It’s Not Hard to Find the Real Numbers

Today I read an indie author telling his fans that creators inevitably have to deal with “haters.” Then I scrolled through his recent posts and discovered he had written another assuring everybody he is unimpressed by the 2018 Hugo Award winners — and that his views must be widely shared because just look at the mass exodus of Hugo voters.

It seemed bizarre that someone capable of pointing people to the publicly-available 2018 voting statistics (as he did) thinks no one will notice his made-up “10,000 voters” number, which he offered as the figure from which this year’s electorate has supposedly declined.

Here are the number of final ballots cast in the past seven years, from the official Hugo Awards website. (Links to PDF files.)

2012 Chicon 7 1,922
2013 LoneStarCon 3 1,848
2014 Loncon 3 3,587
2015 Sasquan 5,950
2016 MidAmeriCon 2 3,130
2017 Worldcon 75 3,319
2018 Worldcon 76 2,828

Of course, you’d expect participation to jump in 2014 because Loncon 3 broke a Worldcon membership record that had stood for 30 years, and it picked up a couple hundred Correia voters because that was the first year of Sad Puppies, (“Somewhere Puppies Are Smiling”).

The next year, 2015, the Sad and Rabid Puppies took over the ballot (“Re-Entering the Lists: The Slates Impact on the Final Hugo Ballot”). However, while there were even more Puppy voters than the first year, the final results show a huge influx of voters joined to oppose them.

The people who joined to vote for Vox Day’s slate in 2015 didn’t stick around. And the even larger group of fans who answered the firebell that year didn’t all stay after the crisis passed.

But consider this graph –

The number of 2018 voters is still over 50% higher than in 2012, the last pre-Puppy year. So this looks to me a lot more like a new, higher plateau than it does free-fall.

And I have to wonder if the fellow lecturing about “haters” owns a mirror.

62 thoughts on “It’s Not Hard to Find the Real Numbers

  1. @Cassy B: we were going more by what attendees reported, IIRC — and looking collectively at home zip codes. (I was once told a third of attendees came from zip codes within a few miles of the hotel.)

  2. I have no idea what percentage just commute, but it’s probably fairly high. I know that Convergence, with about 6,000 attendees, had room blocks at 4+ hotels, with at least 1200 rooms. I usually commute to all of the Twin Cities conventions since they’re usually about 15-20 minutes from home. With Convergence moving to downtown Minneapolis, where parking is not free, that might change the commute vs. stay at hotel dynamics.

  3. While voting is up a bit from pre-kerfuffle levels, memberships seem to have returned to (roughly) pre-kerfuffle levels.

    While I didn’t know that this year would be a three-peat, I was pretty confident that she would be a finalist without having read third installment. I purposefully skipped reading The Stone Sky last year knowing that I’d have a chance to read it this summer. As she went in first place on my ballot, that turned out to be a good thing!

    I had the same premonition about the three works that I put below no award as well. Name recognition and inertia can be helpful from time to time.

    In either case, I agree that this was a weaker year in the Novel category. I’d put almost all of my nominees up against the finalists and expect a favorable comparison. (That doesn’t mean they would win, but would be appreciated for being in the same class/quality range.)


  4. DANN!!! I hope you’re okay! You seem to be losing hitpoints.

    I’m not immediately recalling all of the novel finalists, but I do agree that The Stone Sky was a pretty obvious fore-fronter. Although, I wasn’t sure it deserved to be there at all since you couldn’t appreciate it without the other two. But damn, was it a satisfying ending to that trilogy…

    Edited to say: I think the voter packet increased voting a little initially (I aaaalmost started voting when the packets first came out and I was informed about them by a fannish friend), but the Puppy kerfuffle added a lot of voters who didn’t want to see the Hugos overtaken by internecine politics (counter-intuitive, but I stand by that because the Pups were specifically about making the Hugos political, despite their protestations). Once roped into voting, it’s hard to bow out, especially with the voter packet.

  5. Kathodus!! **chuckle**

    I’m doing fine. Life is a little fuller. And I’m trying to be less of a pain in OGH’s backside. And there are times when my habit of waiting a little while to respond ends up meaning that the window of opportunity for a meaningful exchange closes. Erg.

    I’m not sure, but it feels like a bit of a shift towards series in the novel category. It seems like there has been a similar shift in publishing as well. Series based fiction induces serial readers.

    One of my major criticisms of The Powers of the Earth was that it is obviously written as an installment in a larger story. If the author has a doorstop in mind, just write the darned doorstop!

    I agree that the packet is a nice inducement. I try to buy all the finalist novels, but couldn’t afford to buy everything that’s on the ballot.

    No big surprise, but I arrived via the same vector. Just from the opposite direction. **chuckle** If I had known more about how the Hugo Awards were run, I’d have been far more active starting in the 80s. In a life of few regrets, that is a pretty good regret to have.


  6. Contrarius, all so cute! Are the dogs all yours, or are they neighborhood dogs?

  7. @Lenore — All mine, and that’s not all of them (or all the cats!). I did doberman rescue for years, and my mom has done dog and cat rescue my entire life. It’s quite the zoo around here!

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