Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Hugos (Of Course)

I spent the past weekend at Minicon. I had four panels spread over four days, so I stayed at the con hotel, which is in the middle of a suburban wasteland. Since I did not have a car, that meant I was trapped. It was too long a period. I alternated between being hyper, due to a lot of input, and crashing in my hotel room thinking dark thoughts about life.

This is the problem with going to a 1,000 person con if you are an introvert.

I got back home exhausted and discovered the Hugo Award nominations had been gamed. In case you don't know, two groups of right-wing writers (the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies) put together slates and organized their followers to (a) buy supporting memberships to the World Science Fiction Convention and (b) nominate only the names on the slates. This gave each of the Puppy candidates a block, and they won many places on the final Hugo ballot.

(The Hugo is selected by members of the World Science Fiction Convention. It's the fan award for SFF. Many readers of SFF don't to Worldcon and don't buy supporting memberships, but the Hugo is the best we have as a popular award given by readers. As a rule, only a few of the Worldcon's members nominate, which makes the nomination process easy to game. Many more people vote on the final ballot.)

It is not against the Hugo rules to block vote, but it's against tradition and unfair to the writers actually liked by the con attendees. Some good writing did not make the final ballot, kept off the Sad and Rabid Puppies.

The Rabid Puppies apparently solicited GamerGate folk to help in this process. If you recall, the GamerGaters are the people who threaten to rape and murder women in order to drive them out of gaming. One female game designer moved out of her house on the advice of the police.

For more details, see this. In addition, here is a post by long-time SFF editor Patrick Neilsen Hayden. And here is writer Charles Stross's take on the situation.

John Scalzi, among many others, has suggested a response: the rest of us should get supporting memberships and vote for the people on the ballot who are not Puppies, then vote "No Award." The Hugo use an Australian ballot or instant runoff. If enough people do not list the Puppy candidates at all, then the non-Puppies or No Award will win. A lot of people are buying Worldcon supporting memberships at the moment.

I figure this is the best solution for this year. The Worldcon con committee will have to figure out how to handle the awards ceremony, and the Worldcon rules committee will have to take a look at nominating and voting rules. But I am on neither.

While I put together this informational post, I did some Googling. There are some really nasty people on the Internet, and some of them are Puppies. I think this is a serious situation. People who threaten to throw acid, rape and kill should not be ignored.

Anyway, I am back from Minicon.


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