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August 23, 2015

Hugo discussion thread
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:00 AM * 940 comments

So I slept through the awards, having stayed up too late reading (!). But per the Hugo PDF and supplementary data from Locus, this is what we have (in ranked order):

Best Novel (1,827 nominating ballots): The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu (Tor)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Noah Ward
Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Roc) [S][R]
The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor) [S][R]

Best Novella (1,083 nominating ballots): Noa Waard
“Flow”, Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog 11/14) [S][R]
Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House) [S][R]
One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright (Castalia House) [S][R]
“The Plural of Helen of Troy”, John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis)[R]
“Pale Realms of Shade”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons)[R]

Best Novelette (1,031 nominating ballots): “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed 4/14)
Noah Ward
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, Rajnar Vajra (Analog 7-8/14) [S][R]
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium”, Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show 5/14) [S][R]
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog 6/14) [S][R]
“Championship B’tok”, Edward M. Lerner (Analog 9/14) [S][R]

Best Short Story (1,174 nominating ballots): Noa Waard
“Totaled”, Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge 7/14) [S][R]
“A Single Samurai”, Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters) [S]
“Turncoat”, Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse)[R]
“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons)[R]
“On a Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2 11/14) [S][R]

Best Dramatic Presentation - Long (1,285 nominating ballots): Guardians of the Galaxy [S][R]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Interstellar [S][R]
The Lego Movie [S][R]

Best Dramatic Presentation - Short (938 nominating ballots): Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”
Doctor Who: “Listen”
Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”[R]
The Flash: “Pilot” [S][R]
Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” [S][R]

Best Related Work (1,150 nominating ballots): Noah Ward
“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”, Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse) [S][R]
“Why Science is Never Settled”, Tedd Roberts (Baen.com) [S][R]
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, John C. Wright (Castalia House) [S][R]
Letters from Gardner, Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) [S][R]
Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press) [S][R]

Best Graphic Story (785 nominating ballots): Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal, G. Willow Wilson; art by Adrian Alphona & Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics)
Saga, Volume 3, Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Weibe; art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick, Matt Fraction; art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
Noa Waard
The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate, Carter Reid (self-published) [S][R]

Best Professional Editor, Long Form (712 nominating ballots): Noah Ward
Toni Weisskopf [S][R]
Sheila Gilbert [S][R]
Anne Sowards [S][R]
Jim Minz [S][R]
Vox Day[R]

Best Professional Editor, Short Form (870 nominating ballots): Noa Waard
Mike Resnick [S][R]
Jennifer Brozek [S][R]
Bryan Thomas Schmidt [S][R]
Vox Day[R]
Edmund R. Schubert [S][R]

Best Professional Artist (753 nominating ballots): Julie Dillon
Noah Ward
Kirk DouPonce [S]
Alan Pollack [S]
Nick Greenwood [S]
Carter Reid [S]

Best Semiprozine (660 nominating ballots): Lightspeed
Strange Horizons
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Noa Waard
Abyss & Apex [S]
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine [S]

Best Fanzine (576 nominating ballots): Journey Planet
Noah Ward
Black Gate [R]
Tangent Online [S][R]
Elitist Book Reviews [S][R]
The Revenge of Hump Day [S][R]

Best Fancast (668 nominating ballots): Galactic Suburbia Podcast
Tea and Jeopardy

Noa Waard
The Sci Phi Show [S][R]
Adventures in SciFi Publishing [S][R]
Dungeon Crawlers Radio [S][R]

Best Fan Writer (777 nominating ballots): Laura J. Mixon
Noah Ward
Jeffro Johnson [S][R]
Dave Freer [S][R]
Amanda S. Green [S][R]
Cedar Sanderson [S][R]

Best Fan Artist (296 nominating ballots): Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Ninni Aalto
Steve Stiles
Brad Foster

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (851 nominating ballots): Wesley Chu (2nd year eligibility)
Noa Waard
Kary English (2nd year eligibility) [S][R]
Eric. S. Raymond [S][R]
Jason Cordova [S][R]
Rolf Nelson[R]

[S]: Appeared on the Sad Puppies slate (donotlink link to original source)
[R]: Appeared on the Rabid Puppies slate (donotlink link to original source)

Congratulations to the winners, and commiserations to the losers. Yes, even the Puppies, because I am willing to believe that anyone who puts their hands on pen or keyboard in the service of our art partakes, to one extent or another, in the thing we’re trying to honor. Whatever else they’ve done, whatever dissatisfactions and entitlements they’ve let eat them out from the core, are laid on top of that basic impulse. And that is what the Hugos honor.

Comments on Hugo discussion thread:
#1 ::: Rob Wynne ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:19 AM:

Well, that was - for good or ill - as thorough a refutation of the slate as could have been mounted.

Is there any news from the business meeting? I haven't had a chance to go looking yet.

#2 ::: katster ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:21 AM:

The Hugo stuff will be voted on tomorrow. Last thing that has to happen.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:25 AM:

From Soon Lee at File 770, the stats. (26 page PDF.) For those who are interested, Goblin Emperor was ahead through pass 4.

#4 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:25 AM:

Meanwhile: Best Novelette won from at home in bed!

Best Novel awarded from a freakin' space station!!!.*

* Why, yes, I do think that's too cool for words. Why do you ask? =:-D

#5 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:25 AM:

Pretty cool stuff! I turned out to be more invested in it than I'd thought I would be. So, hey, I guess I can thank the puppies for that, anyway.

#6 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:26 AM:

I'll be moderating this thread closely (unsurprisingly).

Let me just say up front that I think this conversation can either be wonderful or a cesspit, and the basic choice we have is how much we let our anger at the past months set the tone of it. It's justified anger, I know, and of course we feel a triumph that the wreckers did not wreck, despite their best efforts. It will be part of the conversation here, and it totally should be.

But...what we do and say now is also part of a larger, wider conversation of fandom, a conversation that has already been full of a lot of people not even trying to reach for their best selves. I'd like to ask, if possible, for us not to join that part of it. Please write for the ages as well as for the moment. I know I can come across as kind of prissy about these matters; it's because I think there are the conversational equivalents of poison and I don't want my dear friends drinking that.

Also, more practically, let's skip the namecalling. However terribly amusing it can seem, it's not really very good discussion of anything.

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:28 AM:

Thanks, PJ. Going to amend the post with rankings.

#8 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:32 AM:

What makes me happy is that I look at the list of winners, and in every case where I know enough to have an opinion, I think "That was worthy." Not that every one was my first pick, but every one makes sense as an expression of what this part of fandom loved this year. Nothing won because sufficient quantities of vandals thought it would be funny to brandish as a weapon; everything is there because the thing it was (or the person it was) pleased voters for its real qualities.

In an ideal world, one would be able to take that for granted. But since we can't, it's really good to take note of.

#9 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:33 AM:

David Gerrold flirting with a Dalek... o.0

And blessings on whoever it was that thought to have Connie Willis immediately follow the In Memoriam. (That's always a difficult part of the evening, but this year's losses seemed especially hard, somehow.)

And SilverBob, with the class, and the grace.... (Though, like many of us, he's looking more like SnowyBob, anymore.)

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:33 AM:

Looking at the numbers, the categories that got no-awarded, there was no contest.

#11 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:33 AM:

I heard that at least one Puppy stormed out of the ceremony when "No Award" was announced. Can anyone who was there confirm?

#12 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:35 AM:

Steven Brust @5: It's pretty neat that there were record turnouts. I think that, more than anything else, shows that the Hugos do matter.

#13 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:38 AM:

All things considered, it was a wonderful ceremony (I watched on Ustream), and a refutation of the notion that the Hugos have lost their meaning.

While I cheered on the winners, the statistics released have been sobering reading, and at times painful reading. The number of worthy creators & works denied a chance to be on the final ballot is (I think) part of the damage sustained this year.

My hope is that EPH passes at the Business meeting & we can relegate the damage caused by bloc-voting to the dustbin of history.

#14 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:45 AM:

It looks like, in the absence of Puppy voting, the 5% rule would have kicked in again on the short story ballot, and we would've had only three nominees in that category again. The amendment to abolish the 5% rule passed at today's business meeting, and needs to be ratified at next year's meeting to take effect in 2017.

#15 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:49 AM:

What a weird, cool ceremony. I've never watched the Hugos before, but I happened to be home, and awake, and curious.

Was this the first time a work in translation has won for best Novel? And Novelette? I got the idea from the speeches that something unique had happened, but I wasn't sure.

I'm also very happy about Ms. Marvel and Orphan Black, which I didn't think were likely to win. I see Sex Crimials and Saga getting more coverage in the mainstream press, and I see more fansquee about Dr. Who. But Orphan Black is probably the best TV sci-fi I've seen in years, and Ms. Marvel is just such a love letter to the idea of fandom, and the idea that everyone belongs there.

I'm actually crying, writing about those two series. I cried during Cixin Liu's speech, too. It was a good night for a series of good cries, for reasons both happy and sad.

#16 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:49 AM:

Remember that amending the WSFS Constitution requires majority votes at the business meetings of two consecutive Worldcons. Even if E Pluribus Hugo passes at Sasquan, it has to pass again in Helsinki next year. That means the Puppies get to soil next year’s nominations, too.

#17 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:51 AM:

Where were all the ballots? 11,000 people joined Sasquan - if not to vote, then why? I know it's why I joined.

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:55 AM:

I'll have more to say later. Right now TNH and I are at GRRM's Hugo Loser Party and all I have to say is, my, that is some tasty, tasty schadenfreude pie.

#19 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:56 AM:

P J Evans @3: It looks to me like Three-Body was ahead from round 1 through the end. Is it possible you're accidentally looking at the race for second place?

I'm pretty sure that this is the first time even one translated work has won, let alone two. Heuvelt has been nominated before, but not won.

All puppy nominees finished behind No Award. When there were multiple puppy nominees and No Award, in every case No Award won in the first round. In Novella, for example, there were almost twice as many first place votes for No Award as for every puppy nominee put together.

This was a derisory result. The voters have said, "Up your hacienda, Teddy."

#20 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:01 AM:

I'm very happy to have just come home from a friend's wedding to see that the Hugo results are what I believe to be the right answer. Works that deserved recognition got it, and works that didn't, didn't.

Now that the Hugo stats are out, I think I'll spend some time looking at the longlists and finding new things to read. Seems like the best way to move forward past this whole mess.

#21 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:05 AM:

Avram #16:

Correction: it's next year at MidAmericon. Helsinki is 2017.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:11 AM:

19
Yes, you're right. My bad. (The colored numbers...don't help.)

#23 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:12 AM:

Looking at the numbers, I was very surprised at how much of a landslide Ms. Marvel won by. It thoroughly deserved it, but I thought Saga would be much closer behind it.

#24 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:16 AM:

I'd guess, looking at the categories where No Award won, that there are maybe 200 'rabids' and maybe three or four hundred 'sads'. (Look at the lowest-ranked nominees. That's the core.)

Someone is sure to claim, tomorrow in the business meeting, that this is proof we don't need EPH. My answer would be that it's a demonstration of why EPH is needed: we shouldn't have to have a fan revolt every time someone decides to stuff the nominating boxes!

#25 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:26 AM:

Well that was a delight. I've been at the Hugos once in the flesh - Melbourne - but I wasn't heavily invested in them that year. This year who won was a big deal, and I was glued to the screen.

- Tananarive Due and David Gerrold did a damned fine job of steering the evening towards being a celebration of SF, rather than the final round of a punchup that's been going on for months.

- Silverberg is classy. Seeing him provide some historical context, chant Hare Krishna, and then tell us that everything was going to be allright set my thoughts onto a healthy path. Talking to him was definitely the high point of my Melbourne worldcon.

- I'm not part of organised fandom in any way and have only been to a few cons, but I got a bit overwhelmed at one point, and really felt that these people were my tribe.

- I'm happy with everything that won and that didn't win. Not necessarily what I voted for, but good solid winners.

#26 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:28 AM:

I'm surprised Rat Queens beat Sex Crims in the rankings, though I suppose I shouldn't be. I just happen to inhabit the parts of the internet where everyone is talking about Sex Crimimals all the time... including me. I had to eventually learn to stop recommending it to strangers at work-related parties.

#27 ::: Galen Charlton ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:29 AM:

P J Evans #24

I agree. Even though the Puppies' picks got repudiated, without EPH (or even just the 4 and 6 proposal), it of course remains possible that they could continue to capture entire categories — and Noah Ward's mantle has enough rockets on it. It would be rude to risk collapsing it under the weight of even more.

#28 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:40 AM:

Speaking of rumors about the ceremony, as Sarah@11 was doing, I heard a secondhand rumor about Robert Silverberg leading the crowd in a Hare Krishna chant. (Ok, a bit of Google-searching makes that a firsthand rumor, but no details.) Can anyone elaborate on the context? Because that sounds quite funny indeed.

Also, what was the thing about the Best Novel award being awarded from a space station?

Actually ... if this was livestreamed, is there also a recording, or will there be?

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:42 AM:

28
They had the Best Novel winner's name read by very-long-distance video.

#30 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:45 AM:

...but what were you reading, Abi?

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:48 AM:

Added Sad and Rabid nominations, gotta dash for a little while.

(I was reading Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. Excellent; worth staying up to finish.)

#32 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:48 AM:

Brooks Moses @ 28 write:
> I heard a secondhand rumor about Robert Silverberg leading the crowd in a Hare Krishna chant. (Ok, a bit of Google-searching makes that a firsthand rumor, but no details.) Can anyone elaborate on the context?

Silverberg was talking about the '68 Berkley con and how the US was having a bad year, with riots here and there, and an unpopular war in Vietnam. He mentioned being able to smell tear gas from the convention when the wind was right. Talking about going out on the streets to be reassured by the chants of the passing Krishnas allowed him to segue into, yes... just what you heard.

> Because that sounds quite funny indeed.

Hearing him say "Everything is will be allright" was strangely reassuring.

#33 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:49 AM:

Brooks Moses #28

The Hare Krishna bit I can vouch for. That happened before my network crapped out, so I got to watch every bit of it. He had a tambourine!

It was the punchline of a story about a Worldcon in Berkeley where there was (he said) tear gas a pot smoke in the halls, and a certain amount of tension within the SF community.

People who have attended more than a handful of Worldcons can probably describe the event better. I was not alive at the time...

#34 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:58 AM:

Brooks Moses #28:

Given that previous years' ceremonies were made available for viewing, I expect that this year's ceremonies will be available at some point from the Ustream channel.

And yes, Robert Silverberg did lead the audience in a Hare Krishna chant. And it was a calming experience.

#35 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:03 AM:

Schadenfreude pie? Say hello to Scalzi's recipe!

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:08 AM:

3
I was alive, but it was some years before I met organized fandom. (However, Wikipedia says Baycon in Berkeley in 1968, so the pot smoke and tear gas is maybe only slightly exaggerated.)

#37 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:17 AM:

Everything Silverberg said about Baycon (the 1968 Worldcon) was indeed true. I was there (my first Worldcon, at age 15) and saw much of what he reports first hand. He was also Toastmaster at the Hugo banquet that year (yes, they had banquets in those days). And it's definitely the first time a translated novel won. And we have now doubled the number of time No Award has won the Hugo (five previously and five tonight).

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:25 AM:

It wasn't a total whitewash, but Guardians of the Galaxy was getting a lot of buzz without the Puppies. Though that maybe points to a weakness in Hollywood movies in general. And there were one or two other Puppy nominations that didn't deserve that status, although I doubt they would have won in an ordinary year.

I may start planning on attending Helsinki — my brother once attended an academic conference there — but Loncon was heavy going for me, and I would want my health to improve a lot. The timezone difference would make watching a Hugo livestream a lot easier.

Has anyone thought of livestreaming business meetings?

#39 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:44 AM:

I was alive when Baycon happened, and even living in Berkeley. I might have attended the con were it not for being only four months old at the time.

#40 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:47 AM:

The numbers are bad. Really, really bad.

A rough estimate from looking at the data:

Nomination: About 170 rabid puppies, about 180 sad puppies and some mild supporters, about 1,400 non-puppies. Puppies are 20% of nominators.

Voting: About 700 rabid puppies, 1,100 sad puppies and 4,000 non-puppies. Puppies are 30% of voters.

It's clear that both puppies and truefen rallied to the cause.

The 350-400 puppies were easily able to swamp most nomination categories except for best novel by huge margins. Ancillary Sword's 279 nominations would not have survived a slightly larger campaign.

This year, the 4,000 non-puppy to 1,800 puppy balance caused no awards to any puppies. A false victory, I fear. Because look at next year.

With a ratio of 4 non-puppies to 1 puppy, the slate was able to swamp non-slate voters, in many categories by margins of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1.

With normal nomination, puppies with 30% of nominators will easily dominate all categories. That presumes neither side out-recruits the other side significantly in adding new members, and old members continue to care. (For all Sasquan members, nominating is free, but adding new members costs money.)

The only ways to defeat that would be for the anti-puppies to make their own slates, or for the non-puppies to majorly increase their participation. To regain many categories you would want to take the puppies down to 10% or less of nominators -- that means getting 15,000 anti-puppy fans. Yikes.

I now deeply regret I did not wake up in time to propose write-in in this year's business meeting. It's special ability to affect the 2016 Hugos rather than waiting for 2017 would have been worth it.

I await analysis of how ePH performs with 30% slate. What if puppies can increase even further?

Because STV is robust against collusion, the final vote results won't be taken over -- for that you need to be almost half the voters. As long as truefen are half the voters, they can have the pyrrhic victory of handing out no award.


#41 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:48 AM:

It sounds like the Puppies were about as thoroughly repudiated by the Hugo voters as anyone could wish for. Congratulations to the winners, commiserations to the losers, and thanks to the voters!

Also, I want to welcome everyone to Helsinki in 2017. Our Finnish SF fandom is fun and active, and Helsinki is a fine city. It will be a great Worldcon, I'm sure.

#42 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:54 AM:

What if the puppies decide to mass-vote No Award next year, rather than try to vote for their slate choices? I've heard it threatened they might try that, to deny the icky SJWs their victory.

Could the Hugos' voting system withstand that kind of attack?

#43 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:01 AM:

Wakboth #41 -- Repudiation in the final ballot was not much in doubt, because the Hugo voting system (unlike the nomination system) is largely impervious to slates. The only questions were whether candidates like Resnick (a well established non-puppy favourite) would fall -- he did, or Guardians of the Galaxy would be punished for being on the Puppy slate (it does not appear to have been.) We did learn that the non-puppy fans were quite strong. There were 282 first place votes for No Award on best novel, which is a big jump over the usual count, but not a really big one -- only a couple hundred fans seem to have been in the "Nullify all the awards" camp.

(Though it is worth noting that No Award got more first place votes than The Day The World Turned Upside Down -- I am not sure that has ever happened before. A fair number of fans did feel No Award was the right choice when there was only one non-puppy choice on the ballot, which is understandable. There were also 1,000 who ranked No Award first vs. Laura Mixon and a few other high performances for No Award vs. non-puppy candidates that do not appear to have been cast by puppy voters.)

#44 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:06 AM:

Chris Meadows @42

Looking at the novelette category it seems unlikely they can manage that. The initial no award vote in that category seems to be close to the puppy ceiling in this year. Unless the puppies make up a majority of voters, in which case they could get their nominees to win anyway.

#45 ::: Zander Nyrond ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:09 AM:

24: there are those who might say that fandom should always be in a spirit of revolt. In the words of not quite Oysterband:

Fall asleep with the Hugos on
Wake with an ache, that's another Worldcon
Consider how my vote was spent
And do I approve how the ballot went
I asked an old pro for advice
She told me once, then she told me twice:
"Your life is full of choices made at random!"
She smacked me hard across the head
Handed me a card which read:
"Work like you were living in the early days of a better fandom." (x2)

"Count those votes again!" I cried.
The counters said "It's cut and dried.
The Puppy slates all got ignored
And finished up below 'No Award.'
You gave them stick, you gave them hell,
And all the votes have gone really well.
They couldn't have gone better if we'd planned 'em!"
And where the filkers laughed and sang
Loud the call to action rang:
"Work like you were living in the early days of a better fandom." (x2)

"Take this lesson to your heart,"
She said, "and honour well our art.
If we would keep the Hugos free
The greatest threat is complacency.
We must frustrate their knavish tricks
And pass the rule of four and six,
Or else an easy victory we'll hand 'em.
Next year at MidAmericon
This great task we must carry on--
Work like you were living in the early days of a better fandom. (x2)
Living in the early days,
Living in the early days,
Living in the early days of a better fandom."

#46 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:17 AM:

I do not think counter slates are a solution. Yes, a slate works to get opposing positions heard when one slate has already been created; this is the essence of party politics.
What a counter slate cannot do is restore a freeform system. Creating a list of Correct Works and telling people to nominate those (instead of whatever wild diversity they would have chosen themselves) means accepting the proposal to turn the Hugos into party politics.
Even if the winning party has politics you like, something is lost when that happens.

#47 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:22 AM:

Brandon Kempner's analysis puts the total number of Rabid voters at a bit above 500 this year, all of whom have nominating privileges for next year..

So even in the best case scenario of E pluribus Hugo passing this year & getting ratified next year, we still have at least one more year of Puppy bloc-voting shenanigans messing up the nominations. After that, EPH should mitigate bloc-voting impact.

(Shorter me: it's not over yet.)

#48 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:28 AM:

Brad from Sunnyvale: Though it is worth noting that No Award got more first place votes than The Day The World Turned Upside Down -- I am not sure that has ever happened before. A fair number of fans did feel No Award was the right choice when there was only one non-puppy choice on the ballot, which is understandable. There were also 1,000 who ranked No Award first vs. Laura Mixon and a few other high performances for No Award vs. non-puppy candidates that do not appear to have been cast by puppy voters.

Personally, I voted both of those below no award not because they had no non-puppy competition, but because I didn't feel either deserved a Hugo. OTOH, they were the only nominees I ranked at all in those two categories, precisely because they weren't on the slates.

#49 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:45 AM:

Yes, Jennifer@48, I suspect there will be arguments that some of the winners who were the only non-puppy, particularly Day-the-World would have been unlikely to win had they not been the "only" choice on the ballot. The sad truth is a lot of the voting this year was for emotional or political reasons, and we can expect that to continue.

(And there seem to be many who voted works below no award, in spite of the attempt to educate about it, but it did not have a negative effect.)

Procedural question -- it seems you can amend the standing rules through a simple motion, which would allow a temporary amendment to allow new business to be entered after the deadline in the standing rules. So in theory an emergency amendment is possible even on Sunday.

#50 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:50 AM:

Well, as someone who was only galvanized out of a fannish coma by this year's shenanigans, I will certainly be looking out for good stuff to nominate next year - and if there are enough people like me, the overall increase in broad-based individual nominations might, in itself, be enough to eliminate the effect of a highly organized, but very small, slate. The loud rumbling noise of fandom-in-general could drown out the yipping, as it were.

As for the results... a victory for common sense, on the whole. (Some things I voted for won. Others didn't. It's democracy in action, I'm fine with that.)

#51 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:07 AM:

Some more detailed analysis, which is more optimistic than my first quick glance and gives a lower puppy number (around 1,000) but lower numbers as well for solid anti-puppy voters.

https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/2015-hugo-stats-initial-analysis/

#52 ::: Nicholas Whyte ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:24 AM:

brad@43,

No Award got more first place votes than The Day The World Turned Upside Down -- I am not sure that has ever happened before.

Last year, No Award got the most first preferences for Best Fancast, in the counts for wnner, second place, third place, fourth place, and fifth place, but was overtaken by other candidates each time.

#53 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:41 AM:

Interestingly, even discounting No Award (since my actual preference would have been for there to be non-slate nominees in those categories), this year makes only the second time I can recall off the top of my head that one of my top-ranked choices won in a year where I voted. (Orphan Black and Among Others, if anyone's curious.)

I've come to the conclusion that my tastes just don't line up well with the Hugo voters' as a whole; IIRC I ranked Three-Body Problem under No Award, too, frex. But I do always find something I enjoy from the nominees that I wouldn't have read otherwise, which makes it worth participating anyway. And it's certainly worth preserving the integrity of the process, whether I personally like the results or not.

#54 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:42 AM:

Congrats to the winners and to fandom.

#55 ::: Chaomancer ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:00 AM:

This is the first year I've paid much attention to the Hugos as a process - due mostly to what I've read here, so thank you all for that. It's good to see the puppies fall, and hopefully none of this will pollute the process much in future years.

It was great to read the nominated books and get a look at things which I normally wouldn't have tried, even if I am still mystified by the appeal of some of them. Like Jennifer, I really didn't see the appeal of The Three-Body Problem, and ranked it below No Award personally.

#56 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:23 AM:

It felt strange, not seeing the Awards all there on a display, after three years of a new tradition that was started in 2012 by Susan de Guardiola and yours truly.

#57 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:23 AM:

I am tempted to conclude, from the way the number 160 keeps showing up in the votes for VD, that this represents the number of Rabid voters.

#58 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:24 AM:

I thought that the ceremony had almost exactly the right amount of snark. It would have been wrong to play Cleopatra, and ignore the entire kerfuffle, but at the same time, descending into meanness and anger would have ruined the celebration. I laughed like a drain at the asterisks, and I very much appreciated Gerrold saying that cheers were appropriate but boos were not. Also, telling people to wait until all the nominees had been announced before cheering was a good thing to do, and by and large the audience complied.

The rumor I know (from VD, so not reliable) is that Toni Weiskopf left the auditorium at the asterisk jokes. Interesting, if true.

And when Silverbob said, "It's all going to be ok," i felt a huge weight lifted. It was weird, but it was real. Never thought I'd be grateful to the Hare Krishnas, but there you go. Life is long and ever strange.

Dear Fandom, I love you.

#59 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:29 AM:

I think David Gerrold and the other speakers did an outstanding job of setting a positive tone. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the Hugos and Sasquan.

#60 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:57 AM:

The appropriate fannish antidote to a slate is not "more slates," it is "widespread reading list suggestions," each to contain either one or two entries or well over the number of possible nominees -- 8-10 is a good number, I think -- per category.

Make it easier for casual nominators to find a bunch of potentially-worthy stuff to read so they can make their own determinations, and more will nominate -- all the rest of the 11000 supporters this year are eligible next year as well.

#61 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:05 AM:

Is there any place where people are listing their potential nominees?

Has anyone seen a puppy supporter saying that they need to find and write better sf?

#62 ::: nnyhav ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:17 AM:

Wesley Chu's tossing his hat in the ring for the GOP presidential nomination has me pondering the relationship between the Puppies' and Trump's campaign.

#63 ::: SJW75261 ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:36 AM:

What I see from the puppies is that they are going to burn it down. They also are proud that they forced things off the ballet.

James May for example is saying: "SP kept about 30-35 man-hating anti-white racists or those dupes which support that con game off the ballot entirely. They’ll never get that year back. That in itself is a win.

...That has now been confirmed by Tobias Buckell at his blog. Tough break."


This has nothing to do with SFF and being "nice" to puppies in the glow of last night isn't going to help. I have used the term freeping. The term one poster at 770 used was "Denial of Service". That is what you are facing next year.

I hope those at the business meeting clearly understand that. It appears GRRM does not.

#64 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:51 AM:

Ander Nyrond @45: Nicely done pastiche/parody. I'd give credit to the author of the song (in the spirit of the Hugos honoring the authors), which was Billy Bragg. And yes, I prefer the Oysters' version too.

Dave Bell @38: Livestreaming is expensive (getting that much bandwidth out of a convention center's wifi is a moneymaker for the convention center, and they won't give it away). And since the people who are not present can't vote, it's a less-important expense than some others. What Kevin and Lisa have done with making video available pretty much by the next day is (for most purposes) amazing and quite good enough.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:13 AM:

61
There's a wikia for next year. I know it isn't the only place.

#66 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:35 AM:

Every (actual) winner in the prose, dramatic, and graphic-novel categories is a work that I enjoyed and would recommend to others. This is what winning looks like.

As to the Puppies' response... they said up front that they would declare victory no matter the outcome was. They did. They were going to try this again next year no matter what the outcome was. They will.

Me, I will do some nominating next year.

#67 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:45 AM:

I am grateful for the livestream, and for our community.

I am Hindu and I felt like the mocking repetition of a Hare Krishna chant was a slap in the face to me.

#68 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:52 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @67: It didn't seem mocking to me. Rather, it was aimed at bringing peace to a number of souls who needed it. YMMV, of course, but that's how I saw it on the stream.

Let me add another voice thanking the hosts and presenters for maintaining a celebratory, positive tone throughout the ceremony. They clearly worked hard at it, and hit the right notes.

One note on the In Memoriam scroll: it's always sad to see one's friends and acquaintances there. It would, however, be sadder NOT to see members of the community acknowledged. I'm glad the IM takes the wider road, rather than (as it could), aiming at a smaller, tighter-focused list of high-profile or Worldcon/Hugo-related names only.

#69 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:59 AM:

Tom @64

There are other differences in the situation, but the BBC Parliament channel is, I think, a sufficient counter to the argument that people who can't vote at the meeting don't deserve live coverage.

As it happens, in the UK parliament there is often time to contact one's representative before the next stage in the procedure and argue for a particular vote, though we don't have time zone differences to contend with. This didn't depend on the immediacy of live coverage. In the compressed timescale of Worldcon business meetings the timing could be significant.

But I appreciate your point about the cost.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 12:11 PM:

67
1968 was during the time when the Hare Krishnas were quite a common sight in places like Berkeley (where Worldcon was that year).

(I've seen people say about last night that they felt better after Silverbob did that.)

#71 ::: No Award ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 12:30 PM:

Thanks to everybody, everywhere, for the "yoooge" signal boost. I'm headed for the big time now. I won't forget the good times!

Now I just have to write a book or something.

#72 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 12:38 PM:

#68 ::: Bruce Adelsohn

For what it's worth, I think it was an effort to bring in something that would have a calming effect (and it did have a mild calming effect for me) without setting off the anti-religion reflex a lot of fans have.

So it wasn't exactly mocking, but it also wasn't taking Hare Krishna seriously as something from an actual religion.

#73 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 12:44 PM:

There's some snittering at white faces on the winners, so I guess that quotas are now 'good' and no longer 'bad.' Soon there won't be a stick of their underlying philosophical platform left.

#74 ::: Roger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 12:54 PM:

I really enjoyed "One Bright Star to Guide Them". I can't speak to all of the categories, but I'm sorry to see people No Awarding worthy work just because of the author's politics or because it was nominated by the wrong fans.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:10 PM:

74
'Wrong fans' isn't part of it. (Using that indicates canine affinities.)
'Not good enough' is - and the slated works were not good.

#76 ::: wrongfanal ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:11 PM:

Congratulations to the so called trufans, you won a victory by burning the awards to the ground around you.

#77 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:13 PM:

Here we go.

#78 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:14 PM:

Sumana @67: I am sorry that you felt slapped. For me, with my extremely American context, I felt that Silverbob was pulling calm and unity and kindness out of conflict. The Hare Krishnas were, in their day, highly irritating to many people. Using the Hare Krishna chant to unite people seemed to be reaching towards several important things, including diversity, multiculturalism, and acknowledging the good and wonderful in even things which annoy us. I see the argument for it being cultural appropriation, but at some point, the interaction between my culture and the presence of the Hare Krishnas is about my culture, too, I think...I dunno. I'm getting confused, here. I will say that from where I sat, it did not look to me like Silverbob was mocking the Hare Krishnas in particular, nor Hinduism in general, but rather touching on the ways in which we interact with culture clashes and culture wars.

#79 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:19 PM:

77
There have been several over at File 770.
My fog-file script has grown by several.

#80 ::: Gement ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:20 PM:

That was a much more thorough sweep than I expected. I voted along the lines that many of the major commentators (including John Scalzi) stated they were voting, which was doing my best to judge on merit. I add the caveat that anything from VD's press would have had to meet a very high bar indeed, but the caveat turned out to be unnecessary; in most cases there was no contest in quality, and I two-pages a depressing number of works.

I also voted thorough preferences below the No Award line in many categories, not out of a lack of understanding, but out of a desire to see "least worst" things win if necessary. From the numbers and the final rankings, it looks like a significant number of us voted along my lines and more or less agreed with my taste; Kary English in particular deserved top of the very limited heap.

I knew which way the wind was going when the first Editor No Award was announced, because there were actually some fine editors in there.

The larger set of members voting the clear bright line is, in my opinion, a huge Exhibit B for E Pluribus Hugo. It was a slate. An understandable slate, and I don't fault people for voting it as I partially voted it myself, but the situation drove people to extremely polarized choices. The puppies didn't win, but the Hugos didn't particularly win, either, they just did their best to weather the storm.

I hope the good editors get nominated again and get a real chance at winning.
I hope people look at the also-rans and more people discover Ursula Vernon's Jackalope Wives.
I hope to see some amazing and lengthy reading recommendation lists this year, which I can mine for nominations that I have personally enjoyed.
I hope the larger body of this year's puppies are disillusioned with the behavior of their leadership, or (even better) understand the principles behind the Hugo nomination process by next year's nominations, and that some of them also move to nominating things they have personally enjoyed.
I hope E Pluribus Hugo passes.

I hope a lot of things.

#81 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:20 PM:

#75 ::: P J Evans

I think "Totaled" was at least decent, and "The Hot Equations" was better than that, though of rather specialist interest. I don't think it was a coincidence that they came in at the top of the lists under No Award, and Kloos' novel might well have done the same if he hadn't withdrawn it.

My impression of the puppy nominations is that they were semi-random, and there was some good work (not necessarily work which would have won) which would have done a good bit better if it weren't for the slates and fury at the slates.

I'm hoping for Hugo awards which aren't strongly affected by infighting among fans, but I don't have a feeling for how long it will take to get there, if it ever happens. It's certainly not going to happen next year.

#82 ::: Gement ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:25 PM:

#67 Sumana, thanks for speaking up. I wondered. I understood why he did it, but drawing on minority (in America) religious practices is consistently delicate territory and will almost inevitably hurt people.

I'm sorry you were hurt by it. Full stop.

#83 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:26 PM:

Roger @74:
Welcome to Making Light.

I really enjoyed "One Bright Star to Guide Them". I can't speak to all of the categories, but I'm sorry to see people No Awarding worthy work just because of the author's politics or because it was nominated by the wrong fans.

It's always a pleasure to find a piece that speaks to one, isn't it? It's one of the reasons I've been so upset, from this side, by the repeated assertions that the works I've enjoyed and been transformed by have only been nominated out of some kind of political correctness.

In point of fact, I at least used No Award not because works were nominated by "the wrong fans", but because the use of slate-based nominations is kind of the Hugo equivalent of eating the forbidden fruit. Although the exploit has been well-known for some time, no one before now actually tried to use it. I, at least, am hoping that the failure of such behavior to lead to the awarding of rockets will cause people not to do it again.

It's a shame that a story that you liked didn't get an award. I feel much the same about Ursula Vernon's "Jackalope Wives", which was a wonderful and interesting piece that did not make it onto the ballot because of lockstep nominating.

wrongfanal @76:
Welcome, too.

Congratulations to the so called trufans, you won a victory by burning the awards to the ground around you.

I'm not convinced that the awards are burned to the ground. I think this year's results were a fair reflection of the damage done to them by slate-based nominations. I could, in turn, congratulate you back for breaking the nomination process, but I don't know that that gets us any further.

Were there any particular works that you liked on the final ballot? Which ones, and what about them spoke to you?

#84 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:33 PM:

Serge @77:

Maybe. Let's be courteous to our new guests, though, unless it turns into a sewer or a trollfest.

#85 ::: Zander Nyrond ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:40 PM:

#64 Tom, you're quite right, and I owe Mr Bragg an apology for inadequate research. Thank you for pointing it out, and I'm glad you like my filk.

#86 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:40 PM:

Sumana @67

I'm sorry that chant hurt you. At the time I really liked it and it did make me feel better but I didn't think how it would feel to a sincere believer.

Is there something I can do to make you feel better?

#87 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 01:56 PM:

I was quite tired by the beginning of the ceremony--three hours time difference, I can certainly see why Abi didn't stay up. I also am amazed at the stamina of PNH and TNH to go to the loser's party afterwards. I am not a night person.

I liked Silverbob reminding us that everything was going to be OK. I didn't think/know that it would be offensive to sing/chant the chant. I did think that Kumbaya would be appropriate since with all the smoke, it seems like a campout.

I liked the tribute to Jay Lake. He faced his illness with strength and grace.

#88 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:02 PM:

Sarah @ 33: "People who have attended more than a handful of Worldcons can probably describe the event better. I was not alive at the time..."

I initially read this as referring to Silverberg's Hare Krishna chant, and thought "And you've recovered so quickly!"

#89 ::: Gement ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:04 PM:

People who attended the losers party, please dish! I'd really like to hear about that party, as it was supposed to be supportive to all concerned. I'd like to know how well that came through in practice.

#90 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:06 PM:

I was deeply moved by the tribute to people who have died in the past year. Particularly in that I hadn't realized filkers were included (and at least one of those filkers would definitely have been sympathetic to the Puppies, so it seems to have been an impartial tribute.)

Having Connie Willis come up afterward was the perfect touch to get the ceremony back to lightness again.

And I thought I was going to bust a gut when that remark about a rabid marmot came up, though I later learned that the marmot is kind of a mascot of Spokane, so it wasn't a File 770 shout-out.

And I really loved Laura J. Mixon's speech.

I had no idea these ceremonies were so fun and touching; I had never seen one before watching the livestream this year. This makes me want to go to a WorldCon.

#91 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:26 PM:

I am bemused by those who felt that result was a victory or success. Generally, the 4 professional fiction Hugos are considered the core of the Hugos by many. Last night, two of them were not even given out due to the attack on the system. The Novelette winner almost surely would not have been the winner in an ordinary year. The best novel Hugo seems to have survived, but the winner only made the ballot due to two Puppy nominees withdrawing.

Next year, it looks far worse in all categories. Puppies were 25 to 30% of the voters. Only extraordinary counter-effort would stop a bloc that large from entirely controlling the nominations, and this time they will check their year of publication and they will check that the authors nominated will accept a puppy nomination.

Next year, barring extreme efforts, there will be no Hugos.


Yeah, we sure showed 'em.

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:28 PM:

They're doing a serpentine vote on EPH.

186 in favor, 62 against!

#93 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:29 PM:

According to my Twitter stream, EPH has passed, 186-62, by serpentine vote. It was amended to have a five-year sunset clause, which seems fair.

I'll be at the Business Meeting in Kansas City; hope to see people there. And many thanks to the people who have worked so hard on EPH.

#94 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:30 PM:

Okay, step one to reduce the problem of slates has been taken. Whew.

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:32 PM:

abi, some of the arguments against it were, um, interesting.
The guy from this year's admins arguing about how much more work it will be, and that they won't be able to do a manual recount was - did he even show up at any of their meetings?
And Glenn Glazer arguing it wasn't a real algorithm. WTF?

#96 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:33 PM:

Brad @40:

You shouldn't assume that everyone who voted for any work nominated by either group of Puppies shares their political goals. Most of those works were published by a major press, and were bought and presumably liked by a bunch of people; see Roger @74 above. Further, I suspect that a number of voters don't like the idea of using No Award as a statement, and so ranked everything.

Based on this year's winners, and the No Award categories, that says to me that the number of dedicated Puppy voters is a very small block indeed.

I would expect the Sad Puppies to fall apart after this, if they have not already done so. It's one thing to believe that you are campaigning for the True Fans who will rise up and support you given a chance; it's another thing entirely to find out that you are part of a disliked minority and even some of the authors you nominated don't like you. I really think that Torgensen is going to have a really hard time putting together any kind of a faction next year. This was a rout.

Teddy Beale's supporters will be unfazed, of course; they wanted to disrupt the Hugos, and they can claim partial victory. But Beale's faction was always a tiny minority; without Torgensen to give him the appearance of respectability, how many votes do you think Beale can really command?

#97 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:33 PM:

E Pluribus Hugo passes to be considered for final ratification next year by wide margin, 186-62. Thought folks on here would want to know. Congrats to Kilo, Jamison, et al. Proud to have voted at first business meeting,

#98 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:35 PM:

Excellent Abi! I'll be in Kansas City business meeting also where we can reaffirm this.

#99 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:36 PM:

EPH just passed by more than 2/3. Will be ratified next year, and has a 5-year sunset clause from the date it actually goes into effect.

Fantastic work, Teresa & Co.!

#100 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:43 PM:

Josh Berkus @96 - claims of partial victory from the Rabid camp remind me of nothing so much as Vichy Dupree fighting the Wolveroach in Cerebus the Aardvark: "I almost had 'im fer a minute there, Countess... he bruised his knuckles purty badly on one'a mah kidneys...."

The only victory, I suppose, is the negative and mean-spirited one of having denied some awards to the people who actually deserved them.... Whoever draws those Puppy logos, they really ought to show those dogs sitting in a manger for SP4.

#101 ::: JAFD ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:44 PM:

A couple of points about Hugo nominations:

Back in the '50's, Joe Phan could have a reading habit that would put before his eyes, probably, over 95% of Hugo-worthy SF published in English in a year. He would receive a half-dozen or so magazines in the mail each month, depending on the vagaries of transatlantic shipping, visit the library or bookstore to get a novel every couple of weeks and a half-dozen original anthologies in a year, and feel equal to meeting Mr. Unamit Ahsredit. And in February he'd go thru the ToC's of last year's issues on their shelf, check his notes on library borrowings, and fill out his ballot in confidence.

But Old Joe's grandsons and granddaughters live in world with more distractions, less time, and more sources of quality SF (should I nominate this story from a New Zealand Ezine if I'm likely its only reader in North America ?)

More of us looked at the five blank spaces and said not "Here are the best I've read" but "Well, I could come up with five I've liked better than the rest, but are they five of the best there was last year" And, lacking confidence, put the ballot aside for further thought and retreived it a week after deadline...

Methinks that in December and January we shall see many blogs and websites and email lists with postings "Here are my opinions on the best of 2014", which will be discussed, disputed, annotated, and emendated. People will read unfamiliar stories, with ballots in hand, weighing message and plot, character and language. The 'slates' of the Social Justice Rogues and the Colicky Pit Bulls will be publicized and critiqued in advance.

And, it is to be hoped, the number of nominating ballots will be several times that of 2015.

Or maybe not. Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

#102 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:47 PM:

abi @ 84... Deal!

#103 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 02:59 PM:

Brad@91: "I am bemused by those who felt that result was a victory or success."

A success is when you achieve the best available outcome. After winning practically any battle, you can say "If only we hadn't been attacked at all!" Sure, that's a better hypothetical outcome. But you still won.

Yes, VD will try the same thing next year. I don't know how well it will work. We talk about "the Puppies" but they are not a clone army. Some will be discouraged; some will get bored. Some will refocus on supporting their favorite authors in non-Hugo-related ways.

The same is true of Hugo voters in general, of course, but our dander is up. I bet (as JAFD just said) that a *lot* of nominating ballots will turn up next year. I am going to send one. First time ever for me.


#104 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:05 PM:

Josh@96 -- I hope you are right. My estimate of 1,800 puppies may overstate it, but they are not a small bloc. I think the low end estimate is 500 to 600 strong rabid puppies -- after all, 586 people put Vox Day as their first choice on their short form editor ballot, and a similar number of sad puppies on top of that -- ie. over 1,000.

That is a large bloc to keep together, so I hope you are right. And general fandom will become more allied against the slates after seeing last night's results, too. So my initial shock of total pessimism may be too strong, but it's still very bad. Certainly for 2016. If ePH is ratified, we'll need to do the math, but they may see that as a challenge rather than a deterrent. Even so, I think a bloc of 1,000 to 1,500 still gets as many as 3 of the nominees in many categories, and possibly 4 of them in some, like short story.

(The puppy nominators overwhelmed the 2nd place non-slate choices by margins of 3 to 1 in some categories, and there were only about 380 of them, and they were not that cohesive, and did not vote in all categories.)

The cohesion is an unanswered question. We have less info on how many puppy supporters just were thrilled at the chance to strike a blow for their values and candidates, and how many were dedicated to destruction of their opponents. Will they have less discipline or more? Since regular fans think discipline is entirely the wrong thing here, we won't counter with that.

ePH will help in 2017, but still several good works will be kicked off the ballot if the puppies continue, though there should be few to no No Award categories. In most elections, failures in the nomination system are fixed by using write-in as the catch-all, and I now have concluded it would have been the best choice for us, and still might need to be.

(I figured out last night how it still could have been added this year, at least technically, to save 2016, since you can move to amend the standing rules to allow new business past the deadline, and the chair can also accept, but it's not going to happen this morning!)

#105 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 03:35 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara #67

I'm with you on this one -- that was unkind. I knew where he was going as soon as he took out that tambourine. (¬_¬)

#106 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 04:42 PM:

#92-93: Since I wondered, from the Noreascon procedures, a "serpentine vote" means asking all on each side of the issue to stand, and count off to determine the vote counts. Apparently so named because they count back and forth along the rows.

#107 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:06 PM:

Ooh! Boustrophedon!

#108 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:18 PM:

Well, damn. I had visions of them rising and proceeding to one side or the other of the room, according to their voting preference, in a stately yet sinuous dance, possibly to the accompaniment of viols, tambors and fifes. Burning of costly incenses in jewelled thuribles to be optional, but strongly recommended.

(You have to admit it would make the voting more aesthetically pleasing.)

#109 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:21 PM:

I heard elsewhere that 4/6 (barely) passed. Is that true? Did both proposals pass?

#110 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:26 PM:

Chris Meadows @109, From what is posted on file770, both passed. I gather they'll work just fine together, however.

#111 ::: Jim Henley ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:26 PM:

@JAFD: You make a great point. What the Skunk-at-the-Picnic people taught me this year is that I need to lower my standards. There were some Pup supporters who defended their actions by saying, "I did so read all the works on the slate, and I liked them!" And my instinctive reaction was, "But - that's not enough! Sure you liked those five in that category. But unless you've read at least, oh, fifteen works in that category, how do you know that those five are really the most deserving?"

Now I realize that the nomination stage should be for registering your legitimate enthusiasm for what you read, regardless of how widely. This year I would not have nominated "The Litany of Earth" because, surely, I needed to read 14 other novelettes to be qualified to nominate for that category. If I got a redo of this year, I'd nominate it because it blew my doors off, and that's enough. If it blew off the doors of enough other fans, it would hit the final five and everyone could decide whether they thought it worthy of an award. If not, not.

Next year, I'll nominate whatever I've read and loved (not liked). That may be one work in a category. It may be two, three or five. And The System, Man, will sort it all out if everyone does the same.

#112 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:38 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale @43:

...No Award got more first place votes than The Day The World Turned Upside Down...A fair number of fans did feel No Award was the right choice when there was only one non-puppy choice on the ballot, which is understandable.
How about people who would have been willing to vote for a single non-puppy nominee, but just didn't like Heuvelt's story? (To my certain knowledge, the number of these is not zero.)

#113 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:39 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @20: Now that the Hugo stats are out, I think I'll spend some time looking at the longlists and finding new things to read. Seems like the best way to move forward past this whole mess.

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but is/should there be there a place to consolidate recs for 2015 works elligible for nomination for next year?

I had gotten a supporting membership but the prospect of catching up on even the shortlist was overwhelming, so I bailed.

I might just be able to deal if I start now. (And my intuition is that the nomination phase is going to be especially important next year.)

Meanwhile, tangentially, I woke up this morning thinking I really really want to nominate Google Deep Dream for Best Artist. My only question: would it be fan or pro? (I'm leaning toward fan...?) Purely aside from it's innate coolness, I think it that, given that we had (I think) a recordly diverse field this year, and Best Novel was awarded from FREAKIN' SPACE*, how cool would it be to have a nominee next year that's an AI?

* Yes, I am totally over-squee about that.

#114 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:48 PM:

Jacque, there are at least two websites with Hugo-eligible lists out there. If nobody posts the links before the next time I look, I'll try to hunt them up for you.

#115 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 05:53 PM:

I think someone already linked to this, but it bears repeating:
Hugo Nominations Wiki.
There's also a Google Doc.

Everyone who is eligible should try to nominate something next year. It's gotten important.

#116 ::: between4walls ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:04 PM:

I wasn't fond of the Hare Krishna chant either, even though I realize it was mocking the Hare Krishnas and not Hindus generally. But I have family who are Hindu and didn't like seeing sacred names used as a joke, without any apparent awareness that they were venerated by a living religion.

It would be like if Christianity were only known in this country by a small, funny evangelical cult. It still would hurt regular Christians if the name of Jesus was used as a joke.

#117 ::: PresN ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:14 PM:

My prediction for the rabid puppy slate next year:

VD goes full troll, and puts together a ridiculous slate that combines "conservative" fiction a la Wright, literally unreadable dreck read by 3 people including the author's mother (published by Castalia), and stories by "enemies" a la Scalzi without consent- that way he can declare victory at every step of the way no matter what happens without having to bother with actual "goals".

The Sad Puppies, I expect will coordinate with a slate that overlaps greatly, but replaces the nonsense fiction with carefully placed minorities- many of whom end up declining later. Sarah Hoyt has never struck me as someone who would take a calm, peacekeeping path when an angry, self-victimizing path exists.

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:37 PM:

Theophylact #107: Yup.

So, I glanced around the Sasquan site without finding the videos of the award ceremony. Anyone have links handy?

#119 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:45 PM:

As far as next year's Hugos are concerned: my issue as a potential nominator is that I'm not a very good one due to my rather shallow reading in the field these days. I'm weak precisely where the puppies are strong: in the short fiction. They are strong there precisely because there are, I surmise, a lot of people like myself who aren't reading the short form stuff and therefore aren't up to making legitimate rankings.

The stats tell me that the nomination stage is still vulnerable. The novel cat doesn't show a big notch where puppies leave of, but the short fiction cats sure do. It's going to take a huge kick-up in the short fiction nominations to drown out another puppy slate, unless a few stories come along that everyone nominates.

#120 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:46 PM:

You can add me to the list of people bothered by the Hare Krishna chant. It's not something I would have participated in had I been present, and, to me, it felt different from the multi-lingual greetings David and Tananarive opened the ceremony with. That felt welcoming. Silverberg's commentary did not. And had he chosen to use a Hebrew prayer, I would have been just as unhappy. It did not seem to be a moment of grace.

I'm unsure overall about the whole "blessing of the Hugos" thing. I really do not know that this is something that belongs in the ceremony, especially give the diversity of the community, which is made up of people of many faiths and also people who are atheists.

Overall, I thought some of the speeches--even Connie Willis's--went on too long. But the Dalek was funny and the space station stuff was _amazing_.

#121 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:04 PM:

Looking at the breakout stats (and without a lot of time to delve into them in detail; was on my way to see Michael K. Frith and Kathryn Mullen talk about Fraggle Rock, and other stuff). It looks as if there were about 500 really dedicated puppies. There was *an* indicator in that of about 800, but it didn't seem to repeat: I have thoughts about that, but would need to take an hour or two to test the hypothesis against the available evidence

I say this because there were an anomalous number of "no award" votes categories the Puppies didn't have any candidates. I'd have to look at previous years; and ratios, to be certain. If it's true I find it painfully ironic.

It's not the best of news (those 5-800 dedicated followers of fashion), but it's not the worst.

We knew this wasn't going to go away; it's why so much thought and effort were put into the proposals we hashed out. With luck those will both pass into effect next year and the swamp the slate tactic will be almost impossible to pull off.

Next year will be interesting. The big question is how many of the people who took part this year can be kept active enough to participate next year. The one's who kicked in to the final vote this year get to nominate next year; without spending extra money.

That makes a slate easier for them to pull off (even assuming some fall-off from those who vote to those who nominate, getting a couple of hundred to lock-step next year is probably doable).

Which means I fear there will be one more round of this; even if a significant portion of those who voted in this year's ballot nominate next year.

I'd like to think there are enough good books to get enough nominees above the puppy slate numbers, but absent a non-puppy slate (which I think would require another asterisk) I fear it's not possible. There is too much in the way of good writing out there (which is why the system was gameable in the first place.

So yes, we had a success, maybe even a victory. I think the outcome of the dispute is pretty certain (i.e. slates will be crippled past 2016), but 2016 could be a repeat of this, with the more reactionary of the Canes depubes rallied to try and claim one actual, rather than phyrric, victory.

#122 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:24 PM:

"Harry Warner,
Harry Warner,
Warner Warner,
Harry Harry…"

#123 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:31 PM:

#119 ::: C. Wingate

If any consolation, you don't need to be widely read in a category to nominate, you just need to have something you're enthusiastic about.

#124 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:37 PM:

Chris@109/Cassy@110: Correct, 4 and 6 passed by a vote of 86 to 82. It seemed less popular overall than EPH, probably lost a bunch of support when EPH passed, but picked up some support from *opponents* of EPH who now think having an alternative on the agenda boosts their chances of defeating EPH next year.

If EPH passes next year, 4 and 6 will not do much to battle slates, but it will increase the number of finalists, which I am (weakly) convinced is a good thing. 4 and 6 will almost certainly be considered after EPH, so in the event of an EPH win I'll move to change the numbers to 5 and 6, which our voting experts say will work better with EPH, and which is a small enough change to the amendment that it won't require an additional year of ratification. (6 and 6 would need to be ratified in Helsinki.)

#125 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 07:59 PM:

Thanks for the responses.

Cat, you asked: "Is there something I can do to make you feel better?"

On Saturday, with family (some Hindu, some not), I went to see the new South Indian blockbuster film Baahubali: The Beginning. Early in the film, the protagonist gets frustrated that his mom is wearing herself out bringing holy water from a nearby river to ritually pour over a Shivalingam (rounded stone cylinder used for worshipping Shiva). So Baahubali physically picks up this enormous Shivalingam, which weighs like a ton, and carries it to the river, placing it under a waterfall. This is in one sense super sacrilegious -- he uses a makeshift crowbar to wrench the Shivalingam out of the ground, ignoring priests' and laity's gasps and protests -- but in another sense completely respectful of the gods and of the ritual framework. It's so badass that the movie poster depicts this scene, evidently without fear of offending Hindus.

There are a bunch of scifi/fantasy films out of India recently that engage with Hinduism. Eega literally uses reincarnation as a plot device. RangiTaranga has little Hindu-aware touches, like a guy covering up a pratfall by saying he meant to fall to the other guy's feet to ask for his blessing, and larger ones, like the specifically Hindu demon that seems to menace a protagonist. And that's just in the last three years from South India, not even Mumbai; Bollywood's been doing speculative fiction grounded in the Hindu tradition for decades.

Short fiction: Elizabeth Bear's "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" is pretty accessible to non-Hindus, as is "Archana and Chandni" by Iona Sharma. Check out these recommendations for South Asian speculative fiction -- many of these authors engage specifically with Hindu tradition and practice.

I'm glad that saying "Hare Krishna" in a room with our community helped some people feel better. It would make me feel better if more non-Hindu sf/f fans read or watched a bit of sf/f that takes Hinduism seriously, especially sf/f by Hindus. This doesn't mean everything in those works is reverent -- you saw how I described that Shivalingam scene in Baahubali. But, you know, they basically treat Hinduism and Hindus as something beyond set dressing and non-player characters.

I have read A Canticle for Leibowitz, and a ton of James Morrow, and The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss, and various Orson Scott Card, and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and so much stuff about Arthuriana and golems and demons and fairies and Athena and you get the picture. I'm not asking you to meet me halfway. But read or watch one additional thing that you wouldn't have before I asked? That would be pretty neat.

#126 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:00 PM:

Will the gnomes please release my comment, which had several links? I offer some freshly carbonated water.

#127 ::: Cassy B. flags down the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:09 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @ 125 has been gnomed.

#128 ::: Carol Kimball flags the gnomes for Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:12 PM:

...and is among those hoping for a link to a ceremonies' video.

#129 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:21 PM:

A Jewish prayer would've been better because 1) Silverberg is, as I understand, at least nominally part of that culture and 2) "We have a blessing for everything" is a fine old joke.

(when in doubt, shehecheyanu probably has you covered...)

#130 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:47 PM:

This was my first Worldcon, after a 20 year absence from any organized fanish activity. It was my wife's first fanish exposure. We had a wonderful time; both our thanks to the welcoming community, and the the kind folks I met at the ML dinner.

As a governance nerd, I spent much too long in the business meetings - I've never before seen such a well-run "public" meeting. Well done! I had also never before seen a serpentine vote performed - I'm impressed at it's efficiency. I'm even more impressed that the WSFS hasn't gone the way of so many other organizations with hidden ballots. The open voting serves very well to reinforce that even when viewpoints diverge we are still a community that works together.

I'm so glad EPH passed, and I hope to see many of you again next year at MidAmeriCon II!

#131 ::: Gary Arbuthnot ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:52 PM:

I have a question: I am told that if a category get a "No Award" in back-to-back years, that category goes away. Is this so?

If so, what are the chances that another "No Award" can be forced onto one of the five categories that received one this year?

~Gary

#132 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:55 PM:

I don't know if it would help or hurt to understand that the Hare Krishnas weren't considered to be particularly Hindu at that time. I think they're much closer to standard Hindu practices now.(Most of them were, IIRC, European-ancestry Americans.)

#133 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:10 PM:

@131 -- No the category doesn't go away.

Some Worldcons have a special one-time category in the Hugos, and that one DOES disappear after that Worldcon.

No Award has no magic powers to banish a category.

#134 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:13 PM:

Gary Arbuthnot @131, I think you've been misinformed. I went to the Hugo Awards Wiki and found no such rule.

#135 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:13 PM:

Should one go look over at Torgersen’s blog, you'll find that he is changing commenter’s words if he disagrees with them – and is admitting to doing so.

What a shockingly dishonorable (and juvenile!) thing to do; confirmation, if any were still needed at this point, that Torgersen lacks any sense of honor at all.

Wow. I find that I’m surprised that these guys can still shock me.

#136 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:45 PM:

'As You Know' Bob @ #135:
Should one go look over at Torgersen’s blog, you'll find that he is changing commenter’s words if he disagrees with them – and is admitting to doing so.

Ethics aside, doesn't admitting to it kind of negate the effort of changing the words in the first place? I mean, "my enemies are so bad I've had to manufacture evidence to prove it" seems to have a lot of flaws as an argument.

#137 ::: Gary Arbuthnot ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:50 PM:

Ah, good.

#138 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 09:59 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @ 125: Thank you for the reading list!

#139 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:33 PM:

It has been such an emotional roller coaster this last day that I feel like....lord, I don't know. Drained and wistful and fuzzily grateful.

The sort of day where it's dangerous to listen to music with words because you'll wind up crying because you just identify with that one song SO MUCH (where said song could be virtually anything.)

Anyway. I feel more like part of fandom than I ever have, and that may fade as life knocks the edges off, but I am very fond of us, flawed people that we are.

#140 ::: Dicentra rubra ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:37 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @ 125:

I'll add my thanks as well for the many suggestions, so kind (and kindly phrased).

#141 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:41 PM:

between4walls @ 116 But I have family who are Hindu and didn't like seeing sacred names used as a joke, without any apparent awareness that they were venerated by a living religion.

I wasn't there, but the Hare Krishna chant strikes me as one of those things which is "as sacred as you want it to be." On one hand, you can believe that it's some kind of joke, and of course it was a joke on some level. On the other hand, you can see it as a kind of ritual invocation which states that what was happening fifty years ago is happening today, that controversies continue, that difficult Worldcons continue, and the dance of Light and Darkness continues, overseen by ancient spiritual forces that are beyond our ken.

And Silverberg is both old enough and smart enough to understand that the whole thing works on both levels. Anyone who is offended by his use of the chant, or by the laughter, is missing something both important and powerful. I should also note that Zelazny's Lord of Light won the Hugo at Baycon in 1968, for portraying a universe where people from India are conquering an alien world.

(Pro Tip: It's worth checking out what else won a Hugo that year and contemplating the possible symbolisms of a callback to Baycon!)

