The puppies in the soul
July 23, 2018 12:27 PM   Subscribe

The Hugo Awards and the World Science Fiction convention have been in crisis in recent years (documented in many Mefi posts linked below) as SF's equivalent of Gamergate abused the (easily abusable) nomination process. After rules changes implemented in 2016, the 2017 Hugo nominees were a diverse slate and the awards ultimately nearly swept by women, several of them women of color. The current 2018 ballot is also highly diverse, and many breathed a sigh of relief over a bullet finally dodged. And then the 2018 Worldcon released its proposed programming draft for review by participants. They variously: misgendered a participant; failed to emphasize Hugo nominees in programming and told someone calling for more diversity that it wasn't of interest to enough of the attendance; took programming suggested by people of color and left them out of it. Worldcon's Programming committee has since taken down the draft.

Previously:
The 2014 Hugo Nominees
in response to events in the field covered previously on Metafilter, several hard right leaning authors have received enough nominations to reach the final ballot
2015 Hugo Nominees Announced
Notably, authors from Brad R. Torgensen's "Sad Puppies" slate have successfully secured all of the nominations for both the Novella and Novellette categories
"Insane and a public danger"
When Science Fiction writer Lou Antonelli felt slighted by David Gerrold, presenter of this year’s Hugo Awards, he did the obvious thing: Wrote to the Spokane police in an attempt to SWAT Gerrold at WorldCon.
Can Raging White Guys Succeed in Hijacking Sci-Fi’s Biggest Awards?
The Hugo Award process has always been hackable, There was just never anyone narcissistic enough to hack it. With about 24 hours left to the Hugo Awards it is becoming increasingly unclear if the Sad Puppy Slate will or will not succeed in awarding science-fiction's highest honors to a slate of (mostly) mediocre B-listers in the field.
Puppies All the Way Down
The 2016 Hugo Award finalists have been announced. As is probably to be expected given the problems of the last two years slates have yet again had an outsized influence on the nominations.
Hugos 2017: a tale of puppies.
The 2017 Hugo Finalists and Campbell Award Finalists have been announced, for works in science fiction and fantasy. For the first time since 2013, there was no clear Sad Puppies slate/list of recommendations (context). The Rabid Puppies slate, lead by extreme right-wing author and editor Vox Day, was largely successful in its (limited) slate
Hugos in Helsinki
Women swept nearly every category at the 2017 Hugo Awards - the annual SF award won an award of its own and managed to be largely free of the slating problems of recent years
"I’ve been declared unqualified to speak truthfully about my own life"
In the SFF world of the last several years, the so-called "Sad Puppy" and "Rabid Puppy" campaigns (previously), ostensibly about ethics in science fiction--but more often involving targeting authors and fans from marginalized groups [...] began a series of increasingly disturbing attacks
Stop. Don't. Come back.
Worldcon 76, the upcoming science fiction and fantasy convention that (among other events) will host the 2018 Hugo Awards, has decided to revoke author Jon Del Arroz's attending membership to the con after he announced his plans to troll the convention by videotaping private events, a violation of the con's Code of Conduct. Del Arroz is a longtime supporter of the groups of largely conservative and libertarian authors that make up the "Sad Puppies" and "Rabid Puppies"
The 2018 Hugo Finalists
posted by Zed (162 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
The piece about the panels seems somewhat legit though. As someone who has had to plan multiple conventions, you really don’t want a setup where someone suggesting a good idea automatically gets to be included on that panel, because sometimes people can be really good at coming up with ideas and less good at drawing attendees or being a showman. Which is kind of the thing about Hugo nominees being on the panels - yes, it’s good to showcase Hugo nominees, but also, there are a lot of unknowns that aren’t going to draw people to panels or necessarily be good at them. (And also honestly it seems like you shouldn’t have any nominees on any panels to avoid undue influencing of votes.)
posted by corb at 12:43 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


I figured something weird was up when I saw John Scalzi was planning on withdrawing from the panel he was on so that there would be a slot for a Hugo finalist/somebody new.

Goddamit, SF fandom, would you stop stepping on your own dick?
posted by nubs at 12:45 PM on July 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


Corb: yes, it’s good to showcase Hugo nominees, but also, there are a lot of unknowns that aren’t going to draw people to panels or necessarily be good at them

1. You get around the "unknowns aren't a draw" problem by seeding panels with a mixture of new faces and known draws, not by excluding the new faces.

2. "or necessarily be good at them" — people learn by doing. If you have a competent moderator and the right balance of panelists a panel can cope with one or two inexperienced panelists, and next time they're on they'll know what they're doing.

But, more importantly:

You shouldn't try to second-guess posterity. You can't know in advance who's going to be big a decade hence. If you try to predict that, then you end up gatekeeping — and your gatekeeping process will encode your unconscious bias in the ongoing process of perpetuating fandom and critical analysis within the community.

And that does us all a disservice.
posted by cstross at 12:49 PM on July 23, 2018 [154 favorites]


Goddamit, SF fandom, would you stop stepping on your own dick?

I'm ready to thin the herd through a crowdfunding campaign for golf shoes and tap dancing lessons.
posted by Revvy at 12:53 PM on July 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


As somebody was pointing out on Twitter, if you think the Hugo nominees are insufficiently well-known, then by god you need to have a "meet the nominees" panel and you need to get them known rather than this gatekeeping nonsense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2018 [68 favorites]


Recirculates petition to make the Hugo Award a statue of Picard facepalming until this stops
posted by thelonius at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2018 [37 favorites]


(And also honestly it seems like you shouldn’t have any nominees on any panels to avoid undue influencing of votes.)

Voting ends before the con begins, so I'm not sure how that would be a factor. Unless I'm misunderstanding something.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


John Scalzi's thoughts on Twitter this morning:
1. A thought about new(er) writers and Worldcons: My first Worldcon (and indeed convention) was in 2003. My novel Old Man's War wouldn't be published for two years. No one knew me. I was literally no one in the community.

I was on six program items and given a reading.

2. On those six panels, I met writers who I am still friends with today. They were, literally, the start of my community in science fiction and fantasy. After my first ever reading, @cstross gave me advice on presentation that I still follow today.

3. Equally important, it was SF/F fandom's first chance to take a look at me and see what they thought. Again, I wouldn't have a book out until 2005 -- but being at the 2003 Worldcon (and the 2004 one as well) meant when my book came out, I wasn't a complete stranger to them.

4. I'm not sure why the 2003 Worldcon programmers put me on so much damn stuff, but I know they did me a favor. I got to be seen, and being seen makes a difference.

5. With this year's Worldcon, we're having discussion about who gets to be seen on programming. As someone now who is *definitely* seen, I think it's important that we continue to pay it forward -- to give new voices, new people and new perspectives a literal seat at the table.

6. It *matters* to writers and to fandom to see newer and different writers, and for those writers, to *be* seen. It matters to *me* as a writer and fan to see those coming up, who write and do things differently than I would. It matters that we give them space.

7. And if that means that some of us who are *already* seen need to offer up our seat at the table here and there, well, I think that's worth doing. I won't be hard to find elsewhere. Paying forward is what we do in SF/F. It's in the essence of who we are.

8. I want to go to Worldcon 76 this year and see the future of the genre. I want to be *part* of that future. And I want to see the new faces at the table, because I remember being the new face at the Worldcon table, and being told, "welcome."

That's all.
posted by nubs at 12:55 PM on July 23, 2018 [90 favorites]


Having organized comic con panels and having wrangling guesrsxfor the panel be a major part of the process this seems really weird to me - people really just fire off a panel description and then someone else is in charge of putting it on?
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am told that it’s not usually the case at all - so what the fuck is going on here? How is the San Jose committee so spectacularly inept?
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not just Scalzi - there are a number of well known program participants who are publicly withdrawing in the hopes that their schedule slots can be used by lesser known up and coming folks (like new Hugo nominees). This seems an extension of things like massively popular authors who ask that they not be considered for Hugo nominations, which is a pretty awesome thing to do.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Organizing panels is a different situation for every con. Some conventions select a set amount of professionals/contributors, then sort them into panels by interest and experience. Others want contributors to present them with fully-organized panels for review and approval or rejection. There's kind of a spectrum of systems. I can't speak to this particular World Con; I was invited as part of a panel series, but that also included filling out a survey for interest and experience. I don't know if other World Cons have a standard system.

This would be my first appearance at a WC. The schedule came out last night, and I've already made the "Hey we're not gonna be just another couple white dudes taking up space that others need more than we do, are we?" phone call about it. Turns out no, we're not, the panel concept has real value, and our organizer offered up one of our slots last night to make room for others, but...argh.

I'm not a huge name, still relatively new I guess (what is even the standard?). I'm also making a decent living. The thought of crowding out other voices isn't a pleasant one.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


N.K. Jemesin also withdrew, as did a few others I'm watching.
posted by odinsdream at 1:27 PM on July 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


They also fucked up one person's name and pronouns, and refuse to apologize, and are being overall shit at a number of things related specifically to marginalized folk.
posted by odinsdream at 1:28 PM on July 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


Do you think Worldcon programming thought it was World Cup programming, and therefore Own Goal should be really big?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:30 PM on July 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'm not a WorldCon attendee (until DC in 2021, voters willing) but this display of ineptitude has me wishing I could get my supporting membership fee back. Even if they walk back the individual actions that triggered the blowback, the mentality behind them -- especially that "we're not WisCon" email -- is really not cool.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:30 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am confused. How can the Hugo nominees be "unknown" to the fans? They're chosen by the fans. How the hell did they get on the ballot?
posted by Naberius at 1:32 PM on July 23, 2018 [27 favorites]


There's a segment of fandom that definitely considers "the fans" to equal "the people I personally have known for years and see at my local cons" and anyone else is just an outsider.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2018 [22 favorites]


Given that they're using the same "diversity hire" rhetoric and horrible tactics as the puppies, seems like they should just give up being the Worldcon this time around and just let the puppies and their white supremacist fans have it. Let somewhere else and someone else run an actual convention that respects the non-bigoted and/or ignorant authors and fans.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:35 PM on July 23, 2018


I am confused. How can the Hugo nominees be "unknown" to the fans? They're chosen by the fans. How the hell did they get on the ballot?

