To Say Nothing of the Dogs; or, How We Confound the Hugos’ Third Slump (Hugo voting proposal discussion 5)

By Jameson Quinn: After 1, 2, 3, 4 threads here, and countless more that are peripherally related and/or on other blogs, discussing how to make the Hugo nomination process more resistant to slate voting and other “griefer” attacks (in other words, protect them from those intent on using the rules to disrupt and provoke), I believe a logical way forward is becoming evident. Below, I outline a set of proposals that could be made and passed at the Business Meeting.

If you count every separate idea below, there are 5 new proposals. That’s a lot. Personally, I support all of them. But I realize that it’s unlikely that the business meeting will pass all 5. That’s why these proposals are designed to be as modular as possible. Sure, they could all be passed together and would work to reinforce each other; but in most cases each one would also be a sensible step forward if passed alone.

Following that, I will answer some obvious questions that these proposals bring up, in FAQ format.

At the end of this post, I’ll present a rough draft of how these proposals might be formalized. This is for illustration purposes only. In the case of 3SV, there is a group of current and future Worldcon Chairs and Hugo Administrators working on formal language, and I expect they’ll do a much better job than I have. But I needed to present an illustrative version of 3SV to make sense of the extra proposals that would modify it.

I will also have some things to say in the comment thread that shouldn’t be here in the main post.

Overall plan outline:

  1. Pass EPH this year. This should at least keep a slate from sweeping any category. (As for 4/6, it is not as important. I personally would support amending it to 5/6 passing it; but the plan does not hinge on this.) Also, remove the 5% threshold this year.
    1. Present a proposal for EPH+, a technical enhancement to the EPH vote-counting system which is projected to give slates about one fewer finalist per category in circumstances like the current ones.
  2. Create a “base 3SV” proposal, which inserts a new qualification ballot between the current nominating and final ballots.
    1. The Hugo Committee would publish a “longlist” of the top 12 or 15 works in each category from the nominating ballot without specifying their voting totals or the order in which they finished.
    2. A second round of voting would then be conducted in which members of the current Worldcon can “preemptively no-award” any of the works on the longlist.
    3. Longlisted works which are rejected by a majority of the voters AND by an absolute minimum number of voters would be excluded from consideration for the final ballot. (The absolute minimum would be a substantial number – potentially 20% of all eligible members – to ensure that a slate-voting minority cannot hijack this round of voting).
    4. The final ballot would then proceed as at present, with finalists being the highest ranked candidates from the nominating (first round) ballot who were not excluded by the subsequent qualification vote.
  3. Create several additional proposals, intended primarily to modify or go alongside the base 3SV proposal above:
    1. First, a “mercy panel”, established by the prior year’s Worldcon, with the power, by unanimous vote, to “spare” any longlist work(s) from the 3SV voting round. Works so “spared” would be able to become finalists without possibility of second-round rejection, but would of course still be subject to being voted below “no award” in the final round.
    2. Second, a “+2 against trolls”  (Hat tip) round of voting, simultaneous with the 3SV round. This would allow any eligible first-round voter to add nominations for 2 works per category, that they had not already nominated, from the longlist. These nominations would be counted in determining the finalists, just as if they had been made in round 1. (Note: most of the discussion on this point has been made on the “+1” version of it; it was first proposed in combination with 3SV as “3SV+1”. But passing +2 this year would allow us to amend that to +1 next year, while the reverse is not true; so +2 is the best way to keep our options open.)
    3. (Note: this is a new proposal which has not been discussed in the prior threads, and as such, it is far more tentative than the rest) Third, a “extend finalists” option in the 3SV voting, whereby voters may choose for each work between the options “Reject”, “Accept with extension”, “Accept”, and “Abstain”. If one or more works that had gotten more than a certain threshold of combined “Reject” and “Accept with extension” votes became a finalist, the target number of finalists in that category would be increased by 1 for each such work, up to a maximum target of 7 finalists. As with rejection votes, the totals for “Accept with extension” votes would be published after the Hugos were awarded, but the names of specific works would be anonymized, to make it clear that the judgment of “Accept with extension” has to do with voting process and not with the quality of a work itself
  4. (optional) Discuss the possibility of a proposal to go back and fix the no-awarded categories from this year and last year using retro Hugos. I do not believe that a proposal to do this should be made this year; the Business Meeting will be plenty busy enough without it. But I think it’s a good idea to begin this discussion and have a proposal like this ready for 2017 or 2018.

