Apr 042015

AoC_Artwork_02-612x337-612x337-612x337So it’s obvious at this point that the traditional WorldCon audience should no longer sit back and hope that the Sad Puppies will go away. Larry & Crew just spanked the Hugo nominations, getting a majority in every category that matters, and fully taking over two of them.

The Hugos have been, for at least as long as I’ve been interested in them, a liberal playground. This isn’t really an accident – liberals and conservatives have different taste in art. But it has been unstated. And now, this free-form garden where liberals would gather and kvetch and finally choose one best work from those that appeal to them, has been invaded by a well-organized force. One thousand liberal readers, splintered and used to arguing amongst themselves over which tulip has the finest form, is overwhelmed a block of a few hundred that have pre-committed to voting for a rose that they may not even think is the best rose, but it’s good enough if they get to beat the tulip-lovers.

As Eliezer said a number of years ago “communities die primarily by refusing to defend themselves.”

There’s a number of ways this could go from here. The first is that the traditional WorldCon goers organize as well in response. The Happy Hippogriffs would do all their kvetching and cajoling and convincing beforehand, and once they’ve decided on a final slate of their own, they put it forward to counter the Sad Puppies slate. This basically just moves the current process back one step, and results in the Hugos becoming a struggle between two major parties, with the winner decided by which side has more money. Much like our current political process! This would be a damned shame. If it were to happen though, the liberal side would need a figure to rally behind. Scalzi is the obvious choice, but it sounds like he doesn’t want the role. Also, the nomination period should be lengthened by a few months, since that’s where all the real deciding would happen.

A second option is to change the rules to keep WorldCon a place that liberals can gather without invaders showing up to smash the scenery. I kinda like this option, because I’m low-brow and I suck at subtlety. But the only viable way to limit membership would be to say that only people who actually attend WorldCon get to nominate & vote. And that would also be a shame, because it would limit membership to only those people with enough time and money to travel to a SF lit con! The demographic would get significantly older overnight.

A third option was mentioned by Scalzi – don’t cast a vote for anything on the Sad Puppy Slate, and vote for No Award as your final choice. There are more of us than there are them, so this should work. But how many years are people willing to keep showing up at a party for an award that is always given to “No Award”? If current trends continue, the Hugo Awards could turn into the What Larry and Brad Like awards, with their side spending a lot of money to nominate works, and our side spending a lot of money to attend WorldCon, and in the end both sides being frustrated as the night ends with a bunch of No Awards being given out. That just seems stupid.

I think the best option is for Larry Correia to create a new awards convention. He has proven that there is interest in one. He has a large contingent of fans who can’t wait to have their own party, where they can decide which work the best among those that appeal to their tastes. He’s mobilized them, and shown that they are willing to work in concert and spend a fair amount of money and effort to make this come together! Plus it would be a huge win for him. AND then he wouldn’t have the ignominy of becoming the Conservative SF Reader’s Pope, who chooses what books they will vote for in the Hugos every year. Instead he would be the founder of their own space, forever remembered as a Creator of Something Awesome instead of a Vandal of WorldCon.

  2 Responses to “Barbarians At The Gates”

  1. I think the best course of action is pretty clear. Just ignore any votes which follow the gamergate for books slate. If nominations which followed slates were automatically disqualified then surely the Hugo awards would again make some kind of sense?
    There has to be some math out there to fix this problem. How the hell can humans hope to invent and control AI if they cannot put together some maths to ignore sad puppies automatically. Failing some kind of maths doing it just get a few level headed enthusiats to pull out all the sadpuppy votes and throw them in the bin.
    I literally cannot understand why sad puppies are allowed to vote.

    • Well it’s a systemic problem. Right now the Hugo’s work by formal rules – you pay your money, you get a vote, end of story. If the rule was changed to disallow votes for works that appeared on a slate, than all anyone would have to do to game the system is put works they *disliked* on a slate, and therefore get those works disqualified. For vandals like the Puppies to be specifically excluded would take human intelligence, not just a formal system. But it would be pretty time and labor intensive to set up a judge-system, and perhaps more importantly, it would be extremely tough to get the political will to do it.

      The SF community as a whole is rather distrustful of authority, perhaps too much so. In their efforts to be egalitarian and anti-authoritarian they’ve become so wary of unity that a few hundred Puppies uniting managed to win a striking victory despite being a minority. Perhaps after our own Voldemort/Vox Day incidents we’ll take some greater defensive action, but it’ll take a few more years of this for that to happen, I don’t think anyone’s willing to do anything game-changing yet.

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