dh, #273: Actually thanks for the conversation. Some very good things to think about. Goodbye.

... after which dh does not actually leave the conversation.

Consider this to be a friendly heads-up, because that is how it's intended. There's a long-standing name for that pattern of behavior. It's called a "flounce and return", and the people who engage in it are rarely of benevolent intent.

Shorter version: if you won't want to be perceived as a troll, using troll tactics is not a thing you want to do.

Also, I'm a little dubious over the way you keep invoking "democracy" and "democratic" again and again even in places where they don't seem related to what you're discussing. That's what's called a "magic-word argument", wherein simply deploying the term is supposed to make all opposition hang their heads and slink away in shame. And it's another common troll tactic.

#288 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:19 AM:

dh @272:

If the results really are a clean sweep in a category for the slate in question, all that means is that the majority of all voters want those nominations.
Good grief, that doesn't mean anything like that at all. Do you have any idea how the nominating ballot works? Or are you one of those people who only understands First Past the Post voting, and equates "more votes than any other candidate" with "a majority?"

But of course, in general the finalists have never had a majority of the electorate's support. What you get are the five largest pluralities, which isn't the same thing. For example, last year's Best Novel had 1595 total nominations, and the five finalists (plus the Gaiman book that Neil declined) ranged from 23.1% (Ancillary Justice to 6.1% (Parasite). None of these works, not even the one that eventually won on the final ballot, was mentioned on a majority of the voters' ballots.

Because this process can end up producing a final ballot that is disliked by a true majority of the electorate, it always includes "No Award" as a safety valve.

Frankly, SF fans have been historically so independent-minded and disorganized that the idea of actually filling a slate to try and deliberately stifle anything other than a particular group of five works in each category hadn't really occurred to anyone I know of, and I've been following this since 1984. Sure, there have been deliberate campaigns (of varying degrees of ethical) to get individual works onto the ballot, but to try and monopolize all 85 spaces? Nah. Indeed, the idea would probably been laughable until fairly recently. You can't generally get five fans to agree on where to go to dinner, let alone get 500 of them to agree on exactly the same slate of Hugo Award nominees.

Of course, the ballot won't actually be 100% SP even if they had 100% efficiency, because they didn't put out 85 positions. That means in a few categories, at least, there must be non-slate finalists.

We'll know more in a couple of days. I know that the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee (which manages TheHugoAwards.org) is paying our web hosting service for extra bandwidth this weekend because we don't want access to the site throttled when the announcement starts around 1200 PDT on Saturday.

#289 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:24 AM:

Lee- thanks for the heads up. I had hoped to catch a plane tonight and was so far as to be line. But stand by didn't come through. So it's overnight in an airport for me.

I don't believe usibg democratic here is wrong. The Hugo's are transparently democratic in nature. It is somewhat ironic to claim I am using magic word argument when abi post literally calls upon the mystical as a basis for why something is unacceptable. If you'd like something else considered instead in place democratic I am all ears.

286- yes. More votes always better. Is this really that hard? It doesn't matter if the votes are for good reasons or bad reasons or no reason at all. Every exercise of democracy in a democratic system is better than not.

#290 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:51 AM:

No, there are lots of situations where more votes are worse.

This isn't government. When it comes to affairs of state, more participation is good, and I'd love to see the US get compulsory voting like so many other countries. But that's because the state isn't optional.

The Hugos are kind of a textbook example of "not necessary". We've seen that they have some monetary value to winners, but that it's not huge, though it has some continuing benefit years later. Nobody would suffer greatly if they ceased to exist, and their existence imposes no particular burden on anyone (except Kevin Standlee :) ). Those who participate in the vote and aren't up for any awards themselves receive no benefit but feelings - they win or lose nothing, and the award winners can't do anything for them but say "thanks for voting for me!"

When it comes to luxuries, I think it's desirable to encourage voting, but only among those who are at least somewhat informed. Those who don't know and/or care what's going on are literally not affected at all. Between Charlie Stross and Ursula Vernon we have evidence that the money involved for winners is in the low four figures. In such a situation, there's nothing to be gained by bringing in people who don't already feel a stake in it and already know something relevant about the decisions being made.

Going for the reductio ad absurdum, it wouldn't help to go select people at random from the phone book, call them up, and - without making any effort to find out if they know or care about sf/f - badger them until they cough up a ballot. It wouldn't even do sf/f any particular good to pigeonhole people at San Diego Comics Con and Wrestlemania, despite some ties between the fields those gatherings cover and sf/f.

The ideal Hugo voter is someone with a lot of reading time and a strong awareness of the difference between their tastes as an individual and broader measures of quality: someone who can say both "I really liked it, but honestly, it rested on shortcuts and had some real weaknesses" and "it wasn't my cup of tea, but it does what it does excellently, with high craft and major creative power". Conversely, someone who thinks that, for instance, all writers of color are half-civilized savages centuries away from being able to contribute meaningfully to literature ought to be discouraged from voting, because they will tempted very year to praise crap written by white people and to falsely downrank excellent work by non-white people. That damages the extent to which the Hugos poll the honest opinions of people engaging with the works that actually exist, in their various ways.

So no, increasing participation is good only within fairly strong limits. There are thousands of sf/f fans who would be welcome participants in the process, but there are also many others who do the Hugos a favor by staying away.

#291 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:59 AM:

It says something that the best defense of the Sad Puppies to date comes from someone who thinks the Hugos would literally be better off if the current electorate were swamped by thousands of new voters who did nothing but rank each of the finalists in alphabetical order.

#292 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:15 AM:

dh, 261: I don't personally follow SF/F and I haven't read any of the works in decades.

So why are you here?

#293 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:18 AM:

The publishers who specialize in popular SF are strongly represented in the list of winners of an award for popular SF. This strikes me as less "evidence of sinister conspiracy" and more "well, duh". But perhaps the reptiloids have got to me.

Personally, I have every intention of reading the nominated works and making an informed decision. I can pretty much guarantee I've read much worse than anything that's been nominated, believe me. Despite the earlier discussion on translations of Dante, I'm not exactly a lit-crit snob - the books I can see right now without turning my head include twelve "Doc" Smiths, eleven Lois McMaster Bujolds, and Le Morte D'Arthur (hang on, what's that doing there?) I suppose this may say something about my literary tastes, but the most important message is that I desperately need a better shelving system.

I think it is legitimate for any reader to suspect, however, that a work which is on the ballot due to organized slate voting... isn't strong enough to get there on its own merits.

As regards a much more important issue - a naval unicorn, surely, must be a narwhal. And narwhals are awesome. (Warning: link contains sound. Oh yes indeed it does.)

#294 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:37 AM:

DH @102:

I've never thought of the Hugo's as a mystical thing before. Something to think about for sure.

They do that here. I've often thought of Making Light as a pointer-out of the numinous....

#295 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:07 AM:

Parts of this comment have been sitting in my mental 'preview window' since last night, when I was too tired to post. I'm retaining them in the hope that they still add some value for the conversation as it has developed:


dh@101

'The statement was not made, but it seems to me that the inference is that slate voting, because it is done against the perceived natural propensity of good works to inspire voting, is inferior to the sort of grassroots nominating that has been (to a lessening extent, year over year, in my opinion) the norm.'

One key phrase here is: 'the statement was not made'. At the time you commented we had two threads and over 1000 comments worth of careful and insightful discussion. Rather than engage with any of that, you chose as your entry point to argue against a view that no-one had, in fact, defended. That's an intriguing choice.

dh@261: 'I don't personally follow SF/F and I haven't read any of the works in decades.'

dh @285: 'I really like how the Hugo's are structured because of the No Award option.'

So you don't read science fiction, but you have strong views on how people should vote on awards for them. Is there any particular reason why we should take those views seriously?

dh@289: ' More votes always better. Is this really that hard? It doesn't matter if the votes are for good reasons or bad reasons or no reason at all.'

So North Korea, with a 99 percent turn-out is more democratic (and better) than the United States or the UK, with turn-outs in the 70s? That's a challenging point of view: could you say a little more in defense of it?


For what it's worth I don't agree with dh that more votes are always better (and I suspect that on reflection you don't either). In a political election votes from dead and fictitious people aren't valuable. More importantly votes from people who don't meet the qualifications for being part of the electorate - for example, votes from non-citizens in Presidential elections - aren't normally though to make the result better; and I wouldn't prefer to have more such votes rather than fewer.

In the case under discussion on this thread: I don't think that nominations of books by people who haven't read them have any value; and if they outnumber nominations of books by people who have read them, then they have whatever the reverse of value is. That, in essence, is why I don't like slate voting: it seems to make it easier and more potentially worthwhile to nominate something that people works they haven't actually read.

Incidentally, although I've talked about it being a bad thing for people to nominate things they haven't read, I haven't said anything about people in the final ballot voting on nominations they haven't read. I don't think the same considerations apply: it's a very different issue, and one which hasn't been the focus of discussion in this year's threads.

It's fairly clear why the two cases are different, too: if you nominate something, you are commending it to the attention of a wider audience; if you vote for or against it you're saying 'having considered this work it attention, I don't think this merits recognition.' The implications of doing that to something you haven't read are obviously very different in the two cases.

I should also say that my initial suspicion of slate voting might be mitigated if I though there was anything positive that slate voting achieves which couldn't be achieved by other means which don't run the risk of letting people nominate things they haven't read. After 1300 or so comments in which someone might have mentioned some positive feature that couldn't be achieved in any other way, I'm inclined to think the reason they haven't is that there just isn't any.

#296 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:10 AM:

me @ 295: Despite multiple read-throughs in preview, I managed to garble a sentence. Try this instead:

'That, in essence, is why I don't like slate voting: it seems to make it easier and more potentially worthwhile for people to nominate works they haven't actually read.'

#297 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:16 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 215:

Perhaps a different example:

Today we celebrate gay pride by watching a parade.

Today we celebrate Gay Pride by watching a parade.

Elliott Mason @ 221: There's a case to be made* that the Daley machine was pretty good at distributing the spoils of governance among the various factions of that most segregated city. There's an alternate history to be written in which MLK and the SCLC came to the table with him in 1966 as ready to deal as he was. I'd like to read that story.

*Some days I'm with Royko's generalized disgust with the goo-goos. Other days I look at Dick Simpson's Winning Elections on my shelf and sigh for the good old days. Most days? Both.

#298 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:19 AM:

So this thread put me onto thinking about one of Jefferey Kooistra's stories--I can't think of the title offhand--and the distinction between intention and capability in military planning.

And that made me wonder: What ever happened to him? He was Yet Another (credible) New Heinlein.

#299 ::: praisegod barebones is apologetic ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:24 AM:

I see that I've managed to restate several points that people made while I was typing and (fruitlessly, as it turns out previewing) my wallof text.

The most egregious example of this relates to TexAnne's comment @ 291. I apologise for that one particularly profusely.

#300 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:47 AM:

#271 ::: dh :::

"That is why I think it's short sighted to essentially blackball an author because of his or her politics, or his or her associations, and refuse to evaluate his or her nominated works."

I'm in fractional agreement. I do think Vox Day has been and is the target of a hate campaign.

However, I also think what he said to Jemison is sufficiently vile that he might just deserve it.

I think that if people hadn't been aware of VDs history, the reaction to his nominated short story would have been more like "why is this mediocre thing on the ballot?" rather than "kill it with fire".

I honestly don't know whether the hate campaign against VD sets a bad precedent. Leaving him to build his reputation in peace might also have been a bad precedent.

I do think that your argument that having more votes is more democratic and therefore good is missing the point. I don't know whether this is a named fallacy-- wrong level of abstraction, perhaps.

#301 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:53 AM:

And after all this, I've signed for a supporting membership to Sasquan. It'll be my first Hugo vote. I attended the Melbourne (my hometown) worldcon, but it was a last minute decision and the Hugos were being awarded that night :)

#302 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:59 AM:

dh @238

Is this something you can explain better, or is it just "more votes equals more democratic" even if someone has, for example, distorted the nominations with a slate so I'm effectively stuck with choosing between five different MacDonalds in this "more democratic" election for what was supposed to be the Best Restaurant award?

The problem is with this statement is the word "distorted". "Distorted" implies a deviation from the norm, or the mean, state. It implies a defect.

I'm confused. Are you trying to say that the slate did not change the outcome of the nominating process?

If you accept that the slate *did* change the outcome of the nominating process, would you be more comfortable with "altered"? The thrust of the argument is unchanged, but I am willing to make that alteration.

Your statement is written from a point of view "obviously McDonalds is inferior, and so, any award that McDonalds wins must be defective, because McDonalds is inferior".

My point is that McDonalds wouldn't have had much chance in a Best Restaurant contest in the absence of a slate--a belief that the Sad Puppy organizers have in this case stated outright that they share, backing it up with their actions (selecting and pushing a slate) because talk is cheap. My second point is that McDonalds sells boatloads of food and makes tons of money--it is a best seller by any reasonable estimate, and yet if McDonalds won "Best Restaurant" in Jefferson City, you would assume Jefferson City didn't have much to offer in the way of dining out. Thus "bestseller" does not equate to "quality."

My third point is one McDonalds among the Best Restaurant nominees leaves the fans of other restaurants a chance to get their favorites on the ballot, and a wealth of options to choose among when the voting stage arrives. Five McDonalds not so much.


(snip) Back in the last round of award voting,

You are conflating the nominating stage with the voting stage. They are quite different--one having nominations thinly spread among a huge number of works (normally, that is, in other words provided the nominations from one subset of fans are not "altered" by a slate) the other has votes piled up to choose between a small number of works.

I get the impression you are doing this deliberately, specifically so that you can call us hypocrites. You might want to rethink that approach.

If you were to try to judge the process of the award without considering the results, I think you would see that any "popularity" based process that has a greater share of voters has than any other process is more democratic.

Hmm. A Happy Kittens slate has been devised by Scalzi and McGuire--a five of everything slate supported by rhetoric in which they claim they are persecuted for their political views, shout from the rooftops that they are afraid to whisper, but for a mere $40 their fans can read the items on this slate and vote for them---and they end up shutting out the Sad Puppies and also all the other people from the Nomination stage...

Nope, while I would be moderately more excited by the works that would end up on such a ballot, I'm still not feeling the democracy here. Perhaps the person who perceives "democracy" based on the outcome is not me?

The nomination stage really works like this. Think of all the SFF works published last year--a huge field with thousands of works. For each work, there is a certain number of Hugo voters who came across it and liked the look of it in time to read it. Of those work-readers, a certain percentage liked it enough to nominate it. Readers times percentage gives the number of nominations a work receives.

A slate distorts--oh, sorry, alters--this landscape in two ways. First, it increases the number of Hugo voters who read a work in time to nominate. Note that even with the best will in the world on the part of all slate nominators to read all the slate works, read other works, and nominate only what they thought best it alters the landscape in this way. It is designed to alter the landscape in this way at the very least.

Second, it offers the seductive promise of voter validation for those work-readers--if and only if they vote for it. Thus it alters the landscape again by increasing the percentage of work-readers who nominate it.

I did see some people I admired saying in other venues that they didn't feel they had an obligation to read the work of one particularly objectionable author. I have no problem with that. If you've seen enough of someone's writing to know you don't enjoy their work, you already know where to place it on the ballot.

And that is the nutmeg of the hypocrisy.

Oh dude. Don't go there. You were doing so well, for a Sad Puppy.

I am not going around wringing hands that a group of people feel no obligation to vote for other works in order

Again, conflating nominating and voting. Conflating slate nominating and protest of slate works getting an unfair advantage. Conflating slate nominating and protest of a particular author's view that a goodly subset of humanity is not really human.

to make up for the deficiencies of less motivated fans of other authors.

Here is one place we part company, philosophically. I don't see "refraining from being systematically unfair by deliberately shutting out the voices of fans outside my small group" as being a deficiency.

The problem with calling this dishonest or wrong is that it assumes that another author has the inherent privilege

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

and is owed a nomination,

Wait, isn't that precisely the contention of the Sad Puppies--that authors who are owed nominations are not getting them? And that altering the outcome of the nomination process with a slate is the way to rectify that? Perhaps it is the other Sad Puppies you need to point this out to.

The nearly universal refrain, that you have just echoed, is that the objectionable authors from the last Hugo cycle got what their works and persons deserved - last place, or below last place finishes.

Me, I think they got far more than they deserved with a Hugo nomination at all. Witness the fact that it took a slate to boost them there. I suspect I am not alone in this view.

But it's certainly not beyond publishers and authors to use accounting gimmicks, bulk buys, selective strategic buys, and outside chart pushing companies to get books onto bestseller lists, reviewed, or in the hands of influential people who can move the market.

Wait, I thought Sad Puppies believed that bestseller lists were a reliable indication of quality and thus when Hugo nominees aren't bestsellers (either because Hugo voters are more likely than the general public to have read the work or because work-readers are more likely to be so enthusiastic about the work that they nominate) that was some kind of problem?

Then again, when you look at their actions, Sad Puppies do not in fact actually believe that the bestseller lists *are* an indicaton of quality, or they wouldn't try to diddle--oh, sorry "alter"--them with "book bombs." So I guess it's no surprise that the Sad Puppies would accuse non-Puppies of things the Sad Puppies already demonstrably do.

I think this is called "projection."

John wrote:

As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.

Who am I to argue with the likes John Scalzi on this matter?

Allow me to recommend you honor his words by refraining from calling us "hypocrites" then.

#303 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:59 AM:

kate @ #240: My Hugo-reading rule is based on how I would read in a bookstore. I pick something up, I give it a few pages, and I see if it hooks me. A book can grab my attention with amazing writing, or with a compelling character, or with a nice action scene. And in a few rare occasions, I'll give a work some extra pages simply because lots of people whose taste I trust have said, "No, really, it starts slowly but it's excellent."

This way of reading is something that I will defend on principle: The Hugo Awards are designed to aggregate the collective taste of fandom. And my personal tastes include an aesthetic principle which says, "The best work should reach out and grab the reader, though either style or substance or character or story."1

Last time around, two of the Best Novel nominees failed my personal "bookstore" test:

  • I gave up on Warbound after a chapter or two because I was bored. The style was nothing special, the main character had failed to capture my sympathies, and there had been no action scene that I found compelling.
  • The Eye of the World held my attention for a bit longer. I could see why some people loved this book. If had I started the series 25 years ago, I would have devoured it eagerly and with delight. But the EotW was deliberately written as introductory-level fantasy for readers in 1990, and it plays all the classic tropes absolutely straight. After 600 pages, I was half-dead from boredom. This doesn't mean it's a bad book—it actually has quite a lot going for it—but it's a bad book for me, at this moment in my life.

My Hugo vote is very much intended to represent what I, personally, find to be remarkable and compelling fiction. If other fans vote for what they find find to be remarkable and compelling, then the Hugo voting process will combine our opinions and produce a consensus.

1A huge fraction of the historical Hugo winners have, in fact, grabbed my attention from page 1. For that matter, so did at least three of the 1939 Retro-Hugo nominees for Best Novel: The Sword in the Stone is incredibly stylistically compelling, Out of the Silent Planet starts with an abduction, and Galactic Patrol is pretty much non-stop pulp action. In fact, things ranging from Borges' stories to the Westcar papyrus (magical wax man-eating crocodiles!) have passed this test. So I don't think that using a "capture my interest soon" rule filters out many books that I would otherwise consider to be remarkable and compelling.

#304 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:16 AM:

dh: You've stated, in separate comments, that you:

a. Don't read SFF and don't follow the field
b. Don't support the SP or care what happens to them

I'm curious: how did you find the discussion and why do you care what we think about something that involves, deeply, two things you don't care about?

Because we do care. And someone who doesn't care parachuting in to have an argument because they like arguments is really harmful.

#305 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:17 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @297: This margin is far too small to contain even a summary of what I think about Chicago electoral politics since Dick Daley. :->

#306 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:25 AM:

I read all of everything last year other than all of the WoT. The sp works varied, in my opinion, from average to very bad.

#307 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:26 AM:

dh @261,

Bruce Baugh @254: Basically, a winning strategy for the SPs would be to go back in time and hush up their younger selves a decade or more ago, and invest in lessons in etiquette and rhetoric.

dh @261 That's one way, or another way is exactly what they are doing, which is to expand the tent with new voters who agree with their etiquette and rhetoric. Your basic premise here is "become acceptable to publishers who tend to win, and then you'll also tend to win". I don't think that's a good message to be sending.

<blink> Bruce is saying that certain writers have alienated a large voting block of readers with misogynistic and/or racist and/or homophobic writings, and that may be one reason why they're having trouble getting those voters to vote for them. I honestly don't see how you get from that to "become acceptable to publishers who tend to win", because they're already obviously acceptable to publishers or they wouldn't be published.

Your implication seems to be that only people published by certain publishers have a chance because of some presumed collusion or nefarious dealings (as per Elliott's mention of the Chicago Machine). There is absolutely no evidence for this that I'm aware of. Have you considered that the top Hugo-winning publishers might get more rewards because they have very good, hardworking editors who are talented at their jobs? (Anyone who doesn't think that editors make a difference has never read Heinlein's unedited manuscripts.)

That is to say, to mangle a metaphor, maybe the Chicago Bulls won so many games because Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen were really good players, rather than by bribing the officials....?

The Hugos are, in part, a popularity contest. I think Bruce's point was that if you insult the electorate, you shouldn't be surprised if they don't vote for you. Nothing more complicated than that.

#308 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:27 AM:

dh @261

Wait--you don't follow SF/F?

So how did you get interested in this issue in the first place?

Also, how did you find Making Light?

#309 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:31 AM:

I think "dh" is that well-known phenomenon: the self-flagellating dead horse.

Now where did I put my Troll Bingo card?

#310 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:42 AM:

TexAnne @ 292... Good question.

#311 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:54 AM:

This is, to some folks, inside baseball, and many people in this kerfuffle are fond of puns and double meanings and hermeneutics, so I advance without further comment this hypothesis:

If Brad R. Torgeson is the p, then dh is the dh.

