Hitch in Sasquan Nominating Data Turnover

Plans to make transcribed data from the 2015 Hugo nominating ballots available upon request have been put on hold.

E Pluribus Hugo advocates, who want to use the data to demonstrate the EPH vote tallying method is effective at coping with slates, got the Sasquan business meeting to pass a non-binding resolution (item B.2.3) asking for the release of anonymized raw nominating data from the 2015 Hugo Awards.

When the resolution passed, Sasquan Vice-Chair Glenn Glazer announced Sasquan would comply with the request. The intent was to provide equal access to the data, and those interested in receiving a copy were invited to e-mail the committee.

However, Glazer confirms he recently e-mailed the following update to a person who requested the data, as reported by Vox Day:

Back at Sasquan, the BM passed a non-binding resolution to request that Sasquan provide anonymized nomination data from the 2015 Hugo Awards.  I stood before the BM and said, as its official representative, that we would comply with such requests.  However, new information has come in which has caused us to reverse that decision.  Specifically, upon review, the administration team believes it may not be possible to anonymize the nominating data sufficiently to allow for a public release.  We are investigating alternatives.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.  While we truly wish to comply with the resolution and fundamentally believe in transparent processes, we must hold the privacy of our members paramount and I hope that you understand this set of priorities.

Best, Glenn Glazer

Vice-Chair, Business and Finance

Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention

And Hugo Administrator John Lorentz added information in this follow-up e-mail:

What wasn’t included in Glenn’s statement is that this year’s Hugo system administrators are working with a committee composed of proponents of EPH, so that proposal can be tested without any privacy violations that might occur by releasing the data with no controls.

As Hugo administrators, we have always assure members that their votes are private and secret, and we don’t want to do something that might change that. That is our primary responsibility.

John Lorentz

Sasquan Hugo Administrator

On September 1, in an exchange between several commenters, Lorentz remarked the difficulties of anonymizing voter data, here at File 770:

[Commenter] “With the Hugo data, the only identifying info is the membership number. Remove that, and the ballot has been anonymized.”

[Brian C] No, it’s not nearly that simple.

You also need to eliminate any nominations that are unique to one or a handful of people, as otherwise those nominations could be used to identify people. But then those ballots aren’t actually representative for the purpose of testing the algorithm. So you need to actually replace those with other nominations, that happen not to perturb the algorithm in any way.

[John Lorentz]And that is the problem that our Hugo system admin folks have been running into. When one of them generated a draft of anonymized nominating data, it didn’t take the other very long to determine who some of the voters were, simply from the voting patterns.

Vox Day terms the latest development a “scandal.” Peter Grant was equally prompt to accuse Sasquan of having something to hide in “What, precisely, is going on with the Hugo Awards data?”

Folks, back in the 1980’s I was a Systems Engineer at IBM.  I’ve had well over a decade in the commercial information technology and computer systems business, in positions ranging from Operator to Project Manager, from Programmer to End-User Computing Analyst to a directorship in a small IT company.  Speaking from that background, let me assure you:  I can ‘anonymize’ almost any data set in a couple of hours, no matter how complicated it may be.  To allege that ‘it may not be possible to anonymize the nominating data sufficiently to allow for a public release’ is complete and utter BULL.  Period.  End of story.

However, one of Grant’s commenters pointed out: “Anonymizing data is harder than you think, if your goal is to actually make it truly anonymous. See what happened when AOL tried to anonymize search results, or when Netflix tried to anonymize movie recommendations.” And he cited a 2009 ArsTechnica article, adding “and metadata analysis hasn’t exactly gotten worse since then.”

The article says —

Examples of the anonymization failures aren’t hard to find.

When AOL researchers released a massive dataset of search queries, they first “anonymized” the data by scrubbing user IDs and IP addresses. When Netflix made a huge database of movie recommendations available for study, it spent time doing the same thing. Despite scrubbing the obviously identifiable information from the data, computer scientists were able to identify individual users in both datasets. (The Netflix team then moved on to Twitter users.)…

The Netflix case illustrates another principle, which is that the data itself might seem anonymous, but when paired with other existing data, reidentification becomes possible. A pair of computer scientists famously proved this point by combing movie recommendations found on the Internet Movie Database with the Netflix data, and they learned that people could quite easily be picked from the Netflix data.

