Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Hugo Nomination Announcement Day

Yesterday evening, I set up a template for the Hugo Award nominations announcements on TheHugoAwards.org. I got so nervous that at one point I disconnected the computer one which I was doing the setup from the network and made sure the wireless connection was disabled. You see, I'd been given an embargoed copy of the nominations.

Several years ago, on account of a technical failure, we accidentally leaked the nominations a few hours early. (What we thought was a test environment turned out to be connected to the LiveJournal feed and ended up cross posting what we thought was a draft post.) We were accused of deliberately breaking the embargo, which to this day rankles, and for the next few years, the official web site had difficulty getting nominations early so that we could format them for publication. (A fairly time-consuming task, actually; it took me at least an hour to get everything just right.) Having been taken off probation, I didn't want to goof it up again, so I took the machine that would hold the results offline until I was done formatting the release. Furthermore, the page that was actually on TheHugoAwards.org (albeit in draft and password-protected, so you couldn't stumble onto it, and this time the cross-posting was closed off) didn't have the actual results, but was a "dummy" with the name of the convention, the category names, and things like "Winner, Author (Publisher)" over and over again. That way, even if I did goof and hit publish, all that would happen is that a dummied-up release would go out on the RSS feed, which would be embarrassing (we'd look dumb), but wouldn't break the embargo.

Technically, the embargo didn't lift until 2 PM Pacific Time this afternoon; however, when the announcements ceremony at Eastercon ended and the results appeared on the Chicon 7 web site and about a quarter to 2, I figured the wraps could come off and I pasted the formatted results into the dummied-up page, removed the password, and moved it from draft to public and published it. Presto, the 2012 Hugo Awards Announcement Page.

This page will be the same place the final results will appear, as we just move the winner's name to the top and highlight it as the winner during the ceremony. I'm also supposed to re-order the list in order of finish, but I forgot to do that this year until a couple of months ago when it was pointed out to me that the other positions were still listed alphabetically. Getting the winners posted is first priority, and at Reno I was also faced with having Match Game SF to host immediately after the Hugo Awards Ceremony. I reckon I won't have a commitment like that this year in Chicago, and maybe will have a little more time to clean things up post-ceremony.

The Hugo Announcements were being made simultaneously at events at five conventions this afternoon, and all five announcements were to be shown on UStream. I thought they were trying to coordinate the announcements, but it appears that each of the five was independent of each other. I didn't try to follow all five for the entire ceremony — I don't have that much bandwidth — but it looked like Norwescon had severe technical difficulties and both Minicon and Eastercon had fair difficulty getting the sound to pick up well. I'm not sure where the Chicon 7 twitter feed was based, but it started putting forth nomination results as well at a pace that didn't seem to match any of the feeds I was following. It was all marvelously out-of-synch, meaning that the word spread slightly unevenly, but I don't see that as too big a deal. I thought Chicon's ambitious five-convention-plus-online reveal was pretty cool even if it didn't work 100%. Consider that just a few years ago, it would have been practically impossible to even try it. Soon, I expect we'll consider it routine.
Tags: hugo awards, worldcon
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