Some Reactions to the Dragon Con U-Turn

The indignation industry took a bit of time to warm up but eventually the news that the Dragons had allowed some authors to withdraw was reprocessed into the “SJWs are out to get us” narrative.

To recap, we have had in the space of a few days these various claims:

  • That John Scalzi was nominated was evidence of an SJW plot.
  • That John Scalzi wanted to withdraw his nomination was evidence of an SJW plot.
  • That John Sclazi decided not to withdraw his nomination was…evidence of an SJW plot.

Here are some reactions from Scrappy-Doo arenas:

http://injusticegamer.blogspot.com.au/2017/08/what-dragon-awards-just-got-very-wrong.html The “injustice gamer” was a booster of Dragon Award campaigns. Naturally he is so committed to individual freedom that he says:

“Now, as to how I would allow for withdrawal if I were them. Make it permanent. Yes, if you’re going to allow for withdrawal from a fan award with a reputation for favoring fans over celebrities, deny them forever. Why? Right now, they’re also playing a game of the Dragons not being real, legitimate awards. The next step, to take it the rest of the way, is to deny them a professional presence at DragonCon in perpetuity, for denying the fans.”

Got to punish those authors for wanting to do their own thing it seems!

On that same post, there is this Facebook post that has an interesting comment thread:

Meanwhile here is a similar take from an author I’m not familiar with who cites Brian Niemeier as a friend: https://yakovmerkin.com/2017/08/10/on-dragon-awards-drama-and-author-reader-relations/ The writer gets some basic facts wrong

Less hysterical is this short post from Jeffro Johnson (who edits the Castalia House blog) on his own site: https://jeffro.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/the-dragon-awards-are-teh-stupid/ It has one of those nearly insightful comments where the writer just stops short of a revelation:

“But you do see the kicker there, don’t you? If you give this request your blessing, then you have basically agreed that Allison Littlewood was put on the ballot unfairly.

Gosh, if that’s the case… then maybe there are other people on the ballot that ought not to be there. Hell, you maybe even gave out awards last year to people that didn’t come by them honestly!

Seriously, did anyone running this thing give any thought to the implications of what they were doing here?”

Hmmm.

[ETA: http://www.brianniemeier.com/2017/08/conservative-play.html Brian twists his pretzel further]

 

 

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31 comments

  1. David VanDyke

    In this case, Scalzi seems to have gotten it right, and Jemison and Littlewood et. al. got it wrong by withdrawing (IMO). Actual justice, social or otherwise, includes the ability to improve, make progress, discuss reasonably, and most particularly, forgive and reform. It includes giving people credit for actions in good faith, no matter how bumbling or stumbling. Scalzi reached out to the Dragons using his status, got some sensible action, and came out looking like the adult this time. Kudos.

    Like

    • JJ

      David VanDyke: In this case, Scalzi seems to have gotten it right, and Jemison and Littlewood et. al. got it wrong by withdrawing.

      Nope. Littlewood and Jemisin were being used, and it was absolutely their call on whether they wished to let themselves be used in that way. Good on them for deciding they weren’t going to allow it.

      It’s not incumbent on authors who are being used in a culture war to fix the Dragons or to make sacrifices. It’s incumbent on DragonCon to do that — something which wouldn’t have been necessary if they’d put the slightest thought and effort into the awards up to this point.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aaron Pound

      The Dragon Award has no transparency, no known administrators, a joke of a nominating and voting system, and is mired in a pile of Puppy poo. Exactly why is is incumbent upon Littlewood and Jemisin to save this award from the shitpile it is right now?

      Liked by 1 person

      • David VanDyke

        Beats me. It wasn’t me that suggested it was incumbent upon them to do anything. That word was used by JJ above.

        Separately, as for the award being mired in puppy poo, you can’t have it both ways. Either both the Hugos and the Dragons are/were mired in puppy poo, or neither are.

        If both, then (absent other considerations) it would seem both should have a chance to clean out the poo. The Hugos is changing/has changed its voting system. The Dragons seems to be attempting to improve, and is listening to fans and authors. It’s only its second year of existence. Give it a chance. Scalzi did.