#312 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:54 AM:

Vicky #212:

Which is why Admiralty Arch is near Horse God's Parade: http://goo.gl/maps/2srM4

#313 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:07 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @300: 'I think that if people hadn't been aware of VDs history, the reaction to his nominated short story would have been more like "why is this mediocre thing on the ballot?" rather than "kill it with fire".'

I read the story last year. I thought it was deeply, deeply racist, with "elves" being a stand-in for blacks and other minorities. Elves don't have souls. Most of them commit atrocities. One elf manages to set aside his atrocity-committing tendencies, adopt the traits of human civilization, and even make friends with humans ("some of my best friends are elves"), but it doesn't help him--he's still soulless--and moreover all of the humans who have befriended him get massacred by the evil elvish majority. Moral--association with members of other races is at best futile, and likely to be dangerous.

#314 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:14 AM:

@290 Bruce--

That's not bad argument. First person I've found that says "let's only expand the tent to people who meet our qualifications, which are greater than paying a nominal registration fee".

My problem is, this is hypocritical, because there was essentially no such concern when a good sized slice of last years voting membership publicly said they were not going to be your ideal voter, or even follow the guidelines that Worldcon asks for people who are voting members. On balance, it makes the objection seem very much less principled than a form of "I'm angry because people I don't like have been nominated".

@292 et all -

I am very interested in voting. This thread and the general situation has been passed around voting rights groups and related groups who are concerned about voting issues and it's generating a lot of discussion about qualified voting. Not in any real sense of important work, just more as a fascination. There are many colleagues who are SF/F fans, but I am not one of them. I am very interested in real world cases of democracy in action. Worldcon has a positive reputation in voting circles because it has been doing what it does for a long time, and it is among the most transparently operated processes in wide use - it has no preference, negative preference, ranked choice, instant run-off, partial ballot, and spoiler protections built in. It is a textbook voting operation. This thread came to my attention as the result of a posting about the chatter about slate voting and how it might impact a nomination process.

@300 Nancy -

It's pretty clearly showing to be a bad precedent. Bloc voting against the previous slate, which was done quite gleefully and in violation of the spirit of the Worldcon request to not vote against something without reading it (and, interestingly, against the advice of some big names in SF/F. John Scalzi in particular specified it was probably not a good idea) has set the stage for them to ratchet up the pressure. Now the choices left to deal with it are: increase the voting base again, to counterbalance the swarm of new voters, find someway to apply the rules or make new rules to ban or attempt to ban slate voting [which could be very difficult, or impossible], or move away from the qualified voting base to something less democratic. Hopefully it go towards the first option, which is always the solution when democracy gets messy - more voters.

@302 -

My third point is one McDonalds among the Best Restaurant nominees leaves the fans of other restaurants a chance to get their favorites on the ballot, and a wealth of options to choose among when the voting stage arrives. Five McDonalds not so much.

This is a good point, except no other restaurant is entitled to be nominated unless it is actually nominated. So saying "it's not good to have five McDonald's" on the ballot may be true in your opinion, it cannot be taken as granted because you say so. I don't think you can make an argument that McDonalds should not be on the ballot five times without relying on "because I don't think they should win". It just sounds like being unhappy that Sad Puppies "snuck" up on everyone. Even though it was done in open, transparently, and as part an annual basis. What will be the reason why if they make an impact next year?

@307 -

The Hugos are, in part, a popularity contest. I think Bruce's point was that if you insult the electorate, you shouldn't be surprised if they don't vote for you. Nothing more complicated than that.

I don't disagree with this at all. In this case, it's a perfectly natural reaction then to change the electorate, which apparently Sad Puppies has done to enough of a degree to upset people.

In general:

So North Korea, with a 99 percent turn-out is more democratic (and better) than the United States or the UK, with turn-outs in the 70s? That's a challenging point of view: could you say a little more in defense of it?

It is interesting that I've been singled out for having reading comprehension problems, when this statement emerges from what I've written. In fact, what you saying is not the case. What I've said is that in democratic systems any vote is better than not. Any exercise of franchise is better than letting it pass through your fingers, not utilized. So, the test case you've proposed fails for several reasons: North Korea is not a democratic system. There is no open nomination process. There is no opposition. There is no freedom to not vote. But worse, there is no real franchise, because the unfortunate souls who live there have no effective free will, and are effectively brainwashed. It is horrible.


#315 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:16 AM:

Lori Coulson @281 - There's actually a lot going on in his nom de plume, but his given name is sometimes shortened to Theo, greek for god; basically it's a pun, or rather several puns. It's the kind of cleverness that make articles written by him delirious and disorienting; he jumps from one thing to another, tipping his hat at a not-quite visible logical connection (which vanishes if inspected).

#316 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:33 AM:

Good questions, Elliott @304. Dh is an internet troll in the original sense of the term, and nothing he he's said here is reliable.

He said he speaks English as a second language, which he doesn't (there's an off-chance he's bilingual), and that he has a low IQ, which he neither has nor believes he has.

He's said he doesn't read SFF and doesn't follow the field. Neither of those are true. There's a kind of knowledge that's like being able to list and describe every piece of furniture and knickknack in a room, and then there's the other kind that lets you safely navigate that room in the dark because you know where everything is. He can disclaim the first sort of knowledge all he wants to (not that I'd believe him), but the second sort of knowledge he surely has.

He reads SFF. He follows the field. He's not a publishing insider, but he follows it closely, like someone who publishes professionally or wants to publish professionally.

The shape of background knowledge is hard to hide. The longer you argue, the more visible yours becomes.

He has the same kind of background familiarity with the Sad Puppies and their campaigns: nothing specific, but he knows where all the furniture is placed. This would be a very odd piece of expertise for someone to have if they don't follow the SF field.

And then there's the matter of him saying he doesn't support the Sad Puppies or care what happens to them.

This puts him in violation of one of the more reliable rules of internet behavior. I learned this one reading badfic forums, but you can also see it in venues that post book reviews, and of course it sporadically turns up elsewhere.

If someone new turns up who disclaims all connection with the story or book being discussed at that moment, says they only want to talk about the abstract justice of the review, and then posts comment after comment, more or less politely battling for every foot of ground, that person is always the author.

The extent and intricacy of dh's comments here are enough to disprove his claim to not care about the SPs, but I think there's also a chance that some writing of his has gotten entangled in this mess. For example, he could be a writer who wasn't part of the original SP conspiracy, but is enough of a fellow traveler to have gotten nominated via the SP slate.

That bit is speculation.

#317 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:33 AM:

So far, dh has implied that:

  • Conservatives don't get effusive about books the same way liberals do, so slate voting is more natural for them. (#175) This is contrary to my personal experiences with book-loving conservatives.
  • "More votes always better." (#289). This is contrary to US election law, which has strong opinions about vote fraud.
  • "I don't personally follow SF/F and I haven't read any of the works in decades." (#261) This is contrary to typical norms of discourse, which discourage posting huge numbers of posts on a subject which is of no personal interest.

This a decidedly strange approach: It insults the Sad Puppies, it encourages mechanical vote stuffing, and it explicitly declares that dh is not interested in the literature in question.

You know, even if I disagree with many of Brad R. Torgersen's opinions and methods, he's certainly impassioned about books, he believes that the Hugos should specifically represent the opinions of the community of science fiction readers (even if he has a weirdly limited and ahistorical vision of that community), and he reads science fiction regularly.

rea @ #313: Also, "elves don't get to go to heaven" has been done before, and done better: It's one of the great, central tragedies of Tolkien. The Tale of Beren and Lúthien is far more compelling than "Opera Vita Aeterna".

#318 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:41 AM:

dh:

For someone with very few roots in the SF&F community, you're very well-informed about the roots of Vox Day's pseudonym, and have a lot of very handy quotes from deep in very long conversations that happened a year ago. You also have a ton of opinions about the nature of SF publishing, many of which bear the marks of long discussion with people who have done a lot of thinking on the matter*.

Meanwhile, for someone interested in voting rights, you're not very clued in about the technical ins and outs of the topic. You haven't used any terms of art, and as Kevin Standlee @288 points out, you're not grasping the principles of the Hugo nomination and balloting systems at all quickly. Surely if you're interested in these fields, you'd already have the theoretical groundwork in place?

I'd be interested in seeing these conversations you're drawing from, which are not really about fannish matters but contain so many quotes that relate purely to them, and which are deeply absorbed in voting rights issues but don't seem to teach the very basics. Is it a mailing list? A website? A forum? Do feel free to link.

-----
* And, I suspect, come to some very odd conclusions, but that's another matter.

#319 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:42 AM:

284
"Voice of Theo".

Sorry, no, it isn't. Not unless you think 'Deus' is the Latin version of that name.

#320 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:48 AM:

I see Teresa and I are on the same page.

PJ Evans, θεος (theos) is the Greek for "God"; the name "Theodore" means "gift of God". So "Deus" is the Latin for Theo.

Doesn't make it any less pretentious and self-aggrandizing. My name means "the delight of the Lord" but you don't see me pretending it means I speak with his voice or tickle him especially pink.

#321 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:49 AM:

298
He''s still writing. Check 'Alternate View' in Analog.

#322 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:51 AM:

rea @ 313: Coinkadentally enuf, the Kooistra story I remember with a great deal of fondness has soulless aliens, along with Protestant saints and a variety of other interesting features. The overt mainstream Christianity of the story, in my opinion, mitigates (at the least) a reading of it that equates those otherworldly aliens with the alien* worldly other.

Those stories (not all of which I have read, but judging by those I do) would have made a bang-up fix-up novel, one I would have happily picked up and read.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 316: I wondered whether the "low IQ" part was false modesty (the worst form of ego, says Mort Sahl and repeats Lenny Bruce, both of whom sure didn't suffer from it) or bullshit in the technical sense of the word, but strongly leaning toward bullshit.

*Miss Brown, to you

#323 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:54 AM:

P J Evans @ 321: I have, which is why "What happened to him?" is a double-edged question. I read enough of those columns to wish he was writing enough fiction to not have time for them.

abi @ 0,1: I should have, but didn't, say how much I admire these and the guts they show.

#324 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:55 AM:

311
I did wonder who he was hitting for, when that crossed my mind last night.

I also think he was inadequately briefed about the Hugo nominating and voting processes, and fandom in general, before being pointed here.

#325 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:59 AM:

abi @ 320... My name means "the delight of the Lord" but you don't see me pretending it means I speak with his voice or tickle him especially pink.

Does God really look like Alanis Morrissette?

#326 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:00 AM:

abi @ 320... My name means "the delight of the Lord" but you don't see me pretending it means I speak with his voice or tickle him especially pink.

Does God really look like Alanis Morrissette?

#327 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:00 AM:

abi, I was taking that a bit more literally (my brother's first grandchild is Theodore called Theo). AFAIK, Theodore/Theo was never translated as a name, although some others were. (Theodate/Deodata is the only one coming to mind right now.)

#328 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:02 AM:

My youngest nephew is usually called 'Theo', thanks to my suggesting 'Theodore' to his mom, who, when I pointed out that her son shares a birthday with Rush Limbaugh, said "Gross!"

#329 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:07 AM:

@ 284 Am I the only one who thinks it's interesting that someone who doesn't follow SF and has no opinion is nevertheless quick to jump in with a correction on the Latin translation of VD's pen name?

I mean, I follow SF rather closely and I've crossed paths with the man on forums, and *I* didn't know that...let alone that it was a "common misconception."

Methinks someone is perhaps misrepresenting themselves a teeny tiny touch.

(I got five on "It was all a social experiment and you fell for it!" Do I hear any takers?)

#330 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:14 AM:

dh @248: If I’m following your argument correctly, this is your primary concern:

Two publishers won 50% of the awards in the top category in the last 15 years. 7 times as much as the next contender.
The two publishers in question being Tor (publishing five winners) and Harper/Collins (publishing two); the next contender being Bloomsbury (publishing one).
If that is in fact your primary concern, allow me to alleviate it by pointing out that there is an error in Bruce Baugh’s summary @217. Since 2000, Bloomsbury has published two Best Novel winners; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won in 2001, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell won in 2005.

#331 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:21 AM:

It's perhaps worth mentioning that VD's blog is called Vox Popoli: it's a joke on vox populi vox dei (I take it with the implication that he is speaking for the silent majority), so need not imply that he, personally, is the voice of God.

It is, of course, quite possible that a man who can write a story called Opera Vita Aeterna may also believe that Vox Dei can mean 'voice of Theo'.

#332 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:21 AM:

UrsulaV @ 329... How can you be so suspicious?

#333 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:23 AM:

Alex R. @105, James Harvey @117: Agreed, particularly with James' point about the US-centric nature of said culture wars.

#334 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:23 AM:

P J Evans@327: Theophilus/Amadeus/Gottlieb.

#335 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:26 AM:

I think in DH's long-winded remarks, we see another part of the Sad Puppies party line: "We are making the awards process more democratic!"

It is interesting that DH is aware, specifically, of the multiple puns in the name "Vox Day." I had not considered that "Dei" is a Latin form of "Theo." DH also echoes Day's argument that the Hugo is a popularity contest. It seems likely that DH is fairly close to VD. It is, in this light, perhaps relevant that DH claims that the Hugo nomination is the voice of the people—"Vox populi, vox dei."

The point of the Hugo nominating process is to select candidates for a broad-based award for the best sf work of the year. It is not intended to provide a mechanism for a small faction to press for a narrow slate of works.

#336 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:32 AM:

UrsulaV@329: it seems your suspicions crossed in the writing with mine.

#337 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:40 AM:

@330 - Edmund

Yes, that rather does change it. I am not necessarily concerned, but interested, in how the awards are distributed. Cat generously pointed out the baggage related to criticism of Tor being a proxy for some really unpleasant stuff, and so given that, I've sort of just let it drop. There is not a lot of a data to go on, and a few others have pointed out that Tor produces a large volume of well liked works.

@329 - (and others)

Methinks someone is perhaps misrepresenting themselves a teeny tiny touch.

I have followed the Worldcon voting for a few years. It's pretty well respected. Recently reading Brad Torgensen's blog, the pen name and backstory jumped out at me, so I started yesterday reading the >1000 message mega thread, plus reading the entire history from last year. Last year, reading John Scalzi's blog pointed me to Vox Day (well, actually it was a more colorful insult, but eventually led to his name). I am such that I had to figure out the pen name, and very quick googling leads you right to it from his own blog. In voting circles, the "No Award" situation was pretty famous. It is rare to find a real world case of a candidate or choice coming in below "No Preference", and coming in below "No Award". In fact I've never seen it before.

@316 - TNH

That is a very elaborate and wrong theory. Whatever hurt feelings come from this years nominations I think the most interesting results will be - what if anything will Wordcon do about it? The general point of view I have seen expressed is that Worldcon is extremely serious about the voting process, and that rule changes take a while - they must go through committee and then be voted upon, to impact only future years. As others have pointed out, this isn't the first bloc voting incident with the Hugo's. Ultimately this is your group blog, so you can make whatever judgement's you'd like. I would just say for the record, I have read no SF/F books in 20 years, I speak three languages, and my IQ is half a standard deviation below the mean. That particular one is an interesting thing for you to take issue with. Have you never run into a person who has a below average IQ, and knows it? I suppose the converse is possible it just seems odd. Maybe you just have an exceptionally well thinking group of associates. I am not nor ever been in publishing, a writer, or in any way connected to the field. I am in IT, and volunteer with the Carter Center. I have colleagues who are big SF/F fans.

@317 - Eric

It is extremely tedious to express that illegal voting is not what is being discussed here. If there is some rule breaking aspect to the vote, it is no vote at all. Literal ballot stuffing, as opposed to figuratively packing the vote with bloc voting, is not under my contemplation. I supposed that it goes without saying that the vote must follow the rules.

The rest of it, is true. More votes is always good. Look at it from the big picture. The most likely result of this year's Sad Puppies slate is that next year, people who do not support Sad Puppies, will want to counter balance the Sad Puppies 4 slate with their own choices. And that means bringing in more nominations, and, in the end, more voters. Out of 10,000 Worldcon eligible voters, only about 3,500 voted. Does that not concern you? Why would only a bare 1/3 vote for the Hugo's? Doesn't that seem weird to you? One thing that jumps out at me is that this was considered a very good number of ballots.

et All --

I will confess that I should have left this conversation alone. I was able to just read and enjoy the posts in the last mega thread. abi's comment about the voting process being mystical convinced me to comment.

#338 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:43 AM:

337
The rest of it, is true. More votes is always good.

That's just plain wrong. It's an excuse for stuffing ballot boxes with multiple ballots from dead voters. It is not democracy, where fewer but more informed voters may very well be better than more voters who are 'just following orders'. That you refuse to see this does not speak well of you, your associates, or your actual intentions.

#339 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:43 AM:

I think in DH's long-winded remarks, we see another part of the Sad Puppies party line: "We are making the awards process more democratic!"

100%. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can possible stick to the line that more votes, more voters = less democracy.

More voters, more democracy, more democratic.

#340 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:43 AM:

Musing on democracy: slates, like political parties and republics, are a failure mode of pure democracy. In all three cases, voters delegate fine-grained control of the decisions they are entitled to make, either because they haven't the time for all of them, or to be sure of getting some of their objectives in exchange for supporting things they don't actually want. (Does every Puppy personally love every work they put onto the ballot?)

That makes total sense in governmental elections; it beats the hell out of not participating at all in choices that will affect you directly and with the force of law.

But the Hugos are not governmental elections. If the things a voter supports don't win, there's no real effect. The books are not taken from the shelves and deleted from eReaders. No one is arrested or imprisoned, fined or shot.

So why do the Sad Puppies pursue this failure mode in the service of their goal? Well, for the same reason I dislike it: it's a hard one to get back from. Were I goal-oriented, wanting "my" books to win, I'd have to organize or join a counterbalancing slate. The Sad Puppies hope, and I fear, that slates are like ice-nine. Once that seed crystal has been introduced to the process, are we all then forced to change to the new configuration? As I said above, do the Hugos turn into yet another partisan election? How valuable is that?

#341 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:49 AM:

Edmund Schweppe @330:

That only means that three publishers won 60% of the awards in the top category in the last 15 years, 9 times as much as the next contender.

Of course, this does not correct for publisher size (in the SF/F field). Harper/Collins is a gigantic publisher, but how many new SF/F books did they publish since 2000? How many did Tor publish? How many did Bloomsbury publish? Of course, since the WSFS and the Hugo Awards do not define what qualifies as sf/f, it can be hard to answer these questions.

I guess one way to judge that is to look at the long-lists of nominations (i.e., including those that don't make the final ballot, for the largest selection of sf/f books considered) over the 15 years, and see how that broke down by publisher. If 5 times as many Tor books were nominated by someone as William Morrow, then perhaps all one can say is that Tor publishes more sf/f books than William Morrow, and thus should be expected to get more Hugos.

#342 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:51 AM:

P J--

Is there really a need to discuss if fake voting, and voter fraud, is anti-democratic? It is given. Is there any real suspicion that Sad Puppies are voting ballots that are fraudulent, or violate any rules of the process? If that is the case, then you have a very strong point, but I have so far surmised that this is not the case.

It is not democracy, where fewer but more informed voters may very well be better than more voters who are 'just following orders'.

Saying that few more informed voters may/are better than more voters is anti-democratic at the core. We are already dealing with a qualified voter base (paid at least $50, is the sole qualification).

Saying that Sad Puppies voters are "just following orders" belies that a Sad Puppies voter is not compelled to vote. It is a thing they have to choose to do. And they have to choose to vote the slate.

What is the argument really boil down to? I think it boils down to a claim that Sad Puppies voters are by definition uninformed.

But this argument has to be hogwash, because for nominations, you are not voting against things you don't like, you are voting for things you like. You are essentially arguing that Sad Puppies nomination voters don't actually like what they say they like.

Which is of course absurd, since they went to the trouble to qualify and to nominate.

Is there a "burn it down" attitude to Sad Puppies? Without question. They are obviously radical reactionaries.

#343 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:52 AM:

dh @337: Really not convincing.

Why not just talk to us?

#344 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:56 AM:

Once that seed crystal has been introduced to the process, are we all then forced to change to the new configuration? As I said above, do the Hugos turn into yet another partisan election? How valuable is that?

I don't see how the Hugo's go back. But this only a small step forward. There has been a history of campaigning and vote promotion in the past. This is just more organized and more effective. You should be excited. We all know that next year, there will be yet more voters, with yet more nominations. That's a good thing.

#345 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:56 AM:

Further to my previous: I maintain that more people voting for slates or parties can very well be less democratic than fewer people voting for individual issues or preferences, for the following reasons:

* Slates and parties are normative. They do away with the tyranny of the blank page; if you're not sure what to say, they supply an answer before you have to do the work to choose your own.

* Slates and parties are oppositional and identitarian. People begin to identify with them (the Sad Puppies have put a lot of work into getting people to identify for and against them), and will make choices based on those identities rather than on the foundational issues.

* Slates and parties eliminate options at the nomination/platforming phase. If Party A takes position 1, and Party B takes position 2, then position 3 is effectively off the ballot. But if 45% of Party A would have preferred it, and 45% of Party B would also, then even though it was left off of both slates, it would have had substantial support.

(This last point is the point that has been made repeatedly about using slates for nominations: it reduces the options for middle-ground popular choices.)

If democracy is about people expressing their own choices, so that the result of the election/ballot is the product of those choices, then slates and parties do not increase democracy. If they are used to increase voter participation, that does not automatically counterbalance the loss that they represent.

#346 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:01 PM:

dh @ 314

You say you got here because you are interested in democracy and voting in general.

1)It seems odd to me that a person with your interests would repeatedly conflate the nominating stage with the voting stage of the Hugos when in fact they are quite different.

The entire Sad Puppy slate problem makes it perfectly plain that they are quite different--one more stage is much more vulnerable to a minority voting in lockstep than the other.

2) it seems odd to me that a person with your interests has so thoroughly taken to heart the arguments of only one side. Especially when that side is so particularly American in its appeal and you tell us that English is not your first language, suggesting that American political and cultural anxieties are not your own.

