Where’s the Beef?

So, back during SP2, the TruFen claimed that all those thousands of newly minted voters were dedicated SF fans who truly and deeply cared about the Hugo Award and didn’t want it taken over by those nasty, scruffy Puppies whom they claimed were all kinds of things they were not. Lot of that going around, this claiming people are what they are not. Those stalwart folks who suddenly appeared just in time to vote NoAward don’t really seem to care THAT much about the award, because now that the voting and nominating rights they bought for Sasquan have gone poof, well, how many of them are back? Pitifully few. Indeed, it looks like Hugo Nominating rates are way back down to where they were before the Sad Puppies were a gleam in Larry Correia’s steely eyes.

After this year’s nominations came out, I made a casual observation that it seemed like fewer people nominated period, than there were people who voted NoAward that fateful year. Then it occurred to me to check to see if that were true. So I fired up the spreadsheet, compared the 2015 results and the 2017 nominations, and yeah, in all the major categories, and where NoAward won, those defiant arsonists defenders of the Rocketship were nowhere to be found. Two Thousand plus dedicated fans couldn’t be bothered to participate in the nominating process this year.

HugoChart

This, by the way, is not good financial news for WorldCon. 2-3,000 memberships is $100-$150,000 they won’t have in their coffers, and that kind of money buys a LOT of Wooden Asterisks. The Sad Puppies might have been the best thing to happen to WorldCon in a long time, but now that they’ve “Gone and started their own award” (which really, they didn’t) some WorldCon treasurer is probably wishing they were still around.

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50 thoughts on “Where’s the Beef?

    • Wherein the selective-quoter-in-chief ignores the main point, and nitpicks that I used the supporting membership price for MAC, instead of the next con (forgetting that the bulk of the nominators were probably MAC supporters). But, assuming NONE of the nominating votes came from a fan with nominating rights from MidAmericaCon, 2-3000 fewer voters at the discounted $37 rate is still $74,000 to $111,000 in supporting membership revenue that the Con is not getting.

      The Saviors of the Hugo who voted NoAward are still most notable by their absence.

      • He couldn’t argue your facts, so he just made a snide remark and ran off. I’m honestly surprised he said anything about it at all, but I guess the urge to be dismissive overrode his common sense.
        I think it all just goes to bolster the case that the votes were purchased, and not ones made by actual real people.

        • To be fair, he had me on one small fact, the price of a supporting membership this year. But that’s really not relevant to the point of all those noble fans suddenly disappearing now that their numbers are no longer needed to kick the puppies.

  1. I see you got Viled. As usual, the precipitous drop in membership is far less important than error in ticket price.

    I love how Big G has literally nothing to report on, and keeps bringing up the Puppies. Our sin this year? -Not- participating.

    • What’s also interesting is just how little traffic his links actually generate. Clearly his readers just take his misrepresentations at face value, and discuss without seeing for themselves. (And the two previous posts were much more meaty. I guess he couldn’t nit-pick them, so he ignored them).

  2. Yes, wasn’t it remarkable that thousands of people who hadn’t been actively participating before rallied to see justice done in 2015?

    Obviously you still haven’t gotten over that — to such a degree that you don’t care whether the poo you’re flinging is accurate or not.

    • Odd, the numbers I used to point out their absence are not in dispute. If they cared so deeply about the award, where are they now?

      If I ran the same comparison for MAC, whose voters DO have nomination rights, I wonder how that would turn out….

    • Quoth the Glyer: “…rallied to see justice done in 2015?”

      Alternative view, rioted because people they hate showed up and voted by the rules. Five No Awards plus wooden Assterisks, you did yourselves proud.

      As. Predicted.

      This year, no participation from Sad Puppies (because who gives money to people who hate you?) and suddenly nobody is nominating anymore. Amazing coincidence.

      Your noble Fen nominated Ghostbusters, possibly the worst movie of the year. Certainly in contention.

      What’s still ALL OVER the most Hugo-winning blog ever? Sad Puppies. Who all departed already.

    • Rallied? I thought they just ponied up a lot of money and bought enough votes to get their way. It really looked a lot like the L. Ron Hubbard fiasco all over again, only this time the people in charge looked the other way. Hence their not releasing the raw data.

  3. A more serious objection is that you’re comparing apples with oranges. If you look at the graph of Hugo Ballots (first graph on the page) it shows that there was a huge explosion in *final votes* in 2015, which translated into an explosion in *nominating votes* in 2016, followed by more average final votes in 2016. The number of nominating votes in 2017 is up a fair bit over 2014 and 2015.

