2016 Hugos: Some Initial Stat Analysis

So they put the stats up already.

It’s actually a pretty easy analysis this year to see what the Rabid Puppy numbers were in the Nomination and Final stage. We can use Vox Day himself to do that: on the Rabid Puppies, he included himself in the “Best Editor Long Form” category and then later, in his final vote post, suggested himself as #1 in that category. Given the controversy surrounding him, I think we can safely assume that almost all the votes for him were from the Rabid Puppies.

So, here’s where he landed:

Nomination stage:

801 Toni Weisskopf 45.41%
465 Anne Sowards 26.36% *
461 Jim Minz 26.13%
437 Vox Day 24.77%
395 Mike Braff 22.39% **
302 Sheila Gilbert 17.12% 287
Liz Gorinsky 16.27%

So that means 437 votes for the Rabid Puppies in the nomination stage. This is in line with other obvious Puppy picks: Somewhither by John C. Wright with 533,(novels always pick up more votes), 433 votes for Stephen King’s “Obits” (King is a major author, but no one thinks of him for a Hugo), 387 for “Space Raptor Butt Invasion,” 482-384 in the Puppy swept Best Related Work category, 398 for the Castalia House blog, and so forth. That’s a stable enough range for me to say that the Rabid Puppy strength in the nomination stage was 533-384, with around 440 being right in the middle.

So what happened? The Rabid Puppy vote collapsed from the Nomination to the Final Voting stage. This most likely happened because you can nominated in 2016 for free (provided you paid in 2015), but to vote in the final stage in 2016, you had to pay again. Here’s the stats from the first round of the Best Long Form Editor:

Vox Day 165

It’s highly unusual to get 437 votes in the nomination stage and then collapse to 165 in the more popular, more voted in final stage. That 165 represents the most “Rabid” of the Rabid Puppies; some of the other Rabid Puppy picks did considerably better in the first round of voting “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” got 392 votes in the first round of Short Story, for instance. It’s hard to know what exactly to chalk that up to at this point—people enjoying the joke, a broader pool of Rabid Puppy associated voters who didn’t want to vote Vox Day #1 in Long Form Editor.

My initial conclusion then would be around 440 Rabid Puppies in the nomination stage but less than 200 in the final voting stage. Thoughts? Seeing something I’m not?

33 responses to “2016 Hugos: Some Initial Stat Analysis”

  1. MadProfessah says :

    What happened to all the Puppies who follow VD’s every word? Did only ~165 of them buy memberships for MidAmericaCon II?

    Does that mean the intensity of feelings (on both sides) is diminishing and thus the 2016 nominations will be Puppy-free?

    When do we find out whether EPH passed??

    • chaoshorizon says :

      EPH is at the business meeting tomorrow.

      165 core Rabid Puppies would get you 1-2 picks in lesser categories like Best Related Work (EPH would cut that down to 1), and nothing in the big categories like Best Novel.

      • greghullender says :

        I think Vox Day has 165 followers who are real, long-term fans. They’ve been his core support for years now, and they buy memberships every year–not because they love Vox Day (although they do) but because they’re fans.

        I think he got a few hundred people from outside fandom to join his crusade last year and buy memberships on the belief that they’d actually win some awards. When that failed, many of them didn’t bother to nominate this year, and none of them paid for new memberships.

        I think the numbers are also affected by a certain number of people who really did take his lists as recommendations. These are folks who like VD and respect his opinion, but they don’t vote without reading. They blur the numbers.

        In my view, VD really screwed the pooch this year with his nominations. By nominating works that really were Hugo-worthy, he blew his last opportunity to force the membership to give no-award in most categories. He seems to have overestimated how much people cared about him vs. the actual works.

        And now that EPH and 5/6 has passed, he has forever lost the ability to “destroy the awards.” With luck, he’ll find something else to occupy his time next year.

  2. camestrosfelapton says :

    I don’t know. The Rabid vote across other categories looks bigger but that could be a lingering Sad Puppy contingent.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      True, some considerably so. However, people could have decided to judge them on their own merits, not their “Puppiness.” There’s no reason someone giving the works an honest chance wouldn’t have voted King first, or liked the book on Gene Wolfe. But I do agree with you: there’s probably another group of voters partly sympathetic to the Rabid Puppies but not fully so—i.e. the group that didn’t vote Vox Day #1 in Editor but eventually placed him before No Award.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        Some more numbers to back up a lower Rabid Puppy number than expected: VD’s pick for Fancast was Rageholic, which only managed 166. In Best Fanzine, he suggested File 770 then Castalia House; we can compare the first to second round Castalia House number (90 to 213) to see that there weren’t many voters who followed the picks exactly. Now, there is a group of readers (that 90 who voted Castalia House #1) who seem to support Vox Day but don’t follow his orders, kind of “rogue” Rabid Puppies if you will. So I wouldn’t say 165 is the extent of influence, just the extent of those who are organized.

