They’d Rather Free Ride: Hugos and Game Theory (Proposal Discussion Thread 4)

By Jameson Quinn

1. Intro and disclaimers

This is a summary of the discussion thread on the post by Kevin Standlee discussing three proposals for expanding the Hugo nominations process in order to help avoid problems like the current list of Hugo finalists.

In summarizing a thread that’s over 500 comments long, and that refers extensively to two other threads with hundreds of comments, I am of course going to simplify matters. In particular, I’m going to overemphasize the points of agreement, without listing every qualification, caveat, quibble, or outright objection that was brought up. Obviously you can read the thread yourself, but if you don’t, please imagine it to have all the disagreement and misunderstandings (as well as off-topic filk, execrable puns, cute references, hastily-constructed codes, etc.) that you’d expect.

2. Initial options: A+2, DN, and 3SV

Of the three initial proposals by Kevin, one of them (nicknamed “+2” or “A+2”) relied on giving new discretionary powers to Hugo administrators. In the discussion thread this idea encountered significant opposition, so it will not be discussed further here.
The other two proposals would both create a new intermediate round of voting, in which the initial votes have been used to create a “longlist” of 15 works which is publicized and voted on in some fashion in order to get the list of 5 finalists. In the Double Nomination with Approval Voting (“DN”) proposal, nominators would vote for (“approve”) the longlist items they liked the best; and in the 3-Stage Voting (“3SV”) proposal, a majority of nominators would be able to disqualify some of the 15 works, without affecting the ordering of the remaining works from the nominations phase.

3. Consensus: 3SV (+1?)

Many of the participants in the discussion began with a preference for DN; they felt better about voting for the longlist works they liked than about voting to reject the ones they felt were illegitimate. However, as the thread progressed, and the strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals were analyzed in more depth, the consensus shifted, and by the end of the thread proposals based primarily on 3SV were the clear winners. Many supported a proposal nicknamed 3SV+1, described below, which integrated some aspects of DN onto the base of 3SV.

4. Why 3SV and not DN?

Why did people’s preferences shift from DN to 3SV? Several reasons:

A. Under DN, voters would have just weeks to assimilate and vote on a list of 255 longlisted items. Many of the most careful nominators would barely vote for any; while the most prolific voters would probably be going mostly by kneejerk reactions. This is true for 3SV, too, but it is less of an issue as explained below.

B. DN conflates two questions: “Do I like this work and feel it may deserve a Hugo?” with “Do I feel that this work’s presence on the longlist or in the list of finalists would be a legitimate result of honest fan preference?” In 3SV, those questions are separate, and votes to disqualify a work are based on the second question alone — one which does not require fully reading/reviewing every longlist work.

C. Unlike DN, 3SV would deal decisively with the issue of “troll finalists”: that is, works promoted by slates explicitly in order that their shocking and/or offensive nature might cast discredit on the awards.

D. 3SV would be similar in spirit to the “no award” option, except that works thus eliminated would not take up space on the list of finalists, and awkward moments at the awards themselves would be minimized.

E. DN would open up new kinds of attacks on the list of finalists, such as actually increasing slate voter’s capacity to act as “kingmakers” and/or perform “area defense” against certain kinds of works. All they’d have to do was to have enough voting power to reverse the gap between two works which both have significant organic (non-slate) support. But under 3SV, actually eliminating a work would not be possible without a relatively high “quorum”* of voters, and we hope that community pressure would lead to a low background level of organic rejection votes, so a minority of slate voters would be unable to use rejection as a weapon.

So, tell me more about how 3SV would work

The details are still up for discussion, but the basic idea is as follows:

3-Stage Voting (3SV) adds a new round of voting to the Hugo Award process, called “semi-finals,” between the existing nominating ballot and the existing final ballot. In 3SV, the “longlist” of top 15 nominees (as selected by the same process as the finalists will be selected; that is, EPH or EPH+ if those have passed) are listed in a way that doesn’t show how many nominations they received. Eligibility for this voting is being debated (see below), but the original proposal is that it would be restricted to members (supporting and attending) of the current Worldcon (not the previous and following Worldcons). Eligible voters presented with this list, with a question on each of the fifteen semi-finalists in each category: “Is this work worthy of being on the Final Hugo Award Ballot?” with the choices being YES, NO, and ABSTAIN.

