In response to the Wired article below:
Sad Puppies offered a choice of men and women of different races as was shown when this all started, the issue with the Hugo “purists” is that they simply don’t consider them to be “the right kind of author”, so please stick to the established information.
Additionally, the Rabid Puppies was not a joint effort; it was Vox Day riding the coattails of the SP and perhaps nothing more than his luxuriating in the hatred that so many in the traditional Hugo community have expressed for him. That said, it is nice to see the Hugo folks give a misogynist, rape fantasy promoter such as G.R.R. Martin a free pass and allow him to present an award, especially after they threw a fit last year over a presenter simply because he had previously told jokes about obese people, way to work those priorities…
What it comes down to with Hugo and their membership/voters is that they were/are a very small insular group, and outside of the name, there is nothing that would make the award stand out as anything special. It is not an industry award that signifies popular success and the small voting size and open membership hardly make it a true literary award, it is a popularity contest.
To that end, it can be said that the Sad Puppies true “crime” in the eyes of the Hugo “purist” community has been that they made the Hugo Award more relevant than it has been in decades. They have brought in new members, increasing the voting population on both sides of the spectrum, which means more paying membership and more Con attendance. As seen in the Hugo “purists” who feel their private preserve has been intruded upon by these peasants who read books without the standard issue packet of litmus tests, what the “purists” have bemoaned from the start as not “true fans” of Sci-Fi or they are “the wrong sort of members”. Let a right-leaning group say something like that and you can just sit back and watch the outrage Tsunami that develops, but when it is the Hugo “purists”, the media just nods in approval.
In their anger over increased membership and income, the Hugo “purist” Community has made the group a singular oddity in today’s world of public organizations with open membership who traditionally pursue greater numbers and dues to boost their position and credibility. However, they do seem to bear a striking resemblance to some of the good old boy clubs that let themselves go out of business rather than accept new members whose melanin levels might be a bit too high for their taste.
The membership has choice to make today, either keep things as they are and accept the change in voter balance and these ongoing drama festivals every year or change the nomination process and/or voting.
On the changing the system front, I would suggest basing the nominations on data from unbiased sources, such as the Publishers Association in the U.K., or Association of American Publishers or even go worldwide with the International Publishers Association and other rating systems that are already in place for the other categories. The important thing is that nominations be based on quantifiable data and quality instead of the authors’ politics or superficial and uncontrollable aspects such as gender or race. You still allow member voting on the overall winners, but this nomination system guarantees everyone has an equal chance at a nomination.
If the books submitted are of sufficient quality no one should care about the author, in fact if you walk through a bookstore deciding on which book to buy based on the notes about the author, you probably should not be voting on the quality of a book.