Your confusion is understandable. You probably read "the fans" as just, you know, the fans of scifi. Try instead reading it as it was intended: "the [white, cis, male] fans".
posted by odinsdream at 1:35 PM on July 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


As someone who has had to plan multiple conventions, you really don’t want a setup where someone suggesting a good idea automatically gets to be included on that panel, because sometimes people can be really good at coming up with ideas and less good at drawing attendees or being a showman.

But you probably shouldn't then lift that suggested idea/title/discussion word for word without telling the person who suggested it and hand it over to someone(s) else. Particularly when it was a POC who suggested it and it's going to non-POC who are seemingly locals.

Mikki Kendall's tweets on the programming do a better job of explaining why 'oh but programming is hard' is a terrible excuse and not one that applies here: https://twitter.com/Karnythia/status/1021387142403100672. They even had people come to them with these concerns, offering to help, weeks ago.
They are, at best, fuckups. It's looking increasingly like they're just more of the same cliquey local con-runners from the same beardy old con culture with a shitload of unexamined biases and prejudices. A good lesson for the Dublin and New Zealand organisers, perhaps.

They also fucked up one person's name and pronouns, and refuse to apologize, and are being overall shit at a number of things related specifically to marginalized folk.

They then contacted eir partner separately. to ask them to apologise on the con's behalf, while saying that e shouldn't have made any of this public.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2018 [24 favorites]


Do you think Worldcon programming thought it was World Cup programming

Well, WorldCon, like the Olympics/World Cup/etc, suffers from the problem that its a different thing every time (different city, different group, etc). I'm not sure if there are any metastaff that persist across cons, but for the most part I remember it being like the Olympics (but like, far less organized and funded).

So it ends up being much much more likely to go off the rails (even on just simple organizational stuff) than a big con with continuity like ComiCon or DragonCon.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I had trouble finding this again when I composed my post: it was Nibedita Sen who received the email that JY Yang quoted; this is her twitter thread about it.
I got the email J links in their next tweet when I pointed out to someone involved with programming that the panels were overwhelmingly established white male!
posted by Zed at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


(Although, while I have been to several WorldCons the last one I attended was 1996, so I may be a little out of touch... I did work at DragonCon for many years and there were clear benefits to having so many people who worked on it year after year)
posted by thefoxgod at 1:42 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


They then contacted eir partner separately. to ask them to apologise on the con's behalf, while saying that e shouldn't have made any of this public.

How is that not worse? The thing e made public was the *last straw* of the entire long series of bullshit, which included them FLAT OUT LYING about where they got the biographical text for the website. E tried to deal with them directly and couldn't get it resolved, hence taking it to Twitter. Contacting someone's partner about this is entirely not okay. Entirely unprofessional all around, and again, just the tip of the iceberg of issues around how the con has handled interactions with marginalized folk this year.
posted by odinsdream at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2018 [21 favorites]


I know this is a somewhat minor issue compared to re-writing someone's bio to misgender em (W.T.F!!!) but for posterity there have also been complaints about an unusually strong wording of the dress code for the Hugo Dinner. I think it's another example of the convention not considering what it means to be inclusive.

The Worlcon 2018 executive committee looks reasonably experienced at running cons, both as a chair of local cons and being involved with committees at prior Worldcons. I don't think that anyone can blame this on inexperience.
posted by muddgirl at 1:50 PM on July 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


How is that not worse?

I assume it makes perfect sense if you come at it from the perspective of "oh, THOSE people, with their wacky pronouns, who can even figure out what they're supposed to be."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


(For the record, I did not magically know Bogi Takács's preferred pronouns, but they are right there in eir twitter bio.)
posted by muddgirl at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


How is that not worse?

Oh it's 100% worse, sorry, didn't mean to come off like I was correcting you, was trying to emphasise how they keep compounding their awful behaviour. It's a very shitty and very obviously disrespectful thing to do to both Bogi Takacs and eir partner. Like I can't imagine even a clueless person thinking it would be a good idea.

To go out of their way to edit a bio that they'd dug up from somewhere is awful and, for more context, this isn't even the only instance of them doing it; someone on their committee edited a bio from Grace P. Fong without permission and illustrated it with a photo they'd taken from her personal facebook. What the hell.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 1:59 PM on July 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


illustrated it with a photo they'd taken from her personal facebook.

WTF.

I was thinking about maybe getting a day pass for this con, since it's so local to me, but now? Eh.
posted by suelac at 2:01 PM on July 23, 2018


Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, managing editor of the Hugo Finalist publication Fireside Magazine, tweets how WorldCon is mishandling access needs for the Hugo ceremony.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:14 PM on July 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


@reney:
So Worldcon sent me this in an email: “We ask that everyone attending the ceremony wear semi-formal dress, as we are striving for an elegant, professional looking event.”

And so my response is gonna be to wear jeans and sneakers, because fuck this nonsense.
At the risk of making an ass of myself, the anger at this one surprises me. It seems to me an awards ceremony--even a queered-as-shit awards ceremony--could be expected to have dress codes like this? Is it common to eschew semiformal dress in queer spaces?
posted by TypographicalError at 2:15 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


It is completely not the norm for the Hugo ceremony to have any kind of dress code, and imposing one is a really really big deal for people who do not necessarily have the spare cash to come up with a new outfit. This isn't the Oscars - no one's getting paid union scale.

(And yes, OH MY GOD is it complicated and fraught for women who are not traditionally femme-presenting to wear formal or semiformal clothing. Just trust me on this one, if it's not something you have personally dealt with.)
posted by restless_nomad at 2:17 PM on July 23, 2018 [66 favorites]


The semi-formal dress requirement strikes me as being condescending.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:18 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


"an unusually strong wording of the dress code for the Hugo Dinner. "

?

Worlcon said...
“We ask that everyone attending the ceremony wear semi-formal dress, as we are striving for an elegant, professional looking event.”

...which sounds not unreasonable if it's an award ceremony, as would be the case for any industry event.

"And so my response is gonna be to wear jeans and sneakers, because fuck this nonsense."

That sounds like being a jerk to the conference organisers on purpose and bragging about it.
posted by Damienmce at 2:21 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


I have Bogi Takács's edited anthology sitting waiting for a read. JY Yang is currently on my must-buy list as an unapologetically queer SFF writer. I think both are well worth looking at.

I thought the double-standards on formal dress and the anxieties they hold for nonbinary/GNC people were somewhat explained in the thread. You never know when you might get bounced for not fitting some gatekeeper's ideas about what gendered costume one should be wearing.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2018 [20 favorites]


I have a Worldcon membership this year. I have received no email requesting me to dress up for the awards ceremony. (I have no idea if the awards ceremony is open to all members or if there's some premium membership for it.)

I can understand the concept of, "the people on stage should look like they're at an awards ceremony." However... wtf? Because I can also understand the concept of, "these are fan-based awards; this convention was invented by fans so they can enjoy contact with each other and their favorite authors." If their favorite authors want to wear t-shirts, that should be fine. Because this was created to allow contact with the authors as people, and we want them to be comfortable.

As mentioned, "polite request" dress codes are a lot more fraught for women than men.
Anyone want to take bets on whether women in pantsuits will get more flak than men in t-shirts and jeans?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:23 PM on July 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


tweets how WorldCon is mishandling access needs for the Hugo ceremony.

That link got broken; should go here.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:23 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


That sound like being a jerk to the conference organisers on purpose and bragging about it.
Uh, nope.
posted by uberchet at 2:24 PM on July 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


...which sounds not unreasonable if it's an award ceremony, as would be the case for any industry event.

Not if you were starting your own, for sure, but the dress code for the Hugos is notoriously come-as-you-are.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:24 PM on July 23, 2018 [32 favorites]


...which sounds not unreasonable if it's an award ceremony, as would be the case for any industry event.

Must admit I thought that too before all this other shit came out. Now... less so.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's relatively easy to find pictures of the winners from prior years. People describe the Hugo dinner as "nerd prom" and that definitely fits what the winners wear. Some do dress up in formal gowns and tuxes, but certainly many winners are not "semi-formal."

which sounds not unreasonable if it's an award ceremony, as would be the case for any industry event.

It's unusual for the Worldcon Hugo award dinners. Which is the event we're talking about.

I have received no email requesting me to dress up for the awards ceremony

It was sent to some (but apparently not all) nominees.
posted by muddgirl at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


"Professional looking" is one of those buzzphrases commonly used to gatekeep trans/GNC people. And with semi-formal there's not really any clear protocol for people who fall between the American tuxedo and the knee-length formal dress with heels. If we were talking the Oscars, you can probably get a designer to do something for you.

