And other Hugo slime. There is a lot of it. Let’s start off with David.
First, there were at least a dozen people involved in the asterisk decision, most of whom have had considerable experience in Worldcon fandom. The idea was to find a way to acknowledge the elephant in the room without being deliberately antagonistic.As the discussion proceeded, we realized that we had to acknowledge that this was “the year of the asterisk” — and then we realized that we could make the asterisk a salute to Terry Pratchett, because he was a master of the footnote — and we could sell asterisks as a way to raise money for his favorite charity, the Orangutan Foundation.At no time, was there ever any intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. As I said repeatedly, at least once a week for the four months preceding the award ceremony, the event was the nominees’ night to shine and we were planning a celebration of the nominees. In fact, those of us involved in the planning were tiptoeing on eggshells the entire time, worrying over every single moment of the ceremony.
We knew a lot of people would be on edge, when the evening finally arrived, we saw that there was a lot of tension in the room.But let’s be honest. There were people who arrived at the Hugo reception and the award ceremony with the intention of being offended, no matter what happened. These were the people who decided that the asterisks were intended as an insult.I suppose I should be sorry about inadvertently hurting people’s feelings — and I would apologize to people like Toni Weisskopf and Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Ken Burnside (and a few others) if they took it the wrong way. I had hoped that everyone would see it as a chance to laugh away some of the tension.
But the real hurt to all the qualified people on the ballot was the damage done by the slate-mongering in the first place and that’s where the real anger should be directed — not at the attempt to leaven the pain. People who should have gone home with trophies came in behind No Award because the great majority of fans voted no to the slates.
And yet, there is this — despite all the Monday-morning complaining by the outrage committee, the sale of those little wooden asterisks raised $2800 for the Orangutan foundation — and that’s $2800 more than all the pissing and moaning and whining and name-calling raised for anything.There are 400 of our red-haired cousins living at the sanctuary in Borneo. It costs an enormous amount of money to care for these magnificent animals, food and medicine in particular, but also rescuing orphans and training them to survive again in the wild — the issue is the prevention of extinction. Over here, I like knowing that fans made a difference. (Rent the DVD of “Born To Be Wild” to see the work being done.)It seemed to me that the great majority of Worldcon attendees took an upset and turned it into something else, something that made a difference — that’s the true fannish tradition. And I can’t apologize for that.
Kary English I was hurt by the asterisks.
They were displayed on a table at the pre-Hugo reception, and I walked by the table without taking one. I was approached by a couple of people during the reception who wanted to make sure I got mine. Some of them were well-meaning and probably didn’t know who I was, and some of them seemed to want to make sure I got mine in a not so nice way.
After several instances of saying “no, thank you,” I finally accepted one because it was clear that not holding one was making me a target for further attempts to get me to take one.
To be honest, the whole thing felt like that creepy guy who maneuvers you into a situation where you have to choose between letting him give you a completely inappropriate hug or making a scene in public.
I would also like to push back against the idea that those of us who were hurt went there looking to be hurt, or that those of us who were hurt deserved to be hurt (said by someone in a recent File 770 roundup).
This is victim blaming, and it is not OK.
This is how the puppy kickers get their kicks. by adding insult to injury and then not owning up to their intentions. That whole travesty was intended right from the start to hurt those that were nominated by the Puppies, to demonstrate in no uncertain terms what true fandom thought of those who they should realize, kept them fed. Well David should realize that buying books or NOT buying books is a CHOICE and NOT buying, NOT reading and NOT having anything to do with puppy kicker is looking like the right thing for everybody.
The withdrawals continue.
Why did we decline? While we won’t know the exact number of nominating ballots until the stats are released (after the Hugos are awarded), it’s clear that Black Gate largely benefited from Vox Day’s Rabid Puppy Hugo slate. As we reported Wednesday, roughly 80% of this year’s Hugo ballot was dictated by that slate — it swept six categories, including Short Story, Graphic Story, and Fanzine. Our choice to withdraw was informed by many of the same factors that led us to make the same decision last year.
It also seems fairly obvious that we cannot win. Of the 61 nominees the Puppy ballots placed on the Hugo ballot last year, only one, Guardians of the Galaxy, received an award. The Rabid Puppy brand, which BG is now unwillingly associated with, is so toxic that it’s virtually impossible to overcome that association without the equivalent of a $100 million advertising campaign. Those nominees who stubbornly argued otherwise last year, and attended the Hugo ceremony with high hopes, learned that the hard way, unceremoniously losing out to No Award in a painful rout across virtually every category. (Incidentally, I also voted No Award for most of the ballot.)
