Here’s a Hugo 2015 theory I haven’t seen before

This is in the depths of the comments at John C Wright’s blog on the final post about the 2015 Sad Puppy campaigns. The commenter is John Van Stry, a vaguely puppy-aligned author who is more notable for his campaign against a copyright pirate (see for a recap).

“I honestly believe that the voting in the 2015 Hugo’s was rigged. I also believe that Martin was involved with it.
Why? Under Federal Law, Non-Profits (like Worldcon) are -required- to share the ballots from all elections held.
But that year, they didn’t. All previous years they did, but that year, they didn’t. There’s only one reason for that: Fraud. And they realized after the fact that they’d committed a pretty serious felony.
I also found it quite ‘interesting’ that Martin had all the names on the trophies engraved within minutes of the awards ceremony at his little after party. That’s kind of suspicious right there. So was all of the ‘memberships’ being bought for ‘other people’ -in direct violation of the bylaws- by the chorfs, who didn’t even hide that they were cheating.”

There are some layers there. I have no idea what US Federal law on non-profits is but “-required- to share the ballots from all elections held” sounds unlikely as stated. However, while Hugo results are shared in detail, we know there was nothing unusual about the level of data provided for 2015.

41 responses to “Here’s a Hugo 2015 theory I haven’t seen before”

  1. Martin’s trophies, I assume, were his separate Alfie awards, which went to people who turned down nominations and people who never got the nominations in the first place.

    Neither of which he needed any Hugo data to award.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is in the depths of the comments at John C Wright’s blog…

    “In the depths” is such an evocative turn of phrase in this instance.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The easiest way I have found to deal with claims that some statute or regulation compels something or other is to ask for a citation. Those making claims like Van Stry is making can almost never respond with one, since, of course, one usually does not exist.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is pretty standard right-wing practice, cribbed from the 2020 election fraud claims.

    #1) Make up a law or regulation that doesn’t exist and claim the imaginary requirement was not met. Non-profits are legally required to provide to the public/government various financial data to keep their non-profit status and accept donations. They are not required to provide election data on contests they run, one which has no cash prize even. The Hugos provide a lot more info about the voting than most other awards.

    #2) Claim some new thing happened that didn’t happen — the Hugos supposedly not sharing the voting data of the 2015 elections. It’s freely available.

    #3) Pick a big name villain to be the mastermind of a conspiracy — Martin, because Martin gently lectured the Puppies that their accusations were ridiculous and was nice to the folks who turned down nominations due to the Puppies’ shenanigans.

    #4) Claim the conspiracy was revealed by an unwise — and imaginary — occurrence — in this case awards just like the Hugo awards for the winners when that was not who Martin gave awards to at his after party.

    #5) Claim those you oppose are doing something unethical, preferably something that your group is actually doing, as when the Puppies bought voting memberships for Gamergaters to vote their slates and some of them even bragged about it.

    But it does go back to initial claims by the Puppies — that the awards were rigged by the evil SJW’s which is why they kept winning them instead of conservatives (and later conservatives from Baen, and later conservatives who were indie authors, etc.) They routinely made accusations of fraud in the Hugo elections of the past five, ten, fifteen years, etc. And then they expressed perplexity when the authors they accused of fraud and cheating were upset with them.

    Which they’ll keep doing forever. That will always be the narrative — we were good and justified, they were cheaters. Whatever we did or said was fair because they must have been doing it and so on. And what’s truly remarkable about it is that they don’t just make up one alternate reality and agree about that one. They make up 50 alternate realities, like this guy did, with easily disproven lies that occasionally contradict each other and then they all agree to believe in all the alternate realities at the same time, or at least not to nitpick them.

    Liked by 8 people

    • And what’s truly remarkable about it is that they don’t just make up one alternate reality and agree about that one. They make up 50 alternate realities, like this guy did, with easily disproven lies that occasionally contradict each other and then they all agree to believe in all the alternate realities at the same time, or at least not to nitpick them.

      Always worth dropping a link to this study:
      Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories

      Conspiracy theories can form a monological belief system: A self-sustaining worldview comprised of a network of mutually supportive beliefs. The present research shows that even mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated in endorsement. In Study 1 (n =137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2). The monological nature of conspiracy belief appears to be driven not by conspiracy theories directly supporting one another but by broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. As a simple, country hyperchicken, I’d think that cheaters would have just kept the puppy nominations from being counted, rather than going to the effort to have puppy finalists and then defeat them. Truly John C. Wright commenters have dizzying (almost vomit-inducing) “intellects”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This guy seems to be as big a Dunning-Kruger exemplar as the rest of the Puppies. There is not a single correct element to any of these claims.