        Nobody knows what the Dragons will look like in five or ten years, but strangling them in their cradle doesn’t serve the SFF community.

        Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        I think many people thing the Hugos WERE mired in Puppy poo and are called that they aren’t anymore.

        //Nobody knows what the Dragons will look like in five or ten years, but strangling them in their cradle doesn’t serve the SFF community.//

        Pointing out the problems will help them resolve those problems if they intend to try and fix them.

        Liked by 2 people

      • JJ

        David Vandyke: It wasn’t me that suggested it was incumbent upon them to do anything. That word was used by JJ above.

        Every time you come here to comment you demonstrate your disingenuousness and bad faith.

        You said: Jemison and Littlewood et. al. got it wrong by withdrawing (IMO). Actual justice, social or otherwise, includes the ability to improve, make progress, discuss reasonably, and most particularly, forgive and reform. It includes giving people credit for actions in good faith, no matter how bumbling or stumbling. Scalzi reached out to the Dragons using his status, got some sensible action, and came out looking like the adult this time.

        You said that Jemison and LIttlewood, by not remaining on the ballot, were 1) not behaving like adults, 2) engaging in social injustice, and 3) not giving the Dragon Awards credit for actions in good faith. You said that they should have remained on the ballot to help the Dragon Award improve, make progress, discuss reasonably, and most particularly, forgive and reform. In other words, you said it was incumbent upon them to do things which it was not at all their responsibility to do, and you said that they were in the wrong for not doing things which it was not their responsibility to do.

        If you’re not willing to accept responsibility for the words you say, then don’t say them in the first place. Because what you said is sitting right up there for everyone to read, and when you deny saying what you just said, you just make yourself look even more mendacious and dishonest than you already have.

        And I’m still waiting for your apology for dishonestly accusing me of saying something vile and nasty which bore no resemblance to what I actually said, the last time you were here. 🙄

        But I won’t be holding my breath. I know better than to ever expect a Puppy to apologize or behave with integrity.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Aaron Pound

        It wasn’t me that suggested it was incumbent upon them to do anything.

        You’re the one who said they made the wrong call by withdrawing. You seem to think there is some sort of reason for not withdrawing. The only reason you gave was basically “to help fix the mess that the Dragon Award currently is”, so you seem to think that they should be participating.

        Nobody knows what the Dragons will look like in five or ten years, but strangling them in their cradle doesn’t serve the SFF community.

        There’s no reason to expect them to be any different than the crap-fest they are now given the fact that they are designed so badly and seem to be run by people who are clueless at best, and are really probably mendacious. But even if they aren’t, why should anyone bother to participate now, when they are an ongoing disaster? Littlewood and Jemisin aren’t “strangling” the Dragon Awards. The people running the award are doing that all on their own.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aaron Pound

        Either both the Hugos and the Dragons are/were mired in puppy poo, or neither are.

        One might also point out that when the Hugos were mired in Puppy poo, there were several people who did, in fact, withdraw their nominations.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JJ

        David VanDyke: Either both the Hugos and the Dragons are/were mired in puppy poo, or neither are.

        Aaron Pound: One might also point out that when the Hugos were mired in Puppy poo, there were several people who did, in fact, withdraw their nominations.

        One might also point out that both the Dragon Awards and the Hugo Awards were mired in Puppy poo because the Puppies pooed on them.

        The Hugos have taken steps to put a stop to that — steps which proved very effective this year.

        It remains to be seen whether the Puppy poo on the Dragon Awards is a bug or an intended feature by the administrator(s) — at least one of whom has close ties with a Puppy who has made the final ballot both years — and whether they will take any sort of steps to put a stop to it. Given that they have repeatedly refused to acknowledge that the results both years have been freeped by the Puppies, I’m not optimistic that they are going to be willing to do anything about it.

        We shall see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • David VanDyke

        >>camestrosfelapton
        Pointing out the problems will help them resolve those problems if they intend to try and fix them.

