Fact-checking really old comments on other people’s blogs long after the fact

…And then posting it here because this blog is just where things fall out of my head like one of those sci-fi junkyard planets.

So from 2016, I saw was a puppy supporter saying Larry Correia was outselling N.K.Jemisin by a huge margin. Given the state of information about book sales that is a tough claim to substantiate, particularly across all the books both authors have written. However, it occurred to me that there was a relevant like-for-like (ish) comparison that could be made. Both Correia and Jemisin published book 1 of a fantasy series in 2015: Correia’s Son of the Black Sword (listed as October 15, 2015 on Amazon) and N.K.Jemisin’s The Fifth Season (listed as August 4, 2015 on Amazon). One won a Dragon Award and the other won a Hugo Award.

How are they doing now after all the hurly-burly has been done?

FormatSon of the Black Sword The Fifth Season
Kindle #93,992 in Kindle Store#61,922 in Kindle Store
Audio#4,937 in Audible Books & Originals#21,721 in Audible Books & Originals 
Hardcover #229,997 in Booksn/a
Paperback #422,057 in Books#4,698 in Books

Correia is no slouch when it comes to sales and it looks like his book is doing better in audio than Jemisin’s. Otherwise, it’s no contest.

Ah yes but MAYBE that’s just because of evil SJW publishing media hype and people bought The Fifth Season because of virtue signalling etc blah blah something??!? So, do people keep reading? Both books had sequels but here the comparison isn’t quite as like-for-like due to different publishing dates.

FormatHouse of AssassinsThe Obelisk Gate
Kindle#173,022 in Kindle Store#55,910 in Kindle Store
Audio#48,055 in Audible Books & Originals#21,992 in Audible Books & Originals
Hardcover#363,766 in Booksn/a
Paperback#310,581 in Books#11,716 in Books 

It’s not really a contest is it?

For completeness:

FormatDestroyer of WorldsThe Stone Sky
Kindle144,452 in Kindle Store  #64,908 in Kindle Store
Audio9,041 in Audible Books & Originals#69,932 in Audible Books & Originals
Hardcover327,341 in Booksn/a
Paperback183,721 in Books #20,940 in Books

A bit of an audiobook advantage for Correia again but no, much to everybody’s surprise a hugely successful, critically acclaimed, groundbreaking (lol) modern classic of the genre is somehow outselling a relatively obscure cookie-cutter epic fantasy from a publisher with a narrow audience and limited reach.

Draft Timeline Update

This is the draft of Hugo 2016 section of the Puppy Kefuffle Timeline. Once this section is done, I’ll call the timeline done and complete. Any further events, kefuffles etc won’t be included on this timeline.

Suggestions, edits, typo-corrections all welcome. The interval between slates/lists being announced and the nominations being announced is a bit lacking in events. I haven’t included much on the 3SV and EPH+ discussions yet either.

Vox Day’s No Good Horrible Very Bad Week

Not the best week for our favourite evil-genius.oneyedD5

Sunday: The Hugo Awards didn’t collapse but instead voted for top-notch works. The multiple dark threats from 2015 amounted to little more than Space Raptor Butt Invasion aka the joke that backfired on the devilman Vox. Here he is in 2015.


Tonight will tell us one very important thing. It will give us the opportunity to see what their true numbers are and reveal the true extent of their fully mobilized strength. Last year, the maximum No Award vote was 1,100. This year it will be more, somewhere between 1,100 and 4,000.

Being SJWs, they doubled-down as per the Second Law, giving us the chance to break them once and for all. But even if we don’t, even if we only burn Munich instead of taking Berlin, even if they are successful in “sending a message”, what we hear will not be what they wish for us to hear. Because what we will hear is this: Next year, bring more puppies.

Ooops. I think I can spot where the brilliant plan fell down.

Tuesday: Vox is struggling to make sense of Space Raptor Butt Invasion. The Vox Xanatos gambit was this:

  • SJWs will either say they hate it and not vote for it and the Hugos will be all embarrassed that it was on the ballot.
  • Or the SJWs will say that they love it and hence have to vote for it and it will a Hugo and the Hugos will have “butt” in it ha, ha, ha I made them say “butt”

Unfortunately somehow in the complex psychological four-dimensional chess game that Vox was playing (which oddly looks like the reasoning of a 10-year-old playground bully with emotional difficulties), he missed this option:

  • Hugo voters will find Chuck Tingle hilarious, his baiting of Vox Day even more hilarious, embrace him as an ally and give him big cheers – but not vote him a Hugo because Space Raptor Butt Invasion isn’t really Hugo worthy.