So the fact they may not win means that they are happy to slap the faces of those that nominated them because they weren’t the “right people.”
Of course George weighs in.
This is the second year that BLACK GATE has refused a nomination, so one certainly has to admire them for their consistency. And no one can deny that this is a very difficult decision for those, like BLACK GATE, that were put on the ballot by the Rabids without their consent (it is an easy decision for the Rabids themselves and their allies, of course, most of whom are squealing as happily as pigs in shit).
Since I’m on record as urging the “hostages” to stand their ground, I can’t applaud this decision. But I will not criticize it either. They had a tough call and they made it, consistent with their own politics and principles.
I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning. I am not going to go so far as to say they were the favorite… but I think they would have had a shot. All five of this year’s nominees were on the Rabid Slate, yes. But two of the five — BLACK GATE and FILE 770 — are clearly hostages, slated without their consent. Despite the success of No Award in last year’s voting, I think the presence of so many hostages this year changes the equation. My hope is that fewer fans will resort to the Nuclear Option. If so, I think FILE 770 will win here… but BLACK GATE would have given Glyer’s zine its strongest competition. Oh, and yes, No Award will be contending too. TANGENT might have a very slim outside chance.
BLACK GATE’s withdrawal changes all that, of course. The big question is, what takes its place? Whatever it is, I’d say that it instantly becomes a major contender here, just as THREE BODY PROBLEM became a contender last year after Marko Kloos pulled out of novel. My guess is that the rocket goes to either FILE 770 or the new nominee…
No Award is an option. The problem for the kickers is that it’s an option for everybody. Have they thought about what it’s going to look like if NO Hugos are awarded. The temptation to No award over any non puppy choice is rather overwhelming if this keeps up.
Of course Damien has an option. “Ban all the puppies.”
Here’s the thing Damien, Puppies are fans too and they paid their registrations just like everybody else and are entitled to the full privileges of their Worldcon memberships. Banning anybody because of how they vote means that the Worldcon would be obligated to pay the money back. Which Worldcon cannot afford. Damien, if Worldcon did what yo wanted, there will shortly thereafter be NO Worldcon.
Daniel Polansky accepts the nomination:
Some background: I wrote a book called The Builders, about a team of woodland animals called together for one final act of nefarious violence, sort of a Peckinpah Redwall. I like to think that it is funny, mean, and well-written. It is, indisputably, utterly apolitical. It sat on my hard drive for a while, and then the kind folk at Tor.com bought it for the new novella list they were putting together. People seemed to sort of like it, and it sold pretty well for a novella, and fans sent me cool art in the shape of the characters, and I cashed a check and felt generally good about myself. Maybe six weeks ago my editor at Tor contacted me to let me know I was part of the Rabid Puppy Hugo slate for best novella. (If you don’t know who the Rabid Puppies are, I’m not going to get into it here. Google ‘Hugo controversy’, or better yet, go outside and take a long walk, or read a book, or hug a child. Your child, I mean. Or an appropriate child at least, not just anyone’s child. Where were we?) My reactions were something like: “Who? Them? Why? Aren’t they boycotting Tor? Do I know what the world ‘boycott’ means?” My team at Tor suggested it was best to just ignore the thing, and in deference to their greater expertise on the matter I decided to do just that, which played well to the broad apathy which is my defining characteristic. In retrospect I probably wish I had asked to be taken off said list, though apparently Alistair Reynolds did just that and had no luck. The matter seemed irrelevant when, midway through April, I had yet to be contacted from anyone at the Hugo’s. It seemed my dreams of putting a silver phallus on my desk would have to be pushed back another year.
You can imagine my surprise when my twitter feed blew up Tuesday with the announcement that the Builders had been nominated in the best novella category.
That brings us to the present. It’s been, frankly, a frustrating week. An essentially private person, I resent intensely having been dragged into a controversy which I had no role in creating and little interest in generally. My initial reaction was to withdraw from the contest immediately—I wrote a really nasty post to this effect, condemning all involved parties, raining rhetorical fire down from the sky, etc. ‘A pox on both your houses! You won’t have Dan Polansky to kick around anymore!’ So on and so forth. But upon consideration, and in consultation with some of my fellow nominees, I’ve decided to stay in, which seems to be the least-worst option. I’m reasonably convinced it minimizes the harm which the organizers of the slate intended to do to the award itself. If you read the Builders, and you thought it was deserving of a Hugo, by all means, vote for it. If you preferred the work of one of the other fine nominees, vote for that. If you want to no-decision the lot of us, that’s entirely understandable as well. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of a matter which has already cost me more in terms of time and energy than I would have preferred to offer to anything that isn’t my work, family, or friends.