So, what *is* your native language? Perhaps there are people here who speak it.

Teresa @316

Correct me if I am wrong, but I had the impression that Tor published a very substantial fraction of the total number of SFF books in any given year, a fraction that if not equal to its fraction of Hugos won, was at least commensurate with it. Am I mistaken?

dh consistently maintains that Tor is taking so much more than its share of recent Hugos that we should suspect wrongdoing of some sort--is that a position that someone familiar with SFF publishing would be likely to honestly believe?

Perhaps it would depend on where they got their familiarity, of course.

#347 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:01 PM:

dh @344:

The Hugos go back if slates are not a successful tactic. Is that worth the price, which is a running train wreck until slate-based nominations are considered a losing strategy?

Complicated question. I honestly don't know the answer. But I'm not persuaded by "it's just a little change." Feels like being a little bit pregnant.

Furthermore, I reserve the right to resent the hell out of people who imposed this change on the community.

#348 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:04 PM:

Bruce #290:

One irony in this discussion is that I've sometimes seen the argument that bringing less informed voters into the election makes the process worse (which is certainly plausible), but I've only ever seen it from people on the right in the US. It's funny to see the sides switch places here, more or less. (Though obviously this is a very different context than electing people to government office.)

abi's original post bears rereading and thinking about. One relatively straightforward thing I got immediately from it was this: The SPs nominating a slate and getting it accepted will not mean they win the Hugos from now on, it just will mean they get the first-mover advantage this year. An inevitable consequence is that next year, there will be multiple slates, complete with identity politics and bloc voting and angry exhortations to the faithful that they must ignore their tastes and conscience and vote for their team, or the other team will win--just like happens in political elections, mass sigature campaigns, boycotts, etc, now. And that will make the SFF fandom corner of the world a much worse place, in much the sqme way it has done to all the other areas where people have managed to link more or less unrelated stuff to the culture wars.

#349 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:05 PM:

abi, that third point is not correct. Because there is nothing preventing Party A and Party B from both nominating it. What you are saying is that Party A and Party B "should" nominate the thing that they both can agree on, but won't.

Put in real context. Next year, Sad Puppies 4 will make a slate. Can you note look at that slate, and see if any options are acceptable to you, and incorporate those into your slate? And can they not do it themselves?

The first and second point are true, but then again, having fixed choices and nominations are exactly the same things - normative and identitarian, and to a lesser degree, oppositional. The nominations are open, but the voting is closed, and picking one means voting against the others. There is no write in option.

I am not claiming the process is perfect, only that adding more voters does not make it worse, and any new voters, including slate voters, increases the value of the vote as a tool of choice.

The structure of argument is that injustice is done with party/slate/bloc voting. The argument relies on the idea of a "good outcome" as something independent of the process. A good or bad outcome can come from a very democratic process. Which, depending on who you ask, most everyone has a Hugo award that's been awarded that was seen as "bad". But that doesn't mean the process was bad.

#350 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:10 PM:

Catching up on this. People have said a lot of what I would say, but I have a few thoughts.

I'm stunned by the beauty and simplicity (=elegance) of Elliott's formulation about the privileged logomachy of 'respect'. Note to self: Elliott is one smart dude; listen to him a lot.

Second, ISTM that there are two possible cases for dh WRT SFF, reading, caring etc.:

  1. dh is telling the truth, in which case dh is wasting our time and energy, and was probably directed here for that very purpose by someone with malicious intent, possibly Bud Tugly himself, and should Go Away; or
  2. dh is lying, in which case dh is a lying sack of shit like Bud Tugly, is here to deliberately waste our time and energy, and should Go Away.

I would submit that the main difference between these cases is whether the malicious intent that brought dh here is dh's own, or someone else's. I leave deriving my recommendation as an exercise for the reader.

#351 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:11 PM:

dh @349:
Because there is nothing preventing Party A and Party B from both nominating it.

See the second point: oppositional.

Next year, Sad Puppies 4 will make a slate. Can you note look at that slate, and see if any options are acceptable to you, and incorporate those into your slate? And can they not do it themselves?

I don't do slates. I may or may not end up personally liking things that also end up on their slates, but that's not the same thing.

The first and second point are true, but then again, having fixed choices and nominations are exactly the same things - normative and identitarian, and to a lesser degree, oppositional. The nominations are open, but the voting is closed, and picking one means voting against the others. There is no write in option.

Stop what you're doing and spend a few minutes getting your head round the differences between the nomination and voting stages of the Hugo system. If you're so all-fired into elections, this shouldn't be a problem.

Because the paragraph I quoted is orthogonal to anything that actually exists in the situation. It's not even wrong.

#352 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:11 PM:

dh: Bluntly, the more you post, the less compelling your arguments become.

Firstly because, again, you refuse to recognize when they have been refuted and simply re-post the same arguments over again as if they were new rebuttals to the refutations -- yet another known troll tactic.

Secondly, because of the point Teresa makes @316. Your entire presence here exhibits a subtle but recognizable pattern, and that pattern is not of a person who is arguing honestly. The more lies you make, the easier it is to identify them as lies.

Thirdly, it is becoming increasingly obvious that your entire goal is to keep pounding away, using those already-refuted arguments, until everyone else gets tired of rehashing the same infinite loop for the 20th or 30th time, and then claim that YOU WON! because nobody is willing to argue with you any more. This is one of the most classic troll patterns in the history of debate.

The last word in a game of "wrong on the Internet" is a prize valued only by the pettiest of the petty; it means nothing, and in particular it does not mean that you were right, but only that you were willing to abuse everyone else for long enough to get to the *eyeroll* response. You are welcome to it.

#353 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:15 PM:

@346

dh consistently maintains that Tor is taking so much more than its share of recent Hugos that we should suspect wrongdoing of some sort--is that a position that someone familiar with SFF publishing would be likely to honestly believe?

I don't maintain that argument. I think it suggests two possibilities, one is that they are better at getting/producing award worthy talent than their competitors or two that voters who like their works are disproportionately heavily represented in the voting base. Neither implies any wrongdoing or bad intent on the part of Tor or voters.

language

Serbo-Croatian, Russian, and English in that order.

The entire Sad Puppy slate problem makes it perfectly plain that they are quite different--one more stage is much more vulnerable to a minority voting in lockstep than the other.

I just don't find the "some voters are better than others" argument to be anything more than an advanced form of sour grapes.

Think about American politics for a minute. Voter registration drives that are partisan happen all the time. When, say, the CBC organizes a registration drive to attract more minority voters, does the GOP, who are openly hostile to the organization group, decry the newly registered voters are being illegitimate? Actually, they do. Do you really want to have that in common with the GOP?

#354 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:18 PM:

341
I'd say, consult the lists of forthcoming books that Locus runs every few months, and base comparisons on that. (Our Guest seems to be quite unaware of those.)

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:18 PM:

334
What would the Latin translation of Theodore be? I've never seen that one.

#356 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:18 PM:

#313 ::: rea

You may have a good general point there, but I'd have to reread the story to have a well-founded opinion.

I don't think the elves are a stand-in for blacks and other minorities.

This isn't more savory, but the elves are hyper-civilized, which is certainly not how Vox Day or racists in general think about blacks.

It's possible that the elves stand in for Jews, but I actually think that if they stand in for anyone, it's secularists, or possibly non-Catholics.

#357 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:20 PM:

I guess I am confused on the rules. Because at one point, it was considered rude to stop posting. And now it's rude to start posting.

I don't really think of a discussion as having winners and losers. There's usually give and take, and there's been a lot of that.

There is a lot of baggage, and therefore a lot of intents and things implied into what I am writing. It just may be too loaded a topic to make any headway with.

It is certainly worthwhile to get down ot the root of the opposition, with many people making the same case, which I don't think is strong, that fewer votes can be better than more voters.

#358 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:26 PM:

353
Voter registration drives are partisan only in who runs them, at least in intent. They are legally required to turn in to the county every registration form, no matter what the name is, or what party they marked. (More than one registration campaign has run into legal problems for not doing that.) They are not allowed to determine voter eligibility, or anything else.

If you're going to claim you're interested in elections, this is a basic piece of information that you need to know.

#359 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:27 PM:

dh is/would be the first native speaker of Serbo-Croatian I've ever encountered to call it that. Serbs tend to say "Serbian" and Croats "Croatian," both pointing out that it even looks different (because written in Cyrillic and in Roman, respectively).

There may absolutely be honest reasons for this.

#360 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:28 PM:

Sea looming and General classic trolling would be my vote. No matter how many facts and astute arguments the rest of us present, it won't ever be quite enough for dh.

#361 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:29 PM:

dh @357:

You came into a situation where, for the second year running, this community feels under attack from people who—no exaggeration—hate members of it. You came in trailing talking points from that very same group of people, and you didn't exactly spend any energy explaining who you are. So people made guesses, ones I'm not actually sure are entirely inaccurate. (I note that you haven't linked anyone to these voting-rights discussions, though they might provide valuable perspectives.)

I'm sorry you don't feel persuaded by the arguments, but you haven't exactly made it feel worthwhile to spend more time explaining them further. Not just because that you have yet to demonstrate a genuine grasp of the difference between the nomination process and the voting process, but also because, honestly, I don't think that there's anything that can be said that will cause you to re-think your knee-jerk "more voters good always" reaction.

Best of luck getting a standby seat on your flight.

#362 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:35 PM:

Me@360:sealioning of course. Darn autocorrect.

#363 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:38 PM:

dh, it's only my opinion, but I think that there's some talking past each other going on here. What I'm reading you saying is "slates make it easier for people to vote and more voters = good. Why do you all hate more voters?" (with some added loaded language that is really making people bristle, which if you are legitimately not aware you are deploying, you should be. If I can, I'd like to make you aware.) But what I'm reading several other people saying is that "slates turn the vote into the same nasty knife-fight that American politics (and other gang wars) always are, and we do not want this thing, which is traditionally a way of bringing our community together in shared enthusiasm, to turn into trench warfare between opposing groups."

I've seen people engaging with your statements on the above terms, but I haven't seen you engaging with the idea that slates make the whole process into something uglier and less friendly than it was. You just keep saying that it's great because more voters. Well, that's fine. But it's bringing in an organized battalion with marching orders, and this has always been a playground. So you come across as saying that's totally okay, but unless the kids on the playground decide to organize themselves into a militia as well and start digging trenches, they're just going to get mowed down. I can understand why people who came to the park to play are dismayed to find someone trying to organize an army to march in and occupy it.

#364 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:39 PM:

Selecting one or the other reveals your ethnic background instantly. But so does saying I speak Russian. There is a lot of ethnic tension still, I usually revert to the safest route.

#365 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:43 PM:

I've seen people engaging with your statements on the above terms, but I haven't seen you engaging with the idea that slates make the whole process into something uglier and less friendly than it was. You just keep saying that it's great because more voters. Well, that's fine. But it's bringing in an organized battalion with marching orders, and this has always been a playground. So you come across as saying that's totally okay, but unless the kids on the playground decide to organize themselves into a militia as well and start digging trenches, they're just going to get mowed down. I can understand why people who came to the park to play are dismayed to find someone trying to organize an army to march in and occupy it.

Thanks for pointing this out. I think that terms like Uglier and nasty are subjective.

Did it occur to you that moving from cozy, friendly, enthusiastic of old, to ugly, knife fight today is your perspective because you are now on the losing side? Do you suppose that in the past the Sad Puppies writers felt warmly enfolded into the community?

#366 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:45 PM:

abi-- "Best of luck getting a standby seat on your flight."

18 hrs and counting. Trying to get some place that only has a few flights every few days is not for the meek.

#367 ::: Guess ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:47 PM:

@337 - DH
". I would just say for the record, I have read no SF/F books in 20 years,"

Then why do you care? If you don't like SF/F books why are you involved at all? Did you actually spend $40 to sign up and vote for the Hugos having no interest in reading any Science Fiction books?

#368 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:50 PM:

Guess- I didn't sign up. I care because this is really interesting from a voting perspective. It is extremely rare to find transparent modern voting systems like what Worldcon has in place, working in the wild.

I've been to elections in, I think now, 15 countries. Most are run in one of two defective methods - first round the post, or party slate. Worldcon has a great barometer to look at modern voting regimes in the wild.

#369 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:51 PM:

dh @ 279
115 - increased voters electing a slate lock out competing voices that are not in lockstep, and therefore, non-puppies can only choose no award or sad puppies slate, leading to less choice.

You are misrepresenting this. The problem is not the larger numbers of voters. The problem is the slate.

The larger numbers of voters are not necessary for all the finalists to be selected by a small number of people; a slate achieves that without any extra voters needed. And the larger number of voters, in the absence of a slate, are not sufficient to make all the nominations the choice of a handful of people.

The problem is the slate. I understand that you love the slate with a deep and abiding love that is difficult to understand in someone who arrived on the scene through an interest in democracy rather than SFF and without knowledge of the Sad Puppy talking points he is faithfully repeating, but your love for the slate doesn't change it. The slate is the problem.

dh @337

"Cat generously pointed out the baggage"

*I* didn't. You must be thinking of someone else.

Yes, I have met people who knew they had a below average IQ. None of them wrote the way you do, by a *considerable* margin.

Allow me to say you are *remarkably* good with articles for a non-native speaker. Most especially a non-native speaker with an IQ of 93. I realize some countries have extremely good instruction in foreign languages--which language did you say was your native language, again?

"More votes is always good." More votes is fine. Also more nominations, which is a different thing and which you are *still* conflating, is fine. Slates are the problem, especially at the nominating stage. The good of more votes, or more nominations, by no means makes up for the problem of the slate.

You may argue till you're blue in the face (that means "for a long time") over this, and you won't change our minds a bit. You, on the other hand, are so taken with the Sad Puppies (that means "you like the Sad Puppies so much") that you think it's fine if they have succeeded locking us out of the nominating process. Presumably you will also think it's fine when "No Award" is deployed at the voting stage. Given that this is the obvious and logical next step, and that we indeed are excited about it, I don't understand why you think our attitude needs changing.

Why yes, I expect that more people *will* nominate next year. Unfortunately, I predict that Sad Puppies will continue to use a slate to swing nominating clout all out of proportion to their numbers, which means it will take an enormous number of nominators who choose for themselves rather than let one person do the thinking for them to outweigh them. We may not get quite that many more.

I fervently hope we're not going to end up in one of those races to the bottom that conservatives are so fond of, where it ends up being about competing slates. Because any slate, including a liberal slate, is a problem, because it does not give the works left off the slate a fair chance.

#370 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:52 PM:

dh @357

'There is a lot of baggage, and therefore a lot of intents and things implied into what I am writing. It just may be too loaded a topic to make any headway with.'

I think you're probably right that a conversation in which people are addressing what they think lies behind people's statements, rather than things they've actually said. With that in mind, can I suggest you redirect your attention to comment 101 and see whether you find anything particularly strinking and noteworthy about it.

Incidentally, one problem with slate voting that's quite widely discussed is that if you allow it, the conditions of the Condorcet Jury theorem are undermined. I imagine that's a point that will have generated quite a lot of discussion in the circles you run in: has anybody had anything interesting to say about it? (Especially since it's the Condorcet theorem that provides the strongest arguments for big electorates being better than small ones.)

#371 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:55 PM:

So you think US politics is lovely and kind, do you?

I honestly really and truly do not have a dog in this fight, as far as the Hugos. I have never attended a WorldCon, have never nominated or voted on a Hugo, and frankly don't have time enough to read right now, outside of what's required for my graduate program. So thanks for trying to personalize this, but nope.

You also are again failing to engage with the conceptual framework I've laid out, and instead trying to judo me into your framework ("losing side" puts us right back on your apparently preferred turf of making it into a war). But I suspect that this distinction is important—when Scalzi suggested that it would be good for the SP to bring in more people, I suspect he was similarly envisioning inviting more of their friends to come play in the park. Not to organize clone warriors to come lay it waste.

#372 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:55 PM:

Starting to go in circles here, dear people. Please consider whether we should be applying Heresiarch's Rule to the conversation with dh.

#373 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 12:57 PM:

abi--

I'm sorry you don't feel persuaded by the arguments, but you haven't exactly made it feel worthwhile to spend more time explaining them further. Not just because that you have yet to demonstrate a genuine grasp of the difference between the nomination process and the voting process, but also because, honestly, I don't think that there's anything that can be said that will cause you to re-think your knee-jerk "more voters good always" reaction.

Well, maybe it's best to end it here. "More voters good" is not knee-jerk, it is the defining characteristic of every single NGO in the entire world who work on voting projects. There isn't a single one, anywhere I've ever heard of, who espouses fewer, "more qualified" voters, for any democratic process. I find it entirely easy to separate the process from the result because the subject matter is not personally relevant to me.

It is a fine point of view to say you'd rather have fewer voters, than introduce more voters who vote for slates. It's just no very democratic, and for that reason, I would disagree. The principle of democracy is bigger than hurt feelings for a year or two while the voting base is expanded. If you can, take some solace that Sad Puppies actions this year could lead to a doubling or more of nomination ballots and votes in future years. Like voting, nominations become more valuable the more people who participate.

#374 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:01 PM:

*Finally* managing to catch up with the thread(s). (Hey, I've been moving. Am now in CT)

Abi: thank you. I was somewhere in the 300s on the PT when you posted this, and it reminded me why I fell in love with this community.

Bill @100 one can buy a pre-supporting membership in Minneapolis '73. It's one of my delights that I'm on that membership list.

Elliot @221 don't forget horses, dogs, dead people and children! Thus the very reasonable "natural persons" rule for the Hugos.

As several people have pointed out, more votes does not equal more democracy. More freely selected votes equals more democracy.

I bought a supporting membership for the first time this year. Because of Pennsic, I doubt I will ever be able to afford to attend Worldcon unless I become independently wealthy. But I knew about supporting memberships...I just didn't feel strongly enough to put my money there. I did this year, because I feel very strongly about Goblin Emperor, and UrsulaV's The Sea Witch Sets the Record Straight.

Finding out about shenanigans makes me happy I spent the money.

#375 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:01 PM:

Blah blah blah...

#376 ::: dh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:02 PM:

Incidentally, one problem with slate voting that's quite widely discussed is that if you allow it, the conditions of the Condorcet Jury theorem are undermined. I imagine that's a point that will have generated quite a lot of discussion in the circles you run in: has anybody had anything interesting to say about it? (Especially since it's the Condorcet theorem that provides the strongest arguments for big electorates being better than small ones.)

I've never heard or studied it, or heard anyone talk about it. I will make a note to read about it.

I am not sure what in #101 I should address since I wrote it.

abi--

I really like that rule. It is clever.

#377 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:04 PM:

Edmund@330: Thank you for the correction! I like being right, and am willing to make adjustments to be even righter. :)

Nancy, with Beale, it's not just the Jemisin thing. There's also his multiyear effort to argue that John Scalzi is a confessed rapist, taking a strong piece of satire Scalzi wrote and interpreting it literally. He's still doing it, too, telling the same lie to a Gamergate audience less than a month ago. And lots more. I don't lightly say that someone should be shunned, and that people who insist on collaborating with him, presenting him to the world as someone worth honoring and respecting, etc., should be shunned as well until they repudiate the bond and show they mean it. But for this crap? Yes.

#378 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:10 PM:

I've been to elections in, I think now, 15 countries. Most are run in one of two defective methods - first round the post, or party slate.

And yet you seem to be celebrating the introduction of that latter defect.

"More voters good" is not knee-jerk, it is the defining characteristic of every single NGO in the entire world who work on voting projects.

But the NGOs are working in a world where (defective) slates are ubiquitous. This is a different situation.

fewer, "more qualified" voters

You do know that every single use of the word qualified on this thread is yours, right? No one here has talked about voter qualification. In the past thread, many people who didn't feel qualified to nominate were encouraged to do so and reassured that they were.

The idea that Hugo voting should be restricted to "qualified" people is a Sad Puppy meme. The only qualification, as Teresa said here after the SPs started quote-mining the thread for twistable prose, is that a natural person is a member of Worldcon and hasn't yet used their vote. That's all.

It's the uncritical acceptance of that kind of one-sided crap that makes people side-eye you.

#379 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:23 PM:

Heresiarch's rule is clever and difficult and wise. Frequently more so than I, or any of the other commenters who should heed it.

#380 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:24 PM:

Abi@379: Ermph. Ain't it the truth. Trying, trying....

#381 ::: D. Eppstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:33 PM:

Say, how about the weather today?

Um.

The earlier discussion of translations of Dante, comparisons to the Oscars, and mentions of The Three Body Problem got me thinking: would it be of interest to have a Hugo for best work not originally written in English? Presumably it would need looser eligibility rules (e.g. eligible based on either original publication year or year of publication of a significant new translation). I didn't actually read 3BP (and don't even know whether it was originally written in Chinese instead of English) but this year did read and enjoy Enjoe's Self-Reference ENGINE (not eligible; translation date 2013, but close) and suspect there are plenty of other good works to select among.

#382 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:37 PM:

This may have been obvious to everyone but me, but when I looked at the SP slate just now, I saw that they have 4 or 5 works or people listed in every category--for example, Best Novel:

“The Dark Between the Stars” – Kevin J. Anderson – TOR
“Trial by Fire” – Charles E. Gannon – BAEN
“Skin Game” – Jim Butcher – ROC
“Monster Hunter Nemesis” – Larry Correia – BAEN
“Lines of Departure” – Marko Kloos – 47 North (Amazon)

The difference between block voting for a favorite books and block nominating 5 books is that the latter tactic is designed to be exclusionary--to keep books like Goblin Emperor and Ancillary Sword off the ballot. That is far, far more offensive that what they did last year . . .

#383 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:44 PM:

Did it occur to you that moving from cozy, friendly, enthusiastic of old, to ugly, knife fight today is your perspective because you are now on the losing side? Do you suppose that in the past the Sad Puppies writers felt warmly enfolded into the community?

dh, I see multiple problems with your conception of things.

