EPH Not Effective Enough; Other Options Considered


I wanted to point to three good posts at File 770, for those of you who are following the ongoing Hugo Awards mess.

First, Analyzing EPH. Bruce Schneier, based on an academic paper co-written by Jameson Quinn, wrote this post describing what would have happened if E Pluribus Hugo had existed last year. (I’m oversimplifying.) “The number of slate nominees would have been reduced by 1 in 6 categories, and by 2 in 2 categories, leaving no category without at least one non-slate nominee.” So that would have been an improvement – but a smaller improvement than many have hoped.

The problem is what it’s always been – a minority of bad actors, voting in unison or near-unison for a small group of works, can overpower a majority of honest voters who (being honest) spread out their nominations among many, many choices.

The data demonstrates the power of the Puppies. The category Best Novelette provides a good example. This category had 1044 voters, distributed over 149 different works with 3 or more votes. Of these voters, around 300 (29%) voted for more Puppy-slate works than non-Puppy ones, and about half of those (14%) voted for only Puppy-slate works. These numbers are also roughly typical. The other 71% of the ballots included under 3% with votes for any Puppy work (this is relatively low, but not anomalously so, compared to other categories).

Schneier points out a technical modification to EPH – which in comments came to be called EPH+ – which would make EPH a bit more powerful, and would mean that the number of slate nominees would have been reduced by 2 in most categories, instead of just by one.

Second, Hugo Voting Idea Toolkit. File 770 comment-writer “Stoic Cynic” compiles, in greatly nutshelled form, many different suggestions people have made for slate-proofing the Hugo Awards.

And third, Three Possible Hugo Voting Alternatives. In this post, Kevin Standee outlines three of the leading proposals – Three-Stage Voting (3SV), Double Nominations with Approval Voting (DN/AV, sometimes just DN), and Plus Two (+2). This is the post that currently seems to have the most active discussion (and the discussion seems to be about all the ideas to modify the Hugo Awards, not just the three ideas Kevin described).

I’m in favor of EPH and then adding EPH+ as soon as possible (which isn’t very soon, because the WorldCon Constitution requires any change to be approved of at two consecutive WorldCons before being implemented). As for the other ideas… I’m sure that something is necessary, but I haven’t yet formed a firm opinion of which idea is best. (And I think that more ideas will be coming.)

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