Vox ends up fuming https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/why-worldcon-changed-rules.html :

Apparently those folks appreciate Mr. Tingle just about as much as they appreciate me. Did I not tell you that would happen despite the SJW’s feigned joy over how terribly funny and brilliant they found Mr. Tingle’s work?

Those darn SJWs! They must have been pretending just to wind Vox up! Gosh, I wish that was true because it would be even funnier than the reality.

Wednesday: The massive post-Hugo sulk continues as the best reaction Vox can come up with is to try to be rude to Nnedi Okorafor. Ah! That is the brilliant four-dimensional chess gambit Vox was going to play along!

Thursday: Donald Trump goes all wibbly-wobbly on immigration. While arithmetic is not the Alt-Right’s strong suit, even Donald appears to have spotted that he needs a broader base than immigration-paranoia. As pivots go it was weak and incoherent but enough to cause a Vox-sulk and use the ‘c’ word: https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/did-trump-cuck-on-immigration.html It’s all OK though because just doesn’t care.

I don’t actually care what he did or didn’t do, but since some of you obviously want to get into this, be my guest. But do it here, not in the other threads.

Thursday again: Things look up a bit for Vox, as Hillary Clinton makes a big deal about the alt-right. Sure it’s bad for Trump but a side-effect is an increased profile for the alt-right: https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/hillary-live-stream.html

Friday: Coverage of Hillary’s speech in the mainstream media – but what’s this? Quotes from VDARE, Cernovich, Milo and assorted racists but no Vox. Heck even I was disappointed for him – I wanted to point at a quote and say ‘I had a stupid twitter argument with that guy!’ but ’twas not to be.

Saturday: OK timezone wise I’m not sure it is Saturday yet wherever Vox is. Thing is August 27 is about 30 days since the end of the Democratic National Convention. Here is Vox in early August:

As for the polls, I remind you of my previous assessment: they don’t mean ANYTHING until 30 days after the end of the second convention.

If there is no discernible Trump trend by then, it MIGHT be time to start considering the possibility of a Hillary win. In the meantime, pay no attention to the media’s attempt to establish a false narrative.

And this is what the polls look like now:






The Sad Puppy 3 meltdown over Hugo 2016 Continues

In yet another extraordinary display of sore-loserness, Brad Torgersen enter into the fray with a rant about how the leftwing media is ganging up on him https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/courageous-left-wing-media-beats-stuffing-out-of-straw-puppy/

Now, just to remind everybody:

  • Brad (and Larry) were not really involved in Sad Puppies 4 – the relevant campaign for Hugo 2016
  • Brad has always been very vocal about how different the Sads and Rabids are
  • Sad Puppies 4 was actual a vast improvement and received substantially less criticism than Brad’s campaign because Kate Paulk actually did what she said she would do
  • The impact on nominations from Sad Puppies 4 was not overt or disruptive – good for them
  • The big issue in 2016 was the obvious griefing by the Rabid Puppies of Vox Day
  • It was the Rabid Puppies who got trounced in the final voting
  • Vox is being largely phlegmatic about it (as trolls tend to be when their trolling gets shut down eventually)
  • Brad and Larry are having a massive hissy fit about fans not voting the way Brad and Larry think they should have

Brad says that Sad Puppies was all about diversity of opinion – yet here we are again. When new and varied works win, Brad has a meltdown because they don’t fit the nutty-nugget template that he demands we all follow.

Sad Puppies volunteer again as the shields for Vox and the Rabids: a reply to Larry C

Larry Correia has re-entered into the Hugo debate, apparently to lambast Hugo voters for not voting for the Rabid Puppies. As so often happens, Larry (and Brad) have forgotten briefly about the supposedly massive distinction between Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies and naturally has come down fair and square on the side of Vox Day’s fairly obvious griefing attempt.

Fast forward to now, and at least they are open it is all politics.

Politics? It is interesting that when Larry says “politics” it so often means either women or people of colour not being discriminated against. When this is pointed out, Larry then tends to go 180 degrees and loudly declares about how race or gender or ethnicity are irrelevant and that people are all meany heads for calling him a racist or that the Sad Puppy leadership is diverse. Which is odd, because by Larry’s standards all of that would amount to “politics” on his part.