FAQ

Overall structure

Q. You say that a way forward is becoming evident. In whose view?

A. Many of the aspects of the plan I’ve outlined have been arrived at collaboratively and have drawn more-or-less broad consensus in the relevant discussion threads (linked at the top of this post). It’s true that other aspects more clearly come from one person: me, Jameson Quinn. But the proposal drafts above are not the end of the road; please comment below, and we will continue to work on them (including discarding ideas, if appropriate).In this thread, even if you have no new arguments to add, it is useful to just say just “I like this part” and/or “I don’t like that part.” Of course, if you’re going to say one of those, please do read through this FAQ, as your concerns may be addressed already.

Q. We can’t make any actual decisions until the Business Meeting, and many people who will be there aren’t even paying attention yet. So why have this discussion now?

A. There is no question that the Business Meeting has the final word. We’re not trying to take over the decision process here, just to smooth the way. That is: the point of the discussion now is to refine the proposals, clarify their advantages and disadvantages, and get consensus on the points that become obvious through that process.

Q. Is this set of proposals too complicated to even work as designed? (joke youtube link)

A. I have several things to say to that. First off, you’re right, they are somewhat complicated; but I’d argue that well-designed voting systems, while they should avoid senseless intricacy, can reasonably be a bit involved. Secondly, each of the the three main parts of this — EPH/EPH+, 3SV, and +2 against trolls, — could stand on its own, helping solve some aspects of the current situation even if the other parts were not present. This partial redundancy means the whole is more robust, not more fragile, than any of the parts.

Q. Are these proposals worth the extra complexity they add?

A. I’ll address this question for each proposal separately. But more generally, it depends on what problem(s) you’re trying to solve. See the next question for more on that.

Q. Out of the 5 new proposals here (plus EPH), what is the least we could do that would address the problem?

A. That depends what you mean by “the problem”. You might think it’s:

  1. Slate sweeps (that is, the possibility that all the Hugo finalists in one or more categories come from a slate) In this case the minimal solution is to Pass EPH. See my paper with Bruce for more details.
  2. Slates nominating works that are intended to defame, harass, offend, or otherwise discredit the Hugos? In this case the minimal solution is to Pass 3SV.
    1. How could we solve the above without causing undue negativity? In this case the minimal solution is to may be 3SV, if social norms are enough to prevent campaigns to reject good-faith works. If not, adding on the Mercy Panel would help.
  3. Multiple categories without a choice between at least 2 organic (non-slate) works: In this case the minimal solution is to Pass EPH+. If you do not like EPH+, then you could get a similar result with a combination of EPH, 3SV and “+2 (or +1) against trolls”.
    1. If you think the problem is even 1 category without such a choice, then the minimal solution with enough of a safety margin is probably combining EPH+ and 3SV+2 (that is, both of the possible solutions just above).
  4. Slates acting as “kingmakers” (that is, supporting some works which already have organic support, merely in order to deny others the chance of becoming finalists)? In this case the minimal solution is either EPH+, 3SV, and +2 (or +1) against trolls; or, alternatively, EPH, 3SV, and extend finalists. For the greatest possible strength against kingmakers, therefore, you’d combine EPH+, 3SV, +2 (or +1) aganst trolls, and extend finalists.
  5. All of the above: to solve all the problems above, you’d probably need all the proposals.

Q. Even if you consolidated all of this, it would still be at least 2 and probably 3 different proposals. Do you really expect all of that to pass through the BM?

