So. Where do we start?

It is far too late to start at the beginning, so let’s start where we last left off.

Those of us who have been calling for a NO AWARD vote above any slate nominee for the Hugo have, I am told, won. We have doubled the number of NO AWARDs given throughout the previous history of the awards, and blocked the meaningful slate candidates pretty much in their entirety. We are being congratulated, and for that, I thank you.

But I cannot consider this winning. I consider it… oh, let’s call it the least bad possible disaster given the position in which their machinations put us. That’s important. It shows that the large influx of supporting members who voted were not a Puppy rush. It shows that World Science Fiction Society fandom cares about the Hugo awards quite a bit, in fact, and thank you very much. It shows that gaming the system and violating decades of voting tradition will not be rewarded. Well done, fandom.

But it is not a “win.” It is not even a victory, because it does not end anything.

There are many who have said that a resounding defeat for political slates on this order would discourage them, and they would not return again. They say that any changes to the Hugo voting system are premature, even though any such changes would require at least two years – and two rounds of endorsement by WSFS fandom – to take effect.

That assertion has consistently struck me as naive at best. Movements driven by ressentiment are actually fuelled by defeat, at least in the short term. It merely proves to them that what they rightfully own and deserve has been stolen, unjustly, by the undeserving – which was in fact the line on Twitter from slate supporters on the night of the Hugos.

And further, as you can see in the tweet above, Rabid leader Vox Day has already promised another run at it, telling Wired that his intent has been to destroy the Hugo awards altogether – to, and I quote, “leave a big smoking hole where the Hugo Awards were.” Again in his words, “All this has ever been is a giant Fuck You — one massive gesture of contempt.”

He also claims to have an army of people who are not fans at all, and are “very anti-SJW [and] said, ‘Okay, we want to get in on this.'” And recruitment into the GamerGate misogynist crowd was certainly ramped up that night.

I don’t know that this continuing activism and agitation will convince the honest naysayers – those against reform for non-slate-related reasons, who are convinced this is an anomaly – that this problem is ongoing. I hope it will, but… I have my doubts.

However.

My big worry was that there would be a large and organised Rabid presence at Worldcon, and/or at the business meeting. I actually did not think it was likely – though signing in to the first meeting immediately after Lou “Let’s Set the Cops on a Guest of Honour” Antonelli didn’t make me feel any better.

But a distinguishing characteristic of the GamerGate phenomenon has been an unwillingness to appear in person. It’s not completely unknown – a GamerGate faction lied their way into a booth at a gaming convention last year, and disrupted several panels before they were ejected – but it’s rare.

And in one of those cases where no news really is good news, there was no organised disruption. There were a couple of very minor incidents – such as a really nasty flyer left anonymously on the flyer rack, claiming to be from SFWA – but nothing on a genuinely large scale.

And there were self-identified members of the Puppies present. But they were of the Sad faction, at least some of whom are actual fans – regardless of their actions regarding these Hugos – and had every right to be there. And they behaved, for the most part. One did leap to accuse me of slander during the Business Meeting, but sat down when told he was both wrong by definition and that his motion was Not Well Taken by the Chair. There were a couple of dramatic Storming Outs – including one by Lou Antonelli someone unidentified (see comments) at the Hugo awards ceremony – but that’s all well within the range of ordinary fannishness. I’ve seen bigger drama over points of canon in Tolkien.

So as is the history with these things, when it comes to taking action in person… you don’t tend to see these people showing up so much. Will that continue? We can’t know, but we can hope.

And so, while the business meetings may’ve run very long, and spanned four days instead of three, we got a lot done. In particular, there are two voting reform proposals which passed first reading and were passed on for final ratification next year, one of which I support strongly, the other of which I oppose just as strongly. And I will talk about both, later this week.
 


This part of a series of posts on the Sad/Rabid Puppy candidate slate-based capture of the Hugo Awards, and resulting fallout.