Discussion continues at File770 and elsewhere on what to do to keep griefers at bay. The current proposals are 3SV (& variants) where a longlist is published and voters get to knock off dodgy works and “Moderated Shortlist for Member Consideration” which has a panel identify stuff, provisionally remove it and then asks members to ratify it (it can also add works).
MSMC may seem overly complicated but the feelings against having a panel screen works without some sort of ratification by members is strong. Fear of a hack panel is strong.
However, going back over my list and thinking about the various things griefers can do and why, I realized I had forgotten to add a top level motivation: seeing people running around because of some relatively small effort on their part. If we account for that as a sufficient motivation then my concerns about 3SV not being sufficient increase.
But a panel is not regarded well, for two reasons:
- The Hugos have rested their strength on the wisdom of crowds.
- Concern about some sort of potentially secretive body that can rig the awards in some way.
So what is the minimum a panel could do and still make it worthwhile and a possible solution?
Admins already rule of eligibility and already have to exercise discretionary power to remove works. Eligibility is defined in terms of what works *should* be but the definitions avoid more subjective elements such as whether a work really is SF/F or not. Now consider extending the notion of eligibility to two other areas:
- works intended to harass or defame are ineligible.
- works designed to disrupt the voting process (e.g. with names deliberately constructed to be similar to other eligible works) are ineligible.
That’s it. Nothing about slates or block votes or anything else. There are lots of issues these two clauses (assuming they could be enforced) would not stop but they close any opportunity to the worst and most disruptive things griefers can do.
Does there need to be a panel to enforce these rules on eligibility? Probably but there doesn’t need to be a new set of rules to set up a panel nor do admins need new powers. They already have the power to rule on eligibility.
What about the rest of the issues? Well I’d suggest +2 (or rather +N) deals with most of the rest. So long as people have good stuff to vote for there is little to be gained (except point 7. “Finalist label-bogarting” – which is basically just sad). Again this is a power admins have used before without a special panel. Furthermore I can think it can be codified as follows:
- In the event of the list of finalists representing less than X% of the total number of voters in participated in the nominations, works will be added so that the revised list represents X% of voters who nominated.
Note that I haven’t mentioned slates. The rule could apply in the case of the legendary/apocryphal over-enthusiastic Doctor Who fans filling Best Dramatic Presentation (Short) with Who episodes. This rules is directly trusting the voters and trusting the wisdom of the crowds – it is just facilitating those so the magic works. It would be include slates because a slate will directly limit the number of fans represented by the set of finalists. For example imagine a slate sweeps a category with these works at these %s.
- Dull Dreck, 23%
- Dull Dreck 2, 22%
- Dull & Duller, 21%
- Dreck & Drecker, 20%
- Dreck & Dull, 20%
Because of the slate discipline, the slate sweeps the category but as a consequence each works represents approximately the SAME 20% of voters. Ethics aside, this is a problem. Adding more works from outside of the slate increases the number of voters represented substantially – but in a none slate year, it doesn’t!
In total that would give these remedies against various kinds of ‘attacks’.
- Extended eligibility checks (stops nasty works and disruptive works)
- Plus 2 (limits slates from sweeping, limits griefers from keeping enemy works off ballot)
- EPH (limits slates from sweeping, helps keep finalists proportional)
- No Award (stops somebody winning a Hugo by default)
It is a flexible set of tools.