WarriorI’m experiencing a certain déjà vu in the current flame war about the Hugos. I have to come out as a long time resident of the Internet and frequent participant in online flame wars myself. It’s nice to be on the fringes for once and to write unheated commentary from the comfort of my house with a nice cup of tea in hand.

I’ve already described the current conflict as a proxy war conducted over the Internet. The important question is what this is really about. In general, this is a question asked too late in any war. For example, was the US Civil War really about slavery, or was it about conflicting economic systems and political influence? Was the French Revolution about no food for the masses, or was it about taxation to service the French national debt? Looking at the current Hugo conflict through the same lens, is this about social justice and diversity, or is it mainly about notoriety and personal influence?

As usual, it’s hard to pin the conflict down to one particular cause. With just a quick analysis, it seems to have components of power, influence, marketing and personal vendetta. Of course, this relates to what’s flying back and forth now, and not to the original mission statement of the Sad Puppies cadre, or the Rabid Puppies, either one.

As a mere short story writer, I’m coming late to the fray. I’m just picking up on the issues here. I don’t know what Vox Day has against Tor, but it looks to me like he’s attacking the editors as a way to get at the organization in general. As a battle-hardened flame warrior, I have to say that it’s important to look at the enemy’s intent instead of what s/he says. Attacks can be shut down if you know what they’re really about.

John Scalzi? Just a guess.