EPH backers want to use the data to demonstrate their voting system. In comparison, a commenter at Vox Popoli said he wants to analyze the data to learn —

  1. How many slates there were in competition
  2. How good party discipline was for the various slates
  3. How many voted mixed slates of sad/rabid, TOR/SJW, etc.
  4. How the 4/6 and EPH proposals would have affected the outcome of the competing slates

Update 09/08/2015: Corrected the attribution of Brian C’s comment.

770 thoughts on “Hitch in Sasquan Nominating Data Turnover

  1. Where they had great success was in a very small number of categories.

    Using Sad to claim Rabid wasn’t that successful and Rabid to claim Sad wasn’t that successful is a neat rhetorical trick. If two groups of burglars rob your house and each take half your stuff, that doesn’t mean it was half as bad as it could have been.

  2. How can the Hugo admins possibly construct an non-disclosure agreement that will resist the magic of a skilled (ObSF) bureaucromancer?

    (Entertaining book. I don’t know if it’s Hugo-level or not because I’ve read so few novels that were actually published this year.)

  3. Almost unopposed?

    Yes.

    Sad Puppies had one category (out of 15) matched: Best Related Work. They had more categories completely defeated: Best Editor (Long) and Artist.

    Four of five Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Novel nominees. Correia declined his nomination and Kloos withdrew. The lone exception was Gannon’s Trial by Fire, which was by far the best novel on the slate.

    Three of three Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Novella nominees.

    Four of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Novelette nominees.

    Five of five Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Short Story nominees. Tuesday’s with Molokesh the Destroyer was disqualified on the ground that it was published in 2015. Bellet withdrew her story.

    Five of five Sad Puppies from the slate became best Related Work nominees.

    The single Sad Puppy from the slate in Best Graphic Story was nominated.

    Four of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Editor Short Form nominees

    Four of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Editor Long Form nominees.

    Three of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form nominees.

    Two of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form nominees.

    Four of four Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Professional Artist nominees. John Eno was disqualified on the grounds of having no qialifying work in 2014.

    Three of three Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Semi-Prozine nominees. Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show withdrew their nomination.

    Three of three Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Fanzine nominees.

    Three of three Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Fancast nominees.

    Five of five Sad Puppies from the slate became Best Fan Writer nominees. Matthew David Surridge declined his nomination.

    Three of three Sad Puppies from the slate became Campbell Award nominees.

    The Sad Puppies converted 56 of 60 slated candidates into nominees. Pretending that they were somehow meaningfully “opposed” is to deny reality.

  4. @Seth Gordon

    Flex is certainly on my longlist. I’ve read an awful lot of good books this year, though, and I’m in the middle of another and have a well recommended one waiting on the shelf behind it.

    But that was a really fun book. I’m glad you liked it too.

    (And if *you* think it’s Hugo level and want to nominate it, go for it. The Hugos are about what aggregate of nominators think; if you’re “wrong” because “you don’t read enough” the nomination will disappear in the noise anyway.)

  5. EPH defines slate differently than the larger fandom’ discussion. It sees a slate as only the “matchiness” of choices of (within) a given category.

    But limiting to only within a category is not the full definition, or picture, of a slate. That’s then the incomplete response/claim by EPH in its defense against “slates.” It is one of those fine print “deficiencies” that was noted with the system but not fully realized in detail in many discussions.

    For example, where there was but one single 2015 Sad (or Rabid Puppies Slate), EPH views it procedurally as fifteen separate unrelated slates (* ignoring the Campbell), one slate for each Hugo category. Whereas, a lot of fan discussion had even gone so far as to combine Sad and Rabids into one single super-Puppies slate; nearly no one was speaking in terms of categories as their own slates, much less 30 separate EPH-style slates between RP and SP in the way that EPH actually views a “slate.”

    So sticking to the EPH definition, which is fine, is a moving of the goal posts from the problem nearly everyone was actually consumed with for 2015 nominations.

    Silly but True

  6. @ Laertes

    If I could think of a pithy way to say “The Puppy Movement is unified when it suits me, but also the Sads and Rabids are totally separate things when that’s more convenient” then I’d add it to Puppy Bingo.

    Has anyone suggested “facultative separation” yet? Or maybe “spl-umping”?

  7. Rcade:

    “I’m curious about the idea that some nominations could be skipped from cleanup before the count was made. How is this possible when every single nomination had to be evaluated to determine whether it was for a widely nominated work or not?