A reminder to Puppies to never nominate, buy or read anything by Ms. Bolander again. She apparently doesn’t like having the wrong fans nominate her for awards.
So. That silly cyberpulp story I wrote and sold to Lightspeed a year ago has now managed to net itself a hat trick of nominations: Nebula, Sturgeon, and Hugo. I’m honoured. I’m beyond honoured: I’m fucking stunned and honoured. However, making this pretty much the textbook definition of a pyrrhic victory, the Hugos have yet again been hijacked by semi-sentient anal glands, who spewed hot, smelly ass juice all over the ballot, squeezing deserving legitimate work out and smearing the palmful of legitimate noms who got through with expressed butt infection funk. This gunk is straight-up rancid. Stains clothes, kills flowers, soils hope. In an attempt to be very clever doggies, they also stuck several legitimate, worthy works that would have probably gotten on the ballot anyway onto their slates as shields.
Alyssa Wong is a bit more positive, but don’t these writers understand that if they want to keep the fans they depend on a little gratefulness and a lot less smearing goes a VERY long way. She should be thanking her fans for caring enough about her stuff to give it enough votes to overcome the other nominees, not going on about other fans and how they voted.
What’s amazing to me is how many of the puppy kickers think so little of themselves and their fellow writers and creators that the idea that fans might like their stuff seems unimaginable to them. Somehow it’s all about “shields” or “coverage” rather than admit that puppies may actually have a modicum of good taste. The idea that puppies choose stuff because it’s good, except for Vox’s obvious troll choices, seems never enter their thinking even when theirs plenty of written evidence that was the goal of the sad puppies right from the onset. The idea that the puppies would deliberately pick bad stories simply to kick “deserving” stories off the ballot was absurd in 2015. I don’t think that anybody on the sad puppy side expected to sweep the noms. The puppies just did what everybody else did which was to put together a list and vote on it. I think that the only puppy revolution was the realization that anybody could participate in Fandom and the Hugos And caring enough to pony up the 4o bucks to participate.
Doing a nomination sheet is a bit different than just voting for existing nominees and especially “no awarding” everything in sight. You actually have to think about what you are filling in even if you are just following a slate like the rabid puppy one. I bet that even the rabids took the time to at least look at the stuff that Vox recommended and from what I saw of his recommendations overall, they were by and large deserving. I will also note that the puppies were able to sweep the noms because it seems like the puppy kickers couldn’t bring themselves to care. It’s as if all those “no award registrations that made such a big splash last year couldn’t bring themselves to care enough about nominating the stuff they supposedly wanted to get enough votes to nominate anything. Which says volumes about them. The authors here complaining about getting nominated by the puppies should thank us because otherwise they would be nowhere. The only all reason anybody’s on the ballot is because the puppies wanted to be a part of the science fiction scene. Because apparently True fandom can’t be bothered to nominate anything.
And what was our thanks for wanting to be part of the scene. Well this: “the Hugos have yet again been hijacked by semi-sentient anal glands, who spewed hot, smelly ass juice all over the ballot, squeezing deserving legitimate work out and smearing the palmful of legitimate noms who got through with expressed butt infection funk.” So much for being part of fandom. Well for me at least it’s going to be more NOT buying books from people that treat me like this. If I am considered a “semi-sentient anal gland” certainly I’m too stupid to spend my money on books written by people that think of me that way.
Ps: The Kicker elite want some votes to count and other votes to not count.
A factor regarding invoking the convention Code of Conduct against Griefers (I’m looking at Christopher J Garcia and Sean Wallace in particular) and disqualifying their ballots and revoking their memberships that only came to me this morning:
The current Worldcon in Kansas City does have the right to regulate its own membership. They could, if they so choose, decide to revoke the memberships of individuals for just about any reasons unless it was prohibited by law. So in theory they could revoke the memberships of individual members who they believed were violating their Code of Conduct by the way they cast their Hugo Award nominating ballots.