A. Well, it’s not impossible. But frankly, no, I wouldn’t expect all of this to pass. But I still think it’s worth comprehensively laying out all the different problems and what it would take to fix them all, so that we can make this decision with our eyes open.

Q. Isn’t there a simpler way? Have you looked for one?

A. We have looked for one, and I believe the proposals above are the best of what we’ve considered. Others may disagree. For now, this FAQ is just a starting point for more discussion.

Q. OK, enough beating around the bush. What do you actually hope passes?

A. I’d like all of it to pass. But I’d be pretty satisfied with EPH+, 3SV, and +1 against trolls. I’m not attached to the mercy panel or extended finalists.

EPH and EPH+

Q. Is EPH+ worth the extra complexity it adds? Why?

A. I think it clearly is; but then again, I (Jameson) may not be the best person to answer this question. The advantages of EPH+ are clear; it helps ensure more of the finalists are determined by organic voters. As for the disadvantages and/or complexity: since I live and breathe voting theory, it actually doesn’t seem any more complex than EPH to me. Though I realize that is probably not true for other people, it’s hard for me to judge how much of a problem that is.

Q. This is complicated. Where can I read more about why it was proposed?

A. Start with Bruce Schneier’s post. If you’re up for some academic jargon, you can supplement that with our paper. Finally, read this post from the previous thread in which I try to explain the reasons for EPH+ in plain language.

 Q. Is EPH or EPH+ still needed if we have 3SV, or if we have 3SV along with some of the related options?

A. I believe that at least EPH is still necessary to prevent a slate from taking over the longlist. Beyond that, see my answer to the “what is the least we can do” question.

Q. I want to look at lots of graphs!

A. I have a bunch. (more to follow on this, in the discussion.)

3SV base

Q. Is this proposal worth the extra complexity it adds? Why?

A. I believe it definitely is. If we want keep offensive and/or harassing works from becoming finalists, we need to empower somebody to do that. And fandom is too broad to entrust that power to a small group, so we need some proposal similar to 3SV. Obviously, we could write the proposal differently, but I believe the version above is a reasonable starting point and sticks to the essentials.

Q. Why 3SV (voting to eliminate finalists) and not just a second round of positive “semi-final” voting to decide finalists?

A. Several reasons:

  1. A semi-final ballot would give voters just a few weeks to assimilate and vote on an extended list of 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 somewhat true for 3SV, too, but it is less of an issue as explained below.
  2. A semi-final ballot 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.
  3. Unlike a semi-final ballot, 3SV deals 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.
  4. 3SV would be similar in spirit to the “no award” option which is already enshrined in the constitution, 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.
  5. A semi-final ballot opens 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.

Q. Wouldn’t this lead to constant campaigns to eliminate works people just happen not to like, and thereby to hurt feelings?

A. There are several safeguards against this. 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 possibility that (under some versions of this proposal) 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.)
See also the Mercy Panel FAQs below.

Mercy panel

Q. Is this proposal worth the extra complexity it adds? Why?

A. That’s up to the Business Meeting to decide.Multiple people have expressed concern with 3SV, calling it too negative, and worrying how possible “rejection campaigns” would feel to the authors in question. This proposal would remove the possibility of such campaigns in clear-cut cases, reserving the power of 3SV for the edge cases which need it.It would also simplify the task of voting in round 2. This is a case where a little extra complexity in the rules actually simplifies life for the majority.

Q. Would this proposal let the panel keep something from becoming a finalist? That sounds like a bad idea!

A. No! The only power this panel would have would be to allow the nominations (from round 1 and possibly the “+2 against trolls” round) to stand. In other words, the panel can be a “good cop” by letting a work with strong support become a finalist without passing through a rejection vote, but could not be a “bad cop” by preventing it from becoming a finalist. The only group who could keep something from being a finalist would be the voters at large; exactly the same group that currently has the power to rank something below “no award”.