    If I put “Lerner Tok” as a novelette nomination, would that be skipped because it seems like an obscure work that can’t possibly win? If so, that decision might cost Edward Lerner’s “Championship B’tok” a vote.”

    Yes, and this has happened. There was one graphic novel that lost its nomination because the administrators couldn’t connect the different names.

    This is not just an “idea”. This is what previous administrators has said in earlier threads.

  8. So sticking to the EPH definition, which is fine, is a moving of the goal posts from the problem nearly everyone was actually consumed with for 2015 nominations.

    Typing incoherent nonsense is not nearly as convincing a strategy as you seem to think it is.

  9. For example, where there was but one single 2015 Sad (or Rabid Puppies Slate), EPH views it procedurally as fifteen separate unrelated slates (* ignoring the Campbell), one slate for each Hugo category. Whereas, a lot of fan discussion had even gone so far as to combine Sad and Rabids into one single super-Puppies slate; nearly no one was speaking in terms of categories as their own slates, much less 30 separate EPH-style slates between RP and SP in the way that EPH actually views a “slate.”

    But that’s not an argument.
    EPH isn’t set up to detect slates. It’s specifically designed so that a slate still gets a vote – it just stops a slate of 10-15% of the voters dominating 100% of the result.

    If you want to detect slates, you’d do it differently.

  10. @Silly but True

    EPH quite deliberately doesn’t target “slates” precisely because of definitional problems. What it does do is calculate the Hugo shortlist in a way that just so happens to minimise the added-power effects of slating tactics if they happen to be in play.
    It looks at each category in turn because that’s how the Hugos work.

    Opposition to slating tactics doesn’t relate to the mathematics of EPH. We were against slates long before we were for EPH.

    ETA: I appear to be MK II, but am I an improvement?

  11. Vivienne Raper on September 8, 2015 at 12:29 am said:

    stop pretending this is a popular award or ‘prestigious’. Because it isn’t, especially not if less than 100 people are nominating the short stories.

    Okay, to you, 100 is not enough. How many would be? 500? 1000? 100,000? 1 million? Do we need to get a direct neural tap into every single human being before it’s enough to satisfy you?

    I keep hearing the “not enough” argument, no matter how many people participate. It’s an insidious form of goalpost-moving by people who IMO are convinced that if we just had more people participate, of course they’d get the results they personally wanted because of course most people think exactly like they do.

    If you do want a popular award, then accept that some SF&F readers may come to different conclusions than you’d like, and that their participation can’t be dependent on attending Worldcon because they live in a different country.

    What does attending Worldcon have to do with participating in the Hugo Award voting process?

    Mark on September 8, 2015 at 12:44 am said:

    (Clue: the Hugo admins aren’t on anyone’s side. At least one opposed EPH at the Business Meeting, for example.)

    Quite so. And while I am not one of the Administrators (and thus don’t have access to the raw data), I know from my correspondence with them (and because every one of them is a personal acquaintance whom I’ve known for years, not some anonymous faceless Them) that they are agonizing over the conflicting responsibilities here. The committee (despite misgivings from individuals on it) wants to comply with the request from the Business Meeting (although they’re not required to do so), but is deeply worried about individual members’ ballots being tied back to individuals without those members’ consent. (This is very different from you being able to spot the ballot of someone who posted his/her ballot preferences in public.)

    MC DuQuesne on September 8, 2015 at 1:07 am said:

    Oh, there’s still some chance the rot that has infiltrated your skull hasn’t completely consumed Worldcon in general. There’s still time to wipe the filth off and rescue the awards from the depths they’ve been unfortunately spelunking. Discriminatory elitism by a bunch of old white folks who are dying off is far from an unbeatable foe.

    Let me translate that into what you really want:

    “We’re too lazy to actually work at creating an award that does what we want, so we want move in and take over someone else’s award and dupe a bunch of losers into doing all of the work for us and to harvest all of the goodwill they’ve spent a lifetime accumulating.”

    Prove me and others wrong. Go set up the Real Awards and prove us wrong. Go set up the Real Convention for Real Fans of Really Really Really Good Stuff and prove that you are right in the free market of ideas. After all, nothing is stopping you for doing so other than your own inability to actually accomplish it.

    Mark Dennehy on September 8, 2015 at 3:07 am said:

    Yes, if Lorentz is happy that the code….

