My view on what should happen about the Hugos.

This is also on my Facebook and I have tweeted it.

I know some goog people are upset by my view of this.

There is a story we all love – probably too much because it has become a cliche; the bad person over-reaches and falls down as a result. This sometimes actually happens – they invade Russia, they forge the One Ring, they start believing Austerity works.

We may be at that moment.There appears – I so hope that it's not the case, somehow – that fixing the Hugo nominations with slates was legal in the sense that no one ever thought of making a rule about it. However, even in private organizations that have their own rules and never thought to make certain things illegal, it seems to me that there are some things which no court would disagree with even if they are formally absent from the articles of incorporation, association and what not.

If something is voted for by an organization's membership, the organization has a duty of care to ensure that the ballot box is not stuffed, that the voters are not personated and so on; that's kind of implicit to the process of voting.

It seems to me that threatening that if the vote does not go the way you want, or goes a way you do not want, you will engage in a conspiracy to ensure that all future votes are subverted, is an attempt to fix the vote to menaces. Anyone who does that should not just be disqualified from voting – they should have their candidature disallowed. Theodore Beale has threatened that, should No Award win in a serious number of categories against his candidates, he will ensure that all future Hugo votes are subverted by Gamergate, the Rabids and any other Nazis he finds hanging around on street corners.

That is, it strikes me, an attempt to influence how the Hugo vote comes out, by menaces.

His nominations should be accordingly disqualified as should any nomination in which he has a financial interest. Anything published by Castalia, which he owns and edits, for one thing. And a look should be taken at other small presses on the ballot.

This does nothing about the Sads – thus far they have not broken, though they have bent, the rules.

I would suggest that the Con Committee pay atention to this suggestion.

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About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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20 Responses to My view on what should happen about the Hugos.

  1. rozkaveney says:

    Going after Castalia – Beale cannot be allowed to profit – is of course tough on John C Wright, whom he publishes.

    But Wright believes in harsh laws rigorously applied – his god tells him so all the time. Hence his traducing of Terry Pratchett’s memory.

    So Boo fucking Hoo.

    • agrumer says:

      Not all that tough; Wright’s still got a series coming out through Tor.

      • rozkaveney says:

        True but his nominations are for Castalia material.

      • gonzo21 says:

        I thought Tor was one of the publishers the Puppies had singled out as being evidence of the Liberal Conspiracy against them, because Tor refused to work with any of their ilk?

        Or am I thinking of somebody else?

      • pnh says:

        Yes, Tor refuses to publish John C. Wright, David Drake, Orson Scott Card, David Weber, and dozens of other conservative-leaning writers. Wait, that’s actually totally untrue.

      • gonzo21 says:

        Right, I did wonder, I foolishly read some of the comments on the Puppy-blog yesterday, and one at least of them was complaining that Tor were packed with weak-wristed Liberal handbag-clutchers who actively black-listed conservative-leaning writers.

        There seems to be a great deal of misinformation on all sides. But this core concept of there being a secret liberal conspiracy designed to silence The Man is the biggest?

      • pnh says:

        If there’s such a conspiracy, it’s a secret from me. The only reasonable answer is “No, and also ancient astronauts didn’t build the Pyramids.”

      • gonzo21 says:

        It seems to have become very much a characteristic of modern Conservatism – the erroneous belief in an Evil Conspiracy To Keep The Man Down.

        It really deeply embarrasses me, as a straight white guy, to hear straight white guys whinging about how the odds are stacked against them.

    • yamamanama says:

      If Wright doesn’t want to be associated with Vox, he’d drop Castalia House.

  2. kalimac says:

    Where has Beale threatened to subvert future Hugos if No Award wins? I’ve only been reading the comments (just some of the comments, actually) at File 770, and all I’ve seen Beale say there is to coyly suggest that his opponents don’t know what he wants to happen with this year’s awards, implying that if No Award wins it will somehow further his nefarious plans. But maybe what you report above are the nefarious plans he has in mind.

    • vschanoes says:

      He has said in a couple of comments that if No Award wins, he will make sure that no award is ever given in that category again.

