At John Scalzi’s post on Debarkle there is a comment by Charles Stross which has a good question:
“Just popping in to say that the pups seem to have ultimately served as a pilot program for the culture wars approach rolled out in Gamergate and Comicsgate: I can’t help wondering if there was any coordination with Steve Bannon, because it reflected in microcosm the shape of politics to come.”https://whatever.scalzi.com/2021/09/12/thoughts-on-the-debarkle/?amp#comment-901201
I think we can reasonably say “yes, there was sort-of” to that question but with caveats. The extent of it is unclear though and I doubt events would have played out very differently in 2015 without it.
It’s reasonable to say “yes” because the connection is Milo Yiannopoulos. Vox Day had contacts with Yiannopoulos from GamerGate, Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari covered the Sad Puppies for Brietbart – notably from FEBRUARY 2015 and tying it directly to GamerGate https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2015/02/05/the-hugo-wars-how-sci-fis-most-prestigious-awards-became-a-political-battleground/ I think it is also notable that both the February story and the April (post-nomination announcement) story put the Sad Puppies at the front of the story https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2015/04/04/hugo-awards-nominations-swept-by-anti-sjw-anti-authoritarian-authors/ even though the authors were closer ideologically to the Rabids. The framing is very much the idea borrowed from GamerGate that of a consumer revolt of ordinary apolitical people against the forces of SJWs and feminism rather than an ideological backlash from the right.
Now “coordination” might imply that Bannon was directing things or that he had some say in Puppy strategy. I don’t think that is the case because aside from anything else, why bother and there wasn’t a great deal of strategy going on or needed. However, there was a clear line of communication and the connection between the so-called Evil League of Evil and Yiannopoulus would continue into 2017. Whether Bannon himself was paying attention, I don’t know but I’d guess not because he’d let Yiannopoulos handle such things.
It’s not unlike the connection between the Puppies and GamerGate. There was not, as some feared, Sad Puppies going to GamerGate and recruiting an army of auxiliary culture warriors. However, there was always an overlap of people between the two campaigns, so the GamerGaters who wanted to be involved were already involved by April 2015. The ties with GamerGate were there from the start via Vox Day and Larry Correia (via Adam Baldwin as well as regulars at his blog).
Lastly, “coordination” can sound conspiratorial and imply a grand game of move and counter move. If your broad strategy is chaos and division, you don’t need much coordination, you just need to cheer things on from the sidelines.
So I think it is safest to say that there was a clear line of communication between Breitbart and the Puppies but there is little reason to think Breitbart was directing the Puppies.