So I referred to the Sad Puppies “extreme politics” on Twitter the other day. Somebody questioned that and I didn’t reply immediately because there’s a lot to unpack. Instead, I offered a Twitter poll with the options of replying as
- Threaded tweets
- A linked blog post
- Talking to cat
Six people voted and each option got exactly two votes each. So much for power aw distributions. Luckily Tim tweeted me immediately allowing me to deal with the third option quickly. (more after the fold).
[UPDATE: there is better number crunching here https://chaoshorizon.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/2015-hugo-stats-initial-analysis/ but I think my numbers are coming out similar. Oh and I lost a whole chunk from the bottom – do scroll past the table in the middle!]
Dave Freer asked me a question over at Mad Genius while we were arguing about Brad Torgersen’s poor behavior.
Just what do you see happening with the 2016 nominations and votes, as a direct result of 2015 and with the figures we now have?
What are the numbers telling us about the voting and the consequences for next year? Put another way what signals are there that we can use to characterize voter behavior and how will that impact in future years? Beyond that what impact did the various players have?
The tricky thing is that the voting was massively dominated by non-Puppies and the non-Puppies are difficult to analyze. On neither side during the kerfuffle was there much internecine conflict. The only obvious flash point was Laura Mixon’s nomination for Best Fan Writer on the basis of her analysis of the behavior of ‘RequiresHate’ – a person whose behavior among the SF/F community had been the cause of much dissension independent of the Puppy Kerfuffle. However this did not translate into the non-Puppies forming rival camps.
Instead both sides tended to unite within themselves against a perceived common threat. For the non-Puppies threat is best understood as two-fold; slate nomination undermining the Hugo Awards and Vox Day. For the Puppies the threat was also two fold: perceived World Con cliques shutting them out and liberal/leftist media/cliques demonizing them. NOTE: to understand the behavior of the two groups it isn’t necessary a this point to decide which of those four narratives had any factual merit. What matters was the perceived threat. Groups with diverse cultures and ideologies can show great unity when there is a common threat and so we didn’t see inner conflicts during the conflict even when allies overtly contradicted each other in terms of objectives or stated purposes.
I suggest there are these major groups at play in the numbers:
Last Sad Puppy post for awhile. More when the Hugo votes come in or when some issue becomes a big deal over nothing.
On the final Puppy Round Up at File770 Snowcrash asked: http://file770.com/?p=23595&cpage=3#comment-303817
Here at the End of All Things, are some answers/ things we’re still missing:
– A honest explanation as to how the SP3 slate was created,
– How the tactics of slate-nominations furthers *any* of the constantly changing rationales provided by the Puppies
– Anyone taking on the Mamatas Challenge
– Evidence of a previous slate/ bloc-voting effort. The Puppies keep saying that’s the only way Stuff They Don’t Like Could have won, but are strangely reticent at providing any evidence or proof of their allegations.
– Why Wisdom of the Internet???? Seriously why? (And yelling about Scalzi is not a good answer)
I only had stupid answers at the time but I think I can give a better answer now.
Firstly, by way of background, The Mamatas Challenge was a comment by author Nick Mamatas on John Scalzi’s blog: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/20/keeping-up-with-the-hugos-42015/#comment-781272
If the Hugos have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name
a. one work of fiction
b. that won a Hugo Award
c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped
d. per set of winners since 1995.
That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.
Naturally the Mamatas challenge has not been met by anybody – although the odd work of fiction has been suggested (e.g. John Chu’s The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere has been suggested as a single example)
Dave Freer has kindly replied to On Petunias and Whales: Part 9 in comments on the Mad Genius Club blog. This post is a reply. The format of my post is a bit ‘fisk’ like and I’m not keen on that because: The fisk approach I think always ends up being a bit aggressive When I see “fisk” now I can’t help but think of Vincent Donoforio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk in the Netflix TV series of Daredevil. “To fisk” somebody definitely sounds aggressive. Having said that Dave has offered lots of points and I’d like to reply to them in turn and so the quote-reply style makes sense. In terms of quoting Dave’s comments, I am editing them to focus on particular points. This can lead to comments being distorted from the intended meaning and so I would recommend people read Dave’s reply in full in its original context. Dave’s comments will be bold and italic and be preceded by “DF:”.
