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On crowdsourcing Hugo nominations

Someone sensible has looked at how the available data compares with Brad Torgerson's claim to have drawn up his Hugo nominations slate with "the democratic selection system of the Hugo awards... No “quiet” logrolling. Make it transparent."

It's clear from the figures that of the five novels recommended by Brad Torgerson, only three were actually recommended by his readers. They were Trial by Fire by Charles E. Gannon (unsuccessful); Skin Game, by Jim Butcher (successful) and Monster Hunter Nemesis, by Larry Correia (declined nomination). The other two on the slate received no mention at all when Torgerson asked for nominations. They were The Dark Between the Stars, by Kevin J. Anderson (successful); and Lines of Departure, by Marko Kloos (withdrawn).

Less easily visible, but equally interesting: four other novels were mentioned by three people each on Torgerson's discussion, and were unaccountably omitted from his slate when he proposed it. They were A Sword Into Darkness, by Thomas A. Mays; The Martian, by Andy Weir; Judge of Ages, by John C. Wright; and The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Steadfast, by Jack Campbell. Another 21 novels received a nomination each, which is one nomination more than Anderson's or Kloos's. I have read and enjoyed The Martian, which has far more owners on both LibraryThing and Goodreads than any other sf novel in the awards process so far this year, and it strikes me as exactly the kind of old-fashioned science fiction that some regret is not getting due recognition these days.

For Best Novella, "The Plural of Helen of Troy", by John C. Wright, got three nominations and was on Torgerson's slate. But the slate also included "Big Boys Don't Cry", by Tom Kratman, which had no nominations in Torgerson's crowdsourced discussion; and it did not include "Island in a Sea of Stars" by Kevin J. Anderson, which got two nominations, nor "Sixth of the Dusk" by Brandon Sanderson, which got one.

For Best Novelette, four stories were each proposed once in Torgerson's discussion. Torgerson's slate, however, comprised four completely different nominees which had not been mentioned in that discussion, and none of those that were.

Similarly, for Best Short Story, two potential nominees got more than one mention in Togerson's discussion. They were "Domo", by Joshua M. Young, which got a massive five (more than anything else in any category except Interstellar), and "Queen of the Tyrant Lizards" by John C. Wright, which got two. Neither, however, appeared on Torgerson's slate. Another 18 stories were each mentioned once in the "crowdsourcing" discussion. Two of those did make it to Torgerson's slate, as did two stories that had not been mentioned in the discussion.

In other words, of the 16 written fiction nominees on Torgerson's slate, 11 - more than two-thirds - had not actually been nominated by anyone in the crowd-sourced discussion from which, we are told, the slate emerged.

2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n't) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are
Best Novel | Short fiction | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Pro and Fan Artist | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC)
The Martian is either not eligible for a Hugo or at least widely thought to be ineligible, because of a previous self-published version. Though your general point still stands...
Apr. 18th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
In fairness, that point was made in the original discussion on Torgerson's blog, and I should have caught it.
Apr. 18th, 2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
For all that Brad Torgersen maintains that it was all above board, transparent & done in the open, parts of the Sad Puppies process was evidently not transparent (how was the initial longlist reduced) or open (given the number of works on the final slate that were not mentioned in the open call).

I can think of two reasons why works recommended in the open call did not make the final slate: the nominees declined to be on the slate, or it was realised the works were not eligible prior to the slate being finalised. There may have been other (less innocent) reasons in play - but we can't be certain because of the lack of transparency.
Apr. 18th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this.
Apr. 19th, 2015 01:04 am (UTC)
Andy Weir, not Anthony.
Apr. 19th, 2015 07:04 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2015 04:39 am (UTC)
Here is the full context those quoted fragments came from.

Apr. 19th, 2015 10:42 am (UTC)
As you will have seen, I posted my comments there as well. Eagerly anticipating a reply!
Apr. 20th, 2015 10:14 am (UTC)
not holding your breath I hope!
Apr. 19th, 2015 12:10 pm (UTC)
ISTR that Charles Gannon declined being on the slate. It was discussed in one of the early threads on Making Light- maybe the "distant thunder" one.
Apr. 19th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
I tried to check this out. As far as I can tell, he discovered that he was on Torgerson's slate very late in the day, but I don't see a record of his withdrawing, so I suspect that he did not get enough votes and the issue did not arise.
Apr. 20th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
I've conversed with Gannon via Facebook. He did NOT withdraw, and seemed a bit disappointed that he didn't get a nomination.
Apr. 21st, 2015 12:05 am (UTC)
In fairness, I think sourcing nominations to that crowd would result in this garbage getting nominated.

Apr. 21st, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)
What, no mention of the fact that Kratman's "Big Boys Don't Cry" is openly transphobic, and has a character that is a deliberate shot at a former USMC tanker who happens to be trans and who has criticized Kratman in the past?

I mean, seriously, that's not the sort of behavior we want to nominate for a Hugo.
Apr. 21st, 2015 05:15 am (UTC)
Thanks. I haven't read it, and I don't plan to, as I am No Awarding the entirety of both slates. Even if that weren't the case, Kratman's online behaviour would deter me from looking at his work.
Apr. 24th, 2015 06:57 pm (UTC)
May we link this on metanews? We also post on DreamWidth and Tumblr.
Apr. 24th, 2015 07:05 pm (UTC)
It's a free internet - go ahead!
May. 2nd, 2015 07:11 am (UTC)
22 April 2015 - 29 April 2015 - Part Two
User metanewsmods referenced to your post from 22 April 2015 - 29 April 2015 - Part Two saying: [...] some broad psychological principles that apply." topic:hugoawards On crowdsourcing Hugo nominations [...]
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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