Back to the revised history of a debarkle

In my last post I mentioned a Mad Genius post re-hashing the history of the Sad Puppies. Greg H popped in the comments to explain some of the numbers and I think it is more than fair to say that Greg knows the relevant numbers re Sad versus Rabid Puppy participation and he explains them well (and politely). Nobody will be surprised to hear this does not go down well.

Amanda Green (one of the more sensible and reality adjacent figures at MGC responds in a less than temperate manner:

“Greg, come back and talk to us about fair when you can explain how it was fair of those same “majority of voters” to go to publishers and editors and try to get authors fired or forced to toe the “right line”. Come back and talk about fair when you can explain how they were fair by manipulating the rules to make sure the unwashed masses couldn’t take away their darling awards ever again. Came back and talk about fair when there was a mass campaign to prevent authors and editors from winning simply because the “majority” didn’t like who nominated them. Frankly, I’m tired of your holier than thou attitude and the way you continue to conflate Rabids with Sads.”

Ho hum. Let’s go through:

A majority of voters did not ‘go to publishers and editors and try to get authors fired or forced to toe the “right line”’ However, the Sad Puppies most certainly DID try to pressure a publisher into firing somebody and did try to get employers to force people to toe the line.

For example, here’s MGC endorsing a Tor boycott because they were angry with what a Tor employee had said:

“Tor, let’s face facts: that you repeatedly allow straw man makers like John Scalzi to have a place in your stable, even as he vainly justifies his arrogant idiocy is absurd. To allow bigots like NK Jemisin bully pulpits without regard for fact or truth is wrong. “

That’s from Jonathan La Force as a guest post. The person who put the post up on MGC? According to the website, Amanda Green.

And here’s MGC member Dave Freer also asking for Tor to discipline an employee for her view:

Let’s move onto “manipulating the rules to make sure the unwashed masses couldn’t take away their darling awards ever again”. All rule changes happened slowly and democratically. The rule changes made nominations more inclusive and EPH (the most complex rule change) made it easier for Sad Puppy-sympathetic members to get works nominated and made it harder for a small clique to control nominations. Interesting that the Sad Puppies remain opposed to these rule changes, as the only thing they consistently prevent is a clean sweep on nominations by a well-organised slate campaign. The Sad Puppies claim that it was never their intention to sweep the nominations in the way that happened in 2015 and yet that consistently oppose (and still oppose) rule changes that prevent the thing they said they weren’t doing (and which help the thing they said they WERE trying to do). Revealing.

And moving onto: “there was a mass campaign to prevent authors and editors from winning simply because the “majority” didn’t like who nominated them”. There was certainly a campaign against the tactics used by the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies. It was never *simply* because the majority didn’t like who nominated them, although that clearly didn’t help. Nor was there ever one unified position by the people who were not Sad Puppies.

And lastly: “the way you continue to conflate Rabids with Sads” One thing I can say with confidence about Greg is that he is very careful about categories and making distinctions between them. I’m not saying he’s always right and I can think of many occasions where I have disagreed strongly with him but I doubt he often conflates the Sads and Rabids. Certainly in the comment Amanda Green is replying to, he does the EXACT OPPOSITE of conflating the two:

“In 2015, the Rabid Puppies were a much larger group than the Sad Puppies. At least in terms of the Hugo Nominations, over 70% of the votes came from Rabids, not Sads. In 2016, the Sad Puppies pretty much disappeared. Not sure why you’d think otherwise–I thought people on both sides agreed with that.”

The moral remains the same. The former Sad Puppies remain in denial and hence can’t move on while reality refuses to cooperate with their version of the past.

37 thoughts on “Back to the revised history of a debarkle

  1. There are none so blind as those who won’t see, I guess. Cedar Sanderson is contradicted by the picture she picked for her own damn post, showing that No Award won the Best Editor Long Form in a landslide. “Slim majority of voters,” my gold-plated derriere.

    “The rise of the Dragon Awards”? ‘Tis to laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, that post and presentation just full of inaccuracies and falsehoods. I knew that they were Puppy-friendly, but for LTUE to allow Doering to make a presentation like that really beggars belief.