If a work gets more than a “quorum” of no votes, it is not eligible to become a finalist. There are several proposals for how to calculate the quorum. The formula may involve such things as the number of eligible voters, the number of “YES” and/or “ABSTAIN” votes, the turnout in round 1 or in previous years, etc. The idea is that the quorum should be high enough so that a minority of slate voters will be unable to reach it, but low enough that a clear majority of fans can pass it, even given reasonable turnout assumptions.

During the “semi-final” voting period, admins would also be checking the eligibility of the works on the longlist, and accepting withdrawals from the author (or other responsible party; henceforth, we’ll just say “author”) of those works. The admins would make a good-faith attempt to contact authors, but note that since the longlist is public, the admins may assume that non-responsive authors have heard of their presence on the longlist, and thus that any authors who do not explicitly withdraw their works would accept becoming finalists.

The finalists will be the top 5 works from the longlist that have not been declared ineligible by vote, found ineligible by the admins, or withdrawn by the authors. EPH or EPH+ would not be re-run after ineligible works or withdrawals.

After the Hugos are awarded, admins would publish the usual statistics (that is, for EPH, the votes and points-when-eliminated for each of the members of the longlist). They would also publish the reason for ineligiblity (voted out, ineligible, or withdrawn) for any work that otherwise would have been a finalist. They would also publish the anonymized set of vote totals for each longlist item in each category, where “anonymized” means that they would not indicate which title was associated with which vote total.

What’s this “3SV+1” you mentioned earlier?

The “+1” means that, in addition to 3SV, all voters who were eligible for round 1 may add a single nomination per category, for something from the longlist they did not already nominate, to their existing ballot, during the same “semi-final” voting period. These combined ballots would then be counted by the usual process (that is, the current system, EPH, or EPH+) to find the finalists.

How would all of this interact with EPH, EPH+, 4/6, and/or 5/6?

The short version is that without EPH a realistically-sized, well managed slate could hope to entirely take over the longlist in many categories; with EPH, it could take about 2/3 (around 10 slots); and with EPH+, it could take over about half (6-8 slots), or possibly a bit more with cleverer strategies (but not as much as EPH, even then). 4/6 or 5/6 don’t change that story by much, though they help a bit in keeping organic slots among the finalists in spite of “kingmaker” slates. And +1 helps push slates towards around 1-2 finalist slots; hurting them in the common case that they had been going to get more, but actually helping them if they had miscalculated and were heading for less than that.

Here’s a graph of how many slots slate nominators could have gotten in 2014, as a function of number of slate nominators, if they’d split 3 ways and had the same level of coordination as they did in 2015. Note that 2016 had many more nominators than 2014 so it would have taken more slate nominators to get the same effect.

pseudographSL5%20and%2015

 

Here’s a similar graph, but assuming the slate nominators are better coordinated:

pseudographSLp5%20and%2015

 

Here’s yet another graph, but assuming the slate voters split only 2 ways. In theory, this is better for them if there are fewer of them, but worse if there are more, because they max out at 10 slots. However, as you can see from the graph, it’s really not that much better even for small numbers; the random “bootstrap sampling” effects almost overwhelm any advantage:

pseudographSLx5%20and%2015

 

Have you thought of any downsides? What about…

Yes, kinda. We have people (both honest supporters and honest opponents) thinking of attacks. And there’s always room for more on this “red team”. So far, here are the criticisms we’ve come up with. First, for “3SV” (we’ll talk about “+1” below):

Couldn’t slate voters take over the shortlist? As you can see in the graphs “take over 6-10 slots of the longlist” is the only one that we think is a concern if (as we expect) EPH or EPH+ is in place.