However, what about the members of the Spokane and Helsinki Worldcons? All of their members as of January 31, 2016 were also eligible to nominate. Kansas City is obliged to honor those nominations as part of the WSFS Constitution, which is the “contract” under which MidAmeriCon II was granted the right to hold the 2016 Worldcon. MAC2 does not have jurisdiction over the memberships of the 2015 and 2017 Worldcons. They don’t have the right to revoke the memberships of members of either of those two conventions. If, as seems likely to me, most of the Griefers are coasting along on the memberships they bought to Sasquan, MAC2 doesn’t seem to me to have the right to ignore those persons’ votes — not unless they could somehow get the legal remnant of the 2015 Worldcon committee to revoke those persons’ memberships.
Yes, I know I’m being legalistic. That’s what I do. Throwing out the rule of law just because you don’t like how some people voted is IMO giving the Griefers exactly what they want — a plausible legal excuse to hammer the Hugo Awards and Worldcon with. They’re trying to goad us into an extra-legal response.
Lacking the Arisians to identify and certify a reliable supply of “philosopher kings”, I think rule of law is our best choice, however annoying some of the intermediate steps may be.
Christopher J Garcia
It’s not about the votes – it’s about the use of the Hugos as a platform for a hate group..
You’d need to withdraw the nominating rights from the previous/subsequent years’ members in order to give a single legal entity (the current Worldcon) the right to revoke the memberships (and thus not count the ballots) of the people you consider unworthy of voting, for whatever reason, including being part of what you’ve decided is a hate group.
Christopher J Garcia
It’s not about the voting. It’s allowing members of a hate group (and the Rabid Puppies qualify as such under the SPLC, ADL, and FBI definitions) to opperate within the awards. We are implicitly accepting their presence by not acting to remove them.
No. You are only a member of WSFS for the current “Worldcon Year,” which runs from end of Worldcon to end of Worldcon. There are, however, residual rights that attach to past and future Worldcons of which you may be a member.
I don’t dispute that there is a de facto hate group acting here. What I’m saying is that while an individual Worldcon may choose to revoke the memberships of its members for any non-prohibited-by-law reason, they cannot IMO legally revoke. Incidentally, one of the “residual rights” is to inspect the accounts of the Worldcon of which you were a member. The “sunshine clause” is rarely invoked, but it is in there.
It’s not about the votes, it’s not about the nominations — so you’re mad at an abstract concept?
I could make the case that the code of conduct applies to all participants in an activity of a particular convention, and that the nomination phase is an activity not of three conventions, but of one particular convention, so that individual convention’s code of conduct would apply. And it is the responsibility of an individual convention to administer the Hugo Awards.
Michael Lee I can see your point; however, I can also see that if I were a member of the previous Worldcon who had my vote tossed by the current Worldcon, I would have standing to sue to the current Worldcon for failing to abide by the terms of their contract (the WSFS Constitution).
Codes of conduct aren’t mentioned in the WSFS Constitution, so it’s unclear just how much any one convention’s CoC can have jurisdiction over another convention’s members. In particular, look at this section of the WSFS Constitution:
Section 1.6: Authority. Authority and responsibility for all matters concerning the Worldcon, except those reserved herein to WSFS, shall rest with the Worldcon Committee, which shall act in its own name and not in that of WSFS. And that seems to me to give a Worldcon to regulate its own members, but not any other convention’s members.
I thought well prior to 2012 the WSFS Constitution permitted the prior year’s worldcon members to nominate, but back before computers it was nearly impossible to make it practical or viable.
Prior years’ members have been eligible to nominate since 1989. The subsequent year’s members were only extended the nominating privilege effective in 2012 (ratified in 2011).
Which is why I am a little miffed at Sasquan. They actually had the power to do it, but they did not.
20-20 hindsight is wonderful.
To be fair, they are doing exactly what they said they would do since the nominating period opened last year.
Wouldn’t it be better to create a rule that the current Worldcon can, at its discretion, reject any Hugo nominee that threatens to bring the Hugos or Worldcon into disrepute? Like the rule that caused the rejection of the name Boaty McBoatface? I’m sure this idea has been suggested before.
Such a rule would be legal, but it does not currently exist. And beware of rules that can be turned against you. However, if you want help crafting such a rule, contact me directly and I’ll help you write it. Convincing two consecutive WSFS Business Meetings to vote for it would be your problem.
I think any NEW rule, would not help for 2016 (and of course not 2015) due to the ratification requirements. I think the WSFS charter founders are pretty crafty in makes things fairly democratic, within the limits of the charters. They just never expected influential arseholes.
Pretty sure fandom has never been short of “influential arseholes”.
… but ones that screw up the Hugos two years in a year ;-P?
WSFS rules are designed with an assumption that people will act in good faith.
