Warren Buff favors keeping the Best Semiprozine Hugo. While we differ about that, I admired a bit of research he presented on a list-serv to refute the idea that there has been a radically smaller assortment of nominees in that category than in some others. I quote it here, with his permission.
Warren Buff: “Now, I initially voted for this amendment. I thought the case was solid that the same nominees were coming up year after year, and from 2003-2008, four of the five nominees are identical. One of those (Ansible) failed to make this year’s ballot, but even then, we can trace three of the five nominees back on every ballot since 1989 (Locus, Interzone, NYRSF). In the past ten years, it has featured only 12 nominees. This may sound like a small number until you count the nominees in Best Fanzine over the same period — a mere 13, and there’s an overlap of two between the two categories (and another of the fanzine nominees is SFFY). Best Fan Writer has only had 12 nominees in the past ten years. Best Professional Artist has only scored 15 nominees. Best Fan Artist has produced a mere 10. (I’ll leave off the Editor categories, though, since those were too recently split to provide comparable data.) So I don’t really consider the category to be that unhealthy. If we have a problem with the same folks getting nominated consistently for the Best Semiprozine Hugo, then I suspect there are a lot of categories in similar danger of going to the chopping block. I didn’t think I was going to change my mind on getting rid of Semiprozine, but this discussion has caused me to take another look at the raw data. We can probably think of some interesting ways to change the category to make it more exciting. Let’s explore those rather than kill it entirely.”
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