    I notice that Doering also insists that the Hugos should be about what all fans like, rather than what Worldcon members like — which pretty much invalidates his entire presentation.

    And Rusty Hevelin left his fanzine collection to the University of Iowa, not to BYU. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The only other reference I can find is its listing on the schedule.

        And OMG, it’s classified as an “Academic Paper”. Apparently they have a very loose definition of “academic” at LTUE, for which scholarly rigor is not required. 🙄


      2. I obviously have no idea whether Cedar Sanderson accurately summarised Dave Doering’s presentation or not, but my wife Deirdre and I have worked with Mr. Doering to make Westercons work well, and found him a reasonable and constructive person and (not technically speaking for Deirdre, as she’s lready asleep, and I cannot double-check) consider him a friend who we’d be glad to work with again.

        I very much don’t share his purported perception of Sasquan, where I was on staff and could not be prouder to have done that, but also am in no hurry to pick fights with him or anyone else over such differing perceptions. Nor would I mind if he indeed felt the SPs were on balance good for fandom. He’d be entitled to be wrong over that. ;->

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What makes this attempt of historical revisionism even more troubling is that LTUE is held at Brigham Young University, i.e. an academic institution.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems unlikely that she has misquoted Doering with regard to referring to what happened with the Puppies as being an “exclusion” — that is, after all, the main premise of his talk, that the Puppies were somehow “excluded” from Worldcon and the Hugo Awards.

        No exclusion occurred; they were allowed to buy memberships, they were allowed to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards, their nominations and votes were counted, and they were allowed to attend the convention and the Hugo Award ceremony. So right away, you have him presenting what is ostensibly an “Academic Paper” where he has deliberately misrepresented what actually happened.

        And It doesn’t seem likely that she’s misrepresented his claim that the Hugo Awards should be about what fans in general like, rather than about what Worldcon members like, either.

        Essentially, what Doering’s presentation says is that the fact that the Puppies did not constitute a majority of Worldcon members was somehow an “exclusion”, even though no one kept any Puppies from buying memberships, nominating, or voting.

        And I notice that he apparently did not bother trying to make the argument that the quality of the works on the slate was actually deserving of Hugo Awards, just that the popularity of those works with a small special-interest group meant that they were deserving.


  3. Again and again the Sad Puppies rant against the fact that the Hugos are a set of awards for the members of the WorldCon, (and those willing to invest in WorldCon as associate, non-attending members,) not the general public. There are no “unwashed masses” being prevented from voting for the Hugos because the “unwashed masses” have never in the history of WorldCon been allowed to vote for the Hugos. You have to pay to vote, and specifically pay to support WorldCon itself as a roving convention. Likewise, the rules and award categories of the Hugos and policies of WorldCon can only be changed by majority vote of members who are willing to attend the business meeting of WorldCon at WorldCon — who are active, attending, paying members, not the public.

    It’s never clear to me whether they put majority of voters in quotes because they don’t think the majority of WorldCon members who were interested in voting for the Hugos actually voted on anything (the election fraud they accused clusters of authors of without any actual evidence,) or they do but don’t think the majority of WorldCon voters should have a right to decide their own convention’s awards, rather than the general public. If it’s the former, then it’s understandable they cling to their view of the Hugos as corrupt, despite them never having or showing any evidence of this. (And indeed, if there was election fraud by a small cabal as they sometimes charged, then changing the rules of the Hugo voting process would not have been necessary nor would have affected anything, so I don’t see why they care about that.) If it’s the latter, the entire Sad Puppy campaign was a waste of time, since there was no reason for the WorldCon members to change the Hugos to be taken away from them and no longer be the WorldCon awards. The only logical course was to go find other, different kinds of awards such as the Gemmells, which have a public vote, to support or start, like ostensibly the Dragon Awards. But instead, the Sad Puppies simply rant that if the Hugos remain awards for WorldCon members instead of the general public that they will die out.

