The slate of Hugo Award nominees has been announced, and it contains a sorry collection of right-wing has-beens who put together a set of Vox-Day-approved candidates and then went cruising through #gamergate, gathering assholes who would vote for them simply to poke Social Justice Warriors in the eye, rather than on the basis of the quality of the writing. They called it the “Sad Puppy slate”. I’ll just point out that there was no comparable effort to assemble a bloc of ideologically liberal authors and then ask people to vote for them sight unseen — which I would have also said was ethically questionable and rather undermines the purpose of a writing award.
The best take yet on the problematic nature of ballot-stuffing comes from Patrick Nielsen-Hayden.
(1) To the best of my knowledge, the campaign to get a slate of specific people and works onto the Hugo ballot hasn’t done anything that violates the rules.
(2) As anyone over the age of ten knows, it’s generally possible to do things that are dubious, or scummy, or even downright evil, without violating any laws or rules.
(3) Merely running a campaign to get a slate of specific people and works onto the Hugo ballot doesn’t really rise to the level of “evil”, but it’s definitely “dubious” at the very least. Which is to say, it violates a lot of people’s sense of how one ought to behave, and if you do it you’ll incur widespread disapproval. Prepare to deal.
(4) However, running a campaign to get a slate of specific people and works onto the Hugo ballot and reaching out to #Gamergate for support in this…in effect, inviting a bunch of people who traffic in violent threats, intimidation, and “SWATting” to join our community…well, that rises all the way to “downright evil”.
For complicity with this, the Sad Puppy campaign deserves our comprehensive rejection.
He also documents the efforts to recruit gamergaters, who proudly promoted the slate as a tool to slap down SJWs. End result: wankers like John C. Wright have six nominations, and Vox Day has two. Normally I’d be able to use the list of nominees as a rough guide to good SF I should track down and read, but not this year — I don’t know who got on the ballot because they are excellent writers, and who’s on there because they’re right-wing ideologues.
For those who don’t remember, Wright is the guy who had a weeping meltdown over the corruption of our youth by an anime that ended with two women holding hands. I guess he knew he couldn’t win on merit.