The Hugo Awards were presented last night at WorldCon, and a lot of people were waiting to see how it would all shake out. If you haven't been following the whole Puppies mess, the short version is that a group of SF authors who have been previously nominated for Hugos but didn't win decided to run a nomination slate to try to get things they like on the ballot. They've tried this for a couple years without much success, but this year the combination of a racist, loudmouth author running a related slate and gaming's own 'organization' of reactionary misogynists getting involved did the trick. The Hugo nominations were gamed.
A lot of people freaked the hell out and declared the Hugos destroyed, or ruined, or what have you. Last night proved that wrong. A number of categories had no award, but that's happened before and will again, just possibly not in the same numbers. The big award (Best Novel) was awarded to a book that is by all reports amazing, and basically none of the slate nominees got a thing. The main result of this whole thing was to highlight just how few people bother to nominate for the Hugos and to sell a heck of a lot more supporting memberships to this year's convention than any previous (though the total number of people voting was apparently only about half the number of memberships; about 11,300 memberships were sold, and just short of 6,000 ballots were cast.)
The part that really fascinates me comes from the voting and balloting statistics that are released each year once the awards have been handed out. Going through the nomination numbers, it looks like a little over 200 people voted a Puppies slate, and about 160 of those voted the racist asshole's version. 6,000 ballots were cast in the final vote, but only 200 or so people were able to game the nomination. Admittedly this year's vote total is skewed by people who specifically voted either in support or protest of this whole nonsense, so let's look at the 2014 totals. 3,587 total ballots were cast last year. So about 6% of last year's total vote. That's all it took.
And that's the lesson of all this. Angry assholes are really good at being loud, puffing themselves up, and making themselves look bigger than they are. The jerks on your game's forum or on Twitter or wherever? They're a minority making themselves look like the majority through volume (in both meanings of the word). They only win if we stand aside and let them.