    Throughout their campaign, the Sad Puppies continued to confuse even those authors and fans who might otherwise support them by being vague or shifting in accusations what they were specifically complaining about. Despite only one Hugo award going to a novel, the rest for short fiction, magazines, editors, art and media, the Puppies would rant as if the Hugos were nothing but awards for novels and later on, argued that the majority of the nominations for best novel should go to Baen Books, and further later on that the Hugos should mainly go to novels, not short fiction. Despite stating that they wanted to support and promote popular and conservative authors in the Hugos, they slated several authors who were neither popular nor conservative, and turned on them viciously when those authors did not want to be on their slate.

    I do get why they would like very much to detach themselves from the Rabid Puppies. Unfortunately, they invited Beale in and birthed the Rabid Puppies and let the Rabid Puppies take the lead in the slating. But I will say that it has been members of the Sad Puppies, not the Rabids, who have twice attempted swattings — one of David Gerrold and WorldCon itself and one later on of the Meadows. That they weren’t very good at it is a mercy, but no one has to go looking at the Rabid Puppies to find things to complain about in regards to the Sad Puppies, even if various members do seem to drift back and forth between the groups.


    1. I agree that the Sads were bad enough on their own and indeed I’ve had more unpleasant experiences with the Sads than with the Rabids, where my experiences are confined to two brief brushes with Beale, one predating the Puppies by several years. Besides, the Rabids would never have existed if Larry Correia hadn’t brought in Beale in the first place. Of course, he probably had no idea that Beale would steal his movement from under his nose, but nonetheless Correia was the one who brought him in.


      1. Yes, their continued complaints about being conflated with the Rabid Puppies, whom they’ve repeatedly vigorously defended, really don’t hold water.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The Rabids are Schrodinger’s Sad Puppies. They are totally not Sad Puppies when the Sad Puppies want to angrily yell about how they are totally not a collection of racists, misogynists, and homophobes, but they are the bestest of friends when the Sad Puppies want to be outraged that someone would call a fascist Rabid Puppy a fascist.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. “Oh they definitely think it was rigged. Remember even prior to 2015 they though many/most Worldcon voters were Tor employees.”

        Which is why the Puppies said they were responsible for a Tor book winning the Hugo in 2015.

        Puppies in 2014: the Hugos are rigged
        Sane folks – seems unlikely – it would be hard to rig the Hugos.
        Puppies in 2015 – very well, we’ll rig the Hugos.
        Sane folks – huh. It is possible to rig the Hugos. Let’s fix the rules.
        Puppies – the rules don’t let us rig the Hugos anymore – unfair, unfair!

        Sarah’s the one who thought that hydrophobia meant the same thing as homophobia, right?


      2. To be fair, they only managed to rig the nomination process. And then took the sight of people voting down the consequences of their rigging en masse as proof of rigging.

        Because clearly, their cheating should have been rewarded.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I find this all quite – sad (I know). Its such an unedifying look for the SF publishing industry that this happened, and that its history continues to be argued over. Sad Puppies was always a waste of time. Block voting for awards makes them meaningless and the net result seems to have just been bad publicity for quite a few people who didn’t need it/extra publicity for provocateurs who didn’t care about their professional reputation.

    Maybe I’m a weirdo but it seems that the desire to win awards is pretty childish. For most of us we’d see going to an award show for work as an irritating distraction ? Like can’t you just send me a thankyou email rather than making me fly somewhere and hang out with people I don’t know for a night? Surely the meaningful “recognition” you get for your work is just the fact you continue to get work and that get an awesome job entertaining lots of folk. The fact that someone’s ego needs an award for validation – and that they need it so bad something like Sad Puppies happened – suggest self-esteem passed on fame and worldly praise. That seems unhealthy. From the outside, it looks like siblings arguing over who got the better ice cream.

    People know if they are producing good work regardless of getting a bit of metal with their name on it. Their fans know too.

    I know there is an argument that awards make a career but that seems over-inflated to me. Brandon Sanderson already had a fine career before he won a Hugo, Amy Winehouse didn’t need a Grammy to be amazing (and to sell well), Neil Gaiman would be a legend regardless of how many spaceshippy things he has on his mantelpiece. Heck, Mary Shelly still has quite the reputation and Hugo’s didn’t even exist back then.