Q. Would this be too much power to give to a small group?

A. I think not. The only power this panel would have would be to exempt a work from the 3SV process. Even if they overstepped that power, we’d be no worse off than we are currently. In particular, the voters as a whole would still be able to put an offending work below “no award”.

Q. Wouldn’t this just be painting a target on the individuals on the panel, setting them up for harassment?

A. To a certain degree, the answer is yes; if you can’t handle people on the internet saying mean things about you, you probably shouldn’t be on this panel. But I don’t think this is a good reason not to have such a panel. Here’s my reasoning:

First off, there are manifestly people in fandom who can handle being a target, whether it’s because they bear it as a negative, because they actually enjoy the battle, or because they are such towering figures as to be beyond good and evil. I believe that there is a subset of these people who have earned fandom’s trust and could well serve as “your mercy”.

Secondly, I think that a “mercy panel” is designed to minimize such targeting. The question they’re answering is not the fundamentally controversial one, “does this work deserve to be kept from being a finalist?”, but rather, “are there reasonable questions about whether this work should be kept from being a finalist?”. It is at least possible to believe the answer to the first question is an emphatic “no”, and still accept that the answer to the second may be “yes”.

Finally, the fact is, haters gonna hate. There is really nothing we can do to prevent some people from becoming targets in this mess. With a panel, at least the targets will be people who’ve signed up for the job.

+2 against trolls

Q. Is this proposal worth the extra complexity it adds? Why?

A. I feel that it is. Because there are so many eligible works each year, many people nominate without naming even one thing that has any chance of becoming a finalist. This would focus attention on a list of 15 strong works, and give nominators some extra time to review these and add one or two that deserve it. The resulting finalists will have been reviewed by more fans, will have won more support, and thus will almost certainly be higher-quality overall. The fact that this proposal helps resist slate voting is almost just a side-effect.

Q. Why not let people add as many nominations as they want?

A. The 3SV voting round, when +2 is happening, should go by relatively quickly. Voters have limited attention to devote to this issue. Asking them to look at the longlist, do whatever extra reading/watching is necessary, and pick one or two extra nominations per category is probably the limit of what they can do without cutting corners.
Slate voters, on the other hand, are all about cutting corners. They can easily decide to add as many extra nominations as they’re allowed to.

EPH or EPH+ both make the story a little bit more complex, because it’s no longer optimal to add too many extra nominations. Still, there are some cases where adding more than 2 nominations could be a smart move for a slate. Why give slate voters that freedom, even if the cases where it helps them are rare?

Q. OK, so why not allow just +1 instead of +2?

A. That may well be the best course. But if we pass a +2 proposal this year, then changing it to +1 next year during ratification is a valid “lesser change”. So +2 keeps our reasonable options open. (For instance: what if we decide it should be +2 for Best Short Story, but +1 for all other categories? With all the proposals to look at this year, it’s probably not worth getting into details like that now; but next year, things may be clearer.)

Extend finalists

Q. What’s the idea here?

A. This proposal helps 3SV deal with the issue of “hostage” or “kingmaker” works, which have clear merit of their own but which have evidence of mindless support from slate voters. For instance, this year (2016), Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves was supported by a slate and became a finalist. He’s had several books nominated for Hugos, and several that weren’t; without the slate support, it’s impossible to be perfectly sure whether Seveneves would have made it. This option would allow works in this situation to become finalists, as the slate support was not the author’s fault; but to do so without pushing any other work off the list of finalists, because the list would just expand.

Q. Is this proposal worth the extra complexity it adds? Why?

A. Perhaps; it’s worth at least considering, though for simplicity in the business meeting it may be better to fold it into 3SV rather than taking it up separately. This proposal helps 3SV deal with the issue of “hostage” or “kingmaker” works, where a slate throws support behind things that have clear merit of their own, so that those things gets some votes from people who read them and some from people who didn’t.

