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. @MC DuQuesne

    but not including any information that could be used to relate ballots to the members who cast them

    You keep saying this means:

    name, address, phone number, etc

    But that isn’t in the text anywhere. It says “any information” not “name, address, phone number, etc”. The administrators say that the nomination data itself can be used to link the ballot to a person, and so is part of the “any information” that can’t be publicly released according to the will of the business meeting.

  2. @MC DuQuesne
    Those words don’t mean what you think they do.

    You keep trying to redefine what happened at Worldcon business meeting. I attended virtually (it was being live blogged). I discussed it with members who attended right afterwards and read the PDF. Sasquan and MidA ll and the EPH team have all agreed the data can’t be cleaned to a point it’s safe to hand out. Which is why there is an NDA and so few people involved.

    You can keep claiming whatever you want. But you can’t change reality. All you can do is make yourself look more and more foolish. You are welcome to contact Kevin Standlee who chaired the meeting. Or David (I can’t remember his last name) who is the Hugo Admin. He commented earlier in the thread (explaining more about NDA issue) and I believe his contact info can be found on this year’s Worldcon website for clarification from the person in charge of the data.

  3. @ Meredith (sorry for the delay from 2/11, RL strikes back. Phflggggg!)

    You hadn’t missed anything! Its been awful…

    This must be so frustrating and exhausting for you! Your due dates should be extended when the delay is the government’s fault, but it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Hope this all works out for the best for you as soon as possible so you can de-stress. I don’t think you should worry about the Filer list right now (but I do know how irritating it is to have your body refuse to function). Take care of yourself first.

    re: Novels and EPH – we’re agreed that we would like to see all the data asap. :-9
    We’ll just have to get what we get when we get it, though. :-/

  4. @JJ

    If you are truly committed to bringing yourself up to speed, that is what you are looking at. I’m not trying to discourage you — you sound as though, with your knowledge and experience, you would be an asset to the discussion — but I hope you will think long and hard about whether this is really where your time and effort should be going right now.

    But I don’t need to spend anymore time and effort on this: you and others have done the work for me.

    First, to get it out of the way, people wandered off into the subject of the NDA. That one’s simple since Dave (McCarty) clarified it. I’ll put it up here just to pull everything together:

    Ed Green on February 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm said:
    So, two responsible adults violated the NDA. Now what do the Administrators do?

    Dave McCarty on February 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm said:
    The administrators accept their apology and continue to work with them on getting results useful to the WSFS business meeting at MidAmeriCon II.

    Dave McCarty – Hugo Administrator
    MidAmeriCon II

    Pretty straightforward. People violated – not bent – the NDA. They apologized for doing so. The Administers were asked and one said the apology was accepted and we’ll continue the work. QED.

    The other point, which is the main one, is data being given to non-neutral parties. You answered that one as well.

    Mr Quinn’s presence at Sasquan was crowdfunded. Your friend probably contributed to that. I did, also — as did numerous other people. It was done on a shoestring budget, and it was done at Mr Quinn’s offering as someone with expertise which might be beneficial. I can guarantee you from personal observation that he has no loyalties to any “side” here, other than to the study of the data.

    So Mr. Quinn received tangible and intangibles from people in favor of EPH in exchange for his services. Things or money, he has been paid by this group. Which in turn means he has a connection with the group of people advocating EPH and thus isn’t neutral. More importantly in all of this is the impression: he doesn’t appear to be neutral.

    He may be pure as new-driven snow. I like his areas of interest, this even having some overlaps. Being able to study this sort of election data would be useful to him. And if he’s going for a PhD at Harvard he’s going to be especially careful. He sounds great.

    None of that matters

    I’m not yelling, I’m trying to make a point: he was employed by people in favor of EPH. He will always be connected with EPH. And no matter how careful he is, no matter how many people defend him, he will always appear to be biased. And it’s the impression that counts

    Given everything going on the data has to be given to, and crunched by someone who isn’t just neutral, they have to be clearly neutral.

    It’s the only way everyone will trust the results.

  5. Elspeth Kovar: Given everything going on the data has to be given to, and crunched by someone who isn’t just neutral, they have to be clearly neutral. It’s the only way everyone will trust the results.

    The problem with that is that the Puppies will not accept anyone who is not a Puppy as being neutral. It doesn’t matter who does the analysis — they will never accept it as being valid, unless it is done by a Puppy. So there is, to my mind, no point in engaging in endless hoop-jumping in an attempt to please people who will never accept the results as valid.

  6. Brian Z: Sorry, I blinked. What happened to those goalposts? Whoosh!

    No goalposts have been moved. You’ve just been off in your imaginary world, per your usual.