    1. There’s a lot to unpack in that long comment.

      Hugo: Maybe I’m a weirdo but it seems that the desire to win awards is pretty childish.

      The arts are an entertainment field. Not all, but a great many, entertainers — actors, singers, artists, writers — appreciate getting feedback that there is an audience who enjoys their work. Awards are just one of the ways that feedback is given. It’s not childish for an artist to want that feedback, that validation — any more than it’s childish for me to want the validation of my work which is indicated by me being given thanks by a client, a positive annual review, and a merit pay increase.

      Should that appreciation for awards manifest as an obsession in which one cheats in order to get an award? Of course not, and yes, the Puppies were really childish for wanting awards so badly that they stooped to cheating in order to try to get them.

      Hugo: For most of us we’d see going to an award show for work as an irritating distraction?

      Who is “most of us”? Surely you’re not presuming to speak for most authors?

      Hugo: . Like can’t you just send me a thankyou email rather than making me fly somewhere and hang out with people I don’t know for a night?

      You seem to have a mistaken impression of what the Hugo Awards are. They’re given out by Worldcon members — fans — to the works that they love. No one is “made” to fly anywhere or “hang out” with anyone.

      It’s bizarre that, just because you don’t have any enjoyment of awards, you think that no one else should have enjoyment of them, either.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get it that people want feedback. I’d just think any successful author would already have that. I assume authors get fan mail, irritated fan mail, people showing up to book signings etc. If they are making a living out of it that is also in itself a form of feedback.

        I don’t presume to speak for anyone (hence the “Maybe I’m a weirdo” statement). I guess I just come from a culture where work is its own reward.


      2. Who is “most of us”? Surely you’re not presuming to speak for most authors?

        He’s a sea lion. Of course he’s going to spout off nonsense like that.


    2. The awards are celebrations — people want to express their appreciation for works that have entertained and engaged them and also help call attention to those authors, artists, and in a more general way, dramatic media by recognizing them. The Hugos are and have always been a celebration for WorldCon members of what the majority of them who decide they feel like voting appreciate and are willing to pay to nominate and award. In particular, it has continued to be dedicated awards for authors of short fiction, which has a limited range of distribution and public attention in the field, especially these days, but which the members of WorldCon feel are part of an important tradition and the traditions of WorldCon itself, which is an important convention to them. They are at the WorldCon to celebrate what they love, get to meet some authors they like, find some new authors and hang with their friends and the Hugo award ceremony is an extension of that. Neil Gaiman does not need more Hugos — and sometimes big authors do recuse themselves or temporarily so from awards like the Hugos to give other authors a better chance. Because the SFF field is, at least philosophically if not always in practice, like that. They recognize the symbiosis of the fiction market, that shared celebrations of authors is part of the field and contributes to its overall growth.

      But as a byproduct of WorldCon being an important and mostly happy SFF writing con that involves lots of other cons as their hosts, the Hugos became over time valued as a recommendation for writers, fiction, artists. The PR aspect, while never huge, still was seen as a nice side benefit, a celebration of the whole field itself. And it was one of the things that also gets some attention outside of fandom circles and SFF specialty media, which is why publishers and magazines will put Hugo winner and Hugo nominee on covers.

      The Sad Puppies did not want to go to WorldCon and party at the Hugo ceremony. They didn’t want to celebrate the SFF field. They wanted the publicity selling aspect of the Hugos’ reputation. They felt they were being denied it. They felt that the members of WorldCon were far too much inclusive and “liberal” in their views, and so those members wouldn’t celebrate them, with their political views supporting exclusion, status quo hierarchy and punishment for being the wrong sort of religious faction. Even though several of them had been nominated for the Hugos and the Campbell, they didn’t get what they thought was their entitled PR boost from it. They wanted to keep the Hugos’ reputation but get rid of the WorldCon members as the voters, and that there should be less interest in awarding short fiction, because short fiction doesn’t sell much. Even though all of the Hugo Best Novel nominees tend to be bestsellers in the field, they claimed they weren’t really popular if their authors were liberal (and particularly if not white straight men.) They claimed the Hugos were rigged, dying, they claimed lots of stuff, some of it contradictory.