        Thank you. My point exactly. People taking precipitate action–no matter how well-intentioned or informed by conscience–undermines the possibility of improvement, reform, or correction. Actually working to correct the issue, using reason and dialogue, is a far more helpful, grown-up way to handle things.

        But that’s out of fashion. Today’s online world seems to be a world of brickbats, boycotts, hit pieces, and attempts to punish anyone not ideologically pure enough–no matter what the ideology.

        Like

      • camestrosfelapton

        Sorry but “precipitate action – no matter how well intentioned” cuts in every direction. Participating is just as much an action as not participating.

        In the three cases of people withdrawing, it was each based on those individuals not wanting to be caught up in political messes created by others. Without a doubt that is THE BEST thing somebody could do to avoid such messes in future.

        Yes, the same ideological block then made a big POLITICAL fuss about them withdrawing as they did about them being nominated. Notice that? I’ll spell it out:

        If Jemisin is nominated and participates THEN the far-right will turn her presence into a political football. If Jemisin WITHDRAWS then the far-right will turn her absence into a political football. WHY ON EARTH would Jemisin therefore want to have anything to do with the process? She doesn’t particularly want a Dragon Award – maybe in the future it will have some status or represent a brad base of fans but right now it certainly doesn’t. ANYTHING she says and does will be used a grist to the far-right outrage.

        She made a wise choice. The Dragons are not her problem. As far as confronting the far right there are more important places to do that the Dragon Awards.

        Here is another thought for you.

        If you want the Dragon Awards to be about something other than politics then the LEFT aren’t going to be the people to sort out the section of the RIGHT who definitely DO want it to be about politics.

        If the Dragons & yourself don’t want a political shit storm every year then you need to look at who DOES want it to be a political shit storm. Who is actively participating on the basis of the Dragons being a front in the culture wars?
        The left? Nope.

        //Today’s online world seems to be a world of brickbats, boycotts, hit pieces, and attempts to punish anyone not ideologically pure enough–no matter what the ideology.//

        Well here is a thought – as far as the Dragons are concerned who do you REALLY need to convince to turn it down a notch? Me & people here? Nope – we are just commenting on the sidelines.

        Liked by 1 person

      • David VanDyke

        >>camestrosfelapton
        >>Sorry but “precipitate action – no matter how well intentioned” cuts in every direction. Participating is just as much an action as not participating.

        Absolutely! But I’d also say that participating is the wiser, better action, just as participating in the democratic process of governmental politics–running, voting, contributing, writing in, discussing–is the wiser, better action. Withdrawing reminds me of Sherman’s famous quote, “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.” I’m not arguing that’s not their right; I’m arguing that to do so is not the choice that best serves SFF as a whole.

        As for political footballs, both sides kick that football. Both sides are guilty, though not equally in every instance. And there are (broadly) two sides, no matter how much some deny it. Those who claim “there’s those bad people, and then there’s all of us normal people” are using the same argument any comfortable majority who gets challenged uses. The only thing that changes are the claims, but the upshot of the claims is always this: “You’re bad because we’re the majority, and we’re right, and we always have been, and it’s completely obvious, and you’re disruptive and annoying and you don’t know your place, so go away.”

        When someone agrees with the disruptors, then the disruption is hailed as a good thing. We see this in everyday political life, with various protest movements, for example. If people agree with the protestors, they are labeled “courageous,” and some want them to succeed “by any means necessary.” But who disagree paint them as horrible scumbags who are trying to mess up a good thing.

        The truth lies, of course, somewhere in the middle. I’m on the “side” of the messy middle, where people can get together and work out the best compromises possible. That brings me back to my original point: that IMO Scalzi’s approach was the right one, the grownup one, the sensible and beneficial one.

        See you all around the netiverse.

        Like

      • JJ

        David VanDyke: But I’d also say that participating is the wiser, better action, just as participating in the democratic process of governmental politics–running, voting, contributing, writing in, discussing–is the wiser, better action. Withdrawing reminds me of Sherman’s famous quote, “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.” I’m not arguing that’s not their right; I’m arguing that to do so is not the choice that best serves SFF as a whole.

