Sunday, October 2, 2016

When Slates Collide

A further analysis of the Hugo Nomination data from 2016 suggests that a great number of Rabid Puppies refused to vote to nominate the so-called "hostages." In particular, only 61 out of 400 voted to nominate File 770 for Best Fanzine. This suggests the hostage strategy doesn't work well for the slates.


Last week, we published an analysis of Slate Voting over the past three years which used the EPH data to get more accurate estimates of how many Sad/Rabid Puppies had participated in the Hugo Nominations in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Because that tool showed very few Sad Puppies used their recommendation list as a slate in 2016, it's possible to use the same tool to divide the Rabid Puppies into two different slates: one "hard" slate, which voted the way people were instructed to, and one "soft" slate, which omitted the "hostages."

The hostage strategy appears to have been to nominate some mainstream works/people in hopes that either a) those people would withdraw, allowing the slates to claim they had the power to force people they don't like off the ballot or b) the fans would vote those people under No Award in the final ballot, allowing the slates to claim that the fans are the ones who vote mindlessly or c) one or more of the works would win, allowing the slates to claim an actual victory. You can read the previous article to see how well that turned out. 

How Slates Divide

A key assumption in that strategy was that the legions of people who vote for slates really do vote mindlessly. But the graph below shows that this is not the case.

Click Graph to Enlarge
Red represents the number of hard-core Rabid Puppies in each category. These are the folks who nominated everything on the slate in that category and didn't nominate anything else. Orange are the soft-core Rabid Puppies. They also nominated solely from the slate, but they omitted the "hostages."

The list is sorted by number of soft-core Rabid Puppies. We'll discuss the interesting categories in that order.

Best Fanzine

In the Best Fanzine category, we estimate there were only 61 Rabid Puppies who nominated all five items from their slate for Best Fanzine, but 329 of them nominated four of the five, excluding File 770. The Rabid Puppies are an alt-right, white-nationalist group whereas File 770 is a Liberal fan site whose comment section is relentlessly critical of the Rabid Puppies. It was asking quite a lot of them to nominate File 770, even as part of some master plan, and, clearly, most of them couldn't bring themselves to do it.

Best Novella

Here we calculate 189 Rabid Puppies refused to nominate Penric's Demon for Best Novella. One can only speculate on what their objection was to either the work or the author, other than the fact that Lois McMaster Bujold is a woman. Certainly the other four nominees were all men, but it's also true that they had no problem nominating women in other categories. Perhaps they somehow knew she'd asked to be removed from the slate.

And yet Alastair Reynolds was publicly vocal about not wanting his "Slow Bullets" on the slate, and yet it doesn't work to remove it from the Soft Slate. That is, the vast majority of hard-core Rabid Puppies seem to have nominated it anyway.

Some people had suggested that Rabid Puppies would refuse to vote to nominate "The Builders," on the grounds that they wouldn't ever vote for anything published by Tor. We tried that experiment, though, and it didn't work either; it was broadly nominated.

Best Professional Artist

As described in The Curious Case of Best Professional Artist, the Rabid Puppy organizer made a last-minute change when he discovered one of his nominees wasn't eligible. Incredibly, with only 24 hours notice, all but 78 of the puppies successfully updated their ballots. This shows that they're quick, but it also shows that the previous two numbers cannot be explained by inattention. 

Best Novel

A good 70 Rabid Puppies appear to have been unwilling to nominate Seveneves for Best Novel. It's hard to ascribe any motivation here other than that it was common knowledge that the man didn't want to be on their list, even though, as far as we know, he never made a public statement about it.

Best Novelette

We estimate that 40 Rabid Puppies weren't willing to vote for Folding Beijng for Best Novelette. From this point down, the numbers are small enough that there's reason to doubt that they're meaningful, but it's fair to point out that it does seem odd for an alt-right group to be nominating a Chinese story.