Unless they mean business suits, but still....
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2018 [31 favorites]


Even for an event that had a long history of requiring semi-formal attire, I would personally be put off by that particular phrasing. We ask that everyone attending the ceremony wear semi-formal dress, as we are striving for an elegant, professional looking event. That second part really comes off like "Try not to ugg this up, uggos."
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2018 [55 favorites]


A lot of the chaos seems to be that they aren't reliably contacting the groups of people they think they're contacting.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:32 PM on July 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I admit I had a pretty different read on the semi-formal dress request initially. My perception from past award ceremonies has been that the nominees tend to take a lot of joy and pleasure in dressing up in whatever fun, fancy clothes feel most comfortable to them, but that fans often show up in like, cargo shorts and short-sleeved hawaiian shirts, and that has always felt kind of disrespectful to me. I perceived the difference as a conflict between a younger generation of professionals who treat being at a convention like it's part of their job (as it is), and older fans who want it to be more of a fun hangout for nerds -- and those differences of course are intertwined with ideas about professionalism and what kind of behavior is appropriate in those spaces. So initially I was positive about the idea of the con requesting more formal dress. But then I saw a lot of people on Twitter discussing reasons why it was problematic for them and I understood better; and now with how the con runners are acting I am very much less inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 2:34 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


It's not a request made of the audience - it's a request made of the nominees.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:35 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


On a lighter note in digging through old issues of Locus magazine I found this delightful outfit that mefi's own cstross wore in 2005. I think the velvet jacket takes it from semi-formal to formal.
posted by muddgirl at 2:38 PM on July 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


If one is unable to collect their Hugo in a fursuit, then the terrorists will have already won.
posted by palindromic at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2018 [21 favorites]


It just needs to be your *nice* fursuit.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:40 PM on July 23, 2018 [39 favorites]


semi-formal dress

Not sure why this is such a big deal. Optimus Prime costumes are surprisingly reasonable, even the formal ones.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


I'm not going to attempt to link to it again, but I encourage anyone following this to check the con chair's response on the WorldCon official twitter account, in regards to apologies for the misgendering. They are definitely not refusing to apologize.
posted by ChrisR at 2:42 PM on July 23, 2018


muddgirl, at the risk of mildly derailing, I can say that a few months earlier I'd had nearly half the people in that photo in my kitchen...
posted by Major Clanger at 2:42 PM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Additional thoughts about "You don't need to spend money on your awards ceremony outfit" (in a screencapped tweet in one of the threads): How many authors, especially women authors, embraced it as a career, in part so they would never again have to wear "office-appropriate" clothing? How many have eschewed all dresses and skirts?

It's my profound belief that everyone should attempt to own at least one "nice" outfit, in case of Bizarre Legal Shenanigans and needing to appear in court, or Bizarre Medical Shenanigans wherein arguing treatment options with doctors is easier if you look like you have a high-paying job. But those outfits need not be comfortable, and you definitely might not want to haul them in your limited-space suitcase for a weekend of fun hanging out with sci-fi fans. And besides, "outfit nice enough for court" is not the same genre as "semi-formal."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:44 PM on July 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


One of the nominees is a local friend of mine, and she's a single mother of three. She's in IT. She's nominated for a piece of short fiction. The pro rate for short fiction is six cents a word.

Just saying.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:48 PM on July 23, 2018 [25 favorites]


If one is unable to collect their Hugo in a fursuit, then the terrorists will have already won.

But what if it's a confederate Nazi fursuit?

(Not an imaginary hypothetical: As far as I can tell without seeing one in person, those do exist).
posted by "mad dan" eccles at 2:51 PM on July 23, 2018


ErisLordFreedom: "Additional thoughts about "You don't need to spend money on your awards ceremony outfit" (in a screencapped tweet in one of the threads):"

I think this basically gets to the heart of where my confusion came from. Like, doesn't everyone just own a nice enough thing for a funeral or wedding? But yea verily, my relationship with clothing as a male-presenting person turns out to be much less fraught than others.
posted by TypographicalError at 2:53 PM on July 23, 2018


Not everyone wants to wear their one funeral outfit for a night that's supposed to be about happily celebrating their achievements.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:55 PM on July 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


Fuck it, in the unlikely event of me being nominated it’s going to be a ballgown or nothing.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on July 23, 2018 [18 favorites]


Fuck it, in the unlikely event of me being nominated it’s going to be a ballgown or nothing.

I would support your Kickstarter for either of those scenarios.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:05 PM on July 23, 2018 [42 favorites]


What kind of balls will your gown be made out of?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:06 PM on July 23, 2018 [28 favorites]


Hell, if that's on the docket, let me know what your 2019-eligble works are; I'll nominate the hell out of them.
posted by ChrisR at 3:08 PM on July 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


One more thing and then I'm going to go be productive IRL.

When I attended LoneStarCon in 2013, there was a lot of handwringing that year about the future of fan-run conventions in general, and traditional sci-fi, book-based fandom specifically. How much should WorldCon cater to "young fans" who just want to watch movies and tv shows and play video games? But the writers of this generation and the next are crying out for Worldcon to fulfill its stated mission of bringing fans and professionals together as peers, recognizing that that line has always been fluid when it comes to sci-fi. Helsinki 2017 had an incredible attendance of over 7,000 people, making it the second-largest worldcon ever and the largest held in Europe. The words and actions of this year's programming committee and particularly harmful in this light.
posted by muddgirl at 3:10 PM on July 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure why the 2003 Worldcon programmers put me on so much damn stuff, but I know they did me a favor. I got to be seen, and being seen makes a difference.

I don't know why either - I'm glad they did. But I have one sadness about 2003: it's the only WorldCon to be in my hometown (in my adult-ish life), and I was totally going to go and had been planning for several years ...

only I got into grad school and was in another country when it happened. Dang it. I'm always in the wrong country.

I even knew people in the organizing! Grad school turned out to be the end of the con scene for me, but it would have been a nice cap to 12 years of attending to have been able to go to TorCon.
posted by jb at 3:13 PM on July 23, 2018


Worldcon and the Hugos are strange beasts, and huge numbers of reasonable-seeming assumptions about it based on awards and events in other industries just don't fit. The Worldcon is probably paying travel and boarding for the six guests of honor. Everyone else is paying their own way, and even membership to the convention alone isn't cheap ($250 at this late date). Hugo nominees, panel participants, they don't even get comped memberships. (Comping people who appear on a lot of panels wasn't unheard of... but I haven't heard of it for a long time.) Some editors and agents attend on their employers' dime; authors pay their own way.

As noted, short fiction pays squat and it's a safe bet that there are nominees whose lifetime income from writing wouldn't begin to cover their Worldcon hotel bill.

So, yeah, there are people struggling to be there for whom the financial imposition implied by "and you better have a nice outfit" really isn't helping. And that's without going into how many other ways the issue is fraught as other commenters have already said...
posted by Zed at 3:16 PM on July 23, 2018 [12 favorites]


doesn't everyone just own a nice enough thing for a funeral or wedding?

1) No.

2) That one "nice enough for a wedding" thing may not pack well in a suitcase for a convention; it may require ironing and special handling. It may also be horrifically uncomfortable to wear, which you don't mind putting up with for family but you aren't going to wear for an event you would like to enjoy.

3) Any woman who's large, or has recently gained weight (and by "recently," I mean"since she last attended a semi-formal event") can't just browse Amazon or stop by her local store looking for semi-formal wear, even if she has the money to spare. Women who weigh more than about 175 lbs often need either months of searching or custom design work to find something that just "looks nice" and counts as semi-formal.

If they're somewhat tall, and not larger than XL, they can find something like a convertible dress, but that involves spending time - likely a couple of hours - figuring out how to make it work.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:24 PM on July 23, 2018 [15 favorites]


that fans often show up in like, cargo shorts and short-sleeved hawaiian shirts, and that has always felt kind of disrespectful to me.
There's a whole lot to unpack about "dressing up" -- class, gender presentation, gatekeeping, etc -- but I've been historically sympathetic to the idea that "hey, $Thing is a nice event, can you make an effort?" This has often put me at odds with more orthodox nerds.

For example, until the JoCoCruise started chartering a whole boat -- thereby rendering such rules irrelevant -- there was literally ALWAYS drama before the cruise every year about the dress code in the cruise ship's main dining room (which is NOT the only place to eat; it's just the only place with a dress code).

The rules are set by the cruise line, not by the JoCo group, but they absolutely DID relax them for our very, very large group. This meant the guidelines went from "jackets and equivalent" to "please make an effort, and don't look like you wandered in from the pool deck."

This did not prevent online drama. It seemed to me that the loudest protests came from middle-aged dudes who were personally offended that cargo shorts and a Thinkgeek shirt couldn't be worn literally everywhere, but, again, I operate from a position of privilege on this question.

All of this is a long way of saying that this is a known aspect of nerdy culture, and has been as long as I've been a party to it (so, 30 years or more), and therefore "HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL WAS WORLDCON THINKING?"
posted by uberchet at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


It's insane that nominees aren't comped.

I've been a convention committee member, I know how the finances work with fan-run cons. While maybe you can't afford to rent rooms for all guests and panelists or pay them all, you can absolutely afford to give them a free membership. That's not an expense, it's just a reduction in your revenues - and given how many people attend World Con, it's not much of a reduction. If you still can't afford it, you shouldn't be running a con.

