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13 April 2015 @ 01:04 pm
Yet Another Hugos Post  
I'm a bit late to the "party, but i figured i might as well throw my 2 cent hat into the ring. Just over a week ago the nominees for the 2015 Hugo awards were announced, and things have kind of gone to hell in a handbasket.

--------------------- Background Details ---------------------

It seems that two years ago a group of people, who i shall refer to as the Disgruntled Canines, took it upon themselves to "reform" the Hugos and put together a "slate" for the nominations. i.e. a specific list of nominees that everyone who agreed with their viewpoints could vote in. This is generally referred to as "ballot stuffing", and although it is not actually against the rules it is generally frowned upon.

To be sure, listing your own works that are eligible is generally considered fairplay, particularly if you restrict yourself to a single post without "excessive" promotion. It's also considered fair (at least by most people i know) to provide a space for other people to announce eligible works. What's considered a bit uncouth is to create a specific voting list (these give works for catgory X, these five people for category Y, etc) and then tell everyone else that they should vote for it too.

If the "Disgruntled Canine" slate had any effect two years ago i didn't hear about it at the time. (Only in the past few days did i find out that it actually existed at that time.) But last year they publicized a bit better and they got several people on the ballot for the finals. This caused a great deal of consternation in the community and discussion about how to deal with it. When the final votes were counted i don't believe any of the works that were on the slate won in any categories, and a number of them ended up coming in behind "No Award". So crisis averted?

Well the Disgruntled Canines were apparently quite happy with the consternation they caused and decided to up their game. This year they picked more people for their slate, got even more publicity, and outside of "Best Novel", "Best Graphic Story" and "Best Dramatic Presentation" (Long and Short) the nominees were mostly dominated by the "Disgruntled Canine" slate.
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Needless to say there was even more consternation when those results were announced and there is much discussion about what should be done about it. The immediate suggestion proposed by a lot of people is to just vote "No Award" for vast swathes of the Hugos this year. There are problems with that response that i'm not going to delve into here, but there's also concern about how to deal with the issue in the long term. There have been a lot of people saying the system needs to be changed, and some people claiming that the committees in charge of the Hugos are already working on changes behind the scenes.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a great way to change the system to prevent this kind of thing from happening where the cure isn't worse than the disease. I don't think making the voting more restrictive would really help, and i don't think requiring people to have some kind of credentials or pass some kind of test would be a good idea. (We already have awards like that, one of which is called the Nebulas.)

So here's the ideas i have that definitely won't solve the problem, but i think would ameliorate it somewhat. I shall list them in what i expect will be from least controversial to most controversial order.

1: Allow people to nominate more than five works in a category.
2: Restrict each nominee to one entry in each category.
3: Add a new "Nominating" membership level for WorldCon with a *cough* nominal fee. (Say, $1.)
4: Make the total nominating votes both public and updated on an ongoing basis during the nominating process.

Here are some alternate ideas that i don't like as much and don't synergize with the others listed above, but might help.

5: Restrict the nomination round to full members.
6: Make the number of nomination slots smaller than the number of final slots.
7: Have a jury pick the works that go on the final ballot, possibly in correlation with voter nominations.

--------------------- Details and Explanations ---------------------

1: Allow people to nominate more than five works in a category.

This is an easy fix and an entirely sensible change that i feel should have been made long ago for reasons entirely unrelated to ballot stuffing.

Imagine that George RR Martin, who we all know is a prolific and speedy writer, decided to wrap up "A Song of Ice and Fire" this year by releasing three novels, "The Vermilion Birthday Party", "The 107 Course Feast of Castamere", and "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies". Now imagine that there are 9 people who are huge GRRM fans but are also conscientious voters and don't want to fill up 3/5ths of their Best Novel nominations with the same author. 3 of them vote for "Birthday Party" because they were really excited when the first one came out, but were kind of worn out for the sequels. 3 of them vote for "The 107 Course Feast" because they thought it was the high-point of the story arc, and also they're foodies. And 3 vote for "Rocks Fall", because voting for the last book in the series just makes sense. Even if it's really depressing. (But it's GRRM, so what did you expect?)

Meanwhile imagine Eric Flint, who we all know is a conservative right-wing firebrand, releases "314159", the final book in the Ring of Fire series. 4 people who are upset with the "liberal trend" of the Hugos decide to vote for this book just to "stick it to the man."

It's easy to see the circumstances that could follow on from that which would lead to "314159" making it to the finals while none of the GRRM books do. And it's even easier to see how such a situation could arise if those four disgruntled people are coordinating their actions via a slate. With coordination even if Eric Flint released one or more other books the disgruntled group could make sure to all push the same one.

However imagine that each person could nominate 20 works/people for each category. Now those GRRM lovers can nominate all three of his books without feeling bad, because they'll still have 17 other spots left to nominate other authors. Now GRRM's books will coast into the finals with 9 votes each while Eric Flint will be left out in the cold. Unless of course some of the GRRM fans decide to use their extra spaces to vote for Flint. (In which case Flint has the support of both groups, so that's all good.)

