E Pluribus Hugo Tested With Anonymized 2015 Data

By Jameson Quinn: [Originally left as a comment.] So, Bruce Schneier and I are working on an academic paper about the E Pluribus Hugo (EPH) proposed voting system. We’ve been given a data set of anonymized votes from 2015. I don’t want to give all the results away but here are a few, now that people are actually voting for this year’s Hugos:

  • A typical category had around 300 ballots which voted for more puppies than non-puppies, and about half of those ballots were for puppies exclusively. There were few ballots which voted for half or fewer puppies (typically only a few dozen). The average number of works per ballot per category was around 3.
  • There were some weak correlations among non-puppies, but nothing that remotely rivals the puppies’ coherence. In particular, correlations were low enough that even if voting patterns remained basically dispersed, raising the average works per ballot per category from 3 to 4 (33% more votes total) would probably have been as powerful in terms of promoting diverse finalists (that is, not all puppies) as adding over 25% more voters. In other words: if you want things you vote for to be finalists, vote for more things — vote for all the things you think may be worthy.
  • EPH would have resulted in 10 more non-puppy finalists overall; at least 1 non-puppy in each category (before accounting for eligibility and withdrawals).
  • SDV(*) would have resulted in 13 more non-puppy finalists overall.
  • Most other proportional systems would probably have resulted in 13 or 14 more.
  • The above numbers are based on assuming the same ballot set; that is, that voters would not have reacted to the different voting system by strategizing. If strategizing is not used unless it is likely to be rational, that is a pretty safe assumption with EPH; less so with other proportional systems. Thus, other systems could in theory actually lead to fewer non-puppy nominees / less diversity than EPH.

Feel free to promote this to a front page post if you want. Disclaimer: EPH is not intended to shut the puppies out, but merely to help ensure that the diversity of the nominees better reflects the diversity of taste of the voters.

(*) Editor’s note: I believe SDV refers to Single Divisible Vote.

Update 02/08/2016: Added to end of second bullet missing phrase, supplied by author. Corrected footnote, based on author’s comment.

407 thoughts on “E Pluribus Hugo Tested With Anonymized 2015 Data

  1. Aaron: I decided to comment because I feel “conspiracy” is being used here for the ends of persauding the readers to see a thing in the same light they would a crime.

    Even accepting your secondary definition of “unlawful or harmful” I don’t think you are assigning the right weight to the word “harmful,” which comes from the word “harm”, meaning “physical or mental damage or injury: something that causes someone or something to be hurt, broken, made less valuable or successful, etc.”

    Sure, you can say the Hugos will be less valuable if they’re given to crap. In fact, lots of us are saying that. But the mechanism by which that is happening is exercising voting rights as allowed by the awards system itself. That’s politics. Making it sound criminal is a misuse of language.

  2. For clarity, I think I’m the one who introduced “conspiracy” into this conversation, and the context I meant it in (before I let myself get dragged into a false-equivalency slapfight about allegations that aren’t, whether true or false, conspiracies per se) is the accusation that Making Light and sinister forces attached thereto have secretively controlled the Hugos for lo these many years. This accusation that forms the ostensible basis of many Puppies’ own bad behavior, as well as a reason to reject EPH out of hand.

    I have seen the word “conspiracy” attached to that accusation in many Puppy conversations, as well as words like “cabal” and “sinister”. I didn’t make the usage up. And it also bears all the hallmarks, as I said, of a conspiracy theory, used as a cultural term of art.

    It’s also horse pucky, of course, like many conspiracy theories.

  3. MC DuQuesne: you conveniently forget the myriad of suggestions for improving the nomination policy that didn’t make it into the final proposal. Pretty much everything suggested that was against the initial proposal on April 7th by Bruce was ignored.

    None of the alternate suggestions were “ignored”; they were discussed, analyzed, and debated — exhaustively, and very publicly — and finally set aside by consensus as not being appropriate and/or effective.

    MC DuQuesne: Brad has his list, people made suggestions, and he incorporated far more of those into the Sad Puppies list than EPH incorporated from those “open” threads.

    No, he didn’t.

    Firstly, everything that ended up in EPH was discussed publicly — extensively — prior to the final proposal. There was no secret back-room group making decisions on previously-undiscussed aspects which later magically appeared in the EPH proposal.

    Contrasting to Sad Puppies, where BT privately decided the majority of what was going to be on the Sad Puppies slate, including only a few of the things which had been publicly recommended in BT’s “Suggestion” thread.

    And then there’s the Rabid Puppies slate, and the so-called “burning-down of the Hugos” from which we have been assured numerous times by various Sad Puppies (including Torgersen and Hoyt) that non-Puppies were “saved” and “protected” by the members of the ELOE (the ridiculously self-named Evil League of Evil), who, in back-room negotiations, supposedly kept VD from making his slate even worse than it actually was.

  4. The organized puppy leadership continues to claim there is an SJW secret cabal controlling the Hugos. If conspiracy theory isn’t the right phrase for that what is?

    I’ll be offline for 25 hours of so. Have a good weekend.

  5. Abi Sutherland: …conspiracy theory, used as a cultural term of art.

    Thanks for bringing us back to the point.

  6. MC DuQuesne:

    …you conveniently forget the myriad of suggestions for improving the nomination policy that didn’t make it into the final proposal.

    And you conveniently forget that any two attending member of WSFS can introduce their own proposals to the Business Meeting, and if they can convince a majority of the voters present that they are right, they get their way.

    Anyone who didn’t like the EPH proposal hammered out in public was welcome to introduce their own proposal. There was in fact one other proposal (4/6) that did not directly conflict with EPH, and therefore I ruled that they could both go forward. Had there been a counter-proposal to EPH such that you couldn’t have both of them., there would have been a debate on which of the proposals would be considered for final consideration, and then a debate and yes/no vote upon that one.

    (The mechanism is “amendment by substitution,” by the way. Details how how it works upon request.)

    Nothing was done in secret. Everything was above-board and by the rules.

  7. MC DuQuesne on February 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm said:
    “Yet you conveniently forget the myriad of suggestions for improving the nomination policy that didn’t make it into the final proposal. …

    Brad has his list, people made suggestions, and he incorporated far more of those into the Sad Puppies list than EPH incorporated from those “open” threads.

    You seem to be conveniently forgetting, or ignoring, some things yourself. Like the fact that it’s not possible to incorporate all the suggestions for improving EPH into a single coherent proposal as some – many? most? – will be mutually contradictory.

    Brad, on the other hand, was free to include all the suggestions made to him, together with some of his own, in an extended “recommended reading” list which would have avoided the appearance of a slate. Instead of which, he slated.

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