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Thursday, March 12, 2015

The ghosts of the machine are pro-Puppy

This strikes me as not only amusing, but a propitious omen:
I just logged into Sasquan's website to make Hugo nominations, and when I first opened my ballot, all the slots were already filled in. It seemed to be entirely with the Sad Puppies slate. It's my first time nominating, is this kind of thing usual? And if so, why the hell?

I mean, I changed them all, but why were they there?

I'm not entirely sure it was the Sad Puppies party ticket, but Vox Day appeared a surprising number of times.
I don't know why it should surprise anyone that an Internet Superintelligence should have machine intelligence friends. In any event, these deep mysteries of the cybernetic age aside, it's been interesting to see some of the predictions concerning the Hugo nominations, both public and private. Chaos Horizon is among those expecting SP/RP to land two Best Novel nominees, Monster Hunter: Nemesis and Skin Game:
3. Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia: Correia finished 3rd in the 2014 Hugo nominations, with only Leckie and Gaiman placing above him (Gaiman declined the nom). That put him very safely in the field, and the mathematics are in Correia’s favor for this year. While Monster Hunter Nemesis is a slightly odd choice for the Hugos, being 5th in a series and urban fantasy to boot, it’s hard to imagine Correia’s supporters abandoning him en-masse in just one year. Despite the vigor of his campaign, Correia doesn’t haven’t the broad support necessary to win a Hugo.

5. Skin Game, Jim Butcher: Skin Game was part of the “Sad Puppy 3″ slate, but Butcher’s appeal extends well beyond that block of voters. While Butcher has never gotten much Hugo love in the past, he is one of the most popular writers working in the urban fantasy field, and his Henry Dresden novels have been consistently well-liked and well-loved by fans. Even WorldCon voters who don’t agree with the Sad Puppy 3 argument may look at the list, see Butcher, and think, Why not? If Correia can make the slate, so too can Butcher—and Butcher might be even more popular in Sad Puppy realm than Correia. On the negative, this is #14 in a series, and that’s a tough sell to new readers. I’ll be fascinated to see how the vote turns out on this one.
I tend to think he's discounting Nebula-nominated The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, which I expect will replace either the Addison or the Leckie book on the list of finalists. My suspicion, and it is only that, is that Sad Puppies is going to generally outperform what appears to be the consensus expectations of two nominees per category. Now, I could be entirely wrong and perhaps there is a 650-strong stealth SJW slate that will lock out the Puppies entirely across the board, but I don't see many signs of that having been successfully organized.

Chaos Horizons also looked the number of expected nominations and predicted the overall performance of Sad Puppies:
In an earlier post, I estimated the total nomination ballots for this year to be around 2350 (that’s pure guesswork, sadly). 330/2350 = 14.0%. Either way, the model gets us in the same ball park: Sad Puppies 3 is likely, at the top end, to account for between 10% and 15% of the 2015 Hugo nominating vote. For good or bad, that will be enough to put the top Sad Puppy 3 texts into the Hugo slate.

2. The data shows that the Sad Puppy 2 campaign fell off fairly fast from the most popular authors like Correia to less popular authors like Toregersen (60% of Correia’s total) and Hoyt (50% of Correia’s total) to Vox Day (33% of Correia’s total). Torgersen and Vox Day made the final slate based on the relatively weakness of the Novella and Novelette categories. While I don’t track categories like Novella, Novelette, or Short Story on Chaos Horizon (there’s not enough data, and I don’t know the field well enough), I expect a similar drop-off to occur this year. If you want to assess the impact of the whole Sad Puppy 3 slate, think about which authors are as popular as Correia and which aren’t.

If we put those two pieces of data together, we get my “Hugo Campaign Model”:

1. A Hugo campaign like “Sad Puppies 3″ will probably account for 10-15% of the 2015 nominating vote.
2. The “Sad Puppies 3″ slate will fall off quickly based on the popularity of the involved authors. 
I don't think Chaos Horizon is correct about the percentage, however, for two reasons. First, he probably isn't aware that the Dread Ilk did not get involved until AFTER the nominations were closed. So he's probably missing about 120 votes right there. Furthermore, we know that an unknown number of Dread Ilk, and an equally unknown number of new Sad Puppies, got involved this year. So, my guess is that his 330 estimate should be at least 500 for the combined Puppies and could be even higher. If we assume his 2,350 estimate is correct, and I find his reasoning to be perfectly plausible there, then the Puppies will represent between 20 and 25 percent of the 2015 nominating vote.

