Science Fiction Awards Watch

Hugo Changes Poll

OK folks, the Hugo Changes poll is now open. Please tell your friends about this one. If we only get 20 people voting it will mean nothing. If we get 200 people voting then it starts to look like something that is worth taking to the WSFS Business Meeting.

23 Responses to “Hugo Changes Poll”

  1. on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:23 amAdrienne Loska

    *LOVED* the awards show. This year was my first chance to attend the Hugos and it was a wonderful experience for those of us in the audience. The one thing I would suggest would be to provide the presenters with the names of the people accepting the award in those instances when the actual winners aren’t able to accept on their own behalf. It would provide a nice transition and more importantly it would provide the audience with the person’s name, as the people accepting aren’t likely to introduce themselves.

    Thanks for the opportunity for input!

  2. on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:25 amDaniel Spector

    1) I am using the Camino browser (derived from Mozilla) under Mac OSX 10.4.10 and the poll won’t let me vote. It just shows the bar graphs as if I had already voted. At this point, showing that 20 people have voted, if that is a useful referent.

    I do not know if the pollis radio buttons of ticky boxes. For the sake of my comments, I shall assume the latter.

    I think that- not dissimilar to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences though with a lesser standard- keeping voting exclusive to those who care enough to pay for the right and are interested enough in the results to make that investment- though economically discriminatory- keeps us from biased results as a result of web or live party based popularity campaigns.

    Also, can you folk imagine the campaigning at WorldCon if onsite voting were allowed? Not to mention the hell of vote count logistics!

    Thus, if I could vote in the poll, I would vote NO CHANGES.

    I would also vote for better involvement of online works, though have no idea how that would be administered.

  3. on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:48 amKevin

    Adrienne Loska:

    Giving the “Accepting the Award for X is Y” information to someone — either the presenter or the Voice of Ghod — is something I’ve only seen tried once before. We did this at ConJose in 2002. The only problem we had was that in at least one case the acceptor information was wrong — the nominee turned up and the Voice of Ghod had been told a proxy was coming and read that name out, to everyone’s embarrassment.

    I was one of the proxy acceptors. My acceptance speech explained who I was. I wish we could get nominees and acceptors to remember that they need to introduce themselves.

  4. on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:49 amEditors

    Adrienne: ceremony announcements are down to individual Worldcons. We have heard acceptor names given in the past, but not everyone remembers.

    Daniel: email on the way about your technical problem.

  5. on 07 Sep 2007 at 11:45 amC.E. Petit

    Unfortunately, my preferred option isn’t one of the items on the menu: Change the nomination system so that the final ballot is 50% nominated by popular vote, 50% by jury.

    That said, I voted for “make it cheaper,” but with the proviso that voters should be required to certify for each category that they’ve read/seen at least half of the finalists. (What that would do to fan categories, I don’t know, but I’m not a fan of the fan categories anyway…)

  6. on 07 Sep 2007 at 11:48 amElio M. García, Jr.

    I’ll just say that, if one had to enact any single option, I’d go with on-site voting as the most important. People at the con may, for the first time, really have other people around to talk to about the nominees, and may therefore feel subsequently confident to vote; and people there can really urge people to vote if they haven’t, whereas it’s rather moot to do it at the con under present circumstances.

    I recognize that the whole task of tabulating votes is a difficult one, but I think there _ought_ to be ways to ease it, since there are occasions out there where same-day voting and results are carried out. Computerized voting systems at the con? Cost and inevitable errors are a real issue, I suppose. I leave it to those with more experience to illuminate my errors, and maybe provide details which will help everyone be a bit more informed.

    The one issue I’m not sure about is the engraving of the award itself, but I recall some conversation with Kevin suggesting that preparing nameplates afterwards and mailing them to the winners would be doable.

    All that said, I think the combination of cheap voting (I’m not sure about ‘free’) + prize draw is not a bad idea.

  7. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:15 pmJohnny Carruthers

    I think I have mentioned this elsewhere, but allowing for voting at the Worldcon would draw more voters, thus more interest. I’ll point out that most of the site selection voting occurs at the Worldcon, so it’s not too far a reach to suggest that the same would happen with voting for the Hugos as well.

  8. on 07 Sep 2007 at 2:56 pmJohn Klima

    I voted for on-site voting, which would be a challenge to tabulate, but not impossible, but I still think something like a coupon for %5 or 10% or some % off one purchase in the dealer’s room with a Hugo Voting confirmation number is another good idea.

  9. on 07 Sep 2007 at 6:08 pmAmy Sisson

    Thanks for setting up this poll.

    I did vote for what I thought one good change would be (split into SF and F novels), but I also wanted to express how bad I thought most of the other proposed changes listed would be.

    I think free voting would be an utter disaster. People could get friends and family who have never even read a single SF/F book to vote.

    Besides, technically, in my mind, voting is already free. It’s free to all members of that year’s Worldcon. It’s a privilege that comes with Worldcon membership. I don’t know how the dollar amount for a supporting membership is set, but I think making it significantly cheap, like $5 or $10, would lead to ballot stuffing abuse.

    This is not one of the options listed here but I’ve heard it discussed elsewhere: whether or not one should be a allowed to be a pro artist and fan artist nominee in the same year. I don’t think they should be. Just my opinion.

    Similarly, I’m not thrilled with the idea of professional writers getting nominated for “best fan writer” based on a blog. I need to think about it more, though, because I don’t see a fair way to exclude that from happening.

    Mostly, I like the Hugos just fine. Thanks!

  10. on 07 Sep 2007 at 6:45 pmRev. Dr. Christopher J. Garcia

    Well, my favourite choice isn’t up either (change the voting system away from Australian Ballot) but I have to say that I like the cheaper voting.