[Two paragraphs commented out by moderator at poster's request.]

#142 ::: Gement ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:08 PM:

Sumana @ 125 :: Thanks for putting the effort into this list. I look forward to digging into it.

Alex @ 141 :: No. A world of no. This comment is the distillation of fans behaving badly when someone speaks up and says, "That hurt." If you're not living with your culture being a constant punchline, put down the holy putter and have some respect.

#143 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:11 PM:

Alex R.: I have to admit, my first response to that is...not particularly cordial, and I'm not especially Hindu.

Protip: When someone tells you they're insulted, offended, or upset by something, the correct response is not to earnestly explain to them how no reasonable person could possibly be insulted, offended, or upset by that thing.

#144 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:22 PM:

Sorry if the tone was off. I'm having a very bad week and nothing I've tried to say has worked very well.

If some kind moderator would remove the last two paragraphs of my previous comment, I'd be much obliged.

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:26 PM:

Alex R: And Silverberg is both old enough and smart enough to understand that the whole thing works on both levels. Anyone who is offended by his use of the chant, or by the laughter, is missing something both important and powerful.

Just no.

Setting aside any thoughts I might have on this, no. Imagine, if you will, that you said that about someone reciting the Kol Nidre, or the Misere Nobis. Would you tell someone who was of one of those religious affiliations that they didn't get it?

No. You don't get to tell someone that they aren't allowed to have reactions to the use/misuse of their religion/culture because you think it serves a greater good.

#146 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:33 PM:

Alex R @141

"as holy as you want it to be"--if you're not a member of the faith in question, you really can't determine that.

people run around co-opting bits of other people's religions all the time, especially by saying things like, "this is secular now because so many people are doing it" or "I don't think it's religious and therefore I'm not doing anything wrong by wearing this item of clothing/piece of jewelry."

another example, for instance, is the wearing of the bindi mark or bindi jewelry. many white people think this is just a pretty decoration but that doesn't change the fact that it has religious significance and should not be worn by people who do not share the faith.

this attitude, which is usually expressed by members of a majority religion, doesn't make the acts less offensive to those whose religions are being co-opted...and often altered in the process.

#147 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:33 PM:

Hm. I suspect I am still a bit raw from a lot of things in the past few weeks.

I should rather like to lighten the mood, but poetry seems to be escaping me. Perhaps I need to read some. Issa comes to mind (obSF, his name is Kobayashi Issa)

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
     casually.

The crow
walks along there
as if it were tilling the field.

The snow melts
and floods the village
    with children

#148 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 11:35 PM:

#125 ::: Sumana Harihareswara

Thank you for the reading list.

I think James Morrow is an ambiguous example for Christian influence in sf-- what I've read of his stuff is what I'd call rather heavy-handed satire of Christianity.

It's Christian influence in the sense that his readers are expected to understand what he's criticizing, but unless I missed something, it isn't pro-Christianity.

#149 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:05 AM:

Could somebody recap/explain the asterisk thing to me? I somehow missed that reference, and didn't understand the bit at the ceremony.

(Also: ignore if this has been asked/answered; I'm behind on this thread.)

#150 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:17 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @125: Please add my voice to the chorus of thanks to the reading list. While I live in a largely Hindu neighborhood in NYC, what we do not have, AFAIK, is a good bookstore (and particularly not one that offers good secular fiction from South Asia). (I apologize if my earlier comment was in any way offensive; it was not meant to be, and I should have made it far clearer that what I was noting was my own perception rather than absolute truth.)

Nancy Lebovitz @72: Anti-religion, yes, and in too many cases, anti-Christian.

Zander Nyrond @45: Second, applause. Very nice indeed. But first, a bit of startlement because your opening line invoked Steve Goodman ("Vegematic") for me and I tried to fit the entire first verse into that tune.

#151 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:40 AM:

#149: The asterisk: Imagine a sporting event which was compromised in some way. Like the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which were boycotted by the US and many other western nations. Or any Tour de France in which Lance Armstrong competed.

The winners of medals at these events might have asterisks, with footnotes explaining while the events occurred and people competed and won medals . . . there were circumstances that made the honors less than would be otherwise.

#152 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:49 AM:

(That should have been: The records might show asterisks next to the winners of the medals...)

#153 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:08 AM:

Stefan Jones @151-152: Or the most infamous sports-record asterisk of them all, assigned by Major League Baseball to Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs in a season, breaking the record previously held by Babe Ruth. The asterisk was justified by Maris doing it in a 162-game season, while Ruth did in 154, of course.

#154 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:09 AM:

re 31: I saw Uprooted at the game store my son frequents and decided to get it today. It's looking good so far.

#155 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:16 AM:

Morrow’s work is typically highly critical of religion in general, and of Christianity in particular, but it’s written in a Christian (or sometimes Jewish, or generally Abrahamic) context. The Continent of Lies (my favorite Morrow story) assumes the reader is familiar with the Garden of Eden story, and Only Begotten Daughter with the gospels.

Hey, did I ever mention how I found that Morrow was in the same train car as I was, coming back from the 2009 Montreal Worldcon? I asked him if the title of his then-latest novel, The Philosopher’s Apprentice, had been inspired by the title of the first Harry Potter being being changed for US publication. It hadn’t.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:43 AM:

File 770 is saying Wright as no longer being with Tor. Link to comment quoting Wright.

#157 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:30 AM:

Just to ignore the puppy thing for a while, I loved Guardians of the Galaxy, but I'm amazed Interstellar didn't do better: I thought it was the standout SF film of the last ten years, even better than Gravity.

Well, what do I know?

#158 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:35 AM:

It seems to me that discussion of Wright’s latest blog post is likely to produce the sort of comments about Wright that Patrick wouldn’t want on his official blog. This is especially awkward since Patrick is away at Worldcon.

#159 ::: Ryan H ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:45 AM:

Yeah, any discussion about specific people might be better suited to 770 or elsewhere.

#160 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:04 AM:

In happier news, I just realized that the vast majority of tumblr doesn't know how to nominate for the Hugos, or what is eligible. Next year when the season comes up, I am going to tell everybody how you vote for Hugos, and that episodes of Steven Universe and Gravity Falls will both be eligible.

The question is, what episodes of Steven Universe would I suggest? They're 11 minute episodes so it should probably be at least a two episode set, but I'm not sure whether it'd be better to do 48+49 or 49+50 of Season 1. Still... that section of the show is the best SF television I've seen in YEARS (well, other than orphan black), its fans are by and large hardcore SF&F nerds, it's got such cool worldbuilding... and until this year, I'd never even thought about nominating anything for the Hugos.

If Otakon is anything to judge by, the show is incredibly popular... as popular (or more popular) than Adventure Time was during its heyday.

(Oh, and want to get more young people to go to Worldcon? Watch Steven Universe or Gravity Falls, nominate 'em if you like 'em wel enough, and get their creators/artists/writers to come.)

Really, everything else could go terribly, and if Steven Universe and Mad Max: Fury Road both ended up on the ballot, that'd be the strongest possible repudiation of the politics of regression. Ooh, and personally I'll probably nominate Ex Machina too, of course.

I'm still cooling down from the hype and excitement but seriously... I heartily recommend Steven Universe for your consideration next year. It starts out seeming like a fairly standard homage to magical girl shows, and slowly deepens into something much weirder and more science fictional... with hints of some of the most interesting non-human social worldbuilding I've seen in a while. Episodes are 11 minutes long, and it's a little bit of a slow burn as a result. though I'd say starting at the beginning and watching through episode 12 will give you a good idea of the direction things are going. That's 130 minutes, or like 3 episodes of a typical american-length drama. The explosion of plot developments known as the "Steven Bomb" doesn't start until around episode 40, I think, and it was at that point that I noticed an explosion of passion for the series from online fandoms.

The best bet for next year is to spread information to large, passionate fanbases who don't know how to nominate or vote yet.

#161 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:10 AM:

Paul @130: Yes 1000%. Kevin Standlee and his team (I'd list their names but I can't remember all 5 off the top of my head)
did an *incredible* job of maneuvering the entire agenda, including two new, complex Constitutional amendments, at least one of which was controversial, through only 11 hours--3 to set schedules & debate time, and the other 8 for everything else. He made sure every side was heard (every voice would've been impossible), and kept the agenda firmly on the rails through at least two appeals of the Chair's ruling and multiple amendments.

Melissa @120: As an agnostic UU, I have no problem with the general concept of blessing the Hugos, and would not be bothered by either a non-denominational blessing or one that was in the speaker's religion.

#162 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:20 AM:

Heh. I'd love to bless the Hugos in MY religion. Then JCW would have to pray he didn't win one (because it would be tainted with icky Wiccan cooties, not because I'd do anything nasty).

This year Lenore attended the Business Meeting, and requested CART so she could follow it. Many people besides her found it useful. Hardly anyone said "what? repeat that please," because it was right there on the screen.

I think that may have shortened the whole process substantially, when you add up all those tiny delays that didn't happen.

ETA: Showed this to Lenore prior to posting it; she said one of the regular attendees of WSFS business meetings actually told her that CART had shortened the meeting time.

I guess in prior meetings people had to repeat themselves until they were hoarse. Yes, they were hoarse before the CART.

#163 ::: Shane ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:20 AM:

Rachael Acks has linked to video of the business meeting along with her excellent liveblog (and dapper self) here: http://katsudon.net/?p=4365

Straight to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUE4UD_dOMY&list=PL0oLnkb-s4Yd_nZwV7lG_aItUV_5aP0aB

#164 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:44 AM:

Leah Miller @160, yeah, I’ve been loving Steven Universe. I’ve had a partially-written post about it sitting on my hard drive for over a month, waiting for me to get coherent.

#165 ::: cheem ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:44 AM:

So there's video of the business meeting, but is there video of the ceremony? I missed it and would like to watch...

#166 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:46 AM:

Shane at 163 I guess in prior meetings people had to repeat themselves until they were hoarse. Yes, they were hoarse before the CART.

During one D&D game a friend named his halfling Descarte. I set things up so he was in charge of leading the pony... *Runs away!*

#167 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:50 AM:

It's not clear whether there will be a video of the Hugo ceremony available. The Sasquan Twitter account wasn't able to say one way or another.

They also snarked me when I tweeted about it. I haven't been enchanted by the Sasquan Twitter account for a while.

So can I ask a favor? Can we explain what happened for things like the asterisks, for those of us who didn't watch, and now don't look to be able to catch up on the fannish history we missed?

Yes, I am feeling disgruntled.

#168 ::: Devin Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:04 AM:

#49 Brad from Sunnyvale said:

(And there seem to be many who voted works below no award, in spite of the attempt to educate about it, but it did not have a negative effect.)
I don't understand a scenario in which filling in a complete preference list (i.e. including items below no award) can lead to a worse outcome for me and my preferences than one in which I do not so vote. I have read the rules (and lived in Australia). Please, educate me.

Expressing a preference between bad and worse can prevent worse. Not so doing is a win under what circumstances?

#169 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:07 AM:

That… blog post… of Wright's probably calls for some sort of response from PNH, but I'll be damned if I can tell what sort. [shakes head in confusion]

#170 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:18 AM:

I don't think it's Patrick's obligation to answer every unhinged rant that appears on the internet about him.

<snark>Assuming the post was about him. Between the spelling and the unwillingness to acknowledge that Patrick and Teresa use a combined surname, Wright did not once actually name Patrick Nielsen Hayden in the entire screed.</snark>

#171 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:38 AM:

Devin #168 -- a truly complete preference list with items below No Award will not lead to a worse outcome. A large fraction of voters, however, do not read/evaluate all the works, and so they don't fill out a complete set, and as such they can cause a result other than what they intended (being counted as a vote to give a Hugo to a disliked work competing with an unranked work.)

Some people we see with votes transferred to other works from NA ranked all works, but it is a probable assumption that some did not, based on typical voting patterns.

It is a common misunderstanding that "Unranked" means "Below everything here," including No Award if it is ranked. People have an emotional feeling that "Below No Award" is more negative than "unranked" but that is a false feeling.

If nothing was unranked, you're cool.

#172 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:45 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara: #125 Thanks for the recs!

Regarding the Baahubali scene: In the mythopoetic contexts I'm more familiar with, such a stunt would mark the doer as a mythic figure in themselves. Would that interpretation fit into the movie?

#173 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:46 AM:

James@157 -- our tastes clearly differ, since I felt Gravity and Interstellar were super well made movies with absolutely ridiculous science in them -- and in the case of Interstellar a muddled ending.

It's funny, though. Guardians of the Galaxy also has ridiculous science in it, more fantasy than SF. But because it's a comedy it doesn't pretend to have otherwise. And we are strange that way -- we are more bothered by something that pretends or aspires to being good SF and blows it, than something which deliberately doesn't aspire to that and does well what it tried to do.

My own preference was probably Edge of Tomorrow -- which also has fantasy time travel aliens in it. Edge of Tomorrow stayed within the realm of decent time travel fiction, though, and once you are ready to accept time travel fiction, it did a good job of it. I like my DP winner to meet the test of "be decent SF if it were written."

Which reminds me of my disappointment that nowhere on the DP nominees list did we see the White Christmas special of Black Mirror. Did nobody see that? As far as I am concerned, that's a serious contender for the best episode of SF TV ever made in history, not just in 2014. Yet it seems to be unrecognized by fans, and oddly, its predecessor episodes (also super good) found no recognition even in an English worldcon. What's up with that?

#174 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 06:01 AM:

Re: David@112, and "The Day the World Turned Upside Down".

I really disliked most of that story, not just in general (not to my taste) but also in execution (I did not consider it well done). I would not recommend it to people, so I won't rank it above "no award". However, I *did* rank it below.

Not a question of a "field of one" - I liked Mixon's and Dillon's work well enough to vote for it. Just my personal take on "not Hugo material".

#175 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 06:02 AM:

Me #172: And reading the film synopsis: Oh yeah, that dude is totally a mythic figure.

#176 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:36 AM:

abi @170: Well… Dignified Silence is certainly a response… and I don't think anybody could blame PNH for choosing that one.

#177 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:54 AM:

Greg @161:

Most UU I know started as Christians, and therefore are still affiliated/aligned with the majority religion of the US. I suggest that people of a general Christian alignment are more comfortable with public blessings than people of a minority religion. Members of minority religions are rarely asked to be the ones to bless a convocation in the first place and in many places, when they do, there is backlash because they're "not our kind" and/or using unfamiliar blessings, sometimes in unfamiliar languages. There have been outcries in recent years about Muslim blessings at public events, for instance.

Members of minority religions may feel uncomfortable with public blessings conducted on behalf of the majority religion, depending on their experiences of persecution by the majority religion and/or their historical understandings of same. People conducting blessings may use that opportunity to present a slant or send a message (whether they are from the majority or minority faiths) which may be quite pointed rather than a general blessing--I'm thinking here of blessings where the speaker prays for the conversion of those present, sometimes in coded speech, sometimes more obviously, and of blessings that discuss "outsiders," some of which I have personally experienced. This can sometimes actually be even more uncomfortable if the person giving the blessing is unaware that members of minority religions are present.

If the blessing is given on behalf of the majority religion and involves any form of call-and-response or group recitation of a prayer, members of minority religions have sometimes awkward choices to make: play along? keep silent? Playing along may cause the person to compromise their own belief; staying silent may make the person stand out in the group, which is not always a good thing. It's not pleasant to have people staring at you or asking questions about why you chose not to participate, especially in the public sphere where you may not know all the people around you and may not have allies present. Of course, participating isn't always sufficient camouflage; one may not know the correct in-group way to perform.

I'm aware that this can happen in one's own faith as well; my former congregation adopted a new prayer book a few years ago and changed the melodies of some prayers and it was quite disconcerting for some older members, who had difficulty changing to the new tunes--especially if they only attended services a few times a year. it was also odd when one visited congregations that were not using the new melodies; there was--for me--a moment where I had to shift gears in order to sing the older tune. But it didn't make me feeling too conspicuous, as opposed to times when I've refused to take communion when literally everyone else present was doing so.

#178 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:09 AM:

Sumana, 125: Thank you for the recs! I often find myself daunted by enormous traditions I know nothing about, and you've given me a reliable starting place.

Brad, 173: I've never even heard of Black Mirror. I don't have a TV, but usually I'm aware of the fannish squee about the latest shows. But for this? Nothing at all.

Inge, 174: I hated that story too. I can't remember if I ranked it or not, but if I did it was below No Award. Now that it's won, however...well, I'm a translator. Two winning translations in a year might bring me work, you know?

Melissa, 177: I agree completely. I'm a churchgoing Christian, and I find all public prayer in secular settings offensive. Because I grew up in Evangelical Fundieland, and I'm an Episcopalian, I'm very conscious of how it feels to be left out of the prayer--and I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I truly were outside of the dominant group. (If it's a non-Christian prayer given by someone who practices that religion, I'm less upset, but it's still one of my least favorite American habits.)

#179 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:29 AM:

Glad my previous comment was helpful! Thanks should definitely go to Anil Menon and Vandana Singh for their Strange Horizons interview with Samit Basu, Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Indrapramit Das, Payal Dhar, Swapna Kishore, Suchitra Mathur, Arvind Mishra, Shweta Narayan, and Manjula Padmanabhan (scroll down to Question Five for their several reading suggestions). This conversation has reminded me that I need to pick up Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana on my Kobo. And of course here I am following in the tradition of Deepa D. whose "I Didn't Dream of Dragons" essay is an indirect commentary on Elizabeth Bear's work.

I need to be careful: I am trying to not conflate "South Asian" with "engaging with Hinduism" in the works I mention! I wouldn't want anyone to think I am ignoring Usman Malik's "The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family" or other works that engage more specifically with Islam. And I need to also mention speculative fiction that engages deeply with Hinduism, like some of Shweta Narayan's poetry, or "Promise of the पुरवाई" by Dhobi ki Kutti, but is more challenging and less accessible to an audience that is not already familiar with Hinduism. (Question three in that Strange Horizons interview evokes some interesting thoughts on exoticism, setting, and assumptions about what the reader already knows.)

As Avram says -- Morrow assumes the reader knows enough about Judeo-Christianity to get his references. Super irreverent, but the specific religions he's being irreverent towards -- for the length of the entire book -- are Judaism and Christianity. For comparison: when I was a kid, I read a ton of Amar Chitra Katha comic books that covered South Asian legends, folklore, history, and myths. That's how I originally read the Mahabharata, for instance. The sadly shortlived webcomic "ACK!" parodies the Mahabharata and specifically those educational comic books.

David Harmon: There's a Baahubali in ancient myth (in fact I just reread the Amar Chitra Katha about him) who is not the character depicted in the film. But yeah this film is super myth-level. There is a super sexist bit about Baahubali harassing a woman warrior into falling in love with him and giving up her soldier career (if you find anything empowering in the story of Mulan then this is the opposite of that), but there's also an unearthly pretty bit where the ethereal image of a woman sings and coaxes Baahubali to climb an impossibly high waterfall, and I am at a loss for words to describe how gorgeous that scene is.

It would be interesting to see a movie like Baahubali or Eega on the Hugo ballot for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form someday!

#180 ::: Sumana Harihareswara has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:30 AM:

I posted another comment that had many links; will you please release it? I have a snack of crackers and salsa to offer.

#181 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:50 AM:

Melissa @177:

I wouldn't say that most formerly-Christian UUs I know are "affiliated with" or "aligned with" Christianity; most of the ones I know left Christianity because they were deeply hurt by it in one way or another, so while they may still have issues regarding viewing Christianity as the assumed default, they're not terribly likely to be sympathetic toward public Christian prayer. I do agree with your general assessment, just not with where you're placing UUs. YUUMV. (I've only been a member of two different UU congregations, in different cities, so my experience is limited.)

#182 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:21 AM:

I would not be offended at someone praying according to their own religion (free exercise and all that) but appropriating someone else's is disrespectful.

#183 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:42 AM:

Posting something here because I want to try and process it, and it’s Hugo-related: the only negative comment I’ve encountered on the recent Hugos that really bothered me came from someone I’ve recently friended in an online forum, who seems to be a decent, if sometimes impetuous person. Yesterday she posted "If you support Mixon, we're going to have problems. Consider unfriending,” and explained that she considers Mixon to have stalked RH/BS and exaggerated and provoked her behaviour.

I think my friend’s view of RH/BS is a severe case of “there but for the grace of God go I” —she has acknowledged that she was a jerk in some online forums in the past, although people who’ve known her longer than I have have countered that she never directed the same level of vitriol at anyone that RH did. Really, I think the issue is that as a transwoman, she’s reacting instinctively to a case of someone’s current identity being publicly linked to a past one, and not taking into account that it’s the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the identities, not their existence, that’s sparked anger.

At least one person has made gentle attempts to argue with her, and others have asked her to PM them, possibly to argue in a less-public way; and she’s softened to the point of agreeing that bad behaviour in meatspace may justifiably result in a blacklist, but that as far as online behaviour goes, even using a phrase like “the community remembers” is excessive punishment. So far I’ve said nothing to her either way, feeling like I don’t have enough first-hand knowledge to address the topic. She seems to have moved on to being mad at TERFs, in which I can heartily agree with her, so should I just let it go for now? I guess I worry that silence=hypocrisy, but then there's not wanting to add fuel to someone's fire.

#184 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:44 AM:

Thank you, gnomes, for all the releasing of my link-laden posts!

Xopher @ #162 -- Yay CART! That's a great piece of news.

For those who don't know about Computer-Assisted Realtime Transcription, also referred to as "live captioning," it can really help conference participants for a variety of reasons. My friend Mirabai Knight discusses when it's a good idea to offer CART instead of or in addition to a sign language interpreter. CART for the awards ceremonies and for Guest of Honor speeches at sf/f conventions would be great; WisCon does this.

In response to TexAnne @ #178 and others, regarding translation: Do you have favorite translators (including yourself) whose translations of speculative fiction I should look out for, or sites/feeds I should watch so I can learn of recent translated works? I know about Read Paper Republic, which is not specific to sf/f, and about the the Society of Authors translator listing (which does not, for instance, include Ken Liu).

#185 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:50 AM:

Lorax @181:

Reframing, in the hopes that my point is more clear:

Most UUs I know still celebrate Christmas and Easter. They understand Christian text and tradition in a way a non-Christian does not; they catch the allegories in C. S. Lewis and James Morrow in a way non-Christians do not.

This seems true to me regardless of their dissatisfaction with and dislike of elements of Christianity.

This is similar to the way my secular Jewish parents retained an affiliation/alignment with elements of Jewish practice and belief. We celebrated Passover and Chanukah every year; my dad could recite certain prayers from memory until the end of his life.

Does that help?

#186 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:00 AM:

162
OWWW!
Yes, I'd be one of those appreciating CART.

#187 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:04 AM:

169
Editorial remarks would seem to be best. ('I have a thesaurus and I want you to know it' is not a plan that should meet with favor.)
I had teachers who would have returned his papers with many, many markings in red pen.

#188 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:08 AM:

BT's1 post laying claim to increased participation as a Good Thing (which is sort of like Kaiser Bill laying claim to increased participation in European military service) inadvertently points out one persistent problem: the relatively small size of non-US Worldcons. Assuming the puppies manage to maintain a consistent presence and are willing to keep paying for supporting memberships, they may well have enough numbers in Helsinki to influence the final voting, if the rest of us get tired of having to police them.

1It also pleases me to refer to him as the name of a disease which kills off caterpillars and grubs.

#189 ::: Mark Bernstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:14 AM:

For anyone interested in reading the works that were pushed off the ballot this year, I've assembled a list, complete with links. (The majority of shorter works are available without cost.)

#190 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:18 AM:

Sumana, 184: Alas, I am yet unpublished. But if I ever sell anything, I promise you won't be able to miss it.

#191 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:23 AM:

"Nominate. No-mi-nate!"

Dalek fan of the Hugos about one way to help next year instead of waiting for the finals.

#192 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:26 AM:

#184 ::: Sumana Harihareswara

That reminds me-- does anyone have sources to recommend about translating? I'm fascinated by theory of translation, and the choices translators make between plausible and/or difficult alternatives.

#193 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:39 AM:

Douglas Hofstadter's Le Ton Beau de Marot has lots of interesting things to say about translation, and language in general.

#194 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:45 AM:

Yesterday's game day was obviously a cross-community event and by way of keeping it cool, nothing substantive was said about the Hugos. The group is friendly and cohesive enough that it will stay together, but it doesn't need to have heated arguments.

It feels unusual to walk in multiple worlds with different behavior being the accepted thing in each. It's a part of life, but not that often for me.

#195 ::: David Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:07 PM:

#192 The late Robert Conquest wrote an interesting (and intermittently very funny) essay called "Done into English" that explores the horrifying ramifications of translating just two lines of Rimbaud. It's in his critical collection The Abomination of Moab (1979), and available through the Wiley Online Library if you have access (first-page teaser here).

#196 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:08 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @125: But read or watch one additional thing that you wouldn't have before I asked? That would be pretty neat.

I've added your movie recs to my To Be Watched folder, and likewise the short stories to To Be Read.*

Extra points for any of the above coming out in 2015, and therefore being 2016 Hugo elibible?

* I'm way behind in my non-English movie watching; I'm typically doing artwork when I have the TV on, which makes tracking subtitles hard.

#197 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:39 PM:

Sumana 184: By all accounts*, Michael Kandel is, as the Polish word goes, kongenialny; in fact he may be the best-known Anglophone SF translator at all.
(* The little I've had time to sample was very witty but a bit too arbitrary for my taste in places.)

By the way, may I ask you what you thought of Ian McDonald's River of Gods et al.?

Nancy 192 (and whomever it might concern): I wholeheartedly recommend Jiří Levý's The Art of Translation, which – although half a century old – was groundbreaking and remains very influential throughout (Central) Europe; also, it is very accessible and concrete, with no vague academese that seems to permeate the modern Translation Studies field. Only, the recent English translation (there's a dry video introduction was by an commercial-academic press so it costs 95 EUR. But if you have access to a large enough library (including, um, the Library Genesis, nudge nudge wink wink), it's certainly worth the time.

#198 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:39 PM:

#195 ::: David Langford

It looks like fun, but it costs $6 to rent the PDF, and over $60 to get the book. I'm trying Interlibrary Loan.

#199 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:41 PM:

Gement, #82:

Thank you for saying what I wanted to, more clearly than I could do it.

Sumana, #67:

I, also, am very sorry.

#200 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 12:56 PM:

Mouse or Rat, Umberto Eco's essay on translation, comes highly recommended.

The translations I do are mostly technical, but even those feature many different ways to skin a cat.

#201 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:20 PM:

Cubist @169: That… blog post… of Wright's

Hey, I didn't realize that Patrick was Lord of Fandom. Hey Patrick, would you change the location of next year's Worldcon to Boulder, please? I want a shorter commute. Thanks!

::boggle::

#202 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:28 PM:

Re translation, I enjoyed Is That A Fish in Your Ear: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos. But I am otherwise ignorant of the area and so wouldn't necessarily recognize problems.

#203 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:33 PM:

@ Sumana - My thanks as well for that list! I consume very few movies these days, but will try to track down some of the stories.

#204 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:40 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara #184: I'm hard of hearing, but not a signer. CART would help me, while signing wouldn't. (I'm also hyperlexic, which just makes it "more so".) As an aside, solid expertise applied to the acoustics/sound system is also a good thing. I have to deal with echoey rooms or distorted pickup/amplification way too often.

lorax, #181, Melissa Singer #185: Way back in Cambridge, a UU pastor (term?) claimed that UU was a Christian denomination. I informed him about the two UU Wiccan circles within the local area.

#205 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:49 PM:

David Harmon @204: Some UU people (and some UU congregations) are Christian. Some are not. Some congregations provide a congenial environment for explicitly atheist parishoners to attend services and seek fellowship and meaning; others insist on putting some concept of Deity at the center of the endeavor and making it explicitly about worship.

UUs vary a lot. Generally for categorization purposes they're considered a kind of mainline Protestant denomination, but that's as much cultural or historical as anything else.

#206 ::: David Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 01:57 PM:

#198 ::: Nancy Lebovitz to me

If you have difficulties, I'm sure I can dig out my copy (WHICH IS SOMEWHERE) and make a scan.

#207 ::: rcade ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:24 PM:

Abi @ 167: Can we explain what happened for things like the asterisks ...?

I watched the livestream.

David Gerrold made some non-biting generalizations about how this year's awards were controversial and said that they'd inspired the creation of official Hugos Asterisks for all of the nominees. The creator of them was brought out to speak as they were shown on the big screen. (Scott Edelman has shared a good photo of his.)

Gerrold continued by saying said they were in honor of this year being the ultimate "wild card."

An asterisk implies illegitimacy, the way Roger Maris' home run record in baseball has been listed with one by some fans because he did it in a longer season than Babe Ruth. So Gerrold was making an edgy joke there.

Nick Mamatas said on Twitter that Gerrold tested the joke to the nominees at the pre-party, so none of them were caught off guard.

#208 ::: rcade ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:28 PM:

Also worth mentioning, regarding the Hugo Asterisks: Smofbabe in a LiveJournal comment says this:

"... there were very serious attempts throughout, and up to the last minute, to convince them not to do this. However, the people who were behind the idea were somehow of the opinion that the asterisk was a perfectly innocent way to celebrate the record-breaking attendance and voting at the convention (which they also bizarrely insisted were a *positive* thing about the Worldcon rather than the result of the unfortunate Hugo situation). They refused to be deterred by the argument that the majority of people would interpret the asterisk in its more common use to indicate that a record is somehow tainted by circumstances."

#209 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:37 PM:

TexAnne #178 -- Run, don't walk to your device now and watch Black Mirror, whose first 6 episodes are on Netflix. Episodes 2 through 5 are astounding, better than almost all SF TV out there. Episodes 1 and 6 are good but not as astounding, and Episode 1 is strange enough it's not your best introduction. You can watch in almost any order so put them in the middle.

The White Christmas special is 3 connected 20 minute vignettes. You can watch it online if in the UK or if you have a proxy. I think at least 2 of the vignettes would have a shot at a short fiction Hugo if they had been written stories --and that's not something I ever say about TV. I suspect that Booker borrowed some ideas from The Quantum Thief for this episode, but borrowed in a good way, in that he expands and goes beyond them.

I'm hyping it too much -- if you hype something a lot people enjoy it less -- but this should definitely be on your watch list.

#210 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:41 PM:

TexAnne @178: A disclaimer is possibly necessary.

Black Mirror is in the vein of the old Twilight Zone or Outer Limits -- quite a few of the episodes (the general pattern is "postulate a thing and then show it in detail in a world almost like ours") are deeply disturbing, some verge on horrific, and almost none are kid-friendly.

Good, yes. But even the most innocuous is really creepy.

#211 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:41 PM:

Some nominations for 2015...

NOVEL:

James SA Corey's space opera "Nemesis Games"
Victor Milan's "Dinosaur Lords"... Action! Women with their own agendas! Dinosaurs! What more do we need?
Mary Robinette Kowal's Austenesque fantasy "Of Noble Family"

DRAMATC PRESENTATION - LONG FORM:

Season Two of "Half and Catch Fire"
Definitely not "Fantastic Four"

#212 ::: rcade ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:43 PM:

Serge @ 211: Season Two of "Half and Catch Fire"

How would a drama about the Texas computer industry in the 1980s be considered SF?

The show I'd like to see on next year's ballot is Humans.

#213 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:46 PM:

#206 ::: David Langford

Thanks very much, but let's give interlibrary loan a month or two.

#214 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:48 PM:

I was about to ask where this "Black Mirror" of which I've never heard before could be found, but then Brad said it was on Netflix. Oh. Ok, I guess I'll never see it then.
Not everyone has Netflix.

#215 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:53 PM:

I'd like to make a tentative offer, let me know if this seems like a reasonable thing to you-all.

I'm seriously thinking about going to MAC next year, and I'm fully engaged with the importance of nominating for the 2016 Hugos.

However, I just don't read all that much, and even the prospect of trying to study up for the noms is enough to give me the vapors.

I'm probably good making noms for both Dramatic Presentation categories, and I've got a couple of candidates for another two categories, but aside from that, I'm bone dry.

Would it be a reasonable thing to allow some not-Puppy to use my nomination slots that I won't be using?

#216 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:57 PM:

Cally Soukup @214: Yes, Neflix has Black Mirror, but I think it's a BBC production, so it's not only Netflix, if that helps any.

#217 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:00 PM:

rcade @ 212... How would a drama about the Texas computer industry in the 1980s be considered SF?

For the same reason that I nominated Season One of "Halt and Catch Fire", and for the same reason that people nominated "The Right Stuff". They are about the drive to create the Future. I know, I'm probably the only person who feels that way.

#218 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:01 PM:

Jacque @215: It is explicitly not ok for anyone else to provide nominations under your name on your membership.

However, you don't have to read widely and deeply. If you have three, or four, or five entries in any category that blew your doors off and amazed you as works of fiction, nominate them. They are worthy. They don't have to be the Platonic-ideal BEST nominees for the year; they just have to be works that you think were wonderful fiction (or whatever, in the nonfiction categories).

I would note that fanfic authors are eligible in the Fan Writer category, as long as the works for which you are nominating them are (a) not professionally published and (b) strike you as suitably fannish or attached to fandom.

Anita Sarkeesian's YouTube works were nearly nominated this year, en masse, as a Related Work.

#219 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @210, thank you very much for the disclaimer. I don't do "deeply disturbing" at all well, let along "horrific", so thank you; the glowing recommendations had me intrigued, but I think I'll probably pass.

#220 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:05 PM:

#215 ::: Jacque

Letting someone else use your excess nom slots strikes me as tacky, though not extremely so. Some fraction of the curse would be taken off if it's someone who doesn't have their own membership.

I take nominations to be for works that you're very enthusiastic about, but those works don't have to represent deep knowledge of current sf. Partly because it's just the enthusiasm, and partly because there's just so much sf coming out that there's no way to know whether there might have been something else you'd have liked better.

I don't know if this is the wrong advice, but I think that if you post about what you're enthusiastic about, other people might have some ideas about more sf to nominate that you'd also be enthusiastic about.

#221 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:05 PM:

Apparently Black Mirror via Netflix is only if you have streaming - not on discs.

#222 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:12 PM:

I haz a sad. :-(

I'd like to do my part for next year's Hugos, but (unless something in my life changes dramatically) it seems I won't have a "part" to "do." Like I said, I don't read much these days. Reading the three non-Pup novel noms pretty much soaked up all my reading spoons for this last year. Oh, well. It is what it is.

#223 ::: rcade ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:12 PM:

Serge @ 217: They are about the drive to create the Future. I know, I'm probably the only person who feels that way.

That's an interesting way to get some works into the tent.

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:23 PM:

rcade @ 223... That's an interesting way to get some works into the tent

Interesting *and* valid too. It's all in its attitude.

#225 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:24 PM:

#222 Jacque

If you can handle audio, I'd recommend looking for SF audiobooks and/or short fiction podcasts that explicitly feature works published this year. I don't have a huge amount of focused reading time these days either, but I did finish two audiobooks on a recent cross-country drive, and last year I listened to the first seven Master and Commander novels while I was doing housework and other stuff that doesn't engage my language centers.

Hmm. A list of eligible work available in audio format would be really useful, actually. Bah, if no one else does, maybe I'll make an attempt at it.

#226 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:29 PM:

Abi @187, I am heartbroken. I had planned to wake up early to watch the awards but at it happened I never went to sleep and as soon as the ceremony started my "tv lulls you into sleep" mechanism kicked in and I drifted off. :-(

But I was sure it was going to be available later, after all, the announcement of the ballot was!

#227 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:40 PM:

Jacque@222

Making any nominations in any of the categories is doing more of a part for the Hugos than the majority of the Worldcon members ever do. So just nominate in any of the categories that you feel comfortable nominating for. And there's nothing wrong with making only one or two nominations in a category if that's how many nominations you have.

(If it helps, the "Best Novel" category generally gets more participation than any of the other categories, anyway. So if you have limited time and energy and want to spend it on some of the other categories that would actually tend to balance things out a bit.)

#228 ::: Erik Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:43 PM:

@200 Nancy -- not just tacky, against the rules. Both ballots would be tossed. Say Alex lends Bob two slots.

I'm a magical all knowing/all seeing Hugo Admin. I look at Alex's ballot, and see that Bob has voted two nomination slots. This means that Bob has voted more than one Ballot. Therefore, I toss Bob and Alex's ballots, per Section 6.2, which states."In all matters arising under this Constitution, only natural persons may introduce business, nominate, or vote, except as specifically provided otherwise in this Constitution. No person may cast more than one vote on any issue or more than one ballot in any election."

Alex's ballot wasn't filled out by a natural person -- it was filled out by two natural people. Bob didn't submit a ballot, he submitted a ballot and a fraction of a ballot. Both thus are invalid.

Now, what I do depends not on my all seeing and all knowingness, but on how much of a jerk I am. It would be perfectly legitimate for me to do nothing and just count them as spoiled ballots. Or, I could do the fannish thing, since I probably can get contact info from Registration, to get in contact and say "Dudes. Busted. Try again, do it right, and no nomination sharing. No third chances." and let them fill out a proper nomination form. And, of course, as the Hugo Admin, I am the law. :-)

In general, if the rules violation comes from a mistake, the trend is to explain and let them try again, since the rule on multiply submitted ballots by one person is accept the last before deadline as conclusive. But in the case of hostile action, you drop without warning and don't bother to contact them, assuming they're just going to try again.

Speaking now as me, not as this Magical Hugo Admin: I doubt, if you took any care, you'd be caught. But if I caught you, I'd call it hostile and drop them, unless I actually knew you, in which case, expect a very disappointed phone call and having to redo your ballot.

But that's me. Your Hugo Admin May Vary.

#229 ::: Lester Bangs ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:53 PM:

"No. You don't get to tell someone that they aren't allowed to have reactions to the use/misuse of their religion/culture because you think it serves a greater good."

Right. Of course I may feel no particular obligation to modify my behavior based on their reactions. Their feelings are just one variable among many.

#230 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 03:54 PM:

@211: Mary Robinette Kowal has stated she'll decline any nominations as part of the Sasquan memberships she sponsored this year.

#231 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:02 PM:

Robert Z @ 230... So I later heard.

#232 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:12 PM:

If it weren't so god-awful nasty, I'd give Rick and Morty a recommendation. Obviously written, and visually designed, by people steeped in SF tropes.

In last week's episode, the family is plagued by memory-altering parasitic beings. The creatures create happy memories of themselves in the minds of people around them to cloak their horrifying nature. They appear as everything from a beloved uncle to a dazzling array of imaginary friends. Eventually someone realizes the sure way for a human to identify a parasite: They only have good memories of them. So we see the lead characters dredging up horrific incidents about brothers, sisters, and mothers, and beloved childhood friends getting blown away.

Immensely creative, but not for everyone.

I'd rather people discover Steven Universe.

#233 ::: Geri ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:19 PM:

Anna @226 & Abi @167 -- all of the videos currently available on the UStream Hugo Awards channel were streamed live and then later moved into the replay windows now available. (For example, the Hugo ceremonies from 2012, 2013, and 2014 are all available for viewing, as is the 1939 Retro Hugos ceremony from last year.)

To the best of my knowledge and memory, this process has never been immediate. I'll be very surprised and disappointed if the video of this year's ceremony isn't available eventually. (For values of eventually guesstimated at "sometime within the coming week or month.")

I've just added my query to the Twitter conversation between Abi & Sasquan. Abi, you're right. If this year's video couldn't be archived for later replay, Sasquan would have been best off saying so up front.

#234 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:21 PM:

Jacque @201: Hey, I didn't realize that Patrick was Lord of Fandom. Hey Patrick, would you change the location of next year's Worldcon to Boulder, please? I want a shorter commute. Thanks!

If it's during Freshman move-in week, the commute to Kansas City may well be shorter...

--

On the asterisk joke: I don't see any mention of it, and I'm not saying it makes it less edgy, but--Gerrold began by counting up "exclamation points" (most Hugo voters of all time! THAT's an exclamation point! and the sun finally came out despite all the smoke! That's ANOTHER exclamation point!) until there were six of them, at which point he pointed out that if you arrange six exclamation points together, you get an asterisk. Thus, commemorative asterisk!

I will admit to having chortled in the privacy of the space behind my laptop screen. It struck me at the time as a light-hearted, emphasis-shifting way of talking about the elephant in the room. The attack on the community needed to be acknowledged, but bitterness and vindictiveness needed to be avoided, and, hey, some positive things really did come out of the situation, so let's acknowledge that too.

They really did look like elegant souvenirs, from what I could see.

#235 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:26 PM:

Melissa Singer @185, thank you for the clarifications; it sounds like we're a bit closer than I expected (since I do agree that former Christians, wherever they end up religiously, are more likely to at least be familiar with the trappings of Christianity than otherwise, and to fail to see some specifics of Christianity (such as, in the case of formerly-Christian UUs, a belief in no more than one god) as being less than universal.) I took "affiliated/aligned with" as a stronger statement than you appear to have intended it as. (I would object very strongly to being characterized as "affiliated with Christianity", and admit to "having some blind spots regarding Christianity as the unmarked default religion", so I was probably having my own buttons pushed there.)

#236 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:28 PM:

Lester Bangs @229:

Of course I may feel no particular obligation to modify my behavior based on their reactions. Their feelings are just one variable among many.

Verily. And your willingness or otherwise to take other people's feelings into account and treat them seriously is one factor in how you will be perceived in the wider community. It may also affect what reaction you get when it's your ox that gets gored (it may not; some people are willing to extend empathy even to the unempathic).

#237 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:35 PM:

Elliott, 210: Thank you. That dampens my enthusiasm.

Brad, 209: Genre matters. I'd have been very upset if I'd gone in expecting straight SF and gotten a liberal dollop of horror instead. It's like saying "please try my Coke" without mentioning the rum in it.

#238 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:39 PM:

Geri @233:
Thanks for adding your voice. I confess that I've let my exasperation at the degree of attitude the Sasquan Twitter account dishes show; that may sway them to the negative.

Nicole @234:
So were some kind of asterisks handed out during the ceremony then? Pretend I haven't seen it and therefore don't have any idea...

#239 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:54 PM:

abi: Roughly palm-sized wood disks with an asterisk laser-cut out of the middle and legends etched around the rim (because lasers!). See rcade's link @207.

#240 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 04:58 PM:

Continuing on the asterisks thing:

rcade and Nicole have summarized things well, but I'll add for completeness that the asterisk presentation is reportedly the point where Toni Weisskopf walked out of the ceremony.

(editing for abi's latest post: Prior to the presentation of the Campbell and Hugos, the hosts presented laser-cut and -engraved wooden asterisks, a circle maybe five inches in diameter with the asterisk carved out as negative space, to each Hugo [and Campbell, too, I assume] nominee. They also had the designer of the asterisk at the podium to talk about the design and how it was made with computers and lasers and such, and Twitter comments about "that's how the Pac NW does formal" were in reference to said designer's fleece vest thingy. The hosts also talked about the various records for the con -- most members!, most voters!, most whatever!, and that all the exclamation points sort of overlaid into an asterisk, per Nicole's post.)

For which I can't blame her in the least. I'll admit that I had an ill-mannered chuckle at the asterisk thing while watching the livestream, but I'll also say that I recognized that impulse as ill-mannered. I can't fathom how a bunch of Americans could possibly come up with an asterisk as a souvenir in this circumstance without recognizing the implicit message of illegitimacy behind it.

Would a souvenir have been nice for the nominees, particularly given the nature of the awards? Yeah, probably (and I don't really even know that "given the nature of the awards" factors in to that). But this souvenir was not nice.

#241 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:12 PM:

Thanks for the explanations about the asterisks.

#242 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:28 PM:

Further on the asterisks: IIRC David Gerrold also said that (similar?) asterisks would be available to members purchase as souvenirs & the proceeds would go to supporting Orangutan conservation.

(It seemed to me that having DEATH & the Redshirts (one of whom was Tananarive Due) at the beginning was a nod to both Pterry & Leonard Nimoy)

#243 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:29 PM:

Toni has clarified what happened (saw this on Fb, under her name): she did not walk out of the Hugo Ceremony. She never got that far.

The asterisks were distributed to the nominees at the pre-ceremony reception. This is where, David Gerrold says, he explained the joke he intended to make and said no one objected (I believe he did this and I believe he believes this).

Toni has not said that she said anything during the reception, but she has said that she felt the asterisks were not funny and that she was offended. At that point, she left the reception and went to hang out with friends, and never went to the actual awards ceremony.

So she did walk out, but not during the awards presentation.

#244 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:35 PM:

My comment at the time (I tweeted this) was "And... trying to pre-empt the phrase '2015 Hugo Awards will come with an asterisk'?"

That is, I'd seen that comment come up in Hugo discussions already -- more than once -- phrased exactly that way. (Generally as the first move of a blame-game about whose fault it was.)

So I figured that Gerrold was acknowledging that and attempting to partially defuse the argument with a material pun.

It didn't seem ill-tempered. On the other hand the pun rated a mild eyeroll rather than a groan or cackle.

Connie Willis is right: MCing is hard.

#245 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:47 PM:

Melissa @243:
Thanks for the clarification -- I thought it odd when I saw the "walked out" report afterward that I hadn't seen any sort of commotion in the front rows during the ceremony.

"has not said that she said anything during the reception, but..." strikes me as tangent to the discussions about the Sasquan committee getting Gerrold's input on the Antonelli thing. There's a significant power imbalance in the MC telling the guests "I'm about to do this thing [with what, an hour's notice?] that an unsympathetic crowd will recognize as a jab at many of you -- is that OK?"

#246 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:50 PM:

I can see how someone nominated for the Hugos this year could be pretty unhappy with the whole asterisk plaque. I get the point of giving it, but making that point in inherently going to poke some people pretty hard, and not all of them deserve it.

#247 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 05:57 PM:

I can particularly see how people in the editing categories could be unhappy, since, with the exception of VD, they were collateral damage in the affair.

#248 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 06:01 PM:

Stephen @245:

I agree there seems to be a power imbalance there, even given Toni's position in the field. An hour before the Hugos is not the time to make a stink about something the convention's GoH is doing, especially if it's presented as a charitable fundraiser to honor a man so many people loved.

But equally, it's not the right time to spring something like that on the nominees.

The whole LA thing makes me uncomfortable. Again, a power imbalance: Gerrold is the GoH of the convention; the woman editor threatened by LA's supporters is not. It seems to me to be bad form to ask an abused person, "can your abuser come to the party?" especially if that's coupled with "this much more famous and important person says it's all right."

#249 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 06:44 PM:

Just yesterday I found a poster explaining (?) the origin of asterisks in David Gerrold's 13th Aug Facebook post (image deeplink)

#250 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 06:55 PM:

that an unsympathetic crowd will recognize as a jab at many of you

IMO - and I wasn't there, only watching the livestream - is that that may be reading into it something that most people weren't thinking. (I certainly wasn't thinking that.)

#251 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:04 PM:

Hmm. While Black Mirror is indeed dark, I would not class it as horror, though I see what might inspire some to do that. Black Mirror's worlds are all somewhat dystopian and frightening, but nothing beyond what you would commonly find in similar written SF -- just more visceral for you because it is a drama. There's nothing graphic that I recall, and I do know that horror is not just disemboweling.

In some countries, you can play it directly on the Channel 4 Black Mirror page

What's great about the show is that when it shows you a darker world, you think, "this is really good extrapolation and worldbuilding." Well, except the pedal-powered society. My retcon (which may even be valid) is that this is just a lie the people are told to keep them happy, they aren't really powering their world that way any more than the people in the Matrix can be a battery for the AIs. It's never said that it's the truth, just that people believe it. I love everything else about that episode, though, even the other over-the-top parts.

If you could handle the Twilight Zone amped up a bit, you can handle this show.

Anybody can get Netflix free for a month on your computer, phone or tablet. In that free month, watch Black Mirror, Sherlock and a few other of the greats (Breaking Bad perhaps but that's hard in just a month) and you more than got your free trial's worth!

My favourite one is White Christmas (Series 3 episode 1) but S1:E2, S1:E3 and S2:E1 are all outstanding. S1:E1 is not as good and very odd. S2:E2 is probably the darkest and S2:E3 is good but not as great as the others.

#252 ::: Roger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:10 PM:

abi @83:
You are gracious as usual. I've been here over a decade, since before Electrolite was folded in, but I wasn't about to admit that I enjoyed a Wright story under my own name.

I don't like seeing my friends squabble.

I wish Vox Day would go away and take his gas can with him.

#253 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:11 PM:

I am wondering how Sense8 will fare at the Hugos.

It is . . . wrenching. Wonderful and wrenching. R rated, queer-friendly, visually stunning. It's kind of like what might happen if Sturgeon and Brunner lived into the Twenty Teens and didn't get stodgy and decided to collaborate on something.

I can't imagine binge-watching it. I generally need a week's break between episodes.

#254 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:17 PM:

Stefan @253:
Sense8 is the most divisive show I've heard of in recent years. I loved it (despite some unevenness in writing and character development), and several of my friends loved it. Lots and lots of people haaaaaaated it, some because it was "boring" (?!) and some because they didn't feel it went far enough with its efforts at sexual and racial diversity (i.e. a show that tries in that regard, but falls short of being revolutionary, pisses them off more than a show that doesn't try). I dunno, it sure isn't perfect, but it did do things I've never seen on TV and it had a lot of heart.

#255 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 07:33 PM:

a) The asterisk thing could have worked if everyone involved felt as if they were mutually part of the same community, sharing wry, sad jokes about the same thing. Clearly, this did not prove true.

b) As a UU who is also pagan, I have generally said the UU Church as a whole is descended from and of the heritage of Christianity, and some parts of it are still in conversation with Christianity, but the Church itself is no longer Christian.

#256 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 08:05 PM:

Erik @228:

IANAL, etc., but based on the clause you quote it sounds as though it would be within the rules (though tacky and possibly not intended to be legit) for Jacque to give a nominating slot to someone who wasn't eligible to nominate on their own behalf, because that person would not thereby "cast more than one vote on any issue or more than one ballot in any election." Offering it to the Fluorosphere at large would clearly be a bad idea; asking advice of one or two friends who Jacque knows aren't members of any of the relevant worldcons is likely okay.

What's clearly okay is something like "Alice, Bob, you know what books I like, is there anything I really ought to read before the nominating deadline, and if so, can you lend me a copy?" A more personalized version of a recommendation list.

#257 ::: Lady Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 08:16 PM:

I did not feel that the asterisks were a part of the evening being about the nominees and honoring them. It was for the audience and particularly those that felt the Puppy slates were a problem.

On the other hand, I thought they were subtle enough, and not rubbing salt into the wound. And it's absolutely fine to disagree and leave or avoid the ceremony. That doesn't make DG evil for including the asterisks.

#258 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 08:33 PM:

Nancy, 192: I've written once or twice about translation myself at my LiveJournal (here, for example). My freelance translating work is mainly medical documents these days, and I'm working towards specializing in commercial and financial translation, where the challenges are different from literary translation, but I do think about literary translation (and I've done a little of it, but nothing ready for public consumption yet!). Another LJ worth exploring is Mount Orégano - I think the author, Sue Burke, hangs around here once in a while.

I can second OtterB's recommendation of Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, and I'll add Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters - she translated García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, and I disagree completely with her ideas on translating poetry (they're valid, I just differ with them) - and Gregory Rabassa's If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents - he translated García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. I haven't read either the Conquest essay Dave Langford mentions at 195 or the Levy work Jan Vanek jr. mentions at 197, but now I want to.

#259 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 08:45 PM:

@250: Given Jan's link at 249, with Gerrold leading off with "so many people have been saying 'this is the year of the asterisk'", I'm reasonably confident that I'm reading the intended meaning. Certainly those "so many people" weren't talking about overlaying a bunch of exclamation points into another typographical symbol.

That's not to say that I think it shouldn't have been done -- I understand at least some part of the impulse that drove it. But I think it's important to recognize that this, at least, is not a place where fandom holds a moral high ground.

Lady Kay @257: if the intent had been strictly for the audience and those who felt the Puppy slates were a problem, it would not have been necessary to publicly highlight that the Hugo nominees were all being presented with their Official Asterisks as part of the ceremony.

#260 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 08:52 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale, #104: My estimate of 1,800 puppies may overstate it, but they are not a small bloc. I think the low end estimate is 500 to 600 strong rabid puppies -- after all, 586 people put Vox Day as their first choice on their short form editor ballot, and a similar number of sad puppies on top of that -- ie. over 1,000.

I'm not sure where you're getting the 1,800 figure, but I think it's a massive overstatement. The statistically-minded people who've analyzed the results (and my own analysis agrees with theirs) is that in the nominations process there were around 170 Rabid Puppies and another 100 Sad Puppies (~270) or around 12.7% of nominators, and in the voting process there were around 550 Rabid Puppies and around 500 Sad Puppies (~1,050) -- i.e. around 17.6% of voters.


In most elections, failures in the nomination system are fixed by using write-in as the catch-all, and I now have concluded it would have been the best choice for us, and still might need to be. (I figured out last night how it still could have been added this year, at least technically, to save 2016, since you can move to amend the standing rules to allow new business past the deadline, and the chair can also accept, but it's not going to happen this morning!)

This is incorrect. Even if you had gotten added to the agenda a "write-in" option for final voting, AND it passed (and I won't go into all the reasons here why it most likely would never have passed being added to the agenda and would have almost certainly been killed before even entering debate), it would still have had to be ratified next year and could not have possibly "saved" 2016.

#261 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:11 PM:

Something nobody's mentioned here yet, in re asterisks and rubbing salt in wounds, is that the designer and maker of the asterisks is Jim Wright. Stonekettle Station Jim Wright. Who has a history of making thoughtful, detailed, angry posts from the point of view of an ex-military man and the-right-kind-of-person-to-be-conservative who nonetheless has no patience for bigots and people out of touch with reality claiming to be 'conservatives'.

I don't know for sure if he's posted about the Puppy thing, but it wouldn't surprise me; he regularly posts detailed takedowns of Tea Party nonsense, Gamergate, etc.

He was not a neutral random designer (unlike, say, the guy who did the Hugo bases, who is a fairly well known filker's husband but otherwise not terribly embroiled in Fannish Politics).

#262 ::: Nepos ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:12 PM:

Criticizing the asterisks seems a bit odd. First of all, the Hugos really were compromised this year (at least, by the standards of past years). Why pretend otherwise?

And as far as "offense" goes, the asterisks weren't aimed at the winners--no one is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the vote. Rather, the asterisks were for the losers, as a way of saying, "because the nominations were screwed up, the votes may not reflect the true value of your work." It's kind of a mea culpa.

Unless, of course, one's work was nominated solely because of the puppies. THEN the asterisk becomes a rather pointed critique. But why would Toni Weisskopf think that anyone would believe that her nomination was solely due to puppy support?

#263 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:26 PM:

262
I'm thinking that Toni had a good idea what the results were going to be, and didn't want to be present for the formal repudiaton of the canines.

#264 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:50 PM:

Chris Battey: I just got my ribbons, thanks! (Thinking about how I can adapt it for badge-less wearing tomorrow....)

#265 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 09:55 PM:

Regarding putting your asterisk for the ceremony:

I'll bet most of us--witty crew that we so often are--have been in that position where there is some tension, some hurt, some conflict, and a clever line pops into our head to point to it and laugh at it.

When it works, it relieves the tension; when it doesn't, it leaves us looking like jerks. As Scalzi says, the failure condition of clever is asshole. That's why we so often--okay, sometimes--decide not to say the clever thing. And more often than not, that's a good decision.

Okay, but here's the thing: As the MC of an award ceremony that his been ripped by conflict to such a degree that this conflict is the foremost thing on pretty much everyone's mind, you do not have the option of not saying it. If you say nothing, it sits there like a black hole sucking all the energy out of the room; if you address it directly it puts a damper on the evening. You *have* to do the witty thing. That is exactly your job.

And however you address it, some people are going to get bent out of shape, some people's feelings are going to be hurt, and you're going to be accused of being an asshole, and that's just the deal.

Was the asterisk bit the best way of addressing it? Frankly, I can't think of a better one. Maybe someone else can; but then other people's feelings would be hurt.

Do I think those who were hurt or offended are "wrong" to feel that way? I do not; in their position I'd feel the same way. But just because someone's feelings are legitmately hurt, it does not follow that someone else did something wrong and ought to feel shame.

#266 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:05 PM:

jj@260 -- I am of course fully aware of the Hugo ratification process. In another thread and posting you will see the hack that allows an amendment which modifies the final ballot tallying process to affect the next year's Hugos, while amendments which modify the nomination process can only affect the Hugo nominations in 2 years. I continue to believe that there is a reason why write-in is used all around the world (even on WSFS site selection) as the corrective force for issues with nomination systems, and we would have been wise to consider that.

Of course, it is indeed unlikely that the business meeting would have done it. I blame myself for not getting around to it after I decided I could not attend the convention. However, in spite of common assertions to the contrary, it is technically possible under the standing rules to introduce new business after the deadline with consent of the chair or a majority of members. To have had that happen, there would have needed to be more time to absorb just how bad it is for 2016. All moot now.

The 1,800 is an upper bound on puppies, and comes from the fact that that many people voted puppy choices as first on their ballot in Novella. Some of those are not die-hard puppies, obviously, but this was so well publicised that I would be surprised if 1,000 non-puppies put those candidates first (ahead of No Award.) This was a relative small worldcon (by attendance) with immense numbers of extra supporting voters who supported primarily to express a view (one way or the other) on the Hugos and the puppies.

Consider this: 5 years ago, at another small con, only 792 people voted on Novella at all. In spite of all the evil of the puppies they have certainly boosted attention for the Hugos.

There were 2411 1st place votes for Puppy chosen long-form editors, 2214 for puppy-chosen short stories, 1672 for puppy chosen novelettes, 1642 for puppy-chosen related works.

If there were only 900 dedicated puppies, then as many as 700 to 1400 people -- people who largely voted only because of the puppy controversy -- placed a puppy choice first on their ballot, above No Award. More people than even voted at all at Aussiecon.

I am not sure there are 1,800 puppies. But I am fairly confident there are well over 1,000. I don't know if these puppies will get bored and not nominate in 2016, or if the reverse will happen and more will be recruited.

I have no fear for the final ballot. 2015 demonstrates fans will not give a Hugo to a slate candidate (excepting Guardians of the Galaxy which most fans seem to have decided was not really a slate candidate.) What I fear is that in 2016, with no write-in, and no ePH, that all categories the puppies care to control will grant no award, and that is no victory for fandom.

There are ways out of it. They are controversial. Counter-slates most obviously. Alternate awards (meaningful because there were no Hugos.) I am formulating some possible methods.

I hope I am wrong. I hope there are fewer puppies, and that they get demoralized, and independent fans get more energized. But even with 1,000 puppies, they will control traditional nomination even in the face of 5,000 independently nominating fans, with perhaps 1 or 2 exceptions. With 1,800 puppies, there are not even any exceptions.

#267 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:08 PM:

When they made the joke, at the awards, it seemed a decent nod to the problem.

The thing is, in any category the puppies sullied, there is going to be doubt; at least so long as living memory lasts.

So making a nod to to it seemed tolerable; but that was before I found out they made it a pointed commentary, not an observation about extant circumstance.

#268 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:10 PM:

Jim Wright's Worldcon-related Facebook posts
(you may need to log in to Facebook to see these, but you shouldn't need to be on his Friends list to see them; if you've been blocked by him for being an asshole on his wall, you're S.O.L.)

If you read only one of these, it should be "My Hugo Asterisk Bit".

It's official: I will be attending WorldCon 2015

Sasquan First Day

Sasquan Day 2 highlights

Sasquan Day 3: I Still Hate My Shower

Sasquan Day 3 highlights

Sasquan word of advice

Sasquan Day 3

Sasquan Day 4: The Hugo Awards

WorldCon: The Day After

Worldcon: My Hugo Asterisk Bit, the short version and the long version

I consider David Gerrold a personal friend

#269 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:12 PM:

Nepos @262 wrote: Criticizing the asterisks seems a bit odd. First of all, the Hugos really were compromised this year (at least, by the standards of past years). Why pretend otherwise?