Frankly, I was always pissed at how much we paid for media guests, but that's because I didn't care about most media guests. But I understood (eventually) that they did draw in the day-pass people who were fans of the media properties, thus subsidizing the rest of us. But we definitely didn't charge any guests, and even panelists were comped if they did 4 panels.

(Favouritist guest ever? Robin Wood. I loved her work in The People of Pern and then found her at her booth one year when I was a teen. I was starstruck, and she spent 30 minutes talking to me about our mutual myopia and what it was like to attend when she was attending cons as a penniless teen - and started selling Spock sketches to buy lunch. Unfortunately, I also had no money and couldn't draw, so I couldn't get any of her art. So I just have my memories ...
posted by jb at 3:28 PM on July 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


“We ask that everyone attending the ceremony wear semi-formal dress, as we are striving for an elegant, professional looking event.”

That comes pre-loaded with a shit bag full of unexamined "cis as default" gendered expectations.

You may not know you are being exclusionary and it may be perfectly unintentional, but people who write sentences like that are so sufficiently unexamined in running inclusive events that there is no way for said event coordinators to have the context to comprehend how sentences like that read as screaming klaxons to GNC/Trans/NB folks, hence why it is important to hear us talk when we say 'hey that shit is exclusionary to us yo".
posted by nikaspark at 3:29 PM on July 23, 2018 [32 favorites]


doesn't everyone just own a nice enough thing for a funeral or wedding?

Always an issue: have I gained weight? have I lost weight? does it have holes? have the seems split/zipper gone? Is it appropriate for the weather/temperature? Is it too dressy?

Dressing for semi-formal is always fraught. Man, I wish I just had one nice suit. (I did have an interview suit. Then I gained weight).
posted by jb at 3:31 PM on July 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


So to what extent IS this cavalcade of fuckups the result of letting Bay Area grognards run the thing? I;m wondering if stearing clear of areas with such deep rooted/crusty fandoms in future might be a good idea.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's insane that nominees aren't comped.

FWIW I believe there are fan-run funding efforts for attendees as well, but its very much opt in.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on July 23, 2018


Artw, I know the con chair (and his husband, the bid chair) reasonably well. They definitely do not fit that "crusty fandom" mold. I can't speak to the programming division, though.
posted by ChrisR at 3:34 PM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I suspect a fair number of LGBTQ people have a "makeover from hell" story which starts with "wouldn't be nice if..." and escalates through "if you loved us, you would ..." right on through the fittings, the bills, and the stylist's chair. Somewhere you'll hear "that's not so bad, don't you look attractive ..." when what they really mean is "I really wish you really were cis and straight all the time," while you're standing there feeling like a freak in a costume and lying your ass off through small talk so as not to leak anything that can be used as ammo for the inevitable "why's it always about you?" "It's just one night," after you've blown the rent on performative heterosexuality, and have to live with the hair style.

And GNC people get tossed from events for not meeting the dress code all the time even when they're doing a better job of it. Coming on the heels of the problems faced by Takács and Yang, I think the concerns are reasonable.

I think this basically gets to the heart of where my confusion came from. Like, doesn't everyone just own a nice enough thing for a funeral or wedding? But yea verily, my relationship with clothing as a male-presenting person turns out to be much less fraught than others.

Semi-formal is expected of the wedding party at a modestly middle-class event, hopefully with agreement on how it's going to be paid for. Business formal is generally expected of guests. I've never even seen a semi-formal at a funeral except for military or police. Many people don't have semi-formal on hand. I've not owned it since I had to give up amateur orchestra. And I suspect obtaining it likely costs at least twice as much money and labor for women.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 3:42 PM on July 23, 2018 [29 favorites]


Just off a conversation with a friend who is worked on a lot of Worldcons, Although not this one, and apparently the tradition is everyone pays upfront, but they try to reimburse volunteers, Including panelists, at least part of their membership if not the whole thing. A lot depends on the number of attendees and so on…
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:46 PM on July 23, 2018


Buddy, I have oscillated between five different pants sizes depending on weight during the last year, my yearly clothing budget is damn tight, and I do not have a job that requires semi-formal anything on any regular basis. I had some pieces at one time, but I lost 'em in a fire and anyway they were paid for by parents and so painfully femme that they made my skin crawl when wearing them. I am genuinely intimidated by the prospect of going shopping for formalwear because mostly it does not fit me, and also because I associate the process of formalwear shopping with requiring me to go much, much more femme than I am personally comfortable with.

Right now, no, I do not own anything that would be acceptable for a wedding except perhaps the hideous chiffon bridesmaid dress I wore to the last wedding I attended on the basis of being guilted into being Matron Of Honor. And I only intend to own that until I can ditch it somewhere no one will judge me. I barely own anything that's acceptable even for a nice restaurant right now. If I had to buy something on short notice, I would 100% be either buying something that made me feel like I was in drag or else looked hideous, and I can about bet you I'd be paying through the nose for it too.

Semiformal and comfortable for me means finding slacks and shoes that are neither too femme nor too informal. It means a button-down shirt that fits, a blazer, and ideally a vest; I actually can't shop in the mens' department because I am too curvy, for values of curvy that mean my hips and ass do not fit decently in any form of menswear I have been able to source and that mean I also can't do dude's buttondown shirts, because they're either much much too large or they make me look like I'm smuggling sausages under my waist. And by the way, I have such a short waist that almost every shirt I can find still has to contend with the width of my hips.

So I have to sort through women's fashion that's aiming for sort of masculine look for things that suit my needs, except for fuck's sake all of it is aimed at androgynous women who don't have any fat to speak of on them, and none of it is built to accommodate me--at least, not anywhere I can actually afford to shop. I eye places like eShakti with great envy, because I'd buy from there in a heartbeat--except that it's all much, much too femme for anything I could wear and feel like I was being me.

God fucking dammit. Don't even get me started on formal footwear. Or, so fucking help me, on hair expectations--is my usual two-inch cut formal enough? Too fucking bad, I guess. How about bags? I understand I'm supposed to have a real formal purse to carry my fucking keys in at these things, and my usual bag is something that can put up with the shit I put it through and deliberately is not particularly femme--and because I don't currently have a leather one, I can't get away with passing it off as formal even if I tried. A decent formal purse is also going to be $$$, and by the way, fellas, it's going to have to coordinate with what you're wearing in some way, too.

And all of that is without having to accommodate any physical dysphoria or any kind of disability issue. My spouse needs to wear custom orthotics in their shoes. Do you have any fucking idea how hard it is to find acceptable footwear for someone who needs relatively narrow shoes (and is thereby largely restricted to "women's sizes" and the ability to accommodate custom orthotics?

Fucking hell. Having to attend any semiformal dress event right now is genuinely a thing that horrifies me. I can't imagine having that sprung on me on short notice. Even when that fucking wedding was happening a few years ago, we had months to plan and find clothing for it.
posted by sciatrix at 4:08 PM on July 23, 2018 [48 favorites]


This Twitter thread from Mary Robinette Kowal paints the Nebulas as the Gallant to the Hugos' Goofus:
When I do programming, I start by defining the populations that the convention is serving. Each population should have an advocate from within that community.

[...]

For instance, at the Nebulas, the programming team has advocates for Disability, Hybrid author, Traditionally published, Game writer, Indie, Novelist, Short Story, Agent, Editor, Affiliate, Early career writer, Mid-career writer, Late career writer, LGBTQ, Aspiring member, & PoC

[...]

We program by starting with some items that we are sure of, which are a mix of suggestions and things we generate. We offer those to nominees first and also ask them for topics that they want to talk about.
posted by palindromic at 4:54 PM on July 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


That's what kills me: there are so many good and respectful and inclusive ways to go about putting SF con programming together. The proposed WorldCon programming looks like those ways' photo negative.

I'm super glad I picked this year to try out trad SFF lit fandom and especially WorldCon.
posted by sgranade at 5:08 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


A statement from the Worldcon chair, Kevin Roche
"The WorldCon Program - We will do better."

I directed the Program Division to take down the preliminary program information that was released yesterday evening. There were too many errors and problems in it to leave it up.

I am sorry we slighted and angered so many of the people we are gathering to meet, honor and celebrate. This was a mistake, our mistake. We were trying to build a program reflecting the diversity of fandom and respectful of intersectionality. I am heartbroken that we failed so
completely.

We are tearing the program apart and starting over. It was intended to be a reflection of the cultures, passions and experiences of Worldcon membership, with room for both new voices and old. What we released yesterday failed to do that; we must do better.

Many of you have offered to help us do a better job. Thank you. We cannot accept all those offers, but yes, we will be turning to some of you to help us do it better this time.

We will continue to reach out to the Hugo Finalists we have missed connections with, to ensure any who wish to be on the program will have a place on it.
posted by Zed at 5:09 PM on July 23, 2018 [21 favorites]


Holy god I hadn't heard about the semi-formal thing or the fact that people who are literally spending their time functioning as the programming for the event have to pay full price, and approaching Burning Man ticket prices!!??? Jesus this is a shit show, what the fuck. Good on the statement coming out now but wow how ridiculous that it took this crisis to even start reflecting on it.
posted by odinsdream at 5:25 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Having just caught up on the WorldCon stuff, I find myself thinking that perhaps SFF's old guard doesn't have enough respect for the new generation's ability to hold their legacy hostage
--@NotLikeFreddy
posted by XtinaS at 5:37 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


The part that gets me still is this tweet, where the tweeter claimed that the misgendering came from a public profile elsewhere (wrong), and that they're happy to edit it the way Bogi wants it, like misgendering is on par with a typo.
posted by XtinaS at 5:42 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


the fact that people who are literally spending their time functioning as the programming for the event have to pay full price

FWIW, this has almost always been the case. Many fan-run conventions don't comp anyone but the guests of honor; some allow free or cheaper memberships, but some can't afford to do that. Worldcon perhaps sometimes could, but sometimes could not; it's different every year - and inconsistency is likely to cause them more problems than just charging everyone, even though every year is managed by a different team.