The downside to this plan is that making the choice of who to nominate less difficult might turn the awards into more of a popularity contest. But really i think it's a little late to pretend that they're anything else.

2: Restrict each nominee to one entry in each category.

I think, given what happened with this year's Hugos (and what's happened with Doctor Who in years past,) that this would be a good idea regardless, but it would be practically a requirement if idea #1 was implemented. From the previous example it would be a little silly to have three GRRM books in the finals. (Damn you GRRM for writing like the wind!)

My original though was to just handle things as normal during the nomination stage and then merge "duplicate" items after the nominations were over. However then i realized that would give authors who produced more than one item in a category a distinct advantage. If someone wanted to game the system (and the whole reason this discussion is happening is because we know there are people who want to) they'll just fill their nomination list with as many works by that author as possible. And author who put out three short stories in a year and has a dedicated fan base will be three times as effective at getting onto the final ballot as an author who only put out one story.

The only way i can see around this would be to limit the nominations to one work by an author in each category. If someone tried to nominate more than one work by the same author in a category the first such instance in the list would be counted and the rest would be ignored. Whichever work by that author got the most votes would be the Hugo nominated work.

I feel that the nomination stage shouldn't be changed (in regards to this issue) but after all the nominations are in there should be a winnowing phase.

First the top five items with the most votes should be selected. Then if there are any repeats (based on author for the relevant categories, and possible based on TV series for Dramatic Presentation) the votes for those items should be merged and the new top five items should be examined. Repeat until there are five distinct finalists.

I feel it would be fair in that situation for anyone so merged to claim that all of the merged works were "Hugo nominated." I'm unsure if the listing in the final ballot should be the merged work that had the most individual votes, or if the author should get to choose which of the items to highlight, or if all of the merged items should be listed as a single item in the final ballot. I can see pros and cons to all of those options.


The cons to this are that it effectively turns "Best Novel/la/ette" into "Best Author Who Writes Novel/la/ettes". It also prevents authors from getting more than one nominated work in a category even if they produced multiple works that actually deserved the honor. (I can think of some favorite authors/creators who would theoretically suffer from this system.)

But on the pro side this would actually make the nominations a _lot_ easier for me, especially if this idea wasn't implemented in conjunction with #1. I wouldn't have to decide whether or not to give multiple nominations to a favorite author, and wouldn't have to decide between voting for their work that i liked best vs voting for their work that i think is most likely to get to the final round.

3: Add a new "Nominating" membership level for WorldCon with a *cough* nominal fee. (Say, $1.)

As previously mentioned i'm generally opposed to making voting for the Hugos more restricted. So the only other thing to do is make it more open, at least for the nominations. It would be a huge change, but i feel like it would be a win-win move.

A new category would be added to the "full" and "supporting", possibly called "nominating", or possibly something more catchy than that. In any case they would be able to nominate works but nothing else without upgrading their membership.

The nominal fee would provide a small bit of extra revenue to WorldCon, which could be earmarked for administering the Hugo nomination process and additional bandwidth and such, but the main purpose would be to provide an easy way to prevent people from (easily) voting multiple times. Particularly if payment was required via credit card or some other method that made it easy to verify the identity of the person.

It has been argued before that the supporting membership (currently $40) should be cheaper in order to provide a lower barrier of entry for fans who are not well-off. It has been counter-argued that lowering the barrier to entry would just lead to ballot stuffing. Well the supporting membership price was not decreased, and yet here we are having this discussion anyways.

It is possible that this would only exacerbate the current problem. Now the Disgruntled Canines would be able to recruit an even larger horde of people on the basis of it only costing $1. However i'd like to believe that there would be at least as many people with differing viewpoints who would like to participate in the process if it were financially feasible.

I think this would be even easier to accomplish if they also...

4: Make the total nominating votes both public and updated on an ongoing basis during the nominating process.

This would be completely abandoning the pretense that the Hugos are anything but a popularity contest, but as previously stated i think that ship has already sailed.

Every day the Hugo website would update a list of all works that are currently nominated and how many votes each one has.

This would prevent the Disgruntled Canines, or any other group that tries to form a slate, from "sneaking" into the ballot. It would presumably also result in lots of cheerleading and people urging their friends to register as nominating members. However once again i don't really see any way to proceed from this point except to make the voting process more inclusive and more populist.

On the plus side it would help promote both the Hugos and WorldCon, not to mention the authors/works in question. In fact for the categories where it's relevant each item in the list could have two or more links next to it. One to a small sample of the work in question and one (or more) to someplace where an electronic copy could be purchased or rented. Overall i think this would be a win-win. More participation, more discussion, and more people actually reading (or at least sampling) the works that are what we're doing this for in the first place. Yes there would be more drama as everyone gets in a tizzy over what is (or isn't) at the top of the list on any given day, