Nathaniel Givens supports the Sad Puppy goals but has major disagreements with some aspects of this year's campaign. He's also written a very good post pointing out these issues and making suggestions for next year's Sad Puppy slate:
I support the stated goals of Sad Puppies, and I hope they run the campaign again next year, but only on the following conditions:
- Pick better books. Some of the picks were great. Others were… really not.
- Pick the books for the right reasons: because the work is good, not because the author is important / wrote a lot / etc.
- Make the pre-nomination process more transparent.
- Do not ask for or notify any authors that their works will be included. This puts the authors in a terrible position and is not a standard practice.
- In every category, nominate either 1-2 works or 8+ works. Doing this prevents the accusation of slate-voting and will also make it very unlikely that the Puppies will sweep any categories.
- Tell people that this is the plan, and do so earlier.
If they don’t do this–and it looks like they won’t–then I’m going back to my default position: A pox on both your houses.
I agree with Givens that if the puppies did this then there would be far less backlash to their campaign. And I say that as someone who disagrees with slate voting and opposed this year's puppy slate along with their tactics and political views.
What outraged me the most about this year's puppy campaign is they blocked any non-slate stories or people from making the Hugo ballot in most categories. It was this fact which damned them in my eyes. Yes, I disagree with the puppies' political goals. But I've disagreed with many people in the genre and still enjoyed reading their stories and working with them.
As Givens states in his post, the problems with the puppies' campaign were revealed when The Three-Body Problem was initially denied a slot on the final ballot. When the novel made the ballot after another novel was withdrawn by its author, a number of the puppies said this was exactly the type of science fiction they want to see on the ballot.
So basically there was a novel many of the puppies felt should win a Hugo, and which many others in the genre felt the same about, and it nearly didn't make the ballot because of the puppy campaign. That, in a nutshell, is the problem with blindly voting for a slate of nominees.
I read all the works on the puppy slate and I agree with Givens that many of them were not Hugo worthy. That fact, along with people being outraged about the slate voting, caused the results we witnessed.
I doubt the puppies will listen to me but for what it's worth, Givens is correct. If next year's puppy campaign follows his advice, I imagine they'd be far more successful.