Q. Would this make authors feel bad?

A. It shouldn’t. A vote of “accept with extension” is in no way a judgement on the work itself, just a judgement that there is reason to doubt the motive of some significant fracion of the work’s supporters.

Proposal Texts (rough drafts, for discussion purposes only):

A proposal for 3SV is currently being prepared by a group of highly experienced Worldcon runners led by Colin Harris (2005 Worldcon Chair) and also including former Worldcon Chairs Kevin Standlee and Vince Docherty and former NASFiC Chair Warren Buff. They expect to have a draft proposal published within two weeks (by 12 June), and if this were just about 3SV, I would rather have waited for them and not written something myself. But the other proposals following 3SV relate to it closely. So in order to write those other proposals in a form clear enough for further discussion, I needed to first write an illustrative text for a 3SV proposal.

EPH+

Moved, to amend Section 3.A.1 (1) of the E Pluribus Hugo proposal, as follows:

(1) Calculation Phase: First, the total number of nominations (the number of ballots on which each nominee appears) from all eligible ballots shall be tallied for each remaining nominee. Next, a single “point” shall be assigned to each nomination ballot. That point shall be divided equally among all remaining nominees on that ballot. each nomination ballot shall give a point or fraction thereof to each remaining nominee on that ballot, according to the number of such remaining nominees, using the following pattern: 1 point for 1 remaining nominee, 1/3 of a point each for 2 remaining nominees, 1/5 of a point each for 3 remaining nominees, 1/7 of a point each for 4 remaining nominees, and 1/9 of a point each for 5 remaining nominees (extending this pattern as needed if a ballot legally has more remaining nominees).  Finally, all points from all nomination ballots shall be totaled for each nominee in that category. These two numbers, point total and number of nominations, shall be used in the Selection and Elimination Phases.

3SV base (for reference only; to be superseded by the text from Colin Harris’s group)

Moved, to amend Section 3.7.1 (Tallying of Nominations), Section 3.9 (Notification and Acceptance), and Section 3.11.4 (Tallying of Votes) as follows:

Section 3.7: Nominations.

3.7.1: The Worldcon Committee shall conduct a poll to select begin the process of selecting the nominees finalists for the final Award voting. Each member of the administering Worldcon, the immediately preceding Worldcon, or the immediately following Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) equally weighted nominations in every category.

Insert new sections 3.B and 3.C after section 3.8 and, if appropriate, 3.A from the E Pluribus Hugo proposal.

Section 3.B: Longlist publication.

3.B.1: In each category, the “longlist” shall consist of the top 15 nominees, as selected by the process detailed in section 3.8 [if EPH has passed] and section 3.A[end conditional]), but changing the number of desired nominees to 15 as appropriate. Any numbers involving limits on individual ballots shall not be changed.

3.B.2: In order to foment quick and accurate publication of each category’s longlist, the Worldcon Committee may exercise reasonable discretion in increasing the number of nominees on the longlist up to a maximum size of 18 nominees. Possible examples of situations that would call for such discretion are given in sections 3.B.3.1 and 3.B.3.2 below:

3.B.2.1: If eligibility cannot be quickly determined for a nominees, but it is thought to be ineligible, both it and an extra nominee may be included in case it is not eligible.

3.B.2.2: If the 15th-place nominee is nearly tied with the 16th-place one, and it is thought that a recount might show that their proper positions had been reversed, both may be included.

3.B.3: The names of the nominees on each category’s longlist, but not their order or vote totals, shall be made public with all due haste after the nominations poll is closed.

3.B.3.1 “Made public” means that the information should be conveyed to all eligible voters through some direct, personal means such as email and/asor postal mail, and also made generally accessible in some medium or media such as a web page.

3.B.4: Nominees on the longlist shall not be referred to as “semifinalists” or otherwise given any honorary status unless and until they have passed the eligibility voting described in section 3.C without elimination.

Section 3.C: Nominee eligibility voting.