Best Editor, Long Form

We calculate 29 Rabid puppies didn't vote for Toni Weisskopf for Best Editor Long Form. Again, this may not be a meaningful result, given how she has been such a cause célèbre for the puppies over the years. Still, one could imagine at least 30 Rabid Puppies who quietly resent so much attention going to a woman editor.

Best Graphic Story

We calculate 20 Rabid Puppies didn't vote for The Sandman: Overture for Best Graphic Story. That would likely have been a lot bigger if they'd known he was going to call them "sad losers" in his acceptance speech.


Although the Rabid Puppy team can turn on a dime (as Best Professional Artist shows) they don't entirely vote without thinking, and they don't like being asked to nominate people who openly despise them--no matter what the strategy behind it. 


The method for calculation was pretty simple. We used the tool from Slate Voting Analysis Using EPH Data: 2014-2016 replacing the Sad Puppy slate with the Rabid Puppy Slate minus whichever work we had calculated as receiving the most organic votes. We then reran the algorithm and discarded any results that either a) found fewer than 20 "Soft Puppies" or b) resulted in a lower estimate for the total number of slate voters than the original estimate. As you can see above, even with 29, the results were a bit odd. 

Appendix: Tables of Data

These tables estimate the number of "organic" (i.e. not part of an organized slate) nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards. These numbers were computed from the 2016 Hugo Nominations Raw Data using the methods described in the Reanalysis of Slate Voting in the 2016 Hugo Nominations. In this document, I use "vote" and "nomination" interchangeably; in all cases it refers to the number of votes received in the nominating round for the Hugo Awards.

The first table summaries the numbers of votes from slates in each category.

CategoryPure Slate Votes
Hard Rabid PuppiesSoft Rabid PuppiesTotal
Best Novel31870388
Best Novella248189437
Best Novelette36740407
Best Graphic Story32020340
Best Editor, Long Form35329382
Best Professional Artist24078318
Best Fanzine61329390

By the definition of slate that we're using, a slate voter within a category voted for every candidate on a particular slate and nothing else in that category. That means someone who voted for just one or two of the slated items counts as an organic voter in that category.

Format of the Tables

The tables below are sorted by estimated organic votes, so they reflect the long list and finalists that we would have had if there had been no slates. This is somewhat conservative, since it only removes votes from perfect slates.

Type Styles

Hugo Winner
The official winner of the Hugo Award is in bold.
Any candidate that was in the official top five (whether it deserved to be or not and whether or not it later withdrew) is in regular type. In cases or ties and withdrawals, there may be more than five.
Long List
All candidates which were not finalists are in italics.
Any candidate which withdrew, declined, or was disqualfiied is struck through, provided this happened soon enough to keep it off the final ballot. Attempts to withdraw after the deadline are not marked.

Color Coding

Blue marks candidates that were on one or more slates but which would have been finalists on the strength of their organic votes alone.
Green indicates slate candidates who would have been finalists except that they withdrew or were disqualified in time to stay off the final ballot.
Orange signifies slate candidates which owed their place in the list of finalists to their slate support, displacing candidates that would have otherwise been finalists.
Toxic Spoilers
Red singles out spoilers which were later voted under No Award in the final round of voting.
Failed Spoilers
Magenta rows are slate candidates which failed to become finalists. Slate candidates which didn't even make it into the longlist are not shown at all.
Gray marks candidates which were not from the slates, were not finalists, and would not have been finalists even without the slates.

Names of Table Fields

Organic Votes
Estimated number of organic (non-slate) nominations the candidate received.
Organic Points
Portion of the candidate's EPH points which were due to organic votes.
Organic Deflator
Ratio of organic votes to organic points.
Pure Slate Votes
Number of votes estimated to have come from Puppies who were strictly following a slate.
EPH Points
Number of points assigned to this candidate by the EPH algorithm at the point where either the candidate was eliminated or the algorithm terminated with a list of finalists.
EPH Deflator
Ratio of the total nominations received by the candidate to the number of EPH points.

Using the Tables

Look at the top items under any given category, up to the first double horizontal line. These are the finalists that Hugo voters would have been presented with had there been no slates--assuming the estimates are correct. Anything in italics above the double line is a candidate that was pushed out by the slates. Anything in blue is a slated candidate that didn't need their help.

Now look below the first double line. Ignore things in gray italics; they wouldn't have been finalists even without the slates. Each orange or red line corresponds to a slated candidate that displaced an organic one from the top five. Pink lines are slate candidates that did no harm; they never made it to the finalist list anyway. Green items (always struck through) are nominees that would have been spoilers except that they were withdrawn.
The second double line is the limit of the organic longlist. Items below this line received so few organic votes that they wouldn't have even been in the top 15 without slate support.

Best NovelOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Ancillary Mercy797539.41671.477500539.41671.4775
The Fifth Season761503.33331.511900503.33331.5119
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass300202.50001.481531870431.50001.5944
Karen Memory273165.31671.651400165.31671.6514
The Traitor Baru Cormorant269141.66671.898800141.66671.8988
The Just City250129.56671.929500129.56671.9295
The Grace of Kings246121.38332.026600121.38332.0266
Sorcerer to the Crown235103.41672.272400103.41672.2724
Newly Listed Entry211116.35001.813500116.35001.8135
Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm14571.08332.039931870212.08332.5132
Golden Son5633.03331.695331870135.86673.2679
Agent of the Imperium1610.63331.50473187091.73334.4041

Best NovellaOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Penric's Demon694428.61671.61922480490.61671.9200
The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn307194.20001.580800194.20001.5808
Slow Bullets274175.20001.5639248189300.20002.3684
Waters of Versailles227126.00001.801600126.00001.8016
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls217104.66672.073200104.66672.0732
Witches of Lychford203111.63331.818500111.63331.8185
Sorcerer of the Wildeeps19792.38332.13240092.38332.1324
The New Mother16984.01672.01150084.01672.0115
Perfect State16598.36671.6774248189223.36672.6951
The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred15973.70002.15740073.70002.1574
The Bone Swans of Amandale15963.56672.50130063.56672.5013
Rolling in the Deep14880.38331.84120080.38331.8412
The Builders5224.28332.1414248189149.28333.2757
Fear of the Unknown and Self-Loathing in Hollywood10.53331.875024818997.38334.4977

Best NoveletteOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead245183.75001.333300183.75001.3333
Our Lady of the Open Road214167.25001.279500167.25001.2795
Folding Beijing209144.16671.44973670266.50002.1614
So Much Cooking196158.66671.235300158.66671.2353
Another Word for World157123.91671.267000123.91671.2670
The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild157111.50001.408100111.50001.4081
Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan15393.81671.63080093.81671.6308
Grandmother-nai-Leylit's Cloth of Winds14497.58331.47570097.58331.4757
The Deepwater Bride11162.26671.78270062.26671.7827
The Heart's Filthy Lesson9149.83331.82610049.83331.8261
Flashpoint: Titan3423.33331.457136740165.66672.6620
What Price Humanity?3018.43331.627536740123.51673.5380
Hyperspace Demons75.16671.35483674088.56674.6744

Best Graphic StoryOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine271201.66671.343800201.66671.3438
Saga Volume 5258198.50001.299700198.50001.2997
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why205139.08331.473900139.08331.4739
The Sandman: Overture200150.00001.33333200310.00001.6774
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1: Squirrel Power17497.33331.78770097.33331.7877
Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth16282.86671.95490082.86671.9549
The Sculptor15695.70001.63010095.70001.6301
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage14889.06671.66170089.06671.6617
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium13662.55002.17430062.55002.1743
Stand Still Stay Silent - Volume 19963.15001.56770063.15001.5677
Full Frontal Nerdity3624.83331.449732020204.83331.8356
Erin Dies Alone2211.83331.859232020128.50002.8171
Invisible Republic Vol 1 (#1–5)1610.91671.46563202097.58333.6482
The Divine95.45001.65143202074.45004.6877