The first relates to the credibility of the Hugos. As currently practiced, the outcome of the Hugos is determined by a group of voters which is international in scope and very diverse in opinion. The process is essentially apolitical and it is based on merit in both literary terms and successful science fictional/fantasy world building and scientific extrapolation (or in the case of fantasy, probably on the quality of the magic system used in the story.) It is credible to the point that if I'm in a bookstore weighing two possible purchases with equal appeal and one of them is a Hugo winner, I'll buy the Hugo winner.

In a world where slate voting becomes common, with the Hugos acting as a proxy for the larger culture wars, if a book wins a Hugo I won't buy it. This is bad for both readers and authors; readers because a useful mechanism for selecting books will have been broken, and authors because it will cost them money (I assume you saw the bit about how a Hugo's financial payoff is in the low four figures...)

Second, There. Are. No. Sides.

Or at least, there were no sides.

The whole concept of "sides" is directly against what the whole Hugo process is trying to accomplish. Hugos have been won by people as Conservative as Dan Simmons or Larry Niven (an amazing 5 Hugos, all of them well-deserved, and a very pleasant guy in person) and as Liberal as China Mieville. As Jewish as Harlan Ellison (7 Hugos, I think) and as female as Connie Willis or Ursula Vernon. As geographically diverse as Britain and China, as Black as Octavia Butler or Sam Delany, as Asian as Ted Chiang, and as White as Neil Gaiman.

Despite the political diversity, when it comes to Science Fiction, the very Liberal Alex R. is on the same side as the very Conservative Larry Niven. And I like it that way. There. Are. No. Sides.

(P.S. I'd love to see Larry win another Hugo.)

Third, why should the rest of the world, which also votes for the Hugos, be forced to be a part of the US culture wars? Why should the wishes of US Conservatives be paramount in what is an International Award? Why should a science fiction fan in China or Liberia have to deal with the idiocy and paranoia of the US Right?

Fourth... losing side? I don't know what you're smoking, but dude, hand me your pipe! What makes you think that the multiple Hugo winners who are participating on this very thread, who clearly feel strong dislike for the SPs, are on the losing side? What makes you think that a senior editor at Tor books is on the losing side? The SPs are very, very lucky that the authors, editors, and SMOFs assembled here are not treating this like a knife fight!

Fifth, by using the phrase "losing side" you have conclusively revealed yourself as a troll. (Not to mention the previous troll-spotting work done by abi and others...)

Done with you.

#384 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:46 PM:

Abi @372. Somewhere around 250, I stopped bothering even to skim their arguments. Because I can't see the point of engagement with someone who isn't hearing (deliberately or accidentally) what our commentariat is trying so earnestly to convey.

dh- may I kindly suggest actually taking a break from the topic? If you are not a troll, you would be welcome. This is Making Light, where the community standards involve love of discussion, respect for the community here gathered, and an intact sense of wonder. I see from your volume you are earnest, but as someone* told me here many years ago when I found these people- maybe take a break to absorb a sense of this community before posting again? It feels like people on both sides are rephrasing to beat a dead horse, and now I, at least, am reading around you.

Or, alternately, if you are a troll, go away. The community assumes goodwill...unless attacked. I value Abi & TNH's spoon levels, esp this weekend.

*I think it was Susan, but may have been Serge or Xopher. All y'all have taught me a lot

#385 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:55 PM:

While this post over on Slacktivist is addressing a very different topic, I think people may find that parts of it have some resonance with the discussion here. In particular, the difference between the defensive and offensive uses of a given tactic, and the corresponding difference in the legitimacy of those uses.

#386 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 01:58 PM:

Sisuile @ 384... I don't think I said that. That sounds more like abi.

#387 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:00 PM:

DH - hey, I thought you were gone.

"It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can possible stick to the line that more votes, more voters = less democracy."

Would more racist white voters in a Klan-dominated state make that state more democratic? I think there is, oh, a wee bit of a problem with this line of argument.

#388 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:01 PM:

dh: What sisule said to you just above in 384.

I'm genuinely undecided about whether you're arguing in good faith or not. I don't think it's determinable from this discussion. But I wouldn't mind seeing you come back in some other context.

#389 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:01 PM:

I'm sure that Kevin Standlee would disagree with this suggestion on grounds of cost but my preferred way of increasing the electorate for the Hugo's would be to increase the number of categories in which someone can be nominated.

My candidates: Best related tweet; Best parody of William Carlos Williams; Best knitwear (can also be awarded to a knitting pattern.

Anyone got any other suggestions?

#390 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:03 PM:

323
Google indicates he's a consultant of some kind also. He might be too busy.

#391 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:05 PM:

PJ Evans @355 - the Latin equivalent of "Theodore" is "Deusdedit" - the name's been used by at least one Pope.

#392 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:06 PM:

dh @373: The Sad Puppies proponents didn't limit their campaign to the existing WSFS membership; Correia and Torgersen both urged people who were not currently WSFS members to join for the specific purpose of nominating their slate:

For just $40 you can register as a supporting member for WorldCon and nominate up to five works in every category. (http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/14/sad-puppies-2-the-illustrated-edition/)
Of course, you don’t have to be a Sasquan member to participate in the Hugo award voting and nominations. You can also be a member of either Loncon 3 (last year’s Worldcon) or MidAmeriCon II (next year’s Worldcon.) If you have a membership for any of these, you’re good to go for the Hugo nomination period. Otherwise, if you’re new to SAD PUPPIES and you want to join the pack effort, sign up for Sasquan now! It’s your chance (as a science fiction or fantasy fan, of any type, any style, any age, or any interest) to make your voice heard — to put some genuine prestige back into SF/F’s self-branded "most prestigious science fiction award." (https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/how-you-can-aid-the-valiant-sad-puppies-3-campaign/)

I don't know which NGOs in particular you are referring to, but I presume they are trying to enfranchise persons who are (a) currently subject to rule by governments and (b) have been denied the right to vote on their governance by said governments. I doubt that you’re thinking of outfits like the Free State Project, whose avowed goal is to get like-minded individuals to move to into an existing polity (in the FSP's case, the US state of New Hampshire) and influence the elections, laws and policies thereof. The Sad Puppy campaigns strike me as much closer to the FSP model than the typical enfranchise-the-disenfranchised one.

#393 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:09 PM:

389
You mean knitting something like this or more like this?

#394 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:10 PM:

dh @353

I am sorry that I did not notice earlier that you had told us your native language. I withdraw that part of my previous post.

#395 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:10 PM:

391
Thanks - I'd say it's certainly much less common than the Greek version.

#396 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:12 PM:

Serge @386 Abi wasn't around. It was before ML incorporated Electrolite.

This conversation is seriously making me miss Mike, and his ability to distill the arguments into essential koans.

You know what? This thread needs more poetry. 400 posts on a ML thread and there has been no poetry. I'll see what I can come up with, but I'm the amateur around here.

#397 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:12 PM:

P J Evans @393. Both illustrations of knitting cause me to squee. The second one because of the knitwear *model* more than the actual knitting.

#398 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:13 PM:

praisegod barebones @370:

I must admit that I, an admitted Condorcet voting partisan, had not heard of Condorcet's Jury theorem.

Now that I have, I'll note two things: (1) it seems obvious, but then every good theorem does after it's been stated and proved, and (2) It explicitly concerns itself with decisions with exactly two choices, so seems less that applicable to the Hugos, which involve multiple-choice ballots.

#399 ::: Guess ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:28 PM:

I think the best way to handle this is to limit how many items you can nominate per category to two and maybe limit it to 1/3 to 1/2 of categories you can nominate 2 things. If you think about it, when you nominate you are saying this item deserves to win a Hugo. Well 2 items can't win.

This way you can still allow fans who want to support a specific author or two nominate in a category, but 1 group can't clean up all categories. So fans who really like Larry Correia are welcome to nominate him every year... alot of authors get nominated regularly, but they can't nominate Larry and 4 other people to take the whole slot.

#400 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:31 PM:

D. Eppstein @ #381: "The earlier discussion of translations of Dante, comparisons to the Oscars, and mentions of The Three Body Problem got me thinking: would it be of interest to have a Hugo for best work not originally written in English?"

I would certainly like to see more non-English SF get translated and participate in the awards process. I have selfish motivations: I tend to like these translated books a lot, and I use the awards process as a list of fun things to read.

In fact, there's some amazing untranslated SF out there. For example, I've been working on a private translation of the first ~1,500 words of Stéphane Beauverger's Le Déchronologue, which won the Grand prix de l'Imaginaire, the Nouveau Grand Prix de la science-fiction française and two or three other prizes. It's an alternative history in the mold of 1632, where modern groups get sent back to the 1600s—except the story is told from the perspective of Henri Villon, a French pirate captain, a protestant, a drinker, a proud man, capable with both word and blade, who says:

If I have lied, cheated, and sometimes betrayed, my loyalty is no more and no less tarnished than that of the other sailors of the open sea…

As a narrator, Villon is charming, untrustworthy, and perceptive:

May the reader pardon my effrontery and the great disorder reigning in these notebooks, but my memory is no longer what it was, nor is time what it appeared. Fugit irreparabile tempus wrote the poet Virgil… How how was wrong! I know, myself, that the sails of time are torn, bringing to my century things which never should have have washed up here. To my eyes, the calendars no longer make sense…

The writing is absolutely captivating. And it's fascinating watching Villon try to puzzle out what's happening to his world. But at the same time, the story is gloriously fun. Pirates! Time travelers! Naval battles! Black markets on Caribbean islands where 17th century pirates trade for batteries to drive rare bits of modern technology. Canons that fire time!

Anyway, I'll come back to this book later, when I've translated a few more choice bits and there's a nice, calm open thread. But there is absolutely non-English SF out there that I'd love to recommend to English-speaking fandom. And I'd love to hear other people's recommendations, too. That's always been the fun part of the Hugos—people saying, "Ooo! Read this. It's great!"

#401 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:38 PM:

sisuile @ 396: I'm no John M. Ford, but:

Wild votes - Wild votes!
Were thou with me
Wild words should be
Our destiny.

Futile - the words -
'Gainst a book that's great -
Done with the talking -
Done with the slate!

Rowing in circles -
Ah - the squee!
Might I but read - tonight -
Something which would blow my mind like More Stories from the Hugo Winners, Vol II, which blew my mind for better, for worse, and for good when I read it in my teens, published in 1973

#402 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:40 PM:

397
The current blog post from the Yarn Harlot. Much squeeing involved - and I have to say that he has a fine sense of humor.

#403 ::: Nat Lovin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:42 PM:

Guess 399
The problem with limiting voting to 1 or 2 per category is that it could lead to smaller nomination counts across the board, which means you either have only a couple of items on the ballot because of the 5% rule, or you repeal the 5% rules, and something can get on the ballot with very few nominations.

#404 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:49 PM:

403
In some categories, that's been a problem for years. Dozens of nominees, but few have a lot of nominations.

I do like the idea of limiting nominations to three per category, though.

#405 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:52 PM:

I don't know about anyone else, but I've come to the conclusion that dh has been nattering on (I decline to say "arguing") in bad faith since post #1. Wall-o-text posts, responding obsessively to every other post, goal-post shifting, context-erasing, need I go on? I've seen it before many many times and there's no good end for anyone who isn't the attention-lamprey in question.

#406 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:58 PM:

Sisuile @ 396... This thread needs more poetry

Vogon poetry?

#407 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:58 PM:

Buddha Buck @398: Well, Condorcet was an interesting chap, and had quite a lot of different ideas about the way democracy might and might not work (as you might expect from an aristocrat with republican sympathies living at the time of the French Revolution.) Unless, as some people suspect, some of them were his wife's ideas. (There's serious academic research on this topic.)

Also, I'm not quite sure about the history of probability theory, but I think coming up with the theorem might have been more impressive in the late eighteenth century than it would do today, because lots of the basic concepts were still being worked out.

I don't hang around in fora where people discuss voting methods myself, as it's not quite my field, but I think that you can model multi-candidate elections with IRV as a series of Yes/No choices of the form 'is candidate A the best/worst candidate on this list', and then the conditions of the Condorcet theorem hold. But only if candidates make up their minds independently, of course.

#408 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 02:59 PM:

dh @ 368:

Most are run in one of two defective methods - first round the post, or party slate. Worldcon has a great barometer to look at modern voting regimes in the wild.

It is, of course, precisely the "party slate" aspect of the Sad Puppies slate that most posters here object to, and which you are defending in the name of increased democracy. Are you suggesting that it is preferable to shift to a voting method which you consider to be defective because doing so will increase the number of voters?

#409 ::: Michael Eochaidh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:03 PM:

Bruce @377: I'd forgotten about that. Accusing someone of a crime or some kind of ethical lapse based on a willfully obtuse reading is *very* gamergate, though. VD and gamergate are well suited for each other.

#410 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:05 PM:

Knitwear could presumably already be nominated as a related work, or depending on how it was shown to the world, dramatic presentation, though.

#411 ::: Nat Lovin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:08 PM:

Or for one of the two artist awards.

#412 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:10 PM:

Yes, but if we want to attract more knitters into fandom, it might be worth having a special award for knitwear. (And if we don't, we may find ourselves all looking increasingly threadbare as time goes on.)

#413 ::: Kelly Jennings ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:11 PM:

#401 John Arkansawyer: Love it!

#414 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:14 PM:

392
That's coming really close to setting off my burn-it-with-fire reaction.

#415 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:17 PM:

In marketing, I count as a girl
That means I must just like fantasy,right?
And the soft SF, with romance and cooties,
Not the crunchiness of Bradbury, Clarke, Asimov
Or Heinlein (I wrote a paper on Stranger once)
Even though I cheer at climactic space battles
Read faster as the disease sweeps the station
Knowing that the bargain with the author means I
will not be let down.

It's the wonder I read for.
The joy of light, winning against shadow
People- human, alien, AI, elf, are complex,
Not good or evil
Driven by motivations as varied as the stars
Engaged in philosophies as foreign to me
As the surface of Altair V
But somehow, science fiction, fantasy are about joy
That gasp, breath escaping as dragons take wing
The same as watching the first great leap
Of a rocket shaking gravity
The great battle against entropy fought for us
By a hobbit with a ring
Or a robot, bravely crossing the threshold of Sol System
Carrying our voices, hopes, and dreams

#416 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:19 PM:

Kelly Jennings @ 413: From the "It's A Small World After All" Dept.:

Well you can tell everybody
Near the Diner Frisco
And especially the hubby
Johnnie Zip says hello!

#417 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:28 PM:

praisegod barebones @407:

I had hoped that the comment I made about the best theorems appearing obvious indicated that I wasn't denigrating his contribution. It's a shame he didn't survive the Revolution. He had a good head on his shoulders.

I suspect it was his work on the Jury theorem which lead to his work on multi-party elections. He treated an N-way election as N(N-1)/2 2-way elections, and combined the results. I can see that (assuming that there is a "correct" result for each of the 2-way elections, and a consistent "correct" result for the N-way election, and that voters have a p>0.5 chance of voting "correctly") that a larger electorate would naturally produce the "correct" (Condorcet) winner, based on his Jury theorem. It seems to be a natural way to progress, once you have the Jury theorem.

I'm not sure that your suggestion is the best way to model IRV using the Jury theorem, but surely you mean if the electorate, not candidates, are independent?

#418 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:28 PM:

sisuile @415: Beautiful. I especially like "a rocket shaking gravity."

#419 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:31 PM:

John @401 thank you! None of us are Mike, but I really like it.

#420 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:39 PM:

#377 ::: Bruce Baugh

Thanks-- I haven't been tracking Beale closely, so I just went for the smoking gun.

****

Not that this would make practical sense, but if I could impose a new Hugo category, it would be for most delightful thing that isn't sf.

#421 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:41 PM:

sisuile @ 419: You are very welcome--and I like yours, too!

#422 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:44 PM:

Buddha Buck / pgbb: Y'know, the thing about anyone coming into this community and claiming to be an expert in $ESOTERIC_FIELD is that there are going to be real experts in $ESOTERIC_FIELD among the regular commenters. I am being extremely amused by watching you guys geeking out here.

#423 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:49 PM:

Lee @422:

Heh, and I don't even consider myself a real expert in $ESOTERIC_FIELD. I'm just an advanced dabbler.

But thank you, none the less.

#424 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:53 PM:

dh @ 349 says, of Hugo voting (as distinct from nominating)

"and picking one means voting against the others."

It puzzles me how you would be coming here from a deep interest in the various forms of voting and not understand IRV.

IRV *exists* so that you can vote for your favorite, knowing that your #2 vote for your second favorite kicks in if your favorite has no chance.

In other words, it's not oppositional.

Nor am I persuaded to the rightness of the Sad Puppy cause by your accusations that I am acting on hurt feelings.

Sad Puppies are certainly suffering from hurt feelings right now, but their basic modus operandi is to run around dropping mud in everyone's post-toasties and then complain that no one will eat their cooking, no one will even *try* it, and it's not fair. I don't doubt that the Sad Puppies are projecting their resulting hurt feelings on the rest of us, but I don't think anyone else is genuinely confused

People with a deep interest in voting methods understand the difference between nomination and voting, understand the effect of slates on wide fields of potential nominees, and know how IRV works.

I call BS; I think this is an unusually clever sealion who has succeeded in wasting tons of our time. Teresa was right. as was abi @379

Rhea@382

Yes, they are *aiming* to keep everyone else off the ballot and restrict non-Puppy Hugo voters to validating a Puppy choice.

Yes, it is considerably more objectionable than what they did last year, I agree.

sessuile @396

(hmm. flexes fingers)

I know it is spring
By the height of the grass
As the mower we swing
For the seventeenth pass
And the flowers that rise
To the joy of my eyes
Are no friends to my nose
Or my headache, alas.

(sniffles)
-------------
Oh, sisuile! Words take wing,
Leap like laughter from the tongue,
Like dragons dive, delve the depths of sky
Till day turns night and night is sewn with stars
White-hot points of hell, hard held, high hung,
Distance-tamed to gems that twinkle gently
Hidden by the veil of daylit air.
----------------

#425 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 03:55 PM:

I am truly no John M. Ford, but here's what I got.

Stopping By Blogs On A Spring Evening

Whose award this is I think I know
The Hugo website told me so;
Some will not mind me blogging here
While others grumble, whine and blow.

The little puppies must think it queer
We won't say what they want to hear
So many out of context quotes
About the Hugo noms this year.

At first I'm sad and then I'm bored
By the rantings of the puppy corps,
Game the system if they must,
In the end there's always "No Award."

Slate voting's shaky and stinks of greed,
But I have good books left to read,
And they are worthy books indeed,
And they are worthy books indeed.

#426 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:03 PM:

100%. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can possible stick to the line that more votes, more voters = less democracy.

So I assume you are in favor of giving children the vote from the moment of their birth?

#427 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:13 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 417: "He had a good head on his shoulders."

A sharp comment, superbly executed!

#428 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:17 PM:

@359 ::: Xopher Halftongue

FWIW, my best friend during high school called her native language Serbo-Croatian. I do not remember what part of then-Yugoslavia she hailed from.

#429 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:18 PM:

Aaron @ 426: "So I assume you are in favor of giving children the vote from the moment of their birth?" Well, there are points in favor of engaging children in politics at an early age.

#430 ::: Kiya Nicoll (aka Darkhawk) ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:26 PM:

A reader, fit for nominating, I
Cannot in earnest decency assert
Myself to be; that which I seem to buy
Is rarely current, slowly read. I flirt
With reading fiction once again and find
That fitting it is harder than it was,
That research reading envelops my mind
When I have time to read. (Despite its flaws
The internet’s diversions fit my space.)
The book I’m reading is from twenty-ten.*
(When the children leave to me a place
Where I can read it.) So, I find that when
My vote is claimed as good, I therefore go
“It’s nice of you to say so, but, just, no.”

* I Shall Wear Midnight. Came off my fiction-to-read-soon shelf for the obvious reasons after living there for several years.

#431 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:29 PM:

I may have missed someone saying something similar to this, but: I think accepting an analogy between a civic election and the Hugos is conceding too much. Winning a Hugo is intended to be an honor, not an appointment to office, and an honor gained by gaming the system to keep superior candidates out of the running is as self-contradictory as a four-sided triangle.

No artist with any self-respect wants a pity award, a rules-lawyer award, or a let's-team-up-to-rattle-the-cage award. It just makes you this guy.

#432 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 04:45 PM:

*claps*

I'm not up for poetry right now, but perhaps a bit of prose with randomly-scattered linebreaks?

...

Today I mourn, for the vociferous quarrels of fandom, which were often sarcastic,
and which often complained that certain categories should be renamed the
Best Doctor Who Episode Written By Stephen Moffat,
but which, for all that, were almost always quarrels in good faith.
Those quarrels were always accompanied by the urge to shout "Read this!
for it is awesome, and quite startling, and I think you will like it very much."

But now, apparently, we must organize slates, of exactly five entries per category,
and we must demonize the other side, for that will increase the turnout of our voters.

Frankly, this sounds like no fun at all, and I am sad that it has come to this.
And I imagine that it can't be very much fun to find yourself awarded a Hugo,
knowing that it went to the side which had the very best electoral politics.

#433 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:00 PM:

Bill Stewart @100: I think I've got at least three post-supports for Minneapolis in '73. Long since lost the pennies though.

#434 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:02 PM:

424
They're sounding like they want to be professionals of hurt-feelings and sad-puppyhood more than they want to be writers. (In which case, they can start their own awards, because that's not what the Hugos are for.)

#435 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:03 PM:

What exactly is a post-support for Minneapolis in 73? Does it give the right to vote on the Hugos for 73, through a timeslip?

#436 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:05 PM:

What exactly is a post-support for Minneapolis in 73? Does it give the right to vote on the Hugos for 73, through a timeslip?