3.C.1: After the longlist is published, each member of the administering Worldcon who had been eligible to vote in the nominations poll as described in 3.7.1 may vote on the eligibility of the longlist members.

3.C.2: At the discretion of the Worldcon committee, and with reasonable prior notice, the set of persons eligible to vote on nominee eligibility may be frozen before the close of voting, in order to ease calculation of the vote thresholds in 3.C.7 below.

3.C.3: The ballot for this round of voting shall present the voter with the following options for each longlist nominee: “Accept”, “Reject”, and “Abstain”.

3.C.4: Any voter who does not submit a ballot will be considered to have voted “Abstain” on all nominees.

3.C.5: Any voter who does submit a ballot but does not explicitly choose one of the three options for a given nominee will be considered to have voted “Accept” on that nominee. This default choice should be made clear on the ballot insofar as practical.

3.C.6: Postal mail ballots should be accepted insofar as it is practical given the schedule, but the Worldcon committee may if it chooses schedule this voting round in such a way that some members may not have ample time to submit such physical ballots.

3.C.7: A nominee shall be eliminated and considered ineligible if it meets the following two criteria: the number of “Reject” votes it receives is greater than 20% of the pool of voters eligible under 3.C.1 and 3.C.2; and the number of “Reject” votes it receives is also greater than the number of “Accept” votes it receives.

3.C.6: At the end of this voting round, the 5 finalists shall be chosen as follows:

3.C.6.1 The process described in section 3.8 [if EPH has passed]and section 3.A[end conditional] shall be used to put the entire set of nominees (eligible or not) in as strict an order as possible (that is, if the process is one of elimination, it shall continue until all nominees have been eliminated).

3.C.6.2 The finalists shall be the top 5 eligible nominees on this list.

Section 3.9: Notification and Acceptance.

3.9.1: Worldcon Committees shall use reasonable efforts to attempt to notify all of the nominees on the longlist, or in the case of deceased or incapacitated persons, their heirs, assigns, or legal guardians, in each category prior to simultaneous with the release of such information. Each nominee shall be asked reminded at that time to either accept or decline the nomination. If the nominee declines nomination, that nominee shall not appear on the final ballot.

3.9.A: [after 3.9.1]Since the longlist will be public information, members of the public may also help contact the responsible persons. Any nominee on the longlist which has not explicitly withdrawn by the end of the second round of voting shall be assumed to accept becoming a finalist.

3.9.2: In the Best Professional Artist category, the acceptance should include citations of at least three (3) works first published in the eligible year.

3.9.3: Each nominee in the categories of Best Fanzine and Best Semiprozine shall be required to provide information confirming that they meet the qualifications of their category.

3.11.4: The complete numerical vote totals, including all preliminary tallies for first, second, … places, shall be made public by the Worldcon Committee within ninety (90) days after the Worldcon. During the same period the nomination voting totals shall also be published, including in each category the vote counts [if EPH has passed] and points tallies as of elimination [end conditional] for at least the fifteen highest vote-getters and any other candidate receiving a number of votes equal to at least five percent (5%) of the nomination ballots cast in that category, but not including any candidate receiving fewer than five votes. 3.11.A This information shall also include eligibility and reason (if any) for ineligibility for each member of the longlist.

3.11.B In addition, for each category, the list of numbers of “reject” and “accept” votes for each work shall be published in descending order of number “reject” votes. The names of each work shall NOT be published alongside this list.

Mercy panel

Moved, to add Section 3.BA (Mercy panel) after section 3.B, and to amend Section 3.C.1 (Nominee eligibility voting) as follows:

Section 3.BA: Mercy panel

3.BA.1 Each Worldcon Committee shall appoint at least 3 natural persons and 2 alternates, and no more than 6 of each, to serve as a Mercy Panel for the following Worldcon. Presence on the Mercy Panel shall not necessarily preclude assuming other functions for any Worldcon. The procedure for such appointment shall be at the discretion of the Committee, and may or may not include voting.