Larry and the Sad Puppies declared many times that the problem with the Hugos was the same old people winning awards. Well, that isn’t want happened this year and so now Larry is complaining that it is “politics”.

Seriously what aspect of YOUR politics is it that is attacked when somebody like N.K.Jemisin wins a Hugo? Seriously – that is a genuine question, not a trick one. You say repeatedly how much of a non-racist you are and that’s great and I’d really, really, like to believe you. What would help, would be you trying to work out what you mean by “politics” – because it really doesn’t seem to be the economic policy beliefs of award winners or their views on foreign policy or even their stance on healthcare or even which political candidate they are going to vote for in the next election.

Just ask yourself this, what kind of scumbags would give No Award to Larry Elmore?

Wait – you are the guy who keeps saying awards don’t matter? So now ordinary voters are “scumbags” if they don’t give somebody an award? And you wonder how “Sad Puppy” became such a toxic brand. It might have worked for Donald Trump during the GOP Primary but insulting ordinary voters is a pretty crap way of winning support and a very quick way of becoming marginalised in terms of influence beyond your fanbase (yeah, yeah, I know you earn lots and your books are super popular etc – seriously I’m happy for you).

You can’t even make your mind up whether a Hugo Award is an irrelevance or a mark of toxicity or something so vital that a fan must be a “scumbag” if they don’t vote for somebody.

And you are back to the notion of a Hugo being some kind of lifetime achievement award. It isn’t. You might want it to be but that involves persuading people rather than shouting at them. It is noticeable that when people wouldn’t be bullied into doing what you wanted you withdrew rather than thinking about where you went wrong and trying to engage in a positive way. Shame that.

Moira Greyland exposed to the culture of rape and pedophilia in old fandom, and not the made up “rape culture” the modern feminists accuse anybody who disagrees with them of.

And noticeably the coverage of this was not something Sad Puppies felt was worth nominating last year. For example http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/

Does that mean you and Brad wanted it “swept under the rug”? Because not only did you not nominate any of the coverage you didn’t discuss in your blogs either. Whereas the “modern feminists” you attack did discuss it. Ah but they are awful people because while they took the issue seriously they didn’t the vote the way Vox Day told them to in an award that you think is irrelevant because…because why? Because now Larry Correia thinks the way of helping the victims of sexual abuse is to never talk about the issue but nominate things for a Hugo Award?

Nope. While “modern feminists” were pointing out this appalling part of fandom history, Sad Puppies was busy celebrating and promoting a rape apologist. Oh wait, but that’s “politics” again, isn’t it, if anybody dares mention the way Sad Puppies sought out and promoted Vox Day.

But here is why I didn’t vote for Moira Greyland’s essay https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/hugo-choices-2-best-related-work-the-story-of-moira-greyland/

Other people had other reasons.

Toni Weisskopf? No Award. But we already knew that was coming.

Yes, we did. Take for example Sad Puppy 4 supremo Kate Paulk’s take on Best Editor Long Form: https://madgeniusclub.com/2016/07/07/hugo-category-highlights-the-finalists-best-editor-short-form-and-long-form/

Yup, even the TOP Sad Puppy couldn’t find much of a reason to vote for Toni Weisskopf. Heck, judging from the Hugo packet Toni Weisskopf couldn’t think of any reasons why we should vote for Toni Weisskopf. And yet people are just the WORST if they don’t vote for her because…I guess we’ll never know other than because Larry said so.

And noticeable how you can’t bring yourself to congratulate Sheila E Gilbert for actually winning – you know the person who actually said what she edited last year. Amazing that.

And Jerry Pournelle… Living legend. You pieces of shit are honestly going to tell us that Jerry Pournelle is not award worthy?

Yes, because the work he was nominated for, There Will be War X,  was a bit shit. Also, it was forced onto the ballot by the publisher’s shenanigans – something Sad Puppies and yourself are supposed to be opposing.

Jerry Pournelle can be a living legend and if there is ever a Living Legend Hugo Award I might even give him some consideration (tough field, though). However, he was nominated for best editor on the basis of an anthology that was pretty bad compared to his earlier work.

And to Neil Gaiman, boldly standing up to those pesky Puppies during his speech…

When you got your buddy Jonathan Ross to volunteer to MC the awards, it wasn’t those jerky Sad Puppies that formed an angry twitter mob because he *might* tell a fat joke.