#437 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:16 PM:

Andrew, Minneapolis in '73 started out as a genuine bid for the 1973 Worldcon. The Worldcon went to Toronto that year, but the group in charge of the Minneapolis bid had such a good time throwing parties promoting the bid at conventions, they kept right on hosting parties promoting their bid for the 1973 Worldcon. A post-supporting membership would simply be a humorous way to contribute to the parties—I don't know if there would be an implied or explicit obligation on their part to give their post-supporters memberships to the 1973 Worldcon, if they ever do win the right to host it.

#438 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:16 PM:

Hugo-voting was hotly discussed.
Hosted by light in the making.

Faith having, quality unknown,
Fervently discussing was dh.

Civilly switching discussion,
Condorcet was brought up.

Poetry writing, people were found.
Paltry in comparing, this is mine.

#439 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:27 PM:

Andrew @436 & Stephen @437

Post-supporting '73 pretty much has been folded into pre-supporting '73. And yes, it's about having a fine time throwing parties to worry about anything so mundane as a real bid. So far. :)

I'm so delighted! Poetry!

#440 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:30 PM:

Wow! I hadn't realized how sucky 1971's awards were.

How do you give "No Award" against "Colossus: The Forbin Project", "Blows Against the Empire", and "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers", all three of which are deserving.

#441 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:34 PM:

Higgledy-piggledy
Sad Puppies' Hugo slate
Sparks a long comment thread
On Making Light.

New posters say that it's
Uncontroversial
Better democracy?
That isn't right.

#442 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:34 PM:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The puppy's not read
He'll pee all over you.

#443 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:34 PM:

Lee @422: also not really an expert, either on voting systems or on Condorcet. But Michael Dummett, who was a big name in fields that I do work on, and who is for various reasons a bit of an intellectual hero of mine, was an expert on them, so I've found out a bit, and (more importantly for current purposes) got some idea of what expertise in this area looks like.

On the other hand Mme Barebones - who isn't called Mme Barebones anywhere but in comment threads on Making Light - is a genuine expert on Mrs. Condorcet (who wasn't really called Mrs. Condorcet, but Sophie de Grouchy, and did all sorts of interesting things, like translating Adam Smith into French and writing for underground newspapers) and is off to the UK next week to give a talk about her and some of the things she wrote.

Buddha Buck@417: No, I didn't mean to take the thing about obviousness as denigration. I just thought it was worth mentioning. That's an Interesting thought about the connection between the jury theorem and Condorcet voting, too. (And you're right, I did mean electors. Not enough sleep in the last week...You might also be right about the best way to model IRV too, but I think it's at least one way.)

Sisuile @415:It's good to see you here again. I liked the poem.

#444 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:34 PM:

sisuile @415: Oh my bob that is amazing and wonderful. (scrolls up to read it again)

And then I bust out laughing at UrsulaV @425! I needed that, today.

#445 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 05:54 PM:

praisegod barebones and Buddha Buck: I'm going to think a lot about that modeling. I had an epiphany on a related subject* last Saturday and this makes me think even harder. Thank you!

*which has nothing** to do with voting
**I think

#446 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:04 PM:

Lee @441: *wild applause*

#447 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:09 PM:

Praisegod @443 I tend to live on Twitter now. I found that once most of my reading went mobile, I'd read the posts in RSS and not the comments, except when I'd see something I wanted to pay more attention to. Like rumors around the Hugo nominations. (Still took me 1400 posts to contribute...)

#448 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:12 PM:

Ingvar @438

Smoothly said, word weaver!

#449 ::: Jonathan Crowe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:18 PM:

One problem with slates that I don't think has come up yet is that they move the real action off-stage.

In polities where the party winning the general election is a foregone conclusion, the primary or nominating convention becomes the important venue.

Now apply this to award slates. If the final ballot is largely drawn from various slates, whether they're sad puppies or nonplussed neotenic newts, the important thing for an aspiring award nominee will shift from getting nominations from Hugo voters to getting onto one of the slates -- because they won't have a chance otherwise. That'll put an awful lot of power -- for certain SFnal values of power -- in the hands of whoever's putting the slate together. Backstage/backroom shenanigans are inevitable.

#450 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:39 PM:

Fox pups are whining
A sign of spring. To make light
Sculpt words, ignore slate.

#451 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 06:50 PM:

dh @ 241: I remember explicitly them promoting voting memberships for $40 or $50 last year in order to get some many great works. I registered and got WoT series plus tons of other great works that far outweigh the cost of the membership. The essential elements are the same: "hey, vote for us, and you'll get you something of value". Rubbish. What they said was "Buy the right to vote and you'll get something of value."; nobody had to vote a particular way to get the package.

dh @ 271: That is why I think it's short sighted to essentially blackball an author because of his or her politics, or his or her associations, and refuse to evaluate his or her nominated works. Why? The people in question got on the ballot through something close to luck (putting it pleasantly), rather than any general appeal; many of them appear to have been aware of this. Why should we waste our time evaluating them?
      In 1989, some people got on the ballot because somebody chose to cheat. It was made clear that there was no suspicion that the nominees were the cheaters -- in fact, the nominees weren't even named (they were just obvious looking at who was out o their depth) -- but the nominees withdrew anyway. Everyone on the slate had this option; did anyone take it? How many said "Well, the process is tainted [a palpable lie], so by tainting back I'm balancing it."?
      wrt your continued insistence that the SPs' action represents democracy: how was the slate chosen? Was it in fact democracy (e.g., whoever was most proposed got on the slate), or did someone pick particular examples out of the heap?

wrt "democracy": <Spanish accent>You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means.</Spanish accent>. Let's try another approach: what do you think would have happened if all the SPs had simply sent in nominations for the works they put into the pool from which the slate was chosen, just as everyone else does? Would that somehow be less democratic? If so, how, since the same number of people would have nominated? Given the reports of the number of works suggested, it would almost certainly have had substantially different results from the ones that leaks have led us to expect.

@ 314: You're repeating yourself and misstating what other people have been saying.

it's a perfectly natural reaction then to change the electorate, which apparently Sad Puppies has done to enough of a degree to upset people. Changing the contents of the electorate is different from making one part of the electorate a club with which to beat down the vast majority, which is what the SPs are doing.

dh @ 342: You are essentially arguing that Sad Puppies nomination voters don't actually like what they say they like. See above. Do you really believe that everything on the slate was loved enough to be nominated by everybody who sent in a slate ballot? That doesn't match with what's been written by them. (See above about the number of works in the pool the slate came from.)

dh @ 365: Do you suppose that in the past the Sad Puppies writers felt warmly enfolded into the community? People who behave like jerks are unwelcome regardless of their politics, ranging from VD to Requires Hate. I suspect that most of the writers on the slate were simply being ignored; "warm enfolding" happens to writers who prove themselves in words and in person. There are a lot of Hugo winners who could not be said to be warmly enfolded -- some of them are prickly, or not much seen, or outright solitary -- but they wrote the best(-liked) work in their year::category, so we applauded when they were announced rather than grudging them their win. (Even when one of the losers was a clear audience favorite; see 1979.)
      A counter-question for you: read the subthread on respect (starting at #218), and ask yourself whether the SPs' problem is really a lack of warmth or just not being treated as authorities?

#452 ::: Jeff R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:09 PM:

It certainly does look like the system is about to be permanently changed, immediately for the worse and not much better in the long term. I mean, it's pretty clear that this is exactly the sort of situation that the 'no award' option was created in the first place but that even those ancient SMOFs failed to anticipate a well-organized minority willing to treat 'no award' victories as almost as good as a win. (It will be interesting to see if the Saddies wind up recommending their own constituents to put No Award before the nominations that slip in...)

Going forward, well, I don't see anything beyond partial solutions. Making the number of nominees per ballot less than the total final slate may help, but at best it'll mean each race is between maybe two 'real' grassroots nominees, if that. Mirroring the strategy (which probably won't involve anyone explicitly making a slate so much as turning the Nebula nominees into the opposition slate) doesn't look all that much better other than in that it can be done starting next year rather than waiting for the rules committee.

#453 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:10 PM:

4511
I remember that audience favorite, and the actual winner got a lot of good feeling for his reaction to it. (Something like 'I think the wrong person might have won', as I recall.) A super man.

#454 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:19 PM:

Xopher et alia: the "respect" formulation isn't mine, it's cited to its originators in the post where I shared it.

I wish I'd thought it up, but I didn't.

#455 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:20 PM:

@ 451 / 365 - Missed that bit of bile in 365, but if anyone tries to pin blame for this on the broader SF community not "warmly enfolding" the SP's, they can go piss up a rope, as my grandfather used to say.

That's a road that ultimately leads to people claiming that if only some girl had taken one for the team, Eliot Rodgers wouldn't have gone on a rampage. (Come to think of it, VD might have argued that, if memory serves.)

You start blaming shitty behavior on anything but people acting shitty and it never ends.

#456 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:46 PM:

praisegod barebones @389
Best knitwear (can also be awarded to a knitting pattern.

There are some kick-ass Cthulu hat patterns out there. Not to mention a fantastically subtle TARDIS shawl pattern I covet.

I made a pattern for fingerless gloves with cables on them. And everyone knows cables are magic. Probably the closest I'll ever come to being eligible for a Hugo, so bring it on.

#457 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 07:51 PM:

UrsulaV@455: There are rather a lot of thinly veiled threats in DH's comments, aren't there? I'd provide a list, but I don't feel much like rereading all his verbiage.

One pattern I am noticing: Torgersen and DH both ignored direct calls on questionable matters. I remember Torgersen twice ignoring my asking, "What about the thugs?" after which I decided he was disingenous. DH was called on tons of stuff and just kept blithering on. This is also a standard radical-right propaganda technique. It depends on a complaisant medium which will continue to transmit the deceptive content even after it has been discredited. ML, thankfully, is not that.

Chalk up another way in which some of these techniques fail in this environment: the people who use them depend on the tacit and sometimes explicit support of the media. They don't have that here, thank you proprietors and moderators.

#458 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:06 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @410:

Knitwear could presumably already be nominated as a related work, or depending on how it was shown to the world, dramatic presentation, though.
Yes, but could anything ever unseat the Fourth Doctor's scarf from Best Knitted Dramatic Presentation - Long Form?

#459 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:14 PM:

Edmund Schweppe@ 458

Here. I give you the shiny new internet someone gave to me the other day. That was superb.

#460 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:29 PM:

Ed, you made me giggle on the T.

#461 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 08:50 PM:

Andrew #42 had a paragraph I think is worth going back over:

What we *have* in the US is a ritualized assertion of identity, where They try to crush Our claim to *matter at all*, and vice versa(*). Thus the ongoing arguments about legitimacy of candidates and elections, the ongoing campaign of the opposition party to derail and destroy any act by those in power, and the general air of "anything goes because we are fighting for survival."

Amen. That's an amazingly destructive dynamic in US society right now. It drives jokes and stereotypes and beliefs about facts that should have very little to do with any political ideology. And they're overwhelmingly about identity, which makes the battles much nastier and more personal. Linking anything worthwhile up to that dynamic is guaranteed to make discussions about SFF narrower and nastier and dumber.

#462 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:32 PM:

PGBB, @me earlier--pray think nothing of it! Great minds, &c.

#463 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:41 PM:

albatross @461
Right now, it looks to me like the Sad Puppies want diverse SF to not exist at all. Not in the Hugos, not on the bookshelves, not *anywhere* because someone might read some by accident and be turned off of SF forever; diverse SF dilutes their "Nutty Nugget" brand.

By contrast, I haven't seen any diverse SF fans arguing that Nutty Nuggets shouldn't exist. If they want Nutty Nuggets, fine, as long as I can have the stuff I like, seems to be the general consensus; it's certainly what I think.

So I don't see this as a case of "vice-versa." I think that's a false equivalence.

Which is not to say it couldn't become vice versa over time. In fact, I think it will be very hard to prevent it becoming vice versa over time.

#464 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:42 PM:

albatross @461
Right now, it looks to me like the Sad Puppies want diverse SF to not exist at all. Not in the Hugos, not on the bookshelves, not *anywhere* because someone might read some by accident and be turned off of SF forever; diverse SF dilutes their "Nutty Nugget" brand.

By contrast, I haven't seen any diverse SF fans arguing that Nutty Nuggets shouldn't exist. If they want Nutty Nuggets, fine, as long as I can have the stuff I like, seems to be the general consensus; it's certainly what I think.

So I don't see this as a case of "vice-versa." I think that's a false equivalence.

Which is not to say it couldn't become vice versa over time. In fact, I think it will be very hard to prevent it becoming vice versa over time.

#465 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 09:46 PM:

Heather Rose Jones #405: I don't know about anyone else, but I've come to the conclusion that dh has been nattering on (I decline to say "arguing") in bad faith since post #1.

I'm inclined to agree, which is one reason I haven't even attempted to engage him. I think his goal here is to soak up as much of our time and energy as possible, in hopes of preventing us from doing anything more effective against the Sad Puppies. Which in turn makes me wonder, exactly what are they up to while we're busy trying to refute a carousel?

#467 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:01 PM:

David Harmon@465: I think it's more a case of trolls gotta troll, stalkers gotta stalk.

Of course, we could undertake preaching to the heathen…

#468 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:10 PM:

One thing they are doing is making excuses in advance. "The wicked flee where no man pursueth."

#469 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:17 PM:

(Come to think of it, VD might have argued that, if memory serves.)

He did, I think. He's certainly argued in a similar fashion more recently.

#470 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:56 PM:

Sad puppies exploited a bug;
Twas welcome as wee on a rug.
If only their yelling
Were based on misspelling
And they really just wanted a Hug.

#471 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:02 PM:

Obliquely of interest (and do read the link about Monica Lewinsky).

#472 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:09 PM:

Cats Laughing expose
Many flaws of sad puppies
Laughter beats hatred

#473 ::: Jeff S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:09 PM:

Since I unlurked earlier for this discussion I'll give a shot at the poetry. I have a title for this but it's a bit too obvious...

Talking in circles while looking down the nose
subtle levels of topical knowledge
but claiming outsider status

The politicians have arrived riding the gerrymander
the knives are already out
vivesection is coming

#474 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:19 PM:

Thomas Ligotti and Current 93 provide a Sad Puppies/Gamergate soundtrack (22 minutes of high weirdness in audio).

#475 ::: Kelly Jennings ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:22 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer -- Re Small World: So at the Seder tonight, not only was Dr. Skull presiding (my husband whom you knew in his former incarnation) but his friend Charger was also in attendance.

They both return your greetings.

#476 ::: Kayla Rudbek ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:30 PM:

I am rather irritated with the SP.

First, when I was young, I read SF/F for not only the sensawunda, but also for the escape to other places/times, and the sheer surprise aspect. If I wanted to read mere technobabble without characterization-- well, I get paid to do that in my day job, and it is WORK, thank you very much.
If I want a dose of MilSF, I will go read Scalzi, Jean Johnson, Eric Flint, Rachel Bach, and Bujold, for starters. (Jean Johnson's Theirs Not To Reason Why got me to buy the whole series in ebook as soon as I finished the second one in the series that I'd checked out from the library. Yes, it hooked me that hard. And IMAO Campbell and Heinlein would have loved it as well -- precognitive who has to save the entire Galaxy by becoming a soldier would have been right in their wheelbase.)

Second, the SP don't even pay attention to what the Big Three of SF would have done & what they wrote about. I'm trying to recall where in Heinlein's work I read him complaining that the modern history textbooks for grade & high schools did not treat the world as round, and about how the US's first war with Korea wasn't taught until he hit the Naval Academy. So even Old Man Heinlein, for all his Kansas upbringing and his weirdness with sex, recognized that we live on a planet with different countries and long histories.

#477 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:34 PM:

In _Citizen of the Galaxy_, when Thorby is in the military, there's are rules requiring what might be called political correctness. As I recall, there's no strong implication that those rules are good or bad, just that they're the sort of thing a functioning military might have.

#478 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:42 PM:

I have a couple of ideas for what to do after the Hugo nominations are announced, one personal (only affects what I'm doing) and the other public (a group of people would have to implement it). The second idea will be in my next comment, so here's the first.

OK, let's say there are five novels nominated for this year's Hugo, and after reading them I decide I like novel A the most (or dislike it the least) and put it at the top of my Hugo ballot, with novel B 2nd, C 3rd, D 4th and E 5th. So far, this is pretty much what most Hugo voters do anyway.

Now suppose that in addition to the nominees, I read other novels that I think might have been Hugo-worthy as well. Suppose further that I prefer one of those novels to my last-place choice, novel E. In that case, I will rank "no award" ahead of E. Similarly, if I prefer 2 novels to both D and E, then I'll put "no award" ahead of both of those, and so on. And if I happen to prefer 5 non-nominated novels to all of the nominees, then "no award" goes straight to the top of my ballot.

That's what I intend to do with all the Hugo categories this year, within the limits of my energy, interest and spare time. As I see it, this scheme gives a fair shake to the nominees whether they're part of a slate (who knows, the Sad Puppies might have stumbled across something I like) or not (lousy fiction has certainly turned up on the Hugo ballot long before anyone heard of the Sad Puppies).

I'll try and get my next idea up before the nomination announcement, addressing what might be done if the Sad Puppy slate dominates the field.

#479 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 11:46 PM:

As a side note: it transpired in a discussion on James Nicoll's LiveJournal that there really is a cereal called Nutty Nuggets. The commenter linked to a blog post by someone who said they were switching from Grape Nuts to Nutty Nuggets after the makers of Grape Nuts put "Non-GMO" on their box, reduced the quantity significantly, and removed some vitamins. That last, of course, was hidden in the fine print.

#480 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:18 AM:

UrsulaV@207 - falling into an estuary is at least an _attempt_ to follow the 6-2-1 rule, so you did as well as a moderate fraction of con attendees.

Also, your comment reminded me that there are a few good authors who've gotten good self-published works into the Hugo nominations; it deflected a rant I'd been about to rant about how some fraction of the Puppy Slate are self-published ebooks on The Big River Website, often without even credits for editors, making me seriously doubt their readability.

Kate@240, my usual Hugo voting strategy is to read the short stories and graphic novels first, work my way up to novellas, and usually not have time to read the novels before voting deadline so I usually don't vote on them. I also usually don't vote on movies, Best Dr. Who episode, etc., since I've usually missed most of them.

On dominance by publishing houses, math is hard; the numbers are different if you only count Hugo winners vs. the larger number of nominees, short stories are usually published by different publishers, the BBC has dominated nominations for short dramatic for a while, editor-long-form is (surprise!) dominated by people in established publishing houses that publish lots of SF.

All this use of "SP" is distracting. Did the Sad Puppies deliberately choose the same acronym as Scientology's Suppressive Persons? BTW, the first language for the ESL visitor in the previous thread is easily recognizable; it was Trollish.

#481 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:56 AM:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

I HAVE DECIDED THAT MY BRILLANT, WITTY POSTS are not sufficiently appreciated by the ignorant rabble here at Making Light. You guys may all have advanced degrees and tons of life experience, and great experience within the science fiction community, but you simply don't know good writing when you see it. I have determined through careful research (right here on the Internet!) that the people who ignore my work are engaged in an Antimemetic conspiracy due to their misplaced worship of Hitler.

To put things more simply, if all you paid more attention to me the world would be a much better place.

As a result of this decision, I have decided to hire a couple of reputation enhancement specialists to highlight my brilliance on those occasions when I feel I am being unduly ignored. Naturally, this will not change the character of Making Light in any way, shape or form, as the reputation enhancement specialists I have hired are intelligent people of good character and I think all of you will really like them!

Together, the reputation enhancement specialists and myself will form the Committee for the Advancement of Making Light, otherwise known as CAML. Those who show sufficient admiration for my very important work here at Making Light will be invited to apply for CAML membership.

#482 ::: Samuel Everett Throckmorton III, Ph.D. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:57 AM:

Fox pups are whining
A sign of spring. To make light
Sculpt words, ignore slate.

My dear friend Alex, I thought I should note the sheer wonder with which I read your brilliant haiku about the Sad Puppies! It is as if Buson himself had returned from the grave to satirize the idiocy of right-wing thought. It goes without saying that you followed the ancient tradition of mentioning a season by name and making a reference to nature, and it is in meeting this second obligation of the haiku form that you showed your true ability, simultaneously likening the Sad Puppies to fox pups, a clear reference to Fox News, and also making your required natural reference at the same time. I could not have asked for a more glorious epiphany!

As everyone knows, Fox News is secretly controlled by the Freemasons and you make your enlightened anti-Masonic principles clear in exhorting us to "sculpt words and ignore slate!" (In other words, we should not cut stone.) This leads us to the most important revelation of the poem, which is that the Sad Puppies are clearly a Masonic plot. It is a matter of historical fact that the Rosicrucians, a well-known Masonic front, advertised in Science Fiction magazines throughout the seventies and they have clearly caught several once-blameless young men in their horrific net. By this point Brad Torgenson, Larry Correia, and certainly Vox Day (a clear reference to the fate of the Knights Templar) are nothing but hollowed-out, soulless shells which do nothing but follow the orders of their Illuminati paymasters!

I don't think I need to follow this train of thought further. The Masonic plot at work in the Sad Puppies efforts is clearly laid out in the magnificent seventeen syllables of your poem, and despite the fact that it was not appreciated here (the Knights of Pythias may be working against you!) I have taken the liberty of translating your poem, doubtless dictated by the muse herself, into Japanese and posting it, with an explanatory text, to basho-tears.net!

Once again, congratulations on a most enlightening piece of poetry!

#483 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:58 AM:

Sorry, that should have read "Antisemetic Conspiracy."

#484 ::: Thunder_Bear_Alpha! ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:59 AM:

Alex, that pome you wrote is realy amazing! When you said the Sad Puppies were Fox (News) Pups I thot that was really funny. I guess nobody else got the joke because they are stupid. The people here who don't like you are Gay Fagets!

#485 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:00 AM:

As you can see, neither of the reputation enhancement specialists I've hired detract at all from Making Light. I think they will be wonderful additions to our community.

#486 ::: Thunder_Bear_Alpha! ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:01 AM:

That's rite bitches! We're gonna turn Making Light into a much better place!

