Firstly if you haven’t checked out Martin Pyne’s Sankey diagrams showing how the preferences flowed, check them out on Twitter:
One thing we’ve looked at before is how many finalists should there be. I still think 6 is the sweet-spot and I also think this year validates that.
This bubble graph compares the ranking of the finalists in the EPH stats with the final ranking from the transferable vote stats. As a generality, popular nominees are popular finalists, as you might expect. If you had to bet on what the final rankings would be with nothing but the EPH rankings to go on then you generally wouldn’t be very wrong if you just picked the EPH ranking. However, you’d still be wrong quite often.
Notably Best Related Work and Best Editor Short Form both had winners that were sixth in the nomination process. That’s a notable divergence from the bubble graph being something other than a diagonal line. A more quirky difference is Jonathan Strahan in Best Editor Short Form is the only finalist to be second in both processes.
O Westin asked in the comments:
“I might be misreading/misrepresenting the data, but if I understand things correctly, the closer the initial points are to the number of nominations, the more focused that person’s nominators are”
I think that is correct and if so, we could look at the ratio of the raw vote to the initial set of points to quantify that a bit. Here I’ve ranked fan writers by that stat (sorry, it’s the only category where I grabbed these numbers).
|James Davis Nicoll||66%|
Note that the ratio certainly doesn’t sort finalists from non-finalists. There is a finalist (Adam) in the 70s and a finalist in the 40s (Cora). Primarily this is because with EPH the raw votes matter most. When it comes to each elimination you get more points for your raw votes if your votes are more “bullety” which makes it a bit less likely that you end up in a head-to-head elimination. However, in the end, it is raw votes that decide whether you get eliminated. As people get eliminated, the survivors own points get more bullety.
tl;dr a “bullet vote” set of ballots is neither a substantial advantage or a disadvantage with EPH and nor is the opposite. EPH really only makes a difference when comparing two nominees with a similar number of raw votes.
I think the two-stage voting process for the Hugos is pretty neat all round. I wouldn’t change it currently. However, if I was devising a new award and wanted only one stage of voting, EPH looks pretty good.
- Voters only have to list things they like.
- You get many of the features of ranked voting without the rankings
- It avoids ties. (arguably this is a bug rather than a feature)
If I suddenly had a lot of money/time to create a new SF award program, I’d go with single stage EPH voting with voters having up to 10 nominees per category. However, rather than a single winner I’d award the final three as the joint winner.