I have no problem at all with the existence of the asterisk, the rationale behind it, the use of it as a fundraiser, etc -- heck, I'd like to have one! I just don't like it as part of the ceremony with a thin pretense of exclamation points pasted on.

Steven Brust @265: Was the asterisk bit the best way of addressing it? Frankly, I can't think of a better one.

Fair point. I can't think of a better way, either, and your point about "not being able to not say it" is also a good one. I mostly intended to get into this topic as a way of reminding people that hurt feelings from the asterisk, just as hurt feelings from the blessing, are real and reasonable responses. And as no one is disagreeing with that, I'll let go of this particular bone.

---

So, I'm reading Linesman by S.K. Dunstall, who appears to be a pen name for two people though I haven't dug into who precisely (the acknowledgements are written in the plural). On the whole, it's been a good debut novel, but I felt like it hit a natural endpoint for a "kicking off a series" book at about the 80% mark and I'm not quite sure what to do with the last 50 pages or so.

#270 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:14 PM:

And the reason for mentioning those asterisks at the Hugo Awards Ceremony?

They were being sold afterwards at the Info Booth to raise money for Sir Terry Pratchett's favorite charity. Mr. Gerold was trying to stir up demand...
not bad feelings.*

*My feelings are summed up by the lyrics of a song in Chicago -- "They had it comin'..."

#271 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:14 PM:

Stephen @268: " I mostly intended to get into this topic as a way of reminding people that hurt feelings from the asterisk, just as hurt feelings from the blessing, are real and reasonable responses."

Just want to quote that so I can point to it and nod enthusiastically.

#272 ::: Robert Z calls the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:25 PM:

For JJ @ 269

#273 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:27 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale:

Of course, it is indeed unlikely that the business meeting would have done it. I blame myself for not getting around to it after I decided I could not attend the convention. However, in spite of common assertions to the contrary, it is technically possible under the standing rules to introduce new business after the deadline with consent of the chair or a majority of members. To have had that happen, there would have needed to be more time to absorb just how bad it is for 2016. All moot now.

I think to get it approved for consideration (given the givens) it would have to so obviously be an almost perfect corrective as to have near unanimous support; given that what you propose is gaming the system to make an end run around the normal process of ratification/effect.

That (plainly) is not the case

#274 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:29 PM:

Nepos: And as far as "offense" goes, the asterisks weren't aimed at the winners--no one is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the vote. Rather, the asterisks were for the losers, as a way of saying, "because the nominations were screwed up, the votes may not reflect the true value of your work." It's kind of a mea culpa.

Given the historical-social context of "The Asterisk" I disagree. As a social object it appeared when Roger Maris beat Babe Ruth's single season home-run record. The fans who adulated Ruth the level of demi-god weren't happy. As a result MLB said Maris record would be recorded differently (i.e. with an asterisk) to denote it as a lesser achievement; because he didn't have to work as hard.

Elliot beat me to the punch on the issue of Jim Wright making the asterisks. Like me he is a veteran (Navy, Master Chief, perhaps the most idiosnyncratic, outspoken; don't get in their way, rank of NCO in any service; in any country). Like me he uses that status to speak to issues seen as "conservative" with the status that comes of being a vet, and so stop-thrusting a major line of attack.

Myke Cole wrote an Open Letter to Torgersen; it was pretty harsh, esp. for an officer. If Jim had written it... well lets say that being chewed out by an NCO is painful, by a Senior NCO raw, by a Master Chief, it's like having them use Ascorbic Acid Crystals on a case of road-rash covering your entire back.

So that wasn't neutral. Having him come to explain it wasn't neutral. It was a (moderately subtle, a la General Pace calling Rumsfeld "sir" as he told him, on national television he was fractally wrong) dig at Torgersen, and Wright and Beale.

And collateral damage should have been taken into account.

Some admission of the elephant in the room needed to be made. This could have been it, but mistakes were made in execution.

But, as abi pointed out, they have been tone-deaf; from the beginning.

#275 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:50 PM:

Steven Brust@265, Stephen Rochelle@268 -- Yes, exactly. It was there; it had to be mentioned; there was basically no way of doing it perfectly, though I think Mr. Gerrold and Ms. Due did the best they could; the emotions are valid.

Even if I think the Puppies' approach and logic is wrong, they still have an emotional stake in the issue. Nothing wrong with that. And I sympathise.

(Other things on the internets surrounding this subject, I have more of an issue with, but we're not talking about those here.)

#276 ::: Nepos ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:50 PM:

Terry Karney@274, I agree it wasn't neutral--it was an entirely deserved slam on the puppies, who did, in fact, screw up the Hugos as part of their continuing, and abhorrent, efforts to dehumanize most of humanity.

Let's not forget what we are dealing with, here--these sick puppies are virulent racists and misogynists who make Stormfront look moderate (as far as I know, the neo-Nazis don't typically advocate revoking female suffrage.)

If someone felt targeted by this relatively civil jab--maybe they shouldn't stand so close to scumbags.

#277 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:53 PM:

Terry #273 -- actually it only requires an ordinary motion (51%) not unanimity, but again, this is all pretty moot. To happen, people would have needed to be strongly afraid of an all-no-award 2016. The hack is a hack, but not a violation of the spirit of the rules. The rules require ratification from a 2nd worldcon so that one single worldcon can't go nuts and change things willy-nilly. Once an amendment is ratified by that method, and people agree it's the right thing, there is nothing I have seen that says more delay is needed, and the sooner it can come into play the better.

The thing that would bother people about the hack is it goes against tradition. The WSFS constitution do not require Hugo tallying or awarding to be done during the convention (or in fact say anything about when they are done, other than after nomination and balloting) but by tradition they are done before the gavel is banged to close the worlcon. However, I think if fans were faced with the choice of a likely "All No Award" hugos before the gavel and a real Hugos after the gavel, I don't think they would have a hard time deciding which they wanted.

If you wanted to accelerate that, while it might be slightly controversial, it would break no written rules for the Hugo administrators to mention that under the old rules, 10 No Awards would be given out, not naming the categories. Such a declaration would cement the decision because nobody wants that other than maybe Vox Day.

But I don't think people need that. And if I had not had a schedule conflict, I could probably have sold it pretty well. But that's the past. Right now my concern is how to have a better 2016 Hugos, and even a better 2017 Hugos, because if the puppies really are 25% of nominators, they will still corrupt the 2017 Hugos quite a lot, even if ePH is ratified.

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:59 PM:

277
The WSFS constitution do not require Hugo tallying or awarding to be done during the convention

In fact, the counting is done before the convention, for logistical reasons.

#279 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:13 PM:

PJE@277 -- well of course, but my point was really that the WSFS constitution does not specify when the tallying and awarding are done, though it is implicit in the requirement that the final results be published within 90 days that they be done no more than 90 days after the convention.

The point is, the tallying and voting can be done after the convention, and thus after newly ratified rules have gone into effect, which is at the close of the convention they were ratified at. Thus, if you wish it, you can have changes to the tallying rules come into effect in the next year's hugos. The rules require nomination and sending out of ballots to precede the convention.

I don't think this is in any way a bug, by the way. That something ratified at a convention would affect that convention if it so wishes seems perfectly reasonable. But it is still a kludge. But the WSFS Hugo rules are not a suicide pact. It would be foolish to stick to tradition just to have the MC read a lot of "no award" decisions.

#280 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:14 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale:

actually it only requires an ordinary motion (51%) not unanimity,

I think you misunderstand the political aspect of putting a motion to the floor which could be seen to subvert normal (as opposed to, allowable under the rules*) procedure to accelerate a proposal to modify the vote; and to modify it in a way that futher engages in parliamentary gamesmanship to execute in an expedited manner.

That's why I said approving it for consideration demands (which is different from *requires*) near unanimous agreement on it's merits.

Apart from my other objections (on logistics) I don't think you understand the "visuals" of so dramatically changing how balloting is done. It looks as if the vote is being rigged. The vast opening of the field (since it seems being nominated actually means being on the ballot) means all sort of shennanigans can be implied, inferred, and accused.

Rushing the consideration, and implementation, pretty much guarantees an intractable accusation of conspiracy to keep "non-cabal" candidates out. Even if I thought it were workable (on all levels), I don't think it acceptable.

#281 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:16 PM:

Nepos: I don't forget what we are dealing with. I was here when Beale made his (thankfully few) attempts to browbeat us, some dozen years ago.

I'd already encountered him elsewhere. I've spent a significant portion of the past six years engaging him, and his followers, in other fora.

I am well aware.

I am also aware that there are those whom he injured by his methods. He may not give a rat's ass for the harm that caused (in truth I think he wants them hurt; thinking it will bring them into his fold. Machiavelli he ain't, but that's not beyond him), but I do.

No matter how much contempt I have for the Beales, and Wrights of the world, no matter my angry disappontment at the Torgersens and Correias, and my disgusted disdain for those who; in the full knowledge of what has already been done choose to take up their banner for the future; I am not going to forsake my charity for those who were otherwise deserving, and have been abused for those who chose to co-opt them to their cause.

Yes, I might rather they chose the high-road, but you know what... I'm not in their shoes. I'm not looking at being of merit for the award, nominated to it; possessed of work in the year which isn't deserving of rejection out of hand, and trying to decide if I'll ever get another shot at it.

So no, I'm not going to say that what you think is a "civil jab" doesn't merit them feeling abused in public.

And I shall not abuse them for how they reacted.

#282 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:17 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale, #277: if I had not had a schedule conflict, I could probably have sold it pretty well.

I think you vastly underestimate the intelligence, the skepticism, and the caution of the WSFS Business Meeting attendees. I'm not being unkind, but your proposal would have been regarded as a last-second, ill-considered, half-assed attempt and I think it would most likely never have seen a second of debate time before it was dismissed.

The people who go to that meeting take their responsibilities to Worldcon very seriously, and "last-second, ill-considered, half-assed" is just never even on the table there (at least for more than a couple of seconds; there were a few of those things proposed this weekend, and if you blinked, you missed them).

Hell, "well-planned, highly-developed, thoroughly-tested" things usually take several years before they get passed. Adoption of EPH was by no means a certain thing this year -- and it took months and months of hard work, testing, documentation, and concise, persuasive arguments to get it done.

#283 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:19 PM:

Melissa Singer@177: Fair points all, except that I am absolutely not a Christian. I was raised areligious by an atheist and agnostic. But I've been lucky in that I've never run into trouble for that.

As a point of context, the asterisk was also something that was introduced in David Gerrold's Guest of Honor speech on Friday afternoon, and given his specific emphasis on the exclamation points constructing it, read to me like an attempt to make a positive out of a negative, *particularly* given what we now know about people kept *off* the ballot.

This is second-hand, but comes from multiple sources who know Person X well: Person X, a person on the slates, really, really wanted off the Hugo ballot almost as soon as it was announced, and was a third person--like Juliette Wade, and others--who was apparently not consulted *at all* about being on it.

But was legitimately terrified of how they might be targeted, personally and professionally, by at least one of the Puppy Leaders if X requested removal, so has just been very, very quietly waiting for this to end.

I really wish I'd known this before the voting, but I've used up all my anger. Now I'm just sad.

I didn't applaud at the announcement of No Awards, but there are levels of damage here we don't even know about. I'm friends with a good friend of Alyssa Wong, who would've been a freaking Campbell nominee if not for the slates.

Which is why I really can't be bothered by the asterisk. My empathy on this particular issue is used up.

#284 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:20 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale:

The point is, the tallying and voting can be done after the convention, and thus after newly ratified rules have gone into effect, which is at the close of the convention they were ratified at. Thus, if you wish it, you can have changes to the tallying rules come into effect in the next year's hugos. The rules require nomination and sending out of ballots to precede the convention.

This is precisely what I meant. That, no matter how legal it might be, is going to be (legitimately, IMO) called changing the rules in mid-stream.

And the accusation that it was done to prevent some people from being awarded Hugos they otherwise would have, is going to be hard to refute.

That's without getting into the problem of how one decides to count ballots; since the rules in effect when they were cast, are not the rules in effect when counted.

#285 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:35 PM:

Brad @277 wrote: Right now my concern is how to have... a better 2017 Hugos, because if the puppies really are 25% of nominators, they will still corrupt the 2017 Hugos quite a lot, even if ePH is ratified.

Ehh... I think a campaign built around "deny two nomination slots to the Great and Powerful Tor" will lose peripheral support pretty quickly. It's not near as catchy as "sweep the ballot", and that sort of branding matters if an agitator is going to keep a bunch of henchmen motivated year after year (particularly when those henchmen are fronting real money year after year).

(I elided your mention of 2016 because I agree that it's a concern -- though my principle concern there would be seeing that EPH has enough support in the business meeting to ensure ratification.)

As for your proposed end-around: you did see that 4/6 -- a comparatively conservative Puppy-responding adjustment -- just barely passed at 86/82, yes? That it picked up about 30% more opposition than EPH despite being far easier to explain (and lost over 50% of the support as people left the meeting satisfied that enough had been done)? That people just wanted the meeting to hurry up and end? There is absolutely zero chance that your let's-just-twist-everything-to-the-textual-limit idea (and let's leave off "within the spirit") would have had any traction at all, personal charisma or no.

#286 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:44 PM:

Brad, the Hugos belong, literally, to WSFS, and thus are legitimately part of Worldcon. It's the high point for a lot of attendees - if you were watching the livestream, you saw how full the hall was!

What you're proposing would effectively kill the Hugos as part of Worldcon, and do serious damage to the convention itself.
And for what? To make the awards more valuable?
No, to have write-ins on the final ballots. Which no one else seems to think is desirable, or they'd have been available years ago. (And which all the admins would argue against, because it's their workload you're wanting to fuck with.)

#287 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:55 PM:

I've had a couple of interesting discussions about puppyhood and Hugos with some people at Sasquan. Based on that, I have a nagging feeling that I am essentially a moderate in this fracas.

Let me try to clarify: Last year's and this year's slates were appalling (that specifically is the slates and not a comment on the works that were on the slates, some of which I had read and enjoyed, some of whch I have read and really did not like). I wish they'd never happened and the loophole opened up had never been found and exploited.

I don't consider the heavy presence of Noah Ward in the end results as a victory. I consider it as a loss, but a loss that is survivable as something that sends a strong signal that slates are not acceptable. It is a loss for "us", it is a loss for "them". It is, in short, a loss for all of us.

One of the things that came up in conversation is that what may be needed is a bunch of "I read these, you may enjoy them". Ideally, these lists should be a very small fraction of the number of nomination slots (is a list of 1 item a list? the programmer in me says "yes", but...) or at least N times the size (intuitively, 3 feels like a good lower bound on N, so "15, for now", but I could possibly see 2 as an absolute lower bound (so "10, for now")).

To facilitate that, I handed out the URL to my "book meme" project (not underwritten by anyone but me), wherein I write a short thing about every published work that I read (the very first, back in 200x was the manual for a Stanley angle tool thing that I picked up, on the basis that starting a new year with a resolution and breaking it on January 1st is a bad idea). Things that are unpublished do not get counted (because those things are seldom in their final stage of polish and are frequently read with an explicit or implicit NDA).

If people think this might be a handy thing, I am happy to provide the URL to the tagged posts, to some sort of collection keeper, on the promise that the curated collection is scrupulously neutral to the politics and whats-have-you of the collected links. However, marking the link collection(s) may be an advisable thing.

Now, can we just get our wider community to start healing, in the hope of a better year, before EPH comes in force and makes healing moot?

#288 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:08 AM:

Sumana @ 125

Thank you for the links. Yes, I will read some of those things and see if I can find the movies to watch them.

(coming back later) My word! "Archana and Chandni" is delightful! Thank you for linking it. It's late enough that I'm going to have to finish Elizabeth Bear's story tomorrow. But I appreciate the link to that also.

#289 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:15 AM:

James Harvey #157

I avoided Interstellar because it looked like it was going to be as depressing as all get out. Guardians of the Galaxy, on the other hand, was fun. It made me laugh. I enjoyed it.

Why people pay $20 to watch people suffer for three hours is beyond me...

Melissa Singer #177

Yes, exactly. When I've heard UU deliver "non-denominational" prayer it has been "in Jesus's name amen." When people say "non-denominational" I hear "inclusive of all sects of Christianity." Country and western, as it were.

Regarding the asterisks:
Something about the presenters' accents ... I kept thinking of the other other other meaning of an asterisk, that being the 1* ... pronounced "one ass to risk", a favored slogan among mil-spec-ops-force types (or as they would say, "operating operators who operate operationally")

#290 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:19 AM:

I see that according to Breidbart:

"The social justice warrior onslaught was co-ordinated on the blog of Tor books editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden and his wife Teresa. Patrick and Teresa are, if you like, the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine of this space opera."

Welcome to the Death Star, I guess.

#291 ::: Martin Schafer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:21 AM:

#253: My wife and I have the opposite reaction to Sense8. Once we started watching we couldn't stop except when we had to sleep. We had the same reaction the second time through, which was just this last weekend.

I have some issues with the overarching plot but the character interactions are incredibly powerful. I haven't loved any TV this much since Buffy.

#292 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:32 AM:

Certain members of the Sad Puppies faction made it VERY clear at the business meeting that they absolutely should not be conflated with the Rabid Puppies. I'm not talking about just saying it, like the detestable BT; I'm talking about getting up and speaking in favor of EPH (in the process saying "I'm a Sad Puppy, not a Rabid one"), and voting for it.

So there are some members of that faction who aren't forever-and-always evil, unlike the Rabid ones. They can (sometimes) be worth talking to.

Steven 265: I agree. And if it was anything from stinging to burning for the Puppy nominees...well, as Theseus said to Procrustes...

Rob 290: Being denounced in Breidbart is probably uncomfortable and may cause trouble for the person denounced...but GODS what an honor!

#293 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:35 AM:

Ingvar 287: I don't consider the heavy presence of Noah Ward in the end results as a victory. I consider it as a loss, but a loss that is survivable as something that sends a strong signal that slates are not acceptable. It is a loss for "us", it is a loss for "them". It is, in short, a loss for all of us.

It is a loss, yes. Just as having the left side of my tongue removed was a loss.

I'll leave the parallel as an exercise for the reader.

#294 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:35 AM:

myself @ #287:

Hey, me of about an hour ago (I think...), when you said "makes healing moot", you meant "makes healing no longer affect the Hugos, because EPH is just that awesome". What you said sounds like PEH is a bad thing. You should totally have done better.

#295 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:38 AM:

Ooooh thank you for all the pointers to translators and translations!

The conversation here made me take another look at the Mary Poppins fic I mentioned earlier, "Promise of the पुरवाई" by Dhobi ki Kutti, which the author wrote a few years ago for the Racebending Revenge Challenge run by the Dark Agenda community. About one word in every sentence is in Hindi. I don't know Hindi, so I'd only understood the English layer before. Today I took an hour to read the story with my mom and grok the story's allusions, wordplay, and many-dimensioned subversiveness. I learned how much I already knew, e.g., "Guru-dakshina". And I learned new things. Did you know that, in Hindi, "kal" is a word for "one day away from today" and thus works both as "yesterday" and "tomorrow"? It all works out fine, evidently, because tenses.

This is probably the first fanfic I've ever shown my mom, so we all learned something today!

Jacque @ #196: "Archana and Chandni" is a 2015 publication. Am I right in inferring that you might like to see additional recs for textual Hinduism-related speculative fiction published in 2015?

Bruce Adelsohn @ #150: I today bought a few Amar Chitra Katha comics, which you might be able to find in a local South Asian grocery store near the DVDs (that's where I found mine; I don't think I've ever seen them stocked in a US comic book store). I feel an urge to recommend secular books at you even though they are not speculative fiction! Government Brahmana by Aravind Malagatti is a memoir of growing up Dalit in Karnataka, the Indian province my family comes from (thus, my Brahmin ancestors probably oppressed his lower-caste ancestors). Lavanya Sankaran's The Hope Factory: if you're looking for an English-language novel set in modern-day Bangalore, spanning rich and poor, family and business and politics, check this out. And here is Jo Walton's recommendation of Vikram Seth's epic novel A Suitable Boy. There have been bad days in my life where one of the prospects that sustains me is that sometime next year the sequel, A Suitable Girl, is going to be available for me to read. And there's fic for it on Archive Of Our Own, in case that's a selling point.

Jan Vaněk jr. @ #197: I haven't read any of his work yet, sorry. (And by the way, per an earlier comment, nor have I yet read any Zelazny, Lord of Light included.)

Cat @ #288: Oh I am so happy that you enjoyed "Archana and Chandni"! Please join me in loving Iona Sharma's other short stories, all available to read online without cost.

#296 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:39 AM:

Oh, I'm not suggesting not to have the Hugos at the Worldcon! That would be terrible. The plan (as I said, detailed elsewhere) is to have them at that event of course, but after the gavel bangs to close the official Worldcon.

But it's not changing the rules in mid stream. As I said -- but perhaps you disagree -- I think the system is designed so that it takes two conventions both agreeing to bring about a change. I don't think that's the same as saying the change should be delayed even if we think it's important. It is a hack, but some hacks are good, and the core spirit of dual approval is a good one, and is preserved. However, it is not something I would talk about doing in other than extraordinary times. None of us can be certain, but I think there is a lot we should and would be willing to do, including non-traditional hacks of the rules, if faced with having all-no-award.

#297 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:54 AM:

Brad: If the gavel bangs, and the rules in play before the con convened aren't the same rules by which the ballots are counted... how is that *not* changing the rules mid-stream?

Moreover, when there are motions in play, which don't require such shenannigans, why do it?

Does having to deal with one more year of a system easily gamed being attacked by people willing to game it suck?

Yes.

Does the idea of playing fast and loose with fairness, of gaming the system to "beat" them; when the means to defeat them fairly exist (and have already been effective?) bother me?

Yep.

Is it possible for Beale, et. al, to shit in the punch again? Yes. Can we stop them a second time?

I think so. I esp. think so if EPH and 4/6 are likely to pass, because it's just one more time.

I really don't like the idea of letting ends justify means.

As they say, "Hard cases make bad law". We have a "good law" in play. They also say, "the perfect is the enemy of the good. Putting aside that I don't think your proposal is good, it sure as hell ain't perfect and what we have under consideration is good enough (it may even be; for what we want; preventing a slate from running the table)coming closer to perfect than anything else will.

#298 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:38 AM:

Brad @277:
if the puppies really are 25% of nominators, they will still corrupt the 2017 Hugos quite a lot, even if ePH is ratified.

If the puppies are 25% of the nominators, they should get about 25% of the slots on the ballot. EPH (note capitalization) would give them that.

That's not corruption; that's democracy.


More generally: if the way you've approached conversations about your proposal on Making Light are an example of how you would sell it at the Business Meeting, I don't see that you would have succeeded at Sasquan. You've certainly not persuaded even a single person here to support either the proposal or your ideas about how to get it in quickly.

Even leaving aside my opinions of write-in (and the dreadful idea of the committee, which you have thankfully abandoned) I am really appalled by the way you wanted to sneak it into effect for the 2016 Hugos on a technicality. You are completely blind to the ways that would deepen the rifts that we would so desperately like to heal. It's clear that you don't regard even the Sad Puppy followers as legitimate fans and real members of our wider community, because you're totally willing to give them a slap in the face that will last for decades.

Do you think these people are going to go away, and do so quietly and happily, if you so conspicuously cut them out? And do you think that that would be a good thing if they did, when they're fellow fans, readers and buyers of our genre?

For someone whose selling point is that he has a human solution, you haven't played the human factor at all well here. Just a thought to counter the "ah, had I only been at Sasquan, all could have been saved."

#299 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:35 AM:

Brad @277

I'm gonna hafta go with abi here: while I am virulently opposed to the very concept of slates, literally any solution we could offer (even the one we should absolutely never pursue, which is competing full slates) would look better, feel better, and BE better for everyone involved - us, the puppies, and curious outsiders.

Yesterday, a friend was suggesting 'dueling full slates, but only for one year' and I told him that was the worst possible solution. I'll have to apologize to him tonight... it's now only the second worst possible solution I've heard, though yours does require a time machine.

Sorry, I'm not usually that glib... but it's late, and I'm a bit stressed. Still, consider this: the community has been aware of the potential slate exploit for YEARS (at least since 87, with growing awareness in the last decade), and have similarly been aware it would take two years to fix if it became a problem. Sure, a lot of people probably thought "Hey, even the Scientologists didn't have the guts to do it, what are the chances we'd get a group more aggro than that?" but most people were well aware of the possibility.

None of the news this year comes out of nowhere. Like, half the SMOFs I know are just shrugging their shoulders and saying "Well, we finally found somebody to out-crazy Hubbard's bunch. I guess I owe Frank that sawbuck after all."

#300 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:42 AM:

#107 & #108: Haven't grepped all postings ever, but I'd guess that this is the first time both "boustrophedon" and "thurible" have been contained in the same Making Light thread. Adjacent postings, at that!

#301 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:00 AM:

Brad: I'm gonna talk about why you are getting the sort of push back you are.

You've been tone deaf on this from the start (and I saw that you've been suggesting this for a little while now; if I read the dates correctly, in time to have put it on the agenda): and no one been saying, "Oh, that might work, let's game it out and polish it up".

No one.

That's a clue.

Maybe this is the perfect technical solution. But this isn't a technical problem. It's (as you admit) a human one. And you are ignoring the human element. What's baffling is it's the same element which is the root cause of all this.

Everyone (of good faith) involved in this is upset about fairness.

The puppy supporters think the game has been rigged against the puppies.

We think slating the ballot wasn't fair.

They think No Awarding the slate wasn't fair*

We can fix it. But the fix has to be, like Caesar's wife, beyond any possible appearance of unfairness.

So I apologise. I shouldn't have so stressed the logistical problem. That was me being stupid. At it's core I didn't like it because of the unfairness of the 2016 solution you were proposing; but I discarded that as a persuasive tool because it was irrelevant, since it couldn't be implemented.

I missed that a big part of what you saw as a feature was the very kernel of treating the puppy supporters without either fairness, or charity.

This, is not yet, a civil war in fandom (though that is, I think, Beale's desired end-state). The only way it can become one is if we, as the party with the whip hand, don't treat the people who misunderstand what is happening; the people who feel hard done by, without consideration.

We need to be compassionate. We need to be fair. We need to be aboveboard. We need to avoid cheap tricks and disenfranchising devices. We need to remember that conventions don't sell tickets, the fans buy memberships.

We are all in this together, Neofans, casual fans, "trufans" fanzine fans, filk fans, lit-fans, media fans, costumer fans, smofs, etc.

This, as abi says, tells those who disagree with our position to piss up a rope.

I, for one, won't stand for it. If you put it to the agenda for MidAmeriCon, I will go to Kansas; even if it means I miss Helsinki.

Because I will not shaft other fans, for a "Victory" which sows dissension.

*and for several reasons the argument that the works suggested were crap doesn't fly

#302 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:31 AM:

Ingvar@287 -- I'm always interested in people's reactions to things they have read, and am always interested in more Lists Of Things That Came Out This Year.

So sure.

#303 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:55 AM:

Abi @ 298 You are completely blind to the ways that would deepen the rifts that we would so desperately like to heal.

This is why I was talking in the previous thread about trying to find a way to translate the Puppies' ideas into some format which can be discussed sanely. We should be open to the idea that "box checking" can damage a story, or that graduates from a college writing program might deal differently with stories and science-fiction than those from a technical background and be willing to talk about it.

We don't have to forgive the Vox Days of this world, or engage politely with people named Brad, Larry, Lou, John or Sarah, but as far as I'm concerned, everyone else is probably worth talking to.

#304 ::: Mercy ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:26 AM:

Stephen Rochelle @ 269: I've been recommending Linesman a lot in the past couple of weeks. I liked it so much that I reread it almost immediately, which is rare for me. The authors are Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall (they're sisters).

The other book I've been recommending around this year is Forgotten Suns, by Judith Tarr. (That's the other book I immediately reread this year. Normally I wait at least a month before rereading something.)

I seem to be on a space opera kick this year, I don't know why.

#305 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:58 AM:

AlexR @303

I agree with much of what you say here, though it also illustrates why these conversations are going to be challengin.

Your line about "box-checking" is something I hear all the time, and it is often at worst a dogwhistle and at best a sign of unmarked cognitive biases.

The idea that straight white male represents unchecked boxes and anything else represents checked boxes is a bad piece of brain furniture that totally fucks up your mental Feng Shui.

I don't even necessarily think that's what you meant or had in mind when you used that phrase, but man oh man I have literally never heard "box-checking" maligned by anyone who did not have a strong picture in their head of what an "unchecked box" looks like. This is not malicious, it is something almost everyone does subconsciously. One of the best articles I've ever read about it was by one of the creators of Bojack Horseman, on how he realized he'd internalized male as the comedy default. And while I know plenty of people who will respond with the same "Oh, I get it now!" as that guy did, there are many, many more who will not. It's really hard to start that conversation over and over.

At the same time, Laura J. Mixon's piece and resulting win should be seen as a stark and important commentary on the real potential problems of certain habits of what I will admit I commonly consider "our side." RH was very scary, crossing them was dangerous, and they exploited the politics and language of the left to cause great harm.

I don't know, this doesn't really flow, but hopefully it's at least coherent. I'm on a plane waiting to take off, so it's airplane mode for me for the next few hours.

#306 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:54 AM:

Regarding the issue of "box checking" Foz Meadows had what I thought was a very good explanation of why people who consider a writer's or protagonists gender or minority status are not ignoring quality the way the Puppies seem to fear.

I will link it here: Peeling The Onion

#307 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:02 AM:

Sarah @289:

In both of my UU churches, I have never heard anyone pray in Jesus' name, not even the self-identified Christian minister. He's been mentioned as one figure among many, but never invoked in that particular manner. Was this in a non-UU setting? I'd be quite upset if I heard that in church, and would have a conversation with the minister about it. (And I have in fact called out the aforementioned Christian UU minister, when she expressed confusion about why atheists would go to church, for being unwelcoming and ill-informed. She apologized and has been better about that since.) UU is variable from congregation to congregation, and person to person within congregations even more so than most faiths, so generalizing is very fraught. I will say I've had atheist ministers and vaguely theist ministers and some whose status I frankly don't know.

As for "non-denominational", I have never understood it to be even intended to be anything other than "non-specific Christianity"; "interfaith" is what I see when the intent is to be more inclusive than that.

#308 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:24 AM:

I'll give Rick and Morty a recommendation! I've been watching it ever since Steve Stiles sat me down and showed me a sample. Not only is it up to the windows in SF tropes, but the inter-family relationships have taken on some remarkable resonances as a result of various, eh, adventures. Personalities are caustic, and damn near toxic in some cases.

I thought the show was heartless at first (hilariously so), but it turns out that the heart is there. It just takes some hard knocks, and gives a few. It's personality-driven: these things happen to these people because they're the way they are.

At first, they didn't give a lot of attention to Morty's sister, Summer, but that has been remedied. Maybe they can make Jerry less of an idiot some day (he has stepped up to the plate a couple of times and shown some ability in a pinch).

There's a fair amount of grossness in it, which will seriously dampen the enjoyment of a subset of possible viewers, so I mention it now. They say "shit" from time to time, and it's not always metaphoric.

There's a strangely extemporaneous feel to some of the gags, as if some of the recording sessions are improvised. I've chosen to find this amusing, so far. The character designs remind me a little of Kim Deitch's comics. It was pointed out that Rick and Morty resemble Doc Brown and Marty. Huh. Morty. Marty. Huh. Anyway, it's pretty much a surface resemblance. Doc Brown is far more moral than Rick, and strictly Earth-based. Rick is rude, careless, alcoholic (and familiar with drugs we don't get on this planet), and conversant with many seasons worth of alien cultures and technologies.

(on previewing) I'll just stop here.

#309 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:26 AM:

Abi@298:

If the puppies are 25% of the nominators, they should get about 25% of the slots on the ballot. EPH (note capitalization) would give them that.

That's not corruption; that's democracy.

I find this idea disturbing. Slates are inherently corrupting, because they do not represent people's actual preferences. The Hugo ballot ought to consist of works that a lot of people have actually judged to be good. That way voters can make an informed choice, with a good chance of picking out the best, or something likely to be widely recognised as such. If a large chunk of the ballot consists of works that three people have chosen, and urged other people to vote for in order to achieve an external purpose, the process is corrupted.

EPH addresses one source of corruption, the disproportion between votes and outcome. It does not address the other source, the disproportion between actual preferences and votes. I don't know, at the moment, of anything that would address that. I don't think Brad's proposal would work, for various reasons. But I think it's reasonable to keep looking for ways of improving things.

I suspect that the only long term solution is to get slates to go away; persuade the more reasonable Puppy sympathisers to change their tactics (because there are perfectly legitimate ways of getting stuff they like on the ballot), and keep No Awarding the others until they stop. I guess they will. If they don't, and Vox Day still controls a spot on the ballot twenty years from now, the value of the Hugos is at the very least seriously impaired.

#310 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:32 AM:

Alex R @303:

We should be open to the idea that "box checking" can damage a story

Well, possibly, except I've never yet seen "box checking" so it's a hard hypothetical to test. What I have seen are stories with diverse casts of characters get derided as "box checking", when they have characters who differ from what the speaker perceives as the default (straight white men) who don't have a Good Reason to be so; there was a lengthy and rather acrimonious thread here on ML a couple years ago where someone representing this attitude explained he didn't mind gay characters, as long as their being gay was relevant to the plot, but regarded a random character happening to be gay as clearly the result of political correctness. Often people who dislike box checking will feel that one token minority character is acceptable, but more than one? Box-checking.

So, if you've seen box checking damage stories, can you name some titles? It's easier to discuss specifics than hypotheticals.

#311 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:48 AM:

Brad--I've only been to two business meetings, but I'll echo the comments above in that the business meeting is very cautious and the post gavel approach would almost certainly not have a chance of passing.
We'll deal with 2016 as it comes. If it means that everything is No Award, that is unfortunate, but is really the only option at this point unless there is either a remarkable show of self restraint from the SP/RP groups or there are way more nominations than the usual numbers would lead us to expect.
Getting everyone who voted for the Hugo's this year to nominate next year and then some would be a very useful thing but the multiplication factor for slates make the numbers very difficult to achieve.

#312 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:51 AM:

Kip@308, Rick could also be compared with the Doctor (and has been, by the show's creators) -- except in a universe that tends strongly towards the horrible and psychologically damaging instead of wondrous. In this comparison, I guess Morty and Summer both get to be Susan.

#313 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:00 AM:

Leah Miller @ 305 said: "The idea that straight white male represents unchecked boxes and anything else represents checked boxes is a bad piece of brain furniture that totally fucks up your mental Feng Shui."

I just want to take that sentence, buff it up, and admire it.

Well said.

#314 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:20 AM:

Andrew @309 wrote: If they don't [stop slating], and Vox Day still controls a spot on the ballot twenty years from now, the value of the Hugos is at the very least seriously impaired.

I can't help but think that this is unreasonably projecting this year's slating (and the long-term damage it could do if continued) onto post-EPH slating.

Supposing someone aggressively runs a slate for 20 years (and that they persuade enough people to keep paying money to make that slate work), what's the net effect? The Hugos are de facto reduced to 4 finalist slots. That's disappointing, sure, but I don't see where "seriously impaired" falls out of that. And if 4/6 also ratifies, the net effect will be that the Hugos are reduced to 5 finalist slots -- just like they have been all along.

I'm comfortable filing away a long-term hate campaign to lock down one slot in the "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" category.

#315 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:48 AM:

Leah, I also love the "mental feng shui" phrasing.

It's something writers and readers need to internalize: every character has a sex and a gender, an ethnicity, an appearance, and so on. As their creator, you may or may not have any idea about these features as you go along. But you make decisions besides relying on the whims of inspiration, whether to fill in details for the reader, what you know but wish to allude to or outright conceal (I have John Scalzi and Emma Bull right here to talk about that last choice), and so on. But not making an effort to think about some features for some characters is a choice, and so is leaving them out of some characters' descriptions and not others.

In this regard, I recommend to Puppies-leaning readers James S.A. Corey's Expanse series: it's an exciting tale of clashing human cultures, epic disaster, war and near-war, and long-distance alien encounter, a kind of story that's been a welcome part of the sf tradition since the beginning. But the guys who collaborate as Corey show how some more modern features coexist well with the tradition, and one part of that is character description. They assume you'd like to know what people look like, and they describe their people in ways that don't presume that everyone's white, or male, or whatever, unless otherwise marked - the white people are described as straightforwardly as everyone else, and the men as straightforwardly as the woman.

Cool stuff.

#316 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:53 AM:

lorax #307

I was there; I know what I heard.

#317 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:54 AM:

Brad, I'd just like to point out one thing. Your suggested procedure for getting the rule change into effect quickly is technically within the rules, but against all custom and precedent.

"Technically within the rules, but against all custom and precedent" is exactly what the Puppies did this year to get themselves so thoroughly No Awarded.

#318 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:55 AM:

Attempting to knock loose an Internal Server Error.

#319 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:07 AM:

Stephen Rochelle: Well, I wouldn't rule out his getting two slots. As I understand it EPH isn't strictly proportional; a slate can still do better than its mere numbers suggest if the opposition to it is very divided.

But in any case, I think that even with one slot, the value of the Hugos is impaired, because 'Hugo nominee' is no longer a sign of quality. (Or at least of widely perceived quality.)

Last year the Puppies did not get more than two slots in any category. The value of the awards was still impaired.

#320 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:14 AM:

I'd have thought so too, a year ago. But now I've come to understand that something like 15% of the Hugo voters have got a taste for right-wing message fiction. That's not my taste, but it's theirs and it's valid, and there are enough such people that their taste ought to be represented with the occasional nomination.

#321 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:16 AM:

Sarah @316, I'm sorry; I didn't mean to question your experience. I'm just saying that mine differs.

#322 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:17 AM:

Related to the box-checking, there's a subtle thing in Anansi Boys which I confess I only noticed on the second reread. In a lot of fiction, the narrative voice will casually mention characters' race in their introduction if and only if they are not white. ("Joe is a black man, about fifty-five, and he's wearing a custom-tailored suit and sunglasses.") In Anansi Boys, the narrative voice instead does this when characters are not black.

In principle, changing the default this way and not making a fuss about it seems like a clever authorial move, but there is a downside, viz. it's possible to not notice and thus go through the entire book without realizing that most of the characters are black. Sort of the same thing where Johnny Rico isn't obviously Filipino and I have encountered people who insist that he's white.

#323 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:19 AM:

Roger @ 252... I apologize for what I said and for misinterpreting your original comment.

#324 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:25 AM:

But, Laertes, nobody's saying otherwise, surely? The problem is with them gaming the system to get more nominations than they actually deserve - which would be a problem whoever was doing it.

#325 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:29 AM:

That's what I get for not specifying what I'm replying to.

"I'd have thought so too" was a response to Andrew M's "Last year the Puppies did not get more than two slots in any category. The value of the awards was still impaired."

I thought so at the time. Now I think that the Hugos aren't diminished by the occasional right-wing message-fic nominee. There's a lot of people who like that stuff.

#326 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:40 AM:

Just a note on the number of Sad / Rabid Puppies from one half of the "4 and 6" team:

Some of us read (at least the first part of) everything and voted accordingly. So, in my case, I voted for "Big Boys Don't Cry," "Totaled" and 3 or 4 deep in both Editor categories. Those votes inflate Puppy power.

#327 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:52 AM:

Well, for one thing, do 15% have a taste for right-wing message fiction? It looks like some of them voted that way in order to cause annoyance rather than because they actually liked the stuff.

But even if they do, the slate is still giving them an unfair advantage. Suppose 15% of voters have a taste for alternate history. That won't get them a regular spot on the ballot, unless they can agree which work of alternate history to vote for - which they won't be able to do unless they have a slate. (Normally; sometimes an outstanding work will turn up.) If lovers of right wing message fiction continue to run a slate, and other people don't, the situation is still unfair.

#328 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:08 PM:

A reporter asked me, from Sasquan, whether this discussion is going to be good for science fiction and the Hugos. I replied "Ask me in 10 years. We won't know until then." I stand by that statement: we've had a big event, and we don't know how it's going to shake out.

#329 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:13 PM:

Leah Miller @305, Cat @306, et alia in regards to Default Humanity and noticing it: There's a really good
walkthrough of a guy noticing and realizing here.

loran @307, in re UU variability: Not only are there explicitly Jesus-filled congregations, there is a large subset of American UUs that are bigoted against queer folks. A friend of mine was shocked, upon moving to a new town, to go into her nearest UU congregation for services and end up feeling slapped in the face by all the content of the service. That's when she learned that you have to look carefully for the rainbow decal on the sign to make sure you're going to get an "open and affirming" congregation. Ever since, I've been looking, and she's right, there's way more bigoted UU groups than I would have thought even slightly plausible.

In my experience, a bit over half the congregations I've had reason to interact with have been explicitly heavily theistic (saying "God" every third sentence at least, shading towards the Christian end of things at the other end of the spectrum), and at least a quarter very obviously being "ecumenical" by including ALL kinds of Christian, not by actually embracing the full spectrum of human religious belief when it comes to creators and fundamental deity.

#330 ::: Gary D ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:16 PM:

Sarah @289 & #316

I have never heard of any UU ending anything with "In Jesus' name' except satirically.

This includes visits to 5 UU churches.

However, I am sure it happens, just at a lower frequency than homages to Mohammed, Buddha, Hindu Gods, Zarathustra, Moses, Gaia, Mother Earth, The Great Spirit, honored ancestors, spirits of the north south east and west, Darwin, humanity, and science.

#331 ::: Estee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:20 PM:

Re: translation, Ken Liu gave an excellent presentation on the subject at ReaderCon, drawing on both scholarship and personal experience, that I very much hope he will publish in some form.

Re: ethnicity of characters, I have been thinking for some time of a post made several years ago by Mary Anne Mohanranj (apologies if I have misspelled her name) on John Scalzi's blog. She recommended strongly that writers identify the ethnicity of their characters. In general I agree, but I think there may also be exceptions, especially in SF.

I'm thinking of reading Asimov's far-future books for the first time, many decades ago, and noticing that because of the completely made-up names and, frankly, fairly shallow characterizations, we usually have no idea what ethnic group the characters are. Therefore, they can be anything the reader wants them to be! I see this as a feature, not a bug, and I think it may have been deliberate on the part of the author. I'm guessing that people who read the books in translation probably imagine the characters as members of their own group, whatever that may be.

#332 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:22 PM:

Cat @ 90: Of course filkers are included. All fen who've passed shou;d be. I doesn't (and shouldn't) matter what their sympathies are.

#333 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:24 PM:

Estee @331: I would find the idea of extrapolating diversity into Asimov more convincing if his unmarked characters ever acted in any way as if they weren't mainstream middle-class-or-better white Americans. They don't ever even appear to have subcultural distinctions among themselves, for the most part, especially in his short works and juveniles. Everyone has one single culture and it's this one.

On the other hand, go back and read some of Judy Blume's iconic middle-school novels -- many of the background characters in those books (especially the ones set in New York public schools, etc) were nonwhite, but her publisher explicitly told her the book couldn't be published if they were mentioned as such. Any girl who's described as "dark" with "very curly hair" is Ms. Blume doing her best to get an explicitly black character into the book. Etc. Luckily, modern illustrators are now allowed to put the always-intended-to-be-there diversity into the internal illustrations, and in some of the 'updated' editions she has gone back and made her intentions plainer.

#334 ::: andyl ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:25 PM:

@Laertes

I am far less confident on the 15% figure then you are. We do not know how many people voted just to 'kick the SJWs' and without any great affection for the listed works. We do not know how many people voted who knew little of the puppy slates, or who judged the final ballot on merit and found some works worthy enough to place above No Award.

I would be happier saying that there is a minority who prefer conservative SF but to my mind that is quite a bit wider than what the puppies want to serve up.

#335 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:39 PM:

@333:

"I would find the idea of extrapolating diversity into Asimov more convincing if his unmarked characters ever acted in any way as if they weren't mainstream middle-class-or-better white Americans. They don't ever even appear to have subcultural distinctions among themselves, for the most part, especially in his short works and juveniles. Everyone has one single culture and it's this one."

In Asimov's later books, he seemed to be making an effort to improve with that issue - in "Forward the Foundation" (I think it's that one) he explicitly talks about different cultures in different areas of Trantor. Parts of the plot are driven by the fact that a character who is from a poorly-regarded culture is passing as a member of more favored culture, and other characters from a culture that is characterized on Trantor as ill-educated and unsophisticated have become academics (as part of Seldon's group).

#336 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 12:41 PM:

Sumana @ 125

Thank you so much for these links.

#337 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:08 PM:

I suspect that Asimov was thinking that in the far future, races will have disappeared, as it is prejudice that prevents them completely mingling now, and this will in time be overcome. (I think that's an oversimplification of reality, but I'm guessing it's what he thought.) In his later books he recognises different ethnicities existing in the future, but they are newly developed ethnicities, not continuations of present ones.

#338 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:19 PM:

Alex R: I, for one, am not going to be discussing the Eric Raymond thesis anytime soon, not least because I don't have the sense you are using it in good faith; since you have said you aren't ready to engage with it critically yourself; while you seemed to be perfectly willing to explain why those who were engaging with it were wrong.

Given that, I am less than completely sanguine about your use of "box-checking" which, as a term, has a lot of baggage, and some ugly implications. By it's very nature that term puts the argument into defending an author's choices, rather than one of, "is it a good story."

The Problem with the "box checking" narrative is that it assumes, by default, that there is a "normal" and any deviation is either needed for plot, or purely there as a political statement.

The issue isn't, so far as I can tell, one of "is this good for the story", but one of "what the fuck are you doing implying that it's not all about white men." It's the reactionaries asserting a political narrative of "White Dudes Are Evil", when it's really a narrative of, "the world is full of all sorts of people.

I wish I could find the article I was recently reading about a disabled playwright. He has disabled people in his plays, but the plays aren't "about" disability. His life isn't about being in a wheelchair. His life is about making supper, and getting the kids to school and watching TV, and reading books, and writing plays.

He does all those things (and more besides) in his wheelchair; and the wheelchair affects his life (e.g. how the furniture is laid out)

In that same way having a person who isn't socially dominant (since white men aren't a majority of the population) doesn't make the story about being Guatamalan or a woman, or a lesbian. Yeah, the story is about a person who happens to be those things, but who thinks Indiana Jones is about being a white male?

It's about a person who does stuff. The white man aspect of it isn't relevant. Same for most of the accusations of "box checking" I say most because there are stories about what it means to be black, gay, in the army, etc. In those stories the sex/age/ability/color/nationality/class of the character may be a central feature. But in those stories, it's not hidden.

#339 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:23 PM:

Andrew M: re proportions on the ballot. I find this idea disturbing. Slates are inherently corrupting, because they do not represent people's actual preferences. The Hugo ballot ought to consist of works that a lot of people have actually judged to be good.

That's nnot what abi said. She said that in a direct democracy (which is what the Hugos are) one should expect to see any sizable block represented; and to some degree in proportion to their portion of the population.

I'm also not happy with the implication that, as time goes on, the people voting for conservative/space opera, etc. aren't voting for works they have read, and deemed to be good. We aren't advising people to look for "good" books. In fact we have long said one of the problems with the nominations is people figuring, "Oh, I don't know enough to pick the "good" books, so I'll just refrain".

If someone likes a book, they get to nominate it. Absent an obvious slate I don't care. The point of EPH isn't to keep "puppy" book/authors off the ballot. It's to keep small groups from being able to hijack the system.

But in any case, I think that even with one slot, the value of the Hugos is impaired, because 'Hugo nominee' is no longer a sign of quality. (Or at least of widely perceived quality.)

If so we might as well just concede defeat, and admit that Teddy Beale beat all of SF fandom.

Because it seems your interpretation of what needs to be done is either scrap the Hugos, or create an out caste which is deemed incapable of being eligible. The first case is what Beale wants, the second is what the puppies said already exists.

#340 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:26 PM:

To elaborate (the oh no second kicked in).

There have been years when I thought some of the nominees were utter dreck Stuff I wouldn't have even tried to finish were it not on the ballot(e.g. Gravity).

They didn't diminish the value of the award (any more than Gigi winning best picture damaged the Oscars for me).

If some fiction the folks who supported the puppies gets on the ballot, that's fine. It's the way they prevented any other work from being considered I want to prevent.

#341 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:27 PM:

Zack: One of the really interesting things BioWare did in Dragon Age Origins was to not voice the POV character. I didn't notice this until playing a module from an NPC party member POV.

Suddenly I understood why so many "gamerdudes" were upset. All the choices that get made, the tolerance which is, or isn't, engaged in is done in the head of the player. It's internal to the self.

It's a really powerful narrative tool, but it has secondary effects.

#342 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 01:47 PM:

Re small groups of voters, slates, and representation:

On a practical basis, I cannot be the keeper of anyone's conscience but my own. And in the long term, I don't want to have to care whether there's some tiresome cabal of twerps who are trying to use the Hugos as a club against other fans. What I want to do is read a bunch of good books, then nominate and vote on the Hugos.

What that means on a practical level is that I do not want to care why any particular person nominated the works they nominated. If they qualify to cast a nominating ballot, they can cast it any way they like, for any reason they like: color of cover, the author's name rhymes with "orange", that's where the thrown dart landed. If enough people's darts land on the same work, then fine. Put it on the final ballot.

Not because I want people to do this; I'd like people to nominate works that (to use Lydy's phrasing) knock their socks into orbit. But the cost of figuring out why people have nominated any given thing and excluding the reasons I don't like is intrusive and excessive. It builds no bridges and brings no joy.

And the thing is, if I don't have to care what the nut wing of fandom is doing, because there are nominated works I can vote for with good conscience, then it will be less and less rewarding for said nut wing to slate. Because slating is boring: pay the money and don't even read the books; the only thrill is tribalism and sticking it to the Other Folks. I'm prepared to care a lot less than I did last year if we have to sacrifice a nomination slot to bore the Culture Warriors (though I still resent them behaving like middle-schoolers, with the namecalling and the weird-ass conspiracy theories).

Excluding slates completely isn't even making the best the enemy of the good, because I believe that everyone's votes should count, even if they're voting for reasons I don't like. And it prevents us from ever reaching common ground, when the mind-blowing conservative work of fiction gets written, published, and knocks even my socks into orbit.

It's just not a good idea.

#343 ::: Estee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:05 PM:

Elliott Mason@333

How interesting about Judy Blume; I didn't know that. And I must admit to not having read any of her work, although of course her name is familiar.

I have heard rumors that similar things once happened in the romance field,with books that were actually written by and for African-Americans, but in code such as you describe so that white readers would buy them too. I can't cite any examples, though, so I don't know for sure.

#344 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:11 PM:

What abi said.

#345 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:18 PM:

As far as voting No Award - I've done that with more than one Big Name, when I felt that the nomination was more because of the Name than the quality of the nominated work.

#346 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:23 PM:

PJ: Me too. As I said elseweb, the large number of No Award on best fan writer category shows that fandom isn't in "lockstep". There is still a lot of controversy about both the subject, and the writing (as well as the various ongoing issues attendent).


#347 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:26 PM:

I did find something (sadly) amusing in relation to JCW's recounting of the Hugos:

I point you to [said commentary]. I haven’t seen a better write-up of SJW scummery or a more rational, logical discussion of why this year’s Hugo awards were an embarrassment and a black mark on science fiction writ large.

I am sad to say said person spent time in the USMC.

#348 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:26 PM:

abi @ 342... What I want to do is read a bunch of good books, then nominate and vote on the Hugos

Yes.

#349 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:27 PM:

abi @ 342... What I want to do is read a bunch of good books, then nominate and vote on the Hugos

Yes.

#350 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:28 PM:

Curses. Duped again!

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 02:35 PM:

I am sad to say said person spent time in the USMC.

Certainly none of the ones I've met have been like that.

#352 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:04 PM:

Andrew M. @ 327 wrote

But even if they do, the slate is still giving them an unfair advantage. Suppose 15% of voters have a taste for alternate history. That won't get them a regular spot on the ballot, unless they can agree which work of alternate history to vote for - which they won't be able to do unless they have a slate. (Normally; sometimes an outstanding work will turn up.) If lovers of right wing message fiction continue to run a slate, and other people don't, the situation is still unfair.

Yes this. Any other 15% nominates fairly, and something they love gets on the ballot provided a respectable number of fans outside their group love it too. I have heard it expressed that Hugo nominees tend to have crossover appeal; I suspect this is one reason why, and it makes the final reading more fun for all of us.

Slating is still cheating--but maybe after EPH is in play only getting one thing on the ballot will be less attractive and they'll give up and leave.

In light of Terry Karney's words @ 339 I'll just add that I don't mind people picking their honest favorites even when that is right-wing-message-fiction. I mind slating because it is unfair to all the other works including the other right-wing-message-fiction.

I agree that it's too hard to find a way to dump all slate votes--can you imagine the headache of trying to administer something like that fairly with the rabids dancing around you trying to produce edge cases to put you in the wrong and beat you with? (shudder) I'd rather swim with piranhas. But I don't like slating and I don't think it's fair, and if I know a nominee is the result of a slate it will have to really impress me to get my vote.

David Weingart @ 332

I just wasn't expecting it; that's all--I expected the Hugos' In Memoriam to tilt mostly toward writers and so on. It was a pleasant surprise. The filker names did make me tear up, when I saw them, but that happens at this kind of thing.

#353 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:15 PM:

Terry@339:

Because it seems your interpretation of what needs to be done is either scrap the Hugos, or create an out caste which is deemed incapable of being eligible.

I have said what I think needs to be done: persuade reasonable Puppy sympathisers to adopt different tactics, and go on No Awarding the others until they stop. I'm confident this will work. I don't think Brad's scenario is likely to come to pass: continued non-success will make it harder for Beale to attract supporters.

But if by some weird turn of events it did come to pass, I think that would be a damaging situation. If he never gets more than one spot (which is the most likely outcome), not a fatally damaging situation; but still damaging, because it would reduce the value of a Hugo nomination (for anyone).

I should probably explain my perspective on this; it is that of someone who has for a long time been an outsider. I value the Hugos as a a source of information; they point me to what the most significant things in SF are at any time. Not infallibly, of course - everyone will know some decisions of the Hugo voters which they find incomprehensible - but to a large extent. I've seen lots of people during the current debate saying they find the Hugos helpful in this way. But this depends on the voters being a group of people who are worth listening to (which they are) and using their judgement (which they do). If they started making decisions in other ways, by throwing darts or whatever, the Hugo process, with a reformed voting system, would be completely fair, but it wouldn't be useful.

In fact this isn't going to happen on such a scale; the process won't be completely taken over by people who aren't exercising judgement. But even having a bit of it taken over can reduce the amount of good stuff which the Hugo process makes available to people. (It is possible for the lowest nominee to go on and win. The last example I can find is Best Fan Writer in 2013. If there had been a more active Puppy campaign that year, Tansy Rayner Roberts might not have got her award - even under EPH.)

In all this I'm not sure I'm actually disagreeing with anything you said; I certainly don't want to exclude conservative works - I said there were legitimate ways for Puppy supporters to get their stuff on the ballot - and you don't seem to like explicit slates. I do disagree, I think, with one thing:

We aren't advising people to look for "good" books. In fact we have long said one of the problems with the nominations is people figuring, "Oh, I don't know enough to pick the "good" books, so I'll just refrain".

Surely the problem is people saying 'I don't know enough to pick the best books'. We want people to pick books that they see as good; it's just they don't need to make wide comparisons to see if they are good enough. And if enough people see a book as good, that's evidence of its quality.

#354 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:18 PM:

Abi, I am far from blind on those points. You do have to remember my background, my intense and very long proven dedication to keeping the rules and fairness. You may be forgetting those things if you're reading it into what I say, and of course this often happens in online discussion where the person isn't in front of you.

We are disagreeing over whether it is a worse thing to find a way -- within the rules -- to solve some of these problems, or to allow the puppies to almost completely destroy the 2016 awards and change long term the later awards. I find this ironic. I am usually on the other side from people who quote the line that the (USA) constitution is not a suicide pact. It takes quite a lot for me to say it in the other direction, trust me. But in the end, yes, I would rather see efforts which stay within the rules, and even within most of the spirit of the rules, but partly outside the spirit in that they are not what was intended in order to undo the destructive efforts of those who are willing to go entirely outside the spirit of the rules, and beyond that, to the point that people will amend the rules to stop them.

I believe some key elements of the spirit of the rules are:

a) The Hugos are intended to measure the independent opinion of Worldcon members on what the best works of the year are.
b) To avoid rash changes, changing those rules requires the attending members of two different worldcons to approve of it.

Write-in isn't cheating -- in fact, in the world it is the most common method used to deal with problems in a nomination system.

Is cleverly counting the ballots after ratification cheating? I view it as a hack that gets fans what they intend, and brings more power in a democratic way to fans, faster and without bias. Perhaps nobody else here feels that way, in which case this is not the place to discuss it.

More in a second message about a different matter with EPH.

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:24 PM:

354
There seems to be nothing in your proposal that would prevent a slating group from doing the same thing with the write-ins.

Write-ins aren't a solution: they're another problem, and one that is as gameable as the nominations.

#356 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:30 PM:

Andrew M: There were reasons I put "good" in quotation marks.

One lots of people have the idea a ripping good yarn, easy to read and hard to put down, doesn't equal the sort of thing which should be nominated for a Hugo.

They don't think it's "good" enough.

The people who think their is a Cabal behind the Hugos think we don't want to see books which aren't "pushing an agenda", e.g. aren't "good" books.

What I want is people to nominate things they like, in the field, even the edge cases (I'm still not sure Lucifer's Hammer is SF, even if it has rocket ships).

So in that we are in agreement. But we can't stop slates from happening. Prior to now it's not been an actual issue, merely a theoretical one.

But why I am so heated about not wanting to even seem to be considering a way to try and "ban slates" is the discussion going on right now in the actual discussion on the Hugo Website about how the Hugo Committee should have just tossed out the "ballot stuffers".

At first I thought the person meant the No Award votes, but no, they meant the votes that weren't for no award; or maybe even the nominations.

That sort of discussion is one I really don't want to see take root.

#357 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:34 PM:

Steve @ 324
Gamed the system. Interesting phrase. You mean people came into this awards system for the best Science Fiction and Fantasy with legitimate votes for what they felt was the best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and it was gaming the system? Or are you referring to the fact that some people talked about what they liked, and suggested people should vote for what they liked as well? I would say that ANYONE involved in the Hugos in the last few years should be jumping for joy at the amount of people who are interested in the Hugos again. Let’s look at the numbers. 2013 had 1848 valid ballots. Less than 2000 people decided the BEST SFF for the year. 2014 had 3587 valid ballots. That is a nice little bump in interest for SFF. Hooray! 2015 had 5950 valid ballots! Over FOUR THOUSAND more people are involved in deciding what is the best SFF for this last year! If the purpose of SFF is inclusiveness and progress, then the Sad Puppies campaign has done wonders for this community. Without breaking any rules, just getting people interested in the Hugos again. And if you look at that and say, “Well, those are the wrong kind of people to vote,” then maybe you need to do some soul-searching and admit that you don’t really want diversity. There are many definitions of diversity. I like this one: policy of encouraging tolerance for people of different backgrounds. Do you want to be a part of a policy that encourages tolerance, or do you want to continue to complain about all of these unwanted people voting for your award?

#358 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:38 PM:

Terry, 346: On the first pass, No Award got half the votes that Mixon did, and the same amount as all 4 Puppy candidates combined. (Give or take. I don't have the PDF open in front of me.) Maybe not lockstep, but a convincing statement nonetheless.

#359 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:40 PM:

Brad, my disagreement with your proposal is not personal. My views on it are not about you as a person, your history, or your beliefs.