Its all about the journalism.

#487 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:04 AM:

Its all about the journalism.

Sigh. Even retarded wombats don't believe that crap. (Sorry Ursula)

Thunder_Bear_Alpha! has been relieved from his duties. My apologies to all concerned. I would appreciate it if the moderators would remove any death-threats he might post now that his employment has been terminated.

On a happier note, Samuel Everett Throckmorton III, Ph.D., is happily awaiting your replies to his post. I have spoken to his daughter and she has promised to make sure he takes his medication before posting again.

Your's for the Advancement of Making Light.

#488 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:04 AM:

Oh. Does that mean we must now toe the CAML line?

#489 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:06 AM:

It means you've already let the CAML into your tent!

#490 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:33 AM:

Like the Apollo 11 landing, like a Yoko Ono exhibition, like the Nixon resignation speech, like the mid-show cancellation of Turn-On, some things must be experienced as they happen.

How do you nominate for Best Dramatic Performance again?

#491 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:16 AM:

sisuile #396: "This conversation is seriously making me miss Mike, and his ability to distill the arguments into essential koans."

Mike we all miss.

Tangential: What in the heck happened to Jim? I've been wondering this for months, even unto the point of doing Google searches that assured me he is alive and well and doing other stuff other places. Why hast he forsaken us?

#492 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:23 AM:

Why hast he forsaken us?

I was just wondering the same thing.

#493 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:25 AM:

Just awake here in western Europe, with a few lines of dialog being whispered to me by my Muse. (Bear with me.)

Doug: So, you use drugs, am I right?

Claire: I take medicine, prescribed to me by properly qualified medical practitioners. Perhaps you've heard of them – doctors?

Doug: Yes, yes, I don't care about medicine. You take drugs. In truth, that makes you a drug-user. Telling the truth is good. Telling more truth is better: why won't you tell me the truth?

Crazy(and refraining from commenting by numbers until the order has been settled by the gnomes)Soph

#494 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:46 AM:

I've been wondering about Jim Macd. for a while now. He just sort of vanished without a trace about a year and a half ago. I've toyed with the idea of emailing one or more of our esteemed moderators about it, but refrained in case there was some unpleasantness involved that would be better not stirred up.

#495 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:57 AM:

Ah, lovely! I've hit the poetry section of the comment thread now!

Voting mirrors just / mirrors reflections of taste / of just one season.

Crazy(and wondering if "season" is good enough for the kigo or seasonal reference of an "official" haiku)Soph

PS I need to review my HTML for proper line breaks - good thing I looked at the preview properly before hitting post, or that would have just ended up one line with no breaks.

#496 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:25 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 94: "But it feels to me like the acid test of one's character and judgment is what you do when you tried what you thought was a good idea, and see what actually happened, how it differed from what you imagined, and how you proceed from there."

I feel as though a great deal of moral practice boils down to what we do at the moment when it first begins to dawn that we might have been terribly wrong. The world solidly underfoot begins to melt away and we lose all sense of bearing--we are unmoored. It is not even being wrong that does it: it is the Schrodinger overlay of rightness and wrongness, the terrifying inability to tell. There are two choices: you can turn away, leaping backwards to your prior certainty. Or you can step into the abyss and attempt, with whatever equanimity you can muster, to sort right from wrong anew, with the knowledge you may not come through intact. It is the choice between having been right and becoming right.

It is a moment that happens so quickly I am convinced that intellect enters into it very little. It is primarily a matter of practice.

Alex R. @ 105: "The Sad Puppies have brought the cultural and political wars into the Hugo process, and we are all much poorer for the fact."

I am not sure they were ever absent. I rather suspect they have always been there.

abi @ 372: =)

#497 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:29 AM:

Late clears the mind-fog;
Troll-alarm reveal'd to be
Friendly sock-puppets...

revealing how fooled the ego
in a world of fear.

Crazy(and winking at Alex R.)Soph

#498 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:48 AM:

Cat @ #448:

Thanks. It is a general form that pleases me, probably from having had to read Icelandic sagas multiple times.

Cat @ #464:

Thus my suggestion to Torgersen in the previous thread to not have a slate, but a reading list. Ideally one not having exactly 5 in any category.

Alex R @ multiple:

Oh, CAML, you non-functional committee designed-by-language.

#499 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:07 AM:

Scrolling quickly before caffeine, I conflated 488/489 into "you must CAML toe the line."

I'm going to go drink some coffee now.

#500 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 07:00 AM:

*Quickly reaches for the brain bleach*.

#501 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 07:34 AM:

"Knits of the Round Table"
- best dramatic presentation - long form

#502 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 07:43 AM:

I conflated 488/489 into "you must CAML toe the line."

There was a pun I rather desperately avoided. It was just a tad over the line...

#503 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 07:46 AM:

Just dropping in to applaud Darkhawk's #430.

That's a right proper sonnet, handled with extraordinary grace.

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:01 AM:

"Winter Is Coming"

- best use of wool in a novel

#505 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 09:56 AM:

And yet I read Darkhawk @430 and got earwormed with the fact that "A reader fit for nominating, I" scans to "A wand'ring minstrel, I".

Well, close enough for filker earworms, anyway.

A nominator, I, I read in bingey patches.
In furtive chapter snatches,
While waiting for the train!
My to-read shelf is long, through all sub-genres ranging.


... and my muse has wandered off in search of something shinier. Perhaps I shall come back to it. :->

#506 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:14 AM:

I'm not quite hit by the muse enough to do anything other than realize "Sad Puppies Aren't Much Fun" could make for an at least as silly as the original song filk. (No violence or threats meant or desired, but the song "Dead Puppies (Aren't Much Fun)" onlh needed the first word changed...)

#507 ::: Kiya Nicoll (aka Darkhawk) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:59 AM:

Thank you, oldster (@503). I'm prone to committing sonnet when challenged to produce poetry, for better or for worse. (Enough structure to properly contain a thought without leakage, but not so much I can't figure out how to say something.)

#508 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:21 AM:

Serge Broom @504
"Winter Is Coming"
- best use of wool in a novel

Wool wasn't the best use of wool in a novel?

#509 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:26 AM:

OK, here's the other idea for what might be done in the event of a worst-case scenario for this year's Hugos, i.e. the Sad Puppy slate crowds everything (or almost everything) else off the ballot, all the voters except the SP's are disgusted by the choices available, and "no award" becomes a serious contender in all or most categories.

If such a thing occurs later today, I would await with more than usual interest the post-ceremony release of the nomination totals, which include not only the nominees but the next 10 or more candidates in each category that appeared on the most nomination ballots. The Hugo "also-rans" would better represent the fruit of the personal, mystical process Abi describes in her initial post, to my mind, than the SP-dominated nominees would have been.

Pondering these matters yesterday, it occurred to me to wonder - why should the magic stop there? What if some group of public-spirited fans were to institute an award with the nominees being the Hugo also-rans? For now, call it the "alter-Hugo", at least until someone comes up with a snazzier name fit for printing on paperback blurbs. ("Winner of the ____ award", like that.)

(I would "nominate" all 10+ also-rans in each category, because I'm a "more the merrier" kind of guy, but accept that it might have to be just the top 5 for simplicity's sake. I would, however, dismiss the 5% cutoff due to the inflated total of nominators this year.)

While I would use the same IRV process that the Hugos use to determine the winners, I have no other idea how this alter-Hugo award might work--how to organize it, invite fans to vote, guard against gaming the vote totals, manufacture trophies/certificates/whatever, find a venue for announcing the winners, etc. I'm only tossing the idea out to see what the serious fans in the Fluorosphere think of it, and trust that it may come to the attention of people who do have experience in getting these things done.

The alter-Hugos would not be a substitute for the real Hugos, merely a reaction to the perversion of what many of us believe the Hugos are about. At the very least, however, I think they could restore some of the joy to the awards process, bringing us back into the playground, so to speak. (Thanks for the metaphor, alsafi @ #363!) And they would certainly be truer to Abi's "mystical" process, a creature of emergent properties that determines its own shape rather than being forced into a shape determined by others.

#510 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:28 AM:

OK, here's the other idea for what might be done in the event of a worst-case scenario for this year's Hugos, i.e. the Sad Puppy slate crowds everything (or almost everything) else off the ballot, all the voters except the SP's are disgusted by the choices available, and "no award" becomes a serious contender in all or most categories.

If such a thing occurs later today, I would await with more than usual interest the post-ceremony release of the nomination totals, which include not only the nominees but the next 10 or more candidates in each category that appeared on the most nomination ballots. The Hugo "also-rans" would better represent the fruit of the personal, mystical process Abi describes in her initial post, to my mind, than the SP-dominated nominees would have been.

Pondering these matters yesterday, it occurred to me to wonder - why should the magic stop there? What if some group of public-spirited fans were to institute an award with the nominees being the Hugo also-rans? For now, call it the "alter-Hugo", at least until someone comes up with a snazzier name fit for printing on paperback blurbs. ("Winner of the ____ award", like that.)

(I would "nominate" all 10+ also-rans in each category, because I'm a "more the merrier" kind of guy, but accept that it might have to be just the top 5 for simplicity's sake. I would, however, dismiss the 5% cutoff due to the inflated total of nominators this year.)

While I would use the same IRV process that the Hugos use to determine the winners, I have no other idea how this alter-Hugo award might work--how to organize it, invite fans to vote, guard against gaming the vote totals, manufacture trophies/certificates/whatever, find a venue for announcing the winners, etc. I'm only tossing the idea out to see what the serious fans in the Fluorosphere think of it, and trust that it may come to the attention of people who do have experience in getting these things done.

The alter-Hugos would not be a substitute for the real Hugos, merely a reaction to the perversion of what many of us believe the Hugos are about. At the very least, however, I think they could restore some of the joy to the awards process, bringing us back into the playground, so to speak. (Thanks for the metaphor, alsafi @ #363!) And they would certainly be truer to Abi's "mystical" process, a creature of emergent properties that determines its own shape rather than being forced into a shape determined by others.

#511 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:30 AM:

Oops, didn't mean to post twice - first time I didn't know it posted, there was a server error message. Please delete the extra post.

#512 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:39 AM:

Looking at it from the other side, any thoughts about how likely the Sad Puppies are to get enough votes to have a significant effect on the Hugos?

#513 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:40 AM:

ULTRAGOTHA @ 508... Well, it added to a good yarn anyway.

#514 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:41 AM:

Rob T, 511: that's a known bug around here. I usually load a new tab to see if it really didn't post. More often than not, it does.

#515 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:48 AM:

514
I've hit the browser's 'back' button, then hit post again. That seems to send it through only once.
YMMV.

#516 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:11 PM:

Nancy @512

...Hard to say. By nominating works with many fans who are not members of the Sad Puppies they are trying to push works onto the ballot whose fans didn't nominate in large numbers but might show up to tip vote their way. Jim Butcher's Skin Game, for example.

Are the Sad Puppies more than 50% of the Hugo Voters? I doubt it very much.

#517 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:16 PM:

Rob T. @509 wrote, "What if some group of public-spirited fans were to institute an award with the nominees being the Hugo also-rans? For now, call it the "alter-Hugo", at least until someone comes up with a snazzier name fit for printing on paperback blurbs. ("Winner of the ____ award", like that.)"

I thought of that too, and started working on an acronym. Not [of] the Hugo Awards, so this is
a Notha
Award. Needs work.

P.S. Did you know that the Worldcon will loan its mailing list to like-minded non-profits?

#518 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 12:23 PM:

Nancy, #512: That will be better able to be determined after the release of the nomination totals. But if the SPs have managed to pack, or nearly pack, several of the categories with their slate nominees, then they've already had a significant effect on the Hugos.

#519 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:06 PM:

Rob T @509:

Please don't try creating an award that has the name "Hugo" in the title. With "Hugo Award" being a registered service mark of WSFS, the Mark Protection Committee would object strongly to anything that eroded the award's registration.

Things like a NOTA or TAR ("They Also Ran") would be fine as long as they don't include "Hugo Award" in their name or trade off any of the WSFS marks like the logo or the rocket. (They can explain that their short list was derived from The Hugo Awards.) How about "The TAR Babies"?

(I'm sorry to be a pest. Being Chair of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee makes me an equal-opportunity annoyance about things like this.)

Pfusand @517:

"Worldcon" isn't a single entity, and therefore "Worldcon" cannot "loan its mailing list" to anyone. Worldcon is a series of individual one-shot conventions. To the extent that they are allowed to do so by local law (and this is more of a consideration than you might thing), they are required to share member data with their predecessor and successor for the purpose of administering the Hugo Awards. Otherwise, any data-sharing a Worldcon might do is up to the individual Worldcon committee.

#520 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:13 PM:

T - 2 hours, more-or-less.

The other thing an alt-Hugo list would do would be to create a standard for comparison, for people who wanted to know what was good this year that the lachrymose canids didn't like.

#521 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:27 PM:

Kevin Standlee @ #519:

Maybe the "Victor Award"? Wrong Hugo, admittedly, but may be more pleasing to the winner...

#522 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:48 PM:

I'd like to request a Hugo thread that has nothing to do with the Sad Puppies, but which is solely for discussing the merits of the worthy nominees. Ideally, the Hugos are a vehicle for celebrating what we love about the field, and I don't want the Sad Puppies to take that completely away from us: even if they've managed to shit the punch bowl, there will still be plenty of unshat punch.

#523 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:04 PM:

It's a bit silly speculating about just what will happen in the nominations so close to the announcement, but I'm going to do it anyway.

According to what Patrick said earlier, they have not completely taken over Best Novel, but have three out of five nominations there. Checking the slate, I see that they have not in fact proposed a full slate in most categories - it's most often four, but three in several. So they cannot take over those categories completely (though being the only non-Sad-Puppy in a category is an unenviable position). Best Graphic Story, strikingly, has only one.

The categories in which they have five, apart from Novel, are Short Story, Related Work, and Fan Writer. The one I am most worried about is Short Story, where votes are often very divided; though the fact that Wisdom from my Internet, arguably the least plausible work on their list, seems to have been nominated for BRW is also worrying.

Steven desJardins: But how do we decide what is a worthy nominee? I don't think being on the SP list automatically makes something unworthy - some of their picks (e.g. Interstellar) might have been nominated anyway.

#524 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:19 PM:

Re:

>#523 ::: Andrew M: Steven desJardins: But how do we decide what is a worthy nominee? I don't think being on the SP list automatically makes something unworthy - some of their picks (e.g. Interstellar) might have been nominated anyway.

I think people should think back on what they have read and recommend things that were really good as worthy nominees. If none of the things last year that were really good wind up on the ballot, then vote "NO AWARD" and discuss how the nomination process needs to be amended to produce nominations that would beat "NO AWARD".

#525 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:27 PM:

@453: Oh yes. I've read a lot about grace under pressure; this is the time I remember seeing it in person. Very impressive.

Pfusand @ 517: Did you know that the Worldcon will loan its mailing list to like-minded non-profits? (extending Kevin's comment) The committees I served on would provide labels, but not a file that could be used repeatedly. Later committees may have given up as direct-on-mailing printing became the standard -- but I would hope not; there's enough junk mail around as it is

Jim Macdonald certainly hasn't vanished from the world; he was very interesting at Arisia this year. (The Boskone pocket program reminds me he also did several panels there, but I work Boskone and so don't remember much of it -- besides the snow....)

#526 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:29 PM:

Ingvar @ 521


Can the Victor award include spoilers from all the nominated works? Pleeeeeeease?

#527 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:35 PM:

Andrew, we would define "worthy" the same way we always have: as a subjective personal judgment. If you think the Sad Puppies put a worthy nominee on the ballot, and want to say "Gee, I really liked X, I thought it does Y and Z really well" without dragging politics into it, that's fine. If Sad Puppy supporters actually want to engage us on that level, I think that would be fantastic, and miles better than what we've seen from them so far.

(Someone who wants to come in and say "Ha ha, I bet X getting on the ballot really pissed you off" would, I hope, have their vowels speedily removed.)

#528 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:40 PM:

What with all the woolly comments, I proposed the Weaving Award, after that *other* Hugo.

#529 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 02:46 PM:

#527 ::: Steven desJardins
... (Someone who wants to come in and say "Ha ha, I bet X getting on the ballot really pissed you off" would, I hope, have their vowels speedily removed.)

Looking at how their trolling has fallen off once satiric poetry started being posted, that may be a more effective way of shutting them off.

"We're not going to notice you other than to make fun of you."

#530 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:06 PM:

529
A couple of the other sites I frequent tend to go for recipes - real ones, not 'troll soup'. It frequents does the trick, especially when their remarks are otherwise ignored.

#531 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:07 PM:

Serge @ 528 - I'd watch THAT Hugo read the phone book. Can we get a statuette? (Or at least a pin-up calendar?)

#532 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:07 PM:

Kevin Standlee@519: How about "The TAR Babies"?

Um, no. Not a good idea, for multiple reasons. Sorry, Kevin. I am sure you meant well, but no.

#533 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:11 PM:

"Hiawatha" is stuck in my head, so as aversive magic:

Torgersen has gamed the system
Thinks that people now will love him
Thinks that they will buy his writing
What a sad and silly person!

#534 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:28 PM:

Kevin Standlee @ #519: Thanks for the caution. Assuming someone puts together a "doesn't-contain-the-H-word-in-the-name" award along the lines I've proposed, I have a couple of questions:

1) Would it be OK to derive the nominees from the Hugo nomination results (as announced after this year's ceremony)?

2) Would it be OK to present the awards at next year's Worldcon, as long as it was part of a separate ceremony from the Hugos proper (as with the Chesley and Prometheus awards)?

#535 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:29 PM:

In the interests of taking my mind off the currently ongoing announcements, here's a tangential thought.

@398 Buddha Buck

I'll note two things: (1) it seems obvious, but then every good theorem does after it's been stated and proved

I was once a PhD student in mathematics, which among other things, involved studying a large number of theorems whose proofs were basically index-chasing, to prove that a basis substitution was valid. The first few of these proofs one encounters are hard. Once you've struggled through a dozen of these, they become pretty commonplace. The brilliance is in knowing what basis swap to make, not in the tedium of chasing the indices across the swap.

Sometime later, I was interviewing for a job. The interviewer (a CS professor at the local state university) asked me what I knew of theoretical CS. (Actual answer: not much, sir, I am a mathematician.) I told him I had briefly studied Cook's theorem, and he asked me to tell him about it, so I did. Satisfied that I understood it, he then asked me to say what I thought of it. I said, "The insight is brilliant; like many theorems exhibiting great insights, the proof itself is tedious and not very interesting."

I was escorted from the building on the spot and accused of not understanding the proof in question. I later learned that I would have been offered the job had I not so deeply offended the one interviewer.

It took a CS PhD who also had an MS in math to explain the problem to me. For most CS PhDs, the proof of Cook theorem is the only index-chasing proof they ever see after the proofs of Turing Machne equivalences in undergraduate theory courses. It is difficult for them to understand the proof because their mental arsenal does not include the category of "index chasing proofs". It is, to them quite hard to grasp (as, I hasten to add, most things in their intellectual wheelhouse would be to me!)

It was not possible that my background could explain my finding the proof routine, so either I was mockng him by asserting that CS theorems are trivial or I was lying about understanding it. In either case, I was an undesirable employee.

In the current discussion, one way people are talking past one another is that they (we) come at the topic with different intellectual tools. Assuming bad faith on the part of someone who says something that makes no sense to me -- ever since that interview, I have made a conscious effort to avoid doing so.

In this case, the degree of unwillingness to even try to understand where people who disagree might be coming from leads me to believe that I can safely attribute bad faith, ignore him, and move on.

#536 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:30 PM:

How viable do people think "No Award" might be as a strategy?

I think it could send a pretty strong message.

The whole situation is a real shame.

#537 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:36 PM:

535
Excuse my ignorance, but what's an 'index-chasing proof'?

If it's too long to answer here, or too something else, I can be emailed at (Rot13) cw.rinaf88@tznvy.pbz

#538 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:38 PM:

I think "No Award" is probably the only viable choice for many of the categories. It's an "Everybody loses" strategy, though. Nobody is going to be happy this year.

#540 ::: D. Eppstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:47 PM:

SorchaRei #535: For what it's worth, TCS is my profession and your summary of the proof of Cook's theorem sounds accurate and not particularly offensive to me. So please don't generalize from your bad experience to all computer scientists. In any case, it sounds like you escaped an uncomfortable workplace.

#541 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 03:54 PM:

Initial impressions:

Novels - somewhat stuffed. I can think of several things that really should have been there.

Novellas - completely stuffed.

Novelette - moderately stuffed. Some authors here I simply don't yet know enough about to say.

Short Story - moderately stuffed. I don't know the top half of the list.

Dramatic Presentation, short and long - I'm not up on the history of nominations here. Neither looks terribly unexpected, but that's my ignorance at work.

Related Work - completely stuffed, top to bottom.

Graphic Story - looks about completely unstuffed.

Editor, Short and Long - stuffed, but still a bunch of worthy folks there.

Other categories - I'm not competent to say.

#542 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:00 PM:

May I say that I think "Skin Game" is a fine novel? I'm going to vote for "Goblin Emperor", but will certainly put "Skin Game" above NO AWARD. People should read it, and will probably enjoy doing so.

And may I urge people to see my first cousin Phil Lord's "The LEGO Movie" if they have not? Admittedly, it is fantasy only by an elastic definition. But they were robbed of their Oscar, and it would be a fine Hugo choice...

#543 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:05 PM:

Brad: Skin Game is a book whose presence on the list I don't begrudge. Butcher's built up his audience through a lot of hard work, and while the stuff of his I've looked at hasn't grabbed me, that's what taste is all about. It's the absence of things like The Three-Body Problem, Annihilation, Lagoon, The Mirror Empire, and such that led me to my verdict.

#544 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:08 PM:

543
The three stories from Analog are, while not great, at least adequate. 'Flow' is not much more than that, IMO, but then I haven't been thrilled by a lot of the stuff that's been showing up there in the last several years.