Wouldn’t this just increase negativity? There are several safeguards against this becoming merely an excuse for people to campaign against works they happen not to like. First and most important is social pressure; it should be clear from the outset that this is a just safeguard against outright bad faith, not a chance to express differences in taste, and I believe that any Worldcon members who promote disqualifying a work just because they don’t like it will not get much support. Second, there’s eligibility. Various rules, discussed below in “open issues”, have been proposed to prevent a campaign to bring in Worldcon outsiders after the longlist is public. Third, there’s the quorum; if participation in the second-round voting is low, it will not be enough to pass the threshold to eliminate any work. Fourth, there’s the relatively short period of the semifinals, also discussed below. And fifth, there’s the fact that elimination votes for a specific work would never be publicized; only anonymized distributions of votes for each category. (In some cases, of course, the identity of which work got a certain vote total would be easy to guess, but that would still be just a guess.)

Wouldn’t this fundamentally change the nature of the Hugos? They have already been changed by the slate. Many of the people in the discussion felt that this change, though it would not go back to exactly as before, would still be a change in the right direction.

Would this be more work for the administrators? In some ways, yes, of course. However, in at least one important way, it would actually simplify their lives. Since the longlist would be public, it would be much easier for them to contact authors. On a related note, authors could not leak their status as finalists, because until the list of finalists came out, they would know no more than the public at large.

Would this allow some unanticipated downside? Obviously, we can never rule that out 100%. However, we do think we’ve been pretty thorough at exploring all the angles. Again, you can read the thread and decide for yourself.

And, downsides for the +1 addition:

Would this be tough to administrate? Not if EPH or EPH+ were in place, since any program capable of doing either of these would already be able to associate multiple nominations with the same nominator and make sure that invalid votes, such as a single nominator nominating a given work multiple times, were not counted. It has been suggested that a proposal to institute +1 should say that this change will sunset (require re-approval) if EPH or EPH+ ever does.

What are the open questions/issues?

Eligibility: who should be eligible to vote on the semifinal round, and who should be able to add +1? The former question is more fraught. Several people said that they would want eligibility to be restricted enough that outsiders can’t come in and get memberships after the longlist is published. Others said that it is important to let the community respond and that if membership spikes on seeing the longlist that could be a healthy thing. One compromise proposal (suggested by yours truly) was that in order to be eligible, you would need to be a current member (attending or supporting) of this year’s Worldcon, AND also have been eligible to nominate (whether or not you actually did so). So if you were a member of the prior or following year’s worldcon, you could sign up after seeing the longlist; but not if you weren’t.
Quorum size/formula: There’s been various discussion of this issue.

+1 as attached or separate: The overall consensus seems to be that, if we propose +1, it should be in a separate proposal from 3SV, even though they share certain aspects (such as the concept of a semi-final round). However, there are varying opinions on whether +1 is a good idea, either in general or as a proposal for this year in particular.

Whether to try EPH+ this year: I’ll talk about this more in comments.

The admin discretion 14-18 longlist thing: I was thinking that, if the time between closing round 1 nominations and announcing the longlist is short, admins might have a hard time cleaning the data perfectly. In that case, it helps them be more certain of the list they publish if the next work below the list was not a near-tie with the lowest work on the list. To allow them to avoid such near-ties, especially in cases where they aren’t 100% sure they’ve cleaned the data perfectly, I suggested allowing them discretion to decide how long the longlist for each category would be, between 14 and 18 works.

http://file770.com/?p=29020&cpage=14#comment-436327: Define “nominating membership” in a way that legally allows for the possibility of a code of conduct that could lead to one year’s worldcon revoking voting privileges from a member of the prior year’s; in other words, closes the loophole whereby prior-year members are immune from any consequences for their actions.

Moderated Shortlist for Member Consideration: http://file770.com/?p=29020&cpage=16#comment-436437 This is an alternative to 3SV, where an administrative committee would tentatively suggest eliminating or adding certain works, and that suggestion would have to be ratified by an up-or-down vote of the members of the current Worldcon.

Where do we go from here?

A group led by Colin Harris that includes Kevin Standlee is writing up a proposal are writing up a proposal and are surely watching these threads. When that proposal is ready, we could write up +1 as an amendment or as a standalone proposal. Decide about EPH+ and deal with that. Anything else?

281 thoughts on “They’d Rather Free Ride: Hugos and Game Theory (Proposal Discussion Thread 4)

  1. @ Camestros
    I think you are mistaken but I don’t want to disrupt the discussion further with what maybe inadvertent concern trolling on my part.

    Well, I think “concern trolling” would more properly apply to the position I have, than the one you are taking (and concern trolling is certainly not my intention). But I appreciate very much that your disagreement is cordial and respectful.

  2. Was this widely (or narrowly) perceived as the “wrong” outcome? (and did it have something to do with Torgersen getting involved as a Puppy?)

    I don’t think it had anything to do with BT’s Puppiness, since in 2012 the SP campaign didn’t exist yet. Mostly I think the voting pattern was because BT had a strong core of supporters who liked his imitation Niven stories, but that his base wasn’t very broad. SP1 was in 2013, SP2 was in 2014, and SP3 was in 2015.

  3. I don’t think it had anything to do with BT’s Puppiness, since in 2012 the SP campaign didn’t exist yet.

    What I’m asking is, did the fact that Brad failed to win, under circumstances that he would have won under a “first past the post” system, cause him to be sympathetic to Puppies when they later became a thing. (“The Hugos screwed me, I’ll screw with them!”)

  4. @Bill: Ah, I see. Maybe. I know the Pups as a group seem to have trouble understanding IRV (or at least they have professed trouble understanding it). Given BT’s cluelessness about so many other issues, I would not be surprised if he actually didn’t understand IRV and felt “screwed” by the 2012 outcome. I don’t think he’s brought that up as a grievance though.

  5. @Camestros Felapton: […] But the main thing is that panels can shut down griefing quicker than passing things on to members. Anything with a second stage means the griefers can draw out the hate for longer or leave somebody who is the target of the hate via some nominated work in the unenviable position of having fandom vote on whether the work attacking them attacks them enough to be thrown out.

    We’re dealing with people with a demonstrated history of running mass harassment campaigns against political opponents, sure. Many people in the community have been attacked in well-documented ways. A panel would be a lightning rod for that sort of behavior, and anyone on it a direct target. It would also attract anyone else with a grievance– We are not a monolithic community.

    There are trade offs with either system: 3SV is vulnerable to mechanical exploits, MSMC to social. I’d rather have the former than the latter.

  6. I believe that a “good cop” panel would be less of a lightning rod. Especially if it took unanimity to declare a work innocent without a vote.

  7. @Camestros Felapton: A little late to edit, but I wanted to add that mucking with 3SV in the described fashion is a sort of social exploit. I would be more concerned about it without No Award. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m curious to see how the use of No Award in 2015 compares to 3SV’s threshold for rejecting a work. Are the percentages close?

  8. “The estimate 700 is the 810 who no awarded Graphic Novel minus the 80 or 90 who tended to do that anyway in recent years.”

    That might be because there was a very low quality of the Graphic Novels last year. Both me and my brother was discussing that ordinary Hugo voters couldn’t read that much comics. Look at the Eisner awards instead. So much better stuff.

  9. I understand that you think that changes (even EPH) will give the slates more power, not less, but I can’t figure out why you think so.

    I didn’t say “slates” have more power.

    Take 2016. Under EPH, if many non-rabids nominated both Seveneves and Ancillary Mercy, rabid support for Seveneves weakens Ancillary Mercy. If lots of people nominated Penric’s Demon and Slow Bullets as well as Binti, it weakens Binti.

    It seems most likely to me that under EPH, rabids will tend to nominate more things which have broad support, even support among fans who also vote for those pesky “SJWs”. EPH can help them reduce the number of “SJW” finalists and boost some things those fans are reluctant to no award and interested to vote for. EPH + helps more, setting the stage for the kingmaker gambit.

    If that’s correct, and you want to maximize your chance of determining the final winner, you had better not waste nominations on trolling the SJWs with stuff they find highly offensive.

    (Of course, if your main goal is to create outrage, EPH makes that too.)

    3SV lets you do both. You need just enough votes for the provocative nominees so that one or two reach the bottom of the long list. The rest of your votes can be used constructively and when the provocative items lose it strengthens your picks.