    You and others are speaking as though there is one and only one Hugo Award Administrator this year. This is not so. At the bare minimum, you are ignoring Ruth Sachter. But in fact, you’re ignoring the entire rest of the Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee (HASC), and you’re ignoring that the public statements have been coming from a different member of that committee (the senior member of the Sasquan committee who is also on the HASC). The full list of this year’s Awards Administrators is listed on the 2015 Hugo Awards page.

    John and Ruth aren’t particularly close to this specific decision. They’ve been working on getting trophies to the winners, not poking around ballot software.

    Happy Puppy on September 8, 2015 at 3:27 am said:

    [FUD]

    Some of the things you’re looking for, you weren’t going to get the data for anyway. The intent was not to give you the way to find out whether someone’s votes in one category correlated to that same person’s votes in another category. That’s because none of the proposals to modify the nominating process correlate choices across categories, only within the same category. So you can forget ever getting that level of detail.

    Incidentally, your hypothetical group of 50 DW fans voting in lockstep is something I’ve seen called an “inadvertent slate,” and EPH works against such clustering as well. The net effect is to increase diversity in finalists. You may have noticed that one of the other proposals that got first passage would limit a Dramatic Presentation series to not more than two finalist slots no matter how many votes it got. That would be a different approach to an issue observed in the BDP category, which some people complain is the “Best Doctor Who” category. (Ironically, when we were setting up the category in the first place, the complaint was that it would be the “Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer” category and nobody even mentioned DW that I recall.)

    Jim Henley on September 8, 2015 at 4:40 am said:

    Is Seattle really “close” to Spokane? That seems, from the other side of the continent, to be like saying Pittsburgh is “close” to Philadelphia. It’s not.

    In my experience, a lot of people who haven’t actually lived on the US west coast think everything here is in the same place. Disneyland is just outside of San Francisco. You can see the Space Needle from Portland. And obviously everything in the same state is within a few miles’ of everything else.

    On my first trip to Boston, I suggested that an acquaintance from Salem MA come in to Boston so we could meet in person. He said, “I don’t know. It’s awfully far to drive.”

    “Awfully far? Awfully far? I’ve lived in counties that are bigger than your whole state! How can anything in Massachusetts be “awfully far” from anything else?”

    The converse is that if you’ve never traveled between points by land out here, you simply don’t understand how far away places are from each other.

    Mark Dennehy on September 8, 2015 at 5:30 am said:

    Also, am I suffering from a bad memory, or did someone suggest that EPH go to committee in the BM and not get a second for the motion?

    I do not remember a motion to Refer to Committee on this proposal (excepting the technical matter of the Committee of the Whole). And note that I would have almost certainly appointed the lead proponent of the proposal to chair the committee because that’s how I handled other committee referrals. Committee chairs aren’t expected to be ‘non-partisan’ the way the Business Meeting Chair is. The BM Chair is a referee. A Committee Chair is more like a team captain.

    rcade on September 8, 2015 at 6:10 am said:

    Regarding data noise in Hugo nominations, there’d be less of it if the ballot had a search tool that could be used to find and select works. There would need to be a reasonably comprehensive database of Hugo-eligible works — a big undertaking, admittedly — but it would make the task of nominating easier for voters.

    And can you imagine the protests of official bias when someone couldn’t find the work s/he was looking for? No, the idea of having an Official Database of every single SF/F work published in the eligibility year is a non-starter. Locus doesn’t try that with their awards; their drop-down boxes (write-ins allowed) are their own Recommended Reading Lists. They can do this. It’s their award. The Hugo Awards aren’t supposed to show signs of official bias toward any work at all.

    Mark Dennehy on September 8, 2015 at 6:25 am said:

    The Admins’ workload would be rather high, especially if they’re not technically adept.

    This is not something about which you need to worry with the 2015 Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee.

  12. I’m suspecting that the AOL and Netflix studies were done over a period of time, which would have made it possible to determine surfing/viewing habits, whereas the nominations are a one-off snapshot that wouldn’t allow backward identification except under very specific and limited conditions.

  13. If I put “Lerner Tok” as a novelette nomination, would that be skipped because it seems like an obscure work that can’t possibly win?