I'm agnostic on write-in ballots, but I see some obstacles to the proposal from other quarters. I suspect that the Hugo administrators may see them as a ton of extra work, though you're comfortable with the normalizing effort. I don't know what electioneering geeks will say, but I'm sure I'll hear about it if you pursue this.

But every time you say "hack", every time you start talking about whether the constitution is a "suicide pact", every time you describe a process that's technically legal but clearly (to me) not intended to be possible, my hackles rise. It's true that I'm a process wonk (ex-auditor, recovering software test manager) and you're doing the equivalent of persistent boundary violations. And it's true that I've had a bellyfull of legal-but-not-intended behavior this year.

But it's more than that.

Cheekily bending the rules to deal with the Puppies is a politically terrible idea. It's more damaging than another year of slates and No Awards, because it's a perpetual offense. If it's only arguably legal, then it's arguably cheating, and once it's enshrined in constitution and custom, it's a suppurating wound.

And the fact that you didn't see this, didn't anticipate and plan for the idea that not everyone (or rather, no one here on Making Light) would be swept up in your enthusiasm, didn't have better outreach ready, tells me this is not going to fly in the wider community.

You can take it elsewhere and see if you can get a better reaction. But at some point, you're going to have to listen to this feedback and address it, because if this comes to the Business Meeting in Kansas City, well, a lot of people from here are going to be there, voting.

But not voting about you, because it's not about you. Voting on whatever you propose. I hope, if you do decide to take this forward, that it's better thought out and more wisely presented than it is right now.

#360 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:41 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @295: "Archana and Chandni" is a 2015 publication. Am I right in inferring that you might like to see additional recs for textual Hinduism-related speculative fiction published in 2015?

I've concluded I'm not going to manage Worldcon/Hugo participation for the 2016 Hugos (massive spoon/$$ deficiency), so you can take the query above as accurate, absent the "published in 2015" stipulation.

#361 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:43 PM:

357
James, you seem to have the idea that 'all fans' are supposed to be Hugo voters. It's a pool limited to members of Worldcon. That limit is part of the prestige: people who care enough about the works to put their mouths where their money is.

#362 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:47 PM:

TexAnne: The first pass was about 1,100 No Awards.

The non-puppy categories (as opposed to mixed) saw No Award in the 450-500 range.

#363 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:48 PM:

Could it be that what the Sad/Bad Pupae did was a subtle plan to rejuvenate interest in the Hugo Awards, and in our field? If so, is there a turnip involved?

#364 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:51 PM:

Here are the details of the final results, provided by Kevin Standlee:
http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2015-hugo-awards/

#365 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:52 PM:

Leah Miller @305: a bad piece of brain furniture that totally fucks up your mental Feng Shui.

Pardon me. I just want to admire that some more.

#366 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:52 PM:

Please keep the name-calling dial firmly superglued at zero. "Puppies" is a self-chosen term; let's stick with it.

#368 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:56 PM:

James @ 357

And if you look at that and say, “Well, those are the wrong kind of people to vote,”

And who and where said that? What some of us had been saying is that we are against the fact that a small minority can take the whole category by simply nominating in lockstep - it has nothing to do with who those people were, which works they selected (as bad as they were) or anything along this lines - it is because that tactics albeit being perfectly allowed under the current written rules made sure that the great majority of people did not have any participation in that nomination process - even after sending their ballots in - and were locked out of it. This is the problem - anyone that is part of the Worldcon is welcome to vote and if more people register, more power to everyone. So let's not turn the words around.

Everyone that cares enough to join is welcome and encouraged to nominate.

#369 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:56 PM:

James @357:
2015 had 5950 valid ballots! Over FOUR THOUSAND more people are involved in deciding what is the best SFF for this last year! If the purpose of SFF is inclusiveness and progress, then the Sad Puppies campaign has done wonders for this community.

Alas that they didn't have a worthwhile ballot to vote on. Whose doing is that?

Wonders for the community indeed.

#370 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 03:57 PM:

Stephen Brust #265:

Yep. There are times when something you want to say is going to hurt some people. That doesn't mean you're wrong to say it, but it does mean you should weigh the value of saying what you want to say against the hurt you're going to inflict.

It may be that the whole Hare Krishna thing was so worthwhile on other grounds that it's okay that it felt like a slap in the face to some people in the audience, and it may be that the whole asterisk thing was so worthwhile on other grounds that it's okay that it felt like a slap in the face to some people in the audience. But it's important to at least recognize that slap.

I think it's very easy to try to evade the issue by denying that anyone should be hurt by whatever you're wanting to say, or denying that their hurt counts. (Pretty much every use of the word "butthurt" on the web is a flag that someone's doing this.)

I don't think there's a universal rule that clarifies whether the hurt is worthwhile or not; it's a balance each speaker has to choose for himself, recognizing both his own effect on the world, and the likely response by the people who are affected. People hurt by your words can and often will respond with words of their own, or actions like walking out of a public venue.

#371 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:18 PM:

Terry, 362: I remembered 1000, with 2000 for Mixon and 1000 for all 4 Puppies (hence my "give or take.") 2:1:1 doesn't seem like fandom is very divided. I may not understand the point you're making, though.

#372 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:21 PM:

Albatross 370: "It may be that the whole Hare Krishna thing was so worthwhile on other grounds that it's okay that it felt like a slap in the face to some people in the audience, and it may be that the whole asterisk thing was so worthwhile on other grounds that it's okay that it felt like a slap in the face to some people in the audience. But it's important to at least recognize that slap."

I very much agree with this.

#373 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:29 PM:

Is there available some software to run E Pluribus Hugo on a set of sample ballots? I have some concerns about the claim that if there are 25% puppies, they get 25% of slots (which would mean mostly 1 and sometimes two.

My own models suggest that based on past nomination patterns, a 25% bloc can pretty much guarantee 3, and sometimes 4 of the 5 slots in the widely distributed categories (like short story especially, but also the other short fiction) and even a very reliable 2 slots in best Novel (and other narrowly distributed categories.)

A 30% slate can assure 3 of the 5 nominees in all fiction categories and a few others under EPH, sometimes 4. Fortunately 5 is very difficult.

Worse, it is possible they can do even better, this is just my first round of white-hat test, but I want to confirm it against the software, and of course ideally the anonymized results when they come out.


As to the issue of the precedent set by hacking the rules in response to their hack -- oh trust me, I see it, I know exactly what you're talking about. That's why I called it a hack -- to be explicit about what it would mean. In most of my worlds, hack is a mostly good and sometimes bad word. The issue of hacking back is often and deeply discussed, generally disavowed when it breaks the rules, debated hotly when it only bends them.

I do think it's a bad precedent. I am worried about the risk of how it might continue. In my world we are constantly fighting against people who declare emergencies to alter the rules and never alter them back -- I would dare venture I have more experience with that than the vast majority here.


#374 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:30 PM:

Annie Y @ 368: Here's a strong argument that the opposition to the Puppies' slates is grounded in rejection of the strategy rather than of the work: Everyone opposed to the Puppies agrees that one effective way to block the Puppies next year would be a counter-slate. This idea has been met with (near-total) revulsion.

Slates are anathema.

#375 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:30 PM:

My problem with the Krishna chant is that, at heart, it was a good idea. The story as a whole worked well in the theatrical production that was the ceremony.

However, nobody involved in the writing process even had an INKLING that there might be a problem, because they were themselves so undiverse that they had, effectively, one point of view. If they'd realized there might be an ooginess, they could have changed JUST the chant (leaving the rest of the anecdote identical), and invented one with a mantra of Golden Age authors (including women, queers, and nonwhite creators) instead of the Holy Names.

Those are our Holy Names, are they not? And I think that the idea of chanting holy names to calm oneself is itself abstract enough as to not be disrespectful and tokenizing of a real-world oppressed culture.

Yes, he'd have to write it down and memorize it. But so what? Minimal work.

If he'd even thought of it.

But he didn't.

Because he's so blinded by his own particular viewpoint that it didn't occur to him to run it past anyone with any, y'know, interfaith expertise. He could have used something from HIS OWN culture and amended/parodied/used straight a Jewish blessing, and he knows enough about that culture to make a joke that's not an insult.

But he didn't even know enough to know that he didn't know enough to make a joke about Hare Krishnas without slapping people in the face.

And, similarly, I doubt anyone involved in the writing bothered to get anyone even slightly sympathetic with the Puppy end of the pool to look over their script or their items, or to ask one of the nominated-but-probably-won't-win longform editor folks at least a couple weeks ahead of time what they thought about it.

#376 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:36 PM:

TexAnne: The puppies aver they lost because fandom is lockstepping to the tune of the SJW.

Looking at the other ballots it seems the Puppies were about 500 strong (hard to say precisely without a whole more knowledge/means to crunch the data than I have).

It happens Laura's subject matter was (and still is) a controversial subject. If "we" were all lockstepping to the known agenda of the SJW Creed, then she would either have been a landslide (with the Puppy Blocks agaisnt the total), or she, like them, would have been excluded.

That she wasn't means "we" as a group, weren't mindlessly voting a slate.

I'm sorry if it wasn't/isn't clear.

#377 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:39 PM:

Brad @373:

For EPH code, Google will get you Kilo Watts' contact details. He's offered to send it out many times.

In my world we are constantly fighting against people who declare emergencies to alter the rules and never alter them back -- I would dare venture I have more experience with that than the vast majority here.

I'm at a loss for words about how arrogant and obnoxious that comment sounds. You have no basis for this statement; you don't have any idea what experience most of the people here have, and you haven't established your bona fides in this area to anyone's satisfaction.

Do you need to step away from the thread for a bit? You're coming across as kind of a jerk. It's not helping anything.

#378 ::: Galen Charlton ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 04:46 PM:

Brad @373:

During Sasquan, I received a copy of Kilo's code as well as permission to post it to Github: https://github.com/gmcharlt/EPluribusHugo. I also wrote an independent Perl implementation from scratch.

#379 ::: Jonathan Adams ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:01 PM:

#306: Cat: That's a really great writeup; I'll be sharing that link.

I read Linesman recently, and really enjoyed it. (I think a Big Idea post put me on to the book.) I'm really interested to see where the ideas go in later books.

I finally picked up Three Body Problem, since it did win the Hugo and I've had several friends recommend it in the past. I'm thoroughly on the hook, and wriggling... =]

#380 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:04 PM:

It's probably too late - or the wrong moment, given the way the conversation is developing - to say this with the force I intended it to have, but although I was pleased - and I'm sure there was more than a little unpleasant schadenfreude mixed in with the pleasure - with the results of the Hugo votes, the thing that really rejoiced my heart was the news that EPH had passed at the business meeting.

That's not really because I think it will prevent slates from being effective (though I think it will.) I found the process of it's formulation and presentation one of the most wonderful things I've seen in the Internet, and I'm proud to be associated (albeit rather less actively than I have been at some points in the past) with a community that was able to enable and support its formulation (and I'm grateful to those who stimulated and moderated the discussion as much as those who contributed content.)

One of the things that I liked about EPH as a proposal is that it's a measure which does, to some extent, what Alex R is urging - namely provides some kind of response tothe possibility that some of the Puppy concerns are legitimate, and does so without inflicting collateral damage on other participants in the conversation. It's as effective against secret cabals - if there are any, which for the record, I'm convinced there aren't - as openly mongered slates. (And it sounds, from what I've heard about the Business Meeting that it gained at least some support from the Puppy contingent on that basis.)

But what I loved about it passing, was not that it was an elegant fix to a technical, problem - but that it was an elegant fix arrived at on the basis of a sustained conversation between a large group of people, carried on In ways that wouldn't have been possible without a particular form of technology which we haven't always had.

#381 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:05 PM:

P J Evans @ 361:

357 James, you seem to have the idea that 'all fans' are supposed to be Hugo voters. It's a pool limited to members of Worldcon. That limit is part of the prestige: people who care enough about the works to put their mouths where their money is.

P J Evans, am I understanding you right? You believe that only "prestigious" people have the right to vote, and the rest of the population should sit back and let the right people make this decision for them?

If that is what you're stating, I'm appalled at that opinion.

I do firmly believe that everyone who reads and enjoys Science Fiction and Fantasy literature, has the money to join Worldcon, and has the desire to vote for the most prestigious award in Science Fiction and Fantasy literature SHOULD be able to do so.

Do you not agree with that statement, and if you do not, please explain why you wish to be so against inclusion and diversity?

#382 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:07 PM:

sez abi @377:

For EPH code, Google will get you Kilo Watts' contact details. He's offered to send it out many times.
Not just the code; "Kilo" has also offered to send the data-sets he used to test it.
#383 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:08 PM:

Terry, 376: OK, we have different ideas of what a landslide looks like. I think that "twice the votes of the second-place finisher" is a landslide, and I'm quite pleased that half of the Hugo voters agreed that ten years of abuse and hypocrisy is enough.

#384 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:08 PM:

This was my first year voting. I did not rank anything on either slate, including titles which I would have ranked first if they had not been on a slate (hello, Guardians of the Galaxy). Next year if there's a counterslate I will not rank anything on it either.

Slates are a terrible idea. Full stop. The politics behind them are irrelevant. The Hugos are meant to represent what Worldcon members in general are passionate about, and slating breaks that. Sometimes slating doesn't even successfully represent what the slaters are passionate about; in this year the slaters failed to nominate both Three Body Problem and the biography of Heinlein, and Three Body Problem only made it onto the ballot because Marko Kloos withdrew his nomination. I'm curious if the biography would have made it onto the ballot if the Puppies hadn't run a slate.

Next year I intend to nominate anything eligible which I've read/watched/listened to and am passionate about. It's quite possible this won't include the best things released during that time period, and I'm increasingly okay with that. I think that if I and any three of us on the site were to read the last twenty years' worth of Hugo winners and rank them, we'd have four different rankings.

About Brad's proposed hack: Brad, when I think about this I feel a bit of the anxiety I feel when watching one of those "newly released con tries to go straight" movies when his pre-prison friends show up with a hot tip on a job. I'd just like to join the chorus of people saying "I think this is a bad idea." I think a lot of social norms are sensible and exist for a good reason, and while the proposed hack might not break the rules (just as the Puppies didn't), that seems like a rather low bar to clear. The idea of it just strikes me as dishonorable.

#385 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:12 PM:

Galen Charlton@378:Thanks for posting those.

What format would the Hugo administrators like the code to be in for their greatest ease of use? Since ease seems to be one of the objections raised.

If someone could contact them, this seems like an area where their lives could be made easier.

#386 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:12 PM:

James, 381: I think you have entirely misunderstood what PJ is saying.

#387 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:12 PM:

James @ 381: "P J Evans, am I understanding you right? You believe that only "prestigious" people have the right to vote, and the rest of the population should sit back and let the right people make this decision for them?"

It seems pretty clear that he means just the reverse: not that only the prestigious get to vote, but that those who vote, by the act of voting, gain prestige.

#388 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:14 PM:

James @381:

P J Evans, am I understanding you right? You believe that only "prestigious" people have the right to vote, and the rest of the population should sit back and let the right people make this decision for them?

Gracious. You might want to reread PJ Evans' statement, because you are well astray of the plain meaning.

It's a pool limited to members of Worldcon. That limit is part of the prestige: people who care enough about the works to put their mouths where their money is.

In other words, the award is prestigious because it is voted on by people who care enough about the works to pay for Worldcon membership.

Which neatly matches your everyone who reads and enjoys Science Fiction and Fantasy literature, has the money to join Worldcon, and has the desire to vote for the most prestigious award in Science Fiction and Fantasy literature.

#389 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:17 PM:

On the UU subthread -- Just as a demonstration of the explicit lack of universality in UU theology/covenants, of the Boston churches I've been to most often, the Dedham one I grew up with is sort of vaguely theistic, in a not-very-Christian kind of way; Jamaica Plain is explicitly Christian, though they try and be welcoming about it; West Roxbury is more specifically theistic but not Christian; King's Chapel has UU governance and is Anglican in liturgy; and Arlington Street is vaguely theistic and explicitly as welcoming as possible to all comers. Dedham (when I knew it best) was vaguely racist and homophobic in that 'well, we're Good, Well Meaning Liberals' sort of way, but they've done some intentional and hard work to become an official Welcoming Congregation (ie, queer friendly).

There's also (in non-Boston news) a Universalist Church in West Hartford, which hews more to the old-line Universalism. That was a hoot. I love 'em, though I wouldn't want to be part of their church.

So my point here is that I have heard quite a number of "In Jesus's name, Amen" statements, because the UU church is nothing if not politely but intractably stubborn about the individuality of its individual congregations. (But I haven't heard any of them at Arlington Street.)

#390 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:18 PM:

Heh. And Steve Brust and I disagree on the meaning of the passage.

But neither reading involves some "prestigious" cadre of people who are set apart from the rest of fandom for any other reason, or by any other means, than the simple purchase of a Worldcon membership.

#391 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:19 PM:

Thanks for the code. I did see one analysis at http://patrickmay.tumblr.com/post/126023308724/e-pluribus-hugo-vs-slates which I hope was not used in consideration of EPH. It contains some mathematical errors, and a very simple slate-counter strategy (debating if I should detail it here, but it's really simple and I suspect they would think of it) in this analysis gives a 25% slate 3 of the Novel nominees and 4 of the short story nominees.

By stroke of good luck 4/6 fixes that, in that the 25% slate gets 3 of 6 Novel nominees and 4 of 6 short story nominees. Though I can't model that exactly since 4/6 reduces grouping among non-bloc nominators.

A 20% slate does worse, only 2 Novels but still 4 short stories (though more certainly 3) in this 1984 example.

That presumes the slate doesn't think of something cleverer than it took me 5 minutes to think up in the intervening time.

#392 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:31 PM:

Abi@390: On re-reading, I think you're right and I'm wrong.

#393 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:32 PM:

In my world we are constantly fighting against people who declare emergencies to alter the rules and never alter them back -- I would dare venture I have more experience with that than the vast majority here.

Setting aside the insulting subtext...

I don't know what to say. No, that's not true, there are a lot of things I can say; but not all of them move the conversation well.

From what I have seen (here, and at your blog entry on the subject), the level of listening you've been doing is minimal.

You have ignored those who addressed the logistical problems of the proposal (which is, in short, if it gets ten nominations, it's on the ballot).

You have ignored those who addressed the social issues.

You have ignored those who pointed out the longer term repercussions.

You have denied that what you are proposing would change the rules between nomination, and voting; with the cheat of pretending that closing the convention somehow makes that all right.*

You've not explained how the newly created long-list can be voted on after the closing of the con, but before the 90 day window of required announcement, much less how it can be done on-site after closing ceremonies (which you have averred is your preferred "workaround".

You have, in short, shown no practical expertise on dealing with human beings in complex systems.

I do have to say that your zealous defense of a theoretical problem (because, barring EPH and 4/6 both failing, the issue is immaterial before your plan, even if the fast and loose with the letter of the law you think can be ruled [a la Bush v Gore, non-precedential] could take effect) is persuasive.

But persuasive against the proposal you are making.

Is there a problem? Yes. Might it cause another Hugo season of angst and heated words? Yes.

Will it have the same outcome as this year? I don't know. I do know that on July 30, as they were slapping themselves on the back for lockstepping Beale's ballots (all the while tacitly admitting that all they were doing was parroting the party line) the RPs were dead certain of victory. They planned to salt their meat with SJW tears.

And maybe next year they will. I'm willing to let that happen rather than pull a fast to to cheat them out of having their votes counted.

If those who don't like slates can't either find enough people to vote (from the 11,000 eligible voters this time around), or to say, "that's a slate" and defeat it, then they deserve to win.

As to the odds of another slate. I suspect any nominees who aren't actively in their camp, will refuse to be nominated; because they will expect the same results as this year.

Because I've spent at least two careers where watching how people game systems was either a large part of, or THE primary job description. I've got a decent track record of figuring that shit out.

Between the correctives in play, to which the Puppies hadn't really paid attention, neither No Award*, nor a change to the WSFS constitution.

What he/they did was a gambit. Gambits are interesting. When they work, you crush the opposition. When they don't, you usually find yourself in an exposed position, scrambling to recover stability. On Defense.

That's where they are now. On Defense. They spent money, and told themselves they were fighting the good fight, and thence to VICTORY!.

But some of them saw that the fight wasn't right. That the larger body of fandom was upset about the breach of fairness.

Not breaching that sense of fairness, that's what I want to see. It's why I'll take the risk of another slate.

And, for all the fancy language about it being a hack, or social engineering, or exploiting the rules... it's still not playing fair.

The Puppies did that. It got them drubbed. Some of them have been scorned. Some have been (to the discredit of our side) abused when they didn't deserve it.

I'm not going to support doing that to them. We should not do to others what we condemn when done to ourselves. Even if I thought it were practical, I don't think it's moral.


*I do think Beale expected some No Award, almost certainly for those categories he was in: but I think he expected the SP slate to manage a win.

#394 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:32 PM:

praisegod barebones #380:

Hear! Hear!

#395 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:36 PM:

James @357 - since you've addressed me, it seems only reasonable to reply.

"Gaming the system" is the politest phrase I can come up with for what happened. Since you seem to object to it, I'm perfectly happy to call it "cheating" instead. And if you choose to point out - oh, wait, you do point it out - that the slate runners technically broke no rules, I will just say what I've said several times before: any time you find yourself saying "but what I did was technically legal", you know damn well you shouldn't have done it. Technically, it wasn't cheating; morally, it was.

As you so helpfully point out, one outcome of the Puppies' underhand tactics was that a huge number of people turned out to vote. (Including me. I have no prestige worth speaking of, but I did happen to have thirty quid spare, and what do you know? turns out that's all I needed.) As abi, perhaps more helpfully, points out, another outcome was that we had very little worthwhile to vote on.

Diversity? Your bugbear, not mine, my friend - I want to read good stories, and maybe see good shows and read interesting essays and other related works. The Puppies' tactics denied me that. Diversity, mind, is generally a good thing - because a wider range of voices being heard, means a better chance of finding voice worth hearing. Yes, I'm in favour of diversity, as a means to that end (and, also, out of simple fairness). Certainly, I'm keener on diversity than the small shabby clique of literary snobs who recommended a slate of their own buddies, regardless of quality. Yes, I called the Puppies a clique of literary snobs, because that's what I think they are. They're a bunch of people who think their taste in SF is better than anyone else's; what is that, if it's not snobbery?

As for searching my soul, I believe its contents are quite adequately indexed. But thank you for your concern.

#396 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:38 PM:

Kevin J. Maroney @ 374

Yes. It was never against who ran the slates or why. I would have reacted the same way if abi (sorry abi, just making a point:) ). So would have most of the people.

#397 ::: Jane Berry ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Though I’ve been a fan, reader, and writer for decades, this was my first year voting for the Hugos and attending Worldcon. My experience was amazing and positive. I’m planning to vote and attend in 2016, as well.

Now that I’m coming down off my post-con high, I have a concern. This time, our GOTV was more effective than their GOTV, but I’ve already seen VD vow to sabotage the 2016 awards. If our voting numbers drop due to waning interest, or VD is able to use Bre1tbart’s megaphone to round up GGers, MRAs, NRAs, and other fearful and angry people who feel their “rightful” spot in society is being encroached upon, he may focus his bloc on one work per category, instead of a slate.

I am not a voting expert, but I’m on the lookout for their improvements to this year’s SP/RP strategy. If their numbers rise, would they strive to get one nominee on the ballot for each category, and then vote only for that single work to sweep all category wins in 2016? In effect, the opposite of Brad from Sunnyvale’s “no award” strategy. (Presuming that we abhor slates and will all vote our taste preferences, thus dividing our vote.)

What I’m asking is, how do we plan for this with non-slate strategies? Should we be talking about GOTV efforts for next year? I’ve seen the wikia list of eligible works, which is a fantastic start. What would keep current voters interested and engaged, plus bring more voters in?

Making Light is one of the most smart and thoughtful spots to have a discussion about this*. Thanks for helping me understand these complex issues.

*The kaffeklastch with Theresa and Patrick was like a live version of Making Light in which a good 30% of their references went right over my head and they finished each other’s sentences in a way that made me smile.

#398 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:41 PM:

James: P J Evans, am I understanding you right? You believe that only "prestigious" people have the right to vote, and the rest of the population should sit back and let the right people make this decision for them?

You are not, and I suspect you are intentionally not, understanding it.

The People's Choice Awards have less prestige than the Oscars. Why? Because the voting body is seen as being less expert.

The Hugos don't require expertise, they require the passion required to pony up the money for a supporting membership. Anyone can vote. Anyone who does vote counts the same as any other.

I cast my first Hugo ballot when I was 15.

As to your challenge: Do you not agree with that statement, and if you do not, please explain why you wish to be so against inclusion and diversity?

It's bullshit. You misread the pretty plain language of P J Evans comment, and then manufactured a specious claim that they are against inclusion and diversity.

Classic FUD. More Classic, "let's you and him fight" as everyone else is supposed to attack the strawman you've built.

(why yes, I do think you are here in bad faith James)

#399 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:42 PM:

Steve Wright @395: Identifying the puppies as literary snobs is something that hadn't occurred to me, but I think the term is apt for the reason you give. That's really mean. Proud to know you.

#400 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:49 PM:

TexAnne: I think we are speaking of related things.

Do I think Laura won, hands down? Yes. Would I describe that as a landslide? Yes.

And I would call that vote a landslide no matter what the nominees were, nor the category.

But the number of non-puppy no-awards was a lot higher than the background radiation. So it was a landslide, and there is disagreement (of a substantial, and perhaps even substantive, nature) about it.

Its hard to explain well, in part because the puppy setting makes things a lot messier. I'm glad it won. I'm more glad it was nominated.

I'm curious how I would have voted with a different set of nominees. I think I'd still have voted for it first, but I'm not sure.

And that's a lot more complicated, and touches on all the other issues in that mess.

#401 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:49 PM:

Sorry you feel that way, Terry @ 393. This is often a consequence of online discussion where nuance and humanity are reduced. If you want to chat on phone/skype/hangout be happy to do that and I think it would go vastly better -- otherwise, we don't seem to be being productive. I know you think I've ignored those things, and you no longer want to give me the benefit of the doubt that perhaps my experience suggest it is unlikely I would have ignored them.

Can't say I like the word cheat, though. Write-in is the opposite of a cheat. Write in says, "If the nomination process failed us, then give the power to fix that to the community." It's about as fair and democratic an answer as there can be, and it's not a cheat to look for a way to make things more fair and democratic as fast as the rules allow.

I do hope the puppies are demoralized as you predict, and decohere. They were not fully coherent this year, but I don't know which direction they will move. If they stick together, they will continue to majorly corrupt the awards, far more than I would wish to tolerate.

I don't doubt your experience. Don't doubt mine. We all want, I hope, the same thing -- to deal fairly, to preserve both the rule of law and the spirit of the awards and the system. To have an award that truly reflects the independent views of the convention members. To have an award that is robust against those who would collude to corrupt it.

Don't forget that's what we all want, and interpret my words -- if we keep talking -- in that light.

#402 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:52 PM:

On the whole "recognizing the hurt" or potential for hurt, I refer you to the recent controversy over the Nazi concentration camp commandant romance published by Bethany House and nominated for RWA's RITA Award as Best Inspirational Romance.

This book was apparently written and published in a complete vacuum where no one even imagined that a Jewish person might be bothered by its contents. It received a rave review in Library Journal and in RT Book Reviews--in both cases, by reviewers who were part of the inspirational community. And, truth be told, the book flew under the radar for a year, until it popped up on the RITA ballot.

At which point a significant number of Jewish writers, readers, reviewers, and publishing people all went WTF???

The author and publisher _had no idea_, they say, that there was any potential for hurt. The author and publisher _had no idea_, they say, that anyone might take anything in the book the wrong way.

You know what? I believe them. Because I believe they don't know anyone who is Jewish, or anyone who is the child or grandchild of a Holocaust survivor. Because they live and work in an echo chamber.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I think Elliott's right @375 about Silverberg and whoever else looked at the speech.

#403 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:54 PM:

#361 ::: P J Evans

" It's a pool limited to members of Worldcon. That limit is part of the prestige: people who care enough about the works to put their mouths where their money is."

This is mistaken. One of the peripheral things we've learned is that the majority of sf fans-- including those who go to conventions-- had no idea that the Hugos were voted on by members of worldcon rather than being a juried award.

I also have an impression that Hugos give glory to the worldcon (I've talked with people who think a worldcon wouldn't be a worldcon without the Hugos ceremony) much more than the association with the worldcon improves the Hugos' reputation.

#404 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:55 PM:

TexAnne: And I see, with all else going on, that I was unclear in my first clarification to you.

When I said lansdlide I meant practical unanimity.

#405 ::: Jane Berry ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 05:57 PM:

And I see I've misspelled Teresa's name above. I apologize and would edit if I could.

#406 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:11 PM:

Tom Whitmore #328: A reporter asked me, from Sasquan, whether this discussion is going to be good for science fiction and the Hugos. I replied "Ask me in 10 years. We won't know until then." I stand by that statement: we've had a big event, and we don't know how it's going to shake out.

Actually, what we've already seen is pretty damn encouraging:

When the puppies attacked, the fannish scene was "feeling a bit poorly", stinging from various recent controversies¹, and with a lot of energy draining out into the mainstream. The response to the attack woke up a lot of people and pulled them back into their fannish identities.

It also prompted quite a number of essays and discussions... many of these would have been individually luminary in any year, and collectively they'll be guiding fandom for decades.

And then too, the Puppies highlighted a bug in our nomination algorithm, in such a way as to motivate the talent and spark the political will to thoroughly fix it. OK, the Puppies poop on the awards for a couple of years... out of 73. We'll get past it. Heck, maybe we'll even see some redemptions over the next year.

And the voting results make it quite obvious that the puppies aren't the "hidden majority" they claim to be, or even close. They rallied their troops for a full-on attack, and discovered that their five-headed monster was a giant's foot.

albatross #370: Yep. There are times when something you want to say is going to hurt some people. That doesn't mean you're wrong to say it, but it does mean you should weigh the value of saying what you want to say against the hurt you're going to inflict. ... I don't think there's a universal rule that clarifies whether the hurt is worthwhile or not; it's a balance each speaker has to choose for himself, recognizing both his own effect on the world, and the likely response by the people who are affected.

Yes, this.

¹ Which I'd characterize more as "growing pains", as the fannish community started standing up to some "inappropriate uncles" in the family. Necessary progress, but it still hurts.

#407 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:15 PM:

Brad: Can't say I like the word cheat, though. Write-in is the opposite of a cheat.

This is where you are missing the point. I'm not saying what you are calling write-in* is cheating. I'm saying that pulling a fast one to implement in it one calendar year, while calling it two Worldcon Years is cheating.

I don't doubt your experience. Don't doubt mine.

I didn't. What I said is that from what you have done here, in explaining and defending your proposal, I have no faith in it. There is a difference. I only addressed it because you used yours as an appeal to authority; in a way which doubted ours.

Which you have done, not merely in that comment to which abi and I responded, but also to those who have described their experience in WSFS business meetings, and administering the Hugos.

Furthermore, as you brought up nuance, this isn't a question of nuance. It's questions of logistics, of practicality, of legality. It's a topic where the act of writing ought to increase the clarity, because one has the time (and at least one preview screen) to contemplate one's choice of words, what they mean, and how they will be taken.

I do, however agree, that we are likely to see any meeting of minds from further discussion.

*which isn't what you are actually proposing. Voters may also write in their personal choice of candidate, so long as said candidate is eligible for nomination in that category and was published on a list of all nominees published by the convention, and so long as the total number of ranked candidates or written-in choices in that category does not exceed the number its official candidates on the final ballot, with “no award” not considered part of either count.

#408 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:20 PM:

Write-ins can only fix a certain kind of mistake. There has to be someone/thing for them to focus on or their very openendedness will dissipate their potential power--exactly as the slate was able to dominate the nominations.

As someone who doesn't really fit into fandom but is yet a reader, I felt that the no award barrage had to happen, but yet it had its ugly fallout in the editor categories. Suppose most of the slated folks had withdrawn in time for the thing to be refilled: would people still have "no awarded" the category? My guess is, probably not. And here's the other thing for me: the Hare Krishna chant and the asterisks exemplify a certain kind of fannish insularity, exactly as Elliot points out above.

And here, trying to find where BT did actually say that the SJWs did in the slate (which I haven't been able to find), I come across Damien Walter at The Guardian. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's not at all surprising there's enmity between him and BT. Walter has a politicized view of Where The Genre Should Be Going that someone like the puppies is going to object to, a sort of manifest destiny of diversity. I disagree with BT's vision of where the field is, and indeed one of the reasons I lost interest for a while was because I am not one for reading space opera/politics that much, and it seemed like that was dominating things for some time (my impression only, of course, and not a claim that this was so). The SF I read Back In The Day had its measure of diversity, more than fits his picture of the time. But I see that the emphasis on diverse voices, where that diversity is measured along political-demographic lines, is didactic, or at least has a didactic cast. The didactic tends to rub people the wrong way, for better or worse.

#409 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:29 PM:

James, you talk about "diversity," but what is the diversity in hundreds of people all agreeing to nominate and vote for the same things?

#410 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:37 PM:

@407 -- the reason for that language was to avoid being distracted by the question of how hard it is to do. If write-in is limited to the published longlist, it's much easier to see that it's not hard to make it easy to enter, canonicalize and count the ballots. However, the pure write in, as I wrote pre-modification, allows the fans to write in whatever they want, even something that got no nominations at all.

I apologize if anything I wrote came out as appeal to authority. I hate appeal to authority. The intention of what I wrote is not to say, "I'm right because of my background" but rather, "my background should make you give me the benefit of the doubt that I am not ignorant or ignoring things"

When somebody with a degree in math says, "your math is incorrect" it does not mean it is assuredly incorrect. It means you should give full consideration to the reasoning and benefit of the doubt on things which were not yet fully explained.

Fans are of many, many stripes on this and other issues. (Indeed, isn't that a message at the core of the puppy debate?) I've been to business meetings. I know how much they revel in procedure as entertainment as well as process sometimes, and the love for the system and the rules and I know how what the puppies did can make that even stronger. But the feeling is not as universal as one might conclude from that.

#411 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 06:47 PM:

Leah Miller @ 305 Your line about "box-checking" is something I hear all the time, and it is often at worst a dogwhistle and at best a sign of unmarked cognitive biases.

The idea that straight white male represents unchecked boxes and anything else represents checked boxes is a bad piece of brain furniture that totally fucks up your mental Feng Shui.

I suspect I'm using the phrase a bit differently than the Puppies. When I use the phrase "box checking," I don't merely mean the inclusion of a POC or Queer person in the story. I mean the clumsy inclusion of POC or Queer folk (or whatever the clumsy inclusion might encompass) for nothing more than making a political point, and I can point to both left and right-wing examples of the "box checking" practice.

When I complain about "box checking" it means "your clumsy attempt push your political agenda came out of nowhere and pushed me out of enjoying your story and into critiquing your story." This is opposed by "You did a magnificent job of working your political/social concerns into the story, building them intelligently into your plot, characterization and world-building, such that in reading your story I lived the issue you are concerned with and was enlightened thereby."

My suspicion is that some of the people coming out of academic environments have been... overtrained to always deal with the social and political issues even at the expense of story.

If you've read Eric Flint's 1632 Gretchen's character arc is an excellent example of the right way to handle the social issues in a way which contributes to (rather than detracts from) the story. Flint talks about patriarchy and gender and two different societies' ideals about sex in a really entertaining and intelligent way while giving us a character who's really fun to read about.

Is Gretchen's story "perfectly" feministic? Probably not. Does it engage the issues - absolutely. Does it fit the themes and plot of the book without dragging me out of the narrative? Yes! In fact, that's the part of the book I was most engaged with. Flint being a Baen author, I suspect that many Puppies have enjoyed that book. (Heh heh!)

lorax @ 310 So, if you've seen box checking damage stories, can you name some titles? It's easier to discuss specifics than hypotheticals.

The first one that comes to mind, oddly enough, is a conservative author. If you've read David Weber's Honor Among Enemies you've probably noticed the one Gay character (in the entire series if I recall correctly) is a minor villain, and she is introduced in the context of being a minor villain. I bounced right out of the book right then and said, "Oh shit, he went there."

Another example, again from the Right, was Tom Kratman's Tuloriad. It looked really interesting (it's the only Kratman book I've read) and the whole "Aliens get saved" thing was so clumsily handled... box checking at it's worst.

From the left, there was a paragraph in "If You Were A Dinosaur My Love" that knocked me right out of the story, but that's probably a post in itself...

Terry Karney @ 338 The Problem with the "box checking" narrative is that it assumes, by default, that there is a "normal" and any deviation is either needed for plot, or purely there as a political statement.

For me "Box Checking" points at poorly executed message fiction, regardless of who generates it. It's not really an issue of politics so much as one of technique. Looking at my own examples of "box checking" I suspect that each side (right v. left) is better at noticing the other side's clumsiness, in which case we really need the dialogue.

#412 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:14 PM:

loran @ #310: Often people who dislike box checking will feel that one token minority character is acceptable, but more than one? Box-checking.

Or a character who is a minority in more than one way. I’ve come to realize that one of the reasons that “black, lesbian and disabled” canard bugs me is because it’s a reverse straw woman — lots of people really do fit all those categories but those who would like to ignore all three treat the combination as an outlandish PC mashup could never happen in real life. But none of those traits cancel the others out, because each is on a different axis — there’s no spectrum with “Black” at one end and “Lesbian” at the other, anymore than there’s a CatholicMilitary Vet spectrum or an AsianDisabled spectrum.

Anyway, /slightly OT rant.

#413 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:15 PM:

Brad from S at # 266: If there were only 900 dedicated puppies, then as many as 700 to 1400 people -- people who largely voted only because of the puppy controversy -- placed a puppy choice first on their ballot, above No Award. More people than even voted at all at Aussiecon.

I voted for the Hugo Awards this year for the first time in decades because of the controversy. I read almost everything (did a lot of skimming in the novellas) and ranked them as I thought they deserved on merit. I voted for these slate nominees ahead of no award: Arlan Adams's Flow for novella, Kary English's Totaled for short story, Jennifer Brozek for editor short form, Sheila Gilbert followed by Tony Weisskopf for editor long form, and Kary English again for best new writer.

There's nothing that says Brad T can't have tastes similar to mine when he ran out of cronies and looked for deserving nominees to fill out a category.

I hope you wouldn't count me as one of your 1800 puppies.

#414 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:16 PM:

Jane Berry @397 wrote: Now that I’m coming down off my post-con high, I have a concern. This time, our GOTV was more effective than their GOTV, but I’ve already seen VD vow to sabotage the 2016 awards.

It depends on what "GOTV" you're referencing. Beale can probably round up enough nominators to get a similar result on the ballot; that's the known exploit of slating. Even if the fandom participation grows dramatically, he needs far fewer raw numbers to counter that.

However, the voting is technically resistant to rigging, and fandom has just resolutely demonstrated that it is philosophically resistant to rigging. The nature of the transferrable vote ballot means that it's not enough to have more than any other work (a plurality); you must have a majority -- and if you've got a majority, it doesn't matter if you spread out the initial vote or not.

At this point, I'm linking to the official 2015 stats for reference; I recommend grabbing a copy to follow along so that I'm not typing out all of the details.

Page 1, the Best Novel Hugo, is reasonably typical despite the two slate nominees -- fandom is split roughly 30/30/30 on TBP, TGE, and AS in the first pass, but TBP's 1700 votes are nowhere near 50%+1 of the 5600 votes total in the category. So, the last ranked option (here, DBtS) gets eliminated, its votes are redistributed, and we check again for 50%+1. It still doesn't happen, and it repeats -- and the voting takes the maximum number of passes (5, or n-1 where n is the number of finalists including No Award, representing that all but the winner are individually eliminated) before the winner emerges. That's a tight race.

Now, suppose that Beale stacked the vote with 4000 first-place votes for Unimaginably Insulting Dreck, but that no one else is going to vote for UID (we'll swap it for DBtS, since that's the first finalist eliminated). UID will now lead after Pass 1, 4000 to 1700 to 1500 (and so forth), but 4000 is not 50%+1 of the now-9000 votes cast, so we continue the process. Visualize this by sticking UID in a row above TBP for most of this process. When it's down to 3, the score is UID 4000, TBP 2600, and TGE 2400 -- Dreck still leads from all those bullet-voted first-place ballots, but it isn't making up ground. And when everyone else's votes transfer from TGE to TBP, the final score is TBP 5000 to UID 4000.

Now the non-technical version of that: Sasquan had 11k members and 5.5k votes in Best Novel. If Beale really wants to take a Hugo, he's got to come up with something on the order of 5000 votes, vs the ~250 nominators and ~750 votes he had this year. I don't think he's got an eight-fold increase in voting participation in him.

And with "technically resistant" out of the way, I'll point to "philosophically resistant". See page 2 of the same PDF, Best Novella. No Award wins outright with 65% of the vote, no extra pass necessary. That is a smackdown of Balrog-like proportions, and it carries across most of the other slate-dominated categories (Related Work, 66%; Short Story, 58%; Novelette, 66% if you lump NA with the one non-slate finalist).

Beale will be up to no good, nominations may suffer, and fans should be wary of business meeting shenanigans. But I think the rockets themselves are safe.

#415 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:25 PM:

Stephen Rochelle @ 414


If Beale really wants to take a Hugo, he's got to come up with something on the order of 5000 votes, vs the ~250 nominators and ~750 votes he had this year.

And if he (or someone else) comes up with 5000 votes then he legitimately has half the votes of the convention and should go home with the Hugo. It is all down to the numbers - it does not matter if someone likes it or not, if someone has half the votes, they have the award :)

#416 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:50 PM:

A group of people simply nominating and voting for what they love doesn't really have a GOTV effort. That's something you do in a contested election, which is pretty much the endpoint of everyone needing to be on a big slate to get nominated or elected.

#417 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:52 PM:

387. 388
Thank you both. I got run over by a nap.

#418 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:56 PM:

David Harmon @406 -- I'm a bit more cautiously optimistic than you. I've seen a lot of things that looked as if they were making things better go seriously wrong in the second year. Remember the rule-of-thumb for biological success isn't the number of children that you leave, but the number of grandchildren. The first-generation effects are not always the long-term ones.

#419 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 07:57 PM:

Where does "Beale has 750 votes" come from? He only has 750 votes if you don't count the rabid puppies as with him.

I think the rabid puppies are a little different from the sad, and they are more determined to do what it takes to get their slate on the ballot, including joining with the sad puppies even if the sad puppies disown them.

They are not one group. Hardcore puppies is probably 1,000. Good news -- "only" 1,125 put a puppy choice first on their novel ballot, but 2600 voters put a puppy best novel choice on their ballot ahead of No Award. Over 1,800 voters put a puppy choice FIRST on their ballot for Novella. Almost 1,700 put a puppy choice FIRST on their ballot in Novelette, even with a non-puppy choice present.

2,214 put a puppy short story first on their ballot.

Put these numbers in context -- 5 years ago, fewer than 1,000 people voted at all in these categories (smaller worldcon) but even the bigger worldcons before the puppies did not do much more.

900 people ranked Vox Day on their editor-short ballots! Only 342 of those are possibly ones where he was below No Award. You think many who were not a puppy thought Vox Day was a Hugo calibre short fiction editor?

The puppies were not cohesive, so I can't predict if they scatter or regroup, but if you think there were only 750, I fear that's a serous underestimate. (If you meant to say Beale has 750 while Day has 500, then I am more in agreement.)


#420 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:01 PM:

Brad, 419: Beale is Day.

#421 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:22 PM:

albatross @416 A group of people simply nominating and voting for what they love doesn't really have a GOTV effort.

I disagree. GOTV doesn't have to mean "Get out and vote the party line." It can mean "Let your voice be heard; it's as valid as anyone else's." I've been reading sff for close to 50 years and been aware of the Hugos for most of that time. I was vaguely aware of the nominating/voting process but would not have considered myself well-read enough to participate, so didn't seek out the details. I am one of many who voted for the first time this year and will make a point of nominating and voting next year. The desire to blunt the effect of the slates was a GOTV call to me.

#422 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:22 PM:

My bad, I knew that but for some reason my brain fritzed and thought I was taking about Torg/Cor, because we almost never call him Beale. The numbers I wrote remain the same. My estimate was actually slightly lower for Beale-Day, and my estimate of Sads is higher.

There are a disturbing number of people who voted for puppy works beyond their core supporters. Some of them are "eager to vote" fans who took the (incorrect) Scalzi approach of "Read them and judge them on the merits" and then didn't have the heart to say they are unworthy of an award even if on the ballot.

Now I do feel there are a lot of fans of that stripe. Every year, many people vote for stuff that while "good" is not anywhere near the level of "excellent" that I feel should be what is needed to appear on a person's final ballot. Many, many people.

But at the same time, the vast influx of new voters this year (and to a lesser extent last year) is mega-huge. Of the 5,900 voters, only around 3,000 -- perhaps fewer -- were in the "no puppies, no how" camp. that means 2,900 were willing to support a puppy choice. That's odd because the big influx of people came because of the controversy. People were buying supporting memberships in droves in response to the puppy effort. Yet we see this large number supporting puppy choices which dwarfs the number of people who cared enough to vote at all just a few years ago.

To have there be fewer than 1,000 fairly solid puppies -- which some have asserted -- you need to explain thousands of fans coming to the rescue of the Hugos by buying supporting memberships -- and then using them to vote puppy. Some of them, sure. But a thousand?

#423 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:25 PM:

Oh yeah, forgot to add why I called John's strange unity with the puppies on the "read them and judge them on their merits" argument incorrect. I suspect that John just didn't want to battle further, which I certainly appreciate, but in my mind saying, "read them and judge them" is like the government of Beijing saying to the members of Occupy Central in Hong Kong, "Look, Beijing is going to send you a list of named candidates. You should judge them on their merits and vote for the one you like best."

#424 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:30 PM:

I liked The Triple Sun better than The World Turned Upside Down, so sue me.

I am against slates, so I did not have a slate listing in front of me as I read. I tried to evaluate each work without recalling who nominated it. (This was impossible in the case of John C. Wright, but I like to think that even if I were sympathetic with the slate-makers, I would have seen how Wright prioritizes Message over Story.)

#425 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 08:52 PM:

johnofjack @384:
I'm curious if the [Heinlein] biography would have made it onto the ballot if the Puppies hadn't run a slate.

No, it wouldn't. If all the Puppy nominees are removed, it's #6 among what remains.

#426 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:03 PM:

"This was my first year voting. I did not rank anything on either slate, including titles which I would have ranked first if they had not been on a slate (hello, Guardians of the Galaxy). Next year if there's a counterslate I will not rank anything on it either."

That's cool. I wouldn't expect Fans to vote lockstep necessarily. But there are a lot more Fans than puppies. So if a fraction do support a counter slate, that should open it up for the rest of Fandom.

And some Fans will vote if the pick is such that it obviously deserves to be there. Again - hello "Gardians of the Galaxy".

There is only 1 more year of Shenanigans. And then slates won't matter and people want to vote for them, fine. Till then and for the last time, - I am good with a counter slate.

Hey - we can make it right now. Pick an award that occurs prior and make that the counter slate. Pick several and average them and make that the counterslate.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:12 PM:

I just had a thought.
Maybe James sees the problem as being that only 50% (roughly) of the members of Worldcon voted, and he thought it should require closer to 100%.
In which case, James, the usual participation level is something loser to 25 to 30%, so this year was a huge success.

#428 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:14 PM:

@426:

Oh Hell No.

A slate is bad for everyone, even the slatemakers; a slate plus a counterslate is doubly bad.

#429 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:17 PM:

SJW75126@426: Among the things I'm confident about with regard to Hugos for 2106, the doom of any counter-slate is right up there. The vast majority of us, I'm pretty sure, are disgusted both by the lousy quality of what the Puppies pushed and, independently, by their slate tactic. Even really good work on a slate is going to meet the same response. It's important to a lot of us not to adopt illegitimate tactics.

#430 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:18 PM:

Brad @419 wrote: Where does "Beale has 750 votes" come from?

Initial voting for Best Novel and guesswork. My read of all the discussion prior to the awards is that a significant portion of fandom is extremely reluctant to vote No Award, much as a significant portion of fandom was reluctant to amend the nominations process despite agreeing that this year's slates were a problem. Thus, my guesswork is that numbers deep in the Novel ballot (your referenced 2700 NA vs 2600 SG + DBtS votes) or numbers from Slate-or-Nothing categories have slate votes substantially inflated by that portion of fandom that really, really wanted to avoid voting No Award.

But the first round of Best Novel, where there are three non-slate picks all with substantial acclaim in the run-up, and two slate picks most frequently described as "decent filler" and "Eight Deadly Words", I think serves as a good litmus test because it doesn't have the same propensity for "avoid No Award" signal distortion. And there we find about 1100 votes for the slated works; I think that's a good top-end estimate of Beale's actual strength.

Some of that, though, are people who just liked SG or DBtS better than the others. Some of that will be from the Sad Pups who recognized that Beale took them for a ride and won't support him again. And so I think 750 to 800 is a decent estimate.

#431 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:23 PM:

Bruce said: "Among the things I'm confident about with regard to Hugos for 2106, the doom of any counter-slate is right up there. The vast majority of us, I'm pretty sure, are disgusted both by the lousy quality of what the Puppies pushed and, independently, by their slate tactic. Even really good work on a slate is going to meet the same response. It's important to a lot of us not to adopt illegitimate tactics."

And that's fine. Look puppies are 20% of the total. If 15% of the fans voted for a counter slate all it would do is make any slating difficult to succeed.

Fans are diverse. That's why slating works for the puppies. Next year it's going to be worse.

After that, I don't care if the puppies slate or don't slate. That's the whole point of EPH and 4/6.

#432 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:35 PM:

Stephen Rochelle @430: That probably underestimates Day's support, because he himself had declared first-vote support for The Three-Body Problem and some reasonable number of his minions presumably followed him.

My own guess is 750 to 800 of both Sad and Rabid Puppies.

#433 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:43 PM:

Further regarding the UU subthread: You know the old adage "if you've seen one [FITB], you've seen them all"?

I'm a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. There's a fairly common joke in UU circles that "if you've seen one UU congregation ... you've seen one UU congregation" - and for some of those congregations, "if you've seen one of our services ... you've seen one of our services."

So, while I personally haven't been to a UU service where the minister prayed in Jesus' name, I'm not terribly surprised that others have had different experiences.

#434 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:45 PM:

Among the things I'm confident about with regard to Hugos for 2106,

You're really getting ahead of the crowd!

#435 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 09:53 PM:

James @432:

For what it's worth, I don't believe he voted that way, and I don't think I buy that that revised recommendation came out quickly enough to affect many votes from his supporters. That (along with "I didn't get around to reading TBP in time to slate it") is just tossing around as many competing storylines as possible so that he can claim one of them came true.

If Beale had the pull to actually swing the final vote, he'd have already done it (and in fact would have done it last year when the numbers were favorable; that's basic Watchmen-caliber Evil Overlording, it is).

#436 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:01 PM:

PJ: Hush. You disgrace the dignity of these proceedings.

:)

#437 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:06 PM:

I'm with Bruce, the odds of a counter-slate having traction is slim, because people (at least the ones I saw) weren't talking so much about, "we need to keep those terrible people from winning".

Nope, it was, "read them all and vote your conscience. If you can't see fit to vote for anyone on a slate, we understand. If you think The Parliament Of Beasts and Birds is best, we understand that too."

What I saw (in my circle of friends and close acquaintance) was reading the works, with the expectation that the slating raised the bar for excellence. That none of what was written rose to the level of mediocre, well that was insult on top of injury.

#438 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:14 PM:

@437

You had to read crap and then that crap kept good stuff off the ballet.

Let's say we started a counter slate with the Nebula award winners - as a start. You would have had...

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)

Let's say 3 of those made it. Which one would you not want to read?

BTW - I am just thinking out loud here. I realize we are only talking about a 1 year problem.

#439 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:14 PM:

@437

You had to read crap and then that crap kept good stuff off the ballet.

Let's say we started a counter slate with the Nebula award winners - as a start. You would have had...

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)

Let's say 3 of those made it. Which one would you not want to read?

BTW - I am just thinking out loud here. I realize we are only talking about a 1 year problem.

#440 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:18 PM:

Let me just add in my example above. This year I would have liked to have seen "Lock In" make the list. It would have except for the puppies slate. So no - my example doesn't necessarily cure all slating ills. In my example, Lock In is still Locked out.

#441 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:19 PM:

Thank you, everybody who complimented my turn of phrase. It popped into my head and I thought "welp, I may be about to get on a plane but if I don't write this down and put it out there I'm doing something wrong."

Right now I'm in a hotel lobby waiting for my phone to recharge so I can have some fun with Seattle's bus system.

And yet, I feel the need to respond to AlexR's response #411, and talk a little bit more about stories and boxes and such.

I appreciate the examples of right-wing authors doing it poorly, but that's... kind of the point? Today's audience is diverse. They want to see characters who realistically reflect the kind of demographic breakdowns they're used to seeing in actual human society. Writing diverse characters is a skill that some right-leaning authors lack, so they argue that demand for diverse characters can be harmful or unfair.

It's sort of like this: imagine an author who can write great science, but who is utterly terrible at dialogue. They'd still appeal to readers who don't care about dialogue, but it's not like a trend for preferring good dialogue is hurting science fiction. It might make that one guy slightly less successful than he'd be in a different era, but it isn't the focus on dialogue or the focus on diversity that are dangerous. It's simply the same as it ever was: different authors have different skillsets, and the most popular authors will be those who have a varied set of skills that match up with the kind of things readers like.

Right now, the ability to write different kinds of characters without them seeming shoehorned in or disruptive is a highly-valued skill. Wanting all stories to have diverse characters is like wanting all stories to have witty dialogue - they won't all succeed, but pointing out which ones succeed and which ones fail isn't a problem. It's just ordinary criticism.

Complaints about check-box-ism seem to be saying "I lack this specific skill. People used to not care whether or not writers possessed this skill. The fact that they now value this skill is A PROBLEM."

#442 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:22 PM:

SJW75126,

And how this slate will be any different from the one that the Puppies are putting together? Quality? Taste is subjective and people like different things - which is why we have nominations.

It's a slate - no matter who does it and with what works - it still is against the unwritten rules and the spirit of the nominations. If we have to read crap for one more year until the rules can be changed - so be it. I had read all the books I wanted to read, nominated or not anyway. But I for one will not even entertain the idea of participating in a slate - that's not a solution; that's a "they did it first" knee jerk reaction. And I am not a teen anymore to actually be ok with having those.

#443 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:39 PM:

Annie said:

"And how this slate will be any different from the one that the Puppies are putting together? Quality? Taste is subjective and people like different things - which is why we have nominations."

Your point is obviously well taken. But to answer your question it will be different because:

1. It doesn't require a lot of adherence to be successful. If 15% of fans supported the slate mostly, it would offset the puppy slate and what the other 85% did would still be fine. On the other hand, if only 15% of the puppies votes for their slate we wouldn't even care.

2. It wouldn't be pushing a point of view if it was selected on an objective basis. WHich ones in my example would you not vote for out of principle?

3. It is a one shot. Your voting rules guarantee a poor result next year.

Consider it a vaccination then. You are taking a bit of the ill to protect the body.

Still - while I am trying to convince you I am not myself convinced. But its nagging at me.

#444 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:45 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara@67: that got to me too. My sympathies.

Cat@90: "I had no idea these ceremonies were so fun and touching" This was special. David Gerrold outdid himself on the script. I think everyone outdid themselves at Sasquan, in many ways. The masquerade was, I think, extraordinary. Tom Smith was the half-time entertainment. He got to play to his largest house and did a great job of keeping people there through the judging, which is always slow. I hope it gets him a ton of sales—he deserves it.

#445 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 10:57 PM:

C Wingate @ 188: one persistent problem: the relatively small size of non-US Worldcons. That's a bit worse than a simplification. The long list of Worldcons says that Loncon had substantially more members than any previous Worldcon and is #2 on the all-time attendance list. It looks like older European Worldcons after ~1970 (when overall attendance exploded) average a bit smaller than North American ones, but the variation in both is so large I expect you'd get p>>.01 for that hypothesis.

C. Wingate @ 247: Weisskopf is not collateral damage; judging by the few postings I had the stomach to read, she's a pourer of gasoline on fires. Sheila Gilbert might be collateral damage; I've slightly known her for some time and don't know why she was slated.

James @ 357: a few hundred people nominated and several hundred voted for a slate devised by a small number of people. Do you really believe that so many people were somehow unanimous rather than just followers? I'm reminded of TNH's remark (offline) that the most implausible thing about the "explanation" for 1989 was that a couple of dozen fans could have been in absolutely agreement on \anything/. And if that doesn't convince you, consider Beale's boasting of his "minions", or Jeffrey@409's compact version of the above.
      Your comment about "the wrong people voting" is past a red herring.

#446 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:03 PM:

Terry Karney @437: "I'm with Bruce, the odds of a counter-slate having traction is slim, because people (at least the ones I saw) weren't talking so much about, "we need to keep those terrible people from winning"."

A counter-slate is the only way to ensure there are works worth ranking above No Award on the ballot next year. It's not about stopping terrible people from winning, it's about having the opportunity to recognise good works. There's a good chance of the Puppies sweeping the nominations in all categories in 2016, if a significant fraction of their hundreds of extra voters stick around to nominate according to the next slate. (Extra non-puppy nominators don't help that much, because their nominations will be spread out over hundreds of different works).

The best possible counter-slate would be for the Hugo admins to tally the nominations early (say a week before nominations close) and announce what the finalists would have been if all works listed on any slate were eliminated. As well as providing a list of the works that would have been finalists in the absence of slates - as unobjectionable as a counter-slate could possibly be - this would be a strong disincentive to unofficial counter-slates. But while there isn't actually anything in the constitution forbidding such a thing, I doubt the admins would be keen on taking such a step.

A variant would be to release the top ten in each category, without eliminating slate works; that would be somewhat less vulnerable to accusations of bias. And the results could be released for both the current system and EPH tallying, which would be very interesting information to have before the ratification vote.

In the absence of cooperation from the Hugo admins, producing a democratic counter-slate is a lot more problematic. For a start, who's eligible to contribute? There's no reliable way to restrict it to WorldCon members, so what's to stop it being swamped by puppies and puppy sock-puppets even more than the actual nominations? And even if the puppies left it alone, it wouldn't represent the same pool of nominators as the actual Hugos. But if participation could be restricted to confirmed real people, and a sufficiently large pool of honest voters contributed, possibly some kind of tournament-style system would give a reasonable outcome? Pair up the works in each category randomly, and let voters choose a winner from each pair; repeat until five are left. Perhaps let voters tick all the nominated works they're familiar with beforehand, so they're not asked to compare works they aren't able to judge. Puppies wouldn't find it so easy to dominate such a system, since most of the pairings wouldn't feature any puppy nominees, and their votes wouldn't be any more concentrated than everyone else's.

#447 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:03 PM:

While I do understand the opposition to fighting slates with slates -- this sort of debate happens in many spheres -- I wonder if the opposition is as universal to a counter slate that you could be 99% sure, for the purposes of this discussion, was exactly the final ballot that would have occurred without bloc voting. Don't dwell on whether this is possible or not for now. Certainly the "what should have been the ballot" examples we've seen this week may have their flaws.

But what if you did know what the real set of nominees would be from independent voters through some magic trick -- would you then vote that as your nomination ballot if you knew a lot of other fans were going to do the same, thus creating a slate that does indeed turn that into the final ballot?

Or would you vote your independent choices, knowing it was likely the final ballot would be mostly or all puppy choices?

ie. the classic question of ends and means. There is no one right answer.

#448 ::: Gary Arbuthnot ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:09 PM:

After having made a bit of an idiot of myself for asking the No-Award question earlier, I managed to find the constitution of the WSFS.