  7. @Elspeth

    Murder, arson, jaywalking – in all instances I have broken the law. Yet the remediation is different in each case

    Similarly, a material breach of an NDA against a non material breach. In both the NDA has been breached. To most people the remediation would be different, as in the case above. Not to you however. Why?

    “It’s the only way everyone will trust the results.”

    I know quite a few people who wouldn’t trust anything in favour of EPH if it was delivered by to them by Gabriel. So who are these everyone that you’re talking about?

  8. @snowcrash

    Similarly, a material breach of an NDA against a non material breach. In both the NDA has been breached. To most people the remediation would be different, as in the case above. Not to you however. Why?

    Because this breach shows a profound lack of professionalism.

    You always, always check with your co-author. And if you’ve signed an NDA you go over it very closely to see that you’re not violating it. If you’re not certain you talk to someone else – perhaps your co-author, the person who had you sign it, or someone else appropriate.

    After due consideration my reaction might not be quite so strong, especially after talking to the person in question. On the other hand “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.” There are already difficulties because of the apparent bias. If he then seems to be let off the hook . .

    “It’s the only way everyone will trust the results.”

    I know quite a few people who wouldn’t trust anything in favour of EPH if it was delivered by to them by Gabriel. So who are these everyone that you’re talking about?

    Well, we start with the possibility that things wind up not being in favor of EPH. As for ‘everyone’ I obviously used too general a word. The thing is, and I’ll keep saying this, people don’t seem to grasp that this isn’t black and white, isn’t “Us” vs “Them”. A lot of us – not the us in quotations – are looking forward to seeing the results of the analysis. Some on the fringes of ‘Them’ do. Some of us who don’t consider “puppy” a swear word – we were perhaps toughened up when the word was ‘SMOF” might even try to talk to them.

    All that aside these results are going to be handed out to how many people, put up on how many websites? The job is being done and has to be rock solid.

  9. The 2015 Business Meeting should have sent the proposed rules changes to a committee, with a year to consult with experts – regardless of whether raw data was made available to any of them or not – and report back before MAC II.

    Instead, raw data for multiple years of nominations ended up in the hands of the MAC II Hugo Administrators, who despite having nothing to do with it, decided they have carte blanche to do whatever they feel like.

    Some insist this was “not against the rules.” That may be technically true, although it hinges on an unusual interpretation of the Constitution’s wording. But it is completely unprecedented in the Hugos’ 63-year tradition of strict ballot secrecy.

    The MAC II administrators then gave the data, without informing the membership, to one of the co-authors of EPH and a second Worldcon member who was involved in some stages of EPH design. (Did they give the data to the other main co-author, Keith “Kilo” Watt?)

    The argument was made that the EPH team should have the right to test the EPH proposal, since it did pass, though it is not yet ratified.

    If so, it would follow that the proposers of “4 and 6” (“5 and 6,” “5 and 7,” etc.), should be given equal access. There is also an argument for sharing the data with neutral researchers, sharing the data with representatives of both EPH proponents and those against it, and (my preference) not sharing it at all.

    So what right do the MAC II Hugo administrators have making these arbitrary decisions about who gets our private data, and writing NDAs so that they will have final say on what is released? None whatsoever. The MAC II administrators are charged under the Constitution with administering the 2016 Hugo Awards at MAC II, no more, no less. They have nothing to do with the Sasquan data. They have no business deciding who looks at it or what the Business Meeting is able to learn about it.

    Meanwhile, Jameson Quinn has demonstrated that his intent is not to test the EPH algorithm in a neutral way, by publicizing private information about the “puppy vote” in an effort to help his faction defeat them in 2016.

    At this point, Sasquan might as well give the raw data to Marvin the Martian, who, outraged that The Puppies are blocking his view of the sun, passes it along to the co-creators of the Hugo Q-36 Explosive Vote Modulator.

    Unless steps are taken quickly to restore some semblance of “good faith,” the Hugo Award’s credibility is dead. I don’t take pleasure in saying that.

  10. Elspeth Kovar: But I don’t need to spend anymore time and effort on this: you and others have done the work for me.

    Yes, you do.

    There is nothing you have said in this thread which has not already been said numerous times by other people over the last 10 months. The difference is that those people all had context — something which you do not yet have.

    If you wish to continue to weigh in on this, you will want to get yourself up-to-speed on everything that’s been said and done over the last 10 months. Otherwise, you will have people like me who are not going to be hesitant to point out to you that you really have very little understanding of what’s going on and that your comments are massively uninformed. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

    There are a lot of incredibly bright people here, who have spent huge amounts of time discussing and analyzing this. For you to walk in after 10 months and assume that you are able to contribute something that no one else has not already said is a bit naive. Yes, you may indeed be able to contribute something unique. But it’s not going to happen unless you are doing so from an informed position.

