Hugo Nominations Are Out, And The Rabid Puppies Dominated The List. A Few Thoughts.


Spacefaring Kittens publishes the list of nominees (marking which ones came from the Rabid Puppies list, which is most of them), and comments:

…How about just no awarding the shit and ignoring the troll’s trolling?

I’m basically with this view this year.

Winning a Hugo is a two-stage process; a first stage to select the shortlist of nominees, and a second stage to select the winners from the shortlist.

Last year, the Sad and Rabid Puppies selected a bunch of sub-par work that never would have made the Hugo ballot without the use of slates (slates: groups of fans strategically nominating from a pre-agreed short list in order to combine their voting power). By gaming the vote this way, they dominated the Hugo nominations in the first stage of voting. But in the second stage of voting, which can’t be effectively slated, virtually all their choices ended up coming below “No Award,” the option Hugo voters can choose if they feel that none of the nominees deserve to win a Hugo Award.

This year, the Sad Puppies have more-or-less backed off slating, and just published a recommendation list, arrived at through an open voting procedure. But the Rabid Puppies once again did a slate, chosen by one person – professional asshat Vox Day – which dominated Hugo nominations this year. But Day deliberately chose many nominees that would plausibly have been Hugo nominated anyway. (No one thinks that Neil Gaiman requires Vox Day’s help to get Hugo-nominated, for instance.)

Last year, I ranked every Puppy nominee below “no award” on my ballot. That seemed to be the right thing to do. Winning a Hugo is a two-stage process, and works that couldn’t have gotten past the first stage of voting without gaming the vote, in my view can’t legitimately win a Hugo Award.

This year, I don’t think I’ll do the same. It seems ridiculous to penalize works that could plauisbly have made it onto the Hugo ballot just because (as John Scalzi put it) “the Puppies are running in front of an existing parade and claiming to lead it.”  This year I’ll read all the nominees, and vote for the ones I think are wonderful; those that I think don’t deserve to be on the ballot I’ll rank below “No Award.”

A few other Hugo-notes:

1) My guess is that we’ll see Noah Ward win on at least a couple of categories this year, but most categories will have a named winner.

2) Next year, assuming the voters at this year’s Worldcon agree to this, there will be a change in the Hugo vote-counting rules – E Pluribus Hugo – which might reduce the ability of a minority of slate voters to game the process and unfairly dominate Hugo nominations. Early data may indicate that EPH won’t make as large a difference as people are hoping. If further changes are necessary to prevent the Rabid Puppies from gaming the system to dominate nominations, I expect further changes will be made.

3) By a wide margin, more people voted to nominate works for the Hugos in 2016 than in any prior year. And the Rabid Puppies still dominated the outcome. If there are hundreds of possible nominees, and if most nominators vote honestly, then a small group of slate voters can overpower the large majority of honest voters. I hope that this result will persuade people who have been saying “all’s that’s needed is for more people to nominate” to change their minds.

4) A tedious parody of “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love,” which was published on Vox Day’s blog, is one of the nominees for best short story. 1) This shows that the Rabid Puppies are in no way against message fic. 2) This shows that the Rabid Puppies are in no way about ensuring that good-quality fiction is nominated.

5) But on the bright side, as Mandolin pointed out on Twitter, this makes “Dinosaurs” the first piece of fiction to have its fanfic nominated for a Hugo. History!

6) I wonder if there was no effort to nominate “HPMOR” at all, or if HPMOR’s fans tried but just didn’t have enough votes?

7) DragonCon is starting a fandom awards that is connected to a much larger convention than the WorldCon (home of the Hugos), and which anyone can vote in online. Which is what the Puppies have been saying they want all along. So will they be content with getting what they want and stop trying to fuck with the Hugo Awards?

8) Once again, no sign at all of a competing left-wing slate controlling the Hugo Awards. It’s only the Puppies who are doing this shit.

9) I’m going to try to post less often about the Puppies this year, because we’ve all already heard this song. But at least it gives me an excuse to post adorable puppy photos.

Related reading: Asking the Wrong Questions: The 2016 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees

This entry posted in Hugo Awards. Bookmark the permalink. 

10 Responses to Hugo Nominations Are Out, And The Rabid Puppies Dominated The List. A Few Thoughts.

  1. 1
    Cathy says:

    I suspect that even without e pluribus hugo, the rabids may not have as big an influence on the Hugo finalists next year.

    Any puppies who had a supporting or attending membership in Sasquan was eligible to nominate this year without buying another membership. Unless they have a supporting or attending membership for MidAmericon2, they won’t be able to vote for who wins the Hugo this year. And unless they either buy a supporting membership or attending membership for Midamericon2 or Helsinki or a supporting or attending membership for whichever bid wins 2018, they won’t be able to nominate next year. OTOH, 2017 is in Helsinki, where Castalia House is based and VD might actually go, so it is possible a decent number of his followers will decide to spring for another $40-60 for supporting memberships for the spectacle of VD actually showing up at the Hugos and going to the parties.