3.BA.2 If for any reason there are not at least the minimum number of members and alternates from the prior year, the current Worldcon Committee shall appoint any which are lacking, using the same degree of discretion.

3.BA.3 The Worldcon Committee and the Mercy Panel shall remain in contact during the first round of voting, and the WorldCon Committee may elect to share preliminary voting counts as appropriate and practical. This information shall be treated as private, maintained with reasonable security precautions, and erased as soon as practical by the Mercy Panel.

3.BA.4 As soon as the longlist is published, the Mercy Panel shall proceed with all reasonable haste to rule on whether each nominee on the longlist should be subject to an eligibility vote as described in section 3.C.

3.BA.5 Any member of the Mercy Panel who has a conflict of interest regarding a given work shall allow an alternate to vote in their stead on that work. Any work which for this reason cannot be reviewed by at least 3 members of the Mercy Panel shall be subject to an eligibility vote.

3.BA.6 Nominees that should be subject to eligibility votes include any in the following categories:

3.BA.6.1 Those for which there is a reasonable argument that they contain harassment or libel against a living person or any past member of WSFS.

3.BA.6.2 Those which any member of the Mercy Panel considers to be likely to be offensive to the standards of at least 20% of WSFS members.

3.BA.6.3 Those for which there is some clearly-defined credible reason(s) to suppose that over 20% of the nominations were made based more on outside influences than on the nominator’s judgment of the nominee’s merit.

3.BA.7 Any nominees which are unanimously considered by the Mercy Panel not to fall in any of the categories enumerated in 3.BA.6 shall not be subject to an eligibility vote.

3.C.1: After the longlist is published, and after the Mercy Panel has ruled on all members of a category, each member of the administering Worldcon who had been eligible to vote in the nominations poll as described in 3.7.1 may vote on the eligibility of any of the longlist members not exempt under section 3.BA.

+2 against trolls

Moved, to amend Section 3.7.1 (Tallying of Nominations), Section 3.9 (Notification and Acceptance), and Section 3.11.4 (Tallying of Votes) as shown above in “3SV Base”; and also to add section 3.D as follows:

Section 3.D Addition of nominations during round 2

3.D.1 During the second round of voting (that is, simultaneous with the process described in 3.C, if present), all persons who were eligible to nominate in the first round of voting may add nominations as follows.

3.D.2 Each voter may add up to two (2) nominations per category.

3.D.3 Any additional nominations for the same nominee a voter has already nominated in the same category shall be ignored.

3.D.4 All new nominations must be for nominees that are on the longlist in the same category.

3.D.5 Postal mail ballots should be accepted insofar as it is practical given the schedule, but the Worldcon committee may if it chooses schedule this voting round in such a way that some members may not have ample time to submit such physical ballots.

3.D.6 All nominations added during this period shall be treated in all ways as if they had come during the first round of voting, except that they shall not be counted as violating the allowed number of nominations per category.

Extend finalists

Moved, to amend Section 3.C.3 and 3.C.7 of the 3SV proposal above, and to add section 3.C.A after 3.C.7, as follows:

3.C.3: The ballot for this round of voting shall present the voter with the following options for each longlist nominee: “Accept”, “Accept with extension”, “Reject”, and “Abstain”.

3.C.4: Any voter who does not submit a ballot will be considered to have voted “Abstain” on all nominees.

3.C.5: Any voter who does submit a ballot but does not explicitly choose one of the three options for a given nominee will be considered to have voted “Accept” on that nominee. This default choice should be made clear on the ballot insofar as practical.

3.C.6: Postal mail ballots should be accepted insofar as it is practical given the schedule, but the Worldcon committee may if it chooses schedule this voting round in such a way that some members may not have ample time to submit such physical ballots.

3.C.7: A nominee shall be eliminated and considered ineligible if it meets the following two criteria: the number of “Reject” votes it receives is greater than 20% of the pool of voters eligible under 3.C.1 and 3.C.2; and the number of “Reject” votes it receives is also greater than the number of “Accept” votes or “Accept with extension” votes it receives.