Allowing free memberships for everyone who's scheduled in a panel (or having a limit - 3+ panels?) means including budget in your scheduling issues: do you put persons ABC on the panel, or, since that would mean C now has 3 panels, do you opt for D instead, since they're not on another panel at all? Comping all panelists means the same problem, larger: it means putting a cap on the number of panelists and arranging the schedule around them, instead of trying to put together the best possible program.

"Everyone pays to attend" includes staff as well. This may be a topic worth reviewing and possibly changing, but it has nothing to do with the programming fiascos this year.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:45 PM on July 23, 2018 [15 favorites]


"Everyone pays to attend" includes staff as well.

They seem to have implemented "Fuck you pay me" the wrong way round.
posted by dng at 6:27 PM on July 23, 2018


Just here to 100% back up sciatrix on the dressing front. She is super right and dressing up gives me legit anxiety attacks.
posted by lauranesson at 7:12 PM on July 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


Amal El-Mohtar was a guest of honour at the last WisCon and the slight of it in this WorldCon mess really got to her and it prompted her to post her speech from WisCon and it's really moving - and mostly about Steven Universe. Link.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:17 PM on July 23, 2018 [15 favorites]


Oh my word, Space Coyote, that speech by Amal El-Mohtar is AMAZING - one of the best things I've read in a long, long time. Thank you so much for posting it! I wonder if you might consider turning it into a post of its own. Wow.
posted by kristi at 7:52 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


the fact that people who are literally spending their time functioning as the programming for the event have to pay full price

the same thing is true for presenters at academic conferences. I was happy to have an abstract accepted for an oral presentation. Now I have to pay $600 to register (fortunately my boss has conference money to cover it).
posted by jb at 8:36 PM on July 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


Most Worldcons don't comp upfront but reimburse memberships afterwards for staff and people on more than a certain number of panels (usually 3). Doing it this way works better financially for the con, because you want to keep a chunk of money in reserve as your emergency fund at the con which can then be distributed to members, plus you've got variable numbers of people who turn up on the day and give you money and you can't really do much with it by that point.

Personally I am in favour of comping Hugo nominees, or give them the chance to purchase a discount membership, because if they don't make plans to attend until they're nominated then they've lost out on the early bird membership rates. Pretty sure if they just want to attend the Hugo ceremony and nothing else they don't need a membership, but there aren't many people who turn up just for the ceremony because of the travel.
posted by penguinliz at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


John Picacio, this years Master of Ceremonies of the Hugo Awards, has said on twitter you'll be welcome whatever you wear.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:09 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm utterly mystified how terrible the bio screw-ups are because for every fannish thing I've ever been involved in that has needed a bio, I've been asked write my own and it's never been edited. Occasionally it's been kicked back with 'this is not the tone we are going for' as, because, writing a bio is the worse thing ever, I usually go for the self-deprecating jokey approach in the first instance. I've done the same from the other side when I've done the odd zine/comic back in the day. I can kinda see a bit of confusion occurring if someone is using non-standard pronouns but surely that would be a simple 'is this correct?' email not just deciding to edit it yourself. That's way off.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:19 AM on July 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


muddgirl: my bespoke formal kilt cost rather more than a cheap tuxedo. Yes, it's the genuine Scottish article—I live in Edinburgh, why wouldn't it be?

(Not income-bragging here, just pointing out that there's more than one standard for formal dress.)
posted by cstross at 1:39 AM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


Addendum, as someone who has attended several Hugo ceremonies (and received more than one Hugo award at them): "nerd prom" is exactly right for the normal flavour of the event. SF/F creators tend towards the nonconformist. They also tend not to be comfortably-off: alas, there's not a huge amount of money in this field. So imposing a cookie-cutter bourgeois standard of "formal attire" on the attendees would be a real buzzkill, excluding a substantial proportion of the shortlisted authors for one reason or another even before we get to those who don't find it easy to conform to prevailing expectations of performative masculinity or femininity.

Finally: Ted Chiang? Jeans and sneakers all the way. Lovely guy, legend of the field, but if the ConJose committee had their head he wouldn't be welcome at these Hugos? Fuck 'em.
posted by cstross at 1:47 AM on July 24, 2018 [25 favorites]


I'm pretty certain the nominees don't have to fork out for their formal wear for the Oscars - in fact I know that in many cases the more high profile ones are paid top dollar to wear a particular outfit. I'd not expect people nominated for the nerd oscars to have to fork out for their clothes either (unless they wanted to).
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:03 AM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: your expectation is wrong. Only the convention guests of honour (typically 4-6 people) are paid to appear at the worldcon in any capacity. GoH's get travel and accommodation covered plus a small per diem for eating/drinking. Nothing for clothing, period. The award nominees, presenters, and working crew? They're all responsible for their own costumes.

Worldcon is an amateur, volunteer-run event. While worldcons usually form a limited-liability company to shield the volunteers if it goes wrong and ends up blowing the budget, nobody is paid for their work — it's a community labour of love.

(Comicon, Dragoncon, and other large conventions do things differently and in many cases are run on a commercial basis, but worldcons are entirely non-profit oriented fan-run events — among the largest of them.)

By asking Hugo ceremony participants to dress semi-formally, the committee were asking them to shoulder the expense — and in some cases, the participants are quite poor.
posted by cstross at 2:49 AM on July 24, 2018 [18 favorites]


Sorry, I probably wasn't being clear enough... what I mean is I don't expect hugo nominees to have to pay to buy a new set of formal/semi-formal/whatever wear just to appear in the ceremony (unless they want to of course) if they don't have anything like that already. They should be able to rock up in whatever they want.... that's kinda one of the rules.

I know that they are not getting paid/sponsored to be there. Although if you are reading Elon, I'll totally wear a TESLA/SPACE X/THAT SUBMARINE WOULD HAVE TOTALLY WORKED t-shirt when I'm nominated, for the right price.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


i saw this on twitter and i am utterly perplexed that there was not already an existing This Year's Nominees panel or series of panels.

seems like a 101 thing?
posted by sio42 at 3:17 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


fearfulsymmetry: attending formal/semi-formal events is very much a cultural thing. Growing up in the UK, there was no high school prom tradition (that changed in the past decade or so — it's a US import) and, at least in my background, far less reason to own a tux or a formal gown. Indeed, before I hit my late 30s and suddenly found myself being invited to Hugo ceremonies, wearing evening dress was a maybe twice-a-decade thing.

So, owning a tux? Totally not a normal thing—in the UK, unless you're part of the 1%, that is.

sio42: you are entirely correct and at other worldcons that has totally been a thing. Which leads to pointed questions as to why that is not the case at this one.
posted by cstross at 3:37 AM on July 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


Here's what gets me about the "We're not WisCon" comment. WisCon is a spinoff of WorldCon. Quite some years ago, a group of fen wanted to have a "Women in SciFi" panel. WorldCon insisted there was no interest in such a thing and only agreed grudgingly after a lot of badgering, and gave it the smallest possible room. The Women in SciFi panel filled the room almost immediately, and expanded out into the hall, until finally the group moved to the hotel lobby to accomodate all of the people who really wanted to talk about women in scifi. After the panel time officially ended, someone pointed out that they had enough people who'd shown for the Women in SciFi panel to make up it's own small convention, and that inspired them to found WisCon.

So, when this years committee's example for "nobody wants to hear from anyone but white men" uses a convention that only exists because a committee in the 1970's couldn't pull their head out of their asses to get past their belief that "nobody wants to hear from anyone but white men"... it's not a good look.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:33 AM on July 24, 2018 [39 favorites]


Bah, I suck at links. The tweet is here.
posted by XtinaS at 7:17 AM on July 24, 2018


Wait, does semi formal mean a tux? Oh man, I've been dressing wrong for a while...
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:21 AM on July 24, 2018


I've heard people rebut the "The Hugo nominees were voted on by worldcon attendees, so worldcon attendees must know about them" with the fact that it's possible to buy a membership to WorldCon in order to vote in the hugos and not attend for cheaper than the actual ticket (I know that's what I did this year), and the physical attendees might be more white able-bodied cis male than the overall voting bloc. Which, I don't even know if that's the case, but even if it was, maybe we should look at why there's a lot more diversity in people voting for the hugos - and seem to care a lot about science fiction - than wanting to attend the physical event. Maybe screwing with nominees' pronouns and requiring a dress code and making the scheduling white-male centric dissuades people from wanting to attend.

And yeah, the "We're not WisCon" comment seemed a lot like 'we can leave the diversity stuff at the feminist convention and not do anything'. But while I understand why this might not be totally scaleable, WisCon the the convention that has definitely done the most to make sure that first-time participants feel welcome: from panels to intro emails with pertinent information to a special dinner if you're a first time attendee to a .pdf of every food option in Madison, from what I can tell. There's a lot of small things that seem to be designed to make you feel comfortable, even if you've never attended a convention before. Not to mention the free food, pronoun stickers, safe spaces, ect. to help make attending seem more like a realistically fun prospect than it might otherwise be..
posted by dinty_moore at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


dinty_moore, It's certainly true that not everyone who goes to Worldcon is interested in the Hugos.