I’ve repeatedly said that WSFS operates much like the USA did for the first twenty years after it declared independence. The manifest flaws of the Articles of Confederation led to the adoption of the current much-stronger Constitution of 1787. But it took several years for that to happen, too, and the challenges facing the young USA were a lot worse than a bunch of bad actors trolling a literary award.
I don’t think anybody expected any of the individual arseholes to actually have followers.
True. And most of the individuals within Worldcon-attending fandom have been prepared to play within the _spirit_ of the rules as well as its letter. Heck, there were a couple of “puppy” sympathizers at the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting.
I can assure you that his motion would have failed. There was no way it was going through. But yes, I recall him well. I also recall all the people of the opinion that this was a ‘one off’ and we shouldn’t do anything as they’ll get bored.
That was only the second time that I’ve seen Adjourn moved in its debatable form in any situation other than routinely at the end of a day or of the session. The first time was when I made it myself many years ago (L.A. con III, as I recall) because I thought the people present didn’t want to go in to the nitty-gritty of a complex report I was presenting and wanted to put it off until the next day. I was wrong.
This kind of tortured logic undermines the much needed benefits of Codes of Conduct. Beware.
The move away from a pure legalistic approach represents a major shift in the community over the last few years.
Understood about the beware. Any committee wanting to invoke their Code of Conduct in this situation would have to consider balancing the harm done to itself by Griefers against the potential harm of dealing with a lawsuit from them.
I also worry about the opposite. That they will try to nominate a work that while protected by the absolute speech protections inherent in US will run afoul libel or hate crime laws outside of it. If nothing else it would kill the packet, or require saying “we refuse to distribute this”. Possibly even cause problems with advertising the finalists. A certain title which make accusations about John Scalzi come to mind.
Funny thing, that. Imagine such a case next year, in which Finnish and EU law applies. IMO, the committee would be totally justified in disqualifying such a work, because local law always trumps the WSFS Constitution.
It’s reasonable to anticipate that they will keep moving down the continuum, finding more transgressive works to nominate. They would do it anyway, and if EPH is effective in limiting their impact, would want to devote the slots they get to items that …
Me, too, and it was one of the reasons I didn’t like trying to invoke it as a legitimate reason to disqualify nominations, members, or finalists.
There are two questions in my mind. One are their actions, which are clearly an ongoing campaign of harassment. The other is the works themselves. It should be a much higher bar on that but not an impossible one. What happens when they nominate non-fiction works which promote violence against LGBT persons, racial minorities or Muslims?
Surely the administrators have some wiggle room in those situations? If not then there does need to be a disrepute clause brought in.
I don’t really see much room for maneuver by the Administrators. Every individual natural person is eligible to become a member by existing rules.
I was thinking more if somebody nominated a hardcore porn SF parody or similar? Rather than dealing with members – I was under the impression the administrators had the final word in eligibility?
Tingle’s stuff is more performance art then porn parody. He has a following that loves his over the top antics and hopelessly positive message. But yes, Tingle is absolutely backfiring on Day. He’ll say it was his plan all along but it is stealing his spotlight.
well, I wasn’t actually thinking of Tingle then as, yes, it’s part of a gag. I was thinking more of a “Game of Boners” type stuff.
What’s a “Griefer”?
The people wanting to destroy the Hugo Awards by nominating a slate that includes a fair number of obviously awful things. In effect, the Rabid Puppies.
Somebody who deliberately tries to spoil things for other players.
Although I really think the Chuck Tingle thing is going to backfire spectacularly on Ted.
“Griefing” originally a video gaming term referring to players who kill their own teammates in multiplayer.
I like how it can be easily mistaken as Grifters, which seems appropriate to me given their Sooper Genius Evil Overlord.
“And so it begins…”
Covert J Beach
I would consider canceling memberships based on nominations for the Hugo to be the Nuclear Option. I think this becomes a slippery slope to the point where the Cure will be worse than the Disease. This idea is another version of Strong Administrator, and should be invoked as a last resort and only in desperation. In theory bad ideas should be trampled in the free marketplace of ideas. The Griefers as you refer to them have found a mechanical way to make the marketplace less free (by packing the limited number of nominations.) Even if we can agree that this group needs to be dealt with, there comes the future time where someone with a hot button gets to make a well intentioned call that blows up in the convention’s face. The solution is to free up the marketplace of ideas. EPH+6/4 or Semi-final voting do this.
Update, 05/10/16, an outsider looks in and gives a good summary of event so far.
Chris Chupick weighs in on Sarah’s blog.
More Hugo stuff