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This is just to correct one of the many talking points floating around the Hugo nominations. There is a conspiracy theory that Loncon 3 informed the Guardian ahead of time that Larry Correia's Warbound had been nominated for the 2014 Hugo for Best Novel, and as part of the evil conspiracy between Worldcon and the liberal press, the Guardian then commissioned Damien Walter to write a hit piece about Correia, so as to poison the latter's reputation in advance of the Hugo ballot's publication.

I know for sure that the timing of Damien Walter's piece was definitely not because the Guardian knew the details of the Hugo ballot before 11 April. I know this because, in my capacity as Loncon 3's Director of Promotions, it was I who sent that information to the Guardian on 17 April, six days after Damien Walters' article was published, and two days before the ballot was announced on 19 April. I myself saw the shortlist for the first time only on 14 April, three days after the publication of Damien Walters' article (which I don't think I had read until just now).

It is normal practice in media relations to give trusted and reliable outlets advance information of an upcoming announcement (especially if they ask really nicely), on the understanding that it won't be revealed until the agreed time ("under embargo" in the jargon). In this case I admit that it only partially paid off, as fully half of the article discussed the Wheel of Time nomination. I would have preferred the other finalists, including Correia, to get more equal coverage in the piece, and also to have had some mention of the other categories apart from Best Novel, but of course I had no control over what the Guardian wrote, and I was really just glad to get a generally positive story about Loncon 3. In fairness to the journalist, she was probably right to link her story about the (comparatively less well-known) Hugos to the Jordan/Sanderson epic, which many more readers will have heard of.

I don't know why Damien Walter's article (which incidentally mentions Correia in only one of its seven paragraphs, rather lame for a "hit piece") was published on 11 April, fully two months after the debate about Alex Dally McFarlane's Tor.com article about gender in sf; but I'm not particularly interested in that question. I do know that Damien Walter had no information about what was on the Hugo ballot before that was made public on 19 April; he wasn't even on our media release distribution list, then or at any stage of proceedings.

My saying this won't satisfy the conspiracy theorists, but I hope it will reassure the uncertain.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
jemck
Apr. 15th, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC)
Given this tedious mob's talent for spinning stories out of thin air, it's amazing they don't write better fiction...
fjm
Apr. 15th, 2015 04:47 pm (UTC)
No offence but you aren't the person who might have leaked.

Worldcons as we both know are the hosts of the award but the people with the information are the Hugo Committee, so the best you can say is that the Worldcon didn't leak it.

You are not in a position to say whether the Hugo Committee leaked although I think both of us would say we have very real trust in them.
drplokta
Apr. 15th, 2015 05:31 pm (UTC)
As a minor nit, the Hugo subcommittee each year (if there is one, which is customary but not required) is part of the Worldcon committee for that year. If the Hugo subcommittee leaks it, then that means the Worldcon did leak it. But not the Promotions division.
nwhyte
Apr. 15th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)
Look, Farah, this isn't helpful. THERE WAS NO LEAK. We know this because, if the Guardian already had the information, they would hardly have needed to ask me for it!!!

Mike is also correct in that the Hugo subcommittee are entirely within their rights to reach out to media sources on behalf of Worldcon. In this case, they didn't, and liaison with the Guardian was handled by me.
errolwi
Apr. 15th, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC)
I don't think it is helpful to ignore the very improbable fact that people might be lying to you. It isn't as if the conspiracy-lovers aren't going to think and say it themselves.
There is no way to absolutely prove that a leak didn't happen. Which is a completely different proposition from claiming that the known facts prove that one did.
It is also very telling that a mention in one paragraph makes it a 'hit piece', this from people that claim others are 'whiners'.
nwhyte
Apr. 15th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC)
These things are always likely to be on the balance of probablilities, I agree; I don't believe my role was so central that people would have felt the need to lie to me, when they could have just told me not to bother talking to the Guardian, and that would have been one less thing for me to do.

The fact is that the conspiracy theory has no legs, as you agree. If it did, the Guardian's actual reporting of the nominations would have criticised Correia too!
fjm
Apr. 15th, 2015 07:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry Nicholas bit it's your post that isn't helpful as I've tried to show. I think it was a mistake for you to write or post it. It's so hole-y that a child can see the flaw. All it does is stoke conspiracy.

All you had to say was "the timing is wrong to suggest a leak: here is the timeline"
nwhyte
Apr. 15th, 2015 08:21 pm (UTC)
No offence, but I think you have better things to do than comment further here.
filkerdave
Apr. 15th, 2015 07:31 pm (UTC)
My saying this won't satisfy the conspiracy theorists, but I hope it will reassure the uncertain.

Since they seem to be making a concerted effort towards paranoia, I'm pretty sure there is NOTHING that would satisfy them.
a_d_medievalist
Apr. 15th, 2015 08:43 pm (UTC)
I just wonder why people assume that all voting is done with intent. I am fairly sure that I am not the only person who didn't vote on particular awards because she thought it would be unfair to vote in a category where she hadn't managed to read at least a major part of each work. I am probably not the only person to have voted for one or two things in a category, and then "no award", because I didn't think the other things were Hugo-worthy. Seriously, what happened to "sometimes people have different ideas of what is good"?
rmc28
Apr. 15th, 2015 09:59 pm (UTC)
That article's not a "hit piece"! Good grief, and Correia complains about "SJWs" looking for things to get offended about.
mecurtin
Apr. 16th, 2015 02:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm almost baffled by his characterization. I mean, does Correia think the article doesn't present his views accurately?
rmc28
Apr. 16th, 2015 09:44 am (UTC)
Yes, but it doesn't agree with him, and it calls his writing "virulent" and "nonsense". Clearly a vicious takedown.
catsittingstill
Apr. 16th, 2015 12:01 am (UTC)
The article barely mentions Larry Correia. It's true the one sentence he does get is about him losing his ...composure....over something completely harmless, which doesn't make him look all that good, but it is correctly reporting something he did that is germane to the rest of the story, without particularly dwelling on it.

Some people have the paranoia worse than others, I guess.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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