1944 Retro Hugo Ballot Error Corrected

Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas)

With 10 Days left to vote, the Hugo Administrators have discovered an error in their tally of the nominations for the 1944 Retro Hugo for Best Fanzine and updated the ballot.

Nicholas Whyte, Hugo Administrator for Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon, explains:

In fact, Guteto, edited by Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas) received enough votes to qualify for the final ballot; and Fantasy News, edited by William S. Sykora, did not.

We have accordingly revised the online ballot, and the downloadable ballot form, to reflect that Guteto is a finalist in this category, and that Fantasy News has been disqualified. Write-in votes for Guteto on previously printed hard copy versions of the ballot will be accepted.

We apologize to voters, and to the estates of Myrtle R. Douglas and William S. Sykora, for the inconvenience.

Scans of Guteto can be read at Fanac.org.

The deadline for votes on the Hugo final ballot is 11.59 pm, Pacific Daylight Time, on July 31.

Morojo promoted Esperanto as a world language in the pages of Guteto.

20 thoughts on “1944 Retro Hugo Ballot Error Corrected

  1. So, with ten days to go, a fair number of the hardcopy ballots will likely have been mailed in?

    And, that’s not much time even for those of us voting electronically to find copies.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just cranky due tot he heat.

  2. I found Guteto fascinating, when I researched 1940s fanzines and am glad it made the ballot. But otherwise I agree with Lis. Mistakes happen, but ten days to go is way too late for this correction.

  3. Lis – to set your mind at rest, we’ve had precisely one mailed-in ballot so far, and it left this category blank. And I have now contacted everyone who had cast a vote at any level of preference for Fantasy News to let them know of the change; there were not a lot of them. It’s not ideal, but we had to make the choice between admitting the mistake and fixing it now, or doing nothing and waiting until after the ceremony.

  4. From Nicholas’s note, it sounds as though 1) they’ve let everyone voting in this category know this, 2) hardly anyone is voting in this category, and 3) ballots don’t seem to be entirely secret.

  5. Evelyn C. leeper: ballots don’t seem to be entirely secret

    Paper ballots have to be entered into the electronic system by someone, and checked to ensure that the person has not also nominated/voted electronically. I’m okay with the Hugo Administrator doing that.

    The Hugo Admin has to start doing data normalization of the nominations as soon as they start coming in, to ensure that all of the nominations for a given person or work, regardless of spelling or formatting, are properly aggregated. On occasion, this may involve the Hugo Admin contacting the nominator to verify exactly what it is that they intended to nominate. I’m also okay with that.

    In addition, it’s easy enough to do a software query which says, “give me the e-mail addresses of everyone who has voted in Category X” to send them an e-mail saying “something has changed, and you’ll need to validate and possibly re-enter your votes for this category”. I’m okay with that, too.

    If we were nominating and voting for kink fiction, I might not be comfortable with the Hugo Admin knowing how I nominated and voted, but for SFF, the idea that one person — who is responsible for making sure that things are counted properly and letting voters know if they need to re-do something on their ballot — might see my selections does not bother me.

  6. @JJ: A resounding ditto. It’s tough to count and audit and do any sort of quality control if the Hugo admins can’t do their job. BTW when is this new kink fiction category being proposed??? 😉

    That said, I’m immensely curious how something like this gets discovered this late in the process, given that nominations were processed over two months ago. I’m guessing some late-stage auditing process, but over two months is kinda late to be auditing nominations.

  7. Hugo Award ballots have never been totally secret. They use the “trusted administrator” model: hire a trustworthy administrator and trust them to do their job handling sensitive information. There’s a reason there aren’t a lot of people we trust with the job.

    Site Selection, in contrast, is a “trust nobody” model, in which the Administrator attempts to never see the individual votes and everything is supposed to be done in the presence of the Administrator and all of the filed bids. This isn’t always easy as many voters ignore instructions designed to keep their ballots anonymous. (We went through this in Layton a few weeks ago, where voters tended to fill out their ballots before coming to the table to get their eligibility validated and pay their voting fees, and didn’t seem to care much if those of us sitting behind the table saw how they voted.

  8. Yeah, I’m cranky about them discovering the mistake so late, but I can’t see any method at all of verifying ballots without having someone designated as trustworthy to look at the whole ballot. Let’s please not pick on them for what they’re doing right.

  9. @Kendall

    Perhaps they are putting together a Hugo admin decisions report like they did for Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. Or it was discovered as they were putting together the long list part of the stats that come out after the Hugo ceremony.

    Too bad that it was missed earlier. But better now then when it’s too late to change anything I suppose.

  10. The press release/notification should have contained a specific explanation about how this error was discovered.

  11. You know, I still haven’t seen this info reported by Worldcon directly. I saw it first at The Hugo Awards site, then here, and also at Locus. They’ve changed the finalist listing on their website, but I don’t see mention of the change on their blog or other social media. Did I miss it?

  12. Laura: Did I miss it?

    I haven’t seen it on Twitter or Facebook, but I did get a Member Newsletter #3 e-mail about it.

  13. JJ: Ok, I haven’t gotten that yet. Not in spam either. When did you receive it? Last one I got was #2 about a month ago.

  14. Guteto is more of an Esperanto advocacy zine than an SF zine, although since it was published by big name fans, it does touch on SF a fair amount.

    Fantasy News is much more of a mainstream SF zine, and to my mind, more worthy of the award, with the following caveat: the publisher of Fantasy News (William Sykora) was involved in some child molestation scandals, and that’s sufficient for me to not support the work. YMMV

    a 1943 issue of Guteto

    a 1943 issue of Fantasy News

  15. When I still hadn’t received Newsletter #3 by Wed, I sent them an email. Apparently it brought a database issue to their attention. I’ve now received it, and so should any other affected members. (I’d previously received #1 and #2 just fine, and also today’s Hugo voting reminder.)

  16. And now I see the error’s been mentioned on Dublin 2019’s social media too.

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