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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Transferring the vote 2

Just a short follow up to my sort of proposal in this post. To recap I was discussing the difference between Instant Runoff voting (aka Alternative Vote) and Single Transferable Vote. In that post I described a way that STV could be used in the Hugo awards.

Applying that all to the Hugos could sort of be done by a two stage nomination process:
  • Do a long list of nominations based on some basic percentage cut-off (say every nominated work with more than 1% of all nominations)
  • Use STV to pick the top 5 nominees in each category (so categories are like constituencies, and books etc are like candidates.

I forgot to say why this would be an interesting but probably very bad proposal.

The positive side would be this two-stage nomination process would stop a Puppy like slate sweeping the board of nominations. Unfortunately the down side is much worse than I outlined.

In the second stage people who wanted to try and exert influence over the Hugos would know the field of nominees. As a consequence the likely response would be to produce how to vote guides that would seek to maximize the influence of that group. A group that was genuinely committed to a specific slate of works might simply list their preferred order but a more likely response is for a group with a significant minority of votes would prioritize some non-slate works from the list of nominees. That would have a duel effect – single issue voters or perhaps partisans for a specific fandom encouraged to vote 1 for their own preferred work but 2 for some other work. When 2 wins, victory can be claimed.

The net result would be the Hugos would become less dominated by simple slates but more dominated by attempts at preference deals and alliances between groups of voters. Consequently they would become more political and more factional. So all in all not actually a proposal I’d back.

Transfering a vote

May Tree: I have a Hugo voting related question for anyone in the know. The vote is done by “Instant Runoff Voting” — is that essentially the same thing as Single Transferable Vote

[From here: http://file770.com/?p=23214#comments ]

Yes and no. Alternative Vote (instant run off) and Single Transferable Vote have a lot in common in terms of process. The difference is how many people you are electing (or works choosing in the case of the Hugos).

  • AV uses a preference system to pick one person out of several.
  • STV uses a preference system to pick SEVERAL people out of a larger set.

AV basically ensures that people can vote for less popular choices and still have their vote count when it comes down to picking between the two most popular candidates. So it lets minority parties exist (so to speak) but doesn’t guarantee that they will win any seats. In the US it would mean a Green Party or some sort of Tea Party Party could stand in an election and people could vote for them first and then another party second that stood more chance of actually winning.

STV makes is more likely that the final results over a large set of elections (e.g. a parliament, or congress) are proportional to the votes cast. So, in the US, you might have a bigger congressional area and at an election 3 or 4 congresspeople would get elected for that one area in one single election. If the constituency was approximately 25% Green, 25% Democrat and 45% Republican and 5% File770Commenters then the end results might be 2 Republicans, 1 Green and 1 Democrat get elected for a four seat constituency.

Applying that all to the Hugos could sort of be done by a two stage nomination process:

  • Do a long list of nominations based on some basic percentage cut-off (say every nominated work with more than 1% of all nominations)
  • Use STV to pick the top 5 nominees in each category (so categories are like constituencies, and books etc are like candidates.

The obvious downsides is that this is a more involved process, it requires even more voting and may not work very well if participation is low.