Hugo Awards – what’s next?

The EPH proposal has passed at Sasquan and the 4/6 rule has passed. However neither gets to be implemented until the 2017 cycle.

Note that the 4/6 rule can still be gamed by two overlapping slates (particularly relevant as this year was a two-slate attack on the nominations: Rabids and Sads). The difference was the Rabids were slightly more voters and had better discipline. With 4/6 you wouldn’t need two distinct slates either – a pair of overlapping slates would do it. Again its vulnerable to exactly the kind of attack that occurred this year.

Looking at the nomination figures this year I suppose we would get an outcome not dissimilar to the outcome this year. The Top 4 Puppy Noms (combined Rabid and Sad) being Butcher, Correia, Kloos, Anderson, and then two non-puppy noms getting in, Leckie and Addison. Assuming the same people withdrew, then the eventual ballot would be pretty much the same except it would have an extra Sad Puppy pick: Gannon’s Trial by Fire.

The other categories look better as they suggest that at least one non-puppy pick would get on with 4/6 but that assumes the Puppies wouldn’t have reduced the overlap between slates a bit more. Also the category would still be noncompetitive with just one or maybe two non-slate works at best.

EPH is still vulnerable to slates – the only way a voting system can’t be is to make it undemocratic. However, to get multiple works through is trickier. A slate needs more votes and less lock-step voting. Put another way, EPH is less punitive to how the Sad Puppies nominated than it is to the Rabid Puppies. A pure lock-step slate runs the risk of being completely wiped out at a single stage. To ‘game’ the system the Rabids either need lots more nominators [OK they have at max 500 based on the final votes – which is a lot] and very little consensus on the best works from non-Puppies.

I suspect the likely strategy from the Puppies for next year will be a dual riding-coat-tails (i.e. pick stuff likely to do well regardless and declare it theirs – as in their claims of victory for Guardians and 3BP) and/or spoiler nominations (nominating works and people that non-puppies like so that the nominees feel pressured to withdraw or so that in the final vote a good work gets No Award as part of the anti-slate backlash)


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