      • camestrosfelapton says :

        Yes, I agree now. Went and crunched some numbers and 160 keeps coming up https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/estimating-rabid-puppy-numbers/ at least for Rabids following the slate strongly.

  3. Ampersand says :

    A lot of folks I know who dislike the Puppy campaigns, really love Chuck Tingle.

    • Bill Stewart says :

      Chuck is going to get a lot of Best Fan Writer noms next year.

      • Alison Scott says :

        I hope not; I’ve not seen any fan writing at all by him ever, only professional writing. It’s like Randall Monroe getting noms in Fan Artist for the work that had made him a millionaire.

  4. greghullender says :

    You were definitely closer than I was in your estimate of how many rabid puppies there were. I’ll take some solace that I seem to have predicted almost all the unannounced withdrawals. 🙂

    These numbers will take a little while to digest. That number 165 (or close to it) appears quite a bit over the years in connection with Vox Day. I wonder if it actually means anything.

  5. Lela E. Buis says :

    Sorry I can’t get this straight, it’s pretty late in this time zone and I can’t see where to edit posts. Day published recommendations for the nominations, one preliminary that I posted first above and once final for the nomination that I’ve posted the the second post. He also posted an ordered list for the final vote,, which is in my third post above. This might help in figuring out who voted for what.

  6. spacefaringkitten says :

    Last year VD made a big deal out of the fact that his supporters possibly had a hand in the rocket ultimately finding its way to Cixin Liu’s trophy vault. Hard to come up with a good spin this time.

  7. Aaronite says :

    The whole Puppy thing disgusts me, but I did vote for Obits because I honestly preferred it.

  8. protestmanager says :

    Last year I was AdPuppy all the way, because I really wanted to see the Hugos improved back to something that wasn’t a warning label (which is what it’s been for the last decade).

    After the no award fiasco, I switched to Rabid Puppies, because that’s what the Hugos now deserve.

    Why the dropoff between nominations and voting? Why bother voting? There’s a clique that owns the voting, there’s no point in wasting money (and giving money to MidAmericaCon2 would definitely be wasting it) getting involved in all that. The fun’s in the nominations.

    Oh, and I hope EPH does pass. Because it’s going to be a fun statistics project figuring out how to best game it.

    Last year all you “So Award” voters decided to burn it all down. I’m happy to help

  9. airboy says :

    I agree with your analysis of the Rabid vote.

  10. Mark says :

    I feel there’s a Sad Puppy element who have “gone rabid” since last year and also a separate element who have remained “sad” but often follow VD on the most obvious trolling picks (e.g. Tingle) to express their sense of grievance but use their own picks otherwise. A good spot to look for these rump SP is the 85 noms for Jason Rennie in BESF, who is a notable puppy but wasn’t picked by VD in that particular category, although SciPhi was for semi-pro.

    • Lela E. Buis says :

      There was actually a coincidence of recommendations between Sad and Rabid Puppy slates, for example, the novelette “Folding Beijing,” File 770 and Andy Weir. This would have boosted the Puppy vote in these categories.

  11. greghullender says :

    Okay, I have a new estimate, using a trick to extract more info from the EPH data. I’ve also got updated estimates for 2014 and 2015 nominations.


    So I figure 300 to 400 nominating–double 2015, and with more discipline. In fact, it looks like 300 hard-core slaters who voted the slate, the whole slate, and nothing but the slate in ALL categories, plus about 150 slate-influenced voters who picked and chose selected things from the slate, but didn’t vote the whole thing.

    I get about about 200 to 400 voting for the final ballot–half of 2015, and with little discipline.

    This supports the narrative that says no one expected the sweep in 2015, and it inspired a bunch of Rabid puppies to buy memberships to try for an outright win at Sasquan. When they lost, those folks were still around to express their displeasure by nominating in 2016 (which was at no extra charge) but most of them weren’t willing to pay money just to lose again on the final ballot. By that account, we’d expect only 200 or fewer Rabid Puppies nominating in 2017.

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