That is true and note he still thinks “puppies” are bigger jerks.

You might want to stop and reflect on that for a moment. People who have actually experienced some of the supposedly awful oppression of the supposedly awful SJWs (mainly people being cross on the internet) see your “Puppy” brand as more obnoxious than that.

Now, why do you think that is Larry?

HINT: you have singularly failed to expand your base and done nothing but help Vox Day and the alt-right solidify theirs.

I still recall how discombobulated you were when Donald Trump effectively won the GOP nominations. You just couldn’t make sense of it – despite all your effort to legitimise and promote alt-right figures, alt-right narratives and alt-right talking points.

It still amazes me how much people on the right work so, so hard to boost people who then laugh at them and call them “cuckservatives” and then hijack their movement. And here we are again – you are posting a long rant about how awful those Hugo voters are and how “political” they are for not embracing Vox Day.

by the way, Neil, there were two separate groups of Puppies with entirely different goals and methods

Says Larry, rushing to defend the Rabid Puppies after they get trounced in a popular vote. Amazing how often Larry or Brad would rhetorically jump in front of criticism of the Rabid Puppies considering how different the two campaigns are. And I’m not being sarcastic – Larry is right, the Sads and Rabids really are qualitatively different. The most obvious difference is that Vox is quite happy to laugh and mock the Sad Puppies while the Sad Puppies jump to Vox’s defence – just as Larry does in this piece.

[Update: Larry’s post-Hugo rant appears to be the ONLY time he has EVER mentioned Moira Greyland on his blog (based on a search of the term “Greyland”). He cares SO MUCH about the issues she raised that he only ever got round to mentioning her this week and as part of his standard rant that everybody else are wrongfans]


Estimating Rabid Puppy Numbers

How many Rabid Puppies voted in the Hugo Awards: here are my guesstamations.

Best Novel: Rabids should have voted Uprooted 1 and then Seveneves. Uprooted came second, so if we look at the round for third place we can see how many preferences went from Uprooted to Seveneves.

Position 2 count: Seveneves 520, Position 3 count: Seveneves 856. Votes gained from Uprooted = 336. However, not all of these will be Rabids as these were not distinctively Rabid works.

Best Novella: Rabids should have voted Penric’s Demon 1 and then Perfect State. Penric came second so we can look again at the change from position 2 to position 3.

Position 2 count: Perfect State 301, Position 3 count: Perfect State 716. Votes gained from Penric = 415. Again not all of these will be Rabids as these were not distinctively Rabid works.

Best Novelette: Rabids should have voted Obits 1 and then “What Price Humanity?”. Obits made it to position 3, so this time we look at the change from 3 to 4.

Position 3 count: “What Price Humanity?” 141, Position 4 count: “What Price Humanity?” 431. Votes gained from Obits = 290. Possibly a better Rabid estiate as we are further down the ballot and “What Price Humanity?” was a Castalia entry.

Best Short Story: Rabids should have voted to make love real and slammed their 1st preferences into Space Raptor Butt Invasion and then 2nd prefs to Seven Kill Tiger. The Tingle Opus was in Position 3.

Position 3 count: Seven Kill Tiger 180, Position 4 count: Seven Kill Tiger 368. Votes gained from Tingle = 180. Much more confident of this figure. Tingle had broad popularity but Seven Kill Tiger was distinctly Rabid.

Best Related Work: The most Rabid dominated category and possibly Rabids felt less need for disciplined voting in this category. No Award won but the most award-worthy contender came in second. People following the Rabid ballot should have voted Between Light and Shadow 1 and Moira Greyland 2. We can check by looking at position 2 and 3 races.

Position 2 count: Greyland 128, Position 3 count: Greyland 322. Votes gained from Light and Shadow = 194.

Best Graphic Novel: Rabids should have voted Sandman and then No Award – which is pretty much how the category went. So how many votes did No Award pick up from Sandman?

Position 1 count: No Award 444, Position 2 count: 1011. Votes gained from Sandman 567 but unlikely these were all Rabids.

Not bothering with Best Dramatic Presentation awards

Best Editor Short Form: Rabids should have voted 1 for Jerry Pournelle and then No Award. This should be a very characteristic vote for Rabids – although as a SF veteran Pournelle should have drawn some non-rabid votes. Unfortunately, No Award beat Pournelle, so we can’t spot the Rabid signal in the preferences in the same way.

In the race for position 1, Pournelle was eliminated in Pass 3. At Pass 4 63 of his votes went to no preference. That seems too low based on the other figures, so maybe some Rabids put others after No Award.

Best Editor Long Form: The man himself, Vox Day, was on the ballot. Rabids should have put him 1 and very few other people would have. Vox got 165 1st preferences.

Rabids should have put Toni Weisskopf second. Looking at the preferences shift after Vox day is eliminated in Pass 2, 135 of his preferences go to Toni Weisskopf. Perhaps more of a measure of Rabid ballot discipline than numbers.

Skipping through the rest:

  • Best pro-artist: estimate based on prefs = 225 but not distinctly rabid pattern
  • Semiprozine: 67 but hard to tell as Rabids officially went for No Award. Puppyish Sci-Phi got 197 votes to come last after all rounds.
  • Fanzine: Hard to tell. Castalia House blog came last (298) all out. Rabids should have put 770 first but hard to see the preference trail there.
  • Fancast: 152 as a reasonable estimate
  • Fan writer: 160 a strong Rabid signal between Castalia Blog authors
  • Fan artist: 159

I think, looking at all these figures, the ones with stronger Rabid connections come out around 160 to 180 votes. I think that is probably the right estimate for people voting along strict Rabid lines – with maybe 50 to 60 more voting along semi-Rabid lines, plus some residual Sad Puppies and others.




How badly did the Rabid Puppies lose?

Hugo Award results are up here http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2016HugoStatistics.pdf

How do does Vox Day’s rabid ballot compare with the actual winners?

Actual Best Novel: The Fifth Season.

Rabid ballot:

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  2. Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  3. The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  4. No Award

Fifth Season easily beats the Rabid attempt to No Award it. However, Uprooted did come second but this was a popular choice anyway.

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -1 fail at No Awarding

Actual BEST NOVELLA: Binti

Rabid Ballot:

  1. Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  2. Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  3. Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
  4. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  5. The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers

Actual BEST NOVELETTE: Folding Beijing, second place And You And You Shall Know Her By the Trial of Dead

Rabid ballot:

  1. “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  2. “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  3. “Flashpoint: Titan” by Cheah Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  4. “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
  5.  No Award

Attempt to No Award And You Shall Know Her.. fails

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -1 fail at No Awarding

Actual BEST SHORT STORY: Cat Pictures Please, No Award second

  1. “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
  2. “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  3. “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  4. “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  5. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)

A Castalia/Rabid heavy category.

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -1 fail at Rabid nominees beating No Award


Rabid ballot:

  1. Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  2. “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)
  3. “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
  4. “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
  5. SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)

The most Rabid infected category.

Score: -1 fail at Rabid nominees beating No Award, +1 ‘burning the category down’

Actual BEST GRAPHIC STORY: The Sandman: Overture, No Award second

  1. The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  2. No Award

Score: +1 Kingmaker (very arguably – Gaiman being a Worldcon favourite), 0 No Awarding  non-Rabids (points downgraded as the rest of the list had been put on the Rabid slate), -1 point for the Rabid slate/ballot making no sense.

Actual BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM: Ellen Datlow

Rabid ballot:

  1. Jerry Pournelle
  2. No Award

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -4 fail at Rabid nominees beating No Award (extra points because JP loses to No Award)

Actual BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM: Sheila E. Gilbert

Rabid Ballot:

  1. Vox Day
  2. Toni Weisskopf
  3. Jim Minz
  4. No Award

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -1 fail No Awarding non-Rabids, -1 fail Rabids beating No Award


Rabid ballot:

  1. Larry Elmore
  2. Lars Braad Andersen
  3. Michal Karcz
  4. Larry Rostant
  5. Abigail Larson

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers


  1. No Award

Score: -1 fail to burn the category down, -1 fail No Awarding non-Rabids

Actual BEST FANZINE: File 770, Lady Business second

Rabid ballot:

  1. File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  2. Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  3. Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale
  4. Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie

Score: +1 kingmaker (yeah but not really), -1 fail to No Award Lady Business

Actual BEST FANCAST: No Award

Rabid Ballot:

  1. The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  2. 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  3. Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  4. HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
  5. Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick

Score: -1 fail at kingmaker, maybe +1 for burning a category down? Who knows. I’ll assume that’s how Vox will spin it