(I note, with some amusement, that the combined Puppy vote will likely exceed the TOTAL Hugo nominating vote for any year prior to 2009. Keep that in mind when anyone tries to claim our votes are somehow unrepresentative, illegitimate, or unfair.)

Second, Chaos Horizon has no reason to understand that the Dread Ilk are far more intelligent, focused, and disciplined than the average readership. But you are, and therefore at least the Rabid Puppies element of the slate is unlikely to fall off quickly on the basis of popularity as it did last year.

Labels:

37 Comments:

Blogger Student in Blue March 12, 2015 9:09 AM  

Jawohl.

The drum has been beat, and so we march.

Anonymous Leonidas March 12, 2015 9:13 AM  

I nominated this year but didn't last year, so that's at least +1 to the Puppies slates. I did not, however, nominate anything I hadn't actually read myself. So only about half of the Puppies slates made my ballot. Also one or two other things that weren't on the Puppies slates. Hey, I have to make an honest nomination.

I'm betting, though, that I'm not the only one here who didn't get involved last year but did this year.

Anonymous cheddarman March 12, 2015 9:15 AM  

Vox Day have strong medicine!

Blogger Josh March 12, 2015 9:27 AM  

Clearly Wendell is behind this

Anonymous Alexander March 12, 2015 9:32 AM  

Rabid Puppies did not support Sad Puppies until the actual ballot last year. Individuals here may have been part of worldcon, but the Ilk did not make any sort of concerted effort during the nomination process.

I expect much success in this phase. Not overwhelmingly so - and I don't expect it to translate to actual Hugo Awards - but I think we can expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth in April.

Anonymous hygate March 12, 2015 9:34 AM  

I too did not nominate last year, just voted. And I did not nominate anything this year I was unfamiliar with, so I didn't vote on any of the "best fan" stuff.

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 12, 2015 9:35 AM  

Henry Dresden? Henry?

Blogger Student in Blue March 12, 2015 9:55 AM  

@JaimeInTexas
Yes, Henry Dresden, the notorious warlock from New York City who's constantly at odds with the Ivory Council.

He's absolutely not a ripoff of that chap named Harry from Chicago.

Anonymous Daniel March 12, 2015 9:56 AM  

Hu-ghostbusters!

Blogger Josh March 12, 2015 10:08 AM  

Naming a character Dresden is problematic and triggering because of the firebombing campaigns of WW2.

Blogger Marissa March 12, 2015 10:11 AM  

Yeah, I've never read the books and even I know his name is Harry.

Blogger Chris Scena March 12, 2015 10:26 AM  

And 'Skin Game' is book fifteen. Obviously this guy knows his books. /sarc

I think it is also telling that so many of us registered in the last week that it took 3 weeks to get our credentials. I read somewhere it was in the neighborhood of 300+ members on the last day.

Blogger Vox March 12, 2015 10:37 AM  

I think it is also telling that so many of us registered in the last week that it took 3 weeks to get our credentials.

Depends, of course, if "us" means "us" or "them". We'll find out soon enough.

Blogger borderwalker March 12, 2015 10:47 AM  

This strikes me as not only amusing, but a propitious omen:

I know I shouldn't attribute anything to malice that is more easily attributed to incompetence (and a volunteer-staffed organization), but am I paranoid to think this could be a false flag?

When the results are in, and not to the WSFS-Sasquan SJW core's liking, will there be persistent and irrational accusations of sinister plots to rig the nominating process? And calls for a do-over (and rules changes!), no matter how many ironclad audits the nominating process passes?

Blogger Student in Blue March 12, 2015 10:50 AM  

@Josh
"Henry Auschwitz" didn't have quite the same ring to it. Sounded too German.

"Dresden" on the other hand, that's as American as apple pie... with some British flavoring in it too, I guess.

Anonymous Alexander March 12, 2015 10:54 AM  

Going through the comments, it's clear that if it did happen, it was very much a one-off thing. Might be good idea to print a copy of those comments so that if people do start moaning, it can be pointed out that when the issue was brought forward, the consensus (hey, that word is fun!) was that nobody else got hit with it and it was a single malfunction.

Anonymous Harsh March 12, 2015 11:00 AM  

Let the allegations of ballot stuffing begin!

Anonymous dh March 12, 2015 11:27 AM  

RIP Terry Pratchett.

