Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

You Don't Get It Both Ways

I now see the next wave of special pleading from supporters of this year's Hugo Award finalist slates, insisting that it's wrong to No Award works without reading them and you should only do so after reading them and because you don't like them. I've been accused of being disingenuous. I'm not. Indeed, as a defender of WSFS rules, I'm quite consistent.

There is no central authority that can disqualify a nominee for abuse of process (AKA "gaming the system"), only for for technical reasons such as wrong year or wrong length or no qualification in eligibility year. I don't actually think it's possible to write comprehensible rules to completely guard against abuse of process. Only the members as a whole can respond to abuse of process by a minority of the members in a Hugo Award election.

None of the nominating ballots counted in this year's election was illegally cast. As far as the administering Worldcon was able to determine, each ballot was legally cast by an individual natural person. But in more than 30 years of being part of Worldcon, I have never seen such a reaction from the membership as a whole to the majority of the finalists as I've seen this year. Oh, sure, there are always nominees that leave you scratching your head and saying, "What were they thinking?" But not more than half of the finalists. I don't recall ever repeatedly being asked how the Business Meeting could declare the entire ballot void. (They can't.) I've never seen widespread calls for cancelling the entire Hugo Award election. (Not allowed; I'll explain why if asked.) This massive groundswell of public opinion shows that a lot of members of WSFS believe that there has been an abuse of process. But there's only one remedy for this sort of abuse of process, and it's not to tear up the rulebook.

The only way that the members of WSFS can respond to Hugo Award finalists that they do not think deserve to be on the ballot for any reason is to vote them below No Award. If you want a more subtle approach, you actually have two options:
  1. If you thought a work was worthy of being a Hugo Award finalist, but don't want it to win because you disliked it sufficiently badly, rank it somewhere on your ballot below No Award.

  2. If you don't think a work should have been on the ballot in the first place for any reason including if you think the work was pushed onto the ballot by unethical-but-legal actions, rank No Award somewhere on your ballot (including 1 if the whole slate meets that definition) and don't rank those offending works at all.

So understand that I'm completely consistent here. Rules apply equally to everyone; otherwise, we might as well not have rules at all.
Tags: business meeting, hugo award, worldcon, wsfs
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