    1. The Hugo Awards are not Officer Elections. There is no legal requirement in the U.S. for the nominating and voting ballots of an award to be preserved. nor for them to be publicly “shared”. The claim that there was “a pretty serious felony” committed is certainly hilariously entertaining, though.

    2. The Hugo nominating and voting ballots have never been publicly shared. Once the results have been announced and the statistics released, they have always, every single year for decades, been destroyed immediately after the convention.

    3. The same people who handle the voting also handle the nominations. If the voting had actually been rigged that year, the Puppy entries would never even have appeared on the final ballot.

    4. The “by-laws” (which don’t exist, I presume he means the WSFS Constitution) do not forbid buying memberships for other people. They only forbid any individual from submitting more than one nominating ballot and one voting ballot.

    5. Some of the memberships which were donated went to Puppies and Puppy sympathizers, which was acknowledged in statements made by those actual recipients.

    6. The Alfies did not have engraved plaques on them. Here is Mur Lafferty accepting Ursula Vernon’s Alfie at GRRM’s party in 2015.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Yes and I found that post too, but photo taken at the party is not clear enough to show that there are no engraved plaques. Puppies aren’t going to believe something just because GRRM said it. It’s a lot harder for them to deny actual photographic evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, they will figure out a way.

          They will say the photo is doctored. Or that this was the only one that wasn’t engraved so as to be a decoy to fool people. Or they will say it was engraved on the other side. Or something else.

          They will lie. It is what Puppies do.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Aaron: I think you are making this more complicated than it will be. The pubs will just ignore that the picture exists.

            Some more general thoughts.:
            I don’t know what the pupps want with reconcilation. My opinion is that most of them are horible people that I want nothink to do with.
            And if I am honest the Hugos are only a part of it. Everything else since than is enough that I don’t think there is a reconcilation in anyones interest.
            I think some puppies could come back, but only if a) they come back independent of puppyrubish or b) even admit that they hurt people.
            The problem is that the abusers see themselve as victims here or want to sell that narative.
            My favorite lie was the one that George RR, Martin had to know which category would be no avarded because he gave in every one of this categorys an Alfie. Ignoring that fact that Martin was very much against no award wining 2 of this categorys.
            There are also puppynominees who did manage to not become Pariahs. People like JCW made a coice, I find it hart to fell sorry for them.

            Liked by 2 people

  6. I do give the guy credit for going after the ebook piracy site though. And that site was actual piracy — unlike the guy who posted his own story and went after Mike and File770 for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, my days of not taking Puppy claims seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

    But I am really not surprised that John Van Stry is mouthing a collection of complete falsehoods about the 2015 Hugo Awards. He’s commenting on JCW’s blog, and JCW has been lying about the 2015 Hugos for seven solid years now. Birds of a feather flock together, and liars like JCW and Van Stry love each other’s company.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The title of the post the comment is appended to is “Is Reconciliation Possible?” as part eight in a dishonest pile of shit about the 2015 Hugos and the Puppy campaigns.

    The answer is that there won’t be reconciliation until the Puppy apologists do some basic research about the Hugos specifically and reality in general and start actually dealing with the truth of the campaigns. As long as people like JCW, Chris Chan, and John Van Stry are going to peddle dishonesty, there is no reconciliation possible.

    Reconciliation is not possible with liars, and the Puppies are, to the very last one of them, liars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What was difficult for the Puppies was that they very quickly went from being viewed by many as people maybe raising some “reasonable” questions to being more clearly seen as people who were making stuff up, harbored bigoted views against marginalized authors and fans, made wild, shifting accusations and weren’t willing to listen to a single person, no matter how prominent in the field, who tried to point out inconvenient facts to them. And then they just started getting abusive. So they lost cultural reputations as good, participatory SFF folk and lost people’s interest.

      The occasional murmurs about “reconciliation” are attempts to reassure themselves of that lost cultural reputation, the narrative of the good, ruling, reasonable folk. They will “forgive” those who defended themselves against the Puppies’ attacks for daring to do so if those wrong folk are sufficiently apologetic and acknowledge whatever supposedly beneficial things the Puppies have decided their hate campaign did. They will generously consider reconciliation with people who have no interest in them if they are given what they feel is the proper respect for their desired status. They are, in their own minds, a government in exile considering peace talks, which is so weird.

