Any port in a storm and any number in a statistical dessert. There is a media release from Dragon Con about this year’s ballot. It has a numerical nugget in it:
“In 2018, more than 10,000 fans cast ballots for Dragon Award winners, selected from 94 properties in 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming, and tabletop gaming.”https://www.dragoncon.org/mediarelations/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2019-Dragon-Awards-Ballot.pdf
It’s a media release, so it’s easy to nit-pick (e.g. the award very much is NOT the full range of ‘fiction’ — they obviously dropped a qualifier there). Also, there can be a specific issue when such numbers announced to confuse what is being counted i.e. the number of votes versus the number of voters. However, the wording implies that this is the unique number of voters. I think we can also safely assume that the number is less than 10,500.
Is that plausible? Yes, very much so. It’s roughly a 100 votes per finalist and it is very plausible that on average a finalist could marshal that many fans to vote. I estimated that in 2016 Vox Day had somewhere between 160-180 Hugo voters in the final ballot ( see https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/estimating-rabid-puppy-numbers/ ) and the Dragon Awards are far easier to vote in. Of course some finalists won’t have bothered and there will be substantial fan-overlap between some finalists but also some nominees will bring a lot more folks to the party. That’s also assuming the figure does not include any cheating via pay-for-votes services (either because finalists didn’t cheat or because such votes were identified and discounted). Altogether, I think that magnitude is a good basis for other estimates.
What else can we infer? Well, it is safe to assume that the number of people nominating is a lot less. Based on other awards, I think we can assume a factor of 2 i.e. 2 final votes for every nominating vote. That would be a hefty 5 thousand+ people nominating. Very hard to tell how those nominating votes would spread across categories and nominees though.
What I imagine is that most people who choose to nominate do so because of a specific call to action i.e. somebody they follow saying that they should vote. I think this is a safe assumption because the promotion otherwise is very thin. However, of the works a single voter might nominate only one is likely to be in direct response to that call to action i.e. Author X says ‘nominate me’ a fan thinks ‘sure, why not’ nominates Author X’s book and then nominate bits and bobs of other stuff. The odd thing is that those calls to action are more likely to be from authors who appear in down-ballot categories (with a couple of exceptions) and the bits-and-bobs more likely to be in the higher profile categories.
But another way, you might need 1000+ nominations to be a finalist for Best Fantasy Novel but much less for the other categories. I think that is on a balance a positive feature of the Dragon Awards. A category like Best MilSF brings in a lot of fans of Author X, Y or Z who then vote more organically elsewhere. It would be interesting to see what would happen if there was a Best Paranormal Romance category.
Any other stray observations? Only that the odd wording about the nomination process is used in the press release:
“The ballot was selected in an open nomination process. Using the dedicated Dragon Awards website, fans were invited to nominate one (and only one) of their favorite properties in any or all the award categories. Nominations ran from early April until July19. The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.”
The “best and most popular” appears to be a very deliberate term and implies two categories of finalists.
Observant eyes will have also spotted that the nomination process is stated as running from “early April”. According to the website, nominations are supposed to start from November of the previous year. In reality, the process was much messier for 2019:
- You could sort of access a nomination page in December 2018 https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/dragon-award-nominations-are-open-sort-of/
- Mid February 2019 things were much the same https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/so-hows-the-dragon-award-going/
- The end of February things got better https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/wow-the-dragon-award-website-has-been-updated/
Did nominations submitted before April count? Who knows.