Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

"I'm Not Worthy Enough to Vote"

Over on SF AwardsWatch we have this story about people, including some very widely-read ones, trotting out the old saw about not being worthy to vote on popular-vote awards like the Locus Awards or the Hugo Awards nominating ballot because "I only read a few books" or "I haven't read everything that came out last year, so I'm not qualified to judge anything" or similar thoughts. This is silly. There's nothing that says you have to have read hundreds of books and be widely read in the field to be qualified to say, "These are works that I read, liked, and would be pleased if they won this award." That's all. You're not members of a small select jury obliged to read every work from a list of pre-qualified candidates or entrants.

Now if you say, "I didn't read anything last year," that's different -- you can't nominate the empty set for an award. But saying, "I only read a few books last year, and while I liked them, it wouldn't be fair to nominate them because there might be better books I haven't read" does yourself and the awards a disservice.

I'm starting to think, based solely on anecdotal evidence, that one of the big reasons most of the thousands of eligible WSFS members don't vote is that they don't think they should be allowed to vote because they aren't sufficiently well-read. Those people who do so are of course exercising their right to abstain, but they are also giving up their chance to make a difference to those people who don't think you have to read ten books a day to be sufficiently well-informed to be able to say, "This is what I liked."

Comments disabled here -- read and comment on SFAW if you have an opinion.
Tags: awards, hugo award, locus awards, sf awards watch

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