      I don’t know that the Hugo Awards and SFF fandom have gotten particularly better about marginalized authors and fans since 2015. Given the upset whining that occurs whenever a winner of a Hugo or other major SFF award does an acceptance speech that points out facts and real problems in the field, not that much progress has been made. But I do appreciate that the majority of fandom did reject the Puppies’ games. I wish the actual U.S. society would too, but that battle goes on.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Can we please note something? The Hugos are not elections. Elections are the process of selecting a candidate for Office. A Hugo is an Award, not a political office.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The AMPAS, which gives out The Oscars (TM) is also a nonprofit corporation. And nobody but the high-ranking accountants knows the numbers on those ballots, which are probably also all destroyed soon afterwards.

      There’s a smidge more money and influence in/from/regarding movies than SF stories.


      • There’s absolutely no requirement legally speaking that results of a balloting be made public. I’ve run such processes for non-profits and we always destroyed the numbers afterwards as it was agreed that giving out the numbers would have caused more problems that it was worth. So we just announced that so and so had been Awarded such an honor and left it at that.

        As I said they aren’t election results which are legally binding and require you give vote tallies out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Like I said, this guy was cribbing from the same games used in the Big Lie on the 2020 election, such as when they checked ballots for traces of bamboo to somehow prove imaginary Chinese tampering. Clearly he used something he heard about political elections and applied it to an award voting. Nobody’s going to check in that crowd because again nodding towards 50 different alternate realities they invent is standard procedure. As long as marginalized people and civil rights supporters are cast as inferior, unethical and subversive — lower status — that’s all that matters.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I mean, I have a pretty decent way of ensuring that five out of six non-winners in a category can have a memorable item with their name affixed in, maybe, 15 minutes after announcement. At least if the name of all six is known well in advance.

    Simply have five memorabel items with a slight recess for a name plaque. Engrave six name plaques, but do not affix any. Can we done well in advance.

    Then, as the winner is announced, throw that plaque away, then affix the five remaining to the memorable item, using a suitable fixing (screws, adhesive, something). Might get a bit hairier if you have many “batches of five out of six”, but should still scale pretty well.


  11. Having known John for years, and having been involved with fighting his attempt to get the Furry Writers Guild to officially denounce the Hugos in 2015 and 2016, I can confidently say that John Van Stry not vaguely puppy aligned. He is extremely puppy aligned.

    I also feel confident in saying that it’s much more likely that John honestly believes the BS he is spewing rather then knowing that he’s stating falsehoods.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Honestly” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there. The falsehoods he spewed are all things one can easily check to make sure they are accurate before you declare them to be fact — whether there is a felony law about non-profit, private groups running an award to have to legally show ballots (a bizarre notion just on the face of it) and whether the Hugos ever did so before, whether information about the vote statistics was available to the public, who Martin gave Alfie awards to and whether those awards were engraved at the party. We almost all knew that those were falsehoods and sounded strange to boot and were able to check any details with a simple search. JVS is as capable as we are to look for evidence to actually back up a claim.

      But JVS did not say he thought the falsehoods happened; he said that he knew and found interesting that the falsehoods happened as fact. That’s not an honest belief; it’s a calculated assertion. The assertions are things that JVS wants to be true and wants to claim to aggrandize himself with other Puppies. It’s a belief, but it’s not honestly believed; it’s what he feels it’s fair to do to make himself superior over his self-declared enemies. If you confronted him that these claims are factually false; he’d have another, different batch of assertions for you in a minute. That’s what the Puppies did constantly and it’s one of the main things they did that lost them what support they started with. They may have been dedicated to claiming beliefs they thought might fly, but they weren’t beliefs made from honest conviction.

      An honest belief of a claim is something that can then change if the person is shown that the claim is false, that the facts do not actually bear out the claim. If a person sticks with a claim despite knowing the facts, declares that the facts must be false, etc., then that’s not an honest belief, it’s a desire and a strategy. I believe that this guy honestly believes that we are all bad and the Puppies are good, but the rest of it he quite clearly doesn’t really believe and would not really recant if you prove him wrong on it.

      Liked by 1 person

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