Actual BEST FAN WRITER: Mike Glyer, No Award second place

Rabid Ballot:

  1. Jeffro Johnson
  2. Morgan Holmes
  3. Mike Glyer
  4. Shamus Young
  5. Douglas Ernst

Score: +1 kingmaker (yeah but probably not), -1 Rabid nominees fail to beat No Award

Actual BEST FAN ARTIST: Steve Stiles, No Award second place

  1. Christian Quinot
  2. Kukuruyo
  3. disse86
  4. Matthew Callahan
  5. Steve Stiles

Score: -1 fail as kingmakers, -1 Rabid nominees fail to beat No Award


The EPH Analysis

An analysis of proposed new Hugo voting rules is out. It’s disappointing to some but I think it validates the change to EPH.

The story so far:

In response to the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy slate of the 2015 Hugo Awards, a voting system called E Pluribus Hugo was proposed and passed at the 2015 Worldcon Business meeting. The system used a process of weightings and elimination rounds to make the nomination process have more proportionality without changing the basic mechanics of how people nominate things.

Much thought and tinkering was put into EPH but what it lacked was real data. EPH should make the list of finalists more proportional to the underlying groupings of voters. However, that meant that the impact of EPH couldn’t really be known without knowing to what extent Hugo voters clustered around choices anyway. Without slates, do Hugo voters form natural groupings (perhaps along sub-genres or sub-fandoms) or are they just a noisy mess of stuff? Without real data there is no way of knowing.

While EPH was passed at the 2015 Worldcon Business meeting, it requires ratification this year to come into effect. As part of that process an analysis of the 2015 and 2014 nomination ballots has been done and the results are just out…

What it all means…

I don’t know. No, that isn’t a useful reaction. OK, I’ll try again.

Below is a list of possible talking points, reactions, counter-argument things. I made them up. They don’t necessarily reflect actual people’s views (I’ll say when it does). Bold represent a possible reaction (not mine) and not bold is my response.

I’m also a hostage to fortune because more results are coming – post the Hugo ceremony, data on the 2016 nominations will come out and who knows what that will show.

For a different take try Nicholas Whyte http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2707679.html?utm_source=twsharing&utm_medium=social

2015 results show that EPH doesn’t fix the slate problem!

No one thing can fix that problem. However, in most categories, at least one additional non-slated works made it onto the ballot with EPH. That means, probably, instead of No Award winning several categories in 2015, a worthy finalist would have won instead.

EPH+No Award together produce a strong disincentive to puppy-style slates. Slate voting will produce legitimate votes and so is bound to have some impact. The combination of EPH and No Award means that a slate will find it hard to sweep a category and win a Hugo.

EPH doesn’t stop those slate-inclined who just want to get to be a finalist and don’t care about winning!

True, but that was a given. Get enough votes and you get to be a finalist. EPH does demonstrably reduce the chance of that succeeding for a slate of nominees but it doesn’t do anything about a single nominee. Again, get enough votes and you get to be a finalist. The only guaranteed way of stopping that is to create a wholly different kind of award.

There is a non-puppy related change in 2015 Best Graphic Story!

That is interesting. With EPH instead of Sex Criminal 1 getting nominated Schlock Mercenary gets to be a finalist.

Sex Criminals got 60 noms in total and Schlock Mercenary got 51. However, Sex Criminals must have been more clustered with other nominees (such as Saga?) and hence lost out a bit to Schlock Mercenary.

With only one slate nominee, this was an interesting category. I liked Sex Criminals, but I think this is a positive demonstration of EPH. It should result in more variety of nominees without slates.

They didn’t include Best Dramatic Presentation!

The reason the report gives is this:

In testing, it was identified that the results in two categories (Dramatic Presentation, Long and Short Form) were usually producing results with many nominators submitting matching entries to other nominators. This was more due to the smaller pool to nominate from compared to other categories than any external coordination of nominating ballots. As such, we decided to produce results with these categories excluded, as changes in the dramatic presentation categories aren’t as useful for gauging if EPH is acting as appropriate where desired as the other categories would be.

That seems silly to me. There are lots of reasons to expect more organic coordination of ballots in these categories, and seeing how EPH works in that circumstance is useful as a way of comparison.

I hope they change their minds at some point.

A single coordinated minority of less than 20% would still average controlling over 80% of the ballot!

