(I personally am taking no position on this proposal. Any proposal that I co-sponsor this year and that passes necessarily requires me to recuse myself from presiding over its consideration next year in Helsinki. I offered my drafting skills to Lisa just as I did to other people this year on other proposals, not necessarily ones for which I will vote.)
She can't use the title I originally gave the proposal because one of the EPH-related proposals appears to be using approximately the same title, so we gave it the more prosaic name below.
Short Title: Additional Finalists
Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of allowing the Committee to add up to two additional finalists to each Hugo Award category, by adding a new section after existing Section 3.8 as follows:
- Section 3.X: Additional Finalists. The Worldcon Committee may add not more than two additional finalists in each category, provided that such additional finalists would qualify to be in the list of nominees described in Section 3.11.4.
Moved by: Lisa Hayes, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, David Wallace
Commentary: The Worldcon Committee already has the authority to add an additional category at its discretion. This proposal extends that authority to allow the Committee to add additional finalists as well.
The 3.11.4 list is the “Top 15” list of those nominees placing among the top 15 in each category, and also includes any nominees that received at least 5% of the nominations in a category, but not fewer than five nominations. This proposal would give the Worldcon Committee (in practice, the Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee) the authority to add one or two additional finalists in any category from among the “Top 15” list. The Committee would not be required to add finalists in any category, but could at its sole discretion add zero, one, or two finalists in any category.
The makers of this motion presume that the Committee would include among its Hugo Award Administration Subcommittee persons they think qualified to judge the merits of works and to decide whether they should exercise their authority to add supplemental finalists to the final ballot. Such additional finalists would not be marked as “supplemental” on the final ballot, and it would only be known which finalists were added after the Hugo Awards were presented when the Section 3.11.4 list was published. In fact, the Committee would not need to say anything about why there were more than five finalists other than to point out that there are two possible reasons for it: ties involving the final position among the top five and the Committee's discretionary picks.
The purpose of this amendment is to allow the Worldcon Committee to make a judgement call to allow additional finalists onto the final ballot if the Committee thinks that it would be in the best interests of the membership to do so. In past years (not just recently), it has been clear to many people that works placing in the top five probably did not reflect the true intent of the membership as a whole. There have been calls for Administrators to throw out individual ballots or disqualify finalists. Administrators have historically not removed works from the ballot except for technical reasons such as being published in a prior year or being the wrong length, or occasionally for not being sufficiently related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom. However, there is a rare, but extant precedent for a Committee to add a work when they think that the five finalists do not, for whatever reason, reflect the actual intent of the electorate. This proposal would make this authority explicit.
The makers of this motion do not wish to make the Hugo Award a juried award. They do, however, want to give the Committee additional flexibility in administering the Award by allowing them to add finalists to the final ballot, as long as those nominees are among the top fifteen nominated by the membership.