    Should you feel like getting tricky, choose 15 items, with #1 and 2 the things you most want to see win and 2 through 5 things you like and also have lots of awards buzz even among SJWs. Generate unique ballots. In the first slot, randomly place #1 or #2. In the second slot, randomly place 3 through 5. In the remaining slots, if the ballot includes 1, generate a random combination of items 6 through 10. If 2, 11 through 15. Discard duplicates and send one ballot to each minion (for ideas and inspiration only). Then publish your recs in random order and urge right thinking people everywhere to join you in fighting the Orwellian new SJW Hugo contest.

    When you combine those factors together, you get about 580, which is very close to the number of people who voted Vox Day for Best Editor. This is higher than the actual number of slate voters

    As the number of nominators grew, fan artist was no awarded by 12% in 2012, 13% in 2013, 11% in 2014, and 13% in 2015. Graphic story by 8%, 7%, 4%, and 18%. You might be right to some limited extent, but no awarding a minor fan category that many feel has outlived its usefulness is quite unlike no awarding a major fiction category.

  10. Edit window trouble here too. “EPH makes that easy too” and …”3 through 5 things you like and also have lots of awards buzz…”

  11. @Hampus Eckerman More argle bargle. There seems to be an unlimited supply of that.

    He likes to hear the sound of his fingers typing.

  12. Option 1: do nothing and have a shortlist determined entirely by a small group of trolls.

    Option 2: make some changes and not have a shortlist determined entirely by a small group of trolls.

    Brian seems heavily invested in Option 1.

  13. Or, to promote a #1 and #2 that have little support outside your bloc, and still place a couple items on the long list, you could list that #1 and #2 along with a #3 to 5 which have enough buzz that you predict they may already be on say 5% of the ballots. List four more including a couple trolling items if you want. Send out ballots including 1 or 2 plus combinations of 1-5 (that don’t duplicate items) and combinations of 6-9.

    Or, write a blog post recommending nine things and encourage fans to pick what they like, really.

    Or just campaign for some popular nominees plus a couple less widely acclaimed ones.

  14. Greg,

    This is higher than the actual number of slate voters (which seems to be closer to 450),

    I just had a look at your blog where you said:

    Assumptions
    The Rabid Puppies had a disciplined slate, all of whom voted for all the items on the slate in all categories. I ignored the Sad Puppies entirely.

    There were commenters on the recommendation blog posts disagreeing with some picks, naming things they liked better, etc. I don’t see how that assumption is justified.

    And why ignore Sad Puppies? Probably voted for a good number of things on the rabid rec list.

  15. Jameson:My curiosity sent me looking around the net for proofs on apportionment systems to get a feel for what an EPH/EPH+ proof would look like–lots of interesting things out there.
    This paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1510.07528.pdf on Apportionment Methods by
    Horst F. Niemeyer and Alice C. Niemeyer contained some proofs that seemed like they could be used as pieces if rearranged.
    Just curious, did you think about how some form of largest remainder method could apply here? I don’t recall if that got brought up last year. Thanks.

  16. @Steve Halter:

    1. Yes, that’s pretty much the kind of logic I’m imagining for proving things about EPH+.

    2. Largest remainder systems start by supposing each party has an inexhaustible store of functionally identical candidates; not a great assumption for the Hugos.

    3. The closest thing that might work are reweighted approval systems. We considered those, but they are really unintuitive, and leave a strong bullet voting incentive.

  17. Thanks Jameson. Both those make sense now that I think about them.
    Looking at apportionment methodologies opens up an interesting corner of history I hadn’t payed attention to prior to this.

  18. Hello everyone –

    Now that the semester is over, I finally had a moment to put down my thoughts on the various proposals. I apologize in advance for the length…

    When I was helping to put together the proposal for EPH last year, there was one thing that struck me above all else: Fandom is very, very diverse. We don’t agree on much. We have very different tastes. And we all feel very strongly about our opinions. As I said in the business meeting, that’s a strength, not a weakness. It is, however, something we need to recognize, and it has direct application to the proposals being discussed here.