  11. Brian Z.: Meanwhile, Jameson Quinn has demonstrated that his intent is not to test the EPH algorithm in a neutral way by publicizing private information about the “puppy vote” in an effort to help his faction defeat them in 2016.

    Nothing Mr Quinn has posted will have even the remotest effect on Hugo nominations this year. What’s he said? “Have more people nominate.” “People nominating 5 things is better than people nominating 2 or 3 things.” Woo-hoo. What a news flash. We knew those things a year ago.

    Your claim that anything he has said will help non-Puppies “defeat” Puppies in 2016 is just an outright lie — just another one, in a long string of them, from you.

     
    Brian Z.: Unless steps are taken quickly to restore some semblance of “good faith,” the Hugo Award’s credibility is dead.

    You are so far in arrears at the Credibility Bank at this point, that any assertions coming from you about the credibility of anyone or anything else are just hilariously laughable.

    By all means, feel free to piss off, and those of us who believe that the Hugo Awards are alive and well will be happy to carry on.

  12. I just realized that I erred at the very beginning of my posting:

    I am not starting from scratch with EPH. . I am very well aware of the amendment, was around when much of it was crafted, have turned it upside down and backwards and forwards, examined what it is intended to accomplish, difficulties explaining it, etc. I still have it in a folder on my desktop, various notes about it, along with all the other WSFS papers I planned to go over a second time during the flight.

    When I said “I just heard about this” I was referring to the dissemination of data, not EPH itself.

  13. Because this breach shows a profound lack of professionalism.

    Elspeth, it should be clear to you by know that to you, any breach displays that. What I’m trying to understand is if this is being driven by some sort of animus towards change, EPH, it’s proposers, or some combination of all three.

    I think it is clear to many people engaging with you that you do not find the EPH testers to be credible. That’s actually fine and understandable. What I don’t understand is your constant attempt to overblow things. To go back to my analogy, you’re trying to treat me jaywalking the same as me committing arson – you’re expecting some sort of disproportionate response.

  14. Elspeth Kovar:

    Bruce Schneier is one of the worlds most highly regarded security experts and I find it extremely strange to call his integrity in doubt. And that at the same time as you call for giving the raw data to an anonymous puppy that has called for the Hugos to be given away to Dragoncon, said that an evil conspiracy of “social justice warriors” control the Hugos and is a happy fan of the SP4 organizer that called the Sasquan volunteers “socialist cocksucking whores”.

    You might have studied up on EPH, but tou have clearly not done so regarding the people around it.

  15. Elspeth’s claim that “People violated – not bent – the NDA” seems to be based on the fact that one person claimed, in a question, that “two responsible adults violated the NDA” and Dave McCarty didn’t directly challenge the premise of the question in his answer. If there’s any evidence that Bruce Schneier breached the NDA (as Elspeth’s use of “people” implies), I’m not aware of it. If there’s any evidence that Jameson’s claim that he acted in good faith, interpreting the NDA one way without realizing that the administrators intended it to be interpreted a different way, is untrue, she hasn’t cited it. The claim that she doesn’t need to read the whole thread because people on one side of the argument have cherry-picked criticisms for her to swallow whole is, I’d say, unconvincing.

    We don’t know the contents of the NDA, or whether Jameson’s misinterpretation was reasonable. We do know that his disclosure didn’t do any harm, and the Hugo subcommittee accepted his apology. It does sound to me like the people who won’t let this go are less concerned with getting an analysis that people will accept, and more concerned with getting people not to accept the analysis that’s coming.

  16. MC DuQuesne on February 16, 2016 at 6:25 pm said:

    Now clearly the Sasquan admins were either too incompetent to anonymize the data to the level requested, or decided that their opinion on what constituted a privacy violation differed from the democratically determined will of the business meeting.

    MC: The “democratically determined will of the Business Meeting” has no authority here.

    If the Business Meeting passed a resolution “Resolved, that the Business Meeting requests that the current Worldcon Committee give every person attending the Business Meeting $1000 cash by the conclusion of today’s meeting,” the Sasquan committee would be perfectly justified in ignoring them.

    The Business Meeting does not have the authority to compel the Hugo Administrators to do anything by resolution. Why is this such an difficult concept for you to grasp?

    I was there. I chaired that meeting. I composed the resolution itself. I know exactly what it means.

