drplokta: (Default)
[personal profile] drplokta
I shall not rehash the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo award debacle here — the best summary is probably Mike Glyer's, here. I want to move on to possible solutions.

The problem with the puppy slates is not that they've got stuff on the ballot. They're members of the Worldcon, and they're entitled to have the stuff they nominated on the ballot, regardless of their decision processes in making their choices. The problem is that they have kept off the ballot some other stuff that most voters would probably prefer to vote for. So what we should be doing is preventing a slate from forcing stuff off the ballot, not from getting stuff on the ballot. The voters can then use their alternative vote preferences to take care of the slate, as happened last year when the slate failed to completely dominate any categories.

It seems to me, therefore, that the solution is to have some rule for varying the size of the final list of nominees in each category based on the nominating patterns. Nothing on a slate would be banned or disqualified, but the slate wouldn't be allowed to dominate any category. We already do this a bit — we increase the number of nominees if there's a tie for fifth place, and we reduce the number if not enough nominees pass the 5% threshold.

I would propose that for each category we take the total number of nominations received in that category, subtract the number of nominations received by the most popular nominee in the category (thus removing the effect of a slate, if there is one, on the numbers), and then the shortlist consists of everything that got at least 10% of the remaining number, but with a minimum of five per category and scrapping the existing 5% rule (which has already been causing problems). That would have set thresholds this year of (with the actual minimum nominations to be on the ballot under the current system):

  • Novel: 144 (was 256)
  • Novella: 74 (was 145)
  • Novelette: 76 (was 165)
  • Short Story: 94 (was 151)
  • Graphic Story: 58 (was 60)
  • BDP Long: 51 (was 204)
  • BDP Short: 76 (was 71)
  • Editor Short: 59 (was 162)
  • Editor Long: 34 (was 166)
  • Pro Artist: 56 (was 136)
  • Semiprozine: 43 (was 94)
  • Fanzine: 36 (was 68)
  • Fancast: 48 (was 69)
  • Fan Writer: 77 (was 129)
  • Fan Artist: 24 (was 23)
  • Campbell: 62 (was 106)

You'll observe that it would have made little difference to the relatively puppy-free categories of Fan Artist and Graphic Story while allowing a lot more on the ballot in the six categories that are 100% puppy.

I think there's a failure node if we have a category (most likely BDP Long or BDP Short) where there's a genuine overwhelming favourite one year, and we end up with a very long tail of nominees. BDP Long might suffer from that this year. We might want to set a maximum number of nominees as well as a minimum, but I'd suggest it should be pretty high, maybe 15. And/or we could say that you can't subtract more than 25% when subtracting the number of nominations for the most popular work, on the basis that more than 25% is popular support rather than a slate.

It's a bit complicated, but the nominators and voters don't have to understand the rule, as it doesn't change what they should do, which is to nominate stuff that they want to be on the final ballot.

There are two problems with potentially having more nominees per category. First, it might make voting more difficult, if you have to rank up to 15 items per category instead of 5. Second, it makes for a bigger administrative and financial burden on the administrating Worldcon (and on the next one, which will be running the Hugo Losers' party).

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coalescent for tweeting a screenshot of the nomination numbers that I used to produce the figures above.

Please feel free to share the link to this post. Anonymous comments are screened, but will be unscreened unless they're highly non-productive.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 01:19 pm (UTC)
nwhyte: (buzz)
From: [personal profile] nwhyte
Mike - very thoughtful, thanks!

Last year that would have given us 5 rather than 4 on the Short Story shortlist, and a massive 14 on Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), also 9 for Best Editor (Short Form), 6 for Best Editor (Long Form) and Best a Professional Artist, 7 for Best Fanzine, 6 for Best Fanwriter and 7 for Best Artist, and everything else still on 5.

The effect is to broaden the number of nominees in a category where the front-runner is way ahead, which isn't quite the same as neutralising a slate, but may have the same effect.

It has a pleasing simplicity though. I wonder if 10% is right?

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] papersky.livejournal.com
That would work, I think, and seems worth doing.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daveon.livejournal.com
With respect to the BDP Long Form, I'm not entirely sure that a non-puppies version would look all that much different from this one. There might have been some of the more interesting movies on it with this form but I'm not sure.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matociquala.livejournal.com
This seems like the most workable proposal of those I've seen, but I'm not sure about the 10% rule. Especially in widely scattered fields like Short Fiction, 5% is too high for a full ballot at this point.

And I think it could still be gamed.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stevegreen.livejournal.com
Fascinating suggestion, Mike.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-06 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daveon.livejournal.com
Why do you need to rank all votes? It's a variant on list voting then, you rank your top picks only? Or have I missed something there?


Date: 2015-04-07 04:54 pm (UTC)
timill: (Default)
From: [personal profile] timill
Mike: is this what you mean?

Section 3.8: Tallying of Nominations.

3.8.1: Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five {all the} eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed. a number of nominations equal to or greater than the threshold number.

3.8.A: For each category, the threshold number shall be 10% of the total number of nominations made in the category after removing those cast for the nominee with the most nominations.

3.8.2: The Worldcon Committee shall determine the eligibility of nominees and assignment to the proper category of works nominated in more than one category.

3.8.3: Any nominations for “No Award” shall be disregarded.

3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.

3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

3.8.6: The Committee shall move a nomination from another category to the work’s default category only if the member has made fewer than five (5) nominations in the default category.

3.8.7: If a work receives a nomination in its default category, and if the Committee relocates the work under its authority under subsection 3.2.9 or 3.2.10, the Committee shall count the nomination even if the member already has made five (5) nominations in the more-appropriate category.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-07 09:20 pm (UTC)
timill: (default jasper library)
From: [personal profile] timill
Yup - I think it needs the "at least three nominees" reinstating.

I hope to be there: I have a room booked. What I don't have currently is a job...

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erikvolson.livejournal.com
Does 3.8.A need something in case there's a tie for #1?

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 10:16 pm (UTC)
timill: (default jasper library)
From: [personal profile] timill
I don't think so, but maybe "the number cast" instead of "those cast" would be better? It doesn't detract,anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erikvolson.livejournal.com
If we have two nominees tied for #1, as 3.8.A is currently written, I could interpret that as...

1) I remove *no* votes before setting the 10% margin, since no single nominee has the most nominations, thus raising the threshold above what it would have been had one of them gotten one more vote.


2) I remove all the votes of all the #1 nominees, then set the threshold to 10% of that, making it much easier to reach the ballot simply because there was a tie for #1 and we remove double the votes before the 10% margin was set.

But I don't see a way to interpret that in the way I think it needs to be, which is.

3) I remove the votes of one of the #1 nominees, then set the margin to 10% of the total.

So, if there are 2000 nominations, and the there are two tied at #1 with 250 nominations, the total to qualify for the ballot should be (2000-250)*.1= 175, but under interpretation #1, it would be (2000-0)*.1=200, and under #2 it would be (2000-500)*1=150.

This presumes that the goal is you sort a list of nominations by number, and take the very top number, which I'm pretty sure is Mike's goal, because I can't see why you'd ever want such a swing because of one nomination.

Regardless, I think it should be clear which case of the above three should be followed if there's a tie for the most nominations, and as written, I'm not sure it is.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 01:24 am (UTC)
timill: (default jasper library)
From: [personal profile] timill
Maybe: the number cast for any one nominee with the most nominations.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erikvolson.livejournal.com
That does the trick.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] history-monk.livejournal.com
Of course, this approach fails if people can nominate many works in a category, as opposed to being limited to five. Does anything need doing about that?

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