    But there’s definitely no question that most of the big surge in people who registered in 2015 for the puppy ballot (whichever side they supported) have dropped out now.

      • Interesting.

        Your point about how a tiny fraction of the ballots can seize a nomination has been a “Feature” of the Hugos for a long time. Hand in hand with that is a feeling of disenfranchisement among the fans, who lament “Nothing I voted for made the ballot”. That’s what I had in mind when I first proposed 3 stage voting. Fans are more inclined to participate if they feel they are making a difference. Maybe their first choices didn’t make the cut, but if they can pick and choose from the second round and see their input bear fruit, they will be more likely to participate in the future. (This is probably a factor in why political third parties have such dismal turnout). And with a larger participation rate, the less likely it is that a small group can stuff a particular nominee into a category.

        It also would be more effective than EPH at shutting down things like Rabid Puppies, since it would have the intelligence of the fans behind the selection process at the second stage. They would be outvoted in a trice.

        • Up to about 250 slate voters, 3SV is better then EPH, but after that, EPH outperforms 3SV. EPH+ beats 3SV starting at just 150 slate voters. The dynamite combination is 3SV and EPH(+) together.

          • I wonder how you’re determining that (250 out of how many?), since clearly there would be factors outside of pure random balloting at work. With 3SV, as soon as word gets out that such and such is Vox Day’s candidate, the rest of the voters will conspicuously leave it out of their votes for finalist. Remember also that you’re harnessing the votes of the 90% of the electorate whose initial choices did not make it past the first stage, so it’s hard to predict how they will vote in stage 2.

            That’s my biggest issue with EPH, the idea that a mathematical algorithm can trump human behavior. A great many dystopian novels begin with that idea….

            • It almost doesn’t matter how many, since organic votes at any give rank vary with the square root of number of organic voters. I’m planning to write an article that details the result, but it really does come out the way I say it does. It doesn’t matter what the 90% think; a properly organized slate simply swamps them–regardless of their opinions.

              • See, I have trouble seeing how 10% can out-vote 90%. I think this presumes that all other candidates are equally good/bad and the votes would be uniformly distributed. Just look at the spread of nominating votes in a normal year and you should assign some kind of quality variable to the remaining pool. But again, that presumes no blogging and campaigning or organized efforts to shut out slates in the second round.

    • It’s not quite apples and oranges, it’s active participants with supporting memberships. What I was comparing was the number of “Concerned Fans” who suddenly appeared just in time to “Save” the Hugos by burning them down, and seeing if their active participation continued beyond the term their one-time expenditure would have influenced things. In other words, were they motivated by the prospect of participating in the award, or where they more interested in participating in an attack? Did they care about nominating and voting this year when there are no puppies to kick? Apparently not.

      And gee, this year it’s a bargain too.

  4. To add one more to the many things you’re overlooking is that until the voting report came out at the 2015 Worldcon nobody knew the number of puppies was only a few hundred. Puppies were supposed to be the true majority, the people buying all those books by Larry Correia — who left them all high and dry by refusing the nomination he’d spent years agitating to get. And then we discovered most of the Puppies were just the people buying books by Vox Day. There really aren’t very many Sad Puppies at all.

    • Yeah, nobody knew how many puppies, so the fake votes went into overkill just to be sure, and once they were no longer needed, they just faded away.

      After all, if they were REAL voters who cared about the Hugo, why aren’t they trying to get their own favorite works nominated? They only came in, voted No Award, and went away, by the THOUSANDS. Does that not seem even the slightest bit fishy to you, even though you got what you wanted? If they loved the award so much, why did they stop participating? Did that never strike you as odd?

      But logic isn’t your strong suit, How else is it that you seized on a small mistake in an afterthought, and used that unrelated item to try to discredit the main point of this post without even examining it? Of course, your incurious spoonfed readers just took that at face value (those few who noticed) and postured in a Greek (geek?) chorus “Durrr! He’s so Stoopid!” with even LESS information than the tiny morsel you extracted (I see the stats, I know how few of them have actually followed your link.) Did you make little airplane noises for them? Did they cheep like baby birds? I swear, your commentariat are the ones really like puppies, competing to perform the best trick in hopes of getting a treat.

      Really, of all the examples of you selectively quoting something to make a misleading claim about what someone has said, this had to be the pettiest and most textbook example of your tactics. You may have gained your reputation for honest and deep reporting of faanish issues back when you were in print, but since I’ve seen you online, you have completely turned your back on that. Outside of your devotees, your reputation is trash.

  5. Oh, so now you say they were fake votes. How can you presume to lecture anyone else about truthfulness when they’re busy being distracted by your ever-growing nose?

