(image from io9 article cited below)
Like many others, I was horrified enough by the slate nominating that went on this year to pay my $40 and becoming a supporting member of Worldcon. This entitles me to vote on this year's Hugo nominees and nominate works next year.
I haven't ever done this before (even though I have been reading scifi and fantasy all my life) because I never felt like I read enough scifi and fantasy (and particularly in the year it was released) to have an educated opinion. I let more timely and voluminous readers take care it for me, and looked over the nominees and winners for reading ideas.
But this year, slates entered the picture in a big way. In some of the categories, every single slot was taken up by a slate listing. In the most egregious example, slate author John C. Wright is taking up three of the five slots for Best Novella.
Slates are extremely powerful. In normal voting everyone reads different stuff and has different tastes, so no one work will receive more than maybe 10% of the nominating votes. But slate voters agree to vote on the same five nominees for each category. This means a slate needs to come up with about 10% of the nominating votes to sweep every category. The 90% of individual voters are swamped and overwhelmed by the 10% of slate voters. Lest you think I am exaggerating, over two thirds of the slots on this year's Hugo ballot are on the Sad Puppy Slate or the Rabid Puppy Slate, or both.
I am really afraid that if these slates see any success at all, it will be slates all the way down from now on. Therefore, in order to whatever I can to discourage slates in future years, I plan to only vote for non-slate works above "no award."
While the extreme sexist and racist attitudes of some of the slate organizers sickens me, it is the damage to the Hugo awards that will be done by slates that motivated me to get involved this year. I don't want slates of progressive writers either.
Note: you too can pay $40 for a supporting membership (it is more of you are attending the con) and vote on the Hugo awards (and nominate next year). Go here:
You will receive a reading packet with most of the works for free, so it helps offset the cost.
Some links related to the slate voting this year: