April 2nd, 2007

Hugo Trophy

Not Reading Past the Headline

I've been mildly busy today (when not working at my real job) responding to people in various places online who didn't read past the headline on the Hugo Corrections Announcement and said it sounded like an April Fool joke to them, even when people (like me) who are credible said it was real. (We were either in on the gag or had been duped, it appears.)

Is it just me, or doesn't the ethos of April Fool jokes include, "No fair saying 'This isn't a joke' in the announcement?" I've always thought the best April Fool press releases are those done deadpan, but claiming something isn't a gag when it really is is cheating.

Apparently, putting "this isn't a joke, even though it's April 1" in an announcement and in the FAQ wasn't enough for people. And of course, we've got people putting scare-quotes around phrases such as "counting mistake," implying that something nefarious is going on. Why is it that so many people want to assume a conspiracy when simple human error is perfectly credible? Do people really think that the Hugo Awards are administered by a Secret Shadowy Cabal of SMOFS who use the Austrian Ballot (vote as often and as secretly as you like and the administrators will decided the result without reference to the ballots).

The real "secret" of the Secret Masters of Fandom is that they're not actually secret.