    I’ve been playing with a system for cleaning noms where everything would be counted, though I’ve run into a “no free time” situation over the last few days.
    Basically take a set of unique combinations of category, title and author and build a fuzzy index from them, then pick a random entry and present it and similar entries to a ‘cleaner’ with a tick-box for each possible match. Repeat until finished. Tedious to do all at once, the 1984 set takes me around 90 minutes, but you can always break it into chunks and it would also possible to have several people each producing their own set of matches and then generating the final cleaned set from a concensus, eg 9/10 cleaners agree items 34, 93, 127 and 133 are all variations of unique item 27 but only 3 think 56 should be included so admin final decision required.
    I’m not trying to automatically clean the data, I’m aiming for multiple eyeballs doing the matching.

  14. Vivienne, the slating is, at this time, all being done by the canids. In the past, there were scatters small attempts meant, AFAICT, to benefit one nominee. There has been no large-scale ballot-box stuffing or slating until the canids decided that they needed awards.

  15. All the final hugo ballot shows is who got the most votes, not if those votes came from diverse ballots or from straight slate ballots.

    I have to assume that you’re speaking about the nominating ballots, because the final ballots don’t work that way.

  16. I’m suspecting that the AOL and Netflix studies were done over a period of time, which would have made it possible to determine surfing/viewing habits, whereas the nominations are a one-off snapshot that wouldn’t allow backward identification except under very specific and limited conditions.

    You can actually look up the details for those cases though. In the netflix case (I don’t know about the AOL one), the data was gathered over time but presented in a single dataset at a set time. There are similarities to how the nominations and votes could be sent in at any time until the votes closed and then the dataset was finalised for the Hugos. The damages sought in the netflix case were higher, but the data they were exposing was a lot more personal (in the specific case I remember, it was outing a woman who hadn’t come out to her family that she was a lesbian, which her selection of programming via netflix revealed – seriously, the amount you can learn from someone’s metadata is scary).

    I can’t quite see someone’s nominations being quite so damaging, but on the other hand, some communities might not like that someone was nominating comics based on sex or where the protagonist is muslim…

    Ultimately though, you just don’t take that risk because you can’t predict the outcome or take back the release of data.

  17. @Kevin Standlee

    That would be a different approach to an issue observed in the BDP category, which some people complain is the “Best Doctor Who” category. (Ironically, when we were setting up the category in the first place, the complaint was that it would be the “Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer” category and nobody even mentioned DW that I recall.)

    Simples: Dr Who was still on hiatus in the early 2000s. It does have an unfortunate tendency to get at least 3 on the ballot though, doesn’t it. A maximum of 2 seems like a sensible solution, although as you say it may be rendered unnecessary by EPH.

  18. Note that Bruce Schneier and I are talking about writing a paper about EPH. Though I haven’t asked him, I suspect he would be willing to spend at least some time thinking about the security implications of any anonymizing script I write. Obviously, he’s highly qualified for that; anything he’d sign off on would be pretty solid.

  19. Can anyone think of a popular vote award which is prestigious? Most prestigious awards are given either by juries or by closed-membership bodies, like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts.

  20. I keep hearing the “not enough” argument, no matter how many people participate

    Not enough people who read novelettes and participate.

  21. In a lot of the US, however, anyone can call themselves an engineer, the term’s not protected.

    The US has registered professional engineers, who have to meet standards for education and experience to get that license. (I know this because my father was a registered PE in California.)

  22. Note that Bruce Schneier and I are talking about writing a paper about EPH. Though I haven’t asked him, I suspect he would be willing to spend at least some time thinking about the security implications of any anonymizing script I write. Obviously, he’s highly qualified for that; anything he’d sign off on would be pretty solid.

  23. Note that Bruce Schneier and I are talking about writing a paper about EPH. Though I haven’t asked him, I suspect he would be willing to spend at least some time thinking about the security implications of any anonymizing script I write. Obviously, he’s highly qualified for that; anything he’d sign off on would be pretty solid.

    I like him, and I know he has a lot on his plate. But ask him to think deeply about what he has wrought.

  24. @Mark

    The last time Doctor Who had 3 entries on the final ballot was 2013.

    2014 there was 4 Doctor Who related works on the final ballot but only 2 of them were actual episodes from the series.

  25. Can anyone think of a popular vote award which is prestigious?

    Not really. The people who think that “more voters = more prestige” are probably also people who think internet polls are meaningful.

    Looking at the other awards that are generally regarded as prestigious, almost none of them are popular votes. The Nebula is voted on by the members of SFWA. The Clarke, World Fantasy, and Campbell awards are juried. The BSFA awards are voted on by the members of BSFA. And so on. The only notable “popular vote” award is the Locus, and it is probably not as prestigious as any of the other awards I’ve listed.

    To be blunt, the Hugos themselves are evidence against the Puppy talking point that “too few people” vote on them for them to be prestigious. The Hugos are prestigious, and have become so despite having a voter base that the Puppies claim is too small. Awards don’t acquire prestige because they count the most noses. They acquire prestige because they are seen by others as being deserving of the status.

    I know a lot of Puppy supporters claim the Hugos are “irrelevant” because they don’t read the Hugo winning books any more. But that’s almost irrelevant. There are lots of people who don’t read the Hugo winning books. There are lots of people who don’t like some of the works that have won a Hugo. The award is still seen by enough people as being the most prestigious award in genre fiction, and absent Puppy sabotage, doesn’t appear to be in any danger of losing this status. The fact that some people don’t like it is inevitable, but not particularly notable.

  26. Brian C:

    Not upset, was just surprised to see my words attributed to someone else.

    Fixed the attribution. I had the text in an email, should have also checked it against the original comments.

  27. Consider Bob. Bob announces on his blog that he’s nominated works A, B, C, and D for best novel. There’s only one ballot with works A, B, C, and D on it, and that ballot also lists E.

    If you’re posting your nominations online, and saying that’s what you nominated, you’ve already given up your anonymity. It’s all the other ballots that are still anonymous that they’re worrying about. (I think they’re over-worrying, and that it’s possible to anonymize the data, but that’s my opinion.)

  28. The proper response to “hey, if Worldcon doesn’t [do this thing that a small group of pot-stirrers want it to do] then the Hugos will become less prestigious and won’t represent the true opinions of fandom at large!” is “so what?”

    A Worldcon is not The Parliament Of All Fandom. It’s a weekend-long private party, at which the Hugos are one of many events that party-goers may choose to either join or ignore.

    The Hugos are a gift from the organizers and sponsors of that party to the rest of fandom. If you appreciate the gift, you gain something from their hard work. (Thank you for your hard work, guys!) If you don’t appreciate the gift, you lose nothing.

    Just because you read science fiction does not mean that any Worldcon owes you anything.

  29. @Aaron mbers of SFWA. The Clarke, World Fantasy, and Campbell awards are juried. The BSFA awards are voted on by the members of BSFA.

    Slight correction members of the BSFA and members of Eastercon.

    Also BSFA is hardly an exclusive organisation – they let me in – and nor is it expensive.

  30. Also BSFA is hardly an exclusive organisation – they let me in – and nor is it expensive.

    For some reason I thought that members of Eastercon also became members of BSFA.

    The WSFS is also relatively easy to join as well, and also not all that expensive.

  31. But limiting to only within a category is not the full definition, or picture, of a slate.

    So your definition is more-than-one-category?

    You do understand that the ballots are counted by category, not by ballot? So that each category is completely separate?

  32. Consider Bob. Bob announces on his blog that he’s nominated works A, B, C, and D for best novel. There’s only one ballot with works A, B, C, and D on it, and that ballot also lists E.

    @P J Evans: If you’re posting your nominations online, and saying that’s what you nominated, you’ve already given up your anonymity.

    (I’m pretty sure I made exactly that argument here at file770 at some point.)

    Is that really the deal, though? If I give up some of my personal information, then you’re justified in exposing more? I didn’t consent to the release of the information that I nominated E. When I blogged about nominating ABCD, I had no reason to expect that the data would be released in a form that would expose further information. No nominating data has been released in decades.

    Arguments of the form “If you didn’t want X, you shouldn’t have Y” don’t work at all unless X was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of Y.

  33. The US has registered professional engineers, who have to meet standards for education and experience to get that license. (I know this because my father was a registered PE in California.)

    Yes, but the term’s not protected universally, it varies state to state. (The “engineer” term, not the PE title which I think is)

  34. If you’re posting your nominations online, and saying that’s what you nominated, you’ve already given up your anonymity.

    Ah, no. If I post what I nominate in Best Novel and Best Short Story, but not any other category and you can identify my ballot, you have data I didn’t release and there’s the privacy angle again.

  35. Is Seattle reallly “close” to Spokane?

    It’s about 4-5 hours’ driving time in good weather, with good traffic, going over 70mph (113 km/hr) most of the way. And there is a significant mountain range (the Cascades) between the two cities, so weather is definitely a factor. Sometimes the passes are closed in winter, or require chains on crossing vehicles.

