The Blending Puppies

There was supposed to be a difference between the two puppy breeds. Rabid Puppies were supposed to be the foam-mouthed extremists who want to destroy the Hugos and wreak maximum havoc, while their sad cousins are — despite buying into some objectionable ideas —  actual SFF fans. Or that’s what I thought. I’m not sure you can make the distinction anymore.

Sad Puppy figures Brad Torgersen, Cedar Sanderson and Peter Grant, among others, have decided to join the professional troll Vox Day on his crazy crusade against Tor books. They’re all supporting a GamerGate-inspired mailbox-stuffing campaign that tries to get a person who is working for an SFF publisher (and who they don’t like) fired.

Yes, fired.

I am disgusted, I have to say. We can disagree about who should get an award or what sort of science fiction is overlooked, but threatening a person’s job and livelihood because of a disagreement over a fucking science fiction award is just disgusting, no other word for it.

Ok, perhaps Irene Gallo shouldn’t have written so harshly about them on her personal Facebook page, but she has apologized. Brad Torgersen lets people sling worse crap in the other direction in his blog’s comments, and the Sad Puppy author Lou Antonelli has actually used exactly the same words as Gallo to attack a blogger he disagreed with. There’s plenty of blame to go around in this mess.

Responsible adults don’t act like Torgersen and his lynch mob. To contrast their mindlessness, I’ll end with a link to Sad Puppy author Gray Rinehart’s thoughtful and constructive blog post. There’s some food for thought in there for everybody, I think — Sad Puppies and Happy Kittens alike, and a bonus section for Christians (I believe Torgersen and a fair number of his co-Puppies belong to that group).

So, here it is.

EDIT 16/6: In the comments, Cedar Sanderson was unhappy over the fact that I suggest she wants to get somebody fired. I acknowledge that she is not linking to Day’s campaign with that stated goal, unlike Peter Grant, so perhaps it’s fair to say that my post wasn’t accurate in that respect. Later on, Grant has also been sending Tor and Macmillan new mail with the addition that he isn’t demanding for anybody’s resignation. That’s sort of nice to hear, but I still feel that complaining about your opponents’ personal views to their employers in the hope of creating some professional trouble for them is disgusting, plain and simple.

Moreover, on Brad Torgersen’s site, I was told by a commenter that getting people fired should be the Puppies’ goal because something similar has happened to Brandon Eich and Tim Hunt (and nobody there disagreed with him), so it’s simply not true that all complainers weren’t specifically hoping to see resignations. I hope Sanderson’s and Grant’s comments about that aren’t just meant to be fig leaves they can point to in case something messy happens at Tor and they want to deny responsibility.


21 thoughts on “The Blending Puppies

  1. yamamanama

    They’ve always been in cahoots. I swear Larry Correia posted something in the lines of “if you really want to piss off the SJW cultural marxists, check this out” with a link to Vox’s rabid puppies slate.

    Vox Popoli has some of the most vile anti-semitism I’ve seen anywhere on the internet, so the Nazi sobriquet fits.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cedar Sanderson

    I neither dislike Tor, nor am I trying to get anyone fired. The company needs to work on their social media policy and teach classes in professionalism. If you actually bothered to read my posts on this, you would know that. Please stop spreading lies and vicious gossip.


  3. The same trick since April and still you don't get tired of it

    Sad Puppy figures Brad Torgersen, Cedar Sanderson and Peter Grant … They’re all supporting a GamerGate-inspired mailbox-stuffing campaign that tries to get a person who is working for an SFF publisher (and who they don’t like) fired.

    This is simply false. None of them has supported a campaign to have Gallo fired. Some of them have even been explicit about not being asking Gallo to be fired.

    Torgersen just linked to Sanderson and Grant. Sanderson said:
    The emails should probably be short, straightforward, polite, and respectful, and emphasize the following points.
    • Real person and not a bot.
    • Do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books. (Be specific if you can, with quotes and links as possible. Please do not just pass on ‘what you heard’ without verifying it for yourself.)
    • Request a confirmation that your email has been read and received.

    Grant said, quoting Day:
    … address the following points:
    I am a real person and not a bot.
    I do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books, specifically Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo.
    . . .
    I request a response to confirm that my email has been received and read.

    Note how Grant makes it explicit and visible that he is omitting Day’s third point in which resignations are demanded, and later says:
    Vox is also asking his readers to request the resignation or dismissal of ‘guilty parties’, but I’m not going to go that far.

    And Grant in his second letter to Tor:
    Please note that I am not demanding the dismissal of, or resignations by, the individuals concerned.

    Therefore, Vox Day is the only one asking for resignations. Sad Puppies proponents are not asking for resignations. Vox Day has asked for emails to be sent in a specific day. Sad Puppies proponents have not asked for emails to be sent in a specific day. Vox Day is not a Sad Puppies proponent and doesn’t have the same agenda. Learn to live with it.

    When the dust settles, it is inevitable that somebody will undertake the task of making a list of what SP proponents actually said and what people like you insisted in pretending they were saying. Taking into account that, I understand why you don’t write under your real name.


  4. Rich Hailey

    Your facts are inaccurate. Gallo’s post touted an upcoming book from Tor on her Facebook page, which is used primarily for the purpose of publicizing her work at Tor. Characterizing it as a personal page is misleading. Second, the outrage is not over the post, or who is getting an award. The outrage is because Ms Gallo deeply insulted authors, including Tor authors, by inaccurately describing their work. She further went on to insult fans of those authors by referring to them as Neo-Nazis. This comment is what has created the outpouring of anger; not the silly Hugo award. Third, Ms. Gallo’s apology failed to rise to the level of an apology, being more of a weasel worded non-apology. For a good description of an actual apology, please look up John Scalzi’s post on apologies. Fourth, there is a difference between writing a comment on somebody else’s page expressing your opinion, and doing so on your own blog which you use to promote your professional work for your employer. Your counter example of Lou Antonelli fails for that reason. Fifth, if Ms. Gallo’s comments occurred in isolation, it would be a different case. But we’ve heard similar statements made from other Tor executives, leading to the conclusion that possibly Ms. Gallo’s sentiments are, in fact, shared by Tor management.

    Finally, no matter how hard you try to make this about Vox Day, it isn’t and never has been. Vox Day didn’t lead Ms Gallo into making her offensive comments; she did that all by herself. The responsibility for this situation rests on her head. It is up to her, and Tor, to make amends.

    Personally, I don’t care whether she is fired or not. I have friends who write who tell me she is a professional and very good at her job. On the other hand, that didn’t help Mel Gibson when he spewed forth hateful language in public so I’m not sure if it should shield Ms. Gallo. Words have meaning and actions have consequences. Whether she continues to represent Tor or not is entirely up to them, as is my decision whether or not to purchase further books from them. This isn’t mindless viciousness or an economic lynching; instead it is a sober, considered reaction to a series of provocations.


  5. Jared Anjewierden

    I would point out that setting a precedent that whatever isn’t objected to in the comments of a blog must needs reflect the opinion of everyone else is a dangerous one. (Especially one where only persistent trolls are banned and everyone is allowed to comment freely) Even setting aside the fact that not everyone sees all the comments, to operate under that assumption would rapidly fill comments sections with disclaimers of disagreement that do nothing to otherwise further the debate.

    I can’t speak for you or anyone else, but my most common reaction when I see something I disagree with is to simply roll my eyes and carry on posting my own views.

    There has also been plenty said by both sides that the majority would rather not be attributed to them.

    Now, keep in mind I am _not_ calling for a boycott nor firings. I am on public record (on the original thread by Ms. Gallo as well as elsewhere) as having accepted her apology. To be honest I think it could have been phrased better, but that is irrelevant for me. I have also publically said I am glad she still has her job. I think saying those things, especially on a post about her work while apparently on company time, was incredibly ill-conceived, but I don’t think she should lose her job because of it.

    That said, I did send some emails to Tor yesterday. Not because of the Hugos, which, as you point out, are just a fan voted award in the end, nor even Ms. Gallo’s statements or Tor’s comment on the same. No, I emailed them because of the multiple sources brushing off the emails as nothing but bot spam.

    I sent the emails because I love SF, and many of the books Tor puts out and I would not see them further damaged by mishandling customer complaints.

    A lot of people are angry. They see a post talking about Tor products from a Tor employee insulting other Tor employees and Tor customers, of course they’re angry. The complaints to Tor _aren’t_ in my opinion even about the Hugos anymore, at least not for the majority. It is about professionalism and how a company treats its customers.


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      The “multiple sources” being one anonymous comment, of course, supposedly by someone working at Tor. I understand that there are culture warriors who want to deliberately complicate conflicts, and sadly that is what they managed to do, once again.

      Otherwise, I applaud your sensible position.


      1. Jared Anjewierden

        There was also a reedit thread (since deleted) purporting to be from a Tor employee (who was very angry about what they saw as Ms. Gallo being thrown under the bus by Tor) saying much the same thing – thousands of emails, most are bots in their opinion, etc.

        That of course isn’t proof, but between the two different sources I thought it merited some attention. If I was wrong all I did was waste the small bit of their time it took to read my email. Regrettable, but the risk of that did not outweigh the benefits of my speaking out.


  6. Jared Anjewierden

    Ah. I should clarify, since I do not know which comment you were talking about – there was one on reedit, and another who has been talking with Peter Grant. One definitely seemed to support Ms. Gallo, the other less so.

    Neither is verified, obviously.


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      So, nobody knows what the situation really is or whether there in fact were bot messages in addition to the real ones (thousands does sound like a lot). Getting angry based on that information feels like a bit of a stretch.


  7. masgramondou

    I wrote emails to Tor expressing my displeasure. I did it because I wanted the Tor execs to be aware that there are a lot of us who have essentially stopped buying books published by Tor because we don’t like them. I think that’s related to the attitudes of Gallo, Feder and the N-Hs and the impact those attitudes have had on what Tor chooses to publish. I don’t particularly care if Gallo gets fired or not because as I wrote in my email I don’t read anything that Tor publishes these days except for a few bestselling authors.

    Entirely separately, if I were a Tor exec then I’d fire at least Feder and Gallo and quite possibly a bunch of others. This has nothing to do with their right to free speech but everything to do with their attitudes to
    a) their (potential) customers – the readers
    b) their main sources of income – the best-selling authors

    Why? Let me explain using Gallo as an example.

    Calling (as Gallo did) a large chunk of the readership sexist, racist, homophobic far-right neo-nazis – particularly when it is demonstrably untrue and when such untruths were loudly pointed out at least a month previously – while gloating about making puppies sadder shows that a total lack of professionalism and that she is either unable to empathise with a large chunk of potential readers and hence produce stuff that will attract them or that she is in fact stupid.

    When you combine that with her calling one of the books published by Tor and from a best-selling author “bad to reprehensible” the lack of professionalism becomes significantly worse. I am not a Tor insider and I have no idea how much of its gross sales are accounted for by Kevin J Anderson, but I suspect it is in the 5-10% range – at least when combined with co-author Brian Herbert. Publicly bad-mouthing the source of 5% of Tor’s gross income is dumb, particularly given that KJA is already writing Indie published books too. Were KJA to split and were some other likely sympathetic best-sellers (Orson Scott Card, David Weber …) to also quit I imagine Tor would see a massive drop in sales.

    I totally get why Tom Doherty wrote what he did – and it had nothing to do with the fans. It had everything to do with him desperately trying to convince his golden geese to stay with Tor. And, IMHO, firing Gallo would have been an entirely reasonable reaction in order to keep the best selling authors with Tor.

    In fact if Tor sees a drop in sales this year, which I suspect it will, I’d expect a thorough house-cleaning of the more outspoken “Anti-puppy” editors in the desperate hope that this will staunch the loss of readers


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      OK, you dislike books by Tor. That’s your prerogative, of course, but if that’s a fact, you dislike books by Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card and David Weber. Tor publishes all kinds of SFF and disliking all of it because of the editorial staff’s supposed leanings does sound more like projection to me.

      When did Feder or Patrick Nielsen Hayden talk about nazis? I have had to miss those.

      All the agitated talk about “professionalism” feels more like an excuse to attack someone who you disagree politically and who you think may be vulberable at the moment. I consider that ugly and reprehensible, as I’ve said.


      1. masgramondou

        err did you read what I wrote?

        OK, you dislike books by Tor. That’s your prerogative, of course, but if that’s a fact, you dislike books by Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card and David Weber
        I wrote:

        I don’t particularly care if Gallo gets fired or not because as I wrote in my email I don’t read anything that Tor publishes these days except for a few bestselling authors.

        Bold added. The best-selling authors include KJA, OSC and Weber (though to be honest I’ve got bored with Safehold).

        Likewise in re
        When did Feder or Patrick Nielsen Hayden talk about nazis?
        I wrote:

        Why? Let me explain using Gallo as an example.

        Calling (as Gallo did) a large chunk of the readership sexist, racist, homophobic far-right neo-nazis…

        Hence no claim there of Nielsen Hayden or Feder calling people neo-nazis. I could undoubtedly go pick comments by either PHN or Feder that are (IMHO) insulting etc. but that would have made an already long comment even longer with little to gain from doing so.


      2. spacefaringkitten Post author

        OK, you have set me straight on the subject of what Tor books you enjoy. My point is, Tor’s catalog of books and writers is as varied as anybody’s, be it Orbit or DAW or whatever. They publish what they believe will make money, because that’s what corporations do.

        Gallo’s comment was stupid, yes, and she has apologized. I very much doubt you can come up with anything by Feder or Nielsen Hayden one can really lump together with what Gallo wrote and get insulted over it.

        I don’t wish to insult anybody, but, IMHO, everybody who is bothering Tor is either a genuine troll or (to quote Lenin) “a useful idiot” for Vox Day’s schemes. IYHO, that’s probably not the case, so that’s it. Insert here the famous quote about opinions and assholes.


  8. J. R. Tomlin

    Even a Tor employee should be allowed to have a personal opinion on a persona Facebook page. The various Puppies (whether Sad or Rabid) seem to object to anyone having an opinion except themselves because, of course, their opinions are right (including when they call people Nazis) but everyone else is wrong.


    1. Keith Glass

      Yes, an employee CAN have a personal opinion. But several points can be argued about Gallo:

      1. She routinely plugs new TOR books and projects on that account.

      2. She does so during days and times that are generally considered within the normal bounds of a work day.

      3. IF she is indeed posting during the workday, she is doing so from a Tor/MacMillan owned computer, using Tor/MacMillan-paid network resources and bandwidth.

      These show a picture that generally would suggest this was part of her daily job. . .


      1. spacefaringkitten Post author

        As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t see why any of us should care what she does during working time versus her own time — except for the purpose of snitching about it to her employer in order to ger her into trouble. That’s still childish bullying, in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Friday Links (toxic bigotry week) | Font Folly

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