  17. Elspeth Kovar: But I don’t need to spend anymore time and effort on this: you and others have done the work for me.

    I certainly wouldn’t trust the few people and comments here as having done all the work for you. If that’s how you do research I would have problems taking papers by you seriously. 30+ years ago in high school I was taught better, college certainly reinforced that, and the Internet has taught me there are a lot of people saying stuff and you have to dig to find the kernels and then talk to those people (or find research they’ve posted) to get the details.

    I suggest you contact Dave McCarty directly to discuss your concerns about the breach. He may be willing to answer your concerns in more depth privately. Or he may not. But you are seem to be drawing a lot of conclusions based on little evidence.

  18. @ Elizabeth Kovar: I think it reasonable to describe Jameson Quinn as partial to EPH. He did help develop it. What he is not is partial to a particular fannish faction. If you read through the EPH threads where it was developed, you would have seen him get slapped down, repeatedly, for trying to promote his voting advocacy organization. It’s clear that his interest lies in the system itself, not in the political ramification for Worldcon. When we say he is unaffiliated, that’s what we really mean. And that is, I think, the axis which actually matters. I also think that he is intellectually honest, and very, very interested in whether this hybrid system actually works. Hence, the academic paper. Given his agenda, there’s no real motivation to present EPH as more or less effective than it actually is. It’s an interesting system, and he’s got some experimental data to play with. Falsifying results would be…uninteresting.

  19. I absolutely trust the two people crunching the numbers: if nothing else I’ve looked them up. People asked about the NDA and I answered with the data contained in the thread. To requote something I’d said about Mr. Quinn

    He may be pure as new-driven snow. I like his areas of interest, this even having some overlaps. Being able to study this sort of election data would be useful to him. And if he’s going for a PhD at Harvard he’s going to be especially careful. He sounds great.

    I think we should wait somewhat longer before making a change. There was a tremendous amount of heat, shock, impressive insults, and cries of “We must do something!” I’m not against change, just think that this isn’t the time. But on this point what I think almost certainly doesn’t matter. So I’m looking at the proposed changes. Hiding your head in the sand just gets grit in your ears.

    I hold no animosity towards EPH, I have none for any of the proposals. And the reason I finally got people to use a sunset clause on things is to see how they actually play out. I’m looking forward to the analysis for the same reason.

    I hold no animosity towards people involved in EPH. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not comfortable with it being developed on Making Light to the point that someone was compelled to say, “Yes, this was developed on Making Light but it’s not a Making Light amendment.” But that certainly doesn’t come into play when considering the proposal. And the people involved? Hardly! Even if a number weren’t long term-friends personalities don’t come in when it comes to the WSFS Constitution.

    What concerns me is two-fold: one is that the Puppies aren’t going to go away. Furthering their conspiracy theories isn’t going to help anything. Releasing the data only to people who have connections with EPH, or are associated with Worldcons, however distantly, works against that.

    The other thing that concerns me is that the results of the analysis have to be seen to be rock-solid, no possible room to doubt. Not just for Puppies, but for regular people who spend way too much time on WSFS business. There was also a media storm last time. Although entirely favorable towards ‘us’ there’s always a chance that this time the balance might swing a bit. A number of other possibilities.

    So yes, I’m arguing. EPH has the best chance if there cannot be a shadow of a doubt about the results. Fine, some people might not trust them if they were handed in on a flaming sword. That’s their problem, not an excuse to throw in the towel.

  20. @Elspeth – That’s their problem, not an excuse to throw in the towel.

    I agree. However, from what I can see, you’re holding what I consider to be an unreasonably strict standard – your desired disproportionate response to regarding the NDA breach, “no possible room to doubt”, “cannot be a shadow of a doubt”.

    You’ve said that there are a few neutral parties who are not difficult to find. Ok. Would other people consider them neutral? Are they willing to volunteer? If so, can you please propose them to the MAC2 admins?

    It’s good to have standards. But based on what I’ve seen thus far, yours are not attainable nor reasonable.

  21. Furthering their conspiracy theories isn’t going to help anything.

    To be honest, some Puppies will further their conspiracy theories no matter what anyone else does. So it may not be worth the time trying to appease that particular faction.

  22. Wrapping up a couple of things:

    Tasha Turner on February 17, 2016 at 8:03 am said:

    Elspeth Kovar: But I don’t need to spend anymore time and effort on this: you and others have done the work for me.

    I certainly wouldn’t trust the few people and comments here as having done all the work for you

    A good point; I lopped off at least half a paragraph. A somewhat better way of putting it is that I’m answering things said here with things that were said here. Yes, I do know how to do serious research, write papers, and have seen too many online grass-fires since back when this was usenet.

