Unintended Consequences – A Post About The Hugos

There’s a fun irony in the fallout from the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies Hugo thing.

There are now over 8,000 members of Sasquan (WorldCon). The con gained over 2,600 supporting memberships since March 31st of this year and about 350 attending memberships. I think it can be safely assumed that several of the 1,948 people who bought supporting memberships before March 31st were slate voters and GamerGators. Not a majority, perhaps, but a sizable chunk. And some of the post-March 31st folks might be puppy supporters. However, I’m fairly sure that an overwhelming majority of these new members are anti-slate or anti-puppy.

That’s thousands of people who don’t think that diversity is a dirty word, who don’t consider the larger number of women and authors of color on previous year’s ballots to be affirmative action or diversity for the sake of diversity or political correctness gone wrong.

That’s thousands of people eligible to nominate for next year’s Hugos, and with a big incentive to do so.

Uh oh. *giggle*

Let’s back this up. Back in 2007 when the list of Hugo nominees came out, folks quickly noticed a problem with them: almost every single nom in the literature categories went to white men. The only woman to be nominated for a work of fiction was Naomi Novik. The other woman nominated in a non-media/fan category was Julie Phillips for her Tiptree biography in Related Works. The only person on the list who identifies as POC[1] is Samuel R Delany, nominated in Related Works for his book About Writing.

This was cause for much discussion. Not only about the Hugos, also about the deeper issues is SF/F publishing that led to a nearly all white male Hugo ballot that year. There was a wide-ranging discussion of gender bias in publishing as well as conversations about the lack of racial diversity that simmered for a couple of years before becoming RaceFail09.

I participated in a lot of the conversations, and one of the things I remember very clearly was that many people felt the solution was to get more lovers of SF/F actively involved in Hugo voting. Those who couldn’t go to WorldCon were encouraged to buy supporting memberships. There was even talk of attempting to establish a fund for people who couldn’t afford the $40 or $50 for supporting memberships, though I think it was scrapped because certain people said it would be buying votes and soooo wrong[2]. Still, the solution was always presented as: there are amazing works of fiction by women and authors of color out there that deserve recognition from this award, so let’s get more people voting, more people discussing and recommending fiction, and let’s get magazine editors thinking about diversity in new ways.

Don’t take my word for it. Read posts from the time and see for yourself[3].

And then a funny thing happened. Things changed.

Not right away, but over time[4]. The next year there were four women nominated in the fiction categories. Two years later nine women ended up on the ballot. The number kept going up. 2014 was a weird blip, but there were 7 or 8 women and that’s not horrendous. I don’t have the numbers for authors of color or other minority groups, but I would guess that those numbers have been rising as well.

hugo nominations from 1990

click to embiggen[5]

This happened for a lot of reasons. Many of those seeds were planted in 2007 in online conversations about gender bias and racism. It took a while for some of them to take root and grow strong. Because even with all the shouting and discussion, the larger world of fandom didn’t participate or even know about it. Did some WorldCons gain more supporting memberships after 2007 due to these issues? Maybe dozens, maybe hundreds–thousands? I doubt it.

No, that took puppy power[6].

A much wider group of people are paying attention now. What’s going to grow from these seeds, I wonder?

Footnotes

  1. as far as I know. corrections welcome.[]
  2. And yet this year some people did this exact thing. Yes, some people cried out VOTE BUYING but those people were quickly drowned out by all the clapping from enthusiastic supporters.[]
  3. I could only find a few representative links because my Google-fu is not that strong. Plus, it looks like several blogs and forums where much of the conversation happened don’t exist, anymore. Where are the archivists when you need them!! If you wrote or remember a post about this stuff from the time, please post links in the comments.[]
  4. Numbers from this paragraph come from Jed Hartman’s analysis[]
  5. Something to notice about this chart: in the 90s there was a pretty decent showing for women nominees, then we get to 98 when there’s only 1 and throughout the 2000s there’s a huge imbalance. Why we lost the gains of the early 90s I’m not sure. Clearly gender imbalance was a problem for several years before 2007.[]
  6. This is further proof that the way to enact change is to forcefully get people’s attention and knock their heads together a bit. Unfortunately for the puppies, the attention they brought to themselves dissolved more than it reinforced their position. Ah well, can’t have everything, I guess?[]

I refuse to get older without the assistance of a sauna

My birthday is coming up in less than two weeks! If you’re in the NYC area, you’ve probably gotten an email from me (or twelve) listing all my various birthday events. I party hard!

People always ask me: what do you want for your birthday? And usually I say “I dunno” because I pretty much have everything I need in life. But  this year I do have something I want: a 24 hour spa day with massages and scrubs and treatments and the whole thing.

King Spa

Since this costs a bit of money, it’s not something I would ask for from one person. However, if multiple people would like to contribute towards such a thing, I would not object.