#545 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:10 PM:

Bruce Baugh #539
Oh boy.

#541
Oh boy, oh boy.

Brad Delong #542
I found the LEGO movie to be an unexpected delight. I enjoyed some of the other nominations, but to me the LEGO movie had the virtue of consistent plot, stunning special effects, and refreshing unpretentiousness.

#546 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:26 PM:

Sigh. No Award will figure prominently this year.
Next year, more people need to nominate.

#547 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:30 PM:

On the bright side, Graphic Story looks quite solid this year (and, unusually, I've read a decent chunk of the nominated works). That's good, not only for the usual reasons but for what I still think of as a new and delicate category of Hugo.

But yes, I'll be voting No Award prominently in many categories.

#548 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:41 PM:

Someone really really really wants Jim C. wright to get a Hugo, don't they?

Regarding Skin Game, I am torn. I read it. I didn't care for it, but I often don't care for Butcher's work. I would not myself nominate it for a Hugo, but I accept that other people of goodwill and different tastes would feel differently. I can even understand, in an intellectual sort of way, what they liked about it. In an ordinary year, I would vote for it above No Award.

If Torgerson is not lying when he says that all SP nominees were contacted and specifically offered the chance to withdraw, then Butcher's presence on the slate means that he condones it to the extent of being willing to take advantage of the SP adventure. For that reason, and again, IF Torgerson is NOT LYING, the mere acquiescence to being on the slate will cause me to move it below No Award on my ballot.

My problem is that I do not know, in Butcher's case specifically, if he was offered a chance to decline being part of the slate.

((For those who wonder why I read Butcher when he doesn't usually appeal to me, I have a deal with my favorite 16-year-old. We take turns proposing a book which we then both read and discuss. When she's angry, she proposes things she figures I won't like. When I am angry, I look harder for something she will like in spite of herself. When neither of us is angry, we read a lot of books we both end up liking.))

#549 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 04:47 PM:

SorchaRei @ #548:

I liked Skin Game, it just didn't manage to get into my "top #5" of eligible books that I read last year.

As for Butcher knowing what he agreed to, or not, I have vague hopes that Charlie asked him that question earlier today.

#550 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:12 PM:

I notice that the SP3 slate had only 4 nominations each for the two editor slots... and look who wound up in the 5th slot on both. If that's not evidence of carefully-kept-offline collusion, I'll eat my hat.

Yes, somebody badly wants Wright to get a Hugo. For me, he's got the Orson Scott Card problem, that no matter how good a writer he is, voting for anything by him would make me feel beslimed. (And for the exact same reason.)

At least all but one of the Related Works candidates really are related works.

The SPs have narrowly escaped my Death of a Thousand Flaming Suns curse by not managing to push The Goblin Emperor off the ballot, but I'm going to have to do some heavy thinking about where to put No Award on several other categories.

#551 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:19 PM:

Lee @ #550

The fifth editor was on the Rabid Puppies slate. No carefully kept off-line collusion needed to explain that result.

#552 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:25 PM:

SorchaRei @548: I can tell you for certain that the SPs didn't contact all their nominees; one of their picks is my boyfriend, Matthew Surridge, and they never asked his permission to involve him, nor did they notify him that they had done so. Whether they contacted others, I don't know.

#553 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Grace Seybold @552:

Thank you.

Please tell Matthew that I read very carefully his entire post on this topic and admire it greatly. He has a new blog reader.

#554 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:41 PM:

Bruce Baugh #541: Initial reaction: John C. Wright can... get stuffed.

(OK, I'm not in the voting pool, but I couldn't resist.)

#555 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:49 PM:

"No Award" is looking like the only ethical choice in some of those categories.

Any word on whether any of the Gator-Pups-selected authors have chosen to distance themselves from this? Recuse themselves from the ballot maybe? (Although that's a lot to ask of innocent authors, even if their work is only good and not transcendently good.)

I am somewhat inclined to go with opinions expressed in the comments here and last post that anyone voluntarily aligning with those who make death threats and rape threats and who SWAT innocent victims is not worth my reading time or buying dollars.

#556 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:52 PM:

SorchaRei @553: Thanks, I'll tell him! He's responding to comments over at Black Gate, but not elsewhere, to avoid being overwhelmed by getting into too many conversations at once.

I posted the link in the other thread to Matthew's post on why he declined the Best Fan Writer nomination; I'm putting it here as well, for those that are interested. (I hope it's okay to put the same link in two different threads.)

#557 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:55 PM:

Grace Seybold @556:

Thanks for posting that—I was going to go look for it after the discussion above, but I wasn't sure where to go.

Which is to say, yes, totally OK. And I think I'll keep an eye on his work going forward as well.

#558 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 05:56 PM:

Grace Seybold #552

I read Matthew Surridge's post at "Black Gate."

Kudos to him. That was a classy decision. I shall look at his work more closely.

#559 ::: Trismegistus Shandy ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:22 PM:

On The Left Hand of Darkness -- sorry if this seems necromantic, seeing that the book that started the thread hasn't been mentioned since around comment #123 --

I read it, I think, twice in my early twenties, along with several of Le Guin's other books. More recently I read it again for the first time in many years, in connection with a fanfic novel I was working on, and it held up quite well. (I had the main character, a trans girl, go on a date where she and her date see a film version of The Left Hand of Darkness; I wanted the plot of the movie to be recognizable but Hollywood-distorted. I wrote the first draft of those scenes based on vague memories of the book from long ago, filtered through ideas about what a Hollywood producer would do with it, and then revised a bit on the second draft after re-reading _TLHoD_. Also, I added dialogue with another character complaining how the movie departed from the book.)

Overall I think it ranks pretty high among Le Guin's works, though I personally prefer The Lathe of Heaven despite _TLHoD_ pushing more of my buttons re: gender issues.

On the Hugo nominations:

...I just don't know what to say. I've just seen the nomination ballot and I'm almost at a loss for words.

Well, not quite. The Best Graphic Story category looks interesting; it includes one thing I read and nominated (Saga) and several things I've heard good things about.

#560 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:27 PM:

One positive thing I will say about this nightmare: I'm seeing some new names in these threads, saying interesting things. Welcome, Trismegistus Shandy, Peace Is My Middle Name, and Grace Seybold! Please do hang around. (And SorchaRei, and Brad DeLong, nice to see you commenting more this past wee while!)

#561 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:37 PM:

What Abi Said, in her #560. It is cool to see more folks joining in with good stuff to say. :)

#562 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:41 PM:

Also good to see you around, Bruce. But you know that I esteem you highly.

#563 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:43 PM:

I think, had I seen this quote earlier, I would have come to a conclusion rather quickly:

SAD PUPPIES simply holds its collective hand out — standing athwart “fandom” history — and yells, “Stop!”

If the Sad Puppies want SF to be the literature of the past, that's certainly one way to do it.

So having spent the last several days imputing good intent whenever possible--which may have been a trial to those of you with more background information--I can now say unequivocally:

And the horse you rode in on.

#564 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 06:49 PM:

Well, the person I want to see here is Henry Farrell, writing something extremely sharp and wise about how the coming of the internet:

1. greatly reduces the trouble of joining and so greatly increases the potential joy to be gained from intentional communities of interest.

2. greatly increases the ability of those who want to disrupt and fuck with such communities just to express their dominance *somewhere* to do so.

3. has led to the development of a limited number of various more-or-less effective strategies and social-political institutions to vaccinate intentional communities of interest against such disruptions.

Brad DeLong

#565 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 07:28 PM:

Rob T @509 and Kevin @519:

I was thinking something similar. I would rather like to call them the Glom of Nit Awards, in honour of Pratchett, if the reference isn't too obscure.

(On the Ankh-Morpork Post Office is the sign "NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR GLO M OF NI T CAN STAY THESE MES ENGERS ABO T THEIR DUTY". Midway through Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig finds the missing letters on the front of a shop called HUGOS. He points them out to another character: "This is the reason for the Glom of Nit!" Or something like that. I can't find my copy right now.)

Perhaps the simplest thing would be to award a Glom of Nit to everything that would have been on a Hugo shortlist if the works that were on slates had not been counted. This makes five Gloms of Nit per category unless something like the 5% rule kicks in. That's a lot of Gloms, but they could be awarded without any more votes being cast.

The software engineer part of me wants to design a rigorous definition of "not on a slate". But slates need to be public if they are to be effective, so in practice it ought to be obvious.

#566 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:05 PM:

Frankly, the conversation here regarding Gamergate looks a little too Orwellian for me to be comfortable with. We have totally baseless and unsubstantiated allegations being peddled as *fact*, with not even an attempt to mask the disingenuousness of the allegations. And, bizarrely, people seem willing to accept the allegations as if they were proven, and just proceed on with the conversation.

Sorry to interrupt, it was just pretty surreal, and I felt the need to comment.

#567 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:09 PM:

Chris: Or, on the contrary, we had reports from trustworthy sources, in line with previous actions by the suspects, in line with the suspects' loudly ranted rhetoric, confirmed now by screenshots and their own real-time boasting.

Bayesian priors, basically. We knew that Gamergaters and the SP crowd both love the feel of a good conspiracy to stick it to the unworthy, we knew the SPs' past history of attempted award manipulation, we knew the GGers' history of (often duplicitous) crusading in fields they know nothing about, we knew that SPers have in the past reached out to GGers as a handy audience. There was a solid context, which we now find verified.

#568 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:13 PM:

abi @560: Hi, and thanks! I shall try to delurk more often in future. This series of threads has certainly been highly interesting, and has put into words a great many things that I was thinking -- or would like to think I would have been thinking, had I been less angry and more able to think coherently about the whole mess.

#569 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:13 PM:

And also we (and the various juvenile canines) know what Gaters are capable of doing, none of which is to the benefit of any other community in which they become involved.

#570 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:29 PM:

I think trying to give an alternate award, or an award to the runners up or whatever is futile -- it wouldn't mean anything, and it would underscore the triumph of the puppies.

It might be better to focus on the alternative awards we already have, which already mean something, like the Locus Awards, which are open for voting for another week I think.

#571 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:51 PM:

Eurgh. Vicious homophobe John C. Wright has three of the five novella nominations.

Went to have a look at the Sasquan site but it seems to be offline atm.

#572 ::: Peace Is My Middle Name ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 08:58 PM:

Oh, and thank you, #560 abi.

I was a little uncertain about jumping in and posting, but one thing I am learning as I get older is it is better to speak than stay silent when one sees, well, Reavers trying to destroy the joys of those who don't worship them.

I guess that's a little melodramatic, but I would rather lend my support and voice than stay silent in the face of paranoid bullies piddling into other kids' wading pools.

#573 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:11 PM:

Tatterbots @ #565: The Pratchett reference made me smile, but it may be a little esoteric. I was going to suggest the name "Hydra award", both after the mythical multi-headed creature (cut one head off and two take its place) and after the Hydra Club, an organization of writers and editors who collectively did more than their share to elevate the literary game of sf in the mid-20th century and beyond. However, it appears that Orson Scott Card beat me to the punch in giving an award this name. Back to the drawing board....

Jo Walton @ #570: Personally, I'm not as interested in "winning" against the SP's/RP's/GG's so much as mitigating the damage they've done to this particular Hugo contest. I'd like to reclaim the joy they've stolen from the process, to restore the pleasure of evaluating a particular set of works that emerged from an unpredictable process instead of a set consciously forced by a group's dictates. I want the mysticism back that Abi referred to in the previous post.

(The more open-ended Locus awards have their share of mysticism too I guess, but it's a different flavor of mysticism if that makes any sense.)

As for how much an alternate award might mean, I suppose it means as much or as little as one thinks it means. If SP's/RP's/GG's or anyone else wants to mock such an award for meaninglessness, well, SF/F fans from the era before geekiness was cool are used to being mocked.

#574 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:23 PM:

Tatterbots @565,

I *love* the idea of a Gom of Nit award. Very funny, and a nice tribute to Pratchett.

#575 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:27 PM:

Ingvar @ 521:

No problem. Even the Gernsback Award wouldn't conflict with the existing service mark.

(You may be unaware of "Prix Victor Hugo," the framing sequence of the 2005 Hugo Awards ceremony by Paul McCauley and Kim Newman, in which they gave the welcoming speech to a Worldcon in a world where Victor Hugo turned to speculative fiction and France ended up dominating the world, and that's why our top award was called the Hugo. Their framing sequence was itself a finalist for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form in 2006.)

HelenS @532:

Good heavens, I didn't expect anyone to take "The TAR Babies" seriously!

How about the WAFLs ("We Also Heard From")?

Rob T @534:

None of the things you suggest conflict with the WSFS service marks.

#576 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:43 PM:

"You're our bitch," I told the rocket, "You're as good as in our pocket,
Thanks to thugs, we get to lock it: nominations 'cross the board!
Libs' hopes, crushed beneath our mallet, sinking like a Dame of Shallot,
All the choices on the ballot point to us, with one accord!
No alternatives are offered; 'twill redound to our reward!"

Quoth the Hugo, "No Award."

#577 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 10:45 PM:

SorchaRei, #551: Ah, thank you. I suspect I may have missed a prior reference to the Rabid Puppies slate while trying to keep up with the thread. One really should not multiply entities based on insufficient information. :-)

#578 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:02 PM:

Kip, that made me snicker out loud.

#579 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 11:27 PM:

Thank you, Kevin @575!

#580 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 02:44 AM:

Chris #566:

(Someone posting as) VD self-identifies as a Gator.

There is also this on Torgersen's site, whether left there unremarked as part of an "anything goes" site policy or condoning the sentiment is not apparent. But there it (still) is on a SP organiser's comment thread.

#581 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 02:52 AM:

580
And clearly sees nothing wrong with what's being done in his name.

#582 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 03:18 AM:

Soon Lee, #580: Ye ghods. Check out this quote from the next comment down: Part of me is really pissed that TNH summoned GG attention.

So that's the spin they're going to put on it.

#583 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 03:30 AM:

Some reference material, sourcing some of the shenanigans about which our hosts are so correctly worried.

http://blog.randi.io/2015/04/03/swated/
- a most recent case of malicious calls to the police for the purpose of harassing someone

http://crashoverridenetwork.tumblr.com/post/113748237272/guide-talking-to-family-police
- a guide with many outward links to specific incidents and other round-ups

Crazy(and this kind of thing is a large part of the reason why)Soph

#584 ::: D. Eppstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 03:54 AM:

Here's a halfbaked idea for modifying the nominations to de-fang slate voting, and (perhaps) ensure some diversity in the final ballot list:

Keep the nomination ballots the same as they have been, without changing the number of candidates that will move on to the final ballot nor the number of nominees per nomination ballot. (We've already seen in an earlier comment that changes to this part, e.g. 4 nominations per nominator into a field of 6 in the final ballot, are too weak to prevent slate voting). The change, instead, is in how the nominations are counted:

In each category, repeat 5 times:
- choose a nominee that has the most nominations
- throw away (for that category only) all nominations that included that nominee anywhere in their set

Therefore, under this system, each nominator can contribute to putting at most one candidate onto the final ballot per category.

#585 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:25 AM:

Lee @582:

Patrick posted screen shots of tweets dated in January bringing SP to GG attention. If Teresa brought them in with a blog post from last week, then someone has a time machine. Which is, at least, appropriately science-fictional.

They're throwing bullshit at the wall to see what sticks. My read is that that one slid gently down, leaving a rancid brown streak, and joined the pile of other crap currently masking the baseboards and staining the shag pile.

#586 ::: D. Eppstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:27 AM:

Theorem: Suppose that we run the system I just described, with n voters, and let D be the set of disappointed voters (the ones who didn't get any nominees into the final ballot). Then there is no candidate left that gets more than n/5 votes from D.

Proof: index-chasing...

Corollary: Either D is small (less than 40% of the electorate) or scattered (there is no candidate supported by a majority of D).

#587 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:33 AM:

Seems like an RAA proof would be faster and easier. Gotta think about that a little more. Possibly after getting a good night's sleep.

#588 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:46 AM:

Reading SP/GG self-justification whines always reminds me of the recurring use of "Now look what you made me do!" by characters in Wilson and Shea's Illuminates trilogy. The theme of wishing not to be responsible for doing bad things, of having some convenient covers-all rationale for every terrible thing actually being the victim's fault, is very familiar.

#589 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:49 AM:

And before I go get that good night's sleep, I think you have a logistical problem, because I can easily construct a bad corner case.

At the first repetition, you encounter a tie between item A and item B. I'll tell you the punch line now: it turns out that this ballot set is distinguished by the fact that A appears on a ballot if and only if B also appears on that ballot. However you go about "choose a nominee that has the most votes", you have just locked the other of these nominees out of the ballot.

Heck, it's a corner case. Let's go ahead and suppose that both A and B appear on every single ballot. You now have one nominee in this category, selected by a coin flip.

I do have to sleep before I delve into whether you can replace your mechanism with:

-- take all nominees in the current ballot set which have the most nominations and add them to the ballot.
-- are there now at least five nominees on the ballot? If so, stop. If not, remove all ballots that contain a nomination for any of the nominees that just went on the ballot. This smaller set of ballots is your new "current ballot set".
-- repeat until the process stops itself.

#590 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:50 AM:

*Illuminatus. Auto-correct gets away from me sometimes.

#591 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 04:53 AM:

Bruce Baugh @588:

It's abuser logic.

What's weird is that these are people who object to the loss of their social power, asserting that they are helplessly driven by the choices of others...

Well, not weird, precisely, but evidence that these decisions aren't all taking place on the rational level.

#592 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 05:04 AM:

Abi: Indeed. Really, very little of it is rational - they do reason as a cargo-cult thing more than as an actual practice. I've long suspected that simple jealousy is a major element in their obsessive hatred of successful women in tech fields.

#593 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 05:08 AM:

There's a sticker on a traffic light pole on my way to work:

We do not think as often as we feel we do.

I muse on it often. Or, at least, I feel that I do.

#594 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 05:10 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 592: That's not George Reason, it's his strong but feeble-minded friend, Lenny Logic.

#595 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 05:30 AM:

Sleep is eluding me.

I've convinced myself that both versions of this mechanism can result in nominees who received large quantities of nominations being left off a ballot -- in favor of slate nominees. And that it's easy to construct corner cases where the slate nominations are 9% of the nominating voters, and this still happens.

I won't bore you with the details, but it's also possible to construct nominating sets consisting of 100 traditional nominations and 10 slate nominations where no item appears on more than 25 nomination lists, but you still end up with the revised mechanism giving you a ballot where the entire slate appears, even though they got 10 mentions each, while items that got 11-22 mentions are shut out.

Given the corner case I already mentioned that makes me dislike,the original version of this scheme, this new one makes me think this is the wrong direction to seek a solution. Too bad: it's elegant, which always wins points in math land.

#596 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 06:13 AM:

I know that Matthew Surridge doesn't want to be nominated as "best fan writer", but if he doesn't mind, I might very well put his essay on my notepad under Best Related Works nomination candidates.

Not as a slate, of course, but just my own personal notions of what makes a good related work. It's a smart, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of one aspect of our community and its products.

#597 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 07:14 AM:

Bruce @588, abi @591 There is something to this, but not what they're saying. As I understand it, with the SP1 slate, Larry Correia turned up looking for an argument and mostly got ignored. The next year, VD decided to join in, they went looking for a fight, and, unsurprisingly, got one.

This year... it's not clear whether Brad et al came looking for a fight or an argument, but they got the fight they started last year. By setting themselves up in opposition, they created an opposing faction. An opposing faction that exists in part because they have banded together in previous fights elsewhere.

The thing that eludes me is: Is there a better way to tackle this than head on? Can we deny them their fight, or at least leave them punching at air with fancy footwork? Despite our best efforts here, there's a touch of the SP being an "other tribe"; in pro-SP and other anti-SP threads I've seen elseweb the traditional tribal warfare drums can be heard loud and clear.

(Maybe we could reach out and create a MilSF award, and an Adventure Fantasy award and maybe a Space Opera award? If I had the skills, time, money and contacts I might get started on it)

#598 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 10:12 AM:

While documentation is always good, please note that "Chris #566" is to all appearances a drive-by. There are also several others in this thread.

#599 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 11:00 AM:

Neil W.: Well, there are several parts to this, including answering bogus claims they put forth, strengthening the rules so as to close exploitable weaknesses, and supporting bystanders who probably don't have any good handle on what's happening and want the truth and some comfort. So, really, "all of the above".

#600 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 11:04 AM:

Neil W.: Well, there are several parts to this, including answering bogus claims they put forth, strengthening the rules so as to close exploitable weaknesses, and supporting bystanders who probably don't have any good handle on what's happening and want the truth and some comfort. So, really, "all of the above".

Abi, strong agreement with the worthiness of Sturridge's post.

#601 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 02:55 PM:

In order to keep my logic neat and tidy my brain wants to add a another entry in the card catalog to cross-reference this whole mishegas with two other recent kerfuffles.

1. The off-duty NYC cop who was driving/parking like a clown and got beeped at by an uber driver. He then took several minutes out of his day to visit threats and invective at the captive uber driver, getting angrier as he the driver wasn't reacting the way he wanted. I saw the cop a few days ago on the TV news, explaining less-than-contritely that sometimes he let his emotions get the best of him. (to which I say, bully for you. Perhaps you don't need to hold that position of authority. I cuss all the time - it's one of the reasons I'm not a primary school teacher.)

2. In light of Twitter's inability to handle abusive tweets and tweeters, people are developing their own black-list programs/scripts which they are sharing with others. This is ENRAGING some of the most egregious of the buttholes who are once again using the words "Free Speech" in a manner that indicates they never passed 8th grade civics class.

Reavers, we don't actually have to listen to you. No one cares what you think. You're entitled to your opinion, but no one is entitled to give a shit. I guess that's why they're acting up again.

I'm sad that it's touching on one of the things I love, but short of limiting nominators to those who attended one of the last three WorldCons or requiring a brief essay proving you read each thing you're nominating (neither of which I think would be a good idea), there doesn't seem to be a way around it.