    I predict that when the stats list is released after the Hugos, the thing that will annoy me the most will be that as with the last Eugie Foster last year, the late David Hartwell will likely be right below the puppy line.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Any puppies who had a supporting or attending membership in Sasquan was eligible to nominate this year without buying another membership.

    That’s a really good point.

    I predict that when the stats list is released after the Hugos, the thing that will annoy me the most will be that as with the last Eugie Foster last year, the late David Hartwell will likely be right below the puppy line.


  3. 3
    Kai Jones says:

    Don’t rank works below No Award! That is a misunderstanding of how the voting works. Just don’t list them at all. Rank only the works you think deserve the award, then put “No Award” at the bottom of your list, and don’t include the names of any works or persons you don’t think deserve the award.

  4. 4
    Mandolin says:

    Kai — not true.

    If you have preferences among which things you would like to see get the award IF there must be one, then you rank under no award.

    For instance, all Castalia stuff goes at the bottom, so anything else that’s clearly a corruption pick (as opposed to just trying to sabotage people) would, for me, have rankings under no award in order to convey that.

  5. 5
    Kai Jones says:

    Mandolin: According to Kevin Standlee, one of the administrators of the Hugos (at GRRM’s livejournal :

    If you don’t think a finalist deserved to be on the ballot at all, don’t rank it, and vote No Award somewhere on your ballot.

    This is the most straightforward way of “downvoting” a finalist. Rank anything you want to win above No Award. When you get to the point where you don’t think any of the remaining finalists deserve to be on the ballot, rank No Award and stop ranking candidates.

  6. 6
    Mandolin says:

    It’s straightforward as he says. That doesn’t mean it’s the only method. The other, which is less straightforward, permits more subtleties. Could I be wrong? I suppose, but we argued this at length last year, and I am 95% certain I am not.

    No Award is treated in two ways, as far as I understand it. First, it is treated as an actual contestant. It usualy receives the fewest votes and is removed from voting in the first round. After the first round, voters’ votes go to their second favorite. So, if I vote no award first round, and it loses, then my vote can go to the thing I would least object to winning.

    At the end, there is a head-to-head test which has some name which I don’t remember, where they check to make sure that the winning candidate was not voted below no award by a majority of voters. If it was, I believe the result is declared invalid. I’m not aware of it having happened.

  7. 7
    Kai Jones says:

    I think we’re talking past each other! I read Kevin to say that you shouldn’t put any entries below No Award that are entries you believe do not deserve to be on the ballot–different from whether you would object to them winning.

  8. 8
    Jameson Quinn says:

    Hi, it’s me; one of the main EPH drafters.

    Bruce Schneier and I have a paper being refereed that does indeed show that (in my opinion) EPH works, in that (given current populations) slate voters of any stripe can’t fully take over any categories; but not as well as some (including me) might have hoped. I really wish I could say more about that (I have plenty to say) but my lips are sealed. We still hope and expect that paper, as well as other analysis based on last years ballots (slightly less academic and more fan-relevant, though still pretty dry), to be available before the con. But it’s mostly out of my hands.

    (Just had a thought: I guess I’ll be Hugo-eligible next year, heh… as is pretty much any actual fan, but still, let me dream.)

    In terms of voting below NA or just putting NA at bottom: it probably doesn’t matter, as last year showed that NA can beat out slate works if people feel it should; and if by some miracle a Castalia work was able to beat NA it could very probably beat whatever non-Castalia Puppy nominee non-Puppies threw up in a last-ditch effort to stop it. Nonetheless, it is technically true that voting below NA could in principle help a work you consider unworthy-but-a-lesser-evil beat a greater-evil. So Mandolin is technically correct, though I think Kevin’s advice that Kai is citing is good enough in practice.

  9. 9
    Mandolin says:

    Oh, okay! Sorry I didn’t understand folks, and I agree the Standlee is probably equivalent in practice.

    But I still want a way to vote precisely, even if it doesn’t really matter. ;)

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Jameson! I always appreciate your comments. And preventing slate voters from sweeping categories would in fact be a major improvement over the status quo.

    Regarding how to vote No Award, for what it’s worth, I just came across this comment from Richard Gadsden:

    I’ve run the numbers properly now. It doesn’t make the difference I thought it did.

    Off-ballot has exactly the same meaning as ranked below everything on the ballot.

    If you’re interested, I’d misread a minor clause in the “No Award Test” rule. I thought that your vote only counted in the NA test if it had both NA and the PW on the ballot. This is not the case; if you include only one of the two, then your vote is also counted.