    It wouldn’t be very fun doing a driving round trip from Spokane to Seattle (or vice versa) in a day. It’s better to have at least a weekend to spare if you’re going on a round-trip visit, since a one-way trip eats up a good portion of a day.

    I’d say Seattle is probably the closest major city to Spokane. But as a Spokane native I wouldn’t call the two “close” in casual conversation. Coeur d’Alene is close. Cheney is close. Seattle is way over there *waves arm vaguely*.

    That seems, from the other side of the continent, to be like saying Pittsburgh is “close” to Philadelphia. It’s not.

    Seems like a decent comparison. Add in a mountain pass with summit elevation 3000′ (914m) and that’s a pretty close match.

  36. I wrote last night and 3 minutes later Mike replied.
    Mike Glyer on September 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm said:
    Curtis:

    Tell me people. Are you ashamed of what you voted for?

    Doesn’t matter. It’s nobody’s damn business what I voted for UNLESS I CHOOSE TO ANNOUNCE IT.

    Mike, my point was really not that complex. The gist of the anonymous argument is that if somebody had posted their vote/nominations online somewhere then the data could possibly be used to identify them.

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT? THEY CHOSE TO ANNOUNCE IT and therefore have no expectation of privacy.

    Do you see my point now?

    I’ll spell it out slowly. T h e y a l r e a d y o u t e d t h e m s e l v e s. Therefore, no harm, no foul. Release the data as agreed at the BM. This whole privacy debate is nonsense.

  37. I find it fascinating that the Pups seem to think that “prestige” is something that one can meaningfully demand for oneself, rather than being an emergent property. The Hugos are prestigious. This is really, really obvious. But they didn’t become prestigious because somebody somewhere said “I’m going to create this prestigious award and it will automatically become prestigious because REASONS.” They became prestigious because, over the last many, many decades, people looked at them and said, “That’s a good award that awards good works, for the most part. Though there was that one I hated, of course….” (There’s always one someone hates.)
    If I went and created the Shiny Award of Shininess tomorrow, I could call it “prestigious” all I wanted to, but that wouldn’t change the fact that it wasn’t, and wouldn’t be, until and unless the emergent property emerged.
    The Hugos have earned their prestige over the past 60-odd years. Claiming that changing the voter base will make them more prestigious is really pretty odd; first, that’s saying that the Most Prestigious Award In The Field isn’t prestigious enough, and second it’s saying “Yes, this prestigious award has become prestigious because of these people’s collective votes, so lets change the people that are voting on them.” Huh?
    This is probably not a very coherent post; sorry. Stupid migraines.

  38. Do you see my point now?

    No. Because you’re wrong.

    If someone posted some of their nominees in one category, it does not follow that they consented to make public their other nominees in that category, or nominees in other categories. Publishing the data in a manner that makes it possible to deduce those other pieces of information is a problem if you are intent on protecting the privacy of the voters. That you want to run over this issue as if it doesn’t matter speaks volumes about you, and how reliable you would be if entrusted with any position requiring discretion.

  39. And can you imagine the protests of official bias when someone couldn’t find the work s/he was looking for? No, the idea of having an Official Database of every single SF/F work published in the eligibility year is a non-starter.

    I think that’s a concern, but I don’t regard it quite as significant as you do.

    Anyone who felt strongly about a nomination not coming up in the search tool could be invited to email the administrator to be sure it was included. It could be added that night, presuming a volunteer was reviewing them nightly for unique nominations.

    What I’m suggesting pushes some of the effort to clean data noise into the ongoing nomination process instead of making Hugo volunteers laboriously do it after the nominations are all submitted. You end up with a database at the end of every nominating process anyway. Why not benefit from it during the process?

    If the process was open — here is our database, here is a submission form to add things we missed — it could be one that people develop confidence in.

    With everybody and their dog putting together recommendation lists this year, a database that contained the name and category of every one of those works could be a starting point.

  40. the idea of having an Official Database of every single SF/F work published in the eligibility year is a non-starter

    Well.
    It’s not a total non-starter, see the comments from earlier file770 posts, databases like WorldCat could be useful…

    It doesn’t have to be done online though, it can be done in batch processing after nominations close just as readily.

  41. Sarkeesian’s video is way more relevant that “Wisdom From My Internet”. And yet, the latter was still not disqualified. This ought to be a huge clue for you.