[updated] I’m even less sure of that data below now. The 100% figure for book publisher seems unlikely. Going to the FEC website and searching on ‘book publisher’ I find lots of hits and some are obviously to Republicans. That isn’t to say the Verdant Labs data is wrong, just without a clear statement of what they did and what they counted it is hard to tell what the numbers are saying. Interesting though.
In the comments to Part 9 timbartik said:
You might add to this that the political orientation of science fiction fans and writers might have some similarity to that of scientists whose political beliefs are to the left of the overall U.S. population. See this recent report: http://verdantlabs.com/politics_of_professions/index.html
At the extreme, astrophysicists have 98 Democrats for every 2 Republicans. Astronomers are 93 Dems to 7 Repubs, and computer scientists are at 89 to 11. Even engineers are 71 Democrats to 29 Republicans.
This is an interesting data set. It is based not on survey data but from campaign contribution data from the FEC that includes profession of the donor as part of the metadata. The producers of the data the simply assume that the proportions by donation reflect the proportions by occupation (as explained here http://verdantlabs.com/blog/2015/06/02/politics-of-professions/ )
I think the data needs to be treated with some caution as it doesn’t tell us for any given profession how many actual data points there are in the stats. For example a 80%-20% split in a given profession is less impressive if it only represented 5 people and was a 4 person to 1 person split. Continue reading
It is easy to see the puppies as an amorphous block – a single set of uniform beliefs held by all the main puppy leaders informing their every action. That would be an error though and even a cursory glance at the multiple rationales for the SP’s actions shows a great deal of diversity of belief.
In reality the Sad Puppies as a movement have a lot in common with the tradition of populist movements in the United States. Such movements often make significant political gains with a show of apparent unity, only to seemingly evaporate when the various agendas, personalities and ideologies of key players in the movement assert themselves.
So it shouldn’t be surprising to see quite different viewpoints on the roll of women ad the intersection between SF and Romance genres.
The most extreme examples can be found by contrasting statements from some Sad Puppies with those of Rabid Puppies.
Here is Amanda on The Mad Genius Club:
he fear that someone who writes fantasy with a distinct romance bent might be nominated, much less win was so over the top. It was as if those making the complaint truly believes science fiction and fantasy are still pure genres. Obviously they haven’t read much lately. If they had, they would see that there is genre crossing all around. Yes, you can, with a lot of searching, find a pure hard science fiction novel, but they are few and far between. Fantasy has, for years, had some aspect of mystery or romance or the like in it. The mixing of genres, when done well, is a good thing.
I’ll repeat that, mixing of genres when done well is a good thing.
Contrast with Vox Day’s attitude:
Pink SF is the dominant form of science fiction today. Or rather, more properly, the currently dominant form of SyFy. It is necrobestial love triangles. It is using the superficial trappings of science fiction or fantasy or war fiction to tell exactly the same sort of goopy, narcissistic female-oriented story that has already been told in ten thousand Harlequin novels and children’s tales and Hollywood comeuppance fantasies.
Pink SF primarily concerns a) choosing between two lovers, b) being true to yourself, or c) enacting ex post facto revenge upon the badthinkers and meanies who made the author feel bad about herself at school. Pink SF is about feelings rather than ideas or actions.
Pink SF is an invasion. Pink SF is a cancer. Pink SF is a parasitical perversion.
For Day/Beale it as if even the mere hint of something ‘girly’ will contaminate his reading and render it unclean in the manner of some clause in Leviticus.
What is notable is at this point pro-Romance Sad Puppies are not directing their ire at anti-Romance (actually anti-any hint of romance) Rabid Puppies. Long term these differences lead to populist movements dividing and mutating.
[Note on image: apologies to the artist Artraccoon for the parody of his excellent Puppy logos. I can’t say there is much I like about either camp but the logos were excellent. Note also that I can only draw beagles – I’ve a very limited range]