Debarkle Chapter 48: August – Part 2

In a metaphor so thick that it literally assailed your senses, the 2015 Worldcon aka Sasquan opened with the smell of smoke as Spokane felt the impact of Washington State’s wildfire season. However, neither fears of having to evacuate fans because of fire nor fears of violent fallout from the past months of bitter argument about the Puppy campaigns were realised[1].

Despite everything, the convention was much the same as Worldcons have always been — a gathering place for fans, which included professionals of various kinds. Panels, meetings, parties and events. People networking and catching up with old friends.

One difference though was an extended business meeting for the World Science Fiction Society. The meeting’s role was to discuss changes to the WSFS constitution and in 2015 this meant discussing the radical proposals to change the Hugo nomination and voting process. The volume and significance of the changes meant the business meeting had to run on several days and the level of interest meant that the formal meeting (complete with a parliamentary-style procedure) was one of the biggest events of a science fiction convention[2].

The business meeting was lengthy and the amount of business required discussion of how to manage the various proposals. WSFS rules also require changes to the constitution to take two years to implement i.e. they are voted on one year and ratified the following year. This meant that the 2015 business meeting also had to vote on ratifying proposals from the 2014 Worldcon in London[3].

To cut the story of a very long meeting short, among other pieces of business, two key proposals to reduce the impact of slates were passed. Firstly the “4 and 6” proposal would change the rules so members could nominate 4 works (later amended to 5) but the final ballot would contain 6 finalists. This would limit the impact of a single slate so that there would be at least one non-slated work. The measure would be less effective against multiple slates and not much of a disincentive to duelling slates (e.g. if there were both Puppy and anti-Puppy slates in the future).

The other major proposal passed was E Pluribus Hugo or EPH. This was the new voting algorithm for the nomination stage that would build in elimination stages to the vote counting. In theory, EPH would mean that in the event of lots of nominating ballots with many works in common, these ballots together would boost the chances of at least one of the works being a finalist while reducing the chance that all of the works would. Like “4 and 6”, EPH would have reduced the impact of the Puppy slates but might be less effective against multiple slates.

The voting method changes could not be implemented until ratified in the 2016 business meeting, which would mean that potentially the 2016 Hugo Awards could have another year of Puppy slates.

The more urgent question was the actual outcome of the 2015 Hugo Awards. Voting numbers were at a record high but who were all these new supporting members? Were they ordinary science fiction readers inspired by the works nominated by the Sad Puppies? Were they GamerGaters inspired by Vox Day’s culture war? Were they fans rushing to defend the Hugo Awards from a perceived attack by reactionary forces? Only the results would tell.

The Hugo Award ceremony is a fannish take on the genre of glittering award ceremonies. Part self-congratulation, part star-studded gala, part fandom’s quirky charm and celebration of amateur self-organisation[4]. The live-streaming video kicked off an hour before the ceremony started with a pre-show presented by the co-hosts of the Radio-Free Skaro podcast[5]. The pre-show also included a panel with Ann Leckie, George RR Martin, John Scalzi and editor Gillian Redfearn from Gollancz Books, who discussed the year in science fiction and the events around the Sad Puppies.

After the usual big-event delays, the ceremony proper began. Hosted by David Gerrold and Tananarive Due, the ceremony featured Star-Trek red shirts fighting a 13-foot manually-operated body puppet of the spectre of death[6], a sassy Dalek upstaging David Gerrold, veteran author Robert Silverberg (who had attended every Hugo ceremony ever) chanting “Hare Krishna“, as well as other fan awards and the traditional In Memoriam section in which the community acknowledged the deaths of notable people in the genre.

Gerrold and Due maintained a spirit of humour and celebration to alleviate the tension that surrounded the outcome of the awards. Inspired by the many references to the 2015 Hugo Awards needing an asterisk next to the future results because of the Puppy slates, Gerrold had commissioned wooden laser cut asterisks as a gift to all the nominees and as keepsakes that would be available for sale to raise money for charity. Explaining the idea to the audience, he asked the nominees sitting near the front of the auditorium to wave their asterisks.

The Hugo Award categories have a traditional order on the ballot, partly determined by convenience and partly determined by status. The most notable and talked about of the awards is the Hugo for Best Novel. The various Fan awards (such as Best Fan Writer) are usually clustered together near the Hugo ballot. The Astounding Award for Best New Writer (at the time called the John W Campbell award) is technically not a Hugo Award but is voted on and presented together with them. Because of its ‘not a Hugo” status, it traditionally comes last on the ballot. For ceremonies, of course, the ballot order is reversed: the last become first and the first, last for reasons of drama rather than egalitarianism.

So, after the preliminary events, sketches, introduction and community awards, the first outcome of all of 2015’s drama would be the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The finalists consisted of four people nominated by the Puppy slates, including Kary English who was seen by many as one of the strongest nominees slated by the Sad Puppies. In addition, author Wesley Chu was the single non-Puppy slated nominee.

If Sad Puppy supporters were the largest group of voters then there was a good chance that Kary English would win. If Rabid Puppy supporters were the largest group, then Vox Day’s number one choice Eric S Raymond was a likely winner. On the other hand, if voters had chosen to simply ‘no award’ every category impacted at all by slates then this category would be the first ‘no award’ of the night.

When the list of finalists were read out there were loud cheers for both Wesley Chu and Kary English but when the envelope was opened and the name read out, the cheers for Wesley Chu were ecstatic. The first test of the evening had resulted in a deserving winner and a defeat for the Puppy slates.

Chu’s speech was a customary set of thanks to the many people who had helped him and only tangentially touched on the Puppy events when he thanked Irene Gallo. Chu swerved into politics right at the end of his speech when he jokingly announced his candidacy for Republican Presidential Candidate.

The Campbell Award was followed by the Fan Categories as well as Semiprozine and Professional Artist. The impact of the Puppy slates had been mixed on each of these but in every one there was at least one non-Puppy slated person or work. Fan Artist went to Elizabeth Legget, Fancast to Galactic Suburbia, Fanzine to Journey Planet, Semiprozine to Lightspeed, and Professional Artist went to Julie Dillon. None of these had been on the Puppy slates.

Of these categories, the one that had the most eyes on the result was Best Fan Writer. Four of the five nominees were active supporters of the Puppy campaigns (including Castalia House blogger Jeffro Johnson and three Mad Genius Club bloggers, Dave Freer, Amanda S Green and Cedar Sanderson). The non-Puppy finalist was Laura J. Mixon whose report on rage-blogger Requires Hate was controversial in itself but which had also been endorsed by George R.R. Martin. This category was the next big test of ‘no award’ but the winner was Laura J. Mixon.

Seven categories in and ‘no award’ had yet to score a single one but neither had the Puppies. Had the Hugo voters somehow found a middle course between the two? However, these were the ‘down ballot’ categories, which typically received fewer votes than other categories. The second real test of voter intentions was in the next two categories.

The two editor categories (short-form for magazines and anthologies, long-form for books) are not categories that attract the most votes in general. They are hard for casual readers to vote on because the role and impact of editors are unclear. However, within the battlegrounds of the Debarkle, the editor categories were a proxy for the underlying conflicts. Both categories included Vox Day. Long-form included Toni Weisskopf, the publisher of Baen and a mentor to Larry Correia. Short-form included Mike Resnick, one of the most-nominated people in Hugo history but also a key figure in the SFWA civil wars of recent years and a father figure to Brad Torgersen. Of all the categories that had been swept by the Puppy slates, these two categories contained many notable figures of talent in the industry including people who would plausibly have been nominated without the intervention of slates.

Both categories fell to ‘no award’.

After that shock, the ceremony went on to lighter categories with David Gerrold and a Dalek covering the two Best Dramatic Presentation. The winners were Orphan Black and Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel’s sci-fi superhero hit Guardians of the Galaxy was popular with the audience in the auditorium based on the cheers but it was also the first winner of the night that had been on the Puppy slates. In whatever way members had voted, it had not been on the basis of voting against everything on the slates.

Best Graphic Story (a competitive category) went to Ms Marvel. Following that came Best Related Work which fell to ‘no award’ to many cheers in the audience.

Not everybody in the audience was cheering though. The announcement of ‘no award’ received some boos also. For the next category David Gerrold told the crowd that cheering was appropriate but that booing was not.

Short story, in which many people had though Kary English’s “Totaled” stood a chance, also fell to ‘no award’.

Novelette was won by the one non-Puppy slated story “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and translated by Lia Belt.

Novella, which included a story by Tom Kratman and three stories by John C. Wright also fell to ‘no award’. Five categories now, each one of them being categories that the Puppies had swept, had gone to ‘no award’ and the only slated work to win anything had been Guardians of the Galaxy which would have likely been a finalist regardless. The headline category was yet to come but the results were already a comprehensive defeat for the Sad Puppies in particular.

The headline Best Novel had three non-slated works. However, The Three-Body Problem had been singled out by Vox Day as a work he would have slated if he had read it beforehand. On the other hand, The Three-Body Problem was published by Tor and hence actively boycotted by Puppy supporters. The announcement that it had won was met by loud cheers. Despite everything that had occurred in the Hugo Awards, somehow the biggest result of the night was exceptional in ways beyond the Puppy conflict.

A novel by a Chinese author, translated into English and delving into Chinese history and esoteric physics had won science fiction’s most prestigious award in one of the most contentious years of the award’s history. Somehow, despite everything, the Hugo Awards had come out with a remarkable answer to the challenges of 2015 that managed to look beyond the conflict within America and out to a broader world.

The ceremony was over but the Puppy conflict was not. With the results came the Hugo voting statistics and the first real numbers on what had happened in 2015. There were also reactions and commentary and repercussions to come…

Next Time: August – Part 3


Footnotes

66 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 48: August – Part 2

  1. Odd. I remember the discussion of E Pluribus Hugo rule from the business meeting but not the discussion of the four and six rule. Memory is a strange thing. I do remember that the meetings seem very long, with the only real break when, for some things, we voted by moving to one side of the room or the other, therefore making it easier to count.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Both were definitely discussed, and for “4 and 6”, it ended up being voted on as “n of m”, with various values of n and m. With, eventually, “5 of 6” being picked.

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      2. Thanks for your service. That was definitly not a easy worldcon for any job that had any connection to the busness meating. It is interesting how entertaining it was. Littly moments like the timekeeper insisting (in a not very treatening voice) to hunt members down, because they did sugest certain numbers of debating time to the stealth try of a puppy to kill 4 of 6 and EPH (very uncesesful and not very stealthy there were higligts. Did any puppy beside Monohan and Demeter speak at the busness meating. I don’t think so.

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      3. JJ: If you mean the same people as far as I know they were oldguardfans who wanted to stay thinks to be the same. The impresion that I got, was that they believed that this was an one year problem und would save itself or were afraid of chance.
        I don’t know if there are more links to the puppys (I remember a discusion about one of the oldfans on File 770 and puppyconections). I still got the impresions that worldconregulars faught a harder fight against EPH than the puppys.
        I think there was a wish of many people to at last safe some of the puppies for fandom. I think there was that (not with any connection to reality) that some of them weren’t so bad, if they would just play by the rules. Actually it would be interesting, how long some people stayed members of worldcon? Did any of the puppys stay even after the great worldconboycott of Catalana House to be solitary to a certain client of Timothy? Did anyone of them every nominate or vote for a nonslatecandidate after Day?

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        1. I definitely have the impression that many of the pups never participated in the Hugos before the slates and went right back to not participating after.

          I remember long time actifan Ben Yallow in particular being very against EPH. And IIRC he was a big part of adding in stipulations which would make it easier to back out of later.

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          1. He was also a frequent commenter at the Puppy blogs. He didn’t think what they had done was wrong. He didn’t think EPH was needed. People denied that he was a Puppy, but he was indistinguishable from one.

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            1. JJ: He didn’t think what they had done was wrong.

              I didn’t know that. I remember him arguing that it was too hard to explain. Probably because he didn’t really try to understand it himself. And I think he argued about its effect on organic slates. Which was actually an argument for EPH in my book.

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            2. His argument that it was “hard to explain” was one of several objections he trotted out in his little campaign of FUD against EPH. EPH is not hard to explain, he just found as many ways as he could to object to it. The “it will also affect organic slates” argument he threw out was because he genuinely thought most people just wanted EPH to get rid of Puppy picks. He didn’t understand that the opposition was to any sort of slating. And I agree, the fact that EPH reduces the impact of “organic” slates is a positive attribute which means that a sizable group of like-minded people will not completely shut the ballot out from other peoples’ picks. (And if you look at the nomination elimination results since EPH was passed, you can see where EPH has had this effect.)

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            3. And you don’t need to understand the details of EPH or the final ballot’s instant runoff voting to nominate or vote.

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      4. I do remember an incident with Lou Antonelli on the last day–but things were rushed because I had gotten notice that my horse’s barn was under wildfire evacuation notice (and four hours away). I needed to rush around and tie up loose ends (meanwhile, barn owner was also gone due to her daughter being Jr. Miss Rodeo Oregon that year, only her husband and son were on hand. I was getting evacuation orders–my job was to evacuate the minis and whatever cats I could get my hands on…a tall order considering I was still hobbling around due to a badly sprained ankle).

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        1. Joyce Reynolds-Ward: I do remember an incident with Lou Antonelli on the last day.

          At the Business Meeting? Or are you referring to his attempt to approach Gerrold at the convention*? Or something else?

          * He apparently thought Gerrold’s acceptance of his apology meant they were buddies now, but Gerrold had a handler who knew who to watch out for and prevented Antonelli from making contact – which, IIRC, resulted in yet another angry, abusive post and a total repudiation of the fauxpology he had previously made.

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      5. Yes, the fact that EPH would also work against any sort of slates, even organic ones, was seen by many people as a feature, not a bug.

        And, in fact, even if the Puppies will likely never publicly admit it, that fact entirely undermines any attempt at arguing that EPH was a specifically anti-conservative amendment. Which may be why some of the smarter ones really hated it: they were hoping for something that specifically targeted them so they could use it as proof of bias, and they didn’t get it, despite Day’s inevitable crowing about ‘they changed the rules to shut us out’.

        I suspect even some Puppy-adjacent sorts may consider the fact that EPH would work just as well against groups of people who listed nothing but Doctor Who episodes under Best Dramatic Presentation Short as a win.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. @Ingvar: The “4 and 6” proposal passed the Sasquan meeting as “4 and 6” (after a lot of fill-in-the-blank maneuvering, as noted), but was amended during ratification at MidAmericon II to “5 and 6”. Worldcon ratification rules allowed for an amendment that was ruled to be a “lesser change” (closer to the original form of the constitution) to be added to the ratification without extending the time required to ratify it. In effect, that allows for part of a constitutional amendment to be passed without the rest. The existing rules in the constitution were 5 nominations per ballot, 5 finalist slots to be determined, and the original form of 4 and 6 was effectively saying “change the first 5 to 4 and change the second 5 to 6.” The lesser change was effectively saying that we were ratifying the second part of that without the first. Other “lesser changes” included adding sunset clauses to both 4 and 6 and to EPH which would require a vote of a subsequent business meeting to keep them in the constitution.

        As a co-sponsor of EPH, I worked with Steven desJardins, who was a co-sponsor of 4 and 6, to strategize how to handle the “5 and 6” amendment at the MidAmericon II business meeting. We wanted to see whether EPH would be ratified first before voting on whether to amend 4 and 6. The reason was that 5 and 6 would work slightly better with EPH than 4 and 6 for technical reasons, but if EPH wasn’t going to pass, then we wanted the original form of 4 and 6 to pass to give the maximum protection against a slate. So we worked together to make sure that the final vote on 4 and 6 (including the amendment) was after the final vote on EPH.

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      7. Re People beeing to sympathic to Puppys: It is part of a wieder phanomenon. There was a lot of sympathy towards exspecially towards the Sads. There was the idea to stopp them slating and then they would become normal Worlconmembers. That was helped by the fact that at last a few of looked the way when encountered in a non-puppyspace. It becomes less of a understandable idea when you remember how nasty a lot of the stuff that the leaders of the Sads posted was. (I count Wright here amoung the Sads) I shudder how someone can post at major puppysites and not see the hate that is normal there. (And it seems quite a challenge to not get banned there) I did only read a few post and comments Yallow did on MGC. He was in my opinion whitwashing MGC there. My googlefu was not strong enough to find anythink that demaging, except that and the fact that he seems to be proud to vote against EPH and 4 of 6. (Using the name that it had, when he spoke against it)
        I kind of understand that EPH had some reluctance. It is a big chance from the statusquo and people are always reluctant to do that. (It still hurts that people used the argument it only happened once, so we don’t have to do something)
        For me the resistance against 4 of 6, later 5 of 6 is harder to understand.(I am not talking about people, who believed it wasn’t enough that I understand)
        If you aren’t a puppy, it doesn’t hurt you much, 5 of 6 didn’t hurt at all. It gives you a finalist more, which you haven’t any control over, how is that a bad thing? I find it damm interesting (and quite frankly for most nominators, there will always be finalists, that are new for you, that is a feature not a bug)
        But even for the oficial partyline that the Sads argued a argument against 4 of 6 is dificult to make imho.
        Despite all that I am relucant to call Yallow a puppy. I think he started as trying to be an ambasator to them. He is definitly (for me unreasonable) on good terms with them.
        And more is difficult for me to interfere from what I read. At last one of the comments he wrote was quite come crap (he said that there was to much outsider influence because of media in contrast to an event at the first worldcon, somethink that is just a result of the fame that the Hugos have now and no one was needed to alarm the press, if you can all of them even outsiders, one of the articles was writen by Charlie Jane Anders, who is definitly not an outsider towards Science Fiction).

        Shorter version: I see what JJ is seeing. From what I know I have my doubt, where to draw the line here, but I haven’t done a lot of research, sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The objection to 4/5 & 6 was generally about the increase of material for voters and more finalists for the con to provide for. Like EPH, it’s been a change that I thought was good even in the absence of organized slates.

          I didn’t realize how puppy aligned Ben Yalow (just realized I misspelled this earlier) was or I had forgotten. I chalked it up to simple resistance to change. But of course that is exactly what the puppies were about.

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      8. JJ–it was at the Business Meeting; he was upset; and I was trying to get out the door because, again, I had at least a four hour drive (longer as it turned out due to wildfire detours) so that I could be available should I need to evacuate my horse from her boarding location–crucial especially since she had been sick all summer. I wouldn’t know anything about Gerrold. I just registered that this was Antonelli becoming argumentative and it needed to be managed.

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        1. Joyce Reynolds-Ward: it was at the Business Meeting; he was upset

          Ugh, I didn’t realize that he’d showed up there, too. Sorry you had to deal with that. What was he trying to do?

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  2. “near the end of list of Hugos” doesn’t scan for me. Either it needs some articles or maybe just reduce it to “near the end of the Hugos.”

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  3. It’s notable that the only two fiction Hugos awarded in 2015, Best Novel and Best Novelette, both went to translated works, which was a first in the history of the Hugos that was somewhat overshadowed by the puppy mess.

    In fact, I cannot recall if any translated work ever won a Hugo in a fiction category before 2015, though there have been finalists who were translated works before. The first was probably Sylva by Vercors, translated by Rita Barisse, which was a Best Novel finalist in 1963.

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  4. “The Hugo Awards have a traditional order, partly determined by convenience and partly determined by status. The most notable and talked about award is the Hugo for Best Novel. The various Fan awards (such as Best Fan Writer) are clustered together near the end of list of Hugos. The Astounding Award for Best New Writer (at the time called the John W Campbell award) is technically not a Hugo Award but is voted on and presented together with them. Because of its ‘not a Hugo” status, it traditionally comes last in the list. For ceremonies, of course, the order is reserved: the last become first and the first, last for reasons of drama rather than egalitarianism.”

    How about “… by status. The usual list of Hugo nominees begins with the most notable and talked about award – the Hugo for Best Novel. The fan award nominees fall towards the end of the list, with the Astounding Award …. falling at the end of the list.

    “But for the ceremonies, of course, the order is reversed”

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      1. “Finalists” was designated as the proper name in order to distinguish from “nominees”.
        Self-explanatory but to cover the bases:
        Nominees are either anyone someone nominated (“I’m a Hugo nominee by virtue of having placed my name on a nominating ballot”.
        Finalists are those who receive enough nominations to be placed on the final ballot.
        Hierarchy:
        Hugo Winner
        Hugo Finalist (or first runner up, 2nd runner up…finished behind No Award, etc)
        Hugo Nominee (above a certain threshhold a “true” nominee)
        Hugo Nominee (below a certain threshold or “someone trying to undeservedly claim Hugo status
        )

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        1. Yes, that’s exactly why I recommended the change from nominees to finalists in reply to Andrew. Finalist being the official term for the works and people on the final ballot. Then I’d refer to the next 15 places we see on the stats sheet as longlisted. Nominee is too ambiguous.

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    1. Slight reconsideration

      “The Hugo Awards have a traditional order, partly determined by convenience and partly determined by status. The usual list of Hugo finalists begins with the most notable and talked about award – the Hugo for Best Novel. . The various Fan awards (such as Best Fan Writer) are clustered together near the end of list of Hugo finalist. The Astounding Award for Best New Writer (at the time called the John W Campbell award) is technically not a Hugo Award but is voted on and presented together with the Hugos. Because of its ‘not a Hugo” status, it traditionally comes last in the list.

      But for the ceremonies, of course, the order is reversed for reasons of drama rather than egalitarianism. Ater the preliminary events, sketches, introduction and community awards, the first outcome of all of 2015’s drama would be the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The finalists consisted of four people nominated by the Puppy slates, including Kary English who was seen by many as one of the strongest nominees slated by the Sad Puppies. In addition, author Wesley Chu was the single non-Puppy slated nominee. “

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  5. Explaining the idea to the audience, he asked the nominees sitting near the front of the auditorium to wave their asterisks.

    Oh, this makes me cringe. It also puts Gerrold’s “magnanimity” in allowing Crazy Uncle Lou to attend the con and ceremony as a finalist in a different light.

    And now for Tyop Patrol!

    >a two-day formal meeting
    Um, two? Four counting the preliminary and 3 main meetings.

    You have two [2]s in the text and no [3]. Assuming the second [2] should be [3]. (Don’t you know it’s suppose to be 2 fives?)

    >The other major proposal pass was E Pluribus Hugo or EPH.
    proposal passed

    >John Scalzi and from Gollancz Books, editor Gillian Redfearn
    and editor Gillian Redfearn from Gollancz Books

    >near the end of list of Hugos.
    near the end of the list of categories.

    >the order is reserved
    reversed (reverse the s and v!)

    >short form for magazines and anthologies, long-form for books
    either hyphen or no hyphen for both short and long forms

    >There was also reactions and commentary and
    There were

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    1. Laura: Oh, this makes me cringe.

      I really can’t fathom why Gerrold thought this wouldn’t go over like a lead zeppelin. He’d promised a classy ceremony and then came out with this. Everyone knew what the elephant in the room was – and it had been openly discussed in the pre-ceremony segment with Scalzi et al – but the classy approach would have been to treat the ceremony as if it were the same as any other Hugo ceremony. I can’t speak for all of the non-Puppies who were there, but my friend and I thought making a big production about the asterisks was in extremely poor taste, and I suspect it made the ceremony uncomfortable for a lot of other non-Puppies, too. This discomfort was magnified when Silverberg got up and went on, and on, and on at great length, with what was essentially a mockery of Hare Krishnas.

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      1. I believe that it was an attempt to mollify the majority who were looking for blood at the ceremony; David would have gotten lot of support if he had offered to sacrifice a puppy on stage (two legged variety). Instead, he acknowledged the taint on the awards, let the crowd hur-hur a bit and then moved on.

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        1. steve davidson: I believe that it was an attempt to mollify the majority who were looking for blood at the ceremony; David would have gotten lot of support if he had offered to sacrifice a puppy on stage (two legged variety). Instead, he acknowledged the taint on the awards, let the crowd hur-hur a bit and then moved on.

          The majority of Worldcon members were not looking for blood. They just didn’t want rockets going to Puppy rubbish, and they wanted EPH to pass. The fact that Gerrold had them produced and for sale in the Dealer’s Hall was fine. But a lot of non-Puppies were unhappy about the way the asterisks were made a focus of the ceremony, it was in extremely poor taste, and I can’t imagine why the man who had declared that he would ensure that the ceremony would be a “classy” one thought that making a production of the asterisks during the ceremony would be anything other than a decidedly classless and trashy thing to do.

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      2. I remember thinking the asterisks (and Silverbergs’s routine) were the kind of tedious inside-baseball fan-wank that alienates people from fandom.

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  6. To cut a very long meeting short

    Sadly, that did not happen. How about:
    The short summary of a very long meeting is that, among other pieces of business, two key proposals to reduce the impact of slates were passed.

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  7. EPH would have reduced the impact of the Puppy slates but would not be a disincentive if there were multiple duelling slates.

    I don’t really get what this is intended to convey. It would be as much of a disincentive to dueling slates as it would be to a single slate. The answer to “how much of a disincentive?” is dependent on how willing, and how many, slate supporters would be to spend $50 in the hope of getting maybe 1 or 2 of their choices onto the ballot.