    Yes. That Wisdom From My Internet should have been disqualified. How the deuce are you supposed to vote on something like Wisdom From My Internet (or Tropes vs Women)? I promise you, I used the No Award stick with great glee in every possible direction – Puppy and anti-Puppy.

  42. Can anyone think of a popular vote award which is prestigious?

    President of the United States of America?

    Sorry, that was facetious. Most of the high-prestige awards are given either by professionals in the relevant field (e.g. SAG, Nebulas), by an academy of people of high achievements in the field (Oscars, Cesars, Baftas, Nobels, Emmys, Grammys, Tonys) or by a jury (Oliviers, Bookers, Pulitzers, etc- most literary awards, in fact).

    SFF fandom is unusual in that it has convention awards where the convention membership consists of committed fans of the genre who are sufficiently well-read within the genre that the judgements are not purely based on popularity.

    If you want an award on pure popularity, why bother with the People’s Choice Awards? Just look at the box office/TV ratings/music charts/bestseller lists. The Hugos have distinguished themselves by generally doing a much better job of choosing the best work, rather than the most popular, in a particular year.

    It’s worth noting that the Hugos are far from the only award granted by members of a convention, and that several of the others (mostly national awards) have pretty good reputations too.

  43. I can imagine a situation where someone announces to the world “I am going to nominate my good friend Joe’s brilliant novel for a Hugo award” and then, relying on ballot secrecy, submits a Best Novel ballot that excludes Joe.

  44. If someone posted some of their nominees in one category, it does not follow that they consented to make public their other nominees in that category, or nominees in other categories.

    True. Since the Hugos have given people the expectation of privacy for their nominations, they can’t fall back on the rationalization, “why did you share some of your nominations if you didn’t want all of them known”?

    Personally, I think it would be fine if the Hugos announced that for future years all nominating ballots will be publicly released with the member’s name and number removed when the ballot comes out. There’s no inherent reason why this has to be secret. We’re a group of fans who can choose the Hugos as publicly or privately as we decide.

    There might be less participation (downside) but more faith in the process (upside), leading to more participation (upside). The data would be out there so any claim of secret slating could be proven or disproven.

    It would also be something that could be turned into a cool “people who liked this also liked this” recommendation engine.

    That is the ultimate point, after all: Finding great works you might like.

  45. PS I think people are picking on Vivienne Raper unnecessarily harshly; she has an outsider’s perspective, and we’ve heard from too many outsider’s perspectives that are purely Puppy lately to be easily able to tell the difference, but I clicked through to her blog and it’s immediately clear that she’s not a puppy and isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid.

    [Also, hi Vivienne, long time no see…]

  46. @Silly but True
    Almost unopposed? Sad Puppies’ slate matched 39 of 75 Hugo nomination spots; they were unable to match 33. They were about as successful in matching as not, and of those matched they only got about 50 percent success.

    Sad Puppies was very much opposed.

    Rapids actually did not fare all that much better. Their success in matching eeked up a bit to 42 of 75: 56 percent success. Rabids were unable to match 44 percent of their slated choices.

    This is an extremely ingenuous argument. (Also, I suspect your facts and your math suck.)

    For starters, the Puppies made only one recommendation for Graphic Novel, one for Semiprozine (which would have made the ballot if it hadn’t been withdrawn) and none at all for Best Fan Artist – in fact, in all they made no attempt at 13 of the slots on the ballot.

    That aside, what you need to look at is the effectiveness of the slate in the nomination numbers, not the makeup of a final ballot that was affected by other events. Rabids would have had 4 of the 5 Novel slots if Puppy nominees hadn’t declined or withdrawn, all of the Novelette spots if Wright’s hadn’t been ruled ineligible, and all the Short Story slots if Bellet hadn’t withdrawn, and 4 of 5 Best Dramatic-Short Form slots if the “Supernatural” episode hadn’t been ineligible.

    Overall, Rabid Puppies had 67 items on their slate, and only 9 did not receive enough votes to make the final ballot. That’s an 87 percent success rate. Even after the attrition of several nominees withdrawing or being ruled ineligible, that’s pretty dominant.

    I can’t make head or tail of some of your other arguments, like “Best Editor (Long)” was “completely defeated” – every nominee in that category was a Sad Puppy pick or the one the Rabids added.

    Silly? Yes. True? Well…

Comments are closed.