Monday, April 06, 2015

The Problem with Slate-Voting for Popular Awards Like the Hugos

Like the vast majority of people who've been voting for the Hugos for years, I have never, ever voted for a slate of people/works. It's certainly been tried. I haven't voted for people I've known for a long time, because I've never viewed the Hugos purely as a popularity contest. I have always believed the Hugos should go for quality works.

I don't believe the slate-voting that produced the 2015 Hugo nominations was a crime or an act or war. I think it was wrong, but it did not break any of the current set of rules, mostly because no individual/group had ever carried the notion of a slate to such an extreme.

In fandom, we often work together, but we act as individuals. It was unthinkable to find 200 people in fandom to vote in the lock step manner the SP slate demanded. So I'd argue anyone who did vote the SP slate is, by default, not a fan.

No matter who wins next August, unlike almost every other year, this year's Hugos will not reflect the votes of Worldcon members, because the nominations were so skewed. Some good works probably will win, but many good works, under the old "cream rises to the top" theory, didn't even make the ballot.

The fact that a slate took over the nominations does not mean I won't vote this summer. I certainly will vote, and I will work to help keep slates from taking over a ballot in the future.