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A Few Hugo Requests

As we go through this strange sensation of Déjà Hugo, I had a few requests to put out there.

1. Don’t tell me, or anyone else, how to vote.

If you want to talk about deciding how you’re going to vote, great. If you want to put forth an argument for No Award or for avoiding the No Award option or for how to treat blatantly rabid nominees vs. trolling nominees vs. human shields or whatever else, fine. But I’m already starting to see people doing the, “If you vote this way (or don’t vote this way), you’re an asshole” thing.

Let me put it this way. The rabid puppies were able to make this year’s mess by lining up and following their voting orders (a tactic which hopefully won’t work very well in the future). Do you really want to follow that guy’s strategy of trying to tell people how to vote?

Some people will probably choose to No Award the whole slate. Others will try to evaluate every work on its own merit. Me, I’ll try to read and evaluate them all, though I’ll probably be more skeptical of most of the rabid works.

I’m not complaining about discussion/debate on how to respond to the rabid puppies this year. I just don’t appreciate people trying to dicktate how I should vote.

2. No asterisks, please.

I did make a crack about asterisks and the Hugo last year after the trophy was released. And I think a lot of people had a mental asterisk over the whole thing, because let’s be honest, last year was anything but normal for the Hugo awards. So yeah, I definitely get it.

But at last year’s Hugo award ceremony, they handed out wooden asterisk plaques, and later sold additional wooden asterisks.

I don’t believe this was done with malicious intent (though I obviously can’t read anyone’s minds). Maybe it was an attempt at humor, and/or to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I appreciate that the sale of the asterisks raised several thousand dollars for a good cause.

Whatever the intentions, it resulted in a lot of people feeling hurt and attacked. I know from experience how nerve-wracking a Hugo ceremony can be in a normal year. Last year, and this year, tensions and anxieties and fears are exponentially higher. And for many of the people in attendance, the asterisks felt like a big old slap in the face.

Like I said, I don’t think that was the intention. (Others will disagree, and have gleefully pointed to the asterisks as “proof” that “the other side” is evil and nasty.) In this case, I don’t think intention matters so much as the impact it had, including hurting some good, talented people.

3. Don’t be an abusive doucheweasel.

For example, here’s a conversation from last year where Moshe Feder had to delete someone’s comment calling for the Sad Puppies to kill themselves. WTF, people?

Screenshot - Puppies Should Kill Themselves

Or here’s someone suggesting the Sad and Rabid Puppies be rounded up and dropped into Daesh territory.


Then there’s the vitriol directed at the nominees themselves. Particularly at the women on the ballot. (I’m sure we’re all shocked to hear that women tended to get the most and the nastiest of the attacks.)

As one nominee noted last year, “We have been called assholes, bitches, mongrels, yapping curs, talentless hacks and so many more things that I can’t even name them all. I have seen at least one suggestion that all of us should be euthanized.” Another talked about the “helpful” emails they received, saying things like, “If you don’t reject the nomination, you will be forever linked with those people. Always hated.”

And whatever choice the nominees made about withdrawing or staying on the ballot, there were people who would attack them for it, calling them gutless, comparing them to Nazi sympathizers, and worse.



I’m not trying to say anyone can’t or shouldn’t be angry, or trying to stop anyone from expressing that anger. But there’s a difference between expressing anger and harassing people. There’s a difference between criticizing people who are actively trying to “burn the Hugos down,” and attacking everyone and anyone who might in any way be connected with — or being used by — those people.

I’m also not interested in debating whether one “side” was worse than the other. I’m simply pointing out that this shit happened. These are some of the public comments. Some of the emails/messages sent directly to folks were far worse.

Finally, I know there are people who delight in being abusive doucheweasels, and nothing I write here is going to change that. I guess I’m just asking the rest of us, myself included, to be careful, and to remember Wheaton’s Law.

Thanks for listening.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:23 am (UTC)
That about sums it up.
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:51 am (UTC)

Plus, I saw a couple of very deserving books on that list. I have no idea of the politics (and don't qualify to vote, so my opinion is moot)but I read and loved two of the best novel nominees and would have happily voted for either one.

I won't tell you what they were. (Jim Butcher's Auronauts and Naomi Novik's Unrooted)
Apr. 29th, 2016 04:37 am (UTC)
for the published asshats, I no longer buy anything they print, its that simple.
Apr. 29th, 2016 10:41 am (UTC)
I can't help but wonder if at this point ignoring the puppies might be the way to go. Not giving them the oxygen of publicity and outrage. Sure, they invented a real conspiracy of their own to fight against their imagined conspiracy in order to prove that conspiracies are bad and wrong. But I wonder if the prime motivation is attention seeking behaviour, and the reward is knowing that they've upset the rest of the sci-fi community.

So just... don't give them what they want, seems the best course of action to me.

It's all terribly terribly sad. Implanting America's culture war into a global arena where it had no place.
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:04 pm (UTC)
That sounds like telling a bullying victim to "just ignore" insults and vandalism, though I'm not clear on whether the suggestion is to walk away from the Hugos or to smile and applaud when rabid slated works that you think are incompetent or vile get a rocket.

There are a few perfectly reasonable things on the rabid slate—my nominating ballot included Mike Glyer because I won't let thugs tell me what not to nominate, either—along with things that are intended as a poke in the eye to me and people like me, and I suspect some that I would consider "mostly harmless" if VD wasn't using them to make a point about what he could do.
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:14 pm (UTC)
Neither, just not to give them the fire of angry response and screeds of internet articles. Just shrug, and ignore the children behaving like children.

Though personally I think sadly at this point the Hugos are pretty much done as a meaningful reward, and I'm not honestly sure it's worth the hassle of the organising committee to keep running them. But that's their choice for sure. But it's clear now after year two that the only way to defeat a puppy slate is with a non puppy slate. And I don't think any of us who aren't puppys want to see that happen.
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:21 pm (UTC)
This isn't the first time there's been Hugo drama and conflict, nor will it be the last. Two years out of a 60+ year history seems a little quick to give up, especially since we'll likely see some rule changes voted through this year to reduce and minimize the effects of slate voting.

Comments that the Hugos are done with make me cringe for two reasons. One - I don't think it's true. Two - that's Beale's end goal, and I hate to see people going along with him so quickly.

It definitely sucks that we've had to deal with this crap two years in a row. But I don't think the awards are going to fade away or lose all meaning.
Apr. 29th, 2016 01:27 pm (UTC)
It will depend I suppose on who gets bored first. And I suppose it's likely Beale will, as something else shiny comes along that attracts his attention and gives him the feeling of glory he desires.

Or, y'know, he wins a Hugo and turns up to collect it and in his hubris gets arrested by the taxman. Which, one can hope I suppose.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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