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Gary Farber
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Do you have a worry that with only five nominees, they were the only stories worth nominating? Why not have ten nominees? Or 20? Or simply have only one round of voting? Yes, these are are possible choices, and thus arguably "arbitrary," but the numbers we currently have: 5 nominees unless there are ties, in which case we have more, or unless we don't have enough that meet the 5% rule, in which case we have fewer. You're free to argue why the numbers should change, but simply saying that the current ones are arbitrary isn't an argument for change, and simply saying that you don't like the current numbers isn't other than a subjective preference, rather than an objective argument for some alternative numbers. You're completely entitled to your subjective preferences for how many nominees there should or shouldn't be, but I'm not seeing that you have an *argument* beyond "this is what I like." I may be missing it, to be sure.
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2013 on End the Hugo Award 5 percent rule at Jason Sanford
I suspect we'll have to simply agree to disagree. "The 5% rule may have worked back in the old days, but in today's new world of fragmented publishing it is limiting what Hugo voters can consider." In the "old days" of 40 magazines, how did it work better? I see your explanation as tautological. You never explain why the reasoning by which we created the rule is now invalid. You simply disagree with it. That's fine, but your repeated statements that the rule used to make sense, but now doesn't, remains unsupported, so far as I can see, other than by your continuing to repeat it as self-evident. (Which it isn't.) The whole idea of having two rounds of voting is to limit the number of nominees. So what? Limiting the nominees is hardly controversial. The only time you touch on what your actual problem is is when you write "I said I was worried about the perception that, when we only have 3 nominees, that those 3 were the only stories worth nominating." But what's the problem with having only 3 nominees? You feel it's self-evidently a problem. I don't, and neither did the Business Meeting when we created it. What's the new problem that suddenly exists with having only 3 nominees if/when that happens? A problem beyond This Is Obviously A Problem Because I'm Saying It's A Problem? You also continue to not address the fact that the rules are the rules for the Hugos, not the four fiction Hugos. Do you wish the 5% rule changed for all the categories, or do you want two separate rules? You can't ignore this point if you wish to submit language to change the constitution. Speaking of which, what's the actual specific language you're proposing? Please don't take any of this as other than friendly disagreement! At worst, consider that if you wish to submit a motion to the Business Meeting and persuade a majority to vote for it, you'll want practice at answering questions such as mine. :-)
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2013 on End the Hugo Award 5 percent rule at Jason Sanford
Thanks muchly for explaining your view, Jason. I don't share it, but now I understand it more clearly. I was around when the rule was created, and the purpose was as stated above by Kevin, and myself: if a nominee can't muster even 5% of the the voters, it's by definition a not very popular nominee and a nomination by only 4% of voters would represent the judgment of only a tiny and unrepresentative number of voters. It was considered that letting a handful of voters put something on the ballot would be sufficiently unrepresentative of the views of the WSFS that WSFS decided they'd draw the line at 5%. 5% isn't exactly a lot. It's hard to have a smaller figure. We only have four whole numbers left. Is there *no* minimum percentage you would consider small enough as to not be significant? If a story took only two votes to be nominated, would that be okay? I don't know if you answer would/will be "yes," or "no," but if it's "no," I'd ask where you'd draw the line yourself. If it's "yes," then we disagree, as I don't think that the views of two people are significant enough that they should determine a Hugo Award nomination. As to the damage done, I'm just not seeing any damage done with three story nominations instead of five, save that, tautologically, there are two fewer nominations. (Not the same as two fewer people with nominations in most categories, since one or both addtional nominations might have gone to someone already nominated, save for the body of work awards.) "From a public relations point of view, this is like saying there weren't enough stories worthy of making the ballot in those years." Yes. And? I'd also note that there are 17 categories, and only four go to text fiction. Are you proposing a special change only for the fiction categories? How do the majority of Hugo categories, the other 13 categories, fit into your schema about what the 5% rule should or shouldn't be? Restricting discussion of the rules to the implications for a minority of categories is to ignore the implications as regards the majority of the categories. "Back when you only had four pro SF/F magazines, it was easier for a significant number of stories to reach the 5% mark. Now, when there are nearly 30 pro markets for SF/F short fiction, it is very difficult for enough Hugo voters to read any particular story and raise it over the 5% mark." Yes. The field is vastly more fragmented in a great many ways than it used to be. That's the way it is. This has also always varied by category, as well. How many, exactly, of the fanzine category have you always read? Has it troubled you that the number of possible nominees is large, and the nominators fragmented? Is this new? How about Best Semi-Prozine? It remains exactly the case as it always was: if a nominee in any category can't raise even 5% support, it's got very little support. It's hard to argue that 6% of the voters represents the preferences of a significant number of voters. "As for the damage caused by the rule, twice in recent years it has constricted the number of finalists in this Hugo category." Yes. "From a public relations point of view, this is like saying there weren't enough stories worthy of making the ballot in those years." Yes. You're asserting that it's a "problem" if there are only three stories on the ballot in a category, not five. I gather you believe that it's a problem because having only three stories nominated in a category is "like saying [to you] there weren't enough stories worthy of making the ballot in those years," but I don't understand why I should think *that's* a problem. So, what if there weren't 4 stories that got 5% of the vote, and therefore we might be saying there weren't enough stories worthy of making that ballot category that year? So what? There will always be a minimum of three nominees in each category. Where does a problem arise? (Particularly a new problem.) "[...] I don't want the Hugo to begin having this same problem." Two points: 1) we'll never have no nominees; we're required to have a minimum of three. So if your worry is that we'll have "the same problem" as in giving no award, this can't happen, and can't happen because of the 5% rule, which *requires* there be new fewer than three nominee. So no worries there. But let it also be noted we specifically have a mechanism for voting No Award if we desire; this isn't deemed a dreadful outcome if it occurs (well, everyone gets a subjective opinion, but the system is constructed with the intent that No Award is potentially going to be a desired outcome at appropriate times). 2) if your worry is that we'll only have three nominees in a category, instead of four or five or six, can you tell me why I should care and see this as a problem? A sufficient problem to make it desirable to overturn the rule and let only a handful of nominators get something/one a Hugo nomination?
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2013 on End the Hugo Award 5 percent rule at Jason Sanford
I was hoping to get some explanation as to why the rule "is not helpful in this current age." I might be persuadable, but it's definitely difficult to persuade me you're correct if you provide no reasoning whatever. I'm a bit puzzled you'd be moved to write a post calling for a change in the WSFS Constitution, but then be uninterested in making an argument for why people should be interested in, or support, such a change.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2013 on End the Hugo Award 5 percent rule at Jason Sanford
If a story can't find even 5% of the voters took enough interest in the story to nominate it, it's difficult to argue 4% of voters significantly represents the views of the voters. (It's hard enough to argue that with 5%, or 10%, or 15%, which is why 5% is as crazy low as you could go and make any sense at all.) This isn't some old concern; it's a concern that will always be relevant. I respect your differing opinion, but I'm not seeing a good argument for agreeing with it. Please consider me an open-minded person on the topic, though, because I do think I'm perfectly open to a good argument as to why the rule is no longer relevant. My problem is that I'm not seeing in your post any actual argument or reasoning. You just repeatedly assert that it's "not relevant to today's genre" and is an "old view" and so on, without explaining *why* it's no longer relevant. "it is not helpful in this current age." Well, *why* is "not helpful"? Helpful to whom? And why not? You don't provide any explanation here. It's pure argument by assertion. You may consider the reason the rule is "not helpful" and "not relevant" to be obvious. It isn't to this reader. So my request would be that if you wish to convince me that you're correct that the rule should be abolished, could you please explain what your reasoning is? What problem are you trying to solve? Is there something wrong with only 3 stories being nominated? If so, what would that wrongness be? Thanks kindly.
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2013 on End the Hugo Award 5 percent rule at Jason Sanford
I wish he would. Gary hasn't been around lately, AFAIK. Not remotely intentional. Major distractions in life. Now I've got a lot of depression going on, but I otherwise hope to start at least commenting more, and build up to posting again.
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