#602 ::: Grace Seybold ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 06:33 PM:

abi @596, Bruce @600: A number of people have been making that suggestion on Twitter and elsewhere. (The non-SP Campbell nominee, Wesley Chu, was one of the ones I saw.) Probably waiting until the 2015 nominations open and asking Matthew how he feels about it at that time would be the thing to do. Like I said yesterday, he's responding to comments today over at Black Gate, so you could ask him there; but since both the situation and people's thoughts about it are continuing to evolve, it might be best to wait and see how things look when the 2015 nom period gets closer.

#603 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 07:40 PM:

I normally consider the Hugos mostly as a source of an interesting new reading list, but I didn't realize just how disappointed I was in the hijacking of the nominations this year until I got down to the Graphic Story list and got really excited for the first time. (Well, I was reasonably excited to see The Goblin Emperor up there under Best Novel.) I also bought my very first supporting membership so that I may vote on this ballot and nominate for next year's. It seems to be the very least I can do.

(De-lurking largely to say, like many other people on this thread, thank you to Abi for the initial post, and to everyone else who makes this a wonderful place to come and talk about things, even when those things are discouraging.)

#604 ::: Nicklas ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 09:40 PM:

Serge @ 528: I propose that the Weaving award at least incorporate — I'd even say make it its primary function, but that might just be me — what Nancy wrote about in @420: "most delightful thing that isn't sf."

#605 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2015, 10:23 PM:

David Harmon #598:

Fair point*. I did it because I took Chris' question at face value and because I'd like to think it's what we do here: respond to doubters with evidence.

(Contrast that to Brad R. Torgersen's (lack of) response here when asked direct questions.)

*I note that Chris has not returned, so we'll never know if they write poetry.

#606 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 06:16 AM:

@596:

I know that Matthew Surridge doesn't want to be nominated as "best fan writer", but if he doesn't mind, I might very well put his essay on my notepad under Best Related Works nomination candidates.

Not as a slate, of course, but just my own personal notions of what makes a good related work. It's a smart, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of one aspect of our community and its products.

An elegant suggestion, abi. I hope it won't sound too "slate-like" if I do likewise (if, as you say, he doesn't mind).

I read his essay (almost every bit!) and deeply appreciated it, but the idea of nominating it hadn't occurred to me simply because, for self-deselecting reasons others have already mentioned, I've never nominated works before and am not in the habit of thinking that way. 2015 will be my first time participating.

If anything good can be said to have come of the Sad Puppies slate nonsense, it's more people determined not to just sit back and wait for the Hugo ballots to appear. And more people voting on the ballots when they do.

(Which sounds awfully like what dh was nattering on about, but hopefully the difference is clear.)

#607 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:09 PM:

It looks to me (as an outsider) like the backlash to the SP slate dominating the Hugo nominations is like 95% ideologically aligned with the SPs political opponents. This looks like exactly the bad outcome abi was talking about above. It may be inevitable--letting the SPs game the nominations may be worse--but if some of the SPs' idea was "let's make the Hugos an ideological battle between US left and right," it sure looks like they're going to accomplish that.

Similarly, the response to slate-nomination is apparently slate-voting-down. Maybe that's the best that can be done, but it sure doesn't look like a good outcome. I wonder how it would feel turned the other way--lots of conservative fans planning to bloc-vote-down various works nominated for Hugos based on their involvement in some movement to nominate more feminist authors, say.

#608 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:14 PM:

albatross @ 607... I wonder how it would feel turned the other way

Pls spr m th snctmny.

[Please don't. I know it's a stressful time and all of the things that rub at ordinary times rub extra-hard now, but that's precisely the time to be kind, or at least careful.—Idumea Arbacoochee, who cares for you both.]

#609 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:15 PM:

We are where we are, choosing the best among poor alternatives, with our own principles as guides.

I've said, Elizabeth Bear has said, many of the Noa Waard people have said, that they'll treat any slate from any ideological side in exactly the same way. I mean this, and I think the other people who have come to that conclusion do as well.

Do you have any better suggestions? Please do bring them forward.

#610 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:33 PM:

abi @ #609:

For what it is worth, the two things I find appalling are "presenting a slate" (the side effects are to crowd out the crowd, as it were) and "inviting GG" (if you go play in a manure pile, you will not come out smelling exclusively of roses).

For the former, I can stick works from slate nominations below Noa Waard (to the extent I have read them). For the latter, I can and will execute my discretion to read or not, as I see fit.

I hope no one will take time to compose counter-slates. I have higher hope that no one will engage GG.

Still not sure what to do with the slate-nominated works that I have read. It may be that I will have to do some more research as to knowledge and motivation behind not declining, and based on that simply give up reading author(s) whose work I have so far enjoyed.

#611 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Playing Atropos ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Dear people, I'm going to bed, and there's no one else on watch. I'm closing these threads for the moment.

#612 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 08:49 PM:

Reopening.

#613 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 09:27 PM:

albatross @ 607: "I wonder how it would feel turned the other way--lots of conservative fans planning to bloc-vote-down various works nominated for Hugos based on their involvement in some movement to nominate more feminist authors, say."

This is an important question, I think. But it's hardly a hypothetical: Sad Puppies is a bunch of conservative fans working as a bloc to defeat various Hugo-nominated works because of their (perceived) involvement in a movement to make the Hugos and fandom in general a more inclusive space. Outside of the Hugo itself, this movement—let's call them, oh I don't know, social justice warriors--has made itself felt in Racefail, SFWA politics (both kicking out Vox Day and Rabe's resignation), and the rise and fall of Requires Hate. Another aspect of the movement is an increasing awareness of the missing stairs and missing harassment policies of convention fandom.

This is what Torgerson, Correia, and Day (and the GGers, tangentially) have been reacting against. Thanks to the work of social justice-oriented fans, there have been small, but measurable, changes in what kind of behavior and what kind of ideas are considered acceptable in fandom, changes that have increased inclusivity and narrowed the bounds of privilege. This is happening in sff fandom at the same time that similar movements are happening in comic fandom and gaming fandom. The door to fandom has been creaking open slowly over the past several years, and they are freaking out.

(It's been a little weird, honestly, how this hasn't really been addressed so far in this conversation.)

So how is this attempt to shift the discourse and composition of fandom different from the Puppies' (other, obviously, than being a shift in the direction I myself prefer)? One difference is in the scope of the ask. Feminist/anti-racist/queer fans are asking why can't there be any faces on the panel, on the award stage, that look like them. It's a minimal ask. SPs are asking why shouldn't all the faces on stage look like them—a maximal ask. One is asking for a seat at the table; the other is asking for the table. One of those is capable of co-existence; the other is not.*

Another difference is in the means: fans critiquing fandom from the left are trying to persuasive and inclusive, rather than coercive and exclusive. They draw attention to problems with con harassment, or imbalanced gender and racial representation in awards, and ask: does this reflect who we think we are? Who we want to be? If we can attribute the rise in women and minorities among the Hugo nominees to social justice work, then it's been successful by persuading people one by one to re-examine their biases and re-appraise their voting patterns. The Puppies, on the other hand, are trying to accomplish their goals by uniting those who already agree and forcing their preferences on everyone else, rather than trying to change minds.

The social justice movement against which the Puppy reactionaries are reacting is different in that it is asking for inclusion, through means of persuasion. The Puppies, on the other hand, are asking for absolute exclusion, through the means of coercion. To circle back to the OP: the Puppies are employing the doctrine that the means are justified by the ends; whereas social justice warriors are employing just the reverse.

* This is the most weak-tea version of the structural oppression argument, but that, I fear, might be too political.

(accidentally posted on the "Clean Living" thread previously. Sorry!)

#614 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2015, 10:33 PM:

albatross, #607: You're late to the party. That is pretty much what the group which coalesced into the SPs have been doing for at least the last half-decade, except that you didn't have to be involved in a "movement", you just had to be perceived as sympathetic to women, or minorities, or Scalzi.

And despite this attempt to paint the situation in the same terms of "hypocrisy" that the SPs are using, I notice that pretty much everyone who has come out for "No Slates" has also said flat-out that they don't care who produced the slate. If you haven't seen that, perhaps you should go back and read the threads again with more care.

#615 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 12:12 AM:

Very tired, shutting down thread for the night. Best to all of you.

#616 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 09:33 AM:

Lee @ 614... Maybe it is considered a slate that some of us will keep off the ballots anybody who is on the actual slate.

#617 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 12:36 PM:

I wish I could sneak ahead twenty years, and get a peak back at how all this looks like from then.

#618 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 12:43 PM:

Just wait a bit, Jacque, and you'll find out.

Unless you want to be able to change things, in which case going ahead and coming back is probably not a viable option anyway.

As I get older, I get more patient.

#619 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 01:08 PM:

myself @ 616... You should not penalize folks like DAW's Sheila Gilbert. She's been a nominees in past years, for one thing. I could almost believe that they put her in their slate, even though she's been very supportive of LGBT writers like Tanya Huff, just so that we would feel obligated not to dismiss all of the Pupae's slate.

#620 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:25 PM:

As I understand it, the available good outcomes from here involve:

a. This year's Hugos being something of a fiasco (probably guaranteed once the nominations came out so skewed by the SPs' slate).

b. The whole slate-nomination thing working out badly enough for the people involved (the nominees and the SPs) that everyone agrees not to do it anymore.

Does that basically capture it? ISTM that what's required for that is that most fans, regardless of their politics, look at this whole thing and see the SPs gaming the nomination and the community responding by voting No Award a whole lot, and see this as basically the SPs getting smacked down for trying to game the rules.

The bad outcomes, as I understand them, are either that slate nomination works (and so we end up with more of them, perhaps every year and multiple slates), or that the SPs or their successors back off into incrementally less game-y not-quite-a-slate nominations that leave the next several Hugos similarly fraught, or that the fan community more-or-less splits along political lines about the whole thing with lots of bad blood all around.

My sense is that there are not any good outcomes that end up with most of the commuity split along political lines about the question of who was playing fair and who wasn't playing fair in this year's Hugos.

So, this leads to an obvious question: What do the politics of the people on either side of the split look like? Are there a lot of prominent conservative fans or pros p-ssed off about the SPs' slate nominations and saying so? Because that's probably what's necessary for this not to just become a partisan split. If it ends up that like 90% of the people saying "I'll vote No Award above any SP slate nominee" are notably on the left, then that looks like a partisan split. I don't see how that leads to a happy ending.

#621 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:33 PM:

Serge @619

It has seemed likely to me for some time that the women / minority authors on the Puppies slates are there specifically for the purpose of giving cover to the straight white men and out-and-out hatemongers.

It's the equivalent of the "I can't be racist; I have black friends" defense.

#622 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:36 PM:

albatross @620:

And your suggestions for a better outcome are...?

#623 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:39 PM:

Cat @ 621... Go figure. I hear that not only is Torgersen's wife black, but she's also a liberal. If that's true, this may be taking compartementalization to levels I find hard to fathom.

#624 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 03:47 PM:

abi@0: I've been dismayed as this thread has grown because I found your note both affecting and thought-provoking, but haven't had the time to respond appropriately this past week; and, in the meantime, so much has happened. But I can at least say: thank you very much for that. I'm still meditating on it.

And to everyone, in this thread and last: thank you for this community, which even amid all the tense discussion has provided some real moments of joy for me. (Off the top of my head I'm thinking particularly of the recent poetry in this thread, and of the assisted self-disemvoweling in the last.)

CHip@186: I wonder whether Le Guin was deliberately echoing Buber.

I had the same thought when I read the quote (as I have somehow not yet read TLHoD, but have read some scraps of Buber). Results from a quick search suggest that Le Guin was using Buber's "I-Thou" formulation deliberately, but I haven't found more than a couple of brief comments about this.

#625 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 04:14 PM:

abi:

Go to great lengths to avoid having the backlash against the SP slate nominations be just something done from the left. Some high profile folks on the right chiming in on the side of Noah Ward would help a lot, I think. Because it would be very easy for this to just become a partisan split, and I don't think that leads anywhere good at all.

#626 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 04:18 PM:

albatross @ 625... Having some allies on the Right would indeed help. Has any one of them actually spoken up on the subject? I wonder if it'll be like when Bush finally left the White House, and only then did a Right-Wing publicly speak against the former President's actions.

#627 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 04:31 PM:

Or *did* anybody on the Right speak against the actions of Bush himself after he was gone? Or did they decry the unconstitutionality of such actions only when his successor did it?

#628 ::: Jan Vanek jr. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 04:39 PM:

CHip 451, P J Evans 453 or anybody who sees this and can help: Would you please expand on "a super man" winning Hugo in 1979 and acknowledging the audience favourite? I can't find anything about it online, nor guess from the nominee lists.

(I tried to link to the Tor.com retrospective, but the whole comment was disappeared by spamfilter 48 hours ago; I tried again 22 hours ago, but even filling in a Livejournal homepage -- or using diacritics in my name? -- was enough.)

#629 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 04:55 PM:

628
Best Dramatic Presentation: Superman
One of the other nominees was Hitchhiker's Guide - the radio version, IIRC, and as the convention was in Brighton, England, it was a favorite of the audience.

(Christopher Reeve accepted that rocket ship.)

#630 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 05:03 PM:

PJ Evans @629, I've always heard that Christopher Reeve was a classy man. Nice to hear of an anecdote that illustrates that.

#631 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 05:06 PM:

Serge:

I think there were some right-leaning authors who explicitly didn't want to be part of the SP slate, so that would be one place to look.

As far as people on the right who opposed Bush, there were some, but not nearly enough. Notably, there were Republicans who opposed the Iraq invasion, and there was a push in the Conservative movement to push them out. (Look around sometime for Jerry Pournelle's comments regarding David Frum, of whom he is definitely not a fan.) I suspect that one of the things that's gone really wrong in the US in the last decade or two is that the Republicans are really good at message discipline and party discipline, so that they can silence a lot of dissent within their ranks.

#632 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 05:20 PM:

Book digression, leading obliquely back to Hugo politics:

Some years ago, discussions here led me to read Kropotkin's book _Mutual Aid_. (It is very much worth reading.) More recently, abi's post here, plus Fragano's[1] comment on _The Dispossessed_, reminded me that I've been meaning to read something by LeGuin for a long tme now, but I'd never gotten around to it.

_The Dispossessed_ was amazingly good. I kept wondering how it was influenced by _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_, and how it in turn influenced _The Probability Broach_ and _Pallas_ and various other anarchistic SF works. I've now got a couple more Le Guin books queued up to read.

One theme in that book was how, in an anarchy, a huge amount of what we rely on law to arrange ends up being arranged by custom and by "social conscience"--wanting to keep the good opinion of our neighbors, partly because that's our only safety. It feels like there's a kind of resonance between that idea and what's going on w.r.t. the Hugos. Most of life is an anarchy in some sense--there's not a science fiction czar or parliament or something, just like there's not a science czar or a dating czar or wheterver else. So most of what regulates our actions is not law, but custom and the desire to maintain the good opinion of our neighbors.

I suspect that at least at the outside edges of the SPs (think VD), you have people who have already given up on the good opinion of their neighbors. For them, there's no threat in shunning, because most of the community already wants little to do with them. And many others appear to feel excluded to some extent from the community already, which lessens the effect of social sanction, and strengthens any sense they might have of building up their own ingroup where they'll be supported in their opinions and ideas and actions.

[1] Fragano was one of the people whose recommendation got me interested in reading Kropotkin.

#633 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 07:23 PM:

abi @591: It's abuser logic.

And now your creation of the Dysfunctional Families Day threads seems eerily prescient. Like you went back and whispered in your earlier self's ear that a day would come when it would be really handy for us to be more practiced at recognizing these patterns....

#634 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 10:17 PM:

Albatross @ 631... Meanwhile, our side keeps reminding me of Mark Twain's crack about the Democrats of his era. Amazing that we ever achieve anything.

#635 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2015, 11:03 PM:

We're closing down comments for the night.

Goodnight Serge.
Goodnight Fluorosphere.
Goodnight Moon.

#636 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 10:36 AM:

(Why do I now feel like John Boy?)

#637 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 10:41 AM:

As long as you don't feel like a nursery toy, it's all good.

#638 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 10:43 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @637, I dunno; there are worse things than feeling like the Velveteen Rabbit...

#639 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 11:14 AM:

Cassie B... I'd make a creepy Velveteen Rabbit.

#640 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 11:22 AM:

Serge Broom @639, ok, possibly creepy... but loved enough to become real!

#641 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 12:24 PM:

I read The Velveteen Rabbit to my stuffies. They were traumatized. Some started having panic attacks every time I got sick. I was obliged to take a small party of them to Coney Island to witness that TVR must be a survivable narrative, because they could go to the seaside too.

#642 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 03:10 PM:

I always thought it was heartwarming how, after all its travails, its simple faith finally made it into real cheese.

Wait. Velveteeen?

#643 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 03:39 PM:

Kip W @ 642, Yumm. Rabbit in blue cheese

(Full disclosure; I've never tried it but it looks terrific....)

#644 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 06:14 PM:

Cassy B. @643

At the moment, everything looks good to me. Now would be the time to strike, before I get hungrier and nothing looks good.

We had rabbits in hutches when I was six or seven. We cried and protested when Dad killed them and Mom cleaned and cooked them, but we ate the stew anyway.

#645 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 08:06 PM:

Teresa, #729 on the previous thread (distant thunder)

I found this Amazon comment on Michael Z. Williamson's book:

"There wasn't enough space between jokes, it wasn't clear where one ended and the next one began."

A more damning review of a book of jokes it's hard to imagine.

#646 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2015, 11:56 PM:

Phil, you are so right.

Meanwhile, everyone: much though I regret it, I have to close this thread down for the night. We'll be back bright and early in the morning.

#647 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2015, 10:07 AM:

For all who have struggled with the text of Left Hand of Darkness, it'll be the classic serial on BBC Radio 4 for the next two weeks.

Toby Jones is in the cast and I'm really looking forward to it.

#648 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2015, 01:06 PM:

abi @914 (previous thread): Also, sppk: [*] I'm sure it's hilarious if you get it, but my brain is not braining the right way right now. And I doubt I'm the only one. Let's not leave too many people out for too long?

Don't recall seeing this addressed, but the threads are expanding faster than I can keep up (so apologies if there had already been a reply). And I'm only offering a hint...

Think of the Japanese tradition of self-disembowelment.

#649 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2015, 04:45 PM:

Bringing up boooks by Le Guin has prompted me to start reading "The LEft hand of Darkness" again. I read it aged maybe 20 or 22, now I am in my 30's.

The funny thing is that like others in this thread I didn't recall any great one liners or short summaries of points, of the world, of people and how they behaved. Yet I have encountered lots of them in the book and I'm only 40 pages in.

Now if the book was so educational and made so many good points, why have I not re-read it in 15 or more years? I have re-read quite a few others, like some of John Brunner's shorter novels, or Frank Herbert's Dune and Saboteur stories. Maybe they are more exciting?

Or what I have thought is that they often, especially Herbert, have hidden ideas and complex concepts, whereas so far The LEft Hand of Darkness has been a clear diamond, almost perfectly made and fairly transparent. Of course it sparks deeper thoughts about humans and their culture and way of life, but there's something complete about the story that puts me off re-reading it. Perhaps it is like a really good meal that satisfies you for years.

#650 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2015, 09:56 PM:

Random reflections on browsing:

I see that Torgersen is really angry and humiliated at treatment he feels he received at various Worldcons. All I can say is, I would bet good money nobody gave him the depth of professional courtesy and basic respect that Beale gave Jemisin.

#651 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 12:25 AM:

Bruce Baugh @650: What? Am I just too tired to catch what you're saying?

#652 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 12:42 AM:

I *think* Bruce is saying that the rude treatment Torgerson was subjected to likely pales beside his ally Day's treatment of Jemisin (among others, if you count all the people Day has insulted as a group.)

#653 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:02 AM:

I concur with Lenora.

#654 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:25 AM:

David Gerrold's Facebook page has a post up that STD (or "Consumption" if you prefer) has said he'll destroy the Hugos if Noa Waard wins any category.

#655 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:26 AM:

Sorry, Teresa, not trying to be obscure, but it's been awesomely sick time here lately. I meant what Lenora picked up on - that Torgersen's buddies dish out far worse (and get cheered for it) than anything he's at all likely to have received.

#656 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:37 AM:

A reply shows up when I write a comment and hit Preview, but not when I refresh the actual page or look at the list of recent comments on the home page. That's interesting.

#657 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:46 AM:

Oh good, I hoped that was what you meant.

#658 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:47 AM:

Couvre-feu! Shutting down for the night, see you in the morning!

#660 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 07:04 AM:

I have had a silly, and possibly unworkable idea. I know that David Gerrold has sometimes used Noah Ward as his pen name. It seems possible that No Award may win an unprecedented number of Hugos this year (unprecedented being more than one). I wonder if we could persuade him to accept the rockets, possibly with appropriate speeches. The reason this appeals to me is that I think we should celebrate with humor and love our community response to the attack that the SP/RP have made upon us.

I know that there are some toxic reactions out there, and some bad behaviors. But people, _look at us_! We're doing _math_. We're talking and thinking and evaluating and caring and engaging and all those things that make a community a good place to be.

We aren't perfect. But I kinda love us a lot.

#661 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 08:16 AM:

Lydy... "...I kind of love us a lot..."

Yes. We do.

#662 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:41 AM:

David Gerrold is co-toastmaster, and thus already in a difficult position. So having him give all those Hugos to himself might not be wise :-)

#663 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:59 AM:

660, 662
I was at a con once where the MoC of the costume contest was using 'Fred' for the names that didn't come with a pronunciation guide. (I think it might have been David.) I wouldn't actually suggest using it - but it might be an idea that could be worked into something.

#664 ::: Danny Sichel ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2015, 02:04 PM:

@121 - my biggest problem with "CHORF" is that it's the name of a pre-existing cancer charity.

#665 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 11:50 PM:

Comments will be shutting down at midnight. We'll be back tomorrow morning.

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