It's also true that the Hugo ceremony gets quite a large crowd, so it's reasonable to assume that a sufficient number of Worldcon attendees would like to see panels which include Hugo nominees.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:48 AM on July 24, 2018


muddgirl: my bespoke formal kilt cost rather more than a cheap tuxedo. Yes, it's the genuine Scottish article—I live in Edinburgh, why wouldn't it be?

I wasn't mocking your outfit! The kilt jacket is the perfect touch! But you're not wearing a tie and even in Scottish fashion ties are important for semi-formal and formal attire. (And I won't question the boots because they look fabulous even at low res). It's a perfect example of how in the past Hugo finalists have been treated like adults who can dress themselves for a nice occasion.
posted by muddgirl at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2018


It's also true that the Hugo ceremony gets quite a large crowd, so it's reasonable to assume that a sufficient number of Worldcon attendees would like to see panels which include Hugo nominees.

Oh yeah, I was talking about the other way around - that the people who are interested enough in SFF to pay money for a WorldCon membership simply to nominate stuff in the hugos may be a larger and more diverse group than those that plan to physically attend WorldCon* - but if that's the case, the issue would be that WorldCon is not attracting a diverse audience (probably something to do with the panels being overly white male, fucking with the people who they are in theory supposed to be honoring, ect, ect), not that the Hugo nominees are somehow unimportant.

*And to be perfectly clear - this is not my argument! I don't know the demographics of who attends worldcon, but I suspect it's more diverse than the panel concom thinks it is, because if you keep on attending the same sort of panels you tend to see the same sort of people over and over again.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:13 AM on July 24, 2018


This Twitter thread from Mary Robinette Kowal paints the Nebulas as the Gallant to the Hugos' Goofus:

It's also a good recipe for programming a convention with respect to the populations it wants to serve.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2018


we should look at why there's a lot more diversity in people voting for the hugos - and seem to care a lot about science fiction - than wanting to attend the physical event

Much of that is expense - the cost of membership, hotel, and travel is a lot more than many people can do, but the cost of a limited membership to participate in the voting and a few other aspects of the convention is worth it for a lot more people.

But I absolutely disdain the concept of "well, they were nominated, and a set of them are going to win, but those aren't the authors that the attendees care about." If you want nominations only from attendees, then get rid of the supporting memberships. (Oh, but they want the money from those! It looks like they just don't want to have to admit those are actually SF fans.)

I suspect what happened isn't exactly "who the hell are these nominees, and why would anyone want to hear them talk?" but "oh wow huge numbers of celebrity SF authors are coming to SJ! Let's make space on the programming schedule for all of them!" ...Which means they need to be gently-but-firmly reminded that old-timey celebrity SF authors can hold court in the lobby if they wish, and panel space needs to prioritize the people who are the future of the genre. (I am fine with "gentle reminders" including a notable amount of intense vitriol on Twitter; non-gentle reminders involve physical altercations or courtroom activity.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:44 AM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


And besides, "outfit nice enough for court" is not the same genre as "semi-formal."

So I guess - as someone who's attended a metric fuckton of these types of cons - my impression of "semi-formal" is more the same genre as 'nerd prom' referenced above: like, semi-formal can mean that you wear your most elegant elf ears with the most time consuming attachments, or a Starfleet or MSN uniform, or steampunk goggles and a top hat, or SCAdian garb, or your VeryBest corset, or your skirt made from sewing a bunch of ties together, or whatever your most formal and Trying Hardest nerd thing is. I would never think semi-formal at a con meant 'what I would wear to court' or 'a tux' unless that happened to be someone's jam. And I feel - though am open to correction - that nerd prom semiformal dress standards are much kinder to the weird, the wonderful, and the 'fuck those gender stereotypes' than general societal semiformal dress standards, because literally 'do what makes you feel badass' /is/ the dress code.
posted by corb at 9:47 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


If they meant "literally do what makes you feel badass", they would have said that instead of actually saying "We ask that everyone attending the ceremony wear semi-formal dress, we are striving for an elegant, professional looking event."

Those are different things.
posted by cooker girl at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


The last WorldCon I went to, TorCon in 2003, was - well, white men in their fifties-sixties weren't necessarily a majority of the attendees, but it certainly felt like they were a plurality. But that was fifteen years ago; WisCon is definitely more diverse than it was fifteen years ago, and I'm sure WorldCon is as well.

I do suspect that that WorldCon-attending fandom skews substantially richer than Hugo-voting fandom, partly because it's more expensive to attend than most other science fiction conventions, partly because it's the one convention you definitely attend every year if you're making enough money writing science fiction to consistently attend conventions, partly because it's held in different locations from year to year; a large part of the fun of conventions is seeing the same people you like from year to year, and if you're in the "I'll go if it's reasonably local, otherwise it's just too expensive" income bracket, it's just not as fun as if you're in the "I'll go every year, maybe skipping Helsinki" income bracket. And skewing richer means skewing more white, more male, more cis.

So that brings it back to the perennial problem of science fiction fandom, which is that the people who worry about fandom graying and dying out are very often the same people who are upset about young people in fandom being all woke and watching Steven Universe and not reading Heinlein anymore. And I don't know to what extent the problems WorldCon's been having are those kinds of "I want fandom to stay exactly the same forever" problems, but - eh, from what I've seen in con-runner drama elsewhere, it would not exactly surprise me.
posted by Jeanne at 9:53 AM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Semi-formal is a fashion term that has a distinct meaning, and it's not defined in the email, as far as I can tell. Most semi-formal events are not fannish events; they're events with a very definite dress code that is not particularly welcoming for elf ears, steampunk goggles, etc. Like, my first instinct when told that there is a dress code is Google it to find out what is and isn't appropriate under the keyword used. Here's what comes up. It's very specific about suits for men, and maddeningly vague for women (if I knew what dressy was, I wouldn't be asking you, would I?), and assumes 100% that everyone is cis and gender conforming.

If they mean to impose a dress code with a non-standard (and by that, I mean if you google "semi-formal attire") definition, it's on the concom committee to explain what that definition means and what is or is not allowable. Otherwise, the uncertainty is going to cause anxiety of exactly the kind of thing I'm describing here, and it's going to be heavily proportional to how much any given person has been policed on their dress in occasions labeled 'semi-formal' or coded areas in the past.
posted by sciatrix at 9:56 AM on July 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


What they could've said instead:

"We are striving for an elegant, memorable event, so we encourage participants to dress appropriately, which could be semi-formal wear, what makes you feel the most confident, or some other best expression of your truest self."

Of course, they run the risk of a fursuit on stage, but really, if you can't have Wile E. Coyote in a Darth Vader helmet giving a speech, what is this convention for?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:01 AM on July 24, 2018 [15 favorites]


As long as they have a good microphone. Those masks are super muffling otherwise.
posted by ChrisR at 10:24 AM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: I am allergic to neckties.

(Used to have to wear one to school and then for the day job; have never worn one in any other context than demonstrating subservience to a hated institution. So I don't own one, haven't worn one in more than 20 years, didn't wear one to my wedding, and won't wear one to my funeral either, I hope.)
posted by cstross at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


cstross: I have informed my family members variously that if they bury me in a necktie I either will or won't haunt them based on the inverse of their preferences.
posted by ChrisR at 10:30 AM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


How To Get On Programming
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]




I linked to a whole lotta twitter threads because this all happened so quickly that there weren't yet any attempts at a write-up of the overall situation (at least not that I could find). Now there's Worldcon 76: More Than Technical Difficulties by Foz Meadows (a current Hugo nominee for best Fan Writer).
posted by Zed at 11:37 AM on July 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


I really have to ask myself what the fuck dudes think they are doing when they sign up for “women in [x] panels”, or white people for POC equivalents or straight white males for any kind of diversity panel - like, is it a performarive allyship thing? Because it really isn’t a good look and does nobody any favors. And yet it still happens.
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on July 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


The clothing thing would be a bit less suspicious if it didn't come alongside the programming issues and the biography gender issues, and the overall impression that the new crop of nominees are not as important or as respectable as a face for the con.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


And Brooklyn Nine-Nine did a nice, somewhat loving lampoon of sff con culture, including the diversity panel of bearded white men.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


I really have to ask myself what the fuck dudes think they are doing when they sign up for “women in [x] panels”, or white people for POC equivalents or straight white males for any kind of diversity panel - like, is it a performarive allyship thing?

That dude has written one non-cishet/white/dude character and been told "Wow, this character is really great!" (possibly even by someone who isn't a cishet white dude), and he therefore thinks he is an expert on writing non-cishet/white/dudes. And then he sees an audience of other cishet white dudes, and figures "Well, I can explain it to other cishet white dudes really well, and then they'll be better at it, so really, I'm doing everyone a favor."
posted by Etrigan at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wait, does semi formal mean a tux? Oh man, I've been dressing wrong for a while...

