Dr Plokta (drplokta) wrote,
Dr Plokta

Hugo Thoughts

Having posted a proposed solution to the issue, and a couple of analyses arising from it, here are my actual thoughts, in no very coherent order. Non-friend comments are screened.

1. My first Worldcon was 1987, and I've attended roughly half of the Worldcons since then. I was shortlisted for a Hugo every year from 2000 to 2008 (although Wikipedia incorrectly lists me as a nominee in 1999 as well, and was a winner in 2005 and 2006. I'm a frequent business meeting attendee, and I was a bid chair and a division head for last year's Worldcon, Loncon 3. I think I'm as well qualified as anyone to have an opinion.

2. I'm angry about what has happened to an award that was meaningful to me before I even knew what science fiction fandom was, and so are a lot of other people. But it is important to channel that anger in ways that are constructive rather than destructive, rather than acting hastily and regretting it later.

3. Fortunately and unfortunately, the process will make it difficult to act hastily. Any changes to the rules cannot take effect until 2017 at the earliest, possibly 2018 if one carried-forward resolution from Loncon 3 is ratified at Sasquan (I think its ratification just got a lot less likely).

4. That doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done next year. Only about 15% of the people eligible to nominate actually did so. The more people that participate in the process, the harder it is to game. I did not nominate this year. It was a mistake I will not be making again.

5. That in turn does not mean that we should have a "happy kittens" slate of inclusive and socially relevant SF to counterbalance the sad puppies. Slates are the problem, not the solution, and if the Hugos are reduced to competing slates then they are dead.

6. It's not a bad thing that people with different views are joining Worldcon and voting in the Hugos. That's what we want to happen. What's bad is that they are voting a collective slate rather than their own actual individual preferences, which gives them a disproportionate influence on the shortlist. We need to find a way to encourage them to actually follow the spirit of the rules, even though this means that their preferences are unlikely to be recognised in the results since they are in a minority.

7. Any "solution" that allows voters or nominees to be disqualified (other than because they're actually ineligible) can and will be abused. We must move forwards rather than backwards and make the process more inclusive not less inclusive. And it's seldom wise to actually persecute groups who have delusions of persecution.

8. It's striking how little effect the slate has had on the Best Dramatic Presentation categories. Does anyone think that Interstellar or Game of Thrones needed the help of the puppies to get on the ballot? We need more media SF that is offensive to white male heteronormative middle-American values, and we should be finding or creating it, and nominating it. Although in fact Game of Thrones is full of things that the puppies are supposed to be against. Did they actually watch and understand it?

9. I salute those who were on a puppy slate and refused their nomination. I've experienced the thrill of a first Hugo nomination, and I understand how difficult it must have been. Congratulations to Matthew David Surridge and, yes, to Larry Correia for doing the right thing. And perhaps one or two others who have not yet become public (or I've not heard about). I will bear you in mind for future nominations.

10. I understand those who have said they will read the nominees and vote based on their individual qualities. It's a fair and principled position, although it is not my position, as I believe the abuse of process means that they should not receive any votes. What I ask is that you only vote for a sad/rabid puppies candidate if you sincerely believe it is the best of the year in its category, and not just the best of an impoverished shortlist, especially in the six categories where there are no puppy-free alternatives.

11. If you were on a sad/rabid puppy slate without your knowledge or consent, then you have my sympathy. I know there are some good people who have no connection or sympathy with the puppies' views in that position. Nevertheless, you are now in a no-win situation that is not of your making.

12. Suppose there are five nominees in a category. Thing you like a lot, thing you like a bit, thing you have no opinion about, and two things you detest. If you vote for "thing you like a lot", then "thing you like a bit", then No Award, and then the "things you detest", just to show them by putting them behind No Award, then you have helped the "things you detest" to beat the "thing you have no opinion about". Always remember that anything that isn't on your ballot at all is ranked behind everything that is on your ballot.

13. Remember, this is the last gasp of a dying subculture. The culture wars are over, and they have lost. It's similar in spirit to Hitler's (disobeyed) orders that Paris should be destroyed by the retreating German forces.
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