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    1. A puppy and an anti-puppy slate of similar voting power as the 2015 puppies might get around half each of the nominees under EPH. Organic voters would still get shut out. But maybe that’s getting too much into the weeds of things

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      1. Yeah, you could probably cut this entirely. It’s confusing and doesn’t really bear on this set of Hugos, conducted under the old rules, so it doesn’t quite fit in a chapter about Spokane.

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      2. If they were of similar voting power to the 2015 puppies, we would probably still see some works that had strong support that didn’t overlap much with either slate making their way onto the ballot. EPH is based on voting theory that tries to be roughly proportional in awarding slots to how much support each group has within the overall electorate, though it isn’t exactly proportional for various reasons. So if you had two slates, one of which averaged around 330 votes each, the other of which averaged around 300 votes each, and an independent work that had around 200 supporters who weren’t part of either slate, in the round to determine the last elimination, slate 1 would probably have 3 works with around 110 points each, slate 2 would have 3 works with around 100 points each, and the independent work would have around 200 solo points, so it would be held out of the final cage match, pitting two slate works against each other and ensuring the independent work a finalist slot, even though it had fewer votes than any of the slate works.

        This is in contrast to 4 and 6 by itself, which absolutely could have two slates control all the finalists between them.

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    2. Dueling slates (and I am not talking about Sad Puppies and Rapid ones, the were mostly in agreement, just had very few different nominees) would have been a dream for Beale and a nightmare for every fan. I think it speaks to the integraty of the fans that it never happened, despite nearly everyone knowing that we would get another year of puppydreck (and we will get to it, but Beales stretegy made zero sense 2016).

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      1. As a long or even medium-term strategy, it makes no sense. As a short-term indulgence of boundless spite and malice, it makes perfect sense.

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      2. I am not even talking about slating, I mean to talk about which works he picked. The combination of Hostages, selfpromotion and shaming the Hugos is what I meaned.

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      3. The “hostages” of course, really weren’t. Beale knew from what happened to Guardians of the Galaxy that when the Pups nominated a genuinely popular work that is a favorite to be a finalist and yes, even a winner, what happened is the voters ignored their pretensions. Scalzi’s description of the maneuver as “parade-hopping” was absolutely correct. Beale might have pretended to the (diminishing) faithful that this was all part of an elaborate strategy, but I think he knew at the bottom it was all just one bit of vandalism before shutting out the lights.

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  8. Fine summary!
    I fear this is nitpicking, but suggest a change to: “ However, neither fears of having to evacuate fans because of fire nor fears of violent fallout from the past months of bitter argument about the Puppy campaigns eventuated”
    -> However, the fears of having to evacuate fans because of fire or to deal with violent fallout from the past months of bitter argument about the Puppy campaigns were realised.
    (The fears had eventuated (happened) already.)

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  9. A minor correction: the Grim Reaper figure was not animatronic.
    It’s a 13-foot manually-operated costume/body puppet with articulated hands. The flaming eyes were an adventure in Arduino programming.

    I know, because I designed and built it, and was inside it operating it during that opening at the ceremony.

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  10. What I remember from watching the ceremony live online was — IIRC — they switched up the order a little bit so the TAFF winner didn’t have to announce any of the No Award categories. She was quite good and it was nice she got to do the fannish awards and hand out rockets.

    I think I said to Mr. LT at the start, “Oh look, Puppies gotta sit through a ceremony hosted by a gay Jewish man and a Black woman. Heh.”

    This is all IIRC, which is often up for debate.

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    1. I remember Gerrold saying at some point afterward that he had arranged it so that any category which might go to No Award was announced by him, so that no one else was put in the awkward position of having to announce a No Award. That was a classy thing to do.

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      1. Lurkertype: Warning: Don’t confuse Germans and Austrians, both could react badly. (At last in my part of Germany which shares a border with Austria)

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  11. I remember watching the streaming version and, like the Worldcon attendees though much quieter, cheering when Wesley Chu won. It was a huge relief to know that the Puppies had lost at least one award, and that maybe this would continue for the rest of the ceremony. I remember Chu’s speech being funnier than just him saying he was a Republican presidential candidate — he said something like, “I have an important announcement to make.” Long pause, in which the audience had time to come up with the wildest conjectures — he had converted to Puppyhood, he was really Vox Day (I mean, how many people had actually seen the guy?) — and then, “Yes, I too am announcing my candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.”

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