March 11th, 2015

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Hugos: 3 for 2 Reverse Split?

Up front: I am chairman of this year's WSFS Business Meeting. I am not taking a position on the items I mention below. I bring them up because they seem to bring together a series of parallel complaints about four Hugo Award categories, and I'm raising the possibility of these changes as one possible solution. Whether I think they are good solutions or not I'm not saying. It's difficult to give an answer to complex technical questions in Twitter-speak, so I also want this as something to which to point when people raise any of the topics.

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In my opinion, a fairly significant proportion of the SF/F community doesn't understand the historical reasons for the evolution of these categories, and rejects the reasoning as (at best) outdated when it's explained to them. Fair enough. Times change, and there is a process for WSFS to adjust to those changes. Here's one possibility for changing the categories around that might settle some of the disputes, although I'm sure it would create more. Remember, I'm not personally advocating these, nor will I take a stand on them. I'm already going to have to recuse myself from consideration of one constitutional amendment this year; I don't want to have to do it more than once.

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The net effect of the above would be to kill three categories and create two, reorganizing the people and works that are eligible in the categories, and remove a bone of contention about Best Related Work.

I recognize many other issues that this would raise, and again, I'm not actually advocating the changes. I am, however, trying to provide a framework for people who are pressing for change but are not necessarily WSFS rules geeks like me to begin thinking about what constructive changes that have some possibility of getting past the Business Meeting (don't forget practical politics) might be.

If anyone wants to take a shot at doing any or all of these changes, contact me and I will work with you to develop the specific wording and to put it in the proper format for submitting to this year's Business Meeting. As I hope everyone reading me knows by now, I generally will help anyone draft proposals, even those I personally oppose, in order to try and minimize technical arguments over the meaning of a proposal. This year, doing that is part of my job description on the 2015 Worldcon committee.

Administrative note: You don't need a LiveJournal account to reply to this, but posts from non-members go into moderation, and I ask non-members to sign their posts so I know who you are before I approve them. Also, for some reason my e-mail is eating LJ notifications (not junking them; never delivering them), so I may not necessarily see your responses immediately.