    My main concern is with the idea of having any panel or jury decide if a work is a troll or not. Simply put, one small subsection of fandom serving on a jury will never be able to make that determination for fandom as a whole. Consider the My Little Pony nomination this year. My first response when I saw that was “Really? Really? This is supposed to be a serious award!” I have small children. I’ve watched My Little Pony. It is definitely not my cup of tea. I personally don’t think it qualifies as fantasy. But then I learned that there is actually a fairly sizable population of adult fans who love the show. Fans who think it’s one of the better fantasy shows on television. Is My Little Pony a troll nomination? Because it’s been put forth by Beale, probably. But ask yourself, if it hadn’t appeared on his list, would we still consider it a troll? I don’t know. Heck, we can’t even agree on the definition of science fiction. Is Outlander science fiction? You could make a case for it. But what if the jury members simply don’t like a heavy romance component to their science fiction?

    How do you decide if something is serious science fiction or fantasy? More fundamentally, how do you decide if something is offensive and not just provocative? I was deeply offended by some of the works that made the finals this year. But if there is one thing that SFF has taught me, it’s that there’s no universal definition of right and wrong — and as much as it pains me to admit it, my views aren’t universal, either. One of the great strengths of SFF is that it allows us to explore those grey areas in a thought-provoking way. There’s just no chance of a small group of people being able to make that determination with any hope of reliability or validity. It has nothing to do with “I don’t want admins having that much power.” It is simply that it’s not possible to represent all of fandom with just a small subset. For this reason, I have to be strongly opposed to any kind of panel empowered to remove works from the Hugo nominations. I’ve spent over a year of my life thinking about and working on this problem. We may think it’s the only easy, foolproof way to deal with a social and human problem. As much as I wish it were, it’s neither.

    As for the other two proposal types (DN and 3SV), like many of you, I find the idea of a negative vote to be distasteful. Not in the spirit of the Hugos and SFF. But in thinking about the “review board” idea I discussed above, it occurs to me that 3SV is a review board. It has all of the advantages of the review board but solves the review board’s greatest problem: A small group of people can never represent the diversity of fandom — but fandom at large, by definition, can. Essentially, that’s what 3SV is: All of fandom is empowered to serve on the review board and decide just what is and is not science fiction and fantasy. And, again, by definition, they will always be correct. As Kevin has said many times, that’s how democracy works.

    As others have noted, EPH was not developed to deal with the problem of blatant trolls. We specifically did not want to exclude anyone. It was developed to deal with honest fans who have banded together to use dishonest tactics. I never felt the Sad Puppies should be entirely excluded, and I still don’t feel that they should today. They love SFF. They are part of fandom. Their techniques are wrong, and that needed to be addressed. The problem of the Rabid Puppies is that they have no interest in being fans. They simply want to destroy. EPH is absolutely necessary no matter what proposal we end up adopting here. But proposals like DN or any similar “semi-final round” suffer from the same philosophical weakness as EPH: It is still no defense against trolls who want to burn down the Hugos. Does it help? Maybe. But there’s no chance it will be enough, for all the reasons that have been discussed here.

    So, in the end, I’ve changed my mind from my initial thoughts about these proposals. I think 3SV+EPH is the only real way to deal with both the problems of unfair slating and destructive trolls. I think those are the only proposals I can support in good conscience.

    As always, just my thoughts,
    Kilo

  19. Thanks for your comments, Kilo. I’ve edited the FAQ in the draft to respond to them better.

  20. @Jameson

    I would like to see results from the second round for the original top 5 and any that replaced them on the final ballot. I could see not showing the rest since they wouldn’t have changed the result. It would be similar to seeing exactly how many votes for No Award came in above other works.

  21. Keith “Kilo” Watt on May 27, 2016 at 9:52 am said:

    My main concern is with the idea of having any panel or jury decide if a work is a troll or not. Simply put, one small subsection of fandom serving on a jury will never be able to make that determination for fandom as a whole. Consider the My Little Pony nomination this year. My first response when I saw that was “Really? Really? This is supposed to be a serious award!” I have small children. I’ve watched My Little Pony. It is definitely not my cup of tea. I personally don’t think it qualifies as fantasy. But then I learned that there is actually a fairly sizable population of adult fans who love the show. Fans who think it’s one of the better fantasy shows on television. Is My Little Pony a troll nomination?

