My first (seven) reactions to the surprise announcement of Sad Puppies 4

4 reasons to pet the Puppies:

1. Tone

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.


11 thoughts on “My first (seven) reactions to the surprise announcement of Sad Puppies 4

  1. Kendall

    It’s a thinly disguised slate; 10 versus 5 means naught. Especially when talking about voting for the most popular ones, and recently Kate said she’d list them in popularity order, etc. 10 entries = a double-slate is all. Also . . . the nominations ARE the primaries, so having pre-primaries is just “let’s stack the deck but pretend it’s not a slate.” (eyeroll)

    It’s disheartening that the first few comment threads include a lot of what sounds like plans to cause trouble, people talking about how they have to bring guns for protection (eyeroll), etc. And also anti-Worldcon talk – really, if you hate Worldcon, why not go to a con you like better, or start your own? I don’t get it. If I dislike a con, I don’t go there and hold an “alternacon” and disparage the programming – I go to other cons I enjoy.


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      For a double slate, you need twice as many people to follow orders, and they are less likely to do so (because they also know what is the 11th work and it may be their own favorite). I agree with you about there being a tactical voting element here that is very distasteful in a literary award context, whether we call it a slate or something else. However, it’s still a more fluid thing than Sad Puppies 1-3. If there are going to be more people suggesting books, it’s also unlikely that the ballot will be run over by truly obscure dreck to quite the same extent (supposing Beale doesn’t hijack the show).

      And also anti-Worldcon talk – really, if you hate Worldcon, why not go to a con you like better, or start your own? I don’t get it.

      There are lots of thing with the Sad Puppies that I don’t get, and I’ve pretty much given up trying. 😀


  2. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 9/3 The Nine Billion Noms of Dog | File 770

    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      The tone could feasibly be much much worse and I’m quite suprised it isn’t — considering who are running the show. Let’s just have the hopeful moments when we can. If Paulk & co wish to have any sort of success, they will have to tone down their followers rhetoric.


      1. Kendall

        It could be a lot worse (the main post), but I’m not sure “it could be much much worse” is a great objective. 😉 And oh boy, they’re going to do press releases (eyeroll)….

        I’m surprised Paulk’s not weighing in more in the comments. But when she does weigh in, clearly she wants folks treating it like a slate. She’s not very subtle. (Knighton’s disingenuous in his comment below, which replies to a parent or grandparent comment to hers).


      2. spacefaringkitten Post author

        They have so many opportunities to blow it in six months (and go back to shouting about nazis and cultural marxists which is what they were doing less than a week ago) that it might be quite inevitable. I do enjoy the Puppies’ weird conviction that their demise this year was caused by the fact that they didn’t send out press releases.


  3. Cat

    Sad Puppies Lite–Same Great Taste, Now With Only Half The Unfair Advantage!

    Seriously. A slate multiplies your nominating power tenfold (at the cost of forcing your real favorites off the ballot of course.) A slate of ten multiplies your nominating power “only” fivefold, and *that* is only provided everyone nomming the slate choses randomly from those ten.


    1. spacefaringkitten Post author

      There’s some unfair advantage, but we don’t know about the Same Great Taste yet. Everybody can take part in their pre-primaries, in theory.

      I don’t think this is a GOOD idea per se (does my blog post sound too positive?), but it’s definitely better than Sad Puppies 1-3 which were utterly loathsome.


  4. Laura

    It’s better, but still wrong. It’s still designed to facilitate bloc voting. This is the part that shows how much they Do. Not. Get. It:

    “If you want to see your favorite author receive a nomination and an award, your best bet will be to cast your nomination ballot for one of popular works on The List.”

    The Hugos aren’t about giving our favorite *people* prizes. They’re about honoring the best *work* of the year. We’re not placing bets on who has a better chance of winning.


    1. Frances Smith

      Having just left a post nominating my cover artist for best professional artists, I quite like the fact that there is a place I can try and build up support for her without having to feel shamefaced about it. I also don’t see what’s wrong with trying to get a prize for someone I like. Why wouldn’t I support a friend over a stranger?

      I honestly believe that Nicole is talented enough to deserve an award, but even if you showed me someone who was objectively better our personal relationship would outweight the difference.



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