Anonymous Huckleberry -- est. 1977 March 12, 2015 11:41 AM  

It's kind of funny in that @scalzi's Participation Hugo served as the kindling for all that has transpired since.
That's what happens when you wear a dress to a Culture War, I guess...

Blogger Vox March 12, 2015 12:14 PM  

Might be good idea to print a copy of those comments so that if people do start moaning, it can be pointed out that when the issue was brought forward, the consensus (hey, that word is fun!) was that nobody else got hit with it and it was a single malfunction.

What would be a better idea is for people who voted to check their emails and make sure that their votes were not overwritten by someone else voting with their ID.

Blogger Vox March 12, 2015 12:16 PM  

When the results are in, and not to the WSFS-Sasquan SJW core's liking, will there be persistent and irrational accusations of sinister plots to rig the nominating process?

I very much doubt it. LonCon maintained a strictly neutral policy and Worldcon has survived more viciously partisan battles in the past. I doubt even the SJWs there are dumb enough to blow up Worldcon over some popular books they don't like winning awards.

Anonymous REG March 12, 2015 12:51 PM  

Registered; but, not part of the nominations because I haven't had a chance to read the books. I will try to read all the books that make the finals list and will vote accordingly. What in my opinion is the best of the books presented. That means that while I root for the puppies, if a SJW nomination does actually make my day (I know, very very doubtful) it will get the vote. And, I think that is what the sad puppies is all about.

Anonymous Leonidas March 12, 2015 12:51 PM  

I doubt even the SJWs there are dumb enough to blow up Worldcon over some popular books they don't like winning awards.

We're talking about the people who picked an internet troll fight with 4chan. Never underestimate their stupidity.

Blogger Rantor March 12, 2015 1:07 PM  

So I nominated the slate on my LONCON membership, but assume to vote for the nominees will have to join SASQUAN... ready to do that too. Too bad it isn't in Seattle as I have friends there, not toointerested in Spokane.

Anonymous VD March 12, 2015 1:12 PM  

That means that while I root for the puppies, if a SJW nomination does actually make my day (I know, very very doubtful) it will get the vote. And, I think that is what the sad puppies is all about.

That may be. Rabid Puppies, on the other hand, is about actually achieving the targeted objectives. This is the difference between me and the average conservative. They're more concerned about how playing the game makes them feel than they are about winning or anything else. "Look at me and how noble I am in defeat." For all that they talk about cultural war, they're totally unequipped to fight it.

I don't give a damn about that. I'm interested in playing the game as well as possible to the full extent allowed by the rules. And, if possible, winning. We can't and won't win any Hugos. But we can, and will win nominations.

Blogger HMS Defiant March 12, 2015 1:39 PM  

Henry Dresden.

That did make me laugh.

Anonymous Joe Doakes March 12, 2015 2:23 PM  

I signed up when Rabid Puppies was announced, got my credentials timely, dutifully filled in the blanks on my nomination ballot and received confirmation that it was received. I have no complaint about Sasquan.


I do wonder, though: what keyword will casual shoppers use when "Hugo-nominated" becomes widely-known as the SF equivalent of "Homecoming King?" How will we draw new readers to quality?
.

Anonymous Daniel March 12, 2015 2:25 PM  

We can't and won't win any Hugos. But we can, and will win nominations.

I do wonder though if rabid/sad participants aren't enough to get some deserving No Awards to win. If enough anti-Vox "no awards" are listed, and rabid puppies vote "no awards", you could conceivably get No Award to win.

It would require a different approach to Best Novel. You would have to recommend a lightning rod book and then recommend No Award above all others. I don't even know if that would work - I'm thinking (or more likely not thinking) aloud.

Anonymous Daniel March 12, 2015 2:28 PM  

Joe - think it through. It currently means "Leftist Pap Which No One Enjoys" - whether that is fair or not for individual books. Homecoming Kings are popular. If quality books happen to win homecoming king...that's bad how?

We are not the quality police.

Blogger Migly March 12, 2015 2:31 PM  

Not that Chaos Horizon's guesses are necessarily any worse than my own, but why would they predict tenth place for Gannon's Trial By Fire? It is already a Nebula nominee and its chances of making the final ballot will only improve with SP3 voters behind it.

