4 reasons to pet the Puppies:
The Puppy organizers Kate Paulk, Sarah A. Hoyt and Amanda S. Green have written things that I consider stupid, hateful and obnoxious, but the Sad Puppies 4 announcement was phrased very un-obnoxiously. Civility is a nice thing.
2. It’s not a slate, really
Listing more works than one can nominate for the Hugos and stating up front that one should read the stuff before suggesting it are good and play down the slate aspect.
3. No more shady correct taste comissars
With Sad Puppies 3, Brad Torgersen had a somewhat similar nominee suggestion phase (that had humorously few participants). After that, though, he ditched most of the stuff people had suggested and went on with the things that were written by his chums. There will be no more of that, it seems.
4. Focus on MOAR
The Puppy trio has promised to focus on participation instead of ideological screeds. It remains to be seen if that is a promise they are able to keep.
3 reasons to prefer kittens:
1. Hijacking Sad Puppies 4 is child’s play
Hugogeddon2015 made it very clear that there are a lot of people who just love to troll and cause damage in SFF fandon. About 500 Rabid Puppies were ready to pay the membership fee in order to get to vote the way their leader told them. Messing up Sad Puppies 4 is a lot easier, plus it’s free.
2. Why does this have to be about the Hugos at all?
Compiling this (possibly huge) recommended reading list would be an interesting experiment in and of itself. I don’t see any reason why it has to be connected with the Hugos. I mean, the Locus Recommended Reading list is a little bit similar mega list, but that is not constructed as a catalogue of great stuff you can nominate for the Hugos — it’s a catalogue of great stuff you can read and enjoy. Why not do something similar here?
3. Why would Hugos need primaries?
Sad Puppies 4 is — if it works the way that the organizers say it should — a sort of preliminary election about what works are popular enough to be on anybody’s Hugo nomination ballot. I’m not convinced that something like that would increase the voter participation in any way.