Best Editor, Long FormOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Toni Weisskopf448327.50001.36793530445.16671.7993
Sheila Gilbert302236.00001.279700236.00001.2797
Liz Gorinsky287235.91671.216500235.91671.2165
Anne Lesley Groell229157.05001.458100157.05001.4581
Devi Pillai204121.36671.680900121.36671.6809
David Hartwell202136.91671.475300136.91671.4753
Marco Palmieri15382.83331.84710082.83331.8471
Joe Monti14876.76671.92790076.76671.9279
Miriam Weinberg13159.31672.20850059.31672.2085
Jane Johnson12848.96672.61400048.96672.6140
Patrick Nielsen Hayden10651.13332.07300051.13332.0730
Anne Sowards8353.66671.546635329185.83332.5022
Jim Minz7943.91671.798935329176.08332.6181
Vox Day5526.58332.069035329124.50003.5100
Mike Braff139.20001.41303532987.05004.5376

Best Professional ArtistOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Julie Dillon244223.83331.090100223.83331.0901
John Picacio147129.50001.135100129.50001.1351
Galen Dara147113.00001.300900113.00001.3009
Cynthia Sheppard13297.16671.35850097.16671.3585
Richard Anderson11471.78331.58810071.78331.5881
Larry Elmore10372.83331.414224078178.83332.3541
John Harris7645.20001.68140045.20001.6814
Abigail Larson7343.33331.684624078149.33332.6183
Chris McGrath7350.91671.43370050.91671.4337
Kathleen Jennings6543.50001.49430043.50001.4943
Victo Ngai6540.16671.61830040.16671.6183
Michal Karcz3517.50002.000024078123.50002.8583
Lars Braad Andersen228.33332.64002407887.83333.8710
Larry Rostant1817.98331.0009240065.98333.9101
Rowena Morrill10.30003.333307815.90004.9686

Best FanzineOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
File 770966688.06671.4039610700.26671.4666
Lady Business12586.33331.44790086.33331.4479
Journey Planet10872.00001.50000072.00001.5000
A Dribble of Ink8541.58332.04410041.58332.0441
Black Gate7138.40001.849061329132.85003.4701
Rocket Stack Rank6633.48331.97110033.48331.9711
SF Signal6431.06672.06010031.06672.0601
Nerds of a feather, flock together6026.86672.23330026.86672.2333
Mad Genius Club5827.13332.13760027.13332.1376
Banana Wings4526.86671.67490026.86671.6749
Mark Watches4019.86672.01340019.86672.0134
SF Mistressworks4015.08332.65190015.08332.6519
Superversive SF1413.98331.001261329108.43333.7258
Castalia House blog83.15002.53976132997.60004.0779
Tangent Online64.40001.36366132998.85004.0061

John W. Campbell Award for Best New WriterOrganicPure Slate VotesEPH
Andy Weir711548.28331.29683350659.95001.5850
Alyssa Wong456358.45001.272100358.45001.2721
Becky Chambers247152.95001.614900152.95001.6149
Kelly Robson214126.50001.691700126.50001.6917
Sunil Patel197116.86671.685700116.86671.6857
Natasha Pulley12458.68332.11300058.68332.1130
Isabel Yap12451.03332.42980051.03332.4298
S. L. Huang11662.06671.86900062.06671.8690
Scott Hawkins10952.38332.08080052.38332.0808
Rachael K. Jones6427.95002.28980027.95002.2898
Ilana C. Myer6128.98332.10470028.98332.1047
Brian Niemeier4825.11671.911133529151.28332.7234
Pierce Brown3722.20001.666733529148.36672.7028
Sebastien de Castell2917.66671.641533529111.08333.5379
Cheah Kai Wai105.85001.70943352980.10004.6692

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