    That is a fair point but I think it casts the net widely so as to make the task seem more arbitrary and in danger of false-positives. What I’ve suggested for a panel is a restricted remit but with broad powers within that remit – specifically the power to remove works intended to harass or defame people and/or works designed to disrupt the actual mechanics of voting (e.g. works with spoof names to make admin’s and voter’s lives harder.

    We’ve already seen how this year’s griefing tactics have worked to make getting the Hugo Packet out just that bit harder and a bit more tiresome – while also leading people down a garden path of discussing quite which bit of a harassing work is sufficiently harassing.

    So, yes I agree that I wouldn’t want a jury or a panel to rule on MLP or even Space Raptor BI, but there are two other works nominated by the Rabids this year, parts of which include personal attacks on individuals. I find the idea of putting that out to members and saying (effectively) ‘vote on whether you think this was nasty enough not to be a finalist’ worrisome as it would be a means for griefers to further harass or demean a target.

    In terms of slates, I think the +2 proposal (adding additional works in the event of shenanigans) is simple and positive and leaves the final decision in the hands of voters. That plus EPH and No Award makes slates as a way of dominating the ballot, useless. However none of those stop the kind of shitstirring attacks that the ALtRight are more than capable of and have past-form on – i.e. where they simply want to make things nastier and don’t care about winning.

  22. @Keith “Kilo” Watt: Is My Little Pony a troll nomination?

    It was trolls stacked on one another’s shoulders. If Beale were to appear in Equestria, he’d be a villain. Off to Tartarus with the rubbery goblin.

  23. @Keith “Kilo” Watt: Is My Little Pony a troll nomination? Because it’s been put forth by Beale, probably. But ask yourself, if it hadn’t appeared on his list, would we still consider it a troll? I don’t know. Heck, we can’t even agree on the definition of science fiction.

    I wouldn’t. It’s not the episode I would have chosen, but that confirms your point.

  24. My draft for a new post is more-or-less done, though unpolished; but due to unforeseen circumstances I will not be posting it for the foreseeable future. Any comments are still welcome; we’ll see how this goes.

  25. Here are things they might consider victories:

    1. Provoke you into doing things they think would discredit you.

    2. See fewer undesirable finalists.

    3. See more finalists they consider great and pick the winner.

    With EPH, they can do either 1, or else 2 and 3, but it is harder to do all of them.

    (Jameson, were you able to put together a simulation of what happens when they support some of the more popular items?)

    With EPH plus DN, they can do either 1, or else 2 and 3, but it is harder to do all of them.

    With EPH plus 3SV, they’ll do all of them.

    But ask yourself, if it hadn’t appeared on his list, would we still consider it a troll?

    Exactly. They can read the rules and are already promoting edge cases.

    The problem of the Rabid Puppies is that they have no interest in being fans.

    Even if you don’t sympathize with their tactics, you can’t say that people who did this have no interest in being fans:

    http://www.amazon.com/There-Will-Be-War-Volumes/dp/9527065593

  26. Hello Kilo,

    As I see it, the work of a admin board would not be to decide if a work was serious SFF or not. Their work would be to tell if the only reason the work was on the ballot was because it had been slated on by block voting. That is the one thing that only administrators might know and not the membership as a whole.

    Also the admin board can look at works that are used to harass or defame living persons.

    So the reasons for an admin board are not those you mention.

  27. What it comes down to for me is this: I want to have my own input, and I want to know what the rest of the Hugo voters have to say.

    For example, last year there were calls to put Laura Mixon under No Award. She was a finalist for Best Fan Writer largely because of her blog post about Requires Hate which was included in the Voters Packet. Some felt that it was harassment and defamation of a living person. Some felt that she was on the ballot unfairly due to promotion by GRRM. Obviously, the voters as a whole disagreed and gave her the Hugo. I’m glad it was up to the voters — even if it had gone the other way. What would a panel have done?

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