To facilitate this, I first set up one of those personal crowdfunding things but the process was arduous and annoying. No one likes that. In the end, PayPal is better, anyway.

So, if you would like to give me a gift for my birthday, you can send it via PayPal to my GMail address: ktempestbradford 

And to everyone who has already done so: you’re awesome, I love you, and I’m sending individual thank yous soon!

Finally: BIRTHDAY UNENDING STARTS RIGHT NOW.

2012 Resolutions

2012 Resolutions

All the cool kids are doing it.

1. Write fiction every day.

2. Write a non-work, non-Tumblr blog post every day. I have 10 blogs. I should, like, post on them.

3. Manage my time. At all.

4. Get in better shape by exercising regularly and switching up my daily habits so I move more and spend more time outside (weather permitting).

5. Be strict about my budget.

6. Tackle all of the non-work, non-fiction writing projects I wish to participate in, but one at a time instead of all at once.

7. Read more fiction. I now have the ability to save stories on the web to read later on my eReader. I should, like, do that.

8. Spend more time with friends both virtually and in real life. I should be Google Hanging Out far more than I do, and I should be seeing my friends out in the world far more than I do.

9. Learn a new skill. I’m thinking about something to do with programming/coding. Perhaps I will learn how to make Android apps, or something to do with Linux.

10. Complete my home improvement projects. I want track shelving in the living room and Moroccan-style decor in my bedroom.

ETA: 11. Learn something new every month. A recipe, a nugget of knowledge, a skill, something.

Intra-Community Behavior – How Do We Address Problems Constructively?

Intra-Community Behavior - How Do We Address Problems Constructively?

This was a very long comment on the post from yesterday. However, in writing it I realized that this discussion is separate but related, so I broke it out into its own post. This comment addresses some stuff across multiple comments over there plus some things from this discussion on the anon community.

Just to clarify: For me, my worries over the doubts I had about Kynn and the way I pushed them aside isn’t about whether I should have known she would rape someone. It’s totally separate from that. It’s more about how I shouldn’t have accepted that behavior from a person who very clearly wanted to be allied with my community and me personally. I don’t look back and regret my errors because of what happened to jack specifically. Wanted to clear that up.

While on one hand I agree with the anon that points out that within social justice communities if someone doesn’t speak up and say “hey, I don’t agree with the actions this person is taking” then people may assume that we endorse or, at least, don’t find the behavior problematic. And that can be a problem both within and outside of the community.

On the other hand, I very much agree with Cheryl that I don’t then want us to turn the tone argument on each other or start deciding whose anger is more valid. Plus, I get the feeling that what some critics of social justice want in that instance is a public “I DON’T AGREE” in big letters. I’m not always comfortable with that.

Intra-community discussions of appropriate actions and words should stay inside unless the community decides to open it up to wider discussion.

Examples of this include the recent flare-up surrounding Ashley Judd’s condemnation of hip-hop as sexist. Women in the hip-hop and POC community have been dealing with this issue a lot longer, and many did not appreciate someone from outside the community swanning in to give her ill-formed and unwanted opinion on the matter.

Within a feminist context, women outside of mainstream white western culture are forever dealing with well-meaning feminists trying to tell them how their cultures are evil and should be abandoned. Whereas women inside those cultures and communities are constantly saying “Back off, we got this, we’re working on it from our own cultural framework.”

Those are big picture examples. Those are also more straightforward than what we’re dealing with here.

The dilemma I see is this: how does a community or an individual within a community approach another individual to say I/We think you’re crossing a line? That’s a tough conversation to have. I’ve found myself reluctant to have it the few times it’s come up. And, as I said yesterday, I am not the behavior police nor do I feel I have the right to be.

Still, this situation is making me realize how important it is to discuss this and come up with strategies not only to ensure the mental health of the community at large, but also to achieve our common goals.

As before, thoughts are very much appreciated. And to the anonymice out there — I allow anon comments here, but reserve the right to moderate as I see fit. (Generally: deleting abusive ones.)

ETA: Hey anons, want to further clarify something for those of you who seem to be lacking reading skills. This post is not about reactions to what Kynn did to Jack. I’m not saying AT ALL that intra-community issues need to be worked out around people’s reactions to that. I’m talking here about more general issues using Kynn’s behavior before this incident as a touchpoint, but not due to what happened at WisCon. This is about things I observed before that. How people deal with someone in their group who rapes another is a separate conversation and not what I’m addressing here (for that, see the other post). Okay? Okay.

Community, Trust, Responsibility, Consequences

Community, Trust, Responsibility, Consequences

This post may be triggering for some as it contains discussions of rape, sexual assault, and community responses to such.

