Time to chime in, I guess (on the whole Geoffrey/Ronald/KJA/writing-thingy).
First off, of course tastes differ, yada, yada. Secondly, someone could conceivably "write" great books by dictating them, and they might even be able to do so in a very short time (Pratchett, while using a keyboard, writes more and more each year and they get better and better). I do not put much stock in the dictahiking method personally, but while I do consider it an indication that someone may not be entirely giving it his all, it does not, in itself, make anyone talentless or a hack. Neither does writing in someone elses universe - being a writer for hire does, again, indicate somewhat that you are not sticking your neck out for a personal creative vision, but is rather accepting money to add to someone else's ideas.
These are the things the debate has focused on, and I agree with Geoffrey that they do not, in themselves, a hack or a bad human being make.
But you really should take the advice to heart, which has popped up time and again, to aquaint yourself with the particular case that is KJA.
The reason Dune fans are pissed at KJA is threefold: He is lying about, and badmouthing us. He is lying about, and badmouthing Frank Herbert. And he is lying about, and taking a bit metaphorical shit on, Dune and it's legacy.
You can read for yourself KJA's comments about the fans who dislike his books. You can ready his "attempts" to give answers to the huge discrepancies he has introduced (which he claim does not exist, strawmans or ignores). That is the personal side, but just to be absolutely clear - this is not a writer who is receiving bile from a fanbase only because they did not like what he wrote; he has used his superior PR to slander us, and misrepresent our case.
The second part is lying about Frank Herbert. KJA and his co-author (?) claims to have found certain notes, and claims that various parts of his writing is based on those. Not only are the stories (!) of the notes contradictory, but KJA is deliberately confusing canonicity by contradicting Frank Herbert and claiming Herbert intended it this way all along.
Which leads us to the third part. When I heard Frank's son was collaborating on a continuation I was cautiously interested. Dune and it's sequels are complex, and a lot of stuff can go wrong in trying to follow something as brilliant and multi-levelled. I ordered the two first chapters of the first prequel. First sentence started: "The Baron Harkonnen, lean and muscular..."
In Dune, the Baron is a hedonist, fat and disgusting. In fact, he revels in disgusting people. He instills fear by being explicit about what he does with small slave boys. He has, Frank's words, "let himself go fat". Deliberately. His grossness and overconsumption is likened to an animal outlook and personality, which is a major theme and contrasted with other factions such as the Atreides and Bene Gesserit. It also ties into the theme of technology; the Baron has to use anit-gravity devices to be able to move around! He is the antithesis of self-reliance and being in balance (ha, didn't see that pun before
) with yourself and your environment - obviously contrasted the fremen and the philosophy of the Bene Gesserit.
I am not writing all this to say: the baron was fat in Dune, how dare you make him slim in the prequel. The interesting thing is this: In KJA's Dune universe, the Baron is naturally lean with no sign of going fat, until a Bene Gesserit gives him a disease with her vagina, as revenge for a rape! The Bene Gesserit who, by the way, are characterizing in Dune as being above vengeance, and have never used a biological weapon.
Gone is the man who embraced his animal side. Gone is the total lack of selfcontrol. Gone is the hedonist. Gone is the uncaring psychopath who uses peoples disgust as simple another tool of power. Gone is the Baron Frank wrote about.
And KJA claims that his version is now canon, that whatever me, any other fan, or Frank Herbert thought about the Baron, we can just forget about - because here's the truth; it was just a vagina-vengeance-virus.
This is one example. One. KJA does this over and over again; uncaringly glossing over and contradicting Frank's ideas and themes - for shock value.
The Fremen about to go on their holy crusade, train to submerge in the water which is holy to them. They are on a holy quest, a people whose laws, ethics and religion have become one - but these fanatics (who are willing to throw their babies at enemy soldiers for distraction) only have the courage to jump in when offered a gold coin at the bottom. Wow!
The grand plan to save humanity, by dispersing it so no one threat could ever consume it, is shown to be a mistake by KJA - we need everyone together to fight the evil robot empire which Frank never told you about. You might as well make a sequel to The Lord of the Rings where Gandalf secretly saved the ring, so they could use it to fight the evil robot empire Tolkien never told you about.
Frank's major point with Dune (he said so directly in interviews) was the danger of the hero myth. Guess how the Dune saga is ended, KJA-style? Yup, a semi-goddess (which Frank never told us about, funny about that, hu?) whisks all the bad guys away. Wow, guess heroes are nifty to have around anyway!
I could go on, and have, elsewhere, at length. As I said, you should really read Dune and then compare it to KJA's additions. He is not a hack because of the way he writes - he is a hack because he is talentless, goes for shock value and has zero respect for the universe he writes in, it's themes, fans or original author.