      • I see it as just the result of advertising (unintentional advertising). The 2015 slating campaign generated international news and attracted about 2,500 people to the Hugos who had never participated before. (That’s why I call it advertising; the effect was the same as if there had been a massive ad campaign.) 2,000 of those stuck around to nominate in 2016. Only 500 were willing to pay for a second year.

        I suspect the largest reason we only kept 500 out of the 2,500 is that people were disappointed that even with a huge turnout for nominations, a small slate still swept the awards. Or possibly they found the nominating process itself was just too tedious. Or maybe in advertising terms it’s a good result to gain as repeat customers just 20% of the people who tried your product as the result of an ad campaign.

        Anyway, it certainly was not because they decided the puppies were a non-problem. Anyone who nominated in 2016 and saw the Rabid Puppies sweep most of the categories saw that it was just as bad as 2015. If not for their foolish choice to nominate “hostages,” they could have burned down most of the categories.

        • I suspect they only kept 500 is because a large number of those 2000 were bought and paid for by someone else. After all, how many people did we see offering to bribe, err I mean BUY people memberships if they’d only vote the way they wanted them too? I know one website was up to buying one hundred (100!!) memberships for others, in order to get their way.

          Me? I gave up on giving the hugo’s any credence long ago, they’re a good indicator of what sucks and what to avoid, and have been for years. It was fun to watch all the drama, but I knew that they’d never save the award. But still it was fun to watch all of the manipulation of the process going on, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, and David Gerold burn it all down by handing out the assholes.

          Yup, way to stay classy worldcon, way to stay classy!

        • And my point here was that you had 2-3000 people who showed up ONLY to burn down the awards. Consider them nerdy Black Bloc activists. They didn’t stick around to nominate who should win the award, they didn’t vote for anyone to win the award, they weren’t there to “Save” the award, they were there to vote the award out of existence. They were far more destructive than the rabid puppies could have ever DREAMED of being.

          Which is why I find it extremely foolish for anyone to proclaim they were rallying for Justice.

          They certainly didn’t care about the tradition of the Hugo.

          They came in ONCE, to crash the rocket, and left.

          Anyone who regards that as some kind of triumph is a moron.

          • But they showed up twice, not just once. One time to vote against the puppies in the 2015 final vote and then again in 2016 to nominate. None of their nominations ended up on the 2016 final ballot (almost none) because of the slates, so it’s not a big surprise that few of them paid for a second year.

            I suspect most of them bought memberships in the first place because people like George R.R. Martin attracted their attention to the issue. Then they read the awful puppy stories in the packet and voted them under No Award. I don’t think any more interpretation is required to make sense of the data.

            I agree they weren’t rallying for justice. They were just mad that people who wrote crap had “cheated” their way onto the final ballot. (Not that anyone really cheated.) They made sure the “cheaters” didn’t get any benefit from it. Giving no award at all in a category was surely better for the awards than giving an award to a piece of trash. If anything, people should have given a few more No Awards rather than giving awards to mediocre works that just happened to be the only non-slate items in a few of the lists.

            • Voting once and then nominating once is the result of a single transaction. So I don’t consider it being involved twice. That’s also why I’m comparing 2015 to 2017.

              I wouldn’t say the Puppy stories were particularly awful. After all, this year they voted in Ghostbusters. But also, I read that ludicrous story about gravity reversing… Still waiting for the sequel “The Floor is Lava!” There is plenty of awful on the PK side too. (Which goes back to what kicked this whole thing off, people are voting in crap for reasons that have nothing to do with it being any good).

              I’m glad to see you say they didn’t cheat. That makes you a lone voice. Prepare to be attacked for that….

            • “Then they read the awful puppy stories in the packet and voted them under No Award.”

              Such a lie, Greg. They found out which stories were Sad Puppy, voted them No Award, and never read any of it. You do remember people openly boasting that they would NEVER read a Sad Puppy nom, don’t you?

              You want to talk about awful, there was plenty nominated this year with zero Sad Puppy participation. Start with Nora’s tomfoolery and go from there. Even Flopatron couldn’t bring himself to praise it.

              “Giving no award at all in a category was surely better for the awards than giving an award to a piece of trash.”

              They nominated Ghostbusters, Greg. That argument is dead. You can beat on it all you want, but it ain’t going to get up and pull your little red wagon.

    • You managed to scrape together a few rioters, motivated to go out and beat those nasty racist/bigot/homophobe/Nazi Sad Puppies, Mikey.

      No Sad Puppies to fight this year, so we can see exactly what kind of SF fans all those Saviors Of Worldcon really are. Most of them are moved on to rioting in Berkley.

      If I remember correctly, (and I assure you I do,) the whole Sad Puppies thing was put on by Larry Correia to demonstrate the purely POLITICAL nature of WorldCon these days. Your efforts to prove him right these last five years have been extensive. In 2015/16 you proved him massively, perfectly right.

      This year has proved him right AGAIN. All the nassssty Conservatives stayed home, your idiots nominated Ghostbusters because politics, and YOU, Mr. Glyer, are still talking about Puppies. Its over. Why are you still yammering?

      • Dr. Mauser sir, I note that you have removed Mr. Glyer’s reply. Not to spare my delicate, lilac-scented feelings I hope. ~:D I was going to link to it. Comedy gold!

        However, if you don’t wish to see that type of thing on your blog, I completely understand.

  6. I did a much more detailed analysis of what effect the various voting strategies (and their combinations) would have had on the Hugo Nominations over the past four years.

    http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2017/04/fix-slating-problem-forever.html

    As I hinted above, both EPH and 3SV are vulnerable to large (~300) numbers of slate voters. The 3SV/EPH (or 3SV/EPH+) combinations seem to be invulnerable up to 500 slate voters or more, which is more than we’ve ever seen so far.

    To answer one or two comments above, yes, it’s definitely true that the Hugo ballots have recently had some non-slate-related stinkers on them. Speaking only about short fiction (since that’s where my passion is), I’ll put about half of this year’s ballot under No Award (I have high standards). But for the first time in three years, half of the works on the ballot really are award-worthy, and that’s a big change.

    It’s also true that the puppies did a better job in 2016 than 2015. If you look at how I reviewed stories from the slates in 2016, you’ll see I recommended more than one of them. (And, yes, I took some heat for that.)

    http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2016/03/2015-torcom-puppies-ratings.html

    But it also contained some real stinkers–especially in the Best Short Story category, which it pretty much sandblasted.

    • 300 or 500 out of how many? One of my points about 3SV was that it would help eliminate the sense of disenfranchisement among the 90% of nominators who didn’t get anything they wanted on the ballot. If people feel they have an influence, they tend to participate more. A huge electorate is more proof against slating than anything else. And one downside of EPH is the emphasis it puts on gaming your selections as an individual voter. It goes from an eager fan saying “Wow, I can nominate my five favorite things!” to one TruFen going “Hmmm, put all my vote behind one nominee, or vote for two, but halve my effectiveness?” Hell, the Australian Rules final is confusing enough….

      All EPH did this year was change the ballot vandalism from five titles to 1. But that’s enough, isn’t it, to leave a black mark on the historical record, when fen 25 years hence look at the past and go “WTF?”

      I guess the difference in our theories on this is I’m more people/socially centered, and you’re more mathematically centered. But the actual source of the problem that made all this rigamarole is people, and their desire to control the outcome in their own favor. And with all the emphasis TOR put on the fight, and how they got their way, the results look really, really suspicious.

      Two years ago I weighed in on this with a quote from someone on Making Light, which seems awfully prescient.

      “My view is that when we specifically try to change the rules to exclude the Sad Puppies, and we judge how well the changes work by how well they would have excluded the Sad Puppies given historical data, we will have some difficulty explaining to journalists that we are not doing it to exclude the Sad Puppies.”
      – J. Thomas, commenting on changing the Hugo rules at Making Light

      • 300 or 500 out of the 2000-4000 we’ve seen in the last few years. To beat the slates just from volume alone, we’d need more like 50,000, and that’s just not feasible. Even the 4,000 from 2016 would be very difficult to replicate. It makes more sense to figure 2000 to 2500 per year for the foreseeable future.

        You’re giving EPH more credit than it actually deserves, though. They could have grabbed half the ballot with just 200 slaters, most likely. What saved the awards was that Vox Day only made a token effort this year. That doesn’t mean he won’t try again in the future–or someone else might try it.

        Oh and the optimal strategy for EPH, if you’re interested, is to nominate things you really think deserve awards in all five slots. Most likely, you’ll only get one or two on the final ballot, but you don’t know in advance which it will be. If you only submit one or two in the first place, you might pick the wrong ones and end up with nothing. If you know for sure that one of the items will end up on the ballot without your help, then you can improve the chances for the others by leaving that one off, but only if you’re sure. Since most of us can’t predict the future, the best practical strategy is the same one as always: nominate as many things as you think are worthwhile.

        • Have you done any analysis to determine if there was any of the secret slating in the past that has been alluded to?

          I think the big problem with EPH is the same problem the original system has, in that so many participants are shut out entirely. if 200 slaters, or 10% of the electorate can dominate the slots, even without additional participants, it seems to me that that excluded 90% could be put to good use. 1800 beats 200.

          • Yes. The EPH data makes slates very easy to detect, actually. That’s because it punishes collusion. Any two or three works on the final ballot will probably have appeared together at least occasionally on the nominating ballots, but if that happens a lot, EPH sharply reduces the number of points they earn. I call this the “EPH deflator.” Here’s the data for 2015, if you want to look for yourself:

            http://www.rocketstackrank.com/p/2015-hugo-nominations-organic-estimate.html

            Look at the EPH Deflator column on the far right of each table. Notice how slated works have a deflator of 3 to 5 but organic works have a deflator of 1 to 2. That means that slated items generally came all together on single ballots while organic items were not connected except by chance.

            Semiprozine has so few plausible candidates that it tends higher; what looks like a slate is just the result of people not having much to choose from in the first place.

            I didn’t find any non-slate items above 3 and almost none above 2 in the data from 2014-2017.

            So if there was any pre-puppy slating, it was very small scale.

            It’s also possible that there were campaigns to promote individual works rather than slates of works. This method wouldn’t detect that.

            • Also, Considering that in 2015, the top nominated Puppy candidates had as many as twice the nominations as the bottom nominated one, how do you account for slate “Disloyalty”?

              • There were even bigger differences in 2016, which I analyzed with this in mind.

                http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2016/10/when-slates-collide.html

                By my definition, a “slate voter” is someone who voted for the slate, the whole slate, and nothing but the slate (on a category basis). Since some categories were a little odd, I recomputed the numbers assuming that there was one item that some of the slate voters simply couldn’t stomach. For best fanzine, for example, the deflators make far more sense if you assume that most slaters couldn’t stomach voting for File770 and thus only nominated the other four items on the slate.

                That evens the numbers out enormously.

                As for the 2015 numbers, it’s clear that “slate discipline” improved a lot between 2015 and 2016. (I addressed that quantitatively in “Slate Voting Analysis Using EPH Data: 2014-2016”. http://www.rocketstackrank.com/2016/09/reanalysis-of-slate-voting-in-2016-hugo.html

                However, it still wasn’t perfect. You always get people who didn’t follow instructions. Or got tired and quit before finishing nominations.

          • As for 1800 beating 200, the problem is when those 1800 are spread out over 100 different choices but the 200 are focused on just 10. Then you find that 18 does not beat 20. That, in a nutshell, is why the slates were so successful despite their small numbers.

            What EPH does is it deflates the organic votes by a little and deflates the slate votes by two or three times that much. So the 18 above deflates to about 12 but the 20 deflates to 5 or 6. 12 then beats 6.

            • 1800 beating 200 is the second stage of my proposed voting change – Postitive three stage voting. Where everyone chooses the final five from the top 15. (originally I said 25, but that’s too many for most categories). Thus all those people whose nominations were at the tail end have a chance to make a meaningful choice. If word gets out about shenanigans (And in this day and age, how can it not?) said slates won’t have a chance to get past the second stage. The thing I dislike about the proposed Negative 3SV is the potential for a clique to use it to 86 an author they don’t like. The problem with EPH and similar mathematical solutions is they still ace out the 90% of the nominators whose first choices are in the long tail. (See my post https://drmauser.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/if-there-is-hope-it-lies-in-the-proles-fans/ )

    • BTW, I reject your citation of that Wired article as anything NEAR a balanced history of the Puppies.

      Also, my 3SV proposal was a positive vote, not a negative one. The Negative vote one is just BEGGING for abuse.

      • So do you have an article you think does present a balanced account?

        I’m more worried that the thresholds aimed at preventing abuse will end up making it hard for 3SV to actually function. We’ll have to see what it does for a few years to really know.

        • I suppose I need to come up with a different term than 3SV for my chose from 15 semi-finalists idea, since they appear to want to pre-emptive negative vote. But that IS hard to model since it’s hard to say what the tail-end voters will choose.

          As for a balanced account, a simple litmus test will be if it does not include a reference to Gamergate, or if it does mention it, it doesn’t use the SJW mischaracterization about it. The publisher not having had to issue a retraction is another good criteria.

    • Um, Greg, there was no SP -slate- in 2016. At all.

      Kate Paulk bent over backward to insure that there was no slate, and equally to ensure 100% transparency. She did so quite successfully.

      I said at the time it was a wasted effort, and the continued smearing proves me right.

      • Yes, and there was no Rabid Puppy slate in 2014. I usually just say “the slates” to refer to whoever happened to be slating in a given year, even though in some years it was really just a single slate.

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