I suspect that Beale isn't gunning for votes next year. I'm worried that he's going to spend the next year talking GamerGate and 4chan types into buying attending memberships.

If I read the rules right, anyone with an attending membership is allowed to participate in the WSFS Business Meeting held after the convention.

How many planted attending members would it take to cause mischief in the Business Meeting, and how much actual damage would they be able to create?

I apologize if those are stupid questions.

#449 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:14 PM:

NO SLATES.
That means no counter-slates, also.

What part of this is so hard to understand?

#450 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:20 PM:

@448

I don't think VD has enough powder. It's one thing to get someone to fork over $40. It's another to get them to spend $100 and travel. Some will but not many and you didn't see many.

Although you did see one. Thomas Monaghan is posting at Larry Correias site that 70 additional people showed up on Sunday that had not shown up before to vote for EPH but concedes it didn't matter.

Thomas was the guy that made the motion to adjourn and prior to the vote to kill EPH if I recall correctly.

#451 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:22 PM:

That's cool PJ. You wouldn't be one of the counter slate voters.

#452 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:24 PM:

The Business Meeting is held during the convention, Gary Arbuthnot @448. Any attending member is allowed to vote in it. And our members are quite able of causing mischief by themselves. That's part of why we have a Sergeant at Arms, and a Parliamentarian, and a Timekeeper -- and use Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. The whole formality of the Business Meeting makes it difficult to cause serious disruption; managing Parliamentary Procedure is very much a learned skill, and the Puppies would be going up against people who have done it for 50 years or so. I'm not the most experienced person with that, and I've got 50 years of getting familiar with it.

The formal system has lots of safeguards. It would be possible for them to vote in various things if they get enough people there -- but that's true of any group. It was true this year with EPH, for example: but the creators of that were well organized, respectful, and willing to stay the course past several procedural attempts to keep them from getting a vote on the matter (like the attempt to adjourn sine die at the end of Saturday's meeting). Managing to get around Parliamentary Procedure is possible, but it takes a serious majority to do many things.

And the guys at the head table, IME, are really good at making sure that people understand the implications of what anyone is trying to do.

#453 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:26 PM:

Terry K @ 437: There were many voices calling for "don't vote for a Puppy, regardless of quality". (I was one of them.) The fact that Toni Weisskopf and Sheila Gilbert, who have both been nominated without Puppy assistance and would be perfectly credible winners, both finished behind No Award indicates that a pretty sizable number of people voted that way.

These results were a repudiation of slating, irrespective of content.

#454 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:27 PM:

felice @ 446,

So you are saying that having a slate is ok as long as it contains works that are worthy (according to who?) and/or that you like?

Uhm, no, it is not. Doing something not-good as an answer to another not-good thing does not make it any less not-good. If a counter slate is introduced to fight the slate, we will really loose the spirit of these awards next year.

#455 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:39 PM:

Is there an estimate of when the 2016 Hugo nomination data will be run through EPH. I would really like to see that.

#456 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:41 PM:

sez CHip @445: "Your comment about 'the wrong people voting' is past a red herring."
Hm. "past a red herring". Would that be an infrared herring?

#457 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:44 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale -- Please give it a rest. The community hashed this out months ago, and you're not going to find support for bending the rules here.

I don't give a damn what the puppies choose to do next year. We'll deal with it when it happens.

Gary Arbuthnot, you're being an idiot again. There is no "after Worldcon Business Meeting." They can ONLY be held during the actual Worldcon. And if many of the Puppies were reluctant to pony up $40 for an attending membership, they sure as Hell won't be willing to pay $200 at the door...

#458 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:44 PM:

Infrared Herrings is the name of my Techno Chanty band.

#459 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:45 PM:

To everyone who thinks a counter-slate is a good idea:
I'd no-award everyone on it, too.

It isn't who puts it together, or what the intentions might be: NO SLATES.

#460 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:46 PM:

Kevin #453 -- Actually, while those choices were sometimes a repudiation of slating, I would say some motivations were more nuanced. (There were even some, and I have some sympathy for them, who advocated No Award in everything except possibly fan artist, because the awards that went to solo non-puppies are tainted for not having proper competition.)

However, I do not think the opposition, for many, was specifically to slating. Rather slating was an example of attempting to violate the spirit and meaning of the process. Most agreed that slating was "technically" (a frequent word) within the rules, which means that they felt it nonetheless stepped outside an unwritten vision of the rules.

This was as it was for me. I don't care how they did it. What I cared about was that they changed the nomination from a survey of the independent opinion of the fans who care into a political-party bloc vote where they were the only bloc. They colluded together to make the process not what it was normally expected to be.

And so, for me, what matters most is how you might return it to be what the vast majority of con members intended it to be. This may be at the root of the distaste TK has for some of my proposals. Because, after all, do I really know what most fans want it to be? That's why we have rules, to create a process so it isn't one person's vision. That is one of the stresses we feel.

The response (particularly here) was "They used slates to corrupt the nomination -- let's make the nomination process more robust against slates, because it is slates that are the evil."

As you know, that's always not sat particularly well with me. Slates are wrong, but they are the symptom, not the cause, and we have treated the symptom. And not particularly well.


#461 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:47 PM:

SJW75126 @ 451:

I won't be one of the counter slate voters, either.

If I haven't read something, or if I did and I just didn't like it that much, then why would I nominate it or vote for it?

My conscience is my own. I'm not going to lie just to thwart liars.

#462 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:47 PM:

OH NO SECOND: Pony up $40 for a SUPPORTING membership...sigh

#463 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:52 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale, I'm beginning to think you're Brian Z at File 770's cousin.

Social engineering will not work -- the objects of those efforts have to want to change -- and I have seen no evidence that the Puppies meet that requirement.

So, we change what WE can change -- the nomination system. That is all we can do, and MORALLY it is ALL we should do.

#464 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2015, 11:56 PM:

Robert @ 461,

I suspect there will be lots of Fans with that POV. Again though - a counter slate doesn't need a lot of adherence. Just a bit.

Besides - you might like it. An objective standard would hopefully select things people like. Why would they want to put things on the ballet that people didn't like?

In my example above, who would you not like? I can understand if you just had not read the work.

#465 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:00 AM:

NO SLATES

#466 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:01 AM:

Ballot ballot ballot - apologies for the spelling. I plead Mad Cow.

#467 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:02 AM:

sez Steven Brust @458: "Infrared Herrings is the name of my Techno Chanty band."
Cool! I could see that… and I'm also a pretty damn good baritone vocalist, plus I'm okay on keyboards. If you happen to think this might be something worth putting effort into, I can be reached at [ my nym @aol.com ] for further exploration of the idea.

#468 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:02 AM:

SJW75126:

Get thee behind me, Satan!

#469 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:04 AM:

SJW75126,

I have an idea - instead of trying to push another slate, let's have everyone that actually care for these award do their own nominations. You know - that will be a lot of fun. And if a slate overruns the categories again - well, at least people did not drop to the same level as the people that believe that only written rules should be obeyed.

Slates go against the spirit of the nomination process. Completely against it. Regardless of the reason for them - they are something that is a bad idea.

#470 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:05 AM:


SJW75126: If it's wrong for a one group to push a slate, then it's wrong for any group to push a slate. Yes, it's marginally better if the works on the slate are meritorious on their face, but it's still wrong.

2. It wouldn't be pushing a point of view if it was selected on an objective basis.

There is no objecive basis gustibus non disputandum est.

#471 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:06 AM:

Felice: The best possible counter-slate would be for the Hugo admins to tally the nominations early (say a week before nominations close) and announce what the finalists would have been if all works listed on any slate were eliminated. As well as providing a list of the works that would have been finalists in the absence of slates - as unobjectionable as a counter-slate could possibly be - this would be a strong disincentive to unofficial counter-slates. But while there isn't actually anything in the constitution forbidding such a thing, I doubt the admins would be keen on taking such a step.

Great Ghu I should hope not. That would be everything the puppies accuse us of and more. I would feel morally obliged to not only vote against the slate, but probably agaisnt any bid which had them named as members.

As I said, if slating is wrong for on, it's wrong for all. I'll vote against them, one and all.

#472 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:07 AM:

Gary Arbuthnot: I suspect that Beale isn't gunning for votes next year. I'm worried that he's going to spend the next year talking GamerGate and 4chan types into buying attending memberships.

If I read the rules right, anyone with an attending membership is allowed to participate in the WSFS Business Meeting held after the convention.

How many planted attending members would it take to cause mischief in the Business Meeting, and how much actual damage would they be able to create?

This is a nonstarter. There are no proxies. They would have to actually pony up the money to attend.

And to do any real damage they would need to do it two years running, because changes to the WSFS constitution require ratification by two consecutive sets of business meetings, so they would have to pony up again to go to Helsinki; and the second time out need to have a huge attending membership; because if they managed to get something passed at the 2016 meeting, then the 2017 meeting could end up a plenary session of the entire attending membership of the con.

#473 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:08 AM:

I'm interested in Brad's response to the decidedly cogent argument that 'social engineering' solutions will not work on the Pups. In fact, I'm only interested in what Brad has to say in response to that argument.

#474 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:10 AM:

Brad: you don't need to suspect: I made pretty plain statements (repeatedly, and at length) about both the technical problems I saw, and the philosophical ones.

I went into great detail, much of which you didn't address. Feel free to re-read it, as I am not going to bother with repeating, and expanding on it again.

#475 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:11 AM:

Kevin: I thought I acknowledged that, with "If your conscience says, "no slate"..." I am, pretty much, in the no-slate category. I voted anti-slate, but read the works (as much as I could stomach) so I could be more aware of what they were actually trying to do.

#476 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:14 AM:

SJW75126 @ 464

Are you kidding me?

#477 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:18 AM:

Goodness. Who looks at someone trying Tactic X, a vast number of people rising up in angry protest because they believe Tactic X is terrible, and concludes that those people just need to be gently led to using Tactic X as well?

My uncharitable interpretation is that SJW75126 is a Puppy trying vigorously to leave an "evidence" trail that those wicked SJWs are planning on slates too, anyway! See! Proof! My more charitable interpretation is that SJW75126 is very young and thinks that "turnabout is fair play" is valid tactical advice.

#478 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:20 AM:

Annie Y @454: "So you are saying that having a slate is ok as long as it contains works that are worthy (according to who?) and/or that you like?"

Ideally, according to the collective opinions of the people who participate in the Hugo nomination process. What I personally think of the results is irrelevant, as long as the process is fair. What I want is an alternative nomination process that fixes the exploit used by the puppies. No official alternative is possible next year, but an unofficial alternative nomination process could be used. If you're going to call the five works selected by a nomination process a slate irrespective of what the process was, then every set of Hugo finalists ever has been a slate. To me, the question is how to come up with an acceptable alternative nomination process.

"Uhm, no, it is not. Doing something not-good as an answer to another not-good thing does not make it any less not-good. If a counter slate is introduced to fight the slate, we will really loose the spirit of these awards next year."

Shooting people is bad. But if someone is shooting at you to try to kill you, while some people might advocate an absolute pacifist position that it's better to die than to kill even in self defence, I think most people would consider shooting back to be a reasonable response under the circumstances.

#479 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:29 AM:

Felice @478, we're not talking about a life-or-death situation. We're talking about an award which honors a particular genre of fiction. And, more specifically, we're talking about a particular exploit for which the window of opportunity is almost certainly going to close after next year's Worldcon. So… what's so great about your particular solution-of-choice, that it needs to be implemented right away?

#480 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:33 AM:

I repeat: Slates are bad for everyone, even the slatemakers. They change the ballot from "things that a lot of other people liked" to "things that a few influential people liked", and when that happens, everyone loses.

Non-hypothetical example: Vox Day created the Rabid Puppies slate which ended up dominating the nominations. If one of his anointed nominees hadn't withdrawn, The Three Body Problem would not have made it onto the ballot. It turned out to be his preferred novel*, yet if his slate had had its desired effect, he may never have read it.

*Yes, I'm taking him at his word here.

#481 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:35 AM:

Alex 303: We don't have to forgive the Vox Days of this world, or engage politely with people named Brad, Larry, Lou, John or Sarah, but as far as I'm concerned, everyone else is probably worth talking to.

Nothing to add. I just wanted to see that again.

praisegod 380: Yes. So much this.

While I didn't take part in the threads where EPH was hammered out (I don't really have a mind for such things) I was delighted and proud that the members of this community came together in that way.

CHip 445: Weisskopf is not collateral damage; judging by the few postings I had the stomach to read, she's a pourer of gasoline on fires.

I've met her at parties, and she was pleasant as far as I recall. But her recent behavior online has been appalling, and I agree that she was not at all collateral damage.

Kevin 453: There were many voices calling for "don't vote for a Puppy, regardless of quality". (I was one of them.) The fact that Toni Weisskopf and Sheila Gilbert, who have both been nominated without Puppy assistance and would be perfectly credible winners, both finished behind No Award indicates that a pretty sizable number of people voted that way.

These results were a repudiation of slating, irrespective of content.

Indeed yes. This would be why I ranked Skin Game below No Award, even though I liked it better than TBP, which I ranked above. I will place any slate (even if it's a "counter-slate") below No Award on my ballot. (Well, unless Beale decides to slate "SJW" works to try to kill their chances. I'm going to let my tactics bend to the situation. But being on a slate will never help someone get my vote.)

#482 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:39 AM:

Counter-slating won't work. This year's results strongly suggest that there is a functional majority of principled anti-slate voters. (cf. Editor, long form.) We'd vote down both slates.

#483 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:04 AM:

#477 Fade,

You can check out "SJW75126" at GRRM site, 770, Correia's site and prior postings here. You won't find I get much puppy love.

#482 What was proved this year was the slating by a determined minority worked very well when there was a high level of adherence. It blew up your ballot.

What Guardians proved was that you would not vote down both sides.

If the selection was an objective criteria such as the Locus recommended reading list or the Nebulas you would not vote it down. You might ignore that it was on the slate.

But then that would be fine. A very low level of adherence to a slate would be all that would be necessary to offset the pups.

Now, you guys have all the data experts. If you tell me there is no danger of pups dominating even more next year and there is no way that the best novel category would have to be no-awarded, I would be inclined to believe you. We don't need a fix to a non-existent problem.

Is that what the data tells you?

#484 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:11 AM:

I used to work for Salon.com so all these mentions of "slate" "counter-slate" and "no slate" remind me of how sometimes people would confuse Salon and Slate.

Estee @ #331: I believe you mean these posts by Mary Anne Mohanraj, whose sf/f prose I also love!

Jacque @ #360: My sympathies on the spoon/$$$ deficiency. I'll look for more things to recommend! And these are more indirectly related, but one thing I liked about Ruthanna Emrys's The Litany of Earth and the two Ancillary novels so far by Ann Leckie is that the religious practices depicted in those universes feel interestingly familiar to me, as a Hindu. Home altars, daily prayer rituals involving offerings of flowers while chanting, kneeling towards idols of various gods...

#485 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:20 AM:

SJW75126, I think you're misunderstanding a significant chunk of what people are saying to you. It's not that any of us are confident there'll be no 2015-like problems in 2016. Rather, we're saying a pair of things.

#1. EPH is on track to go into effect in 2017. As felice correctly points out, this will still leave the categories that get few nominations relatively vulnerable, and it will continue to be necessary to work on getting more people involved in nominating for them. But it will not make any category worse off, and it will make the more frequently nominated ones significantly better.

#2. Many of us regard one more year of troubles like this as vastly more desirable than ourselves endorsing as acceptable the behavior we regard as the very heart of the problem. 2015 will be history. 2016 will be history. But people will keep pointing at things we do as part of their justification for doing - or refraining from doing - things on into the future.

As a practical measure, a bunch of us guess that we could likely get more people involved in reading now and nominating at the start of next year without a counter-slate than we could get a counter-slate organized and not have it heavily undermined by people who really mean it about not supporting anybody's slates.

#486 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:24 AM:

Cubist @479: "we're not talking about a life-or-death situation. We're talking about an award which honors a particular genre of fiction."

And supporting a democratic counter-slate for one year of that award isn't in the same league as killing in self defence. The point is that morality is not absolute. All else being equal, slates are bad, but sometimes they are less bad than the alternative.

"And, more specifically, we're talking about a particular exploit for which the window of opportunity is almost certainly going to close after next year's Worldcon. So… what's so great about your particular solution-of-choice, that it needs to be implemented right away?"

I'm talking about a one-time solution to prevent next year's Hugos from being dominated by No Award. What's so great about using the actual nomination data to produce a counter-slate should be obvious; if that option isn't on the cards, I don't have a specific solution in mind, I'd just like the possibilities to be discussed.


SJW75126: "Now, you guys have all the data experts. If you tell me there is no danger of pups dominating even more next year and there is no way that the best novel category would have to be no-awarded, I would be inclined to believe you. We don't need a fix to a non-existent problem."

"Is that what the data tells you?"

Nope. The number of people who voted for VD as their first choice is much great than the number of people who nominated him; that's pretty good evidence that the number of rabid puppy supporters has gone up substantially since nominations closed, presumably due to all the publicity. All those rabids are already eligible to nominate next year, without paying anything extra; it would be foolish to assume they're not going to do so, and there are more than enough of them to easily sweep best novel.

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:27 AM:

And supporting a democratic counter-slate

Slates are NOT democratic, by their very nature.
NO EFFING SLATES. NO COUNTERSLATES.

#488 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:31 AM:

SJW75126 @483: You're asking the wrong question. People aren't disagreeing with you because they have iron-clad, absolute, 100% reliable assurance that the Pups will not be a problem next year; rather, people are disagreeing with you because they think your proposed solution is worse than the 'disease' for which you're proffering it as a 'cure'.

#489 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:33 AM:

Let's remember why slates are bad: they are the mechanism by which partisan groups (very like political parties) can gain vast power over individuals in the first phase of Hugo balloting. If first-phase balloting procedures are not changed and the Puppies continue as a viable party, counter-parties will eventually be created: we will have the Happy Kitties, the Angry Elephants, the Hungry Hippos, and gods know what-all else and what the Puppies have said will be made true: it will be near-impossible for anyone to get to the final ballot without the nod from one or more of the parties.

Let's not go there.

#490 ::: Jane Berry ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:44 AM:

Stephen Rochelle @ #414: Thank you for walking through the theoretical case in such detail. I followed along using the 2015 stats and the only part I disagree with is the likelihood of VD cultivating a 5000-vote majority.

If I were in his position, I would spend the next few months spreading a narrative that appeals to Libertarians, MRAs, GGers, PUAs, etc. via Bre|tbart. I’d use my anti-SJW book (releasing soon) to coalesce them around a common enemy and get them all to nominate and vote for the low price of $40. As felice points out in #486, none of this year’s voters have to pay again next year, so we should count on those SP/RP voters returning and doing what they’re instructed.

I hate slates and I won’t vote one—even to counter these shenanigans—but I do think we should be watching for a big GOTV push on their part coupled with a drop in interest from this year’s voters who weren’t SP/RP. A large GOTV push from us (not endorsing any slate) would erode their potential for a majority in any category.

#491 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:48 AM:

felice @486: What I said to SJW75126 @483 goes for you, too. The opposition you're getting is because your opponents think your 'cure' is worse than the 'disease'. If you want to change anyone's mind, you should probably try to demonstrate that your 'cure' is, in fact, not worse than the 'disease'. But you're not doing that, as best I can tell; instead, you seem to just be repeating hey, we've got a problem, and here's my solution for that problem. Well, fine, but we already knew there's a problem, okay? Simple acknowledgment of the 'disease' is demonstrably not enough to persuade your opponents of the rightness of your proposed 'cure', so it's unlikely that further repetitions of your baseline hey, we've got a problemspiel will yield any dividends re: persuasion.

#492 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:50 AM:

Leah Miller @ 441 Complaints about check-box-ism seem to be saying "I lack this specific skill. People used to not care whether or not writers possessed this skill. The fact that they now value this skill is A PROBLEM."

I think you may have hit the nail right smack on the head. Creating a realistically diverse group is essentially a new skill, one which requires the same kind of practical and theoretical understanding as any other literary skill. We're still early days, and lots of people either want that skill and can't find a teacher, or want their students to have that skill and aren't able to teach it themselves.

As a result, we end up with the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" popping up out of nowhere, without relevance to the plot or setting, far more frequently than anyone would really like.

Fifty years from now even a high-school Creative Writing teacher will see the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" and write "Diversity failure, you can do better than that." But right now even teachers at an MFA program haven't learned all the skills, and they're willing to tolerate a level of clumsiness which will be unthinkable in a couple decades.

#493 ::: Chris Battey ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:52 AM:

My friend (and expert game/puzzle designer) Mike Selinker wrote an interesting post about fixing the Hugos. I disagree strongly with a couple of his points (e.g. the administrators awarding the not-awarded Hugos to "the people who deserved them"), but it's an interesting read in any case.

felice @ 446:

A counter-slate is the only way to ensure there are works worth ranking above No Award on the ballot next year.

I think that's wrong. I didn't nominate much short fiction this year because I'm primarily a novel reader, but I'm going to go out of my way to find, read, and nominate good short fiction this year - and share recommendations with my friends. And I know I'm not the only one inspired to pay more attention to the "down-ballot" categories for the 2016 nominations.

If everyone who voted down the slate this year nominated even two or three entries on each of novella, novelette, and short story, I don't think the Puppies would be able to take all five of the nomination slots again. (It does depend on how much convergence of opinion there is, and I do think having lots of people sharing (and re-sharing) recommendation lists is a good way to get more nominations onto the collectively-determined best of the year without actually forming and voting for an outright counter-slate.

The thing that bothered me most about the slate voting was the fact that they weren't voting in good faith. Most Puppies weren't sincerely claiming that the slate was actually the best SF of the year; they were going along with it in order to stick it to the "SJWs".

I won't play that game. I'll take recommendations from others, I'll try to circulate my own recommendations widely, but in the end I'm going to nominate the year's (up to) five best works in each category that I read. And while I'm going to be asking my Worldcon-member friends to nominate, and I'll have some stories I recommend they read, I'm not going to ask that they nominate anything other than their sincerely chosen five favorite works as well.

If the Puppies aren't going to act in good faith, then we can either meet them on their own level and abuse the system just like they have, or we can try to get the results we want by playing fair and working harder. I know which I'd rather do.


Brad @ 460:

The response (particularly here) was "They used slates to corrupt the nomination -- let's make the nomination process more robust against slates, because it is slates that are the evil."

As you know, that's always not sat particularly well with me. Slates are wrong, but they are the symptom, not the cause, and we have treated the symptom. And not particularly well.

The analogy to security vulnerabilities was brought up a few times during the Business Meeting (and elsewhere in my conversations at Sasquan), and I think it's still a valid one: when a vulnerability in a system is first discovered and exploited, attackers will continue to exploit it until it is patched. This was primarily an argument against the argument that this year's situation was a single aberration and a fix wasn't necessary yet, but it's also applicable to your statement.

In the field of security in general, and computer security in specific, attacks on a system are a symptom. The root cause, such as it is, is bad actors willing to cause harm to others for their own benefit. But addressing that root cause is extremely difficult and takes lots of long-term work. (For example, a lot of crime is symptomatic of inequality and injustice in general, but discussing social injustice isn't really useful when you're trying to design a home security system.) So instead we fix the vulnerability in the system that lets the attackers cause problems.

I agree that this shouldn't be the only thing we do - see my (and many others') point above about increasing good-faith nomination activity - but it is a necessary step, and protects us while we try to fix the longer-term issues.

#494 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:54 AM:

And lest I forget, NO GODDAMN SLATES!!

#495 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:02 AM:

@450: One of those people who showed up on Sunday morning was my partner's brother. (We had no idea that he was going to be at the con!) It was his first Worldcon, he had read the Hugo packet and was appalled by the lack of quality therein, and when we explained the business meeting and EPH to him, he was more than happy to get on board. He's also a programmer by trade, and may be offering his expertise to the project.

Alex R: I can't speak to either of your other examples, but I have read If I Were A Dinosaur, My Love; might I trouble you to cite the offending paragraph and explain briefly why you found it so off-putting?

#496 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:03 AM:

Allan Beatty, #413: I voted for the Hugo Awards this year for the first time in decades because of the controversy. I read almost everything (did a lot of skimming in the novellas) and ranked them as I thought they deserved on merit. I voted for these slate nominees ahead of no award: Arlan Adams's Flow for novella, Kary English's Totaled for short story, Jennifer Brozek for editor short form, Sheila Gilbert followed by Tony Weisskopf for editor long form, and Kary English again for best new writer.

There's nothing that says Brad T can't have tastes similar to mine when he ran out of cronies and looked for deserving nominees to fill out a category.

I hope you wouldn't count me as one of your 1800 puppies.

Hey, Allan! Welcome to SFF fandom! There are a lot of really fun people who hang out here, on File770, other forums online, and at Worldcon!

What SFF have you read in the last year or so that you really liked? I always love to hear other peoples' recommendations.

#497 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:08 AM:

SJW75126 @464:

If your "objective standard" was possible, it wouldn't be necessary: if there was an agreed-on objective standard for "best science fiction or fantasy novel" or "best professional artist," the Hugo Awards (and the Nebulas and World Fantasy Award and Mythopoeic and Tiptree and Sidewise and Clarke and all other awards) would be redundant.

Objectivity can tell me "this book was published in 2015, so it is eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards" or "this book is 93,012 words long." Those facts are useful in sorting things for awards, but they don't answer the hard questions.

#498 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:11 AM:


SJW75126: What Guardians proved was that you would not vote down both sides.

False premise: There was no "other side". What Guardians demonstrated was that where their slate overlapped the consensus, the consensus said "ok". with about 300 puppies nominating, GoG got almost 800 nominations. It wasn't a slated candidate,it was a candidate for whom the slate paralleled the larger community.

#499 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:11 AM:

felice: In a straight 1 person, 1 vote, direct democracy (which is what that Hugos are) there is no such thing as a "democratic slate".

What's so great about using the actual nomination data to produce a counter-slate should be obvious I don't think there is anything obvious about it. Honestly, I think it's worse than what the puppies did, because it creates a "these are the only legitimate books" list by breaking the idea of an open nomination process. Saying, "these are the trending books, you have one week to bandwagon them to the top of the list" is anti-democratic.

All those rabids are already eligible to nominate next year, without paying anything extra; it would be foolish to assume they're not going to do so, and there are more than enough of them to easily sweep best novel.

The same is true of the couple of thousand (at least) people who spent money to vote against them. So I don't think the 300-800 puppies (of all stripes) are an existential threat. Moreover I know some of them (from what they said at the business meeting, have decided slates are bad for the Hugos, so they are not in that voting bloc anymore.

#500 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:30 AM:

P J Evans @487: "Slates are NOT democratic, by their very nature."

Even when voted on by everyone eligible to nominate? What definition of "democratic" are you using?

Chris Battey @493: "If everyone who voted down the slate this year nominated even two or three entries on each of novella, novelette, and short story, I don't think the Puppies would be able to take all five of the nomination slots again."

It looks like approximately 950 non-puppies nominated in Short Story this year, while 3053 people voted No Award as their first choice for short story. We don't know how much overlap there is between nominating non-puppy and voting non-award; a generous estimate would be 3500 unique people. If they'd all nominated, that would probably have given Jackalope Wives around 280 nominations; nowhere near enough to match the number of rabids eligible to nominate next year. There's a lot of good short fiction published, and there won't be that much convergence of opinion, even with recommendation lists. And realistically, you're not going to get anything like 3500 non-puppies nominating.

#501 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:36 AM:

felice: Realistically no one is going to pre-release the nomination data to make an "approved" short list.

#502 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:38 AM:

#500 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:30 AM:

P J Evans @487: "Slates are NOT democratic, by their very nature."

Even when voted on by everyone eligible to nominate? What definition of "democratic" are you using?
Seriously? You're actually asking what's not "democratic" about 15% of the nominators ending up determining 100% of the candidates on the ballot, thereby absolutely preventing the other 85% of the nominators from having any effect on the ballot?

#503 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:43 AM:

502
Read your last couple of sentences again. I don't think you're saying what you think you are.

You're also going to have to do better than that with 'slates are democratic'. I know what straight-ticket voting is, and that's a slate, too.

#504 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:49 AM:

Cubist #473 -- I do not expect any social engineering will work on the puppies. The only thing that would make them stop would be if their plans were both futile and expensive, in which case they would eventually get bored or stop spending money. This is the reasoning I gave many months ago as to why only dynamic response works against dynamic attack. Presented with an algorithmic defence that is anything but perfect, they will just change their attack. Their goal is not slates; those are their tool.

That's why algorithmic defence is so rare in the real world. As tempting as it is to math nerds like myself, it usually fails.


#505 ::: Easter Lemming ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:07 AM:

Most of the founding fathers were opposed to political parties, Despite this they sprang up and members of 2 - 4 parties became the only members elected to Congress. Parties or slates are the natural result of open elections and mass communication. About the only exception to this are small New England mass town hall meetings.
A more well informed voting pool and a news and information market that focuses on potential candidates will produce better nominees but a slate of voters will dominate the results next year. Face-saving measures that are quasi-slates or many lists of people recommending works from late November on may cause groups to reach consensus around fewer candidates even if they are not officially slates. Sharing information, where are good sites to go to for popular recommendations, sites that tally recommendations, gets more informed voters but that is not going to prevent a well-organized group of 10 - 20% of voters from dominating the nominations, next year.
In 2017 we will see how 4/6 (or 5/6 or 3/6) and EPH fix the problem.
Sites creating more informed Hugo voters are always good. Existing sites should step up and consider that one of their missions should be to spread the good news about the best of science fiction, people and stories worthy of being shared and rewarded.

#506 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:14 AM:

Tom Whitmore #452

The WSFS has a sergeant at arms? That's fascinating.

Who is this famous sergeant-at-arms, what's their background, and what exactly kind of arms are they expected to be at, during the business meetings?

#507 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:38 AM:

#503 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:43 AM:

502
Read your last couple of sentences again. I don't think you're saying what you think you are.

Well, I did screw up the blockquote something fierce. The "even when voted on" paragraph was the text I were responding to, not any words of mine. Does that clarify anything for you?

#508 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:39 AM:

#503 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:43 AM:

502
Read your last couple of sentences again. I don't think you're saying what you think you are.

Well, I did screw up the blockquote something fierce. The "even when voted on" paragraph was the text I were responding to, not any words of mine. Does that clarify anything for you?

#509 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:42 AM:

#503 PJ Evans -- I think what he is talking about, when referring to a democratic slate, is the idea of a slate which is created in some valid and verified democratic way, which is the best available estimate of what the final ballot would have been absent the collusion of attackers. For example, one could (in theory, with access to the same voters) build a slate with EPH. If many fans voted that slate it would effectively mean that the nominations were done with EPH (which is not yet ratified passed the first round.)

So if you had a magic way to get that list, you could turn it into the final ballot. Again by hacking not the rules, but the system. Same technique, different goal -- and of course people here have already established many strong opinions on that dichotomy.

I will add one note, though. In essence, one reason some believe this meshes well with the spirit (as well as letter) of the rules is that the goal of a nomination process is to produce a slate. Through the nomination process, we produce a set of 5, and then everybody ranks only those 5. There is a goal to having the two stages, which is that you get a chance to evaluate the particular 5 works when you could never read everything.

The democratic slate concept (again, presuming for the sake of this argument that you could somehow magically get what would have been the no-slate ballot) does the same thing, but again, to use a dirty word here, hacks the rules to do that.


#510 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:22 AM:

I considered buying a supporting membership and voting against the slates this year, but I thought that the regular voters would destroy them without my help.

But if someone starts a counter-slate drive next year, I will certainly sign up and No Award everything on all slates.

On Brad's proposal to use write-ins to beat the slates in 2016, I see no point in even talking about it. There is no possibility that the business meeting would consider it for more than a microsecond.

#511 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:40 AM:

Terry Karney @499: "Honestly, I think it's worse than what the puppies did, because it creates a "these are the only legitimate books" list by breaking the idea of an open nomination process. Saying, "these are the trending books, you have one week to bandwagon them to the top of the list" is anti-democratic."

It doesn't break the open nomination process, it happens after the open nomination process. There's a new de facto nomination deadline a week before the official deadline, everyone submits their nominations before that, and the "trending books" are the output of that open nomination process. The most conservative option would be to release just the top five according to EPH, ie exactly the same set of works as the finalists we'd get if EPH was already in effect. The EPH top five would include some slate works (possibly even mostly slate works in some categories) so would be less useful than a top ten or a slate-excluded top five, though.

And it shouldn't be necessary for people to nominate works without reading and liking them; people should only nominate works from the counter-slate if they'd rank them above No Award. The majority of potential nominators might not be familiar with any one given work, but it only takes a fraction of them to outnumber the puppies.

Terry Karney @501: "Realistically no one is going to pre-release the nomination data to make an "approved" short list."

Unfortunately you're probably right. So the question becomes what's the next-best option (or next-least awful, if that's how you see it). Ie how could we acquire the closest possible approximation of the Hugo nomination data without having access to the actual data?


Cubist @502: "Seriously? You're actually asking what's not "democratic" about 15% of the nominators ending up determining 100% of the candidates on the ballot, thereby absolutely preventing the other 85% of the nominators from having any effect on the ballot?"

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. The puppy slate was selected by Vox Day and a handful of his allies, and endorsed by a couple of hundred followers who had no input into the content of the slate. That's not remotely democratic. What I'm proposing is a counter-slate that is democratic and takes into account the votes of 100% of the nominators (or as close to it as is practical), with no individual or clique able to exert disproportionate influence over the outcome.

#512 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:55 AM:

What I'm proposing is a counter-slate that is democratic and takes into account the votes of 100% of the nominators (or as close to it as is practical), with no individual or clique able to exert disproportionate influence over the outcome.

And the winner is... No Award.

#513 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:27 AM:

The problem with slates is that they change the nomination process in a fundamental way. Right now, the nominations are a poll, not an election. By introducing slates, one, two, or more, you change the nature of the nomination phase into an election. Now, the voting phase _is_ an election. But the nominating phase is not supposed to be. Multiple slates become something in between a push-poll and a primary. This is very not good.

The worst thing that could happen at MACII is that No Award wins in all categories. That would, to my mind, be vastly preferable to duelling slates. Should that happen, I suggest the concom cancel the ceremony and use the space to have a huge dance party instead. In the words of Nate Bucklin, "I just want you to know we kept on dancing, right on til doomsday morn." And I don't even dance.

#514 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:55 AM:

My own view? No slates. Not even a quality-inspected, 100% democratic, certified Puppy-free slate that's been approved by the United Nations and blessed by the Pope. No slates.

I am, however, interested in information. Things like the Hugo nominations wikia are a step in the right direction - it'd be good to have several sites like that. Reviews and recommendations lists are another good step. If enough people hear about the good stuff, then they will read it and - with luck - nominate accordingly. Information is the key. An informed voter is an empowered voter.

No slates. Just, if you read something that you think is good, tell people about it.

#515 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:35 AM:

My favorite part in this whole blowup was way back in the first Bruce Schneier thread, where at about comment #100 he said: "You people talk a lot".

Little did he know....

#516 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:48 AM:

I am the sort of person who has never voted on the Hugos (but attended a WorldCon once) and only reads SF short fiction once in a while, but after this year's nominations came out I vowed that I would read more short fiction this year and try to get at least a supporting membership to WorldCon in 2016.

I really believe that the best alternative to slates and counter-slates is for people to read things, get excited about things, and talk them up.

Don't tell me what to vote for; tell me what you love, and let me see if I love it too. No goddamn slates.

#517 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:38 AM:

Tom Whitmore #418: ... the rule-of-thumb for biological success isn't the number of children that you leave, but the number of grandchildren.

I'm not sure I've seen that before -- where does it come from? In any case, I like it: Beyond the literal sense, it's a general caution for any endeavor.

#518 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:43 AM:

felice @511: You're still doing nothing but repeating hey, there's a problem! I have a solution!

You're still not addressing the concerns of all those people who think your 'cure' is worse than the 'disease'.

#519 ::: SJW75126 ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:32 AM:

Bruce @485 said:

"SJW75126, I think you're misunderstanding a significant chunk of what people are saying to you. It's not that any of us are confident there'll be no 2015-like problems in 2016. "

No I understand the mantra. I just disagree with it. My question was a simple one and no one answered. Is there a good possibility that the puppies can control "Best Novel" and it ends with a no award. What does the data tell us?

If the answer is "yes" and your solution is "no award", you have not faced the problem in my opinion. What's the answer please?

I guess I am looking for a bit more than "let's get people involved". We had really good data analysis when EPH was developed. I watched the presentation at Worldcon.

If we are talking about ONLY the more minor categories (yes I know people disagree with that), then "no award" may be enough.

#520 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:39 AM:

Terry Karney @472 wrote: And to do any real damage they would need to do it two years running...

In this case, not so: Beale only needs to stack the 2016 business meeting to torpedo EPH's ratification. That (1) doesn't give advance notice that something is up (either by having new business on the agenda in advance, or running into fannish opposition when parliamentary procedure games get rolling) and (2) sets fandom back at least two years, as EPH or whatever would need to re-start the amendment process in 2017.

Also, while attending memberships are expensive, the total dollars needed to stack the business meeting is a lot less than the total dollars needed to stack the Hugo voting.

Jane Berry @490 wrote: the only part I disagree with is the likelihood of VD cultivating a 5000-vote majority

Fair enough. But for what it's worth, he would have only needed a 3000-vote majority in 2014, and that (as with my comment about the business meeting in 2016) would have had the element of surprise. He's already missed his best chance, and I'm inclined to think that's because of inability rather than lack of desire. But it's not like I've got any secret special knowledge here, and either way, the best response is for fans to continue to participate in the process in numbers.

---

NO SLATES!
(I don't think it'll have the staying power of File770's "GOD STALK", but it's starting to trend that way)

#521 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:54 AM:

@482 Me: Counter-slating won't work...We'd vote down both slates.
@483 SJW75126 : What Guardians proved was that you would not vote down both [slates].

What Guardians proved is that fandom won't vote down major motion pictures that would obviously have made the ballot with or without the assistance of slates.

It suggests that, should some people run some kind of anti-puppy counter-slate, the major motion pictures on their slate would, just like GoG, be the only nominees to finish above Noah Ward.

Think about a fan who considers herself a principled anti-slate voter, and what she'll do if there's a counter-puppy slate in '16. She can admit that her principles, sticking to which made her feel pretty good (and which permitted her to no-award otherwise deserving editors without losing too much sleep over it) were a lie. She can forget everything she said last year, and vote this new counter-puppy slate, and as a reward for her humiliating climb-down, and her feeling like a hypocrite, a handful of nominees get Hugos in '16. Then, going forward, that humiliation and that lie hang around her neck, and those of the rest of fandom, forever.

Or she can stick to her principles, no-award all the slates again, and still probably have a pretty good time at the Worldcon. Because she remembers '15, and remembers that even with a bunch of noawards it was still a joyous celebration, at which a good time was had by all except for a very tiny handful who soiled the punchbowl and came away bitterly disappointed that nobody took a drink. She can put up with just one more on-balance-pretty-good year, and have good cause to hope that worst is over.

People will break both ways, but I'd bet on that second contingent being way bigger than the first.

#522 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:58 AM:

SJW75126 @519:
No I understand the mantra.

Mantra?

Assume the people you are talking to are commenting in good faith and expressing their own opinions, please.

Also, as a general point, conversations that aren't shaped like interrogations are generally more fruitful, interesting, and enjoyable for all concerned.

#523 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:02 AM:

Is there a good possibility that the puppies can control "Best Novel" and it ends with a no award... If the answer is "yes" and your solution is "no award", you have not faced the problem in my opinion

The problem has been faced, and if EPH is adopted next year, the problem will be solved for 2017.

In 2016, the Hugos may be attacked again, and the fans may have to respond with No Award. So it goes.

#524 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:08 AM:

Fade @#477: My uncharitable interpretation is that SJW75126 is a Puppy trying vigorously to leave an "evidence" trail that those wicked SJWs are planning on slates too, anyway!

It may be uncharitable, but that was the first thing I thought too. It looks an awful lot like SJW75126 is trying very hard to get someone to admit that a slate would be OK if only the "right" people were on it.

But it wouldn't.

Slates would do to the Hugos what parties have done to American politics, which...ugh.

#525 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:13 AM:

I'll be responding to a few of your posts -- hopefully I've numbered them correctly.

SJW75126 @ 439 -- Let's say we started a counter slate with the Nebula award winners - as a start. You would have had...

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
Coming Home, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals; Fourth Estate; HarperCollins Canada)
Let's say 3 of those made it. Which one would you not want to read?

In my opinion, that is the wrong question. I may or may not read a Nebula winner. The question should be, "Which one would you vote for?" [as in final preferential vote, not as a nomination].
The answer to that, since the 3 nominations in question derived from a slate is, "No Award".

SJW75126 @ 455 said: -- Is there an estimate of when the 2016 Hugo nomination data will be run through EPH.

The best answer I have is sometime after the nominations for MACII close and the Administrator(s) has(have) determined the final ballot.

SJW75126 @ 519 said: -- My question was a simple one and no one answered. Is there a good possibility that the puppies can control "Best Novel" and it ends with a no award. What does the data tell us?

Regardless of the data, the possibility exists that Mr. Beale could sweep all categories with a sufficiently large enough nomination slate. So, yes.

If the answer is "yes" and your solution is "no award", you have not faced the problem in my opinion. What's the answer please?

Which problem are we supposed to address? Are you trying to salvage only 'Best Novel'? If so, then the problem statement should be more like: "Given an overwhelming nominating slate, how do we salvage a single category?"

The answer is you can't. If Mr. Beale can muster enough support to swamp the nominations, then really the only recourse we have is 'No Award'.

I guess I am looking for a bit more than "let's get people involved". We had really good data analysis when EPH was developed.

And with the analysis of the actual 2014 and 2015 data we'll be better able to see the strengths and weaknesses of EPH using more recent data than we had when we developed it. In the mean time, "let's get [more] people involved" is the best course of action.

#526 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:14 AM:

Thing is, ultimately people will vote according to their own consciences when they're faced with the ballot.

(Which I will be. I just signed up, and am now a rootin'-tootin' supportin' member of MidAmeriCon II, goldurn it pardner. [I'm not fooling anyone, am I?].)

I read everything on this year's ballot, and I thought about whether or not to vote for it. In most cases, this didn't need a lot of thinking.

If a counter-slate were to be organized - and, I must emphasize, I do not think that should happen - then I'd read everything on it, and I'd think about whether or not to vote for it. This might cost me a great deal more thinking time, because a counter-slate is much more likely to contain stuff I actually like and think is good.

I would really rather not be in a position where I have to consider downvoting something good because it's on a slate. Not running a slate seems like an excellent way of sparing me (and others) that dilemma. (How people finally resolve that dilemma... is up to them. I won't know how I decide unless it happens. I hope it won't happen.)

More information, please, but no slates.

#527 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:24 AM:

SJW75126: Well, data tell us less about the future than the past, darn them. :) But here's my take on it.

In round terms, suitable as a basis for prognosticating, the Puppies got a couple hundred folks to nominate the slates and about three hundred more to vote on them.

This is interesting, in that about 500 Twitter accounts create half of the Gamergate activity on Twitter, and less than 3,000 are daily presences. (Less than that, now - the thing's been in decline since the linked piece of analysis.) A lot of these folks use multiple accounts, so the number of real people involved is smaller. The Puppies turnout in the final voting for the Hugos suggests to me that they got almost every Gamergater with any interest in the subject and willing to pay up $40 for the privilege.

Looking at the during- and post-awards commentary, I'm not seeing much pro-Puppy traffic at all from anyone that we hadn't heard from before, or who's got a history of identifying with Gamergate. There must be scattered dozens who picked up on it from right-wing news outlets or wherever, and likewise some scattered dozens who are part of the milieu out of which the Puppies leaders come themselves but only decided to jump on for the final voting. But there can't be many more than that.

The question then is, is there a major untapped constituency for this stuff?

Fraud is certainly a possibility. Beale grew up and worked in an environment full of grifters and con artists. Would it be worth his while to throw, say, $20-40,000 at paying a bunch of people to vote as they're told? Would it be worth anyone else's while to do that? Maybe, but I feel like we'd have seen it this time around, and we clearly didn't - this was all real people taking part. And to be honest, I would expect a Puppies attempt at fraud to be bungled in some way that makes it easy for next year's administrators to spot it. They're just not that good at a lot of this.

How big is the pool of people already in the scene who didn't take part? I'm not sure - I don't read Baen's Bar and the like. But I'd be very surprised if there were hundreds of people there who didn't get involved this time but might like to next time.

Could it pick up general right-wing culture war cachet? Maybe, sure. The darnedest things do. But Milo Yiannopoulos really, really tried hard this time, and has little to show for it. Right-wing outlets besides Breitbart gave the thing coverage, and Breitbart gave it a lot. Furthermore, next year is a US presidential election year, and there will be Clinton/Sanders/whoever to hate and oh so many right-wing con artists in and out of Republican campaigns to support. I have to imagine it'll be a huge drain of energy and attention for fringe efforts like this one.

I'm not saying that there can't be a need to do anything more or deeply differently than we did this year. I mean, I got in on the voting act only after nominations closed myself this year, because of the news about how the nominations had succumbed to slate voting. I have shown my commitment to changing behavior in response to changing circumstances! :) But really, insofar as I can prognosticate, it looks to me like the slate efforts next year are likely to be less effective, not more, thanks to the continuing erosion of one pretty core constituency (Gamergate) and the rise of general-environment distractions (US elections).

So my feeling is that the major thing to be doing now is reading more, trading recommendations more, and getting more folks in on the nominating in good faith and honesty.

#528 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:48 AM:

SJW75126: Well, if you think that people have not answered your question, I will do so. Yes, there is a good possibility that slate voters will control Best Novel in 2016. Yes, the right solution is 'No Award'. Why do you see that as problematic?

Laertes@521: Well, presumably the fact that it was a motion picture was not the decisive thing. It was that it was going to be nominated anyway. If someone proposed a slate consisting of things that already had a high chance of being nominated (which I don't advocate - see above - but if they did), I think people would still vote for them. The point of such a slate would not be to promote works that otherwise had no chance; it would be to focus people's votes among the works that did have a chance.

(Though I would point out that there's no actual need for anyone to publish a slate. If we want to focus our votes - not saying we should, but if we want to - there is a very easy and straightforward way of doing so, at least in the fiction categories.)

#529 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:11 AM:

Andrew M. @528 wrote: I would point out that there's no actual need for anyone to publish a slate. If we want to focus our votes - not saying we should, but if we want to - there is a very easy and straightforward way of doing so, at least in the fiction categories.

No. We called "bullshit" on Torgersen's "it solicited ideas, it was open, it wasn't a slate" nonsense; this is a slate, too -- a slate that doesn't even have the decency to admit itself. "Focus our votes" is the key phrase, much like the comments against "without breaking any rules" upthread.

Share what's good. Share what's eligible. Vote your preference and don't collude.

#530 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:24 AM:

Stephen Rochelle: Well, let me put it another way. At least two people here want to focus their votes. I'm sure there are others. There is a way in which they can do so, without publishing a slate, and so without creating awkward dilemmas for other voters. (It does not involve collusion.)

#531 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:51 AM:

Is there a good possibility that the puppies can control "Best Novel" and it ends with a no award. What does the data tell us?

The lowest Puppy novel this year had 263 nominations. The highest non-Puppy had 256. If the Puppies grow proportionally more than the nominators in general, and if none of their nominees withdraw, and if they don't fragment into too many competing factions, then yes, they will probably drive Best Novel to a No Award next year. Otherwise, there will likely be at least one non-Puppy nominee on the ballot.

#532 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:10 AM:

SJW75126 @455:

I think the earliest that the 2016 Hugo Nominations data could possibly be run through EPH would be around April of next year. I strongly suspect that the earliest the results of running the 2016 Hugo Nominations data through EPH would be publicly announced would be after the 2016 Hugo awards ceremony.

Since the ratification vote for EPH would likely come before the Hugo ceremony, there may be some pressure to say what the ballot would have been with EPH in place before the vote, but even with that, it would almost undoubtedly be after the close of Hugo voting itself.

#533 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:28 AM:

I suspect that SJW75126 actually meant 2015.

By the way, I believe it was said at some point that the nomination data for 2014 had already been run through EPH. Do we know the results of that?

#534 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:29 AM:

#441 "Writing diverse characters is a skill..."

I would also like to thank you for this.

#520 "Beale only needs to stack the 2016 business meeting..."

A coordinated effort to make sure plenty of EPH supporters show up to the 2016 business meeting seems like a good idea just on general principles. However, Beale seems constitutionally incapable of not gloating about his plans in public; I rather doubt we would have no warning.

#535 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:33 AM:

533
I think that was simulated data, based on the distributions as published.

#536 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:40 AM:

Andrew M @ 530:

But it just has to look like collusion to be a problem.

One of the Puppy Axioms is the claim that there's a secret cabal controlling the nomination & voting patterns in the Hugos. Why would anyone want to do anything that could even remotely be construed as evidence of an overt cabal?

#537 ::: Jonathan M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:43 AM:

Replying late to #125, Sumana Harihareswara: Thank you for the recommendations, I will definitely be perusing them!

#538 ::: EAJ... ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:45 AM:

If it looks like I'll be able to read a fair number of titles I probably will purchase a supporting membership and nominate and vote next year, and I'm in full agreement with the no-slates, no-counter-slates, no-damn-slates-at-all folks.

I don't expect to see any well-known figures on the anti-Pups side speaking out in favor of slates, in which case there'd be no one as prominent as VD or BT to be pointed out as rallying figures for a counter-slate. "Look, they're doing it too, those hypocrites!"

But I'm imagining those with mischief on their minds coming together as nominating time approaches, having read the reviews and looked at the "recommended" lists and listened to the buzz, and saying, "Okay, I'll propose a slate with these titles that seem to be building momentum, and you propose one with these titles, and you take these...do we have all the good stuff covered? Okay: three, two, one, POST YOUR SLATES." Should I vote No Award if the titles I liked show up on slates proposed by people I never heard of whose opinions mean nothing to me and who I suspect are just out to make trouble, just because slates?

Head hurts. I don't think another year of No Awards is the worst thing that could happen, but I feel for the authors and artists who must be thinking, "I accomplished something I'm really proud of, and I had to do it THIS year?"

#539 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:05 PM:

Alex R @492, following up on Leah Miller @441

As a result, we end up with the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" popping up out of nowhere, without relevance to the plot or setting, far more frequently than anyone would really like.

I think you're right, but I think you have to be careful about requiring relevance to plot. The folks who value diversity push back, rightfully, against the notion that race or gender must be plot relevant to be mentioned. But I agree that race, gender, etc., of secondary characters as well as main characters forms part of the setting. The writer is constructing a world and a culture that has these people in it, or not, and treats them in varying ways. And like many aspects of worldbuilding, more goes on below the surface than shows in the story.

I think errors in two directions damage the suspension of disbelief and lead to accusations of box-checking: (1) major characters we are told are, e.g., black, lesbian, and disabled but who have opinions and behaviors and relationships and experiences in which none of those things matter, or who have opinions and behaviors and relationships and experiences in which ONLY those things matter and not, e.g., also her military service or her scientific career or her musical talent. And (2) minor characters we are told are diverse without a culture that seems to support that diversity, or plausible worldbuilding that the culture genuinely doesn't care about these aspects.

#540 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:10 PM:

Sarah @506: The "Sergeant at Arms" is someone who has the authority to escort someone out of the room (and is a standard part of any parliamentary body). It's a position that draws only on local authority. If someone wanted to stage a sit-in style protest, the SaA would be able to request them to leave, but would need to call in real police/security to force them to leave. It's a term of art. (And it's a different person every year, in WSFS, I believe.)

David Harmon @517: The "grandchildren" thing was part of my biology/genetics classes way back in the early 1970s -- and it does make basic sense. Look at the first-generation crosses (like mules/jennies) which are almost always sterile but have lots of advantages other than that.

I'm afraid I can't point to anything more concrete than that. It's one of the basic understandings in evolutionary thought.

#541 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:12 PM:

P J Evans @417: I got run over by a nap.

*snerk*

#542 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:23 PM:

I also want to thank Sumana Harihareswara for the recs.

#543 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:25 PM:

I was thinking of starting a series of "what are you reading?" posts, encouraging people to talk about what they're reading these days, what they think of it, etc. This is tangentally related to the Hugos because I'd like to suggest that they mark what of their reading is eligible for this year (based on the wiki).

Needless to say, I won't be doing any kind of summing-up or recommendation of which of those works to nominate. Really, really not. I'm tempted not to contribute to the conversation at all, lest my slender influence in the community be misplaced.

I would also like to ensure that the conversation is open to people who identify as conservative, or Puppies, or whatever. If moderation is required to achieve that, I'll put the time in.

This would have the side benefit of giving fans who feel that their favorite works are invisible to, or ignored by, people like us the chance to make suggestions and be enthusiastic.

What say you? Is this a good idea? How likely is this to get twisted and spun in all kinds of sinister ways? Is there another approach I could take that would reduce the twisting and spinning?

#544 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:27 PM:

SJW75126 @ #443:
felice @ #446:

If "we" make a slate, "they" have definitely won. Slate-making is the mind-killer. Eh, I mean Hugo-killer.

#545 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:40 PM:

I feel for the authors and artists who must be thinking, "I accomplished something I'm really proud of, and I had to do it THIS year?"

I think this is the most important thing to remember about this whole fiasco. Hugo eligibility is for one year only and no one gets a second bite at the apple (except Campbell awards but shh) and there are many authors who were denied the opportunity to have their works fairly judged and recognized because they had the poor luck to publish in a year that had someone drop a turd in the punchbowl.

#546 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:46 PM:

5545
For most of the awards the nomination is for the work, so the creator can win again.

#547 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:47 PM:

Long time lurker delurking to answer abi @543:

I would welcome such a series of threads, especially if they started now so I have time to read. I already get a lot of my reading recommendations from Making Light. The other big source is Whatever's Big Idea posts. I just got "Uprooted" this week based on hearing lots of recommendations for it here and elsewhere.

My problem is that while I seem to get lots of novel recommendations, more than I can possibly read, I don't think the shorter fiction categories get a similar level of attention, and if I want to nominate in any other category than novel, I'll need pointers to where to look badly.

I've had a supporting membership for the second year now, and will probably get one for next year as well. As for 2017, I'm squeeing about the possibility that I might actually be able to attend! I cottoned on to LonCon last year too late to adjust my plans in order to go.

#548 ::: Jane Berry ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:51 PM:

Zack @#534: However, Beale seems constitutionally incapable of not gloating about his plans in public; I rather doubt we would have no warning.

This is the reason I came here last night. VD posted he will be planning the 2016 strategy in private locations and invited his followers to contact him to enter. RPs were very public last year. I think radio silence will lull people into thinking we’ve “won” while planning goes on in private.

I’m not worried about another year of No Awards. I’m concerned they’re going to round up enough “voices of aggrieved privilege” votes to award their slate in 2016.

I want to see us reach out to more SFF fans via bookstores, signings, cons, etc. and encourage a greater overlap with the reading public and the voting public. If the Hugos are meant to reflect fandom, let’s get more fans engaged.

#549 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:53 PM:

I'm fine with "What are you reading?" posts. I'd also be fine with "What are you reading that's eligible for the 2016 Hugos?"

Was there betting anywhere on the Hugos?

I just finished reading Four O'Clock in the Morning, a very impressive fanfic set not long after the end of canon. Is there policy on fanfic and the Hugos?

#550 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:01 PM:

felice @478: Shooting people is bad.

I'm sure somebody will have gotten here first, but:

Can we not catastrophize, please? A Hugo category going to No Award is in no way comparable to somebody getting shot.

The consensus I'm hearing is that if the Puppies overrun the 2016 noms, people would rather No Award sweep the Hugos than employ Puppy tactics in response to the Puppies. Absent physical assault, nobody actually physically dies in that eventuality; reacting as if they did is an unworthy and unnecessary escalation.

#551 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:05 PM:

Alex R. @492: You know, black handicapped lesbians do exist, and calling it "popping up out of nowhere", as if such people need justification to be in a story that white able-bodied straight characters don't, is itself pretty offensive. Which maybe points right there to the lack of skill you've noted.

I've had people tell me that putting myself into fiction requires justification, otherwise it's just "coming out of nowhere! with no story reason!", often enough that I have very little patience for that argument. What makes a black character more startling than a white one? What makes a handicapped character more startling than able-bodied one? What makes a lesbian character more startling than a straight one?

When is the last time you looked at a character in a story and went "Woah, why is this straight able-bodied white guy just popping up in this story without a justification for him being straight, able-bodied, white, and male?"

OtterB @539: And (2) minor characters we are told are diverse without a culture that seems to support that diversity, or plausible worldbuilding that the culture genuinely doesn't care about these aspects.

Conversely, I have often seen remarkably homogenous character sets that came from settings that did not have plausible worldbuilding to support all the characters of importance or mention being that homogenous. But no one calls it "box-checking" when everyone just happens to be ethnically homogenous in a port city, to pick an example not at all at random. Or when everyone just happens to be straight, despite the worldbuilding not giving us a justification that the culture genuinely cares about suppressing non-straight behavior.

Given a choice between "Ahah! I will cleverly tick a box by putting a real sort of person awkwardly into this setting!" and not thinking anything of making implausibly homogenous settings that just happen to exactly replicate the cultural assumptions of the writer, I will take the former every time. The latter is NO LESS ARTIFICIAL, we're just more used to it.

I want to repeat this, in fact, so here's the tl;dr version:

A lack of diversity is not more natural in a story than the presence of diversity. The clumsiest checkbox diversity possible is no more unnatural than the standard lack of diversity we are used to in our genre.

#552 ::: emgrasso ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:06 PM:

abi@543

In addition to specific works, mentions and discussions of venues for shorter works might be helpful.

I suspect one reason fiction from Tor.com has gotten a comparatively large number of nominations in recent years is that it is easy to find.

Tor,com also publish (publishes?) some good stuff, though they went through a phase that reminded me of the Outer Limits reboot -- everything was dystopian or ended with a grim twist to the point it became predictable. Really, guys -- change it up a little.

The other way I find short fiction is via the blogs of authors I like, who announce that they have something coming out in a magazine or anthology. And then I read everything else in the magazine or anthology, too.

But I'm sure I'm missing some good stuff.

On a related note, if I wanted to nominate tor.com for a Hugo next year, what would be the appropriate category? Prozine? Semi-prozine?

And how would one nominate a website community, as opposed to a one-person site?

#553 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:09 PM:

On a cheerier note, I would very much be in favor of a long-running thread, or series of threads, purely for people to recommend things published this year that they think are worth Hugos consideration. I already keep a Google Doc that I update periodically with a list of great short stories, books, TV shows, and so forth that I'm hoping to nominate. The difficulty will be narrowing down to five!

I am also curious, in passing, as to where people think video games would usefully be nominated. "Dramatic Presentation" seems most appropriate, but I'm not really sure how you'd rate a run-time of a video game, especially one that allows for a lot of wandering around vs. directly pursuing the plot. "Related Work" is always a possibility, but it feels a bit odd to put an explicit SFF narrative into that slot.

Nancy Lebovitz @549: Fanfiction certainly can be nominated for the Hugos! In fact, it's won at least twice that spring to mind: "A Study In Emerald" (Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu Mythos crossover AU) and "Shoggoths In Bloom" (Cthulhu Mythos).

#554 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:13 PM:

I would very much like to see a series of reading recommendation threads, and I think it would be helpful if the recommendations from those threads were compiled in a single location. (I can think of half a dozen different ways to do that, so I won't be more specific. But I would like to, e.g., be able to browse novella recommendations, or see what Xopher recommended, without digging through what could easily end up being half a dozen different threads.)

#555 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:15 PM:

I'm Canadian, so, "No slates, please!".

