March 21st, 2012

Kevin 1994

Doin' the Meme Stomp Again

Something Cheryl wrote today reminded me that as we are in Awards Season (albeit that the Hugo nominations are now closed and we await the results to be announced over the Easter weekend conventions), it would be a good idea to remind people of what I wrote last year about the Hugo Awards and what Cheryl wrote about pernicious Awards memes. I wish I'd remembered to re-post this back in January.

I'd like to believe that last year's improved turnout was partially due to convincing more people that they shouldn't disqualify themselves for the wrong reasons.
Hugo Logo

Time Enough for Hugo Love

Over on The List That Shall Not Be Named, there is a discussion about how the last few years have seen the Hugo Award nominating deadline adjusted so that the nominations can be announced at various conventions held on Easter weekend. When Easter is relatively early, this shortens the period for nominating, and this has led to the complaint that we're not giving people enough time to evaluate the works published in the previous year.

(There's a separate issue — which was actually the root of the original discussion — about whether announcing the Hugos at conventions over Easter is better than issuing a press release on a Tuesday (the best day for press releases) in a non-holiday period, but that's a different discussion. As usual on THLTSNBN, the discussion drifted away from the original question.)

In my opinion, no matter when you set the deadline, you will still have many people complaining that they didn't have enough time to evaluate the previous year's works. So the question becomes "how much enough to satisfy most people?"

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Do I think this is a good idea? I'm not sure. I am sure that it would complicate the Adminstrator's life because it would probably make it more difficult to determine whether a work was published in the correct period. Some works only have a year of publication, not a month. (For instance, works published with no stated publication date only have a copyright date, which is a year.) The current calendar-year system is easier to administer at the expense of possibly penalizing works published late in the year. Or maybe not, since works published early in the year sometimes are forgotten by the time next January rolls around, and this proposal would exacerbate the problem.

I expect the proposal would significantly reduce the credibility of the "I didn't have time to evaluate the works" complaint, although it will never eliminate it entirely.

Should anyone really want to take up this proposal, I'll draft it in the proper technical form for you. I don't expect to introduce it myself.