One of the organizers of Sad Puppies 4 recently requested one or more panel slots at the 2016 WorldCon (where the Hugos are awarded). I am all for this!!!
Last year’s WorldCon was marred by the Sad/Rabid Puppies fiasco, but you’d barely know it if you were just a general attendee. Basically nothing was said about it publicly, aside from a veiled mention here and there, and half of a single panel that obliquely discussed it without mentioning it directly. The only time it was directly talked about was during the Awards Ceremony itself. It was like the family matriarch had just been diagnosed with cancer and no one was willing to talk about it yet.
I am a strong advocate for getting things out in the open. Last year there was virtually no cross-talk between the factions, because everything was so hushed up. Everyone stayed in their own little cliques. If we won’t talk with each other, then we cannot resolve our grievances. This year I think having a panel in the largest room available, with luminaries from both sides, would be fantastic. For every Kate Paulk or Larry Correia on the panel, we need a John Scalzi or George RR Martin as well. Smart, charismatic, well-spoken people who are willing to engage the other side respectfully. With a neutral moderator, of course.
And they should not be allowed to sit at opposite sides of the table. Too much like having opposing sides with borders. Mix them up, keep the human aspect real.
I admit, I’m a bit disappointed that this is only now happening. In 2015 I was a coordinator of literary programming for Denver Comic Con. We had two Sad Puppy nominated authors at our con (Kevin Anderson and Jim Butcher, both nominated for Best Novel)! I attempted to set up a panel discussing the Sad Puppy controversy, and both declined. I can kinda understand it from their side–as authors without direct involvement in the movement, they didn’t want to get too mixed up in the controversy (although in my opinion their silence and acceptance of the nomination was a tacit endorsement anyway). However I also put a lot of effort into getting Sarah Hoyt to come to Denver Comic Con. She was a very vocal Sad Puppy supporter. This year she’s one of the Sad Puppy 4 leadership! She also turned me down, and ultimately I had to cancel the panel because no Pro-Puppy people would agree to talk about the issue. I was unwilling to have a one-sided panel of people bashing the Puppies. I am glad to see that she’s changed her mind, and is now willing to talk about the Sad Puppies. But I wish she’d have been willing to do so at DCC2015, I would have loved to have a panel on the topic then. Maybe I’ll try again this year. :)
The vile Vox Day, of course, shouldn’t even be let in the building.