Before getting to it – welcome, Freethought, Making Light, and John Scalzi readers! I don’t think I’ve ever had so busy a Sunday before, and suddenly Monday is getting quite lively as well. I’ve got a new album on the left; you can hit play while you read, if you like.

I’ve seen some possible evolution of strategy from a few of the major Puppies over the last few days. One is pretty minor: letter-writing campaigns against writers who write about Puppies in ways they dislike. A second involves the use of endorsements and/or slates as sabotage. The third… well, we’ll get there.

First, John C. Wright has reposted the contents of his original hate-post about Legend of Korra and Korrasami. You remember, the one about worshipping the filthy phallic idol of sodomy, and all that.

Now that’s interesting, because at the same time, he’s tripling-down on the quoting-me-is-libel shtick that he threw at me, demanding this time that Popular Science fire a writer for talking about his post in ways Mr. Wright doesn’t like.

His main complaint seems to be that Mike VanHelder said Mr. Wright called LBGT people and allies “disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth,” when he only meant two people in particular, those being DiMartino and Konietzko, who… happen to be allies. As Mr. Wright proceeds to document. That would mean they are therefore part of that set of people, a.k.a. allies.

Apparently, this distinction – subset vs. set – is libel in Mr. Wright’s mind. Accordingly, he’s rallying his troops to write both Popular Science and their parent corporation, and demand Mr. VanHelder be dismissed.

Mr. Wright, this is not how libel works either. But by invoking libel in campaigns against other writers, we’re seeing a shift. GamerGate activists have done a lot of the same sorts of things: write about our movement in ways we don’t like, no matter how truthfully, and we will declare “libel” and retaliate. Fortunately, it’s not the same degree of retaliation – no rape-and-death-threats that I know of – but it’s still an interesting parallel.

And hey, look, everyone’s favourite racist Vox Day is targeting the same writer, for different but similar reasons. He, too, is crying libel, and he, too, has a letter-writing campaign started against Mr. VanHelder.

Is this coordinated? I don’t know, but the timing is noteworthy. Vox’s assertions include, and I quote, “Gamergate is not anti-feminist” – a comment too laughable to answer, given that it has been virulently so from the start – and “neither Sad Puppies nor Rabid Puppies courted any assistance from GamerGate.” This is demonstrably false, as has been noted many times.

Either way, it’s a strategy; co-ordinated “independent” complaint campaigns look larger than single campaigns, and targeting specific writers could be effective. Make an example or two, maybe people don’t want to write about you in ways you dislike anymore.

Vox also comment-posted an endorsement of The Three-Body Problem on File 770, saying it would’ve been on his Puppies slate had he known about it in time. (The Three-Body Problem was added to the Hugo shortlist after a previous Puppies nominee withdrew over the slate balloting, joining several others who have withdrawn.)

I can’t help but see this as a possible test of strategy, too: one of sabotage. “Oh, a non-Puppy work got elevated to the shortlist. I’ll endorse it and quasi-assign it to my ballot, retroactively, and see what happens.”

I still assert that voting NO AWARD above all slate nominations is the best strategy this year, because all slates must be refuted, regardless of origin. But we know from several sources that the Puppies tend to repeat this insanity again next year, again for political reasons. Vox has also promised that he do his best to make sure no Hugos get awarded if NO AWARDs win. We can’t really do much to fix this until at least 2017.

So given all that, I’m rather wondering if part of the Puppy plan next year will be to nominate works they want to see lose. Their slates have always been explicitly political, but they have generally been at least for works; now perhaps they will be against works.

That’s bad, too, and a more difficult problem. This year, quashing those sorts of experiments isn’t difficult; simply ignore these retroactive assignments and endorsements.

But next year, it will be much more difficult, and the system-gaming will be more intense. It may be so intense that it collapses, but I’m not that much of an optimist. I’m very much afraid that the 2016 awards will be a disaster of competing political slates, and that many of them will be sabotage slates.

I’m still also worried about the WSFS business meeting, particularly after GamerGate-affiliated Men’s Rights Activists lied about their affiliation to get a dealer booth at Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. They were claiming to be with the webcomic Xenospora, but were actually with themselves and with A Voice for Men, one of the more virulent MRA groups. The Mary Sue has photos of the GamerGate banner at their booth, taken before they were asked to leave the convention for violation of terms of participation.

Their goal was to disrupt, and they succeeded to some degree before leaving. This now having been tried – albeit less than successfully – Sasquan needs to expect this sort of thing in Spokane. That’s not the only thing they need to worry about – I’ve alerted people on their concom of other issues they may need to expect which I will not detail here – but it’s yet another potentiality for their plate.

So. A bunch of possible testings-of-water, strategy-wise. Am I reading too much into this? Possibly. But given that some of them actively enjoy this whole destructive process – and in my experience, it’s actually many who do – I don’t think I’m over-reading here.

Finally, I don’t want to post without noting that we’re down another nominee – Black Gate has declined their Best Fanzine nomination, as had staff member Matthew David Surridge declined his before the original shortlist was even announced. It’s too late for Black Gate to be removed from the ballot, however; should they win despite withdrawing, I understand that’s the same as NO AWARD.

PS: Bryke “turned on” by “lesbian oriental teenagers,” John? Really? Really?

PPS: A reminder of what Bryan Konietzko had to say about the ending of The Legend of Korra.