        Which is exactly what I was referring to before: you are saying that these people have a responsibility to “serve SFF” — to bail out the Dragon Awards. They don’t.

        If you want to serve the best interests of the Dragon Awards, then you need to be talking to the people who are discrediting those awards and convince them to stop — instead of expecting everyone else to fix the problem by staying on the ballot, or by participating in an award which is so messed-up they have no interest in participating in it.

         
        David Vandyke: And there are (broadly) two sides, no matter how much some deny it. Those who claim “there’s those bad people, and then there’s all of us normal people” are using the same argument any comfortable majority who gets challenged uses. The only thing that changes are the claims, but the upshot of the claims is always this: “You’re bad because we’re the majority, and we’re right, and we always have been, and it’s completely obvious, and you’re disruptive and annoying and you don’t know your place, so go away.”

        And now you’re being disingenuous again. The Puppies are the ones who engaged in attacks on the Hugos, and who have been gaming the Dragon Awards. The “other side”, as you call it, has not been the aggressor. So your equivalency is a false one. There are those bad people who have been attacking and gaming awards programs, and then there’s all of us people who haven’t done that. The bad people are bad because they are doing bad things, not because of their political alignment. And it’s incredibly dishonest of you to try claim that the responses the Puppies have been getting are because of their politics, and not because of their bad actions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        //As for political footballs, both sides kick that football. Both sides are guilty, though not equally in every instance.//

        And with the Dragons you seem to want the left both to play and also for it NOT to be political.

        Ahhhh, now I see it! If the left DOESN’T play then your “both sides” shtick doesn’t work! That’s the thing. CURRENTLY the Dragons are a one sided culture war:
        The SF right saying “these are ours – come figth us” (not literally)
        The SF left saying “No thank, we are pretty busy right now and we don’t care about the Dragons”.
        But that puts you in a bind. If the left doesn’t play then you can’t blame the politics in the Dragons ON THE LEFT (although you really are trying hard to).

        The simple issue is this: if you want the Dragons to be politics free then *you* will need to start finding a way of keeping a lid on the far right. And there lies todays lesson: the unwillingness for more moderate rightwingers to take on the far right. You want the left to do it for you and then complain about the left being political.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mark

        I think you’ve nailed that one. The Dragon Award is the summit of their need to be fighting against *something*. With the Hugos it was various forms of “the establishment”, bias, SJWs, shadowy cabals of TOR editors, etc etc, and there was always something they could spin to resemble one of those. Then once there was active opposition to their actions, well, there it was! (And it’d always been there too!)
        Unfortunately for them the Dragon Award is such a blank slate that there’s just nothing to fight against. The “opposition” is just us lot mooching around going “meh, it’s a bit badly organised isn’t it?” DVD et al desperately want people to get in the middle of it all to provide someone to define themselves against, because that’s a shortcut to what they *think* makes something significant – conflict. The concept of building something from scratch and making it *mean* something in and of itself is way too much like hard work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aaron Pound

        But I’d also say that participating is the wiser, better action, just as participating in the democratic process of governmental politics–running, voting, contributing, writing in, discussing–is the wiser, better action.

        This is an entirely false comparison. Not participating in the political process cedes the decisions as to how our society is run to others, with concrete potentially negative consequences. Not participating in an award that has been nothing but a shitshow thus far is not participating in an award and nothing more.

        Let me put it this way: No one has any reason to care about the Dragon Awards unless the people running the award make them worth caring about. No one has any responsibility to make the Dragon Awards a success, help prop them up despite their being an obvious farce, or do anything else with respect to these awards.

        Withdrawing reminds me of Sherman’s famous quote, “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”

        And? He didn’t want to be President. He told people he didn’t want the job. Others took on the responsibility. Littlewood and Jemisin don’t want to be part of the Dragon Awards. Maybe people like you should carry the weight instead of them, or is that too big a job for you?

        As for political footballs, both sides kick that football. Both sides are guilty, though not equally in every instance.

        And yet here you are trying desperately to draw a false equivalence.

