April 4th, 2013

Cheryl 2

More Cheryl on Hugos

Cheryl has more to say about this year's Hugo Awards to which I have little or nothing to add.

I think Cheryl's "X% or Y nominations, whichever is less" threshold to replace the current 5% minimum is a good idea and would be willing to support such a proposal at this year's Business meeting. I'm not troubled about the Y absolute getting out of date in a few years. (If it does, we can change it again.) I think possibly 25 is the value for Y, but I could be talked into other numbers. At a $40/supporting membership (which thankfully looks like it will be the price for the 2015 Worldcon), a floor of 25 would mean "buying" a Hugo nomination would cost you at least $1000 in any of the categories where you can reasonably expect at least 500 ballots to be cast, and that's still enough money in my opinion to discourage most people from even trying it. Also, while it's not impossibly expensive to "buy" a Hugo nomination, "buying" a category win is impractical. Any nominee that looks hopelessly out of place will be swamped by the electorate in an instant-runoff voting system. Nobody with enough interest in the Hugo Awards to want to "buy" a category is likely going to invest enough money to buy a "knockout" (more first-ballot votes than all of the other nominees and None of the Above combined).

Why Worldcon Isn't Free and in Your Backyard

Adapted from a post I made today elsewhere, little of this will be new to most of you, but I guess it bears repeating periodically.

One of the repeated complaints I hear is that Worldcon is Too Expensive and that it's "always" in the USA and that it's wrong and the Worldcon should be held outside of North America more often, like maybe every year or at least nine out of ten. Notwithstanding the arrogance that blithely considers Canada to be part of the USA*, there's a whole lot more to unpack in complaints that there aren't enough non-North American Worldcons and how unfair it is that Americans always have a Worldcon near them.

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So really, there's no conspiracy. It's impossible to run a Worldcon that costs $25 to attend with a 5000-room cheap hotel connected to it with lots of cheap, good food right around it and also that is located in a major metro area with cheap, convenient transportation links to everyone in the world. If you can't travel very far, the best you can do to continue to participate is to buy a supporting membership (and actually to vote in Worldcon site selection, which amounts to buying your supporting membership to Worldcon N+2 every year at the lowest possible price) and plan for that once-a-decade shot when Worldcon is within easy travel distance. And if you live in a tiny village hundreds of miles from the nearest large metropolitan area, well, frankly, you're out of luck. It's not the job of Worldcon to come entertain you, and demanding that it do so is just being unreasonable.

*I wonder how many people so easily declaring that Canada is just part of the USA would react badly if I declared that Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, and Dublin were in "England." (Nobody need educate me on the difference between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, thank you. I'm making the errors deliberately to demonstrate other people's foolishness.)