    Steven desJardins on February 17, 2016 at 6:58 am said:

    . . .The claim that she doesn’t need to read the whole thread because people on one side of the argument have cherry-picked criticisms for her to swallow whole is, I’d say, unconvincing.

    Which it would be if that’s what I’d done. First, and yet again, I have read the whole thread. I have printed out sections to make it easier to switch back and forth.

    Second, one piece I quoted was said here but it’s one I don’t have marked. The Hugo Administrator – the one I’m aware of talking, that is – was asked about people violating the NDA, said the apology was accepted and moved on. My continued use of the plural outside of quotations was an error for which I apologize.

    Third, the quotation about Mr. Quinn being paid was directly from the person I was responding to.

    If there’s any evidence that Jameson’s claim that he acted in good faith, interpreting the NDA one way without realizing that the administrators intended it to be interpreted a different way, is untrue, she hasn’t cited it.

    I believe, although again it’s not something I’ve printed out since I put it up fairly recently, I commented on Jameson having the best of intentions.

    Heading back up again:

    snowcrash on February 17, 2016 at 6:07 am said:

    Because this breach shows a profound lack of professionalism.

    Elspeth, it should be clear to you by know that to you, any breach displays that.

    I’m not sure how to put this grammatically but no, it shouldn’t be clear to me since it’s untrue. You slip and say something you shouldn’t and I might do anything from rolling my eyes to yelling. This, however, is someone we know to be professional who behaved in an unprofessional manner. To the best of my recollection Mr. Quinn himself said he should have consulted with his co-author.

    [I’m discovering that the cat was playing slip’n’slide with all my notes, thus the ‘to the best of my recollection’.]

  23. Elspeth Kovar:

    “What concerns me is two-fold: one is that the Puppies aren’t going to go away. Furthering their conspiracy theories isn’t going to help anything.”

    And that’s the reason for most of us wanting EPH to be implemented now. And also the reason why we shouldn’t pander to their paranoia. The thong with conspiracy theories are that they aren’t affected by facts. As we have seen again and again here.

  24. Elspeth Kovar:

    One clarification. No one thinks the researchers will lie about their analysis of EPH in the study they plan to publish.

    The problem is that Sads/Rabids believe the “Making Light faction” has quietly gamed the ballot in the past. The way this all was handled created the appearance, fairly or not, that the data might be used by them to game the ballot again in future.

    And Jameson Quinn has demonstrated anti-puppy bias. Even Bruce Schneier referred to the puppies (in one of his few public comments) as a group of bloc voters recruited from outside the community to create a disruption, and expressed a preference to “modify” the electorate. So there is a perception, fairly or not, that they might be affected by this bias. For example, they might report the numerical strength and degree of adherence to the rec lists of the “puppy” ballots while being vague about the patterns found among “non-puppy” ballots, as Quinn just did in his comments above.

    And the MAC II Hugo administrators have declared they will have the final say on what analysis can and can’t be released. They have already gagged Quinn once. This creates the appearance, fairly or not, that they are hiding something and they really don’t want it to get out.

    You are right that having an independent team review the data and report to the Business Meeting at MAC II would probably help. (I’d really rather not see a precedent set for handing out data, so I hope you would also support an amendment to prohibit doing so in the future.) And assurances should be given that the independent team will be allowed to report their complete findings without interference. (Short of the release of personally identifiable information, of course.)

  25. snowcrash on February 17, 2016 at 9:25 pm said:

    @Elspeth – That’s their problem, not an excuse to throw in the towel.

    I agree. However, from what I can see, you’re holding what I consider to be an unreasonably strict standard – your desired disproportionate response to regarding the NDA breach, “no possible room to doubt”, “cannot be a shadow of a doubt”.

    I don’t know why you have such a disproportional focus on the NDA, now even putting words into my mouth. I will say for a final time that it is simply a matter of professionalism: if you’re coordinating with someone you coordinate.

    You’ve said that there are a few neutral parties who are not difficult to find. Ok. Would other people consider them neutral? Are they willing to volunteer? If so, can you please propose them to the MAC2 admins?

    I believe that the first person I mentioned is with NCHS. His only connection to any of this is that for some reason he thought I’d tell Mom about a time he drank too much and I didn’t. I can easily ask around for others although I’d prefer their contact be through a different member of the community. (BTW having looked over his credentials again I still think Jameson great for the job except for his connection with EPH)

    I’m not going to bring up the matter with the ‘MAC2 admins’; I won’t be seeing Will or Dave, the Hugo Admins this weekend – I just checked. But I’ll see about dropping one or the other a note.

    It’s good to have standards. But based on what I’ve seen thus far, yours are not attainable nor reasonable.

