More on nomination systems for the Hugo awards [Updated]

[Update: an observant reader at File770 has pointed out that I may have misunderstood (and hence misrepresented) Brian’s position i.e. he is not sympathetic to a long list – and that also I may have misunderstood what the long list proposal was. Apologies to Brian in either case.]

So despite my recent attempts to provide counter-arguments in the form of meta-fiction or verse arguments continue at File770 over the E Pluribus Hugo nomination system. I say ‘arguments’ but it has been primarily one person (Brian Z)  repeating objections in the hope that somebody will bite.

The latest is support for an alternative suggestion: instead of a single nomination vote, there could be a two stage nomination. The first stage would be as per normal: eligible votes would submit a set of five (or less) works in each category that they liked. These nominations would be tallied and a long list of 15 works would be produced (possibly with the top 5 indicated). People would then nominate their preferred 5 from the long list. Brian is now advocating for this proposal.

I don’t regard Brian’s argument as sincere as the long list idea seems to have more of the flaws that he objected to with EPH

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Should Hugo nomination ballots and voting data be released?

On the lingering comment thread of the last File 770 Puppy round-up, there is an on-going discussion about whether anonymized ballots should be released. I’ve made some longer comments that I’m putting here. I have re-edited them for coherence and to remove places were I swapped between talking about nomination ballots and final voting ballots without being clear when I was swapping subjects. Also corrected spelling, bad grammar, stupid sentences, etc etc and added links were relevant. Much of this concerns the proposed EPH system for counting nominations which I discussed here.

Anonymity issues

In terms of anonymity the important thing would be to ensure that ballot IDs were not the same across categories. For example for final voting data, I posted how I was voting on all the works-based categories but not on categories like Artist or Editor. Now my preferences on novel, novella etc act as a kind of i.d. in the data that say “Camestros” if the ballots in each category can be linked together. If they can’t (i.e. different ballot codes in each category and assigned in a different order) then it won’t be possible to work out how I may have voted in categories which I didn’t post publicly. The same would be true with nomination data – if I had publicized what I was nominating in some categories but not in others then if complete sets of nominations were made available (i.e. how an anonymous person nominated in all categories) it would be possible to infer how I had nominated in categories I hadn’t revealed. Continue reading