For the past few years the Hugo Awards have been embroiled in controversy around what have been called the Puppy campaigns. Originally a campaign to get Larry Correia a Hugo that had the ironic slogan of trying to end puppy sadness, which morphed into ‘Sad Puppies 2’ and ‘Sad Puppies 3’ as discussed ad-nauseum here.
Sad Puppies 4 took a different tack but was not uncontroversial. Opinions on how like or unlike the previous campaigns it was have been mixed. Looking at the net results I think it operated in a benign way. There is obvious evidence of Sad Puppy-like voters voting for things that with or without a list/slate/whatever you could guess they would vote for but that is exactly what the SP4 propaganda claimed they were trying to do – get a group of fans involved and voting for stuff they liked. I can see no moral objection to that in those terms. SP4 did not end up being a slate, it ended up being a way of helping people participate in the Hugos. That doesn’t mean I suddenly agree with all of Dave Freer’s overblown conspiracies, Sarah Hoyt’s angry rants or Kate Paulk’s hypersensitivities – it just means that’s their world and yup, they are entitled to their opinions.
The damage this year (and of course last year) is from Vox Day. His campaign was christened ‘Rabid Puppies’ and like the most naive of idiots Brad Torgersen spent a lot of time acting as a Sad Puppy smokescreen for Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies – whilst simultaneously demanding that everybody make a distinction between the two that he kept failing to make.
This year there is no need for a collective name of ‘Puppies’ to describe the impact of two dual campaigns. There is only one impact that matters to the ballot – the Rabid Puppy slate and specifically the Castalia House entries. Using the term ‘Puppies’ has an unfortunate side effect of bringing in the irrelevant issue of Sad Puppies 4. So a general criticism of the damage done to the awards that is phrased in terms of ‘Puppies’ will generate irrelevant side arguments with supporters of Sad Puppies.
I’m going to try and avoid using the term ‘Puppies’ as a general term except in a historical context (or when I’m actually talking about baby dogs). Rabid/Castalia make more sense as terms and indicate better what the problem is – a vanity publisher trying to rig an award out of spite and ideology.