    I think we’re living in different universes. Using outside researchers is not only reasonable, it’s often done. Consider politics: which do you consider more reliable, a poll done by a candidates team or an independent poll? Attainable? Why ever not?

    Look, if you’ve taken a dislike to me that’s fine, just stop letting it cloud your judgement. That’s the only reason I can think of that you are so totally against making certain that the analysis is rock solid, just in case.

  26. @Elspeth

    Firstly, I’m not sure how quoting you is putting words in your mouth.

    Secondly, I’m glad that you will hopefully get this person in touch wit the Hugo admins (apologies for saying MAC2 admins, I kinda get confused by the whole structure)

    Thirdly, you’re confusing my dislike of unattainably strict standards (a neutral-to-all researcher, “no possible room to doubt”, “cannot be a shadow of a doubt”) with a dislike of you. I don’t know you from Adam, but I will cop to not being appreciative when someone starts rolling out ever tinier hoops for everyone else to jump through.

    Clearly you do not see yourself as doing this.

    Clearly I disagree.

  27. Hampus Eckerman on February 17, 2016 at 11:14 pm said:

    Elspeth Kovar:

    “What concerns me is two-fold: one is that the Puppies aren’t going to go away. Furthering their conspiracy theories isn’t going to help anything.”

    And that’s the reason for most of us wanting EPH to be implemented now. And also the reason why we shouldn’t pander to their paranoia. The thong with conspiracy theories are that they aren’t affected by facts. As we have seen again and again here.

    I spent some time thinking about this overnight and don’t see it as a compelling argument for implementing EPH now. In fact the opposite. You’re correct that people aren’t being effected by facts. We’re furthering our elitism, they have mud in their ears, rather hideous things said by both sides . . .

    Letting this rest wouldn’t be pandering to their paranoia. It’s not going to hurt the Hugos. It will give things a chance to die down a bit. And, believe it or not, once people stop calling them vile names I’ve met a few puppies who have learned more about the way things actually work. Once they stop calling us vile names people on this side might calm down.

    Puppies are always going to be here, and we’re going to have to co-exist.. So why push it to a fight and make things even worse? As I said, another year isn’t going to do any damage.

    And I’m now off to Boskone. I’m easy enough to find since I use my actual name so if anyone wants to talk track me down

  28. Well, you do not see a compelling argument fo implementing EPH, while I do not see a compelling argument to not replace an outdated voting system unsuited for the internet age. Also, when a weakness for slates has been detected, it would be gross negligence to not correct that weakness as soon as possible. This should be done regardless if the puppies continue to slate. Because a weakness will always be exploited when found out.

    So we differ in opinion.

  29. Also, I do believe that a lot of puppies will disappear. Some will stay, but many will not be interested to continue to pay for membership to be No Awarded every year. Some will stay of course, but my guess is that there will be several hundred less next year.

  30. @Elspeth Kovar:

    Once they stop calling us vile names people on this side might calm down.

    I really do look forward to this happening. But in the meantime, the name of my community, unadorned, is the anchor for all manner of insinuation and groundless conspiracy theorizing. In this very thread, in your very comments.

  31. I hold no animosity towards people involved in EPH. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not comfortable with it being developed on Making Light to the point that someone was compelled to say, “Yes, this was developed on Making Light but it’s not a Making Light amendment.”

    The disclaimer was necessary given that both the Sad & Rabid Puppy leaders were still busily calling Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden vile names. If you choose to, you can go back and read discussions that led to EPH, including the early drafts, and the reasons for including that disclaimer.

    Although EPH was developed at Making Light, you’ll note that both Patrick & Teresa stayed out of those discussions, discussions to which many people who were not Making Light regulars contributed. You can also compare the final version developed at Making Light & the version submitted to the WSFS Business Meeting: they are identical.

    Making Light was not the only place where proposals to fix the problem were suggested: other rule changes I recall suggested were 4 & 6, and Dr Plokta’s. There were also those who advocated no rule change.

    Given that it takes two (now three) years for a WSFS rule change to take effect, why not ratify EPH this year? It has a sunset clause in place after all, so if WSFS members decide it doesn’t improve the Hugo process, it’s not permanent.

    Even if EPH doesn’t work as well as hoped (no fix is ever perfect), it is still better than the status quo. So long as we retain the current rules, griefers like Vox Day will be able to game the nominations. Increasing the nominating pool isn’t enough given how much more power bloc-voting has over those voting their individual preferences. I would prefer that Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies stop gaming the Hugos, but given RP2 is proceeding, it is clear that the Hugo nominating rules need to change.

    [Disclaimer: I am an irregular commenter at Making Light, a non-Puppy, I also signed my name to EPH.]