3.C.A: If the number of “Reject” votes and “Accept with extension” votes a nominee receives is greater than 10% of the number of voters eligible under 3.C.1 and 3.C.2; and the number of “Reject” votes and “Accept with extension” votes the nominee receives is also greater than the number of “Accept” votes it receives; and if the nominee is selected as a finalist; then the number of finalists in that category shall be increased by 1, up to a maximum of 7.

120 thoughts on “To Say Nothing of the Dogs; or, How We Confound the Hugos’ Third Slump (Hugo voting proposal discussion 5)

  1. Adding my drop to the bucket, I think EPH is a necessity, and EPH+ and 3SV should be proposed.

    I think +2 is a nice idea but I am less confident about it and I also think just the above is a big wodge for the Business Meeting to debate and hopefully pass, and I am minded of various psych research saying that making decisions is tiring and once people get tired, “No” is the easiest thing to say.

    Since it is my (limited) experience that previous decisions gain momentum, I think a proposal that came back to the 2017 Business Meeting having been defeated at the 2016 Business Meeting might be at a significant disadvantage compared to one that came up for the first time at the 2017 Business Meeting.

    So I think we should hold off on +2

    We might even want to ask ourselves whether we want 3SV or EPH+ more, and try to present the one we want more first. Sorry to open a new can of worms and if people with more experience think it’s not necessary I won’t bring it up again.

    I think a Mercy Panel might be difficult to pass, and if passed might regularly be the center of a firestorm; I would prefer to not bring that one up at all.

    Also in filking news–I’m trying to come up with a filk about how EPH works and “category” (as in Hugo Category, like BDP, or Best Novel) is damn hard to make scan. Does anybody have suggestions for other ways to say “Hugo Category”?

  2. I tend to agree with Cat. EPH is absolutely necessary, and 3SV should pretty much solve what of the problem will be left once EPH is in. I haven’t studied the differences between EPH and EPH+ enough to say if + is truly better, but I tend to trust the people who say it is.

    The other changes can probably wait. EPH, 3SV, and EPH+, in that order, I think, are what we need.

  3. We may not have an exact consensus, but the outlines of one are visible. I think both the median and modal opinion is the following:

    Pass EPH this year.
    Propose 3SV and EPH+ this year. Pass one or both of them, and ratify next year.
    Next year, propose +2 (or +1) against trolls and perhaps extend finalists if it appears necessary.

    I think this is a good plan.

    Assuming that’s the plan, what are the next steps?

    -Collect co-signers for EPH+. If you are a MAC II member and wish to be a co-signer, please post your member name here. I don’t think that 3SV needs co-signers; the Colin Harris group will take care of that.

    -I also think that if this is the plan, I should be at MAC II. So please donate to my fundraiser. I’m already over 1/3 of the way to having enough money to go; but I’d really like to be able to raise more than that, because I think that electology.org is a good cause; improving voting systems shouldn’t stop with the Hugos.

  4. Jameson Quinn, I signed to support EPH and I’ll support EPH+. My name, rot13’d to avoid easy googling, is Pynhqvn Ornpu.

  5. Oh, I hadn’t thought about using rot-13. I will support EPH+ also. My MAC-II membership name: Obaavr Jnesbeq

  6. Cat, may I just say that I *love* the fact your last name rot13s to “Snore”? <giggle>

  7. Andrew Hickey on June 5, 2016 at 10:14 am said:

    Do supporting memberships count?

    Supporting members of the current Worldcon may co-sponsor proposals to the Business Meeting. They cannot attend the meeting, debate proposals (other than as part of the Maker’s Statement usually included with the proposal), or vote on them.

  8. I co-signed EPH, I will co-sign EPH+. As last year, I’m a supporting member.

    David Goldfarb

  9. Pingback: Hugo Voting Proposal Status Update | File 770

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