No, tuxes are formal in the US, white tie & tails is more formal technically, but I don't know if I've ever heard of a US event that dressy. Semiformal is an obnoxious ambiguity between business attire and tuxes that seems wholly designed to carve a line of exclusivity across class boundaries. Oh wait, we're pretending we don't have class boundaries in the US. As a cis white dude I find semiformal to be mildly stressful. I can't imagine what it's like for GNC folk, especially when clothiers like St Harridans can't even stay in business. I imagine if you can't sew your own or afford a tailor it's a pain.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:11 PM on July 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm neglecting the evening/daytime distinction because it's just another bullshit class warfare thing disguised as helpful etiquette.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:13 PM on July 24, 2018


Honestly, I'm thinking a lot about the programming issue that Artw posts about above, and broadly, the problem with running labor-of-love conventions at all, not to mention ones that literally alter the venue every year.

I've never run an SF convention - but I have run much smaller conventions of member-based organizations of many other stripes, with less than 1,000 people in attendance, with a convention committee not much smaller than most WorldCon ConComs [Here's a list of a sample bid/committee]. And it is enormously hard work that involves, at the least, twenty+ hours a week of volunteer work on top of your day job. In all volunteer cons, an important thing to note is that many of the people doing this are not professionals and do not, in many cases, have either the time or the bandwidth to 'do it right' as the most idealized version of whatever con would be. They have usually run some cons before, but most likely not as visible, nor with as much pressure to get it right.

Would it be better to plan every panel so it included some established voices that could be sure to get 'butts in seats', along with some new authors and Hugo nominees that would be able to get more attention to their work? Absolutely, that would be best practices, getting the best of both worlds and ensuring a welcoming environment for both fans and writers. But how much work goes into creating that?

You have to look at how many program slots you had, then at the (conservatively) 102 Hugo Nominees, assuming only one representative for Fancast, Fanzine, Semiprozine, Dramatic Presentations, and Graphic Story. Helsinki had a whopping 379 panels, per their program, but many of those were not writing related (costuming, etc), and you can't just drop one in randomly. It'd make a lot of sense to have "Hugo Books Nominees of 2018" "Hugo Short Stories Nominees", etc, etc panels, but then what do you do for categories where not everyone is attending, or where people aren't largely particularly excited about the category to the extent of being willing to come for a meet-and-greet? The problem of empty rooms is much more of a problem when the space constraints means that empty rooms mean overfull rooms elsewhere and you're trying to keep people from choking the hallways.

A lot of people are saying 'Hey, we'll help' but actually as someone who has dealt with volunteers, that also is yet another job that must be done - evaluating volunteers and how much subject matter expertise they actually have compared to how much they say they have, what their availability is, etc.

This stuff is actually enormously complicated, but yet looking at labor-of-love cons as opposed to the more commercial cons that have to produce enough revenue to pay their staffers, the former seem much more beloved and enjoyable.

So I really think that Hanlon's Razor applies. Do we really think that it's more likely that all of these things are the results of bad intent, rather than understaffing of the ConCom? They put out this program in mid-July. It is barely a month until Worldcon. That implies, to me, that rather than having intent to be exclusionary, they were running way behind even without the rest of this stuff, and have been making bad decisions about how to prioritize their resources.
posted by corb at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


The weird thing is that when I first read that quote about ‘people keep asking me what #ownvoices means, I would estimate 20% of attendees know what it means compared to most of WisCon attendees’ I thought it was part of an argument FOR having a panel about it, not against. Clearly to me that says ‘I am receiving interest from people about this topic that they want to learn more about’
posted by bq at 12:41 PM on July 24, 2018


From the Font Folly blog: Subtracting homogeneity, fighting erasure—reflections on exclusion at sf/f conventions:
Third, the majority/minority part isn’t the only form a gaslighting being attempted. Because here’s the thing: in most of the Hugo categories, it is not people who are nominated, but works of sci-fi/fantasy. The authors are referred to as nominees, but technically it is a specific novel, novella, novelette, short story, et cetera that is nominated. But that phrase, “a certain kind of creator who appeals to the nominators” puts the emphasis on the creator and the creator’s identity. In other words, they are arguing that the nominators really didn’t like the specific story, but have chosen the story to fulfill a quota or something.

In other words, the person who made this statement believes that the story nominated doesn’t really deserve to be nominated, and believes that the nominators don’t believe that either. It’s the same racist/homophobic/transphobic/misogynist arguments that the melancholy canines were making. A “certain kind of creator” is a dogwhistle. The nominators may want queer/trans/women/people of color, but “normal” people don’t. That’s what that statement says. And this is why I still fervently believe the person who said that should be fired from the con com.
posted by Lexica at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


A lot of bias isn't intentional, but people can get slighted and harmed anyway.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:48 PM on July 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


There's a corollary to Hanlon's Razor, I forget what it's called: Sufficiently advanced ignorance is indistinguishable from malice.
posted by suelac at 1:03 PM on July 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


look at how many program slots you had, then at the (conservatively) 102 Hugo Nominees

It is an immense and complicated job, but it's not like there's no history to draw on, no experience with similar projects. Many nominees won't be attending the convention, either because of time-and-expense hassles, or because they just don't care for conventions. That thins it down quite a bit. (Maybe to 75 or so?) Some are attending but don't like doing panels .

A reasonable approach to programming would be, "the Hugos are our showcase event; let's try to put every Hugo nominee on at least one panel if they're willing." That'd give a focus to the programming, something to build around. And yeah, that's a logistical hassle, especially if you don't want 80% of your panels to be about writing - but most nominees, like most SF fans, have diverse interests and skills. The goal wouldn't be "put each nominee on a panel that highlights the work for which they were nominated," but "give them a chance to speak to fans and fans-to-be." Nominated for short story; has long history in costuming: Put them on a costuming panel. Nominated as fan artist; has a day job in an office: Put them on the "Add fannish experience to your resume" panel. Send off a questionnaire to all nominees: Are you attending? Interested in doing panels? Please give us a list of 5-10 keywords related to interests you have; these do not need to relate to SF, or writing, or this year's convention theme.

I bet you could pack a room with people who want to hear Hugo nominees describe "How Authors Do Taxes." Or "Best Worldbuilding in Video Games." I bet you could pack an auditorium for "Assholes I Have Known Who Became Villains in My Works."

The way this was handled tells me it's not a case of "a few people's interests and schedules just didn't click with the rest of the programming;" it was very solidly a decision that Hugo nominees - that Hugo winners who are coming from that group - aren't worth the convention's attention. There is something deeply rotten about that approach.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:14 PM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


There is something many of us who attend fan-run conventions can do to make the program more diverse: minimise our participation in it.

I've been going to conventions since the late 1980s. I've been on countless program panels, seemingly because I have some background in the sort of areas panels at sf cons often discuss, and because I can rabbit on in a vaguely plausible manner about many nerd-interest topics. But it dawned on me a while back that, as a straight white middle-aged cisgender male, I made just about every panel I was on less diverse, and I resolved to do something about that.

I haven't yet completely backed out of being on program at conventions I go to, but if invited to volunteer I now say that I will do at most one or two items, and only if there is genuinely no-one younger or from a more diverse background than me in the pool of program volunteers.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:51 PM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


There's a corollary to Hanlon's Razor, I forget what it's called: Sufficiently advanced ignorance is indistinguishable from malice.

Napoleon-Clarke.
posted by Revvy at 2:14 PM on July 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Do we really think that it's more likely that all of these things are the results of bad intent, rather than understaffing of the ConCom?

I've been on concoms for much smaller, regional cons, and I know how much work they are. And I know that a Worldcon is more than a hundred times harder than that and a whole lot of volunteers are working their butts off trying to make this happen.

This isn't about the Worldcon committee being moustachio-twirling villains. Someone was tasked with making sure hundreds of bios were filled in. And in a late night of google-searching people and cut-and-pasting, their spellchecker red-squiggled an "e" and "won the Lambda Award in the Best Transgender Fiction category" didn't even ring any bells that maybe it's actually really important to not change someone's pronoun, so they made the (very bad) decision to "fix" it. And they assure someone else that all the bios are done and they're all okay because they all came from existing published bios, and that someone asserts it as fact in public. (Or something. I have no idea how it really went down, of course.)

It's even easier to imagine how most of these other things could happen by accident. With the exception of the email justifying leaving Hugo nominees off of programming because they're "completely unfamiliar to many folks who will be attending", my gut reaction to any given one of these things would be to cut the committee some slack -- they're doing an impossible amount of work and results aren't going to be perfect. I completely believe Kevin Roche when he says, as quoted above, "We were trying to build a program reflecting the diversity of fandom and respectful of intersectionality."

But my reaction to all of these things in toto is that they had no frickin' clue that reflecting the diversity of fandom and being respectful of intersectionality was going to take actual effort and wasn't going to just happen automatically because they're all good people. They didn't know what they didn't know and so they didn't try. And at this late date THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

This should be an object lesson for anyone doing anything meant for a broad audience. The whiter, the straighter, the male-er, the cis-er, the able-bodied-er your group is, the more odds approach certainty that you're going to bake in choices that are indistinguishable from trying to exclude people. (I shifted into the abstract there and am not suggesting that the Worldcon committee is some homogeneous group of able-bodied cis-het white males.)

I, myself, am a mostly-able-bodied cis-het white male and left to my lonesome I know I'd make some of those bad calls. But I know that and I know I'd need different perspectives.

If someone breaks my leg 'cause no one ever told them they shouldn't drive while on Vicodin, I'm going to be more concerned with my broken leg than how innocent a mistake it is not to know that. That's not just an innocent mistake, it's an irresponsible one. Also, my damn leg is broken.