  32. I’d love to see the name calling stop. So far the SP/RP leadership has continued using all the various names as last year. I’m not sure if new acronyms have been added this year as I’ve reached the point I can’t be bothered caring about new/old simply that insults continue.

    I know the places I hang out generally don’t allow name calling although a few puppy’s names are now caught in moderation so in those cases there are nicknames which I will admit might not be overly flattering. One for a person who in threads all over the internet regularly threatens to track people down in real life and shoot them. Another for a person who has tracked someone down in real life to try to have him fired from his job and who wrote to the cops warning the guest of honor at Sasquan might have mental problems and harm somebody. Their nicknames match their words/actions.

    We could go down a rabbit hole over whether pointing out someone’s words express racist, sexist, homophobic, neo-nazi attitudes but this isn’t the thread for that.

  33. Tasha Turner: Another for a person who has tracked someone down in real life to try to have him fired from his job and who wrote to the cops warning the guest of honor at Sasquan might have mental problems and harm somebody.

    That name was one he created to describe himself when he is engaging in such horrible behaviour. It might be debated whether it is okay for others to use it in the same way — but it isn’t a name other people made up to call him.

  34. The huge vulnerability flaw in the Hugo nominating process has been there for decades, and people have been aware of it for decades. It was never remedied because, up to now, it has only been exploited in isolated instances which caused only a very limited amount of damage. WSFS was able to get away with not addressing the problem before this, because, for the most part, nominators behaved with integrity.

    But the cat is out of the bag now, and it’s not going back in. It’s time to fix the vulnerability — it doesn’t matter whether it’s Puppies, or anyone else who might choose to exploit it. It needs to be fixed.

    The beauty of EPH is that it de-magnifies the unfair advantage of slating without depriving the slaters of the ability for their preferences to appear on the ballot.

    The appropriate question to be asked is “Is EPH effective enough?”, not “Should the vulnerability be fixed?”

    There is no “proof” or “objective study” which will be persuasive to the people who think that the vulnerability should be left in place so that they can continue to abuse it — and I don’t see why any effort should be made to appease people who want to violate the integrity of the Hugos in that way.

  35. @JJ
    I totally forgot he’d created the nickname.

    There is no “proof” or “objective study” which will be persuasive to the people who think that the vulnerability should be left in place so that they can continue to abuse it — and I don’t see why any effort should be made to appease people who want to violate the integrity of the Hugos in that way.

    I agree with this. So far as I understand it Worldcon voters have never liked it when someone games, exploits, cheats (Scientologist) to get on the Hugo ballot. Now that we know groups of people are willing to take advantage of a weakness I don’t see why we’d want to leave it open.

  36. Abi Sutherland on February 18, 2016 at 8:33 am said:

    @Elspeth Kovar:

    Once they stop calling us vile names people on this side might calm down.

    I really do look forward to this happening. But in the meantime, the name of my community, unadorned, is the anchor for all manner of insinuation and groundless conspiracy theorizing. In this very thread, in your very comments.

    I confess to being confused. I hope that you don’t mean that I’ve been conspiracy theorizing – if so I’ve absolutely given the wrong impression and apologize. I don’t think that the Puppies – Sad or Rabid – are a conspiracy. I don’t think people on ‘this’ side, for whatever definition of this, are. I don’t think people proposing EPH are.

    Something people tend to forget: Conspiracy theory assumes that people are organized enough to conspire!

    The thing is that people use one word or name to cover a wide range of people. Puppies really got hit by that one. ‘Sad Puppies’ lost control of their brand, not putting up enough of a fight when ‘Rabid Puppies’ came about, using even the same artist. And people will shorten a name so both became ‘Puppies’.

    ‘This side’ – I try to use quotations there too. ‘This’ means who? What? Again, shorthand but it’s the best I can manage.

    Again – and to everyone – I apologize for commenting and running but I need to get to set up.

  37. I don’t think that the Puppies – Sad or Rabid – are a conspiracy.

    They are literally the definition of a conspiracy. They aren’t secret, but that’s not a requirement of a conspiracy.

  38. The puppies got together as an organized group. Created 2 slates which overwhelmed the Hugo ballots. This was their 3rd year of doing so. They’ve gotten more organized each year. Where do you see a lack of organization? Without organization SP3/RP2 would have failed and not taken so many finalist spots. Combined with goals like “make the SJWs heads explode” I feel comfortable calling it a conspiracy. Looks, sounds, and behaves like one. It operates publicly instead of secretly but I don’t think that changes anything.

    The rest of the Hugo nominators and voters I agree have a lack of organization. Which is why the claims of a SJW secret cabal is false as it doesn’t exist.