I promised to write this post last week, but unfortunately preparations for BlogHer took up more spoons than I anticipated. Plus, I’ve been dealing with a lot of intense emotions around the issue and it kept me from posting publicly for a while. But I feel it’s important for several reasons, all of which you will understand by the end of this post. I’m placing the bulk of it under a cut, just in case. [Read more…]

Tempest in da Bay Area

Tempest in da Bay Area

All right, folks. I will be in San Francisco this afternoon and hanging out in Mountain View until Friday. There are some plans afoot for Friday and Wednesday. Possibly something for tonight. But right now I’m honestly not sure how I’m getting from the airport to my hotel.

At any rate, ping me on Facebook or Twitter (@tinytempest) if you want to meet up for dinner or something!

In San Francisco Next Week

In San Francisco Next Week

Very quick:

I’m going to be in San Francisco next week for a Google announcement. Work is flying me out there and paying for my hotel on Tuesday night. However, because of the cost, I’m flying back on Friday afternoon.

So I’m looking for a place to stay Wednesday and Thursday night. I have to work remotely on Thursday and on Wednesday I’ll need to get from Mountain View to wherever I’m staying, but that can happen in the evening (I’ll be at Google headquarters for most of the afternoon then in the hotel lobby trying to write everything after that). And I guess I’ll need some help figuring out how to get to the airport on Friday. I’m not afraid to take public transit, I just need explicit directions.

If anyone has room for me and it’s not too much of a burden, let me know. I’ll be entertaining in the evenings, I swear!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It- OW!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It- OW!

Yesterday all of the news sources I knew of predicted that we’d get just 5 – 9 inches of snow overnight. Then  again, those same sources also said it wouldn’t start snowing until the afternoon. Judging by the inch of accumulation before I left the house at 9am, someone was clearly wrong.

I woke up this morning at 5 in order to go to the gym. I turned on WNYC and, lo, the news dude was all: “There’s 15 inches of snow in Central Park.” I looked out of my window at the courtyard of my building and, lo, it seems we got at least that much of here, too. Fabulous.

Thus, the gym was out, because none of the sidewalks had even begun to be shoveled and even walking down the middle of the somewhat plowed street was precarious. How do I know these things? I went out just to assess how bad things were and this is what greeted me at the front door:

Inwood, NYC, 1/27 Snowstorm

Here’s the scene from the bottom of the stairs:

Inwood, NYC, 1/27 Snowstorm

I attempted to make my way down those stairs. But, due to the near foot of snow and the impacted bits from others who were forced to leave their homes, every stair was a death trap. I fell down around the third step. Thankfully, a foot plus of snow is very soft. However, I wrenched my back attempting to not fall. Good times!

Since I was already down, I took a bunch of pictures of my street and the cross street. Note the “plowed” street, which is still unpassable unless you have 4 wheel drive. And the poor people who live up that hill…

Good thing I can work from home.

End of Year Donating

End of Year Donating

A few years ago I read a post by Jed Hartman wherein he listed all of the various organizations and charities he donates money to, usually at the end of the year. I’ve rarely been in a financial position to be a generous donor — one of the reasons I volunteer my time, instead — but this year I have a small bit of extra money and some worthy entities I want to support. And since I can never keep my mouth shut about the things I’m passionate about, I shall also take this opportunity to encourage you to join me in supporting them. It’s only a slightly evil plan, I know. Next time I will do better.

First up: It’s just been a few weeks since the Carl Brandon eReader Drawing fundraiser ended, so you might be a bit burned on this one. However, the Society is in the midst of another fund drive, this time to benefit their general fund. SF3 — the parent org of WisCon — recently awarded CBS a $2000 challenge grant. That means they will match any donations made in December and January up to $2K. The Drawing didn’t count toward this since all the money we raised in November is earmarked for the Butler Scholarship. Any general fundraising will support other activities of the Society, including the Parallax and Kindred awards. You can make a donation via PayPal here. However, if you send a check to the address on that page, CBS gets to keep more of your donation.

Next: If you’ve used Wikipedia any time in the last few months you probably noticed the banner at the top asking for donations. They are apparently within 1.1 million of reaching their goal, and I intend to donate. I know a lot of people scoff at Wikipedia, but I find it to be an incredibly useful resource for some information. I am on the site at least once a day, usually more. And having written an article about Wikipedia lately, I have an even greater appreciation of how important it’s become and how much work the Wikimedia Foundation puts into the site. Click here to donate.

Finally: As much as NPR sometimes makes me roll my eyes, I have to admit that public radio is a constant part of my life. I wake up to it every morning, I’m always downloading podcasts, and I’ve even been a guest. So I’m going to send a bit of change to WNYC and WBAI (which is Pacifica, not NPR). And, who knows, someday you might hear me on the radio begging you to send us money so we can continue operating. I promise, I will not be as annoying or horrifying as Ira Glass.