    • vschanoes says:

      Here’s a link.

      I say he can bring it the fuck on. I’d rather see the Hugos razed and the earth sown with salt than see them run by a white supremacist.

      • gonzo21 says:

        One of the lead Puppies responded to GRRMs challenge to do something about Vox, by basically saying ‘Why should we do anything about him, we’re not connected to him, he’s acting under his own agency.’

        Which is the same argument the so called ‘moderate’ gamergaters use, ‘We’re not making these horrible threats, it’s other gamergaters, why should we do anything about it.’

        Which is just all very depressing.

      • kalimac says:

        Thank you for the link. Yes, I read that as a threat.

        OK, sign me on for at least discussing Roz’s proposal at the Sasquan BM.

  3. shadowkat67 says:

    I’ve been watching this play out for a while in your journal, Abigail Nussbaum’s posts on her blog (Wrong Questions) and GRR Martin’s journal. And I have to say that I agree with you.

    In order for the Hugos to have any relevance to people like myself, who do not vote on them and use them as a means of finding books of merit that we may want to read, is that there are some rules in place. Some structure. They shouldn’t be a free-for-all.
    You should not be able to stuff the ballot box or manipulate the awards to reflect your own political views. Seriously? Awards aren’t set up as list of books that reflect your views – there are other areas to do that.

    All awards have restrictions. The Academy of Arts and Sciences has restrictions on who can vote, how many times they can vote, and what they can vote on – which is why the Oscars are credible in the industry and have weight. They aren’t a free-for-all like say the People’s Choice Awards, which has little weight, or the Golden Globes, which has some weight but is also less restrictive.

    If you want validity and want people to respect the Award, then yes, you need to have some procedures in place and restrictions. It does not have to equal exclusion.
    Disqualifying a member and excluding him because he broke the rules and made a mockery of the awards, and attempted to exclude others is not the same as “exclusion”.
    You are basically stating that he broke a rule, that he crossed a line. If he was liberal or left-wing or anyone else – he’d have been booted out as well.

    Rules aren’t evil. Nor are guidelines. The awards which are taken seriously by the public have rules. The ones that do not have rules – aren’t taken seriously.

    So, I guess, the question is – do the people who are voting on the Hugos and winning the awards want these awards to actually mean something? To have “weight”? Or do they just want another doorstop or false accolade? If the former, yes, you need to enact a few guidelines and rules – enforce and reward honorable behavior. I mean it’s hard for me to respect the Puppies, who appear to have earned their name, and the Gamers, because they are acting like bratty entitled kids. And it’s hard for me to respect the Hugos, because they’ve managed to manipulate them. I think this is most likely true for most people.

    I lost respect for the Booker Prize a while back because the voters were acting like immature brats, who were basically voting for their friends. Which makes it difficult to look at the prize as reputable or credible. I mean I know to some extent that is going on, but you would hope a little objectivity or honor would be part of the process.

    Awards advertise and promote books. If the award loses its credibility – what’s the point? I think that’s a question people need to think seriously about.

    • lovingboth says:

      Academy Awards

      Well, if credible = ‘extremely well marketed’, they’re certainly that.

      But, to pick one and ignoring international work, the idea that the winner of the ‘best picture’ is actually the best Hollywood did that year is laughable half of the time.

  4. lil_shepherd says:

    Thank you, Roz. I am inclined to a agree with you, though I think Beale is full of sound and fury, signifying very little.

    At least one of the nominated stories on the slates may not have been eligible at all, and I understand the concom have been notified.

  5. ffutures says:

    Agree 100% – I’m not actually especially interested in the Hugos, the choices are often bizarre and to me not the best stories around, but one of the reasons for that is that they can be influenced by block voting a bit too easily, especially in the nomination stage. It’s about time that someone brought down the hammer, and this seems an excellent time to do it.

  6. gonzo21 says:

    Agreed. Surely that has to be a violation of the rules, to threaten to destroy future Hugo awards if one of the nominees doesn’t get his way.

    That’s… a clear and deliberate threat to voters.

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