    You really are hard to follow and understand as your words contradict it other or don’t match the definitions assigned.

  39. @Elspeth Kovar:

    I’m referring to this comment from you:

    I’m not comfortable with it being developed on Making Light to the point that someone was compelled to say, “Yes, this was developed on Making Light but it’s not a Making Light amendment.”

    The idea that Making Light is the heart of some kind of organized hijacking of the Hugos is a conspiracy theory, in both the literal (it’s a theory about a conspiracy) and cultural (it’s baseless and requires abject ignorance of actual events, quotes, and personalities to be believed) senses of the term.

  40. The Making Light creation of EPH and proselytizing it so it passed the business meeting is no less organized than the puppies creation of recommended works and proselytizing it so they dominated the nominations.

    If one is a conspiracy, than both are. I wouldn’t call either a conspiracy, but my definitions aren’t driven by a partisan agenda in this case.

  41. @MC DuQuesne:

    EPH was created on Making Light, but everyone, whether a regular commenter or not, was welcome to contribute so long as they did so constructively and in good faith. There were plenty of people in that conversation who had never commented in the community before, including both Kilo Watts (evidence) and Jameson Quinn (evidence). Kilo led the discussion; as a regular Making Light moderator I only intervened when the manner (not the content) of someone’s contribution was inappropriate. Patrick and Teresa were even less involved.

    We provided the room and kept it clean of truly egregious trolls. We didn’t control or guide the conversation at all. It’s all there, in public, visible. Go check.

    Like the creation of EPH, all organization of the business meeting attendance was conducted in public in conversations that anyone (who had not been banned for bad behavior, a very short list indeed) could contribute to and everyone could read.

    Contrast this to the disjunction between the recommendation threads for SP3 and its final slate, to name but one example of organization and coordination not done up-front or in public by the Puppies.

    Apples and oranges. False equivalency.

    Besides, the conspiracy theory I was referring to was the theory, which has been and is still much put about by Puppies, that the “Making Light crowd” or some of its owners had been secretly controlling the Hugos for years. This theory has been the excuse for a tremendous amount of bad behavior. And it’s about as accurate as Birtherism.

  42. I wouldn’t call either a conspiracy, but my definitions aren’t driven by a partisan agenda in this case.

    Well, its been pretty obvious for a while that your definitions aren’t driven by reality under any circumstance.

  43. MC DuQuesne: The word “conspiracy” is being used here to criminalize behavior — to thereby privilege the criticism of that behavior — that everyone who has read the Hugo rules understands was not in violation of those rules.

    Those arguing in favor of a conspiracy are — knowingly or not — reaching for the phrase “specific intent”, the idea that there was a bad purpose behind what was done. It’s used in certain kinds of civil and criminal law to help identify conduct the laws are designed to punish.

    Well, I agree there was a bad purpose, but not one whose analysis can be aided by trying to label it with a term only appropriate to criminal law. Not even if you treat the Hugo rules as analogous to law, for what Sad/Rabid Puppies did was not break the Hugo rules, but violate a cultural standard of the awards community about individuals making their own decisions on what to nominate. And if Puppies want to argue “They did it too!”, either way, it’s not a conspiracy. It’s people exercising their rights in a system that allows them to determine the outcome by a vote, and organizing around proponents of the outcome they prefer.

  44. “Contrast this to the disjunction between the recommendation threads for SP3 and its final slate, to name but one example of organization and coordination not done up-front or in public by the Puppies.”

    Yet 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. Yeah, you’re right, that’s a much less democratic system which makes comparison hard.

    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.

  45. @mike, totally agree that neither are a conspiracy. Mostly arguing against Tasha’s definition of conspiracy.

  46. Well, I agree there was a bad purpose, but not one whose analysis can be aided by trying to label it with a term only appropriate to criminal law.

    There are other uses of the term besides that used in criminal law (or even civil law). Just looking at the dictionary reveals that it is used to mean a “plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful”. Outside of a purely legal context, there isn’t really a strict standard that something has to have an illegal objective to count as a conspiracy, just a harmful one.

    Even though most conspiracies are secret, they don’t have to be. In a similar way, even though many conspiracies are aimed at accomplishing an illegal objective, they don’t have to be.

  47. @MC DuQuesne:

    Yet 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.

    For values of “ignored” that include “exhaustively discussed until a consensus was reached or a decision made, visibly and on-thread.”

    Exceptions? Links, please.

    (Not that you and I are likely to convince one another but if you want to convince others, provide evidence. My evidence is the entirety of the threads on Making Light, where it is all openly discussed.)

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