So, some liberal authors(and some of their crowds) have raised a ruckus over the Dragon Award nominations. Three authors, John Scalzi, N.K. Jemisin, and Allison Littlewood, asked to withdraw from the ballots, either because they didn't want to face a popular campaign with no gatekeeping entry fee, or for virtue signalling points with the tradpub/SJW crowd.
What was the response? DragonCon decided to allow Jemisin and Littlewood to withdraw, and talked Scalzi into staying(I'll let others give commentary on that). Giving in to demands of this nature is a very "conservative" play, by which I mean it loses nobly and accomplishes nothing. To their credit, they are going to reissue ballots for those whose votes are affected by these. Here's DragonCon's official statement .
There are good reasons to not give in, and I'm going to talk about them first. But then, I'm going to discuss a PROPER response that would have allowed withdrawals as well. This is important, because giving the opponent a way out that doesn't damage you changes perceptions. But, the way they went does damage the perception, and plays to the Narrative against the awards.
So, first, why would you not allow withdrawals? Because though the award is for the work of authors and other content producers, IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM. Even in this press release, DragonCon states that the award is about the fans. DragonCon has a history of caring far more about the fans than the celebrities, and not inviting back ones that ignore fans, panels, etc.
Also, the biggest part of the complaining on Littlewood's part is that a bloc voted for her. Last year, Larry Correia was actively encouraged to campaign for the award, and this is after his time running Sad Puppy campaigns. So, because these fans are voting together, their voice doesn't matter? That's ridiculous. George R.R. Martin even finally had to admit that campaigning had ALWAYS existed in the Hugos awards, of course, downplaying it because it was behind closed doors.
Now, I can understand concern over voter fraud. But that's not what they're talking about here. How would I combat fraud? First, check things by IP. Second, I would, at a later date determined randomly, send a confirmation email that REQUIRES a reply. Yes, I'm saying people need to watch their inbox and junk email. If no reply occurs within a specified time period, delete their nominations.
Now, as to how I would allow for withdrawal if I were them. Make it permanent. Yes, if you're going to allow for withdrawal from a fan award with a reputation for favoring fans over celebrities, deny them forever. Why? Right now, they're also playing a game of the Dragons not being real, legitimate awards. The next step, to take it the rest of the way, is to deny them a professional presence at DragonCon in perpetuity, for denying the fans.
DragonCon, play the role of a proper good dragon, protecting something precious. If you don't, they will corrupt you, and then, you will have to face St. George someday.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.