Aside from the exclamation mark, that is a direct quote from the report. This appears to be true but controlling only 80% of the ballot is enough to kill Puppy-style slates without having No Award win multiple categories.

Killing the incentive to use the 2015 Puppy slate tactic is what EPH needs to do. It will do that.

EPH+ would be better!

Probably yes, but I don’t know if other side effects (see below) would be worse.

2015 Puppy-style slates are last year’s problem. EPH doesn’t deal with THIS year’s problem!

True. However, the structural weakness of the Hugo voting system exists regardless and the cat is out of the bag. Others can try to game the Hugo Awards in the same way and perhaps more covertly.

As for the griefing style tactics of Vox Day, I think that needs a qualitatively different approach but that is an argument for another day.

EPH knocks out a potential winner in 2014!

There are few changes to finalists with the 2014 data. I think that confirms that without slates EPH will tend to deliver similar results as the current system. However, what isn’t guaranteed is that the results must be exactly the same.

In 2014 three results are notable.

  • Firstly Best Editor Short has a swap of finalists in the last spot – Sheila Wiliams (86) swaps with Bryan Thomas Schmidt (80).
  • Pro artists also has some swaps, partly because in 2014 a tie for fifth place meant 6 nominees. Essentially four artists with 50, 49, 49 and 48 nominations end up with a different ordering with EPH. The EPH ranking ends up as 49, 48, 49, 50 and that looks fine to me because I have that special kind of innumeracy that results from being overly numerate.
  • Fancast has the most understandable change but also the most problematic. In 2014 this was a three-way tie for last finalist at 35 nominations each. EPH breaks the tie and resolves the issue with a single nominee. Unfortunately, one of those three (SF Signal Podcast) won and would have been eliminated by EPH.

The thing is these are all pretty much very close votes with smaller numbers of voters. Anything different about 2014 would probably have resulted in different outcomes. For the Fancast result, an internet outage or a sick cat could have ended up with a different result. The least error in collating the data could have ended up with different results.

Put another way: Hugo voters did not have a clear consensus of which of these people/works should have been nominated. These cases are not good arguments against EPH.

Yes, but, but EPH+ might make that problem worse!

I’ve really no idea. I guess it might broaden what we might think of as a marginal tie and lead to more notable discrepancies between the number of nominating ballots and grabbing that last spot in the finalists. I don’t know.

The current system doesn’t avoid this issue, it really just hides it. For some categories, there are finalists who we really can’t say are substantially more nominated than others. The differences are small enough to be down to happenstance. And yes, some of those may actually end up being winners.

I think the answer is the number of nominees needs to be more flexible than just 5. However, deciding the rules on when to expand the number of nominees beyond an exact tie is unclear.

Where nominator coordination is not present, there are still significant numbers of changes not only to the long list, but to ballots where it’s not generally considered for anything untoward to have happened. Items removed from the 2014 ballot included a
winner of the Hugo. Had EPH been in place, they would not have been on the ballot.

That is a direct quote from Dave McCarty’s conclusion on the report. Sorry, but that is a flawed counterfactual. If we could somehow rewind the tape back to early 2014 and re-run the 2014 nomination ballot again, how likely is it that we’d have ended up with that exact tie that occurred? EPH changed the result because it broke a tie and the other places where there were changes were also spots with very close votes.

Almost ANY change would have meant that something slightly different would have happened! For SF Signal not have been a finalist required ONE nominator’s vote to be different

The changes to the Ballot and Long list are not easily verified and for people reviewing the detailed results at the end the only way to check that the process is working correctly would require access to secret nomination data and significant time.

That’s Dave McCarty again. Well, ANY verification of results needs access to ballots. Given Dave McC is worried about the 2014 Fancast result shifting by possibly one vote, to verify the CURRENT process would require checking that ballots had been classified correctly and counted correctly.

Assuming the underlying ballot data is correct (i.e. everybody’s nominations have been correctly collated) and in a machine readable form (e.g. a text file or spreadsheet), the EPH check takes seconds. Don’t trust the EPH program you are using? Use a different one and see if you get the same results. EPH is not hard to code, I made an Excel version that only uses standard Excel formulas and NO extra code at all.

So, yes, cleaning the nomination data and getting it all tickety-boo takes time – without a doubt BUT if we wanted to verify that the results DON’T CHANGE under the CURRENT process YOU WOULD STILL NEED TO DO THAT.