So, yeah, I feel for the Worldcon volunteers. But I feel more for the people they hurt.
posted by Zed at 4:00 PM on July 24, 2018 [20 favorites]


I'm just stunned that "we grabbed bios from other places online" didn't result in "...so we confirmed them with the participants," in case those bios were horribly outdated or just plain wrong.

Thinking a gender pronoun was a typo is understandable, if careless. (One "e" in a bio: you might think it's a typo. An "e" and an "ier" and possibly an "em," or even multiple "e"s-- as in this case, including ones that started sentences, so aren't likely to have been missed--and you should realize there's something going on here, even if you've never heard of the pronoun before.)

If the bio says, "this person lives in Wyoming with a spouse," and they got divorced three years ago and now live in California, they don't want that bio used. If the bio says, "...was nominated for Scariest Horror Writer," and they actually won the award, they'd want the bio updated. Why wouldn't you run the bio past the person before publishing it?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


On the face of it, this looks a lot like the concom just plain did not understand the scale or visibility of a Worldcon, and made their programming decisions based on the same good-old-nerds-network criteria that they would have in a normal year. Not a great look.
posted by nonasuch at 6:36 PM on July 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


Mary Robinette Kowal reports that she will be stepping in to assist in rebuilding the Worldcon programming. She has done a lot of similar work in the past, specifically with regards to both diverse panelists and audiences.
posted by suelac at 10:34 PM on July 24, 2018 [13 favorites]


That's amazing news, actually. I wonder if she can repair it enough that the folks they pissed off will come back?
posted by uberchet at 5:56 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


If she can't, there's no one living who can.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:39 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think at this point, the best-case scenario is for Kowal's work and (more important) WorldCon's response to it over the next nine or ten months to convince people who dropped out of San Jose to go to Dublin next year.
posted by Etrigan at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2018


That doesn't make any sense though, because Dublin is going to be an entirely new ConCom and they will have to reinvent the wheel again.
posted by corb at 10:07 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Dublin is going to be an entirely new ConCom and they will have to reinvent the wheel again.

These issues didn't just erupt in 2018 out of a vacuum after having been solved previously. "Oops, those people fucked it up, we won't, honest," has been said so many times that a lot of people don't consider it any better than "We apologize to anyone who chooses to be offended."

I can't speak for any of the people who have cancelled on the con that starts in less than a month, but I wouldn't blame any of them for saying that there is nothing that can be done to make them un-cancel now, nor to want a little more than the usual reassurances before committing to next year -- for asking "What are the Dublin planners going to do to actively make things better for people for whom this was the last straw?"
posted by Etrigan at 10:26 AM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I really, really, really hope the Dublin concom is paying attention. (I'm hoping to be there -- it'd be my first out-of-the-US Worldcon ever.)

So far as I could see, not a lot of people had suggested they might skip Worldcon 76 altogether because of this, though several expressed that they might ignore programming. And certainly Kowal's involvement has been encouraging to many.

(When I was staying up too late on Sunday watching this unfold on twitter, I was wondering if I'd be cancelling. For now at least, I'm still planning to attend.)
posted by Zed at 12:04 PM on July 25, 2018


Um, they actually did send an email saying 'Hi, Hugo nominee, what's your CV like, what kind of panels are you interested in, send us your bio'. Months ago. And I sent it back a few days later, having filled it out.

The result of which was that I did not wind up on programming, except for being listed as attending the Hugos and being assured of my tickets for the afterparty.

I figured, okay, I'm kind of in a limbo space as far as being a real nominee because the magazine I work for is nominated and I'm a senior editor. My name happens to be one of those selected for the list of our staff on the actual nomination this year; we have too many staff to run all the names even of department heads. This is, depending on how you count, either my third Hugo nomination (magazine nominated while I've been editing there), my second (my name appears on nomination list), or my zeroth (the magazine has been nominated, not me personally). I'm not a big name, I've been on Worldcon programming before but I know that doesn't carry over from con to con, and I thought nothing of not winding up on programming...

... except that I did think it was a little weird that they emailed me specifically addressing me as a Hugo nominee, asked me some questions that required some actual effort on my part to answer, and then nothing happened. That is not a way any other convention I have been involved with has worked before, over the last twelve years of being on con programming.

If it had just been me, I would still think nothing of it, but it looks from here as though somebody high up in programming-- not whoever does things like make sure Hugo nominees get tickets to the afterparty and ask their number of seats for the ceremony, because all that appears to be in working order-- did not put people they have not personally heard of on panels, and assumed their working knowledge of the field accorded one hundred percent with the state of the field. Plus they are either actively bad at/bigoted at gender issues or don't even know that they don't know, neither of which is remotely acceptable for a programming person for a world-level event like this in this day and age. Plus they are bad at class issues. Plus how can you think it's acceptable to grab materials for someone's bio without consulting them, ye gods and little fishes. Basically, the person or persons responsible for these things has either hopefully already been removed from their position/s or is about to be, because NO.

I hope that with Mary Robinette Kowal's assistance the con can achieve a decent program, by which I mean:

1) intelligent, interesting panels with diverse subject matter
2) #ownvoices representation of marginalized groups and
3) panel creators placed on the panels they created, if they are attending.

If this does not happen (and whether I personally wind up on programming is irrelevant; I'm fine on that either way, since I've had the chance before), guerilla/pirate programming is a long and noble Worldcon tradition and I will help organize some.

Also I am going to be wearing a very large ribbon with my correct pronouns at all times during the convention, because aargh.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 8:44 PM on July 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


Follow up post from Scalzi.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Kowal's update.
posted by Zed at 2:22 PM on July 27, 2018 [4 favorites]




Go fund me for getting finalists to WorldCon: Worldcon Finalist Assistance
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2018


I am totally showing up for crochet hour tomorrow. The other programming looks pretty great and all, but... crochet!
posted by asperity at 7:40 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Watching the livestream for the Hugos. People are in general moderately fancy.

Rebbeca Roanhorse just won the Campbell (not a Hugo) Award, so thats good. Previously.
posted by Artw at 8:58 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Here's the list of winners. Jemisin for Best Novel.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 PM on August 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


Some very good wins this year, from a good field. Cracking speech from Jemisin.
posted by Artw at 10:09 PM on August 19, 2018


Oh, frabjous day, Martha Wells won! So happy for her: Murderbot is a lovely spot of optimism (despite the subject matter of corporate malfeasance and murder) in this dark year.

I am unsurprised that Le Guin won for her final essay collection.

And while I like several of the series up for the Hugo, I really love the World of the Five Gods, so I'm chuffed at Bujold winning again.
posted by suelac at 11:03 PM on August 19, 2018


Detailed voting results are here, including nomination data.

The difficult to classify 17776 is listed in the nominations for both Novella and Graphic Story. If the Graphic Story votes moved to the novella nomination, it doesn't look like that would have been enough to push it into the finalist category, but if the novella votes had been added to the Graphic Story nomination it likely would have placed there due to the lower voting levels in that category. Since the Hugos are supposed to consolidate votes for a thing in the wrong category into their tally in the correct category, I'd be interested to see more about the decision making there.

Of the Terra Ignota books, Seven Surrenders shows up in the nomination data, but not The Will to Battle. We had some speculation earlier that having two eligible novels from the same series split the vote, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Personally, I think The Will to Battle is the better book of the two, but since it came out much closer to nomination time it's likely that fewer people had a chance to read it. I'm really looking forward to the fourth book, Perhaps the Stars, and it will be interesting to see how it does.

The Broken Earth was apparently a top pick for Best Series, but declined the nomination. Anyone know what the story there is? Googling didn't turn up anything.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:22 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I just finished All Systems Red and Binti: The Night Masquerade while traveling over the weekend. I think Binti: Home and Binti: The Night Masquerade might have worked better if they had been published together while All Systems Red is a largely stand-alone first-of-a-series. But I think Binti overall has a lot more stuff in it.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:25 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


N.K. Jemisin's 2018 Hugo Award Best Novel acceptance speech.

It seems to be making the "Jemisin is an affirmative action winner" and "I'm totally not racist, I just coincidentally started hating her after the puppies went after her" crowds upset, which is excellent.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:14 AM on August 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


Hugo awards: women clean up as NK Jemisin wins best novel again

This being the far end of a thread that started very differently maybe someone should do a write up?

Also, shoutout to Mefi’s own @scalzi: I've never been happier to lose a Hugo.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on August 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


The Broken Earth was apparently a top pick for Best Series, but declined the nomination. Anyone know what the story there is? Googling didn't turn up anything.

My guess would be just wanting to give somebody else a chance. She's already achieved the first Best Novel threepeat in the history of the Hugos (and it wasn't even a surprise), so it's not like the series hasn't been sufficiently recognized by the WSFS.

We saw the same thing happen with Graphic Story a few years back, when the Girl Genius team took themselves out of consideration in order to avoid what was then a new and provisional award being seen as a fait accompli that WSFS members might not see as worth keeping around.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:25 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to Jemisin's next novel, Don't Give This a Hugo This Is Literally My Grocery List No Seriously What Are You Even Doing.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 AM on August 20, 2018 [12 favorites]


File770 also just permenantly withdrew from all categories. It’s a healthy thing.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't think there's anything wrong with *not* withdrawing - Dave Langford never did, and that's fine. But if you want to, that's cool too.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:58 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Broken Earth was apparently a top pick for Best Series, but declined the nomination. Anyone know what the story there is? Googling didn't turn up anything.

No need to guess - she wrote this blog post in February asking people not to nominate her in that category and explaining her reasoning.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:17 AM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


New post.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


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