        And there are (broadly) two sides, no matter how much some deny it.

        One of the hallmarks of Puppyhood is the insistence that there are “two sides” to the Puppy issue, which is one of the reasons that people call you a Puppy: You talk exactly like a Pup. You have adopted their positions, their arguments, and their rhetoric.

        Further, there are not two sides. There are the Pups, a self-selected, inward-looking group who really want there to be some sort of group for them to rail against, and there’s everyone else – a collection of dozens of different groups who mostly don’t given two shits about anything going on in Puppyville. The Pups want people to be concerned with their doings, and it grates on them when their irrelevance is pointed out. That’s why the fact that Littlewood and Jemisin don’t want to participate in the award bothers you so much: It highlights just how trivial and irrelevant they are. Their not caring enough to stay in shows that they don’t care about the Pups in the way the Pups want them to care about the Pups.

        I’m on the “side” of the messy middle, where people can get together and work out the best compromises possible.

        You are published by Castalia House, which is owned by a Nazi. The notion that you are in the “messy middle” is an outrageous lie. That’s to be expected, another one of the hallmarks of the Pups is the lying, so you’re just playing to your strengths there.

        Just for the record: I don’t want to hear any protests about Beale being called a Nazi. He’s self-identified as a member of the Alt-Right, and the Alt-Right is just rebranding for Nazis. Every member of the Alt-Right is a Nazi. I’ve seen Charlottesville – the veil is off and the Nazi’s can’t hide behind their cutesy rebranded name any longer. If you protest that Beale is not a Nazi, I will know that you too are a Nazi, so think carefully before you leap to his defense. Then again, you’ve got no credibility at all already, so there’s that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris V. Sutherland

    I feel extremely sorry for Alison Littlewood. As someone who was in conversation with her around the time she decided to withdraw, I can personally confirm that she just wanted to drop out as quietly as possible, without getting mired in drama. Had the Dragons followed the practice of the Hugos – that is, show a provisional ballot to the finalists and allow them to withdraw should they choose – then she would have been able to do so.

    The accusations that she’s “virtue signalling” are the opposite of the truth – dropping out quietly is not “signalling”. Also, I can’t help but notice that the posts criticising her for “disrespecting her fans” are ignoring the elephant in the room: that the Rabid Puppies supporters often *haven’t read* the works they’re voting for.

    Incidentally, she’s updated her most recent statement with further thoughts; amongst other things, she thanks the people who voted for her book because they genuinely liked it:

    http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk/news-blog/another-statement-regarding-the-dragon-awards/

    “I heard yesterday that the Dragon Awards administration have reconsidered and are allowing me to withdraw from the awards. I would like to thank them for their decision in what has been difficult circumstances for everybody. It’s great that they’re listening and evolving, and I wish them well for the future.

    I would like to add that I think it is laudable that an award has been set up with the aim of reflecting fans’ choices. It has been suggested in some quarters that I have something against fans and their votes, which is of course ridiculous. It’s wonderful when people enjoy my books and I’m grateful for it. In this case, the award has become the focus of several campaigning groups, one of which has previously disrupted the Hugos and now seems to wish to distort the Dragon Awards voting process for reasons of their own. It’s a great shame, and I don’t have any behind-the-scenes knowledge about how far they may have done so here, but I am deeply concerned that I may be the unwitting beneficiary of unfair interference. That is my motivation for withdrawing. It has not been an easy situation and I’m relieved that the organisers have felt best to allow me to do so.

    I would like to give a huge thank you for anyone who voted for me in good faith. The organisers will be sending you a new ballot soon so that you can reallocate your vote, so rest assured it will not be wasted.

    I also want to thank everyone who has supported me over the last few days. I really would have liked to drop out quietly, and that hasn’t quite been the outcome, but your messages have meant a huge amount to me during this time.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Peter J

        If the reading lists that Teddy helpfully maintains on his blog are to be believed, he hasn’t read a lot of the books he puts on his slate himself. And he doesn’t think much of most of those he has read.