Anonymous Nathan March 12, 2015 2:53 PM  

One of Chaos Horizon's blind spots is that he(?) relies on the established SFF community sites for indications of buzz (as seen in his article on MH:N.). 1) Baen books tend to be passed over in those sites as there is an institutional snobbery towards that renegade house. 2) Sad Puppies insists that the tastes of the literati and the tastes of fandom are different.

Anonymous REG March 12, 2015 3:33 PM  

"I don't give a damn about that. I'm interested in playing the game as well as possible to the full extent allowed by the rules. And, if possible, winning. We can't and won't win any Hugos. But we can, and will win nominations."

To quote Robert Heinlein, "Sure the game is rigged, but, if you don't play you don't win." I'm not talking about 'honor in losing' I'm saying give me your best shot.

Blogger Vox March 12, 2015 5:40 PM  

To quote Robert Heinlein, "Sure the game is rigged, but, if you don't play you don't win." I'm not talking about 'honor in losing' I'm saying give me your best shot.

But that's my point. We're playing the game by the new rules. You're not. You're still playing the old game, by the old rules. In fact, you're not even playing by the rules, you're playing by an imaginary code that applies only to you.

You don't win by example. You can't. Because the other side has little self-awareness and no shame.

Blogger maniacprovost March 12, 2015 8:15 PM  

The Dread Ilk has approximately the discipline of an Anglo- Saxon tribe.

Blogger JCclimber March 12, 2015 9:21 PM  

"What would be a better idea is for people who voted to check their emails and make sure that their votes were not overwritten by someone else voting with their ID."

This was my first thought as well. Did someone get sent the same vote ID as myself? Can we still view our votes? If our votes change, shouldn't we be notified by email as I was every single time I hit Submit at the bottom of each section?

The reason I nominated books and stories that I'd not read or viewed yet is because that vote locks out a position in the final short list of some SJW pile of crap.

When it is time to vote for the actual Hugo, THAT is the time to read the finalists, if you want to be fair. I agree with the comment above that someone is playing by what they imagined were the old rules, rules that the SJW crowd would find incomprehensible.

Anonymous REG March 12, 2015 9:35 PM  

I am not talking 'example.' I'm not talking Blue vs Pink or SJW message. The whole purpose of writing and publishing is to entertain your readers and make a buck. Like Kate Paulk said a while back, (Paraphrase) The only trophy I want has Lincoln on its face and is foldable." You cannot ever change the mind of the pinks and their administrators, even if a sad or rabid puppies novel gets the Hugo, they'll find something to disavow it. Does that mean that the Independents should present second best because, we won't win anyway? I know that it's a popularity contest. I seriously doubt if this years Aux. Justice nomination will be any more readable than last years, so the puppies will probably get my vote because I've read most of said writers, including you and liked them. I quit reading SF for years until Drake and other Baen writers came in and was followed by more good writers and SF was fun again. I've read most of Larry, some of you and Sarah. Liked everything so far. I have most of the others on the hard drive and will get to them asap. My wife died in December and other priorities came about. Mainly maintaining sanity, before reading which is why I didn't vote in the nominations because I'm behind and will not blind vote. Left the last two presidential tickets blank for the same reason. I was mostly joking in my first comment. I didn't/don't think they can come up with anything. That is it was humor until I had to defend it. (I know, I've tried two jokes in three months and both fell flat) My rule is 'give me a good story, maybe that's the old rule I'm following, if so, it's a good one. I'm regaining my concentration and should be able to read all of the nominations or at least try reading until the book disgusts me. The last one I had my wife read before I threw it in the trash, boy, did I get a lecture about my books. I haven't been able to finish most of the stuff by pink authors or their male counterparts so far in the past and don't expect it to change. Sorry about the ramble; but, I'm not running on all cylinders and previous replies didn't work.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit March 13, 2015 12:40 AM  

It will be bigger than Dread Ilk numbers because SP3 has finally percolated out into general fandom. It got written up in Breitbart. There's plenty of fandom who've GAFIAted because kids came along, church and community work expanded, not to mention having a job--in other words-- not SJWs. They re-read faves because everything on the shelves, getting written up in the press is a hot mess. But they're busy, they don't realize SF&F has been colonized by greedy, opportunistic yuppie mediocrities. My little pony! they think, so that's why the only good SF&F I get these days is book 1,217 from a writer that got his start in the '90s.


And then Sad Puppies 3 comes out... For $40 bucks I can help reclaim SF for good stories? For not the literary equivalent of castor oil?

hell yeah. Count me in.

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