      But their main thruline was consistent — that the Hugo Awards, all of them, existed only as a publicity vehicle to sell novels, even though only one Hugo award was for Best Novel. And that the Hugo Awards were failing them as that publicity vehicle even though they believed they — and their politics about politics — deserved it more. And that therefore the Hugo Awards needed to be changed and removed from just the WorldCon members, and to force change, they would threaten them with voting blocks. And to really threaten them and get the Gamergaters as voters, they brought in Beale, who took over.

      For the Puppies, awards are not celebrations — they’re transactional. They are supposed to help you sell. No matter how you win, it’s not meaningless to them because a win is a selling tool, and a nomination a more minor one. They figure everyone has pretty much the same view as them on this, even if people claim otherwise.


      1. I suspect this is why it became an ugly spectacle only recently. No one really notices a bunch of enthusiast enthusing at their annual event. When the Sad Puppy thing made it an ugly fight over, passers by stopped to gawk and wondered if they should call the police.


    3. Worldcon is a get-together of fans, and authors, editors, artists, etc. are fans too. It’s also a chance to meet face-to-face with many others in your field who you might only see at this once a year “family reunion.”

      Liked by 2 people

  5. @Camestros
    I did start off thinking there wasn’t a real difference between the Sad and Rabid Puppies, but my thinking has evolved over time.

    The history, of course, is that Larry Correia deliberately involved Vox Day in 2014. That didn’t make the Sads and Rabids the same, but it certainly tainted the Sads inasmuch as Vox Day is a White Nationalist of the first water. When he split off in 2015 to form the Rabids, you sure couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups either from their rhetoric or from the slates they produced. And if you pressed the Sads to repudiate Day, they always refused.

    However, I think most of the Rabid Puppies were never fans in the first place. They were outsiders Vox Day convinced to buy one WorldCon supporting membership, which let them nominate for 2015 and 2016 and let them vote in 2015. When Day couldn’t deliver any wins, he and they went on to other things.

    The Sad Puppies really are fans (and mostly authors or wannabe authors, I suspect). A lot of them applauded Vox Day while they felt he was winning, but they don’t really have a lot in common with him and his minions. You can see it in the statistics that showed his group had far better cohesion when it came to voting (a real fan is still going to vote for a few works he/she personally liked, regardless of what the plan says), but it’s also pretty clear that you don’t find white guys with black wives in the RP camp. In that sense, they really were two different groups.

    That’s my current thinking, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say Beale is a fan, in his own sad twisted way. His followers on the other hand–well, some might be “fans” along Beale’s lines, but most were just shit pullers and trolls.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. They thought Beale was going to get them things, mainly an army of voters to serve a lesson of their power and popularity. And he did get them some nominations and some publicity. And then he took stuff — he took leverage of his small army of voters, he took nominations for his publishing house, focus of the media coverage, control of the voting slates, etc. I don’t think it quite got Beale where he wanted in the conservasphere, because they don’t care much about books, but it didn’t hurt and he aimed as much vitriol at SFWA as he could, so much so that many people still think the SFWA hands out the Hugos instead of WorldCon.

      And then he left them in the dust, pretending they hadn’t gotten taken. So yeah, I’m not surprised they keep revising history and try to legitimize what they did, with the Dragon Awards somehow the symbol of that legitimacy. The Puppies’ voting slate was disliked but it was not against the rules; it exploited a loophole to bring in ringer, organized voters — organizing that they turned over to Beale. It was far more the continually shifting accusations of fraud they made at authors for being Hugo winners and nominees (the never play defense method,) the way they treated other authors by shoving them onto their political voting slate without consent and the abusiveness they did towards those authors who did not want to be on that slate, the homophobic slurs, the swatting, etc. — stuff they did all on their own — that caused people to turn away from them, some of it starting even before the Rabid Puppies existed.

      And while the Rabid Puppies did contain the GamerGigglers who harassed people, it was the Sad Puppies that unleashed them on the SFF community. They started the campaign. They owned the dog that bit people, including some of themselves. Not much point in claiming it was a stray attack.

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