#556 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:22 PM:

Stephen Rochelle In this case, not so: Beale only needs to stack the 2016 business meeting to torpedo EPH's ratification. That (1) doesn't give advance notice that something is up (either by having new business on the agenda in advance, or running into fannish opposition when parliamentary procedure games get rolling) and (2) sets fandom back at least two years, as EPH or whatever would need to re-start the amendment process in 2017.

True. I hadn't thought about the Kill EPH and 4/6. That said, the economics of it are more than just, "spend $170". It's spend $170, make the time, make the trip, pay for accommodations, attend the meeting. It's possible they could stack the meeting clandestinely, but, barring us changing the rules to bar them (and what litmus test could we use?) there's not much to be done about it, save having people show up to the business meeting.

Given that his most active supporters don't seem to be members of SF Fandom (as friends of mine say of filk, "we're not filk fans, we're filk adjacent), but GGers (and other reactionaries) their investment is emotional, but not visceral. I don't think they have the investment in the specific issue required to make the investments of time/money to engage in that sort of thing.

If they do, we cope. That might be the time to appeal to the chair (at the next session) for a special introduction of new business, and re-present EPH (which any needed modifications to make it "new business"). Unless they were attentive enough to get up the next morning I'm pretty sure that would pass handily, as the attack on The Hugos/Fandom would be hard to downplay.

But the core of Beale's active supporters come from two communities I've been following: GG and MRA/PUA. Neither of those communities is logistically competent (the "MRA Worldcon" [for want of a better term] lasted two days, had less than 200 attendees, and [purportedly cost between $30,000-$50,000 to rent a VFW hall).

GG creates "secret" chat-rooms, to which they hand out the address by the internet equivalent of a sandwich board hawker in Time's Square. Then is amazed(again) that what they plotted was seen ahead of time.

So while it's possible, I don't find it very likely. I've not seen much chatter about EPH:5/6 in their fora. I get the impression they think that they can wear down "the SJWs" with repeated attacks on the same front. Didn't work for Lee at Gettysburg, and (for similar reasons) won't work here.

To extend the metaphor: They have a limited time frame. We have the better "ground", interior lines of communication and "victory" for us comes of holding our position.

They had a (very slim) chance of winning at the very beginning*, but every instance where they didn't win made it that much less likely. The vast reinforcements who "flocked to the colors" after the initial shock, pretty much put paid to their hopes.

Yes, with a vast outlay of time and money (I'd say they need about 200 people to be certain of killing EPH) it could be done. But I don't think it's in any single Puppies means to fund it. Heck, it's $34,000 just for memberships. Transport, room, board, time off from work... It's an easy grand, at least, per person (that's with shared rooms, split gas, lost income, food, etc.).

I don't see it. The emotional ROI for something so abstract is low; and the people in both those movements are not, by and large; in my experience, prone to seeing the long-game well.


*which was further hindered by 1: not having a clear victory condition, and 2: even if it had a clear victory condition dared not make it public because that would have made it easier to defeat.

I think, actually, Beale's personal victory conditios were, 1:Get one of his slated nominees a rocket. 2: create conflict and dissension in fandom. I suspect, on a personal level, he lost.

For the SPs, I'm not sure. I suspect it was 1: get a rocket and 2: (more emotionally important), show a large swell of general support for their claim of SF being perverted/subverted. Losing the former they probably expected (at least by the time of the awards). Losing by so much, and having so strong a public disapproval of their claims and motive, that was I think a surprise.

I suspect a number of them really did think the lurkers were going to support them, and having that idea stripped away, so emphatically (not merely by the loss, which might have been inevitable, but by the huge numbers of people who had been content to let a a relatively small number of voters select the Hugo winners but came out of their lurkerdom to say, "no, you don't get to do this.".

I think that's a large driver of the rage we are seeing now. They've been forced to face a paradigm failure.

#557 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:25 PM:

Fade @551

Black handicapped lesbians absolutely do exist but the combination is rare enough that if I see it show up in a work that otherwise doesn't present a diversity of characters in terms of race, sexuality, or physical capacity I get real suspicious that the inclusion is not because those were important aspects of the character but because the author noticed the lack of diversity in their own work and tried to add someone to deflect criticism in a ham-handed way. If they are characterized well and their various traits inform their personality and how the world interacts with them in a well-rounded and compelling way then they are just another good character - if they are stereotyped or portrayed unrealistically then there is a decent chance that they are just a check-box. It is the inclusion a member of a different group in an otherwise homogeneous cast that leads me to give the suspicious side-eye of check-boxing. The solution isn't to not include those characters but rather to present a varied and interesting cast from the start.

#558 ::: weatherglass ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:25 PM:

Abi @543: I would also appreciate a series of posts like that. I voted for the Hugos for the first time this year, and I'm committing myself to reading more new SFF and nominating for 2016. I'm also dipping my toes into doing more than just lurking in fandom. I've found a lot of great books via Making Light over the years, but I haven't had the time lately to keep up on the open threads--having dedicated recommendation discussions would be great.

If the puppies feel like it, they'll try to spin people breathing. I'd rather see fandom talk about stuff we love, regardless of their agenda, than let them steal all the air. Besides, "I really loved the latest Welcome to Night Vale episode and will now squee about it for several hundred words, please join me if you like" strikes me as the best repudiation of both the weird puppy conspiracy theories and the counter-slaters: why would I defer to anyone else's taste when I've got so much stuff that I'm excited about?

Also, Sumana, I'll add my voice to the chorus of thank-yous.

#559 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:26 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @484: one thing I liked about Ruthanna Emrys's The Litany of Earth and the two Ancillary novels so far by Ann Leckie is that the religious practices depicted in those universes feel interestingly familiar to me, as a Hindu.

I confess a fascination with comparative religion. I am, myself, in no way devout, but I love learning about new/different ways to experience/express one's relationship with the world/the numinous.

(One of the (many) things I loved in Sense8 was Kala Dandekar's conversations with Ganesha. I'm finding myself wanting a little Ganesha statue for our entry garden; one could certainly do worse than touching base with the Remover of Obstacles on the way out for one's day.)

#560 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:33 PM:

abi @543: A series of "what are you reading posts" sounds like a great idea - especially if folks contribute entries about current short fiction.

alisea @547: Welcome!

#561 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:34 PM:

#553 ::: Fade Manley

I meant fan fiction that's published on a fan fiction site, fan fiction based on material which is copyrighted, fan fiction which is not from a conventional publisher.

#562 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:39 PM:

Fade Manley @551 A lack of diversity is not more natural in a story than the presence of diversity. The clumsiest checkbox diversity possible is no more unnatural than the standard lack of diversity we are used to in our genre.

I agree 100%. I was responding from the perspective of "what are the failure modes that make people say box checking hurts the story" and not thinking about the old, stale, default.

It would be nice to say that it goes without saying that implausible homogeneity makes for a weaker story than either unremarked diversity or plausible homogeneity. But if everyone agreed that that were true, we wouldn't have this conversation.

#563 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:41 PM:

A ballot is not a slate.

The entire list of Democrats/Republicans/Greens/Libertarians available when I go to vote is a ballot. Each of those, affiliation defined subgoups is a slate.

That's the distinction. A slate is a list, on a ballot, to which all "true adherents" of X stripe are expected to subscribe, and vote for.

In this context I am opposed to all slates. In the wider world I have different opinions, because different conditions apply. I desire, and aim, to keep those conditions from coming to apply as regards the Hugos.

#564 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:42 PM:

SJW75126: If the answer is "yes" and your solution is "no award", you have not faced the problem in my opinion. What's the answer please?

The answer is we think your opinion is bunk. That's the nub of it We've looked at it, long and hard; with two proposals we took to the business meeting, and decided that slates are (no matter the rationales and justifications) not what we want, full stop.

We are willing to take another year of no-awarding slates, while we wait for the patch to kick in. Because that's how the rules are built. Violating the spirit of them, just because someone else did, is two wrongs in pursuit of a right. We don't think that's right.

#565 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:45 PM:

Alex R: As a result, we end up with the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" popping up out of nowhere, without relevance to the plot or setting, far more frequently than anyone would really like.

That's the problem, right there.

Life doesn't have plot. I'm white. I'm male. I'm straight. I'm cis. None of that, in a book, is relevant to the plot.

I'm also nearsighted as all fuck. Fond of wearing skirts. Disabled, a veteran, married, poly, have long (red) hair. I'm well read, speak tolerably well, write decently (if somewhat prone to parenthetical phrases, and convlulted thought), type somewhere between less than well and abominably) am about 5'11", run to about 8.5 stone, like beer, wine and spirits. I like coffee, but have to drink turkish, or espresso; lest it chew up my stomach.

I love food; but dislike avocado, bell peppers, cooked spinach and most broccoli. I abhor mangoes, adore cheese, and think cured meats are gift from heaven. Liver forcemeats are divine; liver by itself smells divine, and is inedible.

I'm Roman Catholic; in a heterodox sort of way, with some ideas which border on heresy, and one stout belief which is heresy. I considered becoming a Jesuit. My wife is jewish. My former partner is Quaker. I have quakerish leanings; and jewish ones and I am still Roman Catholic. I live in a country suffused with Protestant ideas, which also shapes how I look at the world.

I walk, a lot. &c, &c, &c.

None of that is relevant "to the plot". All of it (at various times) is relevant to events in my life. There is no reason not to flesh out the people in books with the same random assortment of complicating features.

#566 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:45 PM:

Andrew@528 (not writing to me) Well, if you think that people have not answered your question, I will do so. Yes, there is a good possibility that slate voters will control Best Novel in 2016. Yes, the right solution is 'No Award'. Why do you see that as problematic?

Yes? I see that as really problematic, as I see this year's result. A lot of people declared "victory" Saturday because fans got the best result they could given the nomination ballot they were handed, but step back just a tiny amount and it was a local victory in the context of a tragedy.

All the awards for 2015 were tainted except Fan Artist. Candidates whose careers and sense of self-worth might have been advanced by a statue go home empty handed. It will almost surely repeat in 2016, and from 2017 until the puppies grow tired, most categories will contain a few nominees not there by fan acclaim but by collusion.

So yes, I see that as problematic. What's astonishing to me is that people (who care about the Hugos) wouldn't. The right solution is not No Award, the right solution is the best novel of the year based on the aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion, be recognized with a Hugo. People seem to be forgetting that.

#567 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:47 PM:

Addendum: there are stories where the fundamental nature of the character *is* relevant to the plot.

To insist that only in those sort of stories should we have people of those sorts is to ghettoize those people.

I'm against it.

#568 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:49 PM:

Felice: what you are proposing is a nomination process in two stages. One a "brainstorming stage" (a la the Pegasus Awards, in Filk Fandom), and then a "selection" stage.

What the Pegssus do is list all the suggestions from the brainstorming, so as to remind people of what was new, and what fits this years award categories (which change from year to year).

But there is no listing of what got what votes. It's not like a presidential primary to pick the slate of one party to run against another. Which is what I see your proposal being. But I can't support it for even one year, because it supports the "Us vs. Them" narrative.

******

What follows got long, and philosophical. It springboarded from my thinking about what that bothers me so it's not directed at you. I actually owe you some thanks for helping me clarify it.


I don't like that dynamic. I know that Beale, and to lesser (for various shades of lesser) degree his co-conspirators want to fonent such a division. I don't want to help them in it. I also don't see any reason do it to "fix" something which isn't broken.

I think a large part of why this means of rigging the Hugo voting wasn't patched years ago is no one thought of anyone conducting it as a long term thing. So that should someone try it (e.g. the Hubbard flap) No Award could fix it; the community would rebuke those who tried it, and we'd move on. Such a rebuke, a public statement by the community at large, would make it clear, "We don't do it this way".

It presumes a sense of community. That fails where the person(s) using the exploit aren't actually trying to get a Hugo. For such a person rebuke, no matter how severe, isn't suasive, and the system needs patching. There is a slight lag in the patch being designed, and its implementation. That's a feature, not a bug. (on more than one layer, it prevents a change in the rules from forcing the next year's convention [who ought to be well into planning, and somewhat into execution) from having to make sudden changes; while giving the con which will have to implement a long head's up for what's to come. I know WorldCon 75 has been paying close attention).

So I am willing to accept one more year of No Award. I don't like it, because I know there will be good writing, good art (fannish and commercial, written and visual) which doesn't get consideration. But I do think No Award is a victory. Not over Beale, et. al. Because they are symptom (and of a much larger problem, not solely fannish: but fandom is part of the larger culture) not cause.

And by saying, "We will rather maintain what we have, and vote No Award to slates" I think we better serve the idea of the Hugos (and community) than trying a fix in this liminal year. An up/down vote on the works is what we do. An up/down vote on slates also seems to be what we do. Changing that, because we think we will be attacked, is anti-community. It presumes there are "trufen" and "those other people". It creates the reality of the "wrongfans" the Puppies manufactured.

We are better than that. If we keep that in mind (even at the price of another year of Statues with no Names on them) I think we come out better still; bearing testimony that fairness is our ideal. Taking that sort of stand comes at a price. Some have already said they will pay it. Mary Robinette Kowal put herself out of the running (that is, will take no award) for anything she writes this year, commercial or fannish, because she helped people get memberships so they could vote.

I am not ever likely to be nominated for a Hugo. I came to terms with that some time ago. But I take immense pleasure in watching the award. It's not just that I have friends who are nominated (and/or win). It's that I have friends, loved ones, community, which takes pride and jy in them. I share in that.

I don't want to to compromise that sense of joy, in my community.

I can take one more year of tears, and sadness, for what might have been, to keep our sense of self at the other end.

/soapbox.

#569 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:55 PM:

(Minor addition) I should note that after the fact, the Dramatic Presentation Long Form award is no longer considered tainted, though it still deserves an asterisk because the voting was done in a modified field, as it is possible that the Oscar winning "Big Hero Six" might have substituted for the Lego Movie. However, it's pretty clear GotG would have won in any circumstance.

#570 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:57 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale the right solution is the best novel of the year based on the aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion, be recognized with a Hugo. People seem to be forgetting that.

We're not forgetting that. We think the right solution is an aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion compiled in a transparent way in keeping with the rules and traditions of the award.

Anything else starts to edge into "destroying the village to save it" territory.

#571 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:58 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale: So yes, I see that as problematic. What's astonishing to me is that people (who care about the Hugos) wouldn't.

Bullshit. There is a lot of writing, in contravention of this thesis on this page. What they don't, is agree with you on the best way to effect that.

The right solution is not No Award, the right solution is the best novel of the year based on the aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion, be recognized with a Hugo. People seem to be forgetting that.

No, they don't. What they also don't is think they get to make a window into people's souls to determine who is being "honest and independent".

#572 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:59 PM:

Dan Audy: Black handicapped lesbians absolutely do exist but the combination is rare enough

Citation needed.


I get real suspicious that the inclusion is not because those were important aspects of the character

See refutations above.

#573 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:01 PM:

Brad: I really think that people are not forgetting that. As far as I can tell, almost everyone here agrees that 1) awards handed out based on honest and independent assessments would be best and that 2) we should not stoop to dirty tricks in order to achieve it.

To me, your proposed hack looks more like a kludge. People here have been saying that even though your hack might work for this one specific instance of the problem, it ignores the larger context and would undermine trust in the program itself.

#574 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:02 PM:

felice @486: All else being equal, slates are bad, but sometimes they are less bad than the alternative.

By implication, you regard slates as less-bad than No Award sweeping categories? Do I understand you correctly?

If so, do you object to the Puppy slates? If so, why?

#575 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:08 PM:


Analogous to the requirements for amending the US Constitution: a majority of Congress, and a supermajority of state legislatures. It's intended to slow changes.

#576 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:11 PM:

575
Dang, I broke my HTML. There's a missing quote from Terry's 568:
There is a slight lag in the patch being designed, and its implementation. That's a feature, not a bug.

#577 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:13 PM:

Alex R. @492:

As a result, we end up with the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" popping up out of nowhere, without relevance to the plot or setting, far more frequently than anyone would really like.

See, the whole "relevance to the plot" thing is what upsets so many people.

I'm not gay because it's "relevant". I'm not female because it's "relevant". My black friends aren't black because it's relevant; same for my trans and Asian friends, and my friends with depression and those on the spectrum and so on. It's just who we are. Unless you're going to apply the same criterion to straight white men, and require compelling plot reasons for their race, gender, and orientation, then this is throw-the-book obnoxious for many people.

Fifty years from now even a high-school Creative Writing teacher will see the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" and write "Diversity failure, you can do better than that."

What precisely do you mean by this? That someone writing a story with ten straight white men and one black handicapped lesbian will get told off for thus attempting to include as few non-default characters as possible? That real life doesn't include any black handicapped lesbians? I suspect there are people reading this thread who meet that description.

#578 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:13 PM:

Now I am going to get some coffee, and do some Ingress.

Then some pennywhistle, and electric bass; probably some spinning, and other housework.

#579 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:15 PM:

Terry Karney@556: I see your reasoning, but am very cautious about underestimating our opposition. I think Theodore Beale has finally tasted a bit of power and he wants more. How much is hard to say; his public persona seems to have few connections with his private thinking, so who knows what he thinks?

#580 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:27 PM:

Alex R. @492: I think you may have hit the nail right smack on the head. Creating a realistically diverse group is essentially a new skill, one which requires the same kind of practical and theoretical understanding as any other literary skill.

I concur: I really like Leah Miller's assessment of the issue.

However, I submit that the new skill required is substantially more difficult because it's not just a "literary" skill. It requires a shift in viewpoint and values.

I'm a "clueless white person," I've been doing a little studying up; understanding why (frex) people of color get upset when a white person says "I don't see color" is not (for me) a straighforward exercise. I think I'm beginning to get it, but I find it requires a shift in thinking on a par with comprehending some of the more exotic maths I've encountered.

Which is to say: we agree; I just think it's easy to underestimate the difficulty of acquiring the relevent skill set. And that entirely leaves aside having sufficient motivation to do so.

#581 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:34 PM:

JJ @496: Hey, Allan! Welcome to SFF fandom!

You're late. Allan Beatty's been around for a while. :-)

#582 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:38 PM:

"No slates."
"NO SLATES."
"NO GODDAMN SLATES!"

Guard from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Well, obviously, but if we do have a slate, and…"

#583 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:38 PM:

felice @486: All those rabids are already eligible to nominate next year, without paying anything extra

Also: it should be noted that, for all the Puppies eligible to nominate next year, without paying anything extra, so is everyone else.

#584 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:51 PM:

johnofjack @573 -- it is indeed a bit of a kludge. In my world, a world many of you share, kludging is something you do to fix something until you can fix it properly later. And yes, sometimes people never get around to fixing it later, but generally they do. The contentious proposals have all been temporary.

And I do know that many people here have not forgotten the real goal here. But the phrase I was quoting, which asked why it was problematic to hand out No Award, was in my mind forgetting that.

But I do fear that more people are forgetting that this is just an award. I really sense people valuing the system more than the award. If this were the constitution of a country, and people's fundamental rights were protected by it, then you would find me before the supreme court defending that constitution. (And I have been before it more than once.)

And even there, sometimes you kludge it!

But this is a fan award. I care about it, so I'm here, but it is the award I love. The system is just there to keep it going. If the system breaks, I want to fix it so we can have our award. With a quick fix first and then a long term one.

Burning down the village to save it is what the puppies say they are doing. (Or rather, they say it already was burned down by SJW, but they're nutjobs.) Giving out all No Award is definitely burning down the village to save it in my book. No, not even that, it's burning down the village to save the foundations of the buildings.

Anyway, it's clear that this forum is not the place to talk about kludges. Every system strikes a balance between being rigid and hard to change, and being flexible and able to respond to dynamic problems. You can guess that I think the Hugo system has moved too far to strength and rigidity.

In the long term, I would see it be far more adaptable. I still like the 2 time ratification but the world is changing fast. The one tiny grain of truth in puppy statements is that there are problems with the existing Hugos. Not the ones the puppies imagine, but others.

#585 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:51 PM:

Vicki @497:

In response to the "ethical journalism" kerfuffle over in video games, someone created an Objective Game Reviews website. It's surprisingly helpful, actually - in lieu of having opinions, they describe the game's premise and mechanics. Then they arbitrarily objectively assign a score.

Sadly, they ran out of steam after four months and 99 reviews, but it was fun while it lasted.

#586 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 02:57 PM:

I would love to see, let's make it easy, three SFF stories published in the last year that included black disabled lesbian characters. Ones in which these characters are jarring and stand out from the rest of the plot. Just three! If there are a lot of box-checking stories going around, that should be easy.

If your black disabled lesbian--the exact phrase I've seen used in several places as proof of 'fake' diversity--is not a literal example, I will take stories with any other character that ticks at least three major boxes of minority status within their portrayed society, but at that point I'd want at least five stories showing this trend. Stories in which these characters appear should, of course, have no one else sharing any of those traits, and none of those traits should be in any way relevant to the plot.

I would also like to see the place where the people complaining about those characters went on to say that they were complaining because there ought to be more diversity than that in the story, and these characters are jarring because of how they highlight the lack of diversity in the rest of the cast.

I will wait! I'll check back regularly! I am willing to be convinced there is a terrible proliferation of tickybox minority charactes running through SFF stories and people being very upset about it because this shows how homogenous everyone else in the story is.

#587 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:05 PM:

#580 ::: Jacque

I don't know whether this will help, but if you were in a minority religion, and someone from the majority religion told you they don't see religion, it might not be entirely reassuring.

Personally, I think I've had a pretty decent time being Jewish in a majority Christian culture, and I like the idea of a lightly marked state which acknowledges difference without being treated as a big key to the different person's whole life.

Sidetrack: I have mixed feelings about representation so far as I'm concerned. This is not about how anyone else feels about representation.

While I appreciate seeing people like me in fiction (for various values of like me), there's also a lot of me that doesn't get represented and while I can resent that, the truth is I also feel as though I've got more privacy and freedom because I don't have standard public cliches about me.

#588 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:05 PM:

I would just like to say that I have seen SJW75126 participate a number of times over at File770, and I absolutely believe that they are a good-faith participant over there and on here (unless the nym has been co-opted here by someone else, which I do not believe is true).

Much as I disagree with the "solutions" proposed here by SJW75126 and felice and Brad from Sunnyvale, I do believe that they are participating in good faith, and I would like to not see anyone here throwing accusations nor insinuations at them that they are Puppies or participating in bad faith, please.

#589 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:05 PM:

eric @515: Bruce Schneier: "You people talk a lot." Little did he know....

::giggle::

The proverbial BFO*

* Blinding Flash of the Obvious

#590 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:06 PM:

Brad, that ratification requirement is there so we have a whole year to think about it before it's enacted. (See also: US Constitution, How to Amend.)

This is so we don't get poorly-thought-out changes every time someone thinks that We're Doin It Rong. Why are you in such a hurry?

#591 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:07 PM:

But the phrase I was quoting, which asked why it was problematic to hand out No Award, was in my mind forgetting that.

I did not ask why it was problematic. I asked why SJW75126 saw it as problematic. They said we were not facing the problem, but they had not stated what the problem was, so I thought the point needed to be clarified before we could discuss it further.

#592 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:07 PM:

abi, 543,
I would really enjoy some "what are you reading" threads. I never would have found out about The Goblin Emperor if it wasn't for people talking about it on here.* Personal experiences with fiction are the best introduction to it for me. Let's read ALL THE THINGS!!!

*I did not vote in the Hugos, so that was not the reason I was motivated to read it, but I doubt it would have been discussed as much if it wasn't on the ballot.

#593 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:10 PM:

JJ @588: Thanks for the notice, and I do consequently apologize to SJW75126 for assuming otherwise earlier.

On the slate issue, put as simply as I can:

If there is a single slate, then I can still derive some value from the Hugo awards by removing those items from the longlist and seeing what other things people honestly loved. If there are multiple competing slates, the numbers are so confusing that I can no longer derive any useful information about Books People Like Recently from the longlist: I might as well look at a bestseller list, or one of the Goodreads polls where people vote for their favorites.

As such, having a Puppy slate and an anti-Puppy slate makes the Hugos even less useful to me than the Puppy slate alone did, as a source of information about the community I belong to. Putting aside everything else about moral stances and fairness and legalities and rules changes? That is still there. It's less useful.

The usual list tells me that people nominated books because they liked books. The multi-slate list tells me that people nominated books because they thought those books could win. And "what books do people think could win a Hugo" is not a set of data I'm particularly interested in a multi-month discussion of.

#594 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:10 PM:

Maybe we could use this somehow....

#595 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:12 PM:

With respect to a slate: In the immortal words of President Quincy Adams Wagstaff, "Whatever it is, I'm against it."

#596 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:13 PM:

As felice points out in #486, none of this year’s voters have to pay again next year, so we should count on those SP/RP voters returning and doing what they’re instructed.

They don't have to pay to NOMINATE -- but they DO have to buy a supporting membership in MACII to vote.

Do you REALLY think the 2500 that voted "No Award" aren't going to nominate next year?

#597 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:20 PM:

@Terry Karney

I assumed that it was fairly self-evident mathematical fact that belonging to multiple non-linked significant minorities is uncommon. However, a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation supports this given women make up about 52% of the population, homosexuals around 10%, and disabled individuals about 15% which comes to around 0.75% of the population. Obviously racial demographics vary much more widely depending on region but IIRC african-american's make up about 15% of the US population which would drop the prevalence of black disabled lesbians to about 0.12% of the US population.

However, the statistical frequency of a population is completely aside from my actual point which is that badly characterized characters who are solely defined by the way they differ from the rest of a heterogeneous cast make me innately suspicious of a writer's motives for including them. A well written and rounded character inherently justifies their existence within the narrative by moving the plot forward and supporting it's themes then it is a good character regardless of how many axis' it matches or varies from the other characters.

It is solely those who perpetuate stereotypes, are cardboard cutouts, cause suspension of belief, or exist solely to push a message that I consider to be check-box characters (which as I read more is clearly a different definition than it seems others are using which may be why it feels like we are talking past each other). It is quite possible that this is just the result of mediocre writing than an attempt to preemptively divert criticism but given the history across many media types of portraying white men as interesting for their distinctive personality and skills while everyone else is only considered through the lens of their not-white, not-male, not-straightness I feel it is fair to be suspicious. It may be somewhat prejudiced of me to hold writers to a higher standard for portraying those groups who have been traditionally under-represented in fiction and whose voices have been marginalized in telling their own stories but badly written characters hurt those groups in a very real way that a badly written white male character does not hurt me.

#598 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:25 PM:

Dan Audy @597: ...but badly written characters hurt those groups in a very real way that a badly written white male character does not hurt me.

Then the problem is simply bad writing. Argue against writing those characters poorly, instead of arguing against their existence, and you'll find a lot more agreement here.

As someone who belongs to a small number of minority groups myself, I assure you there are times in my youth when a poorly written version of one of those groups was vastly superior to their absence, and I would cling to a stereotyped and reductive character who still portrayed something about me simply because there were so few others.

You don't like "check-box" characters? Then rail against people writing characters poorly. Or about not having enough diversity in stories. Don't rail against those characters appearing, but that when they appear people don't go even further and give them sufficient depth.

#599 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:34 PM:

As an aside to the discussion of characters who are black, disabled, and lesbian, the main character in Jacqueline Koyanagi's Acension is of that demographic. It is a Space Opera adventure about a spaceship pilot.

I read this book last year, and even though I am not in any of those demographics, I really enjoyed it. I would not have put it on my Hugo shortlist, but it is definitely worth reading and I recommend it. I thought especially well done was the authentic way the author portrayed the experience of someone living with constant pain, how that was a feature of the character's development, but not a focus of the story.

#600 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:37 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @549 & 561: Fan fiction published in noncommercial venues makes its author eligible for Best Fan Writer (because it's nonprofessional writing that is plausibly fannish or related to fandom or our genre).

Individual stories would IMO also be eligible in fiction categories, because posted-on-websites-for-free fiction has previously been nominated and even won -- Digger being the most obvious, but others as well. For example, this year Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher's wonderful story "Toad Words" was on the Hugo-nom long list and got quite a few ballots, despite having been first posted for free on the internet and then later offered as part of a self-published ebook for a small fee. Seanan McGuire has also had short fiction that was self-published on her own website end up on a Hugo ballot. I doubt FanFiction.Net or An Archive Of Our Own are different enough venues than those to disqualify the works.

#601 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:42 PM:

Lori Coulson:

Do you REALLY think the 2500 that voted "No Award" aren't going to nominate next year?

No. But the problem is that when the 500 are slate voters and the 2500 are not, the 500 effectively outnumber the 2500.

And actually, I'm very doubtful that the 2500 will nominate in every category. Short fiction is historically low, but it's probably quite easy to increase participation there. Not so much with editors or fancasts. And even novel has an upper bound, in that a lot of people can't afford to read novels when they first appear.

#602 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:47 PM:

I find myself in a curious mental state, trapped in airport limbo (checked in, can't drop my bag for another 1h47m).

But, based on further offline discussions yesterday, I am considering setting up a Dreamwidth community, for tagged book recommendations (tags to include "Hugo category" and possibly "general categories the story belongs to", "nym of recommender" and other useful "make navigation easier" tags).

However, it will require other people to help curate it. Do I have a second?

#603 ::: Lauowolf ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:50 PM:

The number crunchers over on 770 seem to be saying that it is likely the assorted Puppies will once again sweep the ballot, even with the hoped-for participation of potential new voters.
That's not going to stop me from nominating like a mad thing.
And I can hope that a large number of the other new members will do the same.
Perhaps that will be enough to get some slight presence on the ballot, perhaps not.

This time around it wasn't.
Instead, the ethical behavior of a few slate-nominated people and the carelessness of the slate makers combined to crack the closed facade and allow a handful of the top-voted non-slate candidates onto the ballot.
While it seems a bit much to hope for repeats of the eligibility sloppiness, all things are possible.

There are other possible sources of voteable candidates for next year though.
First, I've already seen discussion of the possibility of Puppies spite-nominating what they perceive as SJW works in order to explode our little heads by making us No Award for writers they believe we venerate.
But there is no rule saying that the only way to deal with a slate nomination is to vote it No Award.
Unlike the slate nominations which were pretty much lock-step, the anti-slate fan base followed multiple paths in their award voting.
This year the majority, for whatever personal reasons, chose to No Award virtually all slate candidates, but that is not set in stone as the only possible tactic.
If the Puppies openly nominated something specifically for clearly hostile reasons, I don't know that I would feel impelled to vote against it.
Personally, and here is the evidence that I am not a nice person, I would truly enjoy watching Day try to spin spite-nominating Scalzi only to see him actually win.
There is more than one way to skin a puppy; this time it was No Award, we'll see what the options are next time.
No need to break the system ourselves, no need for (UGH) counter slates.

Secondly, this year a second source of voteable candidates came because a few ethical people dealt with being put on a slate by refusing the nomination.
I immediately went out and bought everything they'd written, and I expect I'm not the only one who did that.
(I also found a new favorite author!)
Clearly, in addition to receiving a swell hood ornament, those people have also gained a great deal of good will.
By contrast, I will always be looking a little side-eye at people who stayed on the ballot.
I'm not saying never-ever-buy, just a lack of a positive tug, as it were.
And, again, I don't think I'm the only one.
And I think pretty much anyone put on a slate ballot for 2015 will have this in mind.
Can the Puppies avoid candidate drop out by only nominating totally secure choices such as Wright, Day, and the like?
Possibly, but will the Sad Puppies really want to get into that particular clown car again?
It will be very interesting to see what the slates look like.
No matter how they construct it, I would not be at all surprised to see drop-outs from the ballot again next year.

Also, and thirdly, this year was the first time I voted for the Hugos.
I knew about Hugo voting, and have friends who are active con-goers who urged it on me, waving the swell reader packet as an additional incentive.
(And I would wait until I ended up getting by and large a packet of mediocrity, dang.)
In all the years I when I left the voting to others, I never thought of those people as an illegitimate elite who had removed my voice from the consideration.
It was my decision not to be involved.
Instead I saw them as dedicated people reading at a more organized level than I did, and making choices that I could respect, even if sometimes my opinion might have differed.
I have no problem with the concept of something being good, but not to my taste.
But the prospect of a single-source slatted balloted Hugo is an obscenity.
I bought myself a membership, and I bought one for my impecunious daughter.
Since she and her wife independently live-streamed the ceremony, I'll have to add a new membership for my daughter-in-law as well.
And I think I've got my husband hooked too.
Heck, I'm even considering Kansas City.

So I guess I am saying that there is a certain beauty to Day having, as he said was his intention, revitalized fan interest and involvement in the Hugos.
I'm all revitalized and involved, goodie!
My point is, it isn't time to panic about the 2015 ballot.
The village hasn't burned, it's right here, and it's staying.


#604 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:50 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale @584: Why is this kludge even necessary? The vandals get to torch the hugos for, at most, one more year. Then they're done. That's bad, but it's bearable.

What's the crisis that justifies cheating to fix it? From where I sit, it looks like we can win, and win clean, if we just remain calm and be who we are.

#605 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:51 PM:

Fade Manley @586 I am willing to be convinced there is a terrible proliferation of tickybox minority charactes running through SFF stories and people being very upset about it because this shows how homogenous everyone else in the story is.

and

@598 You don't like "check-box" characters? Then rail against people writing characters poorly.

I thought I was railing against that. Apparently I'm doing it very poorly. Backing out of this discussion now for lack of time and spoons to do a better job, and apologies for getting it wrong.

#606 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 03:54 PM:

No. But the problem is that when the 500 are slate voters and the 2500 are not, the 500 effectively outnumber the 2500.

The 500 may outnumber the 2500 in the nomination stage - but that's not where No Award is used.

#607 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:01 PM:

abi @543: I was thinking of starting a series of "what are you reading?" posts.... What say you?

I think this is a nifty-keen idea. I particularly like it because reading ML cover-to-cover is already in my habit set, so using those recs would be much less effort for me to follow up on (a la Sumana Harihareswara' Hundu-flavored recs), and therefore make it more likely for me to have a pool of experience to nominate from for 2016. (That's my biggest anxiety: how the hell do I keep up??)

I'd be especially interested in recs for non-mainstream-du-jour sub-genres, such as politically-conservative-flavored fiction that is also known to be good.

I just finished (re)watching Newsroom, and one of the things I like most about it is that the main character is a Republican; we get to see "that side of the isle" presented as actual, empathizable-with human person, and so it's much easier to consider those viewpoints in a thoughtful, sympathetic manner.

I'd like to see more of that kind of thing.

I think we'd all benefit from having more of that kind of thing available.

Shorter me: yes, please.

#608 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:03 PM:

I took an idle look at the statistics for humans right now. I dealt with subtleties by ignoring them, and decided that about 35% of humans on earth are "black", 17% are "white", 7% are "gay", and 10% are "disabled". And about half are male and about half female. So you have very roughly a 0.1% chance of an arbitrary human on earth being black, lesbian, and disabled; a 0.7% chance of white, cis, het, male.

I didn't really think that I'd end up with anything worth saying in public ["yeah, one out of eight heroes should be Cartoon Leftist Inclusion"] but what I actually noticed was that I should be seeing a lot more Asian characters. A LOT.

#609 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:04 PM:

Pushback time: Disabled black lesbians don't exist in fiction in disproportionate number. Or at least they're not the subject of stories winning awards in disproportionate number. Nicola Griffith has been doing some data crunching about this. (See also more data and commentary in a guest post at Charlie Stross's blog.)

Before discussing what to do about the problem, we need to make sure that there is any problem of the sort alleged, as opposed to a thoroughly documented, widely spread failure of perception. See also Samuel Delany, in the New Yorker:

In the contemporary science-fiction scene, Delany’s race and sexuality do not set him apart as starkly as they once did. I suggested to him that it was particularly disappointing to see the kind of division represented by the Sad Puppies movement within a culture where marginalized people have often found acceptance. Delany countered that the current Hugo debacle has nothing to do with science fiction at all. “It’s socio-economic,” he said. In 1967, as the only black writer among the Nebula nominees, he didn’t represent the same kind of threat. But Delany believes that, as women and people of color start to have “economic heft,” there is a fear that what is “normal” will cease to enjoy the same position of power. “There are a lot of black women writers, and some of them are gay, and they are writing about their own historical moment, and the result is that white male writers find themselves wondering if this is a reverse kind of racism. But when it gets to fifty per cent,” he said, then “we can talk about that.” It has nothing to do with science fiction, he reiterated. “It has to do with the rest of society where science fiction exists.”

I think it appropriate to ask for some data to back up worries about over-representation of any marginalized group.

#610 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:04 PM:

PJ Evans: No, but I think this is addressed to the 'get lots of new nominators in and we can beat them' idea. It might be possible to beat them if they had the same numbers as in the this year's nomination round, but it's less likely with 500. No Award is a fallback position, not what anyone actually wants. (I'm not at all sure that the 500 will actually stick around; but they might. There are good reasons why there are fewer nominators than final voters when people are doing it the regular way they don't apply to slate voters.)

Brad: I think the problem is that this is a crisis of legitimacy. If you have a problem which everyone agrees is a problem, but it can't be solved within the rules, then sure, suspend the rules. But when people are constantly shouting 'How dare you do that?' we have to take extra care than what we do is perceived as legitimate.

#611 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:07 PM:

Sandy B: I'd be fascinated to see your tally, just because such things fascinate me. :)

#612 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:23 PM:

Bruce Baugh@611: You mean, like, in books? Or "where did I get those numbers from"? Because the latter answer will probably disappoint you.

#613 ::: EAJ... ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:27 PM:

Is it possible that after seeing how things went this year, more writers, artists and editors might decide they'd rather not go down in Hugo history, whatever the outcome on award night, as having been associated with Puppydom, and ask to be removed from SP/RP slates in the future? (Desperately seeking possible bright sides.)

And as long as I have you all here, how does a non-pro go about deciding which editors are Hugo-worthy? There's having selected the work for publication, of course, but beyond that (and the acknowledgments page) how is the reader to know how much of a hand the editor had in helping the author chop and rearrange and tweak the work into its final form?

#614 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:30 PM:

Sandy B: I meant just combining the categories so as to get the percentages for ethnicity + sex + orientation + gender identity and such. I realize, thinking about it slowly through a headache haze, that I could do that combining myself as easily as you could retype it. It's been one of those days.

#615 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:35 PM:

@Fade

I really don't know how you are coming to the conclusion that I don't think that those characters should appear - my exact suggestion for a solution for the problem was more diversity however better writing only solves for the incompetent writers not those who only include diverse characters pro-forma to divert criticism because those authors don't actually have any interest in making those characters good or interesting.

I'm glad that you enjoyed seeing members of your communities even if they were badly characterized. That is not the opinion of any of the people I've talked to in the past about tokenistic inclusion of their groups, so I assumed that was a fairly universal attitude. Obviously that was a mistake and I should remember that no group (or variety of groups) has a universally shared opinion. I'm sorry for making a incorrect generalization that excluded you.

#616 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:36 PM:

Bruce Baugh @ 609

I am about to post an opinion/rant that may alienate a lot of people but honestly I do not care at this point. Bruce - this is not a direct answer to your post but it kinda reminded me that I never got around to posting this so... here it goes.

Diversity is important; reading for the sake of diversity is the worst thing that can happen. I do not read a book because it is written by a woman or by a black man or by an android or by Beltim IV from Orion 2. I read a story. If it is a good story I cannot care less about who wrote it (I had not realized that Delany is black until I was in my twenties in the same way in which I had not really realized that Asimov or Zelazny are white - they are the authors of the books I like - for all intents and purposes they are the Authors; I am really not interested in what color their skin or eyes are, who they go to bed with or what gender they belong to). It is partially because I grew up in a homophobic and xenophobic country and learned early that you either follow this or you basically stop carrying. Authors are authors; people are people. That's it. Everything else is words. And working in a profession that is male-dominated taught me that everything is possible - even to change the mind of people about some gender issues. But not with constantly banging about them.

Same for the characters. There is no woman character? So what? Not all stories need women. Or men. Or dinosaurs. Or whatever. And in stories written in a specific point of time (or about a specific point of time), having a woman or a person of color is more disruptive than anything - I cannot stand Victorian-faux novels where the women behave as if they are born in the 1990s). If the story is good, I usually do not pay any attention to what color the character is - I may read it a few times but I will forget it very fast. Same for gender for the most part.

Now - I fully realize that there are people that believe that minorities and the different should not exist or at least if they do, it should be quiet and unobtrusive. Which is why diversity is such a hot topic. But... it becomes the point of almost any conversation way too often - at the place of the works that are produced.

So there - I said it. :) Rant over.

#617 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:49 PM:

On spite-slating: Scalzi did the smart thing. He posted, publicly, that he refuses to take part in slates and, if slated, it was not his idea and without his permission. (Or words to that effect; I don't read his blog so this is second-hand.) Anyone who does this before the next slate is announced I will treat as a spite-slated author and not hold their inclusion on a slate against them. (Whether or not the work stands on its own merits depends on its own merits, of course...)

Secondly, regarding supporting Worldcon memberships: I'm just getting on the site-selection-to-get-supporting-Worldcon-membership train ... when does site selection open for 2018? (I'm guessing January, but I don't want to miss it.)

#618 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:50 PM:

One aside: It's pretty common in SFF contexts to have currently-important racial distinctions (and sometimes other distinctions) simply have no importance. Captain Sisko in DS9 is black, but other than a couple of time-travel type stories, this has zero relevance, because we never meet anyone in the 23rd century Federation who cares. Similar things apply to Zoe and Book in Firefly--probably only serious students of history even know that people used to hate each other for their race back on earth-that-was.

#619 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 04:53 PM:

Annie Y. @616: Diversity is important; reading for the sake of diversity is the worst thing that can happen.

The worst thing? Really? Wanting to read different points of view in novels is the worst thing? Hoping to expand my horizons by encountering views I haven't before is the worst thing? Looking for stories that show me what it's like to be someone different from me is the worst thing? Looking for stories that show me what it's like to be someone like me is the worst thing?

I have no useful response to such a statement. I am too effing boggled.

#620 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:02 PM:

I'll poke my nose to a topic I am not introspective enough, mathematical enough, or good enough with people to add to in any other way and say that if by some strange miracle you DID pull the nomination lists for people-bumped-by-slates and make a counter-slate, you would likely lose no small percentage of your nominees the minute you informed them of it.

A bunch of creators may well think "Shot at a Hugo? Yay!" but a bunch of others would send back rejection of being slated so fast that their keyboards would catch fire. A number already said that they wouldn't be on slates, not counter-slates, not Puppy slates, NO. Scalzi's only one of a number, including yours truly.

Use the Nebulas, and you'd get the same problem, only even more so, because SFWA isn't telling you the next people down on the list, so if half the party cleared out, your slate would be rather small.

One of the problems with slates is that you are putting creators in a very unfair, very weird spot by dragooning them into your election plans. And--speaking as one--not all of us relish the notion of being pawns just to make Beale scream more on the internet.

Painting a big target on my back so that Puppies can shriek about how awful I am would be a really crappy way to reward liking my writing, and I think that probably goes for a lot of other creators out there.

#621 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:05 PM:

#615 ::: Dan Audy :

I think the feeling that bad representation is better than none at all is a matter of era.

It's not so many decades ago that the very existence of homosexuals was blanked out of public discourse almost completely.

Uhura didn't have a very interesting job, but it wasn't menial, and at the time she was an inspiration.

#622 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:08 PM:

Fade Manley,

Emphasis on "for the sake of diversity". Would you read a badly written book only because it is written by someone that is not in the majority? Would you award it? This is what I am talking about.

Wanting to read different viewpoints is great as long as it is still because they are good stories and not only because they are different view points. And I have the feeling that in some cases that's what happens. That's what I am talking about. :) Does this make more sense?

#623 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:13 PM:

I'd disagree that Sisko's race isn't relevant; I actually think that isn't something DS9 did really well, to have a character whose culture and history were informed by being black just like Miles O'Brien is informed by being Irish or McCoy is informed by being from Georgia, whose storylines mostly aren't about race but who couldn't just be recast as somebody from any race.

I think there's something a little frightening about imagining the future as a kind of ultimate melting pot where all of us are assimilated into some kind of neutral non-culture (or white American culture positioned as neutral) -- that's one of the things that seems dated to me now about Star Trek: TNG -- and while I have no doubt that ethnic and cultural divisions are going to look really different in the 24th century, I can definitely appreciate Sisko as a nod to the idea that we can do better than neutral non-culture.

#624 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:14 PM:

Fade Manley @619:

I see where Annie Y is coming from. Like her, I don't read books because of diversity. It's not a selection criterion. But I appreciate diversity when it's there.

#625 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:15 PM:

Why is this kludge even necessary? The vandals get to torch the hugos for, at most, one more year. Then they're done. That's bad, but it's bearable.

What's the crisis that justifies cheating to fix it? From where I sit, it looks like we can win, and win clean, if we just remain calm and be who we are.

There are two kinds of cheating -- breaking the rules, and staying within the rules but acting unfairly to get what those who use the rules would forbid if they had the opportunity (or could figure out how to say it.)

Even the puppies aren't doing the first kind. I have good confidence every hack I've put forward for discussion is there to attain what the considerable majority of fans would wish the rules would give them -- The upcoming Hugos acting as they used to. To cheat, you have to cheat somebody. Who is cheated if the Hugos were to return to their desired state faster than people originally imagined they could? Not "the system." Who are the people who are cheated by that?

I guess anything is bearable -- this is in the end just a fan award that got some extra prestige. But what's right? People have two answers, which depend on whether the value the award or the system more. And there is an argument that if you don't protect the system you end up harming the award, but I've thought a lot about that and don't agree.


PJ EvansBrad, that ratification requirement is there so we have a whole year to think about it before it's enacted. (See also: US Constitution, How to Amend.)

This is so we don't get poorly-thought-out changes every time someone thinks that We're Doin It Rong. Why are you in such a hurry?

I think the dual worldcon ratification to change the rules is a good idea. Once it's ratified, however, I see no reason why we would want to wait to implement that deliberated decision any longer than necessary. It is, of course, not possible to implement changes to how the awards are structured and nominated without waiting another year. I see no reason why you can't change how they are counted sooner if the awarding is yet to be done after the ratification. Why, after you have decided with a 2 year deliberative process to change the counting rules, would you want to then give out the awards under the old system you just declared needed changing?

#626 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:15 PM:

My kingdom for actually proofreading my posts! I meant, "I actually think that is something DS9 did really well."

#627 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:15 PM:

@albatross

Though I find it incredibly jarring in Firefly that it is supposed to be a heavily Chinese influenced society to the point that virtually everyone speaks some but lacks anyone who actually might have Chinese ancestry either in the main cast or as a secondary character who gets a spoken line in 14 episodes. If they hadn't included the cultural aspects the lack of cast diversity would be easy to dismiss as generic American television casting but to make a deliberate choice to include the culture but exclude those actors and characters makes it stick out like a neon sign.

#628 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:16 PM:

Dan Audy: Apart from everything else, you are pretending shperical cows of uniform density exist in the real world.

Moreover your real complaint seems to be about bad writing, to which the existence, or not, of any group (real, or imagined) is immaterial.
At some level you sound like people who complain "x" group breaks the reality of my game/book/movie with elves/magic/spaceships/aliens.

Even so, using your numbers, if there is one book which has a disabled black lesbian, every decade or so, then they are getting fair representation. Which is rubbish. Even using the simplified numbers (e.g. without say accounting for the economic class divisions which mean blacks are more likely to be poor, and the poor having greater rates of disability) you still have some 400,000 disabled black lesbians in the US. In the wider world (even limiting to people with English as their primary language for reading fiction) it's more than that.

400,000 is more than the number of people in the US Army; yet no one gets upset that they get tossed into stories as background characters. When they are written terribly there is very little in the way of, "omg, that was a check-box bit of PC claptrap that ought never have been done".

They don't even do it when falsehoods that five minutes of google would prevent are major plot points: e.g. the episode of Law and Order which had an attorney, supposedly a former member of the JAG declaim that service members don't have a right to remain silent. Which is not only wrong, but 180° from what the UCMJ says on the subject. Service members being charged with a court martial offense are not allowed to speak about it until a lawyer has been assigned to them, and they had time to consult but I digress.

So no, I don't buy the "they are an insignificant ratio of the population" when the actual numbers that portion represents is decidedly non-trivial. I can call out the bad writing for being bad writing, without saying the bad part was writing about a group which is non social default.

#629 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:20 PM:

(Whoops -- I do wish we could edit posts here like many other sites.) I misplaced the end of the emphasis tags above, so the 2nd sentence after the end of italics is the words of the person quoted, not me!)

#630 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:22 PM:

Frankly, I have been told explicitly that books I loved as good stories were books no one actually liked and that every single fan was reading only because of diversity points that, no, in fact, I will not accept any sort of "I just mean good stories plus diversity! Not bad stories plus diversity!" kludge. Because somehow it always turns into being told that stories I think are good are clearly box-ticking bad stories that everyone is pretending to like on account of diversity.

And you know what? I find an unrealistically diverse story bad! It is a failure of writing, as much as I would side-eye a story that took place in 1980s Los Angeles where every single character, from the principal of the school to the cleaning lady to the strong-jawed straight white dude protagonist, spoke in Valley Girl talk. "Diversity" isn't some sort of cute sugar rose that you put on the top of the cake at the very end; it's one of the main ingredients of cake.

And I'm tired of being served cake without salt, and being told when I complain that I'm pretending not to like the cake because all I care about is the frosting.

#631 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:23 PM:

A quick drop-in about Unitarian Universalism as it is practiced today.

In New England, there are a lot of UU churches which are almost indistinguishable from Trinitarian Christian churches. Elsewhere, not so many.

However, there is one big difference: They do not consider Jesus to be God. Traditional Unitarianism, which is what most of said churches preach, is a close cousin of Judaism in its stance toward Jesus. I would bet money against ever hearing "in Jesus' name" in one of those churches. I know of exactly one UU identifying as a Trinitarian (and Universalist).

Not to say there aren't others, but they're rare.

#632 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:30 PM:

Annie Y @ 622:

I'm much more willing to give marginal books a pass if they contain a decent cross-section of humanity than I am willing to give decent-to-good books that don't -- provided that both books are telling an interesting story. It turns out that I am less bothered by unpolished writing than I am by an all cis/het/white/male cast. This may be because, at this point in book-writing-history, the lack of a decent cross section is a leading indicator that there will be something in the book that pisses me off.

Now, I'm not going to vote to give the unpolished writing an award, but I'm also not inclined to give the book featuring a solely c/h/w/m cast an award either.

#633 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:30 PM:

For what it's worth, a couple of people at the (Unitarian) General Assembly in Rhode Island told me that, as Christians, they didn't feel welcome among Unitarians. There's a religion (I can probably track down the name) which is Christian-inflected Unitarianism.

I have no doubt that there's regional variation to how Christian or non-Christian Unitarianism is.

#634 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:36 PM:

My local UU (in Atlanta) is very Not Christian, but with strong Christian and Jewish influenced traditions. They often wrestle with Christmas Eve services because, as they point out, they don't really believe in them, but everyone always likes looking at the kids dressed up in angel costumes.

#635 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:37 PM:

Fade Manley,

If you love a story, you love a story. Period. Reasons do not matter. If you care to share some of your favorite stories, I would love to read them - i do not promise to like or love them but I will read them. And me liking them or not does not mean anything about you liking them.

I find an unrealistically diverse story bad!

So we are on the same page. :)

#636 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:38 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 633: Yes. There is a certain amount of christophobia in the current UU membership. Partly that's an understandable worry about the locally dominant religion moving in, partly that's because many of our members have unhealed (and sometimes unhealable) wounds from Christianity, and partly that's because many of my fellow atheists are dicks. In my opinion.

There are historical reasons for the geographical variances which are probably too abstruse to go into, and which I only understand well enough to explain part of, so I'll let that lie.

#637 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:39 PM:

re 631: Wouldn't being a trinitarian be just about the only possible Unitarian heresy?

#638 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara: Another thank you for the reading suggestions @125. I've given up trying to catch up before I comment (on this at least), having fallen even further behind while reading "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns". I'll try some of the others at the weekend. :-)

#639 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Just a quick note to say that I would support abi's suggestion of a "What are you reading?" thread or threads.

#640 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:44 PM:

Annie Y, my "unrealistically diverse" was a mistype: I meant to say "unrealistically homogenous". Do we still agree?

#641 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:46 PM:

Terry Karney @568: "what you are proposing is a nomination process in two stages. One a "brainstorming stage" (a la the Pegasus Awards, in Filk Fandom), and then a "selection" stage."

Not exactly. The Hugos already have an unofficial brainstorming stage (there are links in this very thread). The problem is how to narrow the field down from "everything that comes up in brainstorming" to just five works.

"But I can't support it for even one year, because it supports the "Us vs. Them" narrative."

I don't want "us vs them" either; ideally, I'd be happy to include puppy input into the counter-slate, as long as it's a process that doesn't give them influence disproportionate to their numbers. How to achieve that is a tricky question, though - they still have disproportionate influence even under EPH, though significantly less than under the current system, and any unofficial counter-slate would likely have only a fraction of non-puppies contributing.


Jacque @574: "By implication, you regard slates as less-bad than No Award sweeping categories? Do I understand you correctly? If so, do you object to the Puppy slates? If so, why?"

Yes*, yes, and yes. If it wasn't for the puppy slates, then there wouldn't be any significant risk of No Award, and no reason for tolerating the lesser evil.

(* Slates are not all equal; under normal circumstances, a good slate would be pointless, since it would produce the same results as no slate, and the extent to which a slate differs from the slateless outcome is the primary objective measure of how bad it is. How democratically it's arrived at is also a very important factor, since the slateless outcome can't actually be known (except in the case of the slate generated from actual nomination data). When a bad slate has already eliminated the possibility of a slateless outcome, adding a significantly less-bad slate is an improvement.)


Lori Coulson @596: "They don't have to pay to NOMINATE -- but they DO have to buy a supporting membership in MACII to vote."

They have no reason to care about the voting stage; they know they can't possibly win there.

"Do you REALLY think the 2500 that voted "No Award" aren't going to nominate next year?"

Some of them will nominate; I expect we'll see a record number of nomination ballots next year, but it will still be well below the number of voters, because voting is easier.

#642 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:46 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale: That sense of tone-deaf, and the appeals to authority, you're doing it again: then you would find me before the supreme court defending that constitution. (And I have been before it more than once.)

We already know you are tenacious, and devoutly believe in what you are saying. The problem is those aren't the things you need to get across.. If you want us to accept (much less support) your plan you have to convince us 1: it's needful. 2: it actually fixes the problem, 3: is practical. 4: Is in keeping with the community we want fandom to be.

That last is probably the greatest sticking point. It's also what I see you least trying to address.


As to the "we can change the counting sooner"... how can you do that if you've not changed the voting sooner? If you don't have votes under the new system, how can you count them?

If the system doesn't change the way votes are cast... what change has been made?

People have two answers, which depend on whether the value the award or the system more

I think that's a an oversimple take on things.

My takes is 1: making an end run around implementation is no different in method than the puppies slating the nominations.

We have had such things done before, this was only different in scale. The scale showed that the present system needs correction to prevent either rewarding slates (and so radically changing, even invalidating, the award).

Changes have been put in motion. We have a lag-time, as part of our way of doing business.

In the interim we may have another puppy run. We may not. The questions there are will they make another slate. If they do will the nominated authors accept the nomination.

They can't really make the slate in total secrecy. Either they have to announce it to the authors they are hoping to list (lest they get defections after they have put their chips in the pot), and hope none of them spill the beans, or they have to do it in total secrecy.

The more secret it is, the smaller the number of votes they will get (unless they established a mailing list, or have really good e-mail trees in place already). The more people they tell, the more likely it is one of them has decided slating is bad, or counter-productive.

Moreover, a fix to "correct" 2016, is politically wrong. It's a poor human solution, as it's patently about screwing over the puppies. It's saying we will change the rules rather than let them participate. That's cheating them.

Yes, they are gaming the system. That's the risk to systems. Robust systems fail well. I would say the Hugos failed well. Yes, people got closed out, but people get closed out every year. I, for one, have never had all of my nominees make it to the ballot in any category.

So, by my lights, lots of deserving people have "lost out" on their rightful place on the ballot. It may seem I'm being flip, but I'm not. That same feeling I've got, is what the puppies have. What they've been told is that it's a plot. That The Powers That Be, are conspiring against them because of who they are and what they believe.

I think your hack, validates that accusation. I don't want to do that. It's sticking a thumb in their eye. If they force things onto the ballot, then they force things onto the ballot.

Assuming EPH passes (with/without 4/6) this is the last year they can run the table. Fine. If they want to keep going to the effort to get a couple of things on the ballot... I think that's a good thing.

It's more likely, as time goes on, to encourage them to nominate things which are well written, tell good stories; knock my socks off. Because I think, if EPH is in play, that people won't be No Awarding over the line. They'll just stop rating below it.

So they will get some votes, and they will lose if the books suck.

And that's the community want to be a part of. One that's inclusive, and takes works on their merits.

And I know you think your "write in" variation does that. I disagree. I think it sends the message that we won't vote for them; because it's purpose it to make it possible; should they manage to run the table post corrections, to stick that thumb in their eye.

I also think, from the human behavior side of the equation it is not a disincentive to slating. Rather than say, "slates are wrong" and no-awarding them, it says, "we don't like slates and might vote down ticket."

So every year they can force their choices to the top of the ticket, and make everyone dig about in the longer list.

People will then be afraid the books at the top will benefit from pride of place, and start campaigning to get the weight of public opinion behind a counter-slate; drawn from the longlist.

I can even see that happening in years where there isn't a puppy slate.

Which is more of why (apart from the other reasons I've mentioned) I don't agree that your solution really solves anything.

#643 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:47 PM:

I know this was asked of a specific person, but I feel like answering it anyway.

Annie Y @ 622 Would you read a badly written book only because it is written by someone that is not in the majority? Would you award it?

Yes, I would read even a badly written book for the sake of reading something written by--or even more so, representing--non-majority individuals. I enjoy reading stories that fall in the specific genres I like, that explore specific themes, cultures, and dynamics that I like, that are well written, and that reflect my intersectionalities in the characters.

It would be wonderful if I could reliably get all those factors bundled together in the same stories in so great a profusion that I never had to make any trade-offs. But it is sometimes necessary to read a less-than-stellarly-written story in order to read about fascinating lesbian protagonists having adventures in fantasy novels. There are times when it is far more important to me to enjoy identifying with a lesbian character in my favorite sub-genres -- to immerse myself in a world that acknowledges my existence and respects my identity as a reader -- than it is to filter by writing quality.

It's a sad state of affairs and the best solution to it would be for more excellent writers to write the characters + stories that I want, and for publishers to publish and support those characters + stories. But that's not the world I live in. I've spent far too much of my reading life being told that, as a lesbian, I don't exist, I don't belong, I don't matter, I don't count. I'm willing to cut a fair amount of slack to stories that contradict those messages. I may wince when reading them. I may be very careful about recommending them to others. But there are times when they're like a bottle of warm brackish water in the middle of a desert and there is no water sweeter than that.

And will that same reflex affect what I nominate and vote for awards? Absolutely. Because I'm going to nominate and vote for stories that have succeeded in latching on to my valuable reading time. I'm going to nominate and vote for stories that touch me and grab me and set up housekeeping in my heart. And the reasons they do so will not always be solely to do with writing quality. There are many excellently written books that I will never read because they never achieved that threshold of laying claim to my eyeballs. That filter is part of my evaluation process and I consider it as valid as any other. Should I decline to participate in the critical process simply because there are fewer books on the market that respect my tastes?

If other people agree with me on any particular book--whether their reasons align with mine or note--then our combined voices will elevate it. If others don't agree with me, then my voice will settle into the dust. But it's my voice speaking my truths. And one of my truths is that "I am" may not be a sentence of high-flown literary quality, but sometimes it's the right sentence for the job.