  11. on 07 Sep 2007 at 7:03 pmLisa Harrigan

    I voted for cheaper voting. It was impossible for us to afford even supporting memberships this year.
    But if I could vote for a second option – I would have included split SF and F. So many people vote for the best SF and forget the F.
    I’m treasurer of the Mythopoeic Society and we read a lot of that F stuff, more than the SF.

  12. on 07 Sep 2007 at 7:14 pmCheryl

    Amy: we were all prepared to discuss the fan/pro thing, but it seems like Langford beating Scalzi has taken all of the interest out of it. We do note, however, that the Business Meeting, for all that it is innately conservative, voted to repeal the Gaughan amendment, so clearly a lot of people think than fan work and professional work are qualitatively different.

    Chris: Kevin’s too busy touring Japan to take the bait. All I have to say is that if you were ever to get the Business Meeting talking about new voting methods you would be hard pressed to find two people agreeing on a system, let alone a majority. I do wish, however, that we had software that would do an online Australian ballot, because when you have this many choices it could make a big difference.

  13. on 07 Sep 2007 at 7:36 pmKerry

    I have only recently started going to WorldCons, so I don’t have the background in Hugo awards that many other people do, but I voted for on-site voting for the following reason.
    I would like enough time to _read_ the nominated works so I could make an informed vote. By the time I have managed to find out what the nominees are, the voting has usually already closed.
    Of course, now that I know about this site, hopefully I will find out what’s on the nominee list earlier.

  14. on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:52 pmBill Humphries

    Kill the fan categories since they do not represent fandom as it actually exists in the here and now.

  15. on 07 Sep 2007 at 10:14 pmDJK

    I’d like to vote for more than one of these changes. I like splitting the best novel, adding a YA, voting at the con and better involvement of online work. There’s not just one solution to increasing involvement. I think YA and Fantasy are such strong areas that a focus on them would increase voter interest.

  16. on 08 Sep 2007 at 1:17 amMike Glyer

    Kerry: As you say, taking time to read the nominated works makes you a higher quality voter.

    On-Site Voting: Sure, people who haven’t gotten around to voting could get in under the wire. But are these going to be people who have read the nominees? I don’t know how somebody is going to fit that into Worldcon weekend.

  17. on 08 Sep 2007 at 4:26 amCheryl

    Bill: if a category, any category, doesn’t represent popular opinion it is because popular opinion isn’t voting. If you cede control of the process to other people you can’t then expect them to vote the way you want rather than the way that they want.

    Now of course there may be reasons why the fandom you know isn’t voting, but in that case maybe something like cheaper or free voting, or on-site voting, might help.

  18. on 08 Sep 2007 at 9:31 amKevin

    Chris: We could go to a first-past-the-post system as long as only the top two nominees were the only works allowed onto the ballot. And that would be a shame given the number of times the fifth-place nominee has won the Hugo Award.

    FPP voting seems easy because Americans are used to two-party government with only two likely candidates in any election. Any time you start getting more than two serious candidates in an election, FPP starts breaking down.

    As Cheryl says, I’m still in Japan and running hard for another ten days or so, and thus I don’t have time to get too involved in that argument.

  19. on 08 Sep 2007 at 10:12 amElio M. García, Jr.

    Regarding a system to handle the balloting on-line — would something like OpenSTV manage it? Playing around with it, it at least seems to help ease the task of tabulating, and I suspect some one of its various flavors of voting actually matches what the Hugos use.

    I guess the hard part isn’t the tabulating, but instead going from individuals punching in results into a web-form to turning all that data into something a program like OpenSTV can handle…

  20. on 08 Sep 2007 at 10:37 amEditors

    Looks interesting, Elio. Although the main issue with anything online is actually ensuring that the system is not easily hackable and that people can be deterred from voting more than once. (And we say “deterred” rather than “prevented” quite deliberately. We have no illusions about the security of online voting.)

    If we just wanted something to use offline we could use the Hugo Award software.

  21. on 08 Sep 2007 at 11:39 amElio M. García, Jr.

    True, true.

    I was more thinking about whether it’d be useful to have a computer-based voting system for on-site voting, rather than having to have people manually tabulate results based on written ballots.

    I’d think you could organize some system of volunteers clearing people to go through to vote, checking against their ID and a list and marking them off. That leaves hacking, which is certainly a problem. I wonder if there aren’t suitable systems being developed for this sort of thing … for example, wouldPunchscan work? Hrm…

    I suppose this wouldn’t prevent unscrupulous individuals from borrowing some one else’s ID for vote. Having pictures on the ID would help counter that, but I think at that point the costs of printing IDs with pictures on-site are simply going to outweigh the benefits.

    My recollection is that in the last two years, at least, you were able to fill out and send your ballot on-line, though I gather that each one had to be manually checked for legitimacy and then inputted. I suppose figuring out how to automate more of that process would be helpful all-around. I’d guess that these were basically e-mail forms that mailed off the completed form to some separate computer, which would probably do quite a bit to reduce hacking opportunities (probably, anyways).

    Are there any statistics, I wonder, for how many ballots were submitted via on-line forms at previous conventions, versus how many ballots were sent via mail?

  22. on 08 Sep 2007 at 11:48 amEditors

    Your understanding of how the Hugos current work is, I think, broadly correct. Certainly that’s how we did ConJose (where Cheryl wrote the web forms).

    We don’t have the online voting stats to hand, but our understanding is that the vast majority of ballots are now submitted online, and that the vast majority of them arrive in the last few days before the voting deadline. Online voting has given people a lot more time to read the nominees, but it does not appear to have any significant effect on the number of people voting.

  23. on 10 Sep 2007 at 10:12 amMichael Walsh

    Regarding ebooks … which apparently lots of fans have embraced.

    This might be of interest: