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.

Sasquan Confirms Hugo Ballot Is Locked

In the wake of Black Gate’s withdrawal as a Hugo nominee fans have asked whether its vacancy will be filled, or will the ballot remain locked as Sasquan announced on April 16.

Hugo administrator John Lorentz confirms: “The ballot is indeed locked, and Black Gate will remain on the ballot. (That’s because the ballot is already at the printer and we can’t change it anymore.)”

Still under consideration is the possibility of including a statement on the online voting page about Black Gate’s announcement.

The ballot went immediately to the printer because Sasquan is doing a separate mailing of Hugo and site selection voting forms to avoid the delay of waiting for the convention’s next scheduled progress report.

Sasquan Final Hugo Ballot Adds Novel Three-Body Problem, Short Story “Single Samurai”

In the wake of two authors pulling their nominated works from contention, Sasquan Hugo administrator John Lorentz has made two more adjustments and locked the final 2015 Hugo ballot.

In the Best Novel category, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu) replaced Lines of Departure, which was withdrawn by its author, Marko Kloos.

And in the Best Short category, Steven Diamond’s “A Single Samurai” filled the vacancy left by “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet, which also was withdrawn by its author.

The ballot is now going to the printer and there will be no further revisions.

The Hugo administrator explained The Three-Body Problem was originally published in Chinese in 2008, but the 2014 publication by Tor was the first English-language version, rendering it eligible again for the Hugo, according to section 3.4.1 of the WSFS Constitution.

Lorentz also corrected the listing for “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” (by Thomas Olde Heuvelt) which originally did not include the name of the translator, Lia Belt.

The full press release, which outlines all the revisions made since the original announcement on April 4, follows the jump.

In respect to the Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies slates, the cumulative turnover has replaced four nominees on a slate with two nominees not on a slate – The Three-Body Problem and “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” – and two nominees that were on a slate, “A Single Samurai” (Sad Puppies 3, only) and artist Kirk DouPonce (Rabid Puppies, only).

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Sasquan Replaces Two Ineligible Nominees on Hugo Ballot

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, has made changes to the final Hugo ballot to reflect  eligibility rulings by Hugo administrator John Lorentz.

  • “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright was previously published on a web site in 2013 prior to its inclusion in The Book of Feasts & Seasons in 2014, so it is not eligible for the 2015 Novelette Hugo.
  • Jon Eno did not publish any qualifying artwork in 2014, so he is not eligible for the 2015 Professional Artist Hugo

Replacing Wright’s novelette on the ballot is “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014).

Kirk DouPonce has been elevated to take Eno’s place in the Best Professional Artist category.

Lorentz also reviewed the eligibility of two other works and allowed them to stand:

Both Big Boys Don’t Cry (Kratman) and One Bright Star to Guide Them (Wright) were previously published in much shorter versions, and were significantly expanded to novella-length in their 2014 publication.  Following previous precedents, for the purposes of the 2015 Hugos they are designated as new works.

Here is the new final ballot incorporating all these changes:

BEST NOVEL (1827 ballots)

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

BEST NOVELLA (1083 ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

BEST NOVELETTE (1031 ballots)

  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
  • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
  • “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)

SHORT STORY (1174 ballots)

  • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
  • “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)
  • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

BEST RELATED WORK (1150 ballots)

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press)
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com)
  • Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (785 ballots)

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
  • Saga Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
  • The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (1285 ballots)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
  • Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
  • Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)
  • The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (938 ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
  • The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves ((HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
  • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV)
  • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)

BEST EDITOR (SHORT FORM) (870 ballots)

  • Jennifer Brozek
  • Vox Day
  • Mike Resnick
  • Edmund R. Schubert
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt

BEST EDITOR (LONG FORM) (712 ballots)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Jim Minz
  • Anne Sowards
  • Toni Weisskopf

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (753 ballots)

  • Julie Dillon
  • Kirk DouPonce
  • Nick Greenwood
  • Alan Pollack
  • Carter Reid

BEST SEMIPROZINE (660 ballots)

  • Abyss & Apex Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
  • Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
  • Strange Horizons Niall Harrison Editor-in-Chief

BEST FANZINE (576 ballots)

  • Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
  • Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery
  • The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo
  • Tangent SF Online edited by Dave Truesdale

BEST FANCAST (668 ballots)

  • Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Brent Bowen (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward, Shaun Ferrell & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
  • Dungeon Crawlers Radio Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • The Sci Phi Show Jason Rennie
  • Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman & Peter Newman

BEST FAN WRITER (777 ballots)

  • Dave Freer
  • Amanda S. Green
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Laura J. Mixon
  • Cedar Sanderson

BEST FAN ARTIST (296 ballots)

  • Ninni Aalto
  • Brad Foster
  • Elizabeth Leggett
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (851 ballots)

  • Wesley Chu *
  • Jason Cordova
  • Kary English *
  • Rolf Nelson
  • Eric S. Raymond

*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

Update 04/14/2015: At 4 p.m. PDT. The official Sasquan press release follows the jump.

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Renovation Attendance Estimate

How many people came to Renovation? John Lorentz is working on the database and will soon have an official number. In the meantime he says, “We can safely say we had (after excluding folks like vendor comps) well over 4000 warm bodies, possibly more than 4100.”

As of the close of pre-registration on August 14, Renovation had 4875 members of all types which included 3503 attending members.