#644 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:48 PM:

NESFA used to have a decent "Hugo recommended reading" page, where their members could toss up recommendations. I have used it a fair bit to gather reading lists.

Sadly, it's fallen mostly into disuse, though it still is there, but only a tiny number of people are recommending. Goodreads has some value, as do Amazon recommendations, but it is nice to read not just the recommendations of individuals -- which, due to tastes are often way off -- but the aggregate recommendations of people whose tastes don't drift too far from yours (but which also drift far enough to expand your reading horizons.)

Of course, for those who are not deeply into the Hugos, they, and other awards, perform that function a year down the road.

#645 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:48 PM:

Brad @625 wrote: Even the puppies aren't doing the first kind [outright cheating; instead "cheating within the rules"]. I have good confidence every hack I've put forward for discussion is there to attain what the considerable majority of fans would wish the rules would give them -- The upcoming Hugos acting as they used to.

Brad, are you really not grasping the distaste for "the ends justify the means" here? That we're not seeing any ethical distinction between your hacks and Beale's slates?

Also, you continue to miss that this community is not calling for a purge of all right-wing message fiction from the ballot, or all techy weapon fiction, or all religious allegory fiction, or all grimdark urban fantasy fiction, or all thermodynamic practicalities of space combat non-fiction essays, etc, etc -- merely the prevention of a minority unethically dominating the ballot. Your hacks all look like a minority (i.e., you) trying to unethically dominate the ballot.

---

Eh, break time for me on this one, too. I'm pleased to report that Linesman does in fact pick back up from my "80% pagecount" end point and hit another, different, satisfying end point at the end of the book. I hope the sequel spends a bit of time on why the lines with mundane purpose (e.g., Line 5 is Communications) are used in lieu of mundane solutions (say, radio waves) -- that's something that's stuck out as a bit of unnecessary magic in my read.

#646 ::: Chris Battey ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:50 PM:

The discussion of minority percentage math reminded me of this old Bloom County strip. And that got me thinking...

In the US, white (64%) heterosexual (90%) able-bodied (85%) men (48%) make up about a quarter of the population once you multiply the percentages out. (It's far less worldwide, of course, but for the moment let's give the major publishers a pass for primarily targeting an American audience.)

What percentage of major characters in SFF fit all four points of that description? Is it, perhaps, significantly more than 25%? Remember, we don't want to see a group represented more often than is proportionate with the population, or else it's an indicator of bad story-telling.

#647 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 05:51 PM:

Fade Manley @ 640

Yes. Even more than with the previous statement.

#648 ::: cn ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:03 PM:

A question: Is it possible that those who have won editing Hugos in the past have done so on the strength of anthologies they have released within the target year?

Otherwise, how to judge? We the voters usually don't have access to what was presented to the editor to work with so it's exceedingly difficult to know what they have done.

Or is there some other criteria which I am missing? In my own case, I never permit editors to touch anything I write. I may be an exception.

#649 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:04 PM:

Annie Y., I am glad to hear that! And here's the thing: the more I notice the real diversity of the world, the more the default artificial homogeneity of a lot of fiction grates on me. That's part of how I determine if a story is good.

And people rate that differently. Some people don't care at all; some people care a great deal. (Heather Rose Jones, @643, gives a good example of why someone might care a great deal, much more elegantly expressed than I could.) But that's true of all sorts of things that make up what we've decided is a good story.

I like sharp prose that's not too transparent. I like exciting settings with a lot of SFF elements. I like engaging protagonists with a particularly strong voice. I like some adventure. I like diversity. I like plots that make sense to me. I like supporting casts that feel as much like real people as the protagonists do. I want all of these things! All of them at once makes a good story for me.

So part of why I get frustrated at people saying "Reading a book just for diversity is terrible!" is that it's like saying "Reading a book just for plot is terrible!" There are lots of people whose primary interest in a story is a plot that grabs them, and yet we don't get a lot of hand-wringing about all these books that have shoved in a little more plot just to attract and please that interest group. Nor, when a plot is badly handled, do we say, "Oh, it's the fault of people who just care about plot above all else!" We just...call it a badly-written plot.

A good story that fails at diversity is like a good story that fails at plot. I may read and enjoy it anyway; but I'm very conscious that it's failing in that area.

#650 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:10 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, thanks, you put into words some things I was struggling with.

There's a matter of crossover appeal of various kinds, too. Several of the lesbian fantasy novels I've read in recent years (including Daughter of Mystery, and I will get to the sequel soon's things settle a bit here) have written about friendship as well as love in terms that resonate deeply with me. There are stories focusing on protagonists who are physically disabled in particular ways I'm not that nonetheless capture ways I think and feel about my struggle to deal with the physical world. Stories about people of ethnicities, social classes, and other kinds of experience other than mine have likewise ended up with me thinking (and babbling enthusiastically to others) about how this piece really illuminated something about me as well as the story's own subject.

Voices from marginalized parts of the world have things to say about experiences that others happen to share but may not have wanted/needed to/considered thinking about that way before.

#651 ::: Mercy ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:18 PM:

Stephen Rochelle @645 : I took it that line 5 was used mainly to power the various means of communications. (Trying to avoid spoilers...)

#652 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:27 PM:

Felice: Not exactly. The Hugos already have an unofficial brainstorming stage (there are links in this very thread). The problem is how to narrow the field down from "everything that comes up in brainstorming" to just five works.

I disagree. There are people, all over fandom, who talk about what they liked, and why. It's not collated for the voters to then consider when making the ballot. I can't go to the WSFS Hugo Brainstorming page and see it all in one place, prior to making out my nominations.

Slates are not all equal; under normal circumstances, a good slate would be pointless, since it would produce the same results as no slate,

Again, I disagree. If "a good slate" would be the same as no slate, then there is some platonic ideal every year. There isn't. Me, I wanted to see Big Hero 6 on the ballot. I nominated it.

Last year I very much didn't want to see Gravity on the ballot, to the point I put No Award above it.

So I can't agree that "A good slate" = same as no slate.

#653 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:27 PM:

Brad from Sunnyvale @566: The right solution is not No Award

No Award is the least-bad solution with the options and tools available to us. In the opinion of most of the commenters here. If you disagree, that's your right.

But you've been banging on about this for quite a while now; is it maybe time to concede that nobody has been persuaded and it's time to move on?

the right solution is the best novel of the year based on the aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion, be recognized with a Hugo.

Yes: that is the right solution. But it's not one that's available to us.

Again: it's maybe time to concede that nobody has been persuaded and it's time to move the eff on??

#654 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:38 PM:

Brad, there's something you should know about lightly proposing to fix WSFS.

You know worldcon SMOFs? Patient, procedural, full of tribal lore, well acquainted with the follies of humankind?

To the best of my knowledge, the two longest, bitterest, most divisive feuds in the history of upper-level conrunning were when they hammered out the rules and organization of WSFS. Some of the most sensible people I've ever known were in the thick of it, and even they couldn't keep it from happening. Twice.

WSFS doesn't look like it ought to be a difficult subject. I solemnly assure you that it is. People just as smart and inventive as you have spilled blood all over it.

The tension level is rising in this thread. Intelligent, knowledgeable persons of good will are grinding their teeth. So please: ease up. Back off. Take their reactions seriously. You may not know that this mixture is explosive, but I do.

I hate shutting down threads. Let's not.

#655 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 06:58 PM:

In deference to friendship with Theresa (and frankly, time) I will bow out of here. But of course I will bow out with a couple of predictions:

a) If the puppies stay together, there will be a very disappointing 2016 Hugos.

b) If they continue to stay together, there will be more puppies on the ballot than most people here expect with EPH 5/5, a smaller proportion with EPH 4/6, and as such EPH will not end the problem or controversy. Several categories will get 3 or more slated candidates if the slate is 25% of the nominators.

c) While I am hardly new to this (first worldon 34 years ago) and I do know how overseriously smofs take procedure and the rules, I suspect there's actually more practicality in the broader fandom (which doesn't much come to business meetings, so it's hard to test this prediction.)

In other words, I hope the puppies don't manage to stick together.

TTFN

#656 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:03 PM:

Emily H. @623: the future as a kind of ultimate melting pot where all of us are assimilated into some kind of neutral non-culture

No, that would be the Borg.

:-) <g,d&r>

#657 ::: Chris Battey ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:05 PM:

Regarding the "brainstorming stage", I had meant to read through a bunch of the stories on the Locus Recommended Reading List and pick some to nominate. Thanks to a variety of personal issues (changing jobs, medical drama, you know, the usual), I failed to do so this year - but it seems like a good place to start if you're looking for some potentially-nominatable work...

As an example for 2015, looking at the top five non-Puppy nominees in each category, the Locus list contained all five novels, four of five novellas, four of five novelettes, and one of five short stories. (Short Story remains, of course, a significantly difficult category to coalesce around, and we'll probably have to write it off in 2016 as well, but it'd be lovely if we didn't have to!)

The downside to the Locus list, of course, is that it's really long, and only released a couple months ahead of the close of nominations. It's still a much smaller list than the entire breadth of SFF, though!

#658 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:07 PM:

There are some puppies (predictably) gleefully claiming victory by having forced the SWJs (I haven't a clue what that's supposed to stand for, and frankly, don't care) to a 'scorched earth' policy. It's hilarious, and sad, but I worry that it's a sign that one of my long-term scenarios might be more likely than I'd hoped.

You see, I think it's very difficult to come up with a 'solution' to the Puppie Problem unless you understand what the win condition is, and we have two different win conditions in play.

The Sad Puppies appear to be trying to change who takes home a Hugo. I am very much in support of those voices who feel that, although they may have chosen a methodology that many of us find unacceptable, that they should have no *less* right to nominate and vote as anybody else. I'm afraid that if they're too lazy to read stuff for themselves and make their own decisions, that there are limits to what can be done about that without making it overly-difficult for anybody to nominate, but maybe I'm wrong.

However, this year's result is pretty cut and dried. "No," the majority of voting fans said, "that's not how you get to play this game." I can't count how many times I've explained to game players and game designers that you do not need to have rules for every possible form of cheating. Rules aren't the only criteria. There's also "poor sportmanship," and it's handled socially. If you're a rule-following poo-poo-head, you'll soon find nobody will let you play the game.

That's what happened this year. The Sad Puppies were poor sports, and after they'd run around breaking the pretty things, we took what was left and put it on a high shelf out of their reach. Hopefully they will (eventually) learn that they won't be able to get what they want with that behavior.

And if they get enough votes to put a Hugo in the hands of one of their picks? It's a pretty rocket, but what makes it special is what it symbolizes. "Stealing" a Hugo won't do any good. I can't seriously believe that anybody who's earned one has prized the effect on their income over the effect on their social standing. I, personally, have one Hugo nomination to my name, and I am incredibly proud of that. What makes it valuable (to me, and I think to Sad Puppies) is how people react when I say that.

Block voting can hijack a Hugo trophy, but it can't hijack what it means. I hope the Sad Puppies figure that out sooner rather than later.

Alas, there's another contingent who are simply vandals. They think it's fun to contaminate or desecrate the awards. They "won" as soon as the nominees were announced. The only hope I see for defeating them is waiting for them to get bored and wander off.

The potential for this warping of the system has been well-known for years. I think that the reason we're finally seeing it put into effect is the same thing that has polarized American politics. There's this sub-culture echo-box phenomenon where it's just too easy to only talk to people who agree with you.

Unless we get lucky, it's only a matter of time before the Nebulas become the more prestigious award (after all, at least in my mind, they're only just a hair or two behind the Hugos already), and the Hugos become the People's Choice awards to the Nebula's Oscars.

I sure hope I'm wrong.

#659 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:18 PM:

felice @641: "By implication, you regard slates as less-bad than No Award sweeping categories?" Yes

I think this is your fundamental sticking point. The consensus in this discussion disagrees with you. Given that, the rest of your argument seems to be a non-starter.

#660 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:23 PM:

Video of the Sasquan Hugo Awards ceremony may now be viewed.

It's in 4 parts.

Part 1 and the first hour of part 2 contain the pre-ceremony talk show.

The Hugo ceremony begins in Part 2 at 1h07m. It runs all through Part 3 and ends during Part 4 at about 0h37m50s.

The rest of Part 4 is devoted to the post-Hugo talk show.

These videos will not be around forever, since somebody has to keep paying for the servers, but I expect they'll remain available for a good long time.

#661 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:27 PM:

The pre-ceremony talk show (of which I caught only the final far-too-much, from about ten minutes to the hour until the ceremony actually started) was exceptionally annoying to me, and I would recommend to many of the participants in this thread that they might want to skip it, or at least watch it last.

It's three fairly well off white men pontificating about 101-level Hugo-and-Puppies stuff, and saying maddening things about Freeze Peach and tone-deaf things about race and diversity.

If that sounds like it would raise your blood pressure, don't bother. There wasn't a single thing in the part I saw that I haven't heard at least eight people say before, and far better.

I have no idea who the three presenters were and I really don't need to, except to possibly put them on my internal "don't bother" list.

#662 ::: Elliott Mason needs the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:28 PM:

I got an Internal Server Error. The post shows on my View-All-By, so maybe this post will knock it loose; if not, I'll need skilled help.

#663 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:35 PM:

Any idea what the viewership of the live stream was?

#664 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:42 PM:

Terry Karney @652: "I disagree. If "a good slate" would be the same as no slate, then there is some platonic ideal every year. There isn't. Me, I wanted to see Big Hero 6 on the ballot. I nominated it."

The platonic ideal here isn't about what you or I or any single individual wants, it's the combined opinions of all the nominators. Individuals might not like some or even any of the finalists; that's ok, it's impossible to please everyone. The ideal set of finalists pleases as many people as possible. The current system produces exactly that (for the available data), if there's no overlap between nominators for the top five works. When there is overlap, determining the ideal set of finalists is a more complicated issue, but EPH does a decent job.


OtterB @570: "We think the right solution is an aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion compiled in a transparent way in keeping with the rules and traditions of the award."

The current rules and traditions are flawed; they allow a minority slate to dominate. We're changing the rules because of that (assuming EPH is ratified). That leaves the right solution as an aggregate of honest and independent WSFS member opinion compiled in a transparent way.

#665 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:36 PM:

Welcome yourself, JJ. I'm not new to either fandom or Making Light (thanks, Jacque!), just to the electronic reader packet era of the Hugo awards.

Most of the recent SF/F I have read was on the ballot. But I also liked Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark. I'd also recommend Julie Phillips's biography of James Tiptree Jr.

#666 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:40 PM:

SJW75126 said at #519: My question was a simple one and no one answered. Is there a good possibility that the puppies can control "Best Novel" and it ends with a no award. What does the data tell us?

It's a possibility. But more people always nominate for best novel than for the shorter fiction categories (see nomination stats for past years), so it would be harder for them to pull it off.

#667 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:45 PM:

661
I have no idea who the three presenters were and I really don't need to

Oh, good - I'm not the only one who looked at the talking heads and wondered why they were sitting there. (I had the sound off. And I popped the livestream out into its own window, so I missed the 'chat'.)

#668 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:46 PM:

Terry Karney said at #642: The more secret it is, the smaller the number of votes they will get (unless they established a mailing list, or have really good e-mail trees in place already). The more people they tell, the more likely it is one of them has decided slating is bad, or counter-productive.

And the more likely it is that someone who still supports the campaign will lose discipline and prematurely brag about how they are sticking it to the SJWs.

#669 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:47 PM:

Sandy B. @608:
So you have very roughly a 0.1% chance of an arbitrary human on earth being black, lesbian, and disabled; a 0.7% chance of white, cis, het, male.

You misplaced the decimal point there. The chance of white, cis, het, male is about 7%, not 0.7%.

#670 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 08:48 PM:

664
Felice, did you read any of what Terry said about when he started voting?
(Hint: You're lecturing someone who's been in fandom for nearly 30 years.)

#671 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:17 PM:

I've been citing Elizabeth Bear's "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" as an example of recent sf in the spirit of the good old stuff.

#672 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:41 PM:

Also, if there's one black disabled lesbian and nine white able-bodied heterosexual men, I would expect the fact that she is the only black person, only woman, only disabled person, and only non-heterosexual in the crew to matter to the lesbian character.

It shouldn't be "see, we can check the boxes" and having those traits make no difference to the story: there will be pieces of her life they don't know about, don't understand, and may not realize they're overlooking.

The world-building for that one-disabled-black-lesbian/ nine-non-disabled-straight-white-men team ought to deal in some way with questions like Where are the other women? Is the organization they work for explicitly racist in its recruiting, or perpetuating a larger-culture history and pattern of discrimination? In what ways do the non-disabled characters relate to her differently than to each other because of her disability? Does she miss her black friends and family while she's on this mission (or how does she interact with them when she's not at work)?

She didn't, I hope, come from Central Casting: an actual black disabled lesbian would know other people who fit into one or more of those categories. It's possible that one or more of the nine straight white non-disabled men don't know any black people, or any disabled people, or any out lesbians; it's incredibly unlikely that everyone a disabled black lesbian knows is white, male, and heterosexual.

If "see, we've met the recruiting quotas with a minimum of fuss" is in the story, that implies a huge amount of story/plot about her resenting it and/or being aware that she is being watched and judged in ways that her colleagues aren't, and that will be generalized to other black, lesbian, and disabled people. That's along with the world-building in which a mixed/diverse/integrated team is required but one black disabled lesbian and nine able-bodied straight white men is considered both a necessary and a sufficient amount of diversity. If the story is science fiction, the idea that attitudes in that direction fit that neatly into the United States in August 2015 is world-building, and iffy. Attitudes have changed markedly in my lifetime and there's no reason to assume they will stop doing so. They may not change in directions I want or expect (not always the same thing), but we are not living at the end of history.

#673 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:46 PM:

The Hugo Awards ceremony is available online at the Livestream feed:

2015 Hugo Award ceremony

The video is in 4 segments, and includes both the pre-show and the post-show segments.

I've seen several different comments about the UStream feed over the past few days. I don't know at this point whether the video will eventually appear there or not.

#674 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 09:58 PM:

abi 543: Add my vote for the thread(s) with book recommendations. It occurs to me that it might be wise to ask (or even require) people to recommend either 3 or fewer, or 8 or more works at a time, in order to avoid even the appearance of slating (because anything that looks like it will appear in Puppy screencaps).

Fade 551: May I link to this comment on Twitter? It explains the diversity issue very clearly.

Jacque 559: (One of the (many) things I loved in Sense8 was Kala Dandekar's conversations with Ganesha. I'm finding myself wanting a little Ganesha statue for our entry garden; one could certainly do worse than touching base with the Remover of Obstacles on the way out for one's day.)

I AM devout, in that I pray to Ganesh-ji every day. And the Remover of Obstacles does seem to appreciate it. (If you want, you can say a standard prayer to Him; Google "vakratunda mahakaaya" and pick a version.) I look for opportunities to act as Ganesha's agent in the world; this informs my working Access at WorldCon, for example.

#675 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:13 PM:

I watched on Ustream; the little counter in the corner indicated about 2,800 viewers at its highest.

There's been a Ganesh statue on my desk at work for over 20 years. I periodically have crises about it, since I'm Jewish and I worry about cultural appropriation, but he's sort of a perfect deity for publishing.

#676 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:19 PM:

What the Campbell tiara is missing!

#677 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:19 PM:

felice: I accept that the aggregate collation of people choosing what they like in a relative vacuum is a "good" ballot.

What I don't accept is that making that choice in a non-vacuum is just as good.

I certainly don't accept them as the same, because they aren't. This is one of those places where I wan't to say the Heisenberg Principle functions at the macro level.

The act of making known what is trending will change the end result.

Nothing, BTW, would stop this from being gamed; and pretty easily.

If I wanted to game it, I'd get a bunch of folks together and do nothing until the brainstorming session was done.

Then we'd put out slate into play, with no one really expecting it. It's a tad less likely to work, but it's the same exploit, and has the same multiplier effect.

Yes, but looking at the spreads, the number of people who decide to change their nominations is hard to predict, because some of the categories were pretty tight, and maybe Big Hero six slipped their mind and they thought it was better than The Lego movie, so they move one nomination and hope the rest pick up some votes.

Meanwhile all 600 of the voters from last year post a late lockstep.

It's a solution to a problem which has been solved. No Award is better than slates.

#678 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:22 PM:

Xopher: there is a lovely shrine to Ganesh in a lot in SoHo. Crosby, just below Spring.

#679 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:27 PM:

#506, #540, re Sergeant-at-Arms for WSFS...

Can't speak to other SaAs in the past, but this year's Sergeant-at-Arms (yours truly), came to it with ten years of experience teaching middle school special ed in an inclusive setting (i.e., mild to moderate learning disabilities, ADHD, emotional disturbance, autism, etc) as well as years of experience in Democratic Party county and state central committees and teacher union participation at local and state levels, including the State Representative Assembly, which is pretty dang ugly and bloody and nasty.

Sergeant-at-Arms is pretty much a logistics position more than an enforcement position--most of my work going in was taking care of accessibility needs (yay CART!), room arrangements, posting signs on doors to keep disruptive entrances/exits down, making sure air doors were rolled back in time, dealing with serpentine counts and the like. Oh, and my wonderful assistant, John McDonald, who brought a hand truck and hauled down paperwork and signs, as well as Frog Jones, who put in sterling service managing the door in spite of a heavy panel schedule.

Additionally, I have to say that Kevin Standlee and the participants in the WSFS Business Meeting made it one of the best ever meetings I've participated in. Between the savvy of the attendees and the savvy of the front table, no serious disruptor had even half a chance of getting anywhere (and I say this as someone who once upon a time so disrupted a meeting run by a past Democratic State Chair that he flinches and will not look at me when he hears my voice in the same meeting...even though we're on the same side. I did have mad skillz of that sort once upon a time). I have loads of respect for those who engage in the WSFS Business Meeting as participants and principals.

So no. After my experience at Sasquan, I'm not too worried about someone spiking the Business Meeting. Doing so would require not just a massive influx of new participants but of folks with speaking and voting discipline that...frankly...I think those interested in tearing the system down lack. It would not be an easy task, definitely more difficult than going into a Republican or Democratic Central Committee at either county or state levels and skewing things there. Now maybe I could be proved wrong, but it's a pretty solid system.

#680 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:33 PM:

This is late, but:

Or the most infamous sports-record asterisk of them all, assigned by Major League Baseball to Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs in a season, breaking the record previously held by Babe Ruth. The asterisk was justified by Maris doing it in a 162-game season, while Ruth did in 154, of course.

It's true that this is a (in)famous use of an asterisk; everybody talks about it. It's also a (famous) myth. Baseball never used an asterisk, or any kind of notifier, on Roger Maris's record.

#681 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:36 PM:

Melissa 675: There's been a Ganesh statue on my desk at work for over 20 years. I periodically have crises about it, since I'm Jewish and I worry about cultural appropriation, but he's sort of a perfect deity for publishing.

We should check with Sumana, but it was my understanding that Hindus don't mind other people actually worshipping their gods. Treating them like a joke is another matter. Ganesha is no joke to me; I've missed about 5 mornings of prayers since my surgery in 2011. All the other days, even when I was so depressed I didn't get out of bed until 8 PM, I have recited his titles, said that "Vakratunda" prayer three times (not all together) and said "OM GANESHA YA NAMA" 108 times (using a mala to count).

Hindus have disagreed with one another on the topic of food in the shape of Ganesha, and many other topics. I've never had one tell me that it wasn't OK for me to do Him homage, or to ask for His help.

#682 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:14 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ #643: I've spent far too much of my reading life being told that, as a lesbian, I don't exist, I don't belong, I don't matter, I don't count. I'm willing to cut a fair amount of slack to stories that contradict those messages. I may wince when reading them. I may be very careful about recommending them to others. But there are times when they're like a bottle of warm brackish water in the middle of a desert and there is no water sweeter than that.

*applause*
All I can really add is to reiterate what many people have said in other discussions -- that fanfiction exists largely because if mainstream media doesn't give you the characters you need to see, you alter it to fit.

#683 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 11:14 PM:

Xopher @681: I've heard much the same, that many Hindus do not mind if others ask their deities for favors. But I always wonder if those statements were made freely or in situations where there is a power imbalance.

_My_ god feels rather differently on the matter. And put it at the top of the list, kwim? _I_ am your God; you shall have no other Gods before me. (Technically Ganesha is not _before_ YHWH, but it's still a violation...it's east to get knotted up in this stuff: someone once gave me a really beautiful Zuni fetish pot because they know I love Native American pottery. problem is, you're supposed to drop corn pollen into it on a regular basis to feed the fetish spirits. I have always felt uncomfortable doing it. Not my tradition. But not doing it dishonors the person who gave it to me and the artisan who made it.)

#684 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:09 AM:

Regarding good recommendation sources for shorter fiction: I'm particularly appreciating Strange Horizons (new short fiction basically every week, available to read without cost online), and will comment separately with more web magazine recs.

In response to Melissa Singer's note about having a Ganesha statue on her desk, while not a Hindu: Glad to put in my two cents although of course there is no one Hindu policy on this sort of thing and context matters. There's basic stuff that I presume you are doing, like, treating the idol a bit more carefully than you would something that was pretty but not sacred, and respecting the diverse feelings of your officemates (especially Hindus) regarding decor that they end up seeing a lot, and never attempting to point to the idol during a political argument in your office as proof of how liberal and broadminded you are. :)

Beyond that: Is the idol of Ganesha actually being used for worship, or available for it? Or, if there are Hindus in your office, do they have access to anoint/bless/etc. the idol during the relevant festival days every year? My mother would ask: do you take care to handle it with the right hand rather than the left, and never to place it on the ground?

I am curious: do you grok that he's particularly meaningful to you (and to your industry) not just as a remover of obstacles but as Veda Vyasa's scribe, and because of the folktale about the constraints he and Vyasa placed on each other? If you don't know that story, ask; it's fun.

While thinking about this question, it strikes me that you might be interested in a speech I gave about what I learned from my parents, including my dad (a Hindu priest). There's a lot in Hinduism that's fine for anyone to borrow, like, say, the emphasis on hospitality. The Hinduism I grew up with included extra-special respect, even reverence, for parents/elders, teachers, and guests. Or: I learned from the Amar Chitra Katha version of the Savitri folktale that walking seven steps together makes people friends.

I think part of what makes it more okay to have an idol from someone else's marginalized religion on your desk is if you genuinely use it as a reminder to carry out, to implement some wisdom from that religion.

Melissa Singer, I hope this helps address your situation, although, again, I do not claim to have any official ability to give a Hindu veto or stamp of approval on these matters! And I apologize in advance if I have misunderstood your situation or your belief system, or implied in my questions/criteria something that is untrue for you.

#685 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:20 AM:

RE: Hugo Pre-show Participants

I have no idea why the 3 main hosts were chosen; my personal opinion is that their discussion offers nothing which is particularly original or insightful.

I recommend only watching Part 2, from 8 min to 31 min, of the pre-show. The ceremony itself starts at Part 2, 67 min.

Part 1, first 3 minutes of Part 2:
Jason Snell - American writer and editor whose professional career has been spent covering Apple Inc.'s Macintosh computers and related technologies
Warren Frey - 1 of 3 hosts of the #DoctorWho podcast Radio Free Skaro
Steven Schapansky - 1 of 3 hosts of the #DoctorWho podcast Radio Free Skaro

Part 2, 3 min to 8 min:
Megan Frank - Assistant Director, Hugo Awards
David D'Antonio - Director, Hugo Awards

Part 2, 8 min to 31 min:
Ann Leckie, Hugo winner for Ancillary Justice
George R.R. Martin, multiple Hugo winner for Short Story, Novelette, Novel, and Dramatic Presentation short form
John Scalzi, Campbell Award winner and Hugo winner for Redshirts
Gillian Redfearn, Publishing director for Gollancz/Orion
Warren Frey
Steven Schapansky

Part 2, 31 min to 37 min:
Tananarive Due, Carl Brandon winner and Hugo Ceremony Host
David Gerrold, Hugo winner and Hugo Ceremony Host

37 min to 67 min:
Jason Snell
Warren Frey
Steven Schapansky

#686 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:50 AM:

Terry Karney @677: "The act of making known what is trending will change the end result."

That's rather the point; getting a bunch of extra nominations for the "trending" non-slate works so they have a chance of beating the slate. Except it's more "trended" than "trending"; everyone's already nominated what they're going to nominate, because they know the deadline. If the trended works weren't announced after all, but all the slate works were withdrawn due to ineligibility or nominations being declined, the trended works would be the finalists.

"Nothing, BTW, would stop this from being gamed; and pretty easily. If I wanted to game it, I'd get a bunch of folks together and do nothing until the brainstorming session was done. Then we'd put out slate into play, with no one really expecting it. It's a tad less likely to work, but it's the same exploit, and has the same multiplier effect."

How would that help the slate? We're already expecting a slate next year, so leaving it till the last minute isn't going to make it a surprise. Announcing the trended non-slate works applies a multiplier effect to them, and we know non-slate voters far outnumber puppies.

"Yes, but looking at the spreads, the number of people who decide to change their nominations is hard to predict, because some of the categories were pretty tight, and maybe Big Hero six slipped their mind and they thought it was better than The Lego movie, so they move one nomination and hope the rest pick up some votes."

Change their minds when? What's going to remind them of Big Hero Six? And if there's only a few votes difference between BH6 and the Lego movie, it doesn't really matter that much which makes the ballot; either option is going to satisfy a pretty similar number of nominators, and the swing nominators obviously consider both to be award-worthy.

"No Award is better than slates."

Let's take a step back here. Can anyone explain to me why slates are bad?

#687 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:55 AM:

Xopher @674: Link freely! (Sorry for the late response; I figured I should go read other things for a bit.)

Otter B @605: I feel that I've treated you unfairly in this thread. It sounds like we were in vociferous agreement, as they say, and I was misreading your intentions. (The why is because it's a topic I'm already braced for attack on, but that's an explanation, not an excuse.) I'm sorry for pushing you out of the conversation, and hope that you'll be willing to come back as energy and interest allow.

#688 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:15 AM:

Fade Manley @687, thanks. I felt bad for pushing your buttons when that really wasn't my intention. The next few days are overfull with family travel and a work deadline, so I won't be around, but I haven't gone away mad. I'll see where the conversation has wandered when I have a chance to get back to it and see if I have anything to contribute.

#689 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:20 AM:

686
We're kind of tired of explaining it to you. Can you just read the previous four or five threads on this, instead?

#690 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:38 AM:

felice: Let's take a step back here. Can anyone explain to me why slates are bad?

Seriously? It's like you haven't paid any attention to what has happened over the last six months...

People voting in lockstep for a certain set of stories can block out every other candidate for that category. THAT'S what happened to the Hugo ballot this year -- because a bunch of immature idiots decided THEY were the silent mistreated majority (i.e. "the lurkers support us in email") and their candidates had a God-given right to the Hugo Awards.

And their nominees just got served a healthy dose of "No Award." If they keep that up, they'll get more of the same next year.

So, if you're going to advocate for slates, you might as well go somewhere else, because slates are anathema here.

#691 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:43 AM:

At this point I can't take "why are slates bad?" as anything but a disingenuous question, designed to waste our time. I decline to engage with it, and I respectfully recommend that others do the same.

#692 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:48 AM:

Xopher -- agreed!

If felice isn't bright enough to read the previous threads, there's no point in further engagement.

It's late...I think it's time I got some sleep.

Good Night, everyone.

#693 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:57 AM:

Lori Coulson @690: "People voting in lockstep for a certain set of stories can block out every other candidate for that category."

Sure, that's bad; but what if there weren't any other candidates? Ie, if everyone supported the slate, so there wasn't anyone else to block out. What would be bad about that?

#694 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:06 AM:

In response to emgrasso @ #552 and others who are interested in learning of new (especially 2015) short speculative fiction:

I presume you already know of the somewhat more high-profile magazines -- Asimov's and Fantasy and Science Fiction in print, Lightspeed, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, and Strange Horizons online.

I have a sort of analogy -- you know how every element, when hit with photos, produces its own unique spectrum of colors of light? I think every magazine has its editors and those editors have idiosyncratic tastes, their own barcode, their set of ten or fifteen pixels scattered across the thousand-pixel-wide range of personal taste. Some people create or edit/curate work because they have a Vision that they want to express and share; some do it because we see a gap in the spectrum, a chunk of perspectives where we rarely see any light bouncing back at us. That latter reason is a big reason why Leonard Richardson and I edited and published an anthology a few years ago, and (it seems to me) that's the approach behind Expanded Horizons and Scigentasy. (Expanded Horizons is where you can read Zen Cho's lovely The Guest and Iona Sharma's loving "Ur", neither of which is from 2015.)

I need to spend more time with GigaNotoSaurus, Daily Science Fiction, Ideomancer, Fireside Fiction Company, and other small publishers/magazines -- I've enjoyed work from them in the past. And I need to figure out how to track K. Tempest Bradford's regular short fiction recommendations on io9; my browser complained heartily last time I tried.

And there are some anthologies I've only begun: Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology from PM Press (2015), Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements from AK Press (2015), Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories from Twelfth Planet Press, and The Other Half of the Sky (heroes who happen to be women) from Candlemark & Gleam.

And I just now remembered that I need to look up Laxmi Hariharan's dystopian Ruby Iyer series, set in modern-day Mumbai.

#695 ::: Sumana Harihareswara has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:08 AM:

As I suspected might happen, my hyperlink-heavy comment has just been pulled aside for inspection. Would you mind releasing it into the general stream of discourse? I have a General Mills-branded snack bar for you, if you like.

#696 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:13 AM:

felice,

And who is going to decide what goes on that imaginary slate of yours? And don't go and say "all the voters". The whole point of the nominations is to get people to show what stories they liked. I nominate what I liked. Period. If you do not understand this and believe that slates are the way to go, then we really have nothing to talk about.

#697 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:20 AM:

(When hit with photons, not photos. Sheesh; clearly I am up too late.)

#698 ::: lauowolf ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:33 AM:

@693
Lori Coulson @690: "People voting in lockstep for a certain set of stories can block out every other candidate for that category."

Sure, that's bad; but what if there weren't any other candidates? Ie, if everyone supported the slate, so there wasn't anyone else to block out. What would be bad about that?


I can make no sense of this question whatsoever.
In some hypothetical world, the slate = all candidates, and everyone supports the slate, i.e., the order of those candidates.
So why is there any election going on in this hypothetical world, or is this like electing Stalin or something.

How is this in any way relevant to the gaming of the Hugo ballot?
But, just to be complete and all and answer this non-question I think non-elections posing as elections are a Bad Thing.

#699 ::: lauowolf ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:33 AM:

@693
Lori Coulson @690: "People voting in lockstep for a certain set of stories can block out every other candidate for that category."

Sure, that's bad; but what if there weren't any other candidates? Ie, if everyone supported the slate, so there wasn't anyone else to block out. What would be bad about that?


I can make no sense of this question whatsoever.
In some hypothetical world, the slate = all candidates, and everyone supports the slate, i.e., the order of those candidates.
So why is there any election going on in this hypothetical world, or is this like electing Stalin or something.

How is this in any way relevant to the gaming of the Hugo ballot?
But, just to be complete and all and answer this non-question I think non-elections posing as elections are a Bad Thing.

#700 ::: lauowolf ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:36 AM:

So sorry, my internet glitches at times and I somehow posted twice.
Clean-up?

#701 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:40 AM:

Although I don't think the original commenter was looking for liberal Christianity (rather the reverse), I will note the answer to Nancy's question at @633 is likely the United Church of Christ, who are basically the continuation of the mainline Congregational Church in latter times. Like the UUs, UCC churches are pretty independent on an individual congregational level, but generally fairly liberal/progressive.

(Slates are annoying, and overwhelm an individual nomination in no small part because the process is supposed to be scattershot and gathering in as many opinions as possible. ( this comment in particular, but also the entire commentariat of that post, helped me a lot on this subject.))

#702 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 04:13 AM:

lauowolf @698: "I can make no sense of this question whatsoever. In some hypothetical world, the slate = all candidates, and everyone supports the slate, i.e., the order of those candidates. So why is there any election going on in this hypothetical world, or is this like electing Stalin or something."

No, not like electing Stalin; a free election where everyone (or even 90% of people) simply agreed that the slate had got it right, and there wasn't any reason to nominate different works because none of the alternatives were as good. Under normal circumstances, such a slate would never be created because a) there'd be no point, since it produces the same outcome as not having a slate at all; and b) people aren't ever actually going to have that level of consensus. Or I suppose it could produce a different result if the slate draws attention to some obscure works that everybody reads because they're on the slate, and agree that they're better than what they'd otherwise have nominated. What would actually be bad about such a hypothetical slate?

The current Hugo situation is not normal circumstances, because the official nomination process has been suborned by an organised minority. In this situation, a slate with overwhelming majority support would have a point.


Annie Y @696: "And who is going to decide what goes on that imaginary slate of yours? And don't go and say "all the voters". The whole point of the nominations is to get people to show what stories they liked. I nominate what I liked. Period."

The existing nomination process is broken; we all know that. And it can't be fixed in time for next year's Hugos. The solution I'm proposing is an alternative nomination process, where everyone nominates what they liked, period. The outcome of the alternative nomination process is ideally what the official nomination process should be (ie the result of tallying the nominations via EPH or whatever other means of reducing slate power makes sense); plugging the output of the alternative nomination process into the official nomination process is merely a formality, as the nominations have already been submitted and tallied to come up with the set of finalists the nominators collectively want.

#703 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 04:38 AM:

On race in SF:

I used to like Larry Niven's Known Space stories for the fact that he deliberately set them in an era where all of Earth's races have intermingled and disappeared into a melting pot, racism and prejudice are gone, and everyone would look non-white to a present day white american guy like Larry.

But then I started noticing that all of Earth's cultures had melted, merged, and become... 1960s rich California white guy culture. Hmm.

Oh, and our protagonist, Shaeffer, just happens to be an albino - the only white man left.

On DS9, I thought they did an absolutely atrocious job with Sisko's race. At one point, every single other person on the show is excited for the widowed Sisko to meet this wonderful woman that they are sure he'll hit it off with, and hey, turns out they were right.

What's so exciting? They found a black woman for him! Apparently the only black woman in this quadrant or the next. Sheesh.

#704 ::: scorbet ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:20 AM:

felice@702: The solution I'm proposing is an alternative nomination process, where everyone nominates what they liked, period. The outcome of the alternative nomination process is ideally what the official nomination process should be (ie the result of tallying the nominations via EPH or whatever other means of reducing slate power makes sense);

This sounds to me like applying EPH without waiting for ratification, but not calling it that. It also sounds pretty much like what the puppies have been accusing the "SJW cabal" of doing - distorting the finalist list to suit their taste.

I don't particularly want a small group of people voting in lockstep to decide the entire Hugo ballot, but I'd rather see "No Awards" again than break the system.

#705 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:50 AM:

I knew the checkboxes thing reminded me of something - the first season of the War of the Worlds TV show, which fitted one Native American, one African-American, one woman, one disabled person, and one single parent into the four-person main cast, while still leaving space for the white male lead. No word on anyone's sexuality, I don't think it was that kind of show (which means, I suppose, they all defaulted to straight and cisgendered, except maybe the guy in the wheelchair, because disabled people don't have any sexuality, amiright guys?*)

... Anyway, yes. Just ticking a bunch of boxes doesn't necessarily improve, well, anything.


*That bit in brackets should be read with a consciousness of my tongue being increasingly inserted into my cheek.

#706 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:58 AM:

scorbet @704: "This sounds to me like applying EPH without waiting for ratification"

Pretty much, yes, in effect. Unofficially, by choice of the nominators; nobody would be forced to go along with the unofficial EPH results, it's just presenting them as an option.

"It also sounds pretty much like what the puppies have been accusing the "SJW cabal" of doing - distorting the finalist list to suit their taste."

They're hardly in a position to object to anyone else doing that! But the goal is to reverse the distortion the puppies are creating, not distort it further.

#707 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:48 AM:

Felice @702: So… you're asking us to imagine a hypothetical world in which there's no earthly reason for a slate to form, but somebody decided to form a slate anyway..? I struggle to comprehend how this hypothetical scenario is supposed to shed light on your reasons for advocating your solution-of-choice to the problem posed by slates in the very much non-hypothetical world you and I live in.

#708 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 07:08 AM:

felice @702:

If I'm reading you correctly, you're concerned that EPH, run on a year where everyone agreed on the five best novels, would actually throw out those novels and substitute ones of lesser worth?

If that's the case, I can't say that I expect that in the lifetime of our civilization. The sheer variety of taste that fans exhibit argues against it.

The one exception would be if our definition of "everyone" above was too narrow. To a certain extent, that is the Puppy contention. And to whatever extent that that is true (I don't think it's a great extent), it's a problem.

Which is one reason for the way I want to structure the reading threads, by the way, because I want them to be places where readers outside of our usual group could also come and enthuse about books that don't usually come our way.

#709 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 08:13 AM:

#674 ::: Xopher Halftongue

"It occurs to me that it might be wise to ask (or even require) people to recommend either 3 or fewer, or 8 or more works at a time, in order to avoid even the appearance of slating (because anything that looks like it will appear in Puppy screencaps)."

I think this is being more careful than necessary, but in any case I have a nitpick-- if you're going to have that request or rule, it should be less than 4 or more than 7 in each category.

#710 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 08:17 AM:

felice: Let's take a step back here. Can anyone explain to me why slates are bad?

I'm not trying to be snarky, but we have. Take a step back and read what has been said about why we don't like slates.

I'll expand on one of the points I think most salient. Then I will look to your specific questions.

My vote for No Award had nothing to do with the merit of any single title the Puppies put forth. It was a rejection of slating. If any one of those books had been on the ballot I wouldn't have said a thing about it (well it's possible I might have mentioned how bad I thought it was, but not likely, I don't tend to discuss books once they've been nominated).

But running a slate distorts the process. It causes people to propose counter-slates. It stokes the fires of faction. It limits the way nominations happen, because a book which isn't being championed for a slate has even less chance of making the ballot than it does now (and the odds of a book, or a fan writer making the ballot are already slim, which is why it really is an honor to be nommed. Those lapel pins impress me).

That's rather the point; getting a bunch of extra nominations for the "trending" non-slate works so they have a chance of beating the slate. Except it's more "trended" than "trending"; everyone's already nominated what they're going to nominate, because they know the deadline.

No, actually, they haven't. If the list gets published, and then (per your suggestion) there is a week to vote on the actual ballot, then they haven't nominated. They've taken part in a primary. They have politicked.

How would that help the slate?

It legtimises slating.

Change their minds when? What's going to remind them of Big Hero Six? And if there's only a few votes difference between BH6 and the Lego movie, it doesn't really matter that much which makes the ballot; either option is going to satisfy a pretty similar number of nominators, and the swing nominators obviously consider both to be award-worthy.

I don't want to change their minds. That's the whole point. I don't want to be scanning the list, looking to see if there is a slate in action, and then making tactical decisions to get something on the ballot to "stop them".

I don't think that is a "Good ballot" because it's *not* the unshaped consensus of fandom. It's a shaped, and politicised, attempt to prevent something bad from happening.

It's also not giving them any reason to stop slating. From a moral standpoint whatever earns a nomination from that shortlist is justified by being on the ballot. If I took part in that process I couldn't, in good conscience vote against a slate that won; because I had taken part in trying to stop it.

It changes what's happening in the process.

Right now a slate gets no reward, and a very public lack of reward. That is a disincentive to taking part in a slate. That's a feature, not a bug.

#711 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:07 AM:

Abi, offtopic, but if you do end up putting up "what I read and loved in 2015" recommendation threads, could you please break them into novel, novella, novellette, and short story? I realize that's four threads instead of one, and I'll completely understand if you decide one is better than four, but I always have a dreadful time figuring out which category a work belongs in.

#712 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:24 AM:

I'd love a "Whatcha Reading" thread, too, but the idea of separate threads dedicated to each category sounds like a LOT of trouble.

Something they were doing over in the EPH discussion threads was prefacing comments with [FAQ], [SIGNING], [PROPOSAL], etc. Perhaps people could adopt a similar method, with several agreed-upon tags, [NOVEL] [NOVEL 2015]*, [NOVELLA], etc.

Then you could just search for those tags to scan quickly down the thread to collect recommendations in whichever category.

* I suggest this because I really hope the thread would be open to posts more things than just what's eligible for nominating in 2016.

#713 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:31 AM:

Robert Z, oh, I do like this suggestion, and I withdraw my own.

#714 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:38 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @674: I AM devout, in that I pray to Ganesh-ji every day.

Oh now here's an entirely tangential question: I've noticed that Indians refer to parents as "Mama-ji" and "Papa-ji." Is "-ji" an honorific, in the nature of "-san" in Japanese? Or is it some other type of modifier?

And the Remover of Obstacles does seem to appreciate it.

It's been my experience that [entities] in general appreciate it: "I don't care what you call me. Just call!" :-)

I look for opportunities to act as Ganesha's agent in the world

Oh, now that's a lovely calling. I might have to steal that! :-) (See! This is what I'm talking about!)

#715 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:12 PM:

Niall McAuley @703: What's so exciting? They found a black woman for him! Apparently the only black woman in this quadrant or the next. Sheesh.

I hadn't pulled that dissonance fully into consciousness back then, but I remember being disappointed about that, too.

#716 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:13 PM:

felice @702: I'm curious: can you articulate your understanding of the consensus in this thread?

#717 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:35 PM:

Steve Wright @705: Out of curiosity, I want to know if you feel that putting that kind of check-box representation in made things worse. Or if it just didn't improve things.

I'm face-blind enough that it turns out having fewer white men in an ensemble cast significantly increases my enjoyment of a show, regardless of any other diversity issues, because it's easier for me to track the characters. I also enjoy seeing characters who aren't white men being treated as normal and unexceptional, doing exactly the same things white men would be doing in those circumstances. So what you've just described as an example of non-improving diversity, I read as clumsy but still an improvement based on the "Or we could just make them all white men, because why not?" approach. It feels more welcoming to me, and less like another reminder that only white guys get to do anything interesting unless it's all about them being something other than a white guy. And on a "pure" story level, where we pretend story isn't about diversity issues at all (which is nonsense, but pretending that for a moment), it still makes it easier for me to enjoy the story by being able to track the characters.

Unless you're saying this casting made the show actively worse! Which can certainly happen if it's done badly enough. But you just said that it "doesn't necessarily improve anything," while the example you give reads to me, sans additional context, as if it significantly improved things. Not as much as well-handled diverse casting would have: but still an improvement.

#718 ::: Dan Audy ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:36 PM:

@Terry Karney

My inclusion of numbers wasn't intended to suggest that real world statistics ought to apply to representation in fictional works, merely as a response to your request for a citation that black, lesbian, disabled women are a significant minority (as an aside I really feel bad for the actual women who fall into those categories because these conversations always seem to use them for shorthand for a multi-axis discriminated against group in a way that seems demeaning).

I recognize that I'm obviously not doing a great job communicating here (thats why I'm a reader not a writer) because what you seem to be reading from me is fairly far from what I'm attempting to convey. Better writing would only solve the problem for writers that actually care about representing a diverse cast well not for those authors who seem to feel that they need to put that character in but really only want to focus on their awesome man-dude main character. I recognize that my opinions are heavily influenced by the fact I read a fair bit of right-wing message fiction and fan-fiction which are guilty of this at a vastly greater rate than the stuff that I read because I think it is worthwhile or by professional authors.

The solution is absolutely more diversity and I think @Fade Manley summarized my opinion on the subject absolutely perfectly when they said "Diversity" isn't some sort of cute sugar rose that you put on the top of the cake at the very end; it's one of the main ingredients of cake. It isn't my concern isn't that multi-axis' diversity shows up but rather some authors pile all of their diversity onto a single character for a token twofer minority so that they can claim diversity while maintaining the bulk of the cast homogeneous. I love seeing broad representation of humanity and want to see more of it but I think it is bullshit when it is tacked on as an afterthought instead of being a integrated part of making a fully realized world and set of characters.

#719 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 12:55 PM:

Cassy, Robert Z:

I was already planning a variant of the scheme from the EPH threads. Great minds...

#720 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 01:44 PM:

Fade Manley @717 - it's not easy to say, I think, because that particular show got so many things wrong that it's hard to work out what the effect - positive or negative - of any given change might be. (It did, to be fair, have a few cool ideas - which were, in my view, hopelessly mishandled.)

Although the temptation is to say "any change could only be for the better", I don't think that's actually true. It would have been better if the show had been less self-conscious about the way it handled diversity... but actually reducing the level of diversity in the casting wouldn't have helped any.

(Actually, didn't help any - the show completely changed format for its second season, and one of the ways it did that was to kill off two of the original main cast - the Native American, the African-American and the disabled guy - and replace them with one character played by Adrian Paul. It didn't help... but, then, everything about the show changed, too, the setting, the storyline, the ongoing adversaries. There was no third season. This did not come as a surprise.)

Bottom line: I don't think having a diverse cast hurt... it might, possibly, have been a positive thing on balance. OK, the diversity wasn't handled well, but the show's problems really went far beyond that.

#721 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:31 PM:

To extend the cake metaphor further for a moment, as I'm reminded by Dan Audy above: I think some of the problem is that if you bite into a cake where the salt hasn't been mixed in properly, that'll taste terrible. Salt! Sudden lump of salt! No one wants that in their cake.

But some people bite into a lump of salt in the cake and say "They should've mixed the cake better!", and some people bite into a lump of salt in the cake and say "There shouldn't be salt in cakes, it ruins everything! Salt is for bread and other meals that are all about saltiness."

...and it is an unfortunate side-effect of multi-location discourse that those of us who are mostly familiar with people saying the latter ending up bracing, or even going on attack, as soon as someone says "I have a problem with this salty cake! Why are people ruining this cake with salt?" Even if what those people mean is "It should've been mixed in better!", we're used to being lectured on why a cake shouldn't have salt, only breads use salt, and, well. Unfortunate communication styles result.

(The metaphor falls down a bit because there is such a thing as too much salt in a cake, and I don't really think there's such a thing as too much diversity in a story. But badly-integrated diversity vs. well-integrated diversity? Sure, that can be very jarring.)

#722 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:34 PM:

Nancy 709: I think this is being more careful than necessary, but in any case I have a nitpick-- if you're going to have that request or rule, it should be less than 4 or more than 7 in each category.

Yes, that's what I meant.

Jacque 714 Is "-ji" an honorific, in the nature of "-san" in Japanese? Or is it some other type of modifier?

Sumana would know more, but IIUC it's a respectful and affectionate suffix.

Oh, now that's a lovely calling. I might have to steal that!

Ganesh-ji can never have too many hands. No hands but ours, as Dorothy Day said.

#723 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:40 PM:

Steve Wright @720 to Fade Manley @717:

kill off two of the original main cast - the Native American, the African-American and the disabled guy - and replace them with one character played by Adrian Paul.

Wait...which show are you discussing? (I was still back on DS9, and am now very confused....)

#724 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:46 PM:

I will not be requesting any quantity of anything. The thread is for "what are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment", intended as a way for (a) posters to look back at what they enjoyed during the year, and (b) other posters to pick up recommendations for what to read/watch/listen to next.

If it works, we'll be treating it like other long-running conversations, and starting new ones when the old ones get too long.

If everyone had to wait till they'd consumed 8 things, the discussion would be kind of bleh.

#725 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:48 PM:

Jacque (273): War of the Worlds. Which I quite liked. The reduction in diversity was not the only problem in the second season, but it definitely didn't help.

#726 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 02:56 PM:

Jackie @723:

I got a bit confused on that myself. I think they're now talking about the War of the Worlds TV show - see Steve's post @705.

#727 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:02 PM:

It occurs to me that just as the solution to "bad" speech often isn't restrictions on speech, it's more "good" speech, so the answer to "bad" (i.e. boring, clumsy, "check-box") diversity isn't less diversity, it's more "good" diversity.

I think a lot of people have said things here that amount to this; I'm not trying to argue with any of them, just pointing out that this way of phrasing the arguments about diversity is new to me.

#728 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:17 PM:

Why slates are bad:

Because for X number of people who submit a copy of the slate rather than their own true preferences, the slate curator gets to have a carbon copy of their preferences submitted.

Say that there were 200 Rabid Puppy votes: The result was, Vox Day essentially got to cast 200 nomination ballots, rather than casting the one he was entitled to cast.

Just for example.

It's not the way I usually see slates argued against, but it's what I think. Because the slate-curator effectively gets to cast more votes than they (be they one person or a committee) are entitled to, slates are a method of ballot-box stuffing.

--

On so-called check-box diversity: The conversation has got me considering a blog post which addresses the point that the protagonist in a hypothetical novel about my adult life is a childhood cancer survivor, despite this having no relevance to the plot.

Seriously, the only recent-ish chapter of my life in which it was seriously plot-relevant was when my medical history made the FAA seriously cautious about my application for an airman's 3rd class medical certificate. (They demanded "all relevant medical records." Children's Hospital of New Orleans had to send them a notarized letter averring that there were no medical records they could send. It was too long ago and they don't keep them more than, I think, 15 years.)

There are ways in which this piece of my personal history informs my present, but they are either very subtle and backgroundish, as in how I approach hospitals, or that I have no love for needles and thus am likely to remain one of the few non-tattooed members of my roller derby league, or how ketamine-as-anesthetic predisposed me to dislike the sensation of being drunk; or extremely random, as when I retell some childhood anecdote that includes some detail to do with those circumstances.

But my life is by no means a series of afternoon TV specials, one after another, where the bullies feel sorry for the protagonist when they find out why she has no hair, or kids come to terms with the prospect of mortality, or whatever.

This piece of my personal history informs isn't "plot relevant" - so why mention it? Because it still informs who I am. And because, y'know, it's true, and pretty offensive to suggest we should just not mention it unless the plot's about raising money for cancer cure research or something.

Same goes for my being female, cis, white, bisexual, poly, Pagan, a gamer nerd, a pilot, a roller derby skater, married, a homeowner, a native New Orleanian, a Boulder resident, brown-haired, hazel-eyed, and so forth and so on forever and ever.

Like I said, I'm considering a blog post about it. It will be much more coherent and organized in its finished form. This was just the brain dump.

#729 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:24 PM:

A very NICE brain dump. I look forward to the polished post.

#730 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:38 PM:

felice

My final thoughts on slates:

Slates are cheating, something only people with the ethics of the Morose and Infection Canines would do.

I refuse to do something that is unethical, even if it means the books and shows I love would win.

#731 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:38 PM:

So, if anyone wants to obsessively (well, no more obsessively than I already do...) track what I readthis is the link (replace "meme" with either "month" or "year" for the monthly linkdumps and some retrospective commentary, or the annual link to the monthly roundups and some more numbers and stuffs).

#732 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 03:51 PM:

Nicole, loved that brain dump. Thank you for writing it out.

And I agree about slates: at the heart of it, my objection is the surrender of individuality. In my head is Rush singing "But apart from a few good friends, we don't take anything on faith", and I think that's how voting on things like the Hugos should go. It's about the accumulation of individual judgments.

#733 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 04:03 PM:

Somewhat tangentially related to discussions of checkbox diversity, I was inspired to write a blog post today on Diversity in Drinking Options, with a little parable about a town that has a coffee shop and a not-coffee shop. Those who have found my past flights of rant amusing might be interested in this one.

(It's not about the checkbox aspect. It's more about the fact that nobody actually drinks not-coffee, and the consequences of that for trying to run a not-coffee shop.)

#734 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 04:57 PM:

Dan Audy: My point about what that number meant is that no one says,"oh, another story with a soldier in it", even when the soldier is a walk on part for just a moment. No one says, "why did they have those soldiers in the background of that movie/commercial".

In fact, quite the opposite; when it comes to visuals. They get dropped into any number of things specifically to tick the box, and show how "patriotic" the creator of the show/commerical is. This tokenism is often praised by the same people going off about how wrong it is other contexts.*

Even though soldiers make up as miniscule a part of the population as the extreme example you chose.

Any stacked set of individual characteristics is going to multiply out to an insignificant portion of the population.

The second issue is one which is more subtle, how many stories are their with (insert small slice of non culturally dominant aspects of the population here).

Because the implication is that subset is being written about to excess, and (as we are in violet agreement) that's not happening.

But the solution isn't to decry the badly done inclusions. It's to keep decrying the exclusions.


Oddly this often leads to the flip side, Soldiers getting upset at being co-opted to serve someone else's narrative, but that's not quite the topic, though it relates.

#735 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:20 PM:

abi @708: "If I'm reading you correctly, you're concerned that EPH, run on a year where everyone agreed on the five best novels, would actually throw out those novels and substitute ones of lesser worth?"

No, you're not reading me anything close to correctly; I like EPH. (And it can't eliminate the five best novels, because even if they're tied for least points, there's nothing with more nominations to beat them.)


Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @728: "Because for X number of people who submit a copy of the slate rather than their own true preferences, the slate curator gets to have a carbon copy of their preferences submitted. Say that there were 200 Rabid Puppy votes: The result was, Vox Day essentially got to cast 200 nomination ballots, rather than casting the one he was entitled to cast."

Yep, that's bad. But what if the slate was democratically chosen instead of curated by an individual? Say 200 people each nominated their individual favourites, and the results were tallied to produce the final slate? Isn't that 200 people getting to cast 200 nomination ballots, ie the same as one each?

Of course, the slate still has disproportionate power compared to everyone else; that's bad. So what if everyone takes part in the nomination process for the slate, because they know the slate will win and participating will get their opinions taken into account, so it becomes 2000 people casting 2000 nomination ballots, and nobody else nominates anything? What's the problem then?

All else being equal, this would produce the same result as not having a slate at all, but if the slate nomination process was more resistant to meta-slates than the current Hugo nomination process (eg if the slate nomination process used EPH), the slate works would be more representative of what the nominators actually want.

#736 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:23 PM:

abi: I think the thread you're proposing would be great. How do you want to deal with spoilers in discussions? Maybe it would make sense to have something up front asking for spoilers in Rot13 and giving a link to rot13.com?

#737 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:28 PM:

felice @735

And how does this differ from the actual nominations? The Canines? Are you proposing to exclude them from the list of the "everyone" that participate in the selection?

I have the feeling that you are driving towards long list again. If that is the case - feel free to propose it. But for 2016? NO SLATES. If it ends up with No Award across the board - so be it. Better to loose an year than to do what the canines are accusing anyone of anyway.

Plus - I do not want my opinion taken into consideration when a slate is built. Nominations are one step process - I like that, I nominate that. End of story. There is no such thing as a democratically selected slate - because whatever is on it won't be what I want to nominate - and I have the right to nominate what I like.

And no - it won't end up as if there were no slates. It will end up with another slate winning. It does not matter which slate wins - if a slate takes over the nominations, the year won't be any different from this year - regardless of who is running the slate.

#738 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:34 PM:

abi @ 724

Yes please :) That will be a perfect thread :)

#739 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:39 PM:

Fade #649:

I think we should probably start out by agreeing that there aren't a whole lot of reasons for loving a book that are horrible. In particular, wanting to see people like yourself and your family and friends in the pages of the book is a perfectly fine reason to like it. Or wanting to see your religious or political or social ideas dealt with in a sensitive and reasonably kind way.

The other side of this is that there is nothing at all wrong with wanting a book to show you a different worldview or set of experiences than the ones you're used to.

#740 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:51 PM:

albatross @739: I do agree! I mean, I can think of reasons for loving a book that are terrible, if I work at it. ("I'm so glad this book validates my [insert horrible belief here] and shows me it's true!") But those come down to things people already believe, by and large, and are sufficiently specific that I'm comfortable saying on the large category side, people love books for their own personal and good reasons.

Personally, I'm very privileged in a large number of ways within my culture(s) and chosen fields of reading. And I won't deny that at times it's awfully validating to read books that support things I already know and feel, and know I like. But I've also had the experience Heather Rose Jones describes, being grateful for that brackish water in the desert, on the areas where I'm not regularly validated in the fiction I love.* And so I both seek out books that speak to my non-majority experiences, and try to seek out books that speak to other non-majority experiences that I'm not familiar with, to see something new to me and to see ways to do these other things well.

Once I know there are people trapped in the desert, I can at least try to work out how to build a fountain there. Even if my first few attempts might not be very functional, and end up delivering warm water anyway.

(* And usually when I talk about books that speak to my experience, I mean stories that show me women as real and interesting people who can accomplish things. Or stories about non-straight people whose lives aren't tragedies on account of not being straight. But sometimes I mean the two books I cherished in my childhood, written about missionary kids, which are the only books I've ever read in my life that showed kids with experiences like mine. They probably weren't very good books. But they had me in them.)

#741 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:54 PM:

albatross @736:

Yes, I would ask for spoilers to be ROT-13'd, and if there was enough interest, I'd hive spoiler threads off for popular works.

I can't start it just now; I have a little something else to do for a few days and won't be able to moderate it.

And it will be pretty tightly moderated; I'm going to want people to stick close to their own experiences and their own reactions to a specific work rather than generalizing too much. This is mostly because the more general statements and conversations (which can totally go on elsewhere on Making Light) might be ones that put people who aren't part of our general community off.

#742 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 05:57 PM:

abi,

Have a lot of fun on that journey :)

#743 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:00 PM:

Nicole #738:

I tend to expect information that appears in a story to tell me something about the character that's relevant for the story. It might just be background, but it would be background for something the character did or felt or said in the story, or it would seem a little pointless. That doesn't mean the story needs to be *about* the character who fought off cancer as a kid, or the character whose grandfather was a refugee from the Soviet crackdown in Hungary, or the character whose first romance went so badly that she didn't even date anyone again for several years, or whatever. But those details are part of what builds up the picture of who those characters are.

#744 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:07 PM:

735
So what if everyone takes part in the nomination process for the slate

That's the process we've been using for the last mumble years. Everyone takes part who wants to do so, and the results are the final ballot. Except when some @#$%^&* decides to game the nominations, as the various juvenile canines did.

#745 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:26 PM:

albatross @743: I think you are wandering into the area of what's Marked and Unmarked, which is very fraught territory. Which is not to say that you should not go there! But it is an area that is full of beartraps and landmines and hurt feelings, and I want to sort of set that out before responding.

Specifically: yes, character detail should be relevant to the story. But everything is character detail. And some character detail is more likely to read as 'neutral' to readers than others. This is why we get people demanding to know what being a lesbian has to do with the plot, when they don't ask what being straight has to do with the plot. If Susan kisses her husband goodbye before shooting aliens, that's all well and good, but if Susan kisses her wife goodbye before shooting aliens, there are a number of readers who will be upset if My Wife: Why I Specifically Have One Rather Than A Husband is not plot-significant. Even though it is no way more detail than having a husband, people see it as a marked detail, because it's not what they assume is "normal".

And so "Don't put this detail into a story unless it's relevant to the story" is...well. Fraught. Because there are a lot of people who have been told that being like them should only come up in a story if it's plot-relevant, but being unlike them can come up all the time. No one has ever asked me why one of my characters was blond, even if being blond wasn't plot-relevant; but I have been asked why a character was black, when the story wasn't about being black.

Being a cancer survivor is a background detail. But so is being someone who was remarkably healthy as a child. Having one parent, or two, or three, or five, are all background details, but some of them stand out more than others. And I do want to be wary of pointing only at the less "normal" ones as needing plot relevance to justify their inclusion in the story.

(This also runs into the whole equally fraught issue of what readers will assume if you don't specify. Which is tangled up in this topic, but which I am trying to set to the side as an even further tangent in the conversation.)

#746 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:54 PM:

albatross @743 - I tend to agree with you, in that a story needs to hang together, and every piece of it needs to support the whole. And the protagonist relates to and drives the plot in a way that no other character would relate to and drive the plot.

Which is to say, every detail about the protagonist should be plot relevant - because the story should be affected by every revealed facet of who the protagonist is. To use the oft-cited example, a disabled black lesbian will interact with her world differently than will a white black heterosexual able-bodied man. But since there's more in her life than her disability, her skin color, and her sexual orientation, she'll also react to the world uniquely due to being a librarian, or fifty-two, or married to a zoologist, or a citizen of France who went to college in Montreal.

Basically, the story that arises from this particular protagonist will be unique to her, and informed in many ways by all the revealed details about her. (And also the non-revealed details; authors usually know more about their characters and worlds than they put on the page.)

Among those who accuse the SJWs of writing/favoring box-checking diversity, there seems to be a higher standard for Character Details Must Be Relevant To The Plot for details such as "is a disabled black lesbian" rather than details such as "is a soldier" or "is a cancer survivor." They also put the cart before the horse when they think about plot-relevance, so that instead of looking for the ways the protagonist's multiple axes of identity shape her relationship with the story being told about her, they expect to see the story about a lesbian protagonist revolve around her love life, or around her history of receiving homophobic abuse, or what have you.

This is because, I think, they consider that "default humans" have a wide unlimited array of stories available to them, but that there are only certain kinds of stories you tell about lesbians, or about disabled people, or about black people. Or about women! Look at the number of people who think that if the hero is a Strong Female Protagonist, there has to be a rape in her back story that she's reacting to!

Extrapolate from that, and you get the people who see a lesbian protagonist and immediately expect to see a "lesbian-type story". If their expectations lead them to see that, they'll complain about "message fiction sucking the fun out of SF." If their expectations are dashed, they'll complain about "making the protagonist a lesbian for the sake of checkbox diversity."

Thank you for the kind words about the brain-dumpage. I feel like I'm flailing about writing a rough draft here, and I'm grateful for your tolerance of that.

("Writing process! I'll show you writing process...")

--

felice @some number or other, in response to your "what-if": You've just described the current process of arriving at the Hugo short list. Is there some reason you want to dilute the word "slate" until it is essentially meaningless?

#747 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 06:56 PM:

Cross-post high-fives to Fade Manley!

#748 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 07:36 PM:

Continuing on the "why diversity matters" thread, sometimes the non-default characteristics of a character end up driving plot elements simply because of their presence in ways that the author didn't specifically plan. Unless the character started out with those characteristics, the relevant effect on the plot wouldn't have been available for brainstorming.

Concrete example: There's a secondary character in my current WIP who is trans. Actually, he was also trans when introduced in The Mystic Marriage but the reader isn't necessarily aware of it because the viewpoint characters aren't. So why is it relevant that he's trans? Because he just is. Because when the character introduced himself to me, that was part of who he was, in just the same way that another character is tall or talkative or curly-haired or a good dancer.

That aspect of his life affected why, when, and how he intersected the lives of my main characters and so came into the story. You see the effects in Book 2 but not the underlying dynamic. And yet, without that underlying dynamic, a number of his actions and reactions wouldn't have the same flavor.

In Book 3 (Mother of Souls) the existence of this back-story shaped the way certain other conflicts play out. It provides a richer motivation for the actions of a minor antagonist. It provides a usefully complicating complexity in certain other character relationships and sets up some of the dynamics for an event at the beginning of Book 6, as well as driving a misunderstanding that's key to the actions of the protagonist in Book 4.

Given the way I plot, it's quite likely that the long-term story would have gone in different directions without the small nudges provided by this one character's background. (Of course, the nudges provided by all the other characters' backgrounds contribute as well.) So while the character didn't "need" to be trans at the time he was first introduced, that fact is now an inextricable aspect of the overall series.

A similar thing happened with one of my current protagonists and race. It wasn't until I "realized" what her racial and cultural history was that I understood the key to her motivations and desires and therefore to the eventual resolution of her plot arc. If I hadn't made that decision, the story would have needed to go in a different direction entirely to make sense. Maybe it would have been just as good. But it wouldn't have been the story that is now how it always had to have been.

#749 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 08:18 PM:

So what if everyone takes part in the nomination process for the slate, because they know the slate will win and participating will get their opinions taken into account, so it becomes 2000 people casting 2000 nomination ballots, and nobody else nominates anything? What's the problem then?

The problem then is that you've cast your hypothetical with an impossible premise. "What if everyone nominates for the slate" is no more useful a basis for discussion than "what if pigs had wings".

#750 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 08:41 PM:

Re: character-diversity subthread: It's also inarguably true that some writers simply can't hack making a characters ethnicity or sexuality part of the story without foregrounding it. This is one of the reasons that Larry Niven is so much better with co-authors than alone -- compare, say, the Dream Park books with Known Space.

At the same time, it's also possible for racial themes to deeply inform a story even when it's not directly about race -- consider Walter Mosley's Blue Light, where race both drastically affects the recounting of the tale, and gets layered in thematically as well. It's not just about something happening to a few Earthlings, it's very much about a black man's experience of the proceedings, with probably more metaphor woven in than I was able to see.

#751 ::: felice ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 09:04 PM:

Annie Y @737: "And how does this differ from the actual nominations? The Canines? Are you proposing to exclude them from the list of the "everyone" that participate in the selection?"

It differs by using a method more resistant to slates, eg EPH (though I don't think EPH is strong enough on its own). I'd prefer not to exclude the canines if their influence can be reduced to a level proportionate to their actual numbers without excluding them.

Chris @749: "The problem then is that you've cast your hypothetical with an impossible premise. "What if everyone nominates for the slate" is no more useful a basis for discussion than "what if pigs had wings"."

It's not, though, because the Hugo admins have the ability to create a slate from the actual nomination data (tallied in a different way from the official finalists, eg using EPH). Approximating that without their involvement is a lot harder, but I think it's a problem worth discussing rather than rejecting out of hand.

Another way of looking at it is that if everyone participates in a democratic slate, it effectively destroys that slate's ability to magnify the power of a minority. A destroyed slate is mostly useless, except it can be used to defeat live slates. It's a lot like a vaccine. To me, the opposition to any form of counter-slate sounds a lot like:

"You want to inject me with the plague?!? Are you insane?"
"But this is dead plague, it won't actually make you sick, and it will protect you from live plague."
"What part of 'plague is bad' don't you understand?"
"But you're almost certainly going to catch bubonic plague if you don't take the vaccine; there's an epidemic!"
"But at least I wouldn't be deliberately infecting myself! If I'm going to catch the plague, I'd rather it not be my fault."

I'd rather be discussing how to create the most effective possible vaccine with the least side effects, and seeing if we can come up with a cure that's better than the disease.

#752 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:01 PM:

felice: All else being equal, this would produce the same result as not having a slate at all,

The critical rub is, all else is not equal.

So what if everyone takes part in the nomination process for the slate

We do that as a single pass and call it a ballot.

That's the difference (and it's crucial). One pass, no second thoughts, no "gee, everyone else liked that more than they liked what I liked", etc.

That's why it's not the same as a slate.

So what if everyone takes part in the nomination process for the slate, because they know the slate will win

Whut? If everyone knows their slate will win? If 2,000 people, with no knowledge of the anyone else's vote all agreed on the same five books from everything published in a given year?

You're back to that Platonic Ideal.

It differs by using a method more resistant to slates,

No. I differs by creating an anti-slate. See all the thousands of words above as to why I(we) don't agree with this mode of "defense".

It's not, though, because the Hugo admins have the ability to create a slate

Right, a small group (i.e. "A Cabal") designs a slate to counter the Puppy Slate, thus confirming that it's all about keeping them out. In this case they would be right.

but I think it's a problem worth discussing rather than rejecting out of hand.

Good Lord. We've not "rejected it out of hand". We've been discussing it here, there, everywhere, for months. The consensus (which appears to be wider than just Making Light) is No Award is better than counter slates.

Another way of looking at it is that if everyone participates in a democratic slate

See infra, why there is no such thing as "a democratic slate" In your own words, "The Hugo Admins have the ability to create a slate".

I'd rather be discussing how to create the most effective possible vaccine with the least side effects, and seeing if we can come up with a cure that's better than the disease.

We did that. It was done decades ago when No Award was implemented. When the disease mutated (because variants of it have appeared before) we thrashed out both how to respond, a new vaccine, and what to do in the interim.

I'm sorry you don't like the answer we came up with, but really, we thought about it. We argued about it. We came to the decision that No Award, full stop, is better than institutionalising factionism.

#753 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:02 PM:

felice #751: The point of a vaccine is to trigger an immune reaction. In this case, we already have a major immune reaction going on, expected to clear the infection by 2017.

Just because your proposal bears the antigens of the original attack, that doesn't mean it's going to function as a vaccine. However, it will be, and is being, attacked by the active antibodies to slates. That means even if it was harmless (which I, like several others here, don't accept), it is a non-starter at this time, and probably anytime within an unknown number of years.

#754 ::: David Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:03 PM:

A brief reply to felice.

#755 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:05 PM:

abi: Godspeed and good luck.

I know that feeling, all too well. I often have the urge to load the luggage, fuel the bike, and head for points, "away".

#756 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 10:33 PM:

To me, the idea of voting some sort of consensus slate just doesn't make sense if I look at the Hugo awards as a way of recognizing what's best in science fiction. I don't really have any interest in recognizing what other people think is best in science fiction.

The popular consensus nominees are probably going to be better than John C. Wright, at least, but if in my opinion they're not great enough to deserve Hugos -- if I don't think they're really among the best of the year -- then... there's no reason for me to spend $40 on doing my tiny part to make sure that the ballot is pretty good instead of pretty bad. This isn't electoral politics, where you might vote for the lesser of two evils because one of these two clowns is going to be president and you can't just move to Canada; I don't really view it as a win if the merely-okay choice my friends pick wins over the pretty-bad choice the other guys pick.

#757 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:17 PM:

Oh, good heavens, now anti-slaters are being compared to anti-vaxxers.

New question: why would I listen to arguments after someone has compared me to the stupidest, most irresponsible people in the world?

#758 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:29 PM:

Felice -- your concept of the Hugo Administrators duties is very...strange. They don't have the powers you're attributing to them.

I'm sure you think you're being clever...but your suggestions are those of a puppy in sheep's clothing.

The Hugo Administrators are tasked with running the Hugos and counting the ballots. The only nominees they can "throw out" are those that are not eligible due to the fact that they appeared before the year the ballot covers.

The rules CANNOT be changed for 2016 -- to do so you'd have to be able to time travel back to 2014. The Business Meeting only happens AT and DURING Worldcon. EPH cannot be used UNTIL 2017, IF it is ratified, which we hope will happen next year.

So, if rephrasing your arguments entertains you, that's fine, but I suggest you find another audience...the rest of us are tired of hearing it.

#759 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:34 PM:

It's not, though, because the Hugo admins have the ability to create a slate from the actual nomination data (tallied in a different way from the official finalists, eg using EPH).

No, actually, they don't. They don't have the necessary information to create such a counterslate until after the nomination period is over, at which point no one will be able to vote for the counterslate.

Approximating that without their involvement is a lot harder, but I think it's a problem worth discussing rather than rejecting out of hand.

Even if I accept for the sake of argument that an absolutely-every-single-eligible-nominator-except-the-slate-voters counterslate might be acceptable, I absolutely reject the proposition that anything less than that could ever be.

#760 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:40 PM:

It suddenly dawned on me that "felice" thinks the Hugo administrators are psychic.

How the hell are they supposed to know what the Pups nominated BEFORE the nominations are counted?

That's the only way you could create her much vaunted (totally unethical) counterslate.

#761 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2015, 11:54 PM:

felice, we didn't throw out the stacking nominations in 1984 because there were no rules permitting it. AFAIK, there still aren't: witness the puppies.
Please stop wanting the admins to break the rules.

#762 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 01:12 AM:

A somewhat different question - did Jim Butcher stop chanting the "if you make the Hugos political, you can't be surprised when people are political back" mantra? (That's a paraphrase from memory of what he was saying to all questioners when the nominations were released.) I have enjoyed his books in the past, and even have a picture of myself with him at Uncle Hugo's Bookstore (irony!). I didn't buy "Skin Game" because of all this, but I haven't heard a peep from him in some time and I'm wondering if he realized what a mistake he made and if I can safely go out and get the paperback.

I'm not trying to make trouble, and if it's best not to talk about a specific person, I'm happy to drop it.

#763 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 01:35 AM:

Juli @ 762: I buy his books, but that's only because I enjoy them.

#764 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 03:31 AM:

abi: Yes please to the thread where people can indicate works they have read and liked. And I think the suggestion of flagging with e.g. [SHORT STORY][2015] is great - And if people can indicate where the story can be found that would also be appreciated (not such a problem with books from major publishers, available all over the place, but can be a problem for many other works).

And have a great trip.

#765 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 04:12 AM:

Hm. Felice compares her opponents to anti-vaxxers. That doesn't strike me as a line of argument which is likely to make said opponents more receptive to felice's proposal, but what the hell do I know?

How's that you're kinda like anti-vaxxers thing working out for you, felice?

#766 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 07:43 AM:

Steve, 705: Hey, now. Richard Chaves improves everything. And compared to what else was on, the first season was great. (The second, not so much. But it was sans Chaves, so.)

#767 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 07:50 AM:

Early on, someone (Teresa?) pointed out that the most painful part of the Puppy thing was watching as a friend or respected person fails their moral saving throw.

Felice, you just crit-fumbled. Definitely time to stop digging and reassess your situation.

#768 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 07:51 AM:

me, 766: Rats. Forgot to refresh/finish reading before commenting.

#770 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 10:44 AM:

TexAnne @766 - I'll admit that show was kind of a guilty pleasure, and I'll certainly concede that Chaves did the best he could with it... so did several of the others, come to that.

I'm sure I saw The Look in Chaves's eyes, though. I first saw The Look in Martin Shaw's eyes in The Professionals... The Look that actors get sometimes, that says to the viewer "please, somebody, anybody, get me out of this script!"

#771 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 11:24 AM:

Responding to Xopher Halftongue @ #722 and Jacque @ #714 -- this is where I'd defer to sourcelander Indians. I'm a diaspora Indian, born and raised in the US, and I don't remember my parents using "ji" as just a respect/affection suffix, especially on proper names. I kinda remember them suffixing it (as an honorific like "-san" in Japanese) to pronouns/kin relationship words for elders. But not on names. Like, my mom just mourned the death of Abdul Kalam, whom she respected a lot, and when she was talking about him I don't remember her ever calling him "Kalam-ji" or anything like that.

Might be a North Indian thing. My folks are from Karnataka.

#772 ::: CN ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 11:26 AM:

Juli @762:

If you enjoy them, read them. That's what all of this really boils down to anyway. No one wants to prevent the Puppies from reading anything they like, or preventing publishing houses from publishing anything they think is good enough to sell.

We just won't be bullied into awarding stuff that isn't good enough.

#773 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 11:46 AM:

Juli@762: "did Jim Butcher stop chanting the "if you make the Hugos political, you can't be surprised when people are political back" mantra?"

E.g. this tweet: https://twitter.com/longshotauthor/status/588441394806591488 . Which was, to be fair, back in April -- I don't think he was repeating it all summer.

I haven't seen anything from him at all since the ceremony. Not Hugo-related, anyhow. (He's been active as https://twitter.com/HarriedWizard, his in-character account as Harry Dresden.)

The idea that "staying nonpolitical" is a positive goal segues into this post, which went around yesterday: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9214015/tech-nerds-politics . (The other Vox. :) If Butcher wanted to remain outside of fan politics, he has failed.

#774 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 12:59 PM:

Sumana 771: Online sources suggest that '-ji' is indeed a North Indian thing, used among Hindi- and Urdu-speaking Hindus there, but not in the South.

#775 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 01:31 PM:

Cubist @765: Please don't. Even if I thought felice was acting in bad faith, I don't want to see petty snarking for no (apparent) purpose but to offend.

#776 ::: Cubist ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 02:15 PM:

terry karney @775: Well, I'll cop to an elevated level of snark in that comment. But at the same time, I am curious about what felice thought she was doing when she compared her opponents to anti-vaxxers, and how well she thinks that comparison helped her accomplish the goal of persuading people to agree with her proposal for fixing the Hugos.

#777 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 02:26 PM:

I have to admit that when I see -ji as a respectful suffix on the end of a name, I think of Cherryh's Atevi books.

#778 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 02:48 PM:

On the UU thread: Back when I lived in New Jersey and was attending a Quaker meeting, we had some members who'd come there from UU backgrounds because the Unitarians were just too structured and dogmatic.

On diversity in characters - if your characters are cut out of cardboard anyway, does it help or hurt anything if some of them are "diverse"? Even when you can tell they were made by coloring in white cardboard, rather than at least using different colors of cardboard or construction paper? Are you doing it to be inclusive, or to tell your readers "See, I can color in the lines, pretty good for a cis het white Anglo male!"

At a slightly less shallow level, and I'm thinking of the later releases of the Tom Clancy spinoff-spinoff franchise, if you're writing your characters by rolling dice for stats, favorite background activities like what sport they played as a kid, etc., you probably should be as diverse as you reasonably can, but it's still not the same as character development. (On the other hand, I'm reminded of some book or movie review saying "Hey, at least they made the bad guy 2-dimensional instead of 1-dimensional, and that's good enough for this kind of story.")

#779 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 02:57 PM:

Bill Stewart @778:On diversity in characters - if your characters are cut out of cardboard anyway, does it help or hurt anything if some of them are "divers>e"? Even when you can tell they were made by coloring in white cardboard, rather than at least using different colors of cardboard or construction paper?

If you're building a plot by using a complete standard series of events, and just filling in new terms for the mad-lib blanks, does it help or hurt compared to not having a plot at all? If people can tell you're just giving the characters arbitrary things to do at various points, instead of having events hook together into a satisfying whole, is that an improvement over having them not do anything?

I'd say it's a terrible plot. But it's probably still worse for the story to have no plot at all. I would understand people criticizing it for having a bad plot, and be slightly confused if they said the author shouldn't have included a plot in the first place if he was going to write it that poorly.

#780 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 03:42 PM:

Bill Stewart @778 I know what you mean. Is it wrong of me that I view the recent spate of what look like (from the trailers) really stupid buddy-movies which have two WOMEN as the buddies... as progress? We've always had really stupid MEN buddy-movies; having them with women strikes me as a weird sort of step forward. In a kind of awful way.

#781 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 03:47 PM:

Cassy 780: Social progress doesn't always come in lockstep with artistic progress.

#782 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 03:51 PM:

Bill Stewart @778: On diversity in characters - if your characters are cut out of cardboard anyway, does it help or hurt anything if some of them are "diverse"? Even when you can tell they were made by coloring in white cardboard, rather than at least using different colors of cardboard or construction paper?

Unless characters from marginalized groups have the same right to be cardboard that default characters have, we're still operating in a system where they're being held to a higher standard to justify their existence.

If only your marginalized characters come off as cardboard, that's a problem and a learning opportunity. If all your characters are cardboard, that's a learning opportunity. If your excuse is, "I'm not capable of writing non-cardboard marginalized characters so I'm going to avoid writing them at all," maybe you should take a long hard look at your writing skills, because I can guarantee that there's probably more cardboard than you think.

#783 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 03:52 PM:

Cassy B @780: Ha. I think I look at that same thing rather differently than you. "Finally, some movies about women that can be FUN instead of trying to be serious!" Sometimes I really want a low-investment movie that's funny and explodey and doesn't demand much of me, and many times I would rather have that than a much more artistically solid movie that I'd have to pay a lot of attention to. So view it as a step forward, no awful attached.

Men get to be two-dimensional stock heroes in fun but forgettable movies all the time! I consider it a win if women can get the same.

#785 ::: SorchaRei ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 05:16 PM:

CN @ 772

If you enjoy them, read them. That's what all of this really boils down to anyway. No one wants to prevent the Puppies from reading anything they like, or preventing publishing houses from publishing anything they think is good enough to sell.

For me, it's true that publishers should publish what they think will sell, and people should read what they enjoy. But it's also true that I don't actually enjoy reading things written by people who have done specific things I can't support.

Case in point: Marion Zimmer Bradley. Her books mattered greatly to me at one point in my life. I was in the middle of rereading Mists of Avalon when I found out about her past. Specifically, after reading her deposition in one of the court cases, I became unable to read the book without feelng physically ill. Note that two days earlier, I had not had this problem.

It's fine to read books you enjoy, and it's also fine not to read books you would otherwise enjoy because of something you know about the author.

If someone says "Is author X still doing Y thing, because that affects whether I want to read their new book?" I think it's worth taking them at their word. If X is still doing Y, then we can presume that this will affect the questioner's desire to read the book, so saying "Just read what you want" is unhelpful. It assumes that whether X does Y is not and (worse) should not be a factor in whether they enjoy the book in question. That's a decision each reader gets to make for themself, and brushing it aside is just as disrespectful as trying to tell someone they should not like to read books they enjoy reading.

#786 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 06:27 PM:

Marked and unmarked states are interesting to notice, as are people and situations that seem like a blind spot in the world-building. These are somewhat related--if your worldview has a big gap regarding, say, religious humans or gay Starfleet personnel, then they would only appear in an episode where the religion or the gayness was the core of the story. (These both seem like big failures in the Star Trek series.)

I suspect that which states are marked and unmarked is overwhelmingly cultural--it's about what your readers expect and what you as a writer expect. One pretty easy to see instance of this is that it's now pretty common to have gay characters in the same way you might have red-haired characters--it's not the defining feature of their personality, just the way the character is drawn[1]. I think that's become a lot more common now. And that reflects an interesting cultural change.

[1] I think this has changed, but I'm not absolutely sure--maybe I just notice it more now.

#787 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 07:23 PM:

SorchaRei @785

Yes, exactly! Down to being unable to read MZB after reading the court deposition. And, there was a point in my life where a GoH speech she gave was enormously meaningful to me.

#788 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 07:39 PM:

Sorcha Rei @ 785:
Yes. Exactly that. I used to love a lot of MZB's books. After reading that deposition, and the post from her daughter on Deirdre Moen's blog, now I can barely stand to think about looking at the Darkover books I've got on the bookshelf long enough to sort them out and throw them away.

#789 ::: Kevin Standlee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 09:51 PM:

Monster catch-up post. I was too busy actually attending Worldcon to spend much time online other than posting daily Business Meeting summaries on my LiveJournal. Then I spent the next four days traveling home, where I returned last night. So some of this stuff is very old within the thread and was answered in different ways within it.


#131 ::: Gary Arbuthnot ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 08:52 PM:

I have a question: I am told that if a category get a "No Award" in back-to-back years, that category goes away. Is this so?

No.

I'm not sure who is saying this, but you can always read the WSFS Constitution for the actual rules as opposed to things that people make up out of the blue.

(The online version doesn't include any of the changes ratified this year, but it will eventually when the Secretary has time to do the work. Not soon.)


#64 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 10:51 AM:

What Kevin and Lisa have done with making video available pretty much by the next day is (for most purposes) amazing and quite good enough.

In fact, most segments of each meeting were online before that day's meeting ended. The only exceptions were the last two segments of the Preliminary Meeting (they didn't get online until late that afternoon due to a technical problem) and the final segment of each day's meeting (those went up usually within half an hour or so.

We had same-day coverage, and mosly a 30-to-60-minute "tape delay" on those recordings.

The 33 segments of this year's WSFS Business Meeting are available as a YouTube playlist on the Worldcon Events Channel.


#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2015, 06:37 PM:

So, I glanced around the Sasquan site without finding the videos of the award ceremony. Anyone have links handy?

You couldn't re-watch it at the UStream site because so many people watched it live that it wiped out (and then some, by quite a bit) what Sasquan had paid for. This has been dealt with for now and the replay is online at UStream and also on LiveStream.

I'd like to suggest that people who want to receive announcements about the Hugo Awards might want to subscribe to the RSS feed of the Hugo Awards web site.


#215 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 02:53 PM:

However, I just don't read all that much, and even the prospect of trying to study up for the noms is enough to give me the vapors.

Why not just nominate the things that you personally read and liked and though worthy of the Hugo Award. There's no requirement to read hundreds of works. Nominate the things you like and encourage everyone else to nominate the things they like, rather than fretting about not being worthy.


#266 ::: Brad from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 10:05 PM:

However, in spite of common assertions to the contrary, it is technically possible under the standing rules to introduce new business after the deadline with consent of the chair...

Which I would not have given.

...or a majority of members.

2/3, actually, and which I suspect is highly unlikely to have been achieved. Eleven hours is a lot of meeting even for people who are Business Meeting fans. As it was, we adjourned only about 90 minutes before the start of the Closing Ceremony.


#282 ::: JJ ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2015, 11:17 PM:

I think you [Brad from Sunnyvale] vastly underestimate the intelligence, the skepticism, and the caution of the WSFS Business Meeting attendees.

Agreed. Not only do I not think the proposal would have gotten the 2/3 necessary to be put on the floor, I'd be surprised if anyone seconded it, unless Brad towed a stooge along to get seconds. (I've seen that happen at a past meeting, where everything the ill-advised person proposed failed everyone-2.)

By the way, it's not like the meeting can't unanimously agree on things. At the very begining if the Preliminary Business Meeting, the Nitpicking & Flyspecking (Rules) Committee reported that it made a small mistake with the wording of the motion to Postpone Indefinitely that meant that (in effect) it couldn't apply to anything substantive, which obviously wasn't what we meant. The NPFSC then moved a small change to the rules, adding two words that modified the effect to what we clearly meant to do, and the meeting not only approved the change, but did so unanimously without debate.


#540 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 12:10 PM:

Sarah @506: The "Sergeant at Arms" is someone who has the authority to escort someone out of the room (and is a standard part of any parliamentary body). It's a position that draws only on local authority. If someone wanted to stage a sit-in style protest, the SaA would be able to request them to leave, but would need to call in real police/security to force them to leave. It's a term of art. (And it's a different person every year, in WSFS, I believe.)

And it's actually relatively rare for us to appoint one. We've only done so, for the most part, when we thought there might be a need for it. OTOH, after seeing how useful Joyce Reynolds-Ward, this year's SAA, and her staff of assistants were in keeping the meeting flowing by dealing with physical setup of the room, helping people with microphones, and keeping the counted "serpentine" vote flowing, we may well make the SAA a more common regular position.

The only required positions are Chairman and Secretary; everything else is optional.

I had more people on my staff for just the Business Meeting this year than in the entire WSFS division in 1994 in Winnipeg.


#556 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 01:22 PM:

If they do, we cope.

There are quite a few tools in the parliamentary bag of clubs for dealing with bad actors. I just hope we don't have to break out any of them. Some of them are legal, but they leave bad tastes in people's mouths when we use them.


#663 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 07:35 PM:

Any idea what the viewership of the live stream was?

Enough to cause what I heard was a four-figure cost overrun in UStream access charges.

The text-based CoverItLive coverage had about 2000 people watching. We used up all 10000 "clicks" for which we paid and ran into overage charges as well, so it ended up costing $300 instead of $150.

There was an overlap between the two, but it seems plausible that there might have been more people watching the ceremony (on UStream or by CoverItLive) than watched it live in the auditorium or at either of the on-site overflow facilities.


#679 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2015, 10:27 PM:

Additionally, I have to say that Kevin Standlee and the participants in the WSFS Business Meeting made it one of the best ever meetings I've participated in.

Thank you, Joyce! And as I said above, thank you for the work you and your team did for us. You made it much easier for those of us on the head table to do our jobs.

#790 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2015, 11:49 PM:

Kevin Standlee @ 789

I would have like to say this at the convention itself but didn't find an appropriate moment: Thank you for your service. (I know it isn't just you, and you may apply my thanks to your whole team.)

I believe this is the first time I've attended a WSFS business meeting (it being my 5th or 6th Worldcon), and my programming commitments meant I wasn't able to attend more than a partial session, but I was astounded at the high level of cat wrangling and the smoothness of the process. I am in awe.

#791 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 02:37 AM:

Some additional recent speculative short stories that (in my opinion) address or engage with Hinduism in some way:

The Merger: A Romantic Comedy of Intergalactic Business Negotiations, Indecipherable Emotions, and Pizza by Sunil Patel -- 2015. Funny and light; if you liked Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi, take a look at this.

The Vishakanya's Choice by Roshani Chokshi -- 2015. The last line of this fantasy means a bit more to me because of what I know of the Ramayana.

Stick a Pin in Me by Vajra Chandrasekera -- 2015. This sad, satirical fantasy by a Sri Lankan author is partly about gods and imperialism, so I'm gonna put it on this list. More concretely and specifically mentioning Hinduism, and still sad: On Being Undone by a Light Breeze, also by Chandrasekera, from 2014.

By the way, I don't play that many games, but maybe someone here could play and report back on Meg Jayanth's video game Samsara, which explores Hinduism, dream travel, magic, politics, and trade in 1757 Bengal. Jayanth is from Bangalore, in Karnataka (a Kannadiga like me!), and put Bangalore in her alt-history game 80 Days which my spouse Leonard really likes. Sorry, neither game is from 2015.

#792 ::: Sumana Harihareswara has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 02:38 AM:

Hi there - I offer some chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, and ask you to release my linky comment. Thanks!

#793 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 04:46 AM:

OtterB, #539: Yes. In fact, I think Alex is asking the wrong question. The question I want to see writers (especially white and male ones, but unconscious bias affects people not in the majority as well) is, "Does this character HAVE to be white, or straight, or male? And if not, what kind of changes to the story would it introduce to change the default setting for this character?"

I think we'd get a LOT of more interesting stories if writers did that on a regular basis, with protagonists and secondary characters and extras.

Fade, #551: Well said!

Kip, #582: Or the easter-egg from ROTK:
Jackson: "But the Ring was destroyed!"
Marketing droids: "But what if it wasn't?"
(repeat ad nauseam)

Bruce B., #609: Also appropriate to mention here is what I call "The 15% Phenomenon" -- after studies showing that, in a mixed-gender classroom environment, if women contribute more that 15% of the class discussion, they are perceived as dominating the conversation.

And in all honesty, what Alex is saying sounds a lot to me like, "I'm seeing a lot more non-default characters than I'm used to, and that Just Feels Wrong to me." But if it was articulated that plainly, it would be obvious to everyone (including Alex) that it was a load of horseshit, so instead we get arguments about how all this character diversity isn't relevant to the plot. Which is more or less the same thing in a pretty frilly tutu.

albatross, #618: That's true, but you may have forgotten the kerfluffle that happened here and now over the lead character in a Star Trek show being a black man. And the far worse one that happened a few years later, when Voyager actually had a WOMAN as the lead character. You'd have thought the world was coming to an end.

Stories -- even science-fictional stories -- don't happen in a vacuum; real live people read them, and bring their own viewpoints to the process. Pretending that diversity doesn't (or shouldn't) matter to the here-and-now audience just because the society portrayed has gotten beyond all that is naive at best. And the later Star Treks did fall down, to some extent, about having extras and guests and recurring characters who actually represented the diversity that the Federation was supposed to have achieved.

abi, #708: There was an anti-EPH speaker at the Business Meeting whose sole argument was that they "didn't want to see Authors A, B, and C who everybody likes" forced off the ballot by it.

This person had clearly not read either the proposal itself or the FAQ, because EPH has been specifically designed to avoid having this happen. Widespread support is not the same thing as lockstep voting, and will not be treated the same way; that was one of the elements that went into the process.

Fade, #717: Heh. You're reminding me of my reaction to the first big fight scene in the first episode of Agents of SHIELD: "Geez, all these white guys look alike!" Seriously, they not only looked alike but were largely dressed alike, and I genuinely couldn't tell who I was supposed to be rooting for.

HRJ, #733: That was wonderful!

Cassy, #780: There's an old feminist aphorism to the effect that equality will have been achieved when it's as acceptable for women to be mediocre as it is for men. In that sense, I would tend to agree that eye-rollingly stupid buddy-movies about 2 women are an improvement.

SorchaRei, #785: Very well put. I get extremely tired of being lectured about "separating the maker from the work" (be it about authors, actors, or anyone else) because for me, that's such an individual thing. Sometimes I can say, "Well, I don't agree with that opinion/action, but I can overlook it for the sake of the work," and sometimes there is a line I just can't cross, and everything from that person is for me ever after tainted. (And yes, MZB falls into that category.) And nobody gets to tell me I can't have that reaction. NOBODY.

Kevin, #789: I would also like to voice my appreciation for the job you did in keeping things moving and on-topic. I may have some issues with RROO, but I can still tell when they're being well-used and when they're not.


Meta-commentary: Someone, way back upthread, said that they were thinking of this year's Hugos in terms of Cell Block Tango:

"They had it comin', they had it comin',
They only had themselves to blame!"

and I thought, "I don't think you've really thought thru the ramifications of using that song in this context."*

Brad and felice seem to be arguing the second half of the chorus:

"If you'd have been there, if you'd have seen it, I bet that you would have done the same!"

Except that the whole point of the song is for the audience to recognize that in fact, we would not have done the same -- that we know better, and the justifications being offered are specious. And what the rest of us here are saying, when we say NO SLATES, is that we do know better. That the justifications being offered for counter-slates are specious, and descending to that level is not the way to behave.


* In the same way that whatever car company it was didn't think thru the ramifications of using the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" to advertise their brand. Dudes, you're not saying what you think you're saying.

#794 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 04:50 AM:

The Puppies' goals aren't to successfully implement what they couldn't pull off this year - they're to cause chaos and dissension and unhappiness. They'll probably try swamping the nominations again anyway, now that they've got probably 900* or more nomination-eligible supporting members. But they're going to announce some things and do different things, and use multiple sockpuppets, whether it's the Double Secret Puppies or the "No, we're not puppies, trust us" slate.

There's probably going to be at least one slate out there that takes a couple of popular works (maybe Nebula Awards or something) and nominates them to distract the "I'd never vote for a slate member" crowd and/or get the author to withdraw the work. They may very well all vote for something different, or if they don't get anybody nominated in a given category, they'll promote the worst of the nominees and later reveal that they did (or they'll claim they were doing that with whichever wins, and have the back-dated cabal emails to "prove" it.) Or they'll all vote Noah Ward, and claim it was an SJW plot against them, or some such stupidity.

And yeah, I don't want to vote for slate candidates, which had a couple hundred votes that are really cloning 2-3 people's choices with a few mostly-ignored suggestions from Torgersen's readers. But they know we know that trick now.

(*I'm basing the 900 on the number who voted for Beale as Best Editor; there are probably more, or will be by then.)

#795 ::: Trismegistus Shandy ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 08:33 AM:

Not all of the "No award" votes in Best Fan Writer were due to disapproval of Laura Mixon's work. I voted No Award in all the categories where there was only one non-slate nominee, and from comments here and elsewhere, I don't think I was the only one to do so. (And I really wish I could have voted for Orphan Black, and I hope it wins again in a year when it has some real competition to boast of.)

On diversity of characters: My experience is similar to that Heather Rose Jones describes. Other things equal, I like to read well-written stories with tight plotting and clever worldbuilding as well as fully-developed characters. But there aren't enough stories like that with transgender main characters to suit me, and if a story has one or more fully-developed TG characters, I'll put up with less than stellar style, worldbuilding, plot etc.

Someone mentioned upthread that soldiers tend to be overrepresented in fiction. There are a number of professions and trades that tend to be overrepresented, for obvious reasons -- assassin, medical doctor, pirate, spy. Why, the Department of Labor estimates that vampire hunters make up less than 0.01% of the workforce, yet they're almost 10% of the main characters in certain genres!

My impression is that when a character is in one of these overrepresented glamorous professions, it tends to be highly plot-relevant, while their being of an underrepresented, less glamorous profession is more likely to be pure characterization -- it's what they were doing *before* the weird stuff intruded into their life and they went off and had adventures (and probably lost their job).

#796 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 08:35 AM:

Lee@793: The question I want to see writers (especially white and male ones, but unconscious bias affects people not in the majority as well) is, "Does this character HAVE to be white, or straight, or male? And if not, what kind of changes to the story would it introduce to change the default setting for this character?"

I don't think anyone here is in disagreement with this. The problem comes when an unskilled author asks the first question, but lacks the ability to answer the second, and thus changes the words used to describe the character, but nothing else about them.

Now, I don't know how common this is, but if some authors are looking at their Joe Smiths and deciding they's be more interesting as Perminder Singh, but change nothing about what they say or do because of this (perhaps with the exception of sprinkling a bit of dialect in their dialogue), that's not good, and in fact can break disbelief if done particularly badly. If an author isn't capable of writing realistic characters from outside of their own culture, they have two choices: learn, or don't try. I think we'd all prefer they learn, but it isn't clear to me that this is a skill that everyone can learn.

#797 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 08:56 AM:

900 "real" puppies?

And this week we also get a story about the fake women on Ashley Madison.

I doubt the Puppies are so often faked, the cost would add up, but in a sense just voting for a slate would make somebody qualify as a fake-fan.

(That label is far older, and means something different.)

In any case, after that story broke I can't rule out that fakes might exist. It won't be the first time, there may be clues, but how much do we need to know other than the administrators, membership and voting, are not having to reinvent the wheel on this every year.

#798 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 09:01 AM:

Lee @793: I agree with your initial statement. If a character doesn't have to be SWM, why shouldn't they be gay/non-white/female/etc?

I had an idea I nearly carried through to some writing for a serial (think TV series, or comic strip, for format) with an ensemble cast. Since serials like that are driven more by personality than plot, I started with the characters, not story. I intentionally planned, as someone farther back-thread disparaged, rolling the dice to determine gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, disability (if any), etc of the main characters.

The goal was to reflect the diversity I already saw in the portrayed population (college students), not to tick off diversity check-boxes. But it also was, as you suggested, a way to naturally open up story possibilities. If I wanted to have a plot-line exploring a contemporary issue, like gay marriage or #blacklivesmatter, I could do it without having to introduce a black disabled lesbian in a Very Special Episode. It would be very easy to have one of the characters expressing disbelief in "driving while black", and having the rich black kid describing growing up in Mountain View and being stopped, in his father's Tesla, for doing 22 in a 20mph school zone and having his car torn up by road-side drug search. So easy, it would almost be natural in that setting.

But most of the time the background of the characters would be used with more subtlety. A Jewish character's faith might normally only show by the food on her plate being kosher, but occasionally being more important. It would inform the writing of her character, not shoehorn her into stereotyped roles.

#799 ::: Andy H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 09:54 AM:

To follow up Sumana's Iona Sharma recommendations, am I correct in interpreting that Sharma is eligible for a Campbell in 2016? I already have her short story "Nine Thousand Hours" on my tentative personal longlist.

#800 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 10:22 AM:

Kevin@789:

Why not just nominate the things that you personally read and liked and though worthy of the Hugo Award. There's no requirement to read hundreds of works.

No, but there's a requirement to read at least one work. And since you aren't guaranteed to find the first thing you read Hugo-worthy, there is in practice a requirement to read more than one work (in each category you nominate in). I get that you don't have to read enough to claim you have surveyed the field and found the best works; but you do have to read enough to guarantee you will find something good.

I keep coming across the assumption that we are all reading and liking new works all the time, so when nomination time comes we just have to cast our memory back over what we have read. For many of us that just isn't so. Many people just don't read short fiction in the ordinary course of life; if we are committed to reading it, in order to nominate for awards, we need to go in search of it. Most people who are interested in the Hugos at all read novels, I would guess, but often not when they first appear, which is expensive; we wait for next year, when they have appeared in paperback, and when a consensus has emerged (helped by award nominations, of course) what the most important works are. I am right now reading some of the hotly tipped works from last year, because I can now afford to do so. That's why not everyone nominates; nominating is hard.

#801 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 11:42 AM:

Andrew M @ 800:

Yep, and slates are easy.

No wonder slates are so appealing to a certain sort of person. Nominating is hard because keeping up with the flood of eligible works is hard. Why not just find a tastemaker you like, and nominate/vote however they say?

And, of course, the Puppies believe that this is how it's already being done: all those SJWs nominating and voting in lockstep to the secret cabal slate. It's a short jump from there to thinking, Well, let's just swap out theirs for ours. Lazy, in so many ways.

#802 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 11:45 AM:

Andy H @ #799:

Hello! I figure that Iona Sharma is eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, with this as her first year of eligibility.

I'm working off this bibliography.

This year she had a story ("Nine Thousand Hours") published in Strange Horizons, which is a SFWA-qualifying publication and thus a Campbell-qualifying publication as well. I believe her two publications from 2014 would not put her in eligibility. She had a story published in Expanded Horizons, which only pays USD$30 per story, and she had a story published in Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi that was 4500 words; since they pay one cent per word, I believe she would have received USD$45. That's under the minimum payment, according to this eligibility FAQ. Therefore I believe neither of those is a Campbell Award-qualifying publication.

So I believe this (2015) is her first year of eligibility, based on her Strange Horizons publication in April 2015. I've just asked the moderators of http://www.writertopia.com/awards/campbell to add her to the eligible authors list.

More knowledgable people, let me know if I'm figuring this right or wrong?

#803 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 11:46 AM:

there's a requirement to read at least one work.

Not a requirement, but a recommendation - since it's an award mostly for Things People Read, yes, you should read what you nominate.

#804 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 12:06 PM:

A thing about diversity no one has mentioned, at least, that I've seen. I like stories. I especially like stories that I haven't seen, before. And when you include people who have a different relationship to mainstream culture than I do, you have people who have different problems, different coping strategies, and different victory conditions than I do. And that mean, different stories. Stories I haven't seen before. And that is genuinely exciting, to me. I mean, sure, I know that disabled black lesbian women exist. But I confess to not having thought in detail about what that would mean. And a story about said person could be incredibly awesome, not because tricky boxes but because New! Different!

The points about the complexity of people's lives is also incredibly important. My existence as a white, middle-class, middle-aged girl with a dysfunctional family history is a thing that informs a lot of my life, and seeing well-realized characters who don't have that background is interesting, kind of especially if it doesn't serve a plot-point. If it serves a plot-point, it turns it into a Saturday Afternoon Special, and ugh.

#805 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 12:10 PM:

Trismegistus Shandy: My impression is that when a character is in one of these overepresented glamorous professions, it tends to be highly plot-relevant, while their being of an underrepresented, less glamorous profession is more likely to be pure characterization -- it's what they were doing *before* the weird stuff intruded into their life and they went off and had adventures (and probably lost their job).

As the person who made the statement, I have some observations: One, plot relevance. For the most part the only place being a soldier (in specific) is plot relevant is when a story is about armies, or wars, etc. I know I am sensitised to seeing soldiers. I suspect I notice a person in uniform in the background a lot more than most.

I also worked "in Hollywood" (set dresser, Post Production). I know that, barring certain rare moments when the area behind a shot is open space, there is nothing in the background by accident. Someone chose to put that person in BDUs/Greens/Blue, in the shot. They are, more often than not, completely plot irrelevant, and by virtue of uniform don't even need to be mentioned to be identifiably present.

That, of course, doesn't address why we think stories about soldiers don't need to be justified, but stories about disabled people, or lesbians, or... do.

#806 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 12:27 PM:

I've been trying to write up my thoughts on the Hugos/slates/this past year, etc. and realised the Sad Puppies had a middle road they could have taken.

They could, I think, have slated, and been (to a much greater degree) able to get the slated works treated as, relatively, legitimate candidates.

I don't think (based on the Black Genesis precedent) they could have made it above No Award, but they might.

1: Poll for a list of books of the genre they like.
2: Make a short list (not more than 3 entries) from that list.
3: Ask their supporters to nominate no more than 2 books from the short list.

If challenged on it they could say they were trying to offer The Fans, the chance to compare Good Old Fashioned SF; the kind which is said to be out of fashion, and show which is best.

Beale won't go for that; because he's not actually trying to argue that modern SF isn't really as popular with the fans, but to stir shit, and get revenge for being kicked to the curb for his assholish antics.

It's no longer a viable strategy. This year stripped away any chance of them being able to plead a search for a level playing field. It's an interesting question how that would have gone. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have led to EPH:4/6.

#807 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 12:36 PM:

That they didn't, of course, implies they don't really believe fandom prefers the books they like over the books which have been winning.

And it's better, from a "culture war" POV to have a conflagrationary loss one can use to show how perfidious and unfair "they are".

How to mend that tear in the social fabric is beyond me.

#809 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 05:40 PM:

Sorry about the lack of response to the second half of this thread. I came down with a horrible case of Real Life earlier this week, and I am just beginning to recover. That being said, I'll reply to everyone who said something I found relevant over the next couple days.


OtterB @ 539

I think you're right, but I think you have to be careful about requiring relevance to plot. The folks who value diversity push back, rightfully, against the notion that race or gender must be plot relevant to be mentioned. But I agree that race, gender, etc., of secondary characters as well as main characters forms part of the setting.

After reading all the replies on that issue I'd have to say I got that one wrong. In most (though not all) of the imaginable cases plot should not be related to race or any other diversity issue. It seemed like a legitimate concern when I was first formulating my ideas on the issue.

I think errors in two directions damage the suspension of disbelief and lead to accusations of box-checking: (1) major characters we are told are, e.g., black, lesbian, and disabled but who have opinions and behaviors and relationships and experiences in which none of those things matter, or who have opinions and behaviors and relationships and experiences in which ONLY those things matter and not, e.g., also her military service or her scientific career or her musical talent. And (2) minor characters we are told are diverse without a culture that seems to support that diversity, or plausible worldbuilding that the culture genuinely doesn't care about these aspects.

Exactly. I'd especially like to note (2) where this discussion is concerned; throwing a Black character into Medieval Norway is not a great idea. The "right" diversity in that place/time might be an Innuit or European Jew - a Masai warrior in Medieval Norway would definitely push my "you're trying too hard" button. (An ongoing series where the protagonist is a travelling Masai warrior would be the exception to this rule.)

I think the important takeaway from your comment above is that every combination of time/place gives a certain field for realistic diversity either in realistic historical terms or in terms of previous world-building... Kirk meeting a Ferengi just doesn't work. Authors should examine whatever diversity is available in a setting and use it in interesting ways.


Fade Manley @ 551

You know, black handicapped lesbians do exist, and calling it "popping up out of nowhere", as if such people need justification to be in a story that white able-bodied straight characters don't, is itself pretty offensive.

Just in case it isn't apparent by now, the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" is a placeholder for any kind of diversity failure.

A lack of diversity is not more natural in a story than the presence of diversity. The clumsiest checkbox diversity possible is no more unnatural than the standard lack of diversity we are used to in our genre.

I agree. Hopefully we're having this discussion to improve upon the current state of things!


lorax @ 577

See, the whole "relevance to the plot" thing is what upsets so many people.

Yeah, I get that and I was wrong. Please remember that I'm also the first person on the thread who addressed this issue and I'm learning about it as I go.

I'm not gay because it's "relevant". I'm not female because it's "relevant"... It's just who we are. Unless you're going to apply the same criterion to straight white men, and require compelling plot reasons for their race, gender, and orientation, then this is throw-the-book obnoxious for many people.

Going far enough into the future, I would ask the question. Take for example the white, European types in the Honorverse. After two thousand years of racial mixing, plus mutation, plus the environmental effects of someone's ancestors living on another planet for a thousand years, why do we end up with white people named "Michael" who act like they live in Detroit? (I have to say that David Weber is ahead of the diversity game on a lot of fronts; it's clear that he does not tolerate racism or male supremacy, but I do think "America in Space" needs to be justified.)

I think sometimes writing about a "nice American suburb a thousand years in the future" works, particularly when an author is planning to introduce serious alien weirdness and that weirdness needs something to push against, or if the author is waxing metaphorical for some reason, but it's a fair question; What is the compelling reason for straight, white men a thousand years in the future?

"Fifty years from now even a high-school Creative Writing teacher will see the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" and write "Diversity failure, you can do better than that."

What precisely do you mean by this? That someone writing a story with ten straight white men and one black handicapped lesbian will get told off for thus attempting to include as few non-default characters as possible? That real life doesn't include any black handicapped lesbians? I suspect there are people reading this thread who meet that description.

I mean just the opposite; that in a generation or two the theoretical and technical issues of adding believable diversity to a text will be well understood and taught in a standard Bachelor's curriculum (and possibly even at a high-school level.) Even the most clueless English teacher will react to the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" by grabbing for his/her red pen and insisting that the student do a better, more realistic, less clumsy job of showing true diversity. I'm ABSOLUTELY NOT suggesting that a Gay, Black or other diverse character should be written out of the text.

Remember that when I wrote my comment about "diversity failure" I was reacting to Leah Miller's final two paragraphs at 441.

#810 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 06:17 PM:

Annie Y @ 616

And in stories written in a specific point of time (or about a specific point of time), having a woman or a person of color is more disruptive than anything - I cannot stand Victorian-faux novels where the women behave as if they are born in the 1990s).

Agreed. Diversity means different things in different settings. At the same time, every age has its freethinkers. Sometimes they both grant a diverse point of view and provide just the historical type you want for your story.


Fade Manley @ 630

And you know what? I find an unrealistically diverse story bad! It is a failure of writing, as much as I would side-eye a story that took place in 1980s Los Angeles where every single character, from the principal of the school to the cleaning lady to the strong-jawed straight white dude protagonist, spoke in Valley Girl talk. "Diversity" isn't some sort of cute sugar rose that you put on the top of the cake at the very end; it's one of the main ingredients of cake.

One hundred percent agreed!


Heather Rose Jones at 643

I've spent far too much of my reading life being told that, as a lesbian, I don't exist, I don't belong, I don't matter, I don't count. I'm willing to cut a fair amount of slack to stories that contradict those messages. I may wince when reading them. I may be very careful about recommending them to others. But there are times when they're like a bottle of warm brackish water in the middle of a desert and there is no water sweeter than that.

Hopefully this discussion can play a role in fixing the problem. If we can't have a forest or farmlant, the desert should be filled with cannisters of clean, sweet water at the very least.

That filter is part of my evaluation process and I consider it as valid as any other. Should I decline to participate in the critical process simply because there are fewer books on the market that respect my tastes?

Absolutely not. Lack of diversity and other issues that are pertinent to you are all valid criticisms. Your tastes matter, regardless of the yappy puppies screaming about SJWs!

#811 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 06:20 PM:

Alex R. @809: Just in case it isn't apparent by now, the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" is a placeholder for any kind of diversity failure.

Yes! It is a placeholder that has come up often. That is exactly the problem with it. It is a very offensive shorthand because it points to real people as if they are an example of Unlikely or Unreal or Poorly Handled just by existing. I really wish that people who want to talk about un-nuanced representation could find a new phrase that isn't about real people.

That said: I very much appreciate that you have come back to discuss things that you're learning from this thread. Sometimes I feel like I'm shouting into a void. And sometimes I learn that my idea of how to Fix Things has been hurting people, and it's not always particularly easy for me to change my mind. Especially if the previous opinions were a lot easier for me to hold than the new ones.

There are some matters of diversity where I know my writing still clunks. I'm trying to work on it; but I expect to get a few "You did what" reactions from people along the way, as I try to learn.

Even the most clueless English teacher will react to the "Black, Handicapped Lesbian" by grabbing for his/her red pen and insisting that the student do a better, more realistic, less clumsy job of showing true diversity.

I would like to see that happen. But I admit, honestly, that I'd like to see that English teacher red-penning the nine straight white able-bodied guys with a little "Unrealistic! What's the plot reason for this homogeneity?" before they tag the poorly written handicapped black lesbian.

To get back to my earlier metaphor, when someone brings me a hideous-tasting cake with a single sugar rose balanced on top, I want to address the poor composition of the cake before I get into the bad frosting job.

#812 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 09:35 PM:

Fade @ 811: Slansexual four-legged Grand Fenwickian would probably not convey the right idea, would it.

#813 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 09:42 PM:

Steven @812: Hey, I'm willing to start using it as my hypothetical example of poorly-integrated diversity if you are!

#814 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 10:15 PM:

Done!

#815 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 10:59 PM:

re diversity: Robert Parker (detective novelist, ca. 1970 to his death a couple of years ago) has black, gay, non-heteronormative behavioral, characters.

They just are. His main protagonist is sort of prototypical "tough guy" who also likes poetry and cooking. In one of the early stories (ca. 1975) he has someone call him a gourmet cook, or chef (I forget which), to which he replies, "no, I'm not a chef. People only say that because I'm a man. I just cook".

Which acknowledged the way people put people into boxes. The people in Parker's stories are. If they aren't typical, they aren't typical. But if you knew them, you would know they were atypical; so as an author, he makes sure you know them. It doesn't have to be relevant to the plot; because it's relevant to the characters, even if they aren't relevant to the plot. It put meat on the bones of an otherwise dull narrative.

#816 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 11:02 PM:

Well, I have at least one nomination for each of Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, and Best Related Work.

#817 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2015, 11:03 PM:

Alex R. Exactly. I'd especially like to note (2) where this discussion is concerned; throwing a Black character into Medieval Norway is not a great idea.

Not a great example since the Norse were slave raiding all the way down to Gibraltar.

One of the great failings of history is the idea that Europe was isolated, and homogenous, until sometime after Columbus. I'd find a North African, or even sub-saharan African more plausible than I would a member of the various Arctic peoples (with the exception of Lapplanders and Finns, but I digress).

#818 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 02:47 AM:

I found that the matriarchal, magic-using culture in Margaret Ball's Flameweaver/Dreamweaver duology felt a lot more familiar to me than her Victorians. I don't mean she did her Victorians badly, it's just that the past was more of another country than modern invented culture in the story.

#819 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 02:54 AM:

Kevin Standlee @789: the Nitpicking & Flyspecking (Rules) Committee

I can't tell you how much it tickles my Anal-Retentive Virgo nature to know that this committee exists, and that it has this name...!

#820 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 02:59 AM:

And:

There are quite a few tools in the parliamentary bag of clubs for dealing with bad actors.

::snort!:: These are no doubt provided by the same manufacturer as Scalzi's Mallet of Loving Correction.

What doubly tickles me (in addition to the obvious effort and dedication of the participants) is the thoroughly Fannish flavor of the whole proceeding.

#821 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 03:27 AM:

Trismegistus Shandy @795: There are a number of professions and trades that tend to be overrepresented, for obvious reasons -- assassin, medical doctor, pirate, spy.

It's been pointed out that on television, historically, some ridiculously overwhelming percentage of main characters are either some variation of cop (or doctors, coming in as a close second, and lawyers a close third), or "travelling angel". Basically, professions where conflict and strife are built in.

#822 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 04:35 AM:

Andrew M @800: I keep coming across the assumption that we are all reading and liking new works all the time, so when nomination time comes we just have to cast our memory back over what we have read.

This comment is, in a nutshell, why I freak out at the prospect. In addition to all the factors he cites, I just don't read all that much.

Leah Miller's suggestion of audio fiction is an excellent one, but the research required to do that is nontrivial. And is complicated by the fact that my local library system doesn't have much audio SF. And I sure as hell can't afford to go out and buy it.

Sadly, I just don't think it's in the cards for me to be an effective nominator, for the forseeable future.

I may resort to offering a supporting membership again to someone who reads, but couldn't afford the membership.

#823 ::: Wendy M. Grossman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 07:10 AM:

63 (SJW75261): Yes, I was thinking exactly that as I read the results: this was a DDoS attack. It would be extremely foolish to think that this defeat puts an end to it. If you look around the history of DDoS attacks on the internet in general as a cyber security phenomenon, you'll see that the techniques keep improving and they keep getting worse. It may not be this same group that mounts the next one, but *someone* will use this year's effort as something to improve on for the future. I hope the folks in charge of this will take it seriously.

wg

#824 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2015, 09:23 AM:

I was reading a piece about Anita Sarkeesian, and it had this paragraph; tied in from an earlier piece about the online environment (and it's background of harassment), which seemed relevant to what I see as one of the core issues (i.e. why diversity gets pushback):

When the internet began, Sarkeesian says, the idea was that it was going to be the “ultimate democracy”. When I wrote about online harassment for the Guardian in 2007, postgraduate student Alice Marwick – now a professor at Fordham University in New York – told me, “The promise of the early internet was that it would liberate us from our bodies, and all the oppressions associated with prejudice. We’d communicate soul to soul, and get to know each other as people, rather than judging each other based on gender or race.” But because the default, assumed identity was white and male, anyo