        Like

    • David VanDyke

      Actually, my obvious motivation would be the opposite, if I were merely trying to win. I’d want others to withdraw, narrowing the field, right?

      If fact, I want a free, democratic process where everybody has a chance–and I don’t expect to win. I’m not that concerned about winning, though it’s nice to be nominated. I’m not a Puppy, despite accusations above, any more than every Tor author is a Kitten, though ever since I became aware of the controversy, my sympathies have evolved and landed more or less near the Sads.

      But, because I speak up from time to time, and because I’m a centrist with a gentle rightward lean, some on the left want to tar me as a Puppy. Nah. If I were a Puppy, I’d be onboard the Scalzi-hating train. Nah, again. I just express my viewpoints from time to time, and because of the nature of the internet, people attack anyone with a viewpoint different from their own. *shrug*. My viewpoint is that the withdrawers are making a mistake, and Scalzi handled it the right way.

      People who have joined a tribe, especially the extreme tribalists, always see others as tribal. My friends on the left and on the right, unfortunately, both tend to say “we’re acting in good faith, but those guys over there never do.” That’s projection.

      Like

      • Mark

        I didn’t suggest you were “merely trying to win” so really that answer is irrelevant.

        It’s quite telling though that you complain about tribalism at the end of a long winding explanation about which tribes you and other people do and don’t belong to.

        The part I’ll pick up on is “any more than every Tor author is a Kitten”. Would you like to tell us what a Kitten is, and what the Tor connection is?

        Liked by 1 person

      • JJ

        I’d also be interested in seeing where the definition of Puppy is posted that says “only people who are on the Scalzi-hating train can be considered Puppies”. My observation is that the definition of Puppy is someone who is happy to benefit from dishonest nominating and voting practices in order to see awards go where they want — and DVD fits that definition to a T. Additional indications of Puppydom include spurious accusations of mythical Tor conspiracies and false claims that there are “2 sides” when there is just one side — the Puppies — and everyone else… as so aptly demonstrated by DVD in this thread.

        Someone who keeps blaming the victims and targets of the Puppies as being responsible for causing the problems, and expects them to be responsible for cleaning up Puppy messes, can hardly claim to be acting in good faith.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aaron Pound

        If fact, I want a free, democratic process where everybody has a chance

        Then you should withdraw from the Dragon Awards, since there is no reason to believe that this is possible under their current structure and no evidence that would lead one to believe that they are either free or democratic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • camestrosfelapton

        Yup – the system is set-up so that honest people get one vote and dishonest people get as many as they like. That naturally skews the results in favour of unpleasant people.

        Now here is the thing. The Rabids and Scrappys are not always the clearest thinkers but if they ever even get a hint of an issue that might impact THERE chances of winning adversely then they ALWAYS shout it from the rooftop.

        So let us all pause and listen for a moment:

        ——

        That is the rare, rare sound of the SF right not shouting loudly and obnoxiously about something.

        If they were ACTUALLY worried about an SJW takeover of the Dragon Awards while obeying the rule themselves, does anybody for a second not think they wouldn’t be pointing & screaming at the fact that dishonest people can easily skew the vote? They SJWs are supposedly some of the nastiest and most conniving people in the world?!?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lurkertype

    I have 3 email addresses without even creating new ones.

    And yet, even though I am one of those dreaded evil conspiring SJWs, I voted in the Dragons with ONE. Because I believe in one person = one vote.

    It would have been trivial to vote with all 3, yet somehow I retained enough decency to have more adherence to democracy than the Dragon Awards themselves do.

    Allowing any email address to vote is not democratic.*
    Allowing the administrators unlimited power to add or subtract candidates is not free.**

    The Dragon Awards are fundamentally broken, and anyone refusing to participate in them is just like the people who spoil their ballots in countries where they have “free elections”, but you have only one person running for each office. Those who withdraw are objecting to participating in a farce that pretends to be a democratic process.

    Ironic that the liberty-loving right wing isn’t howling about this mockery of a free election.

    *analogous to the many dead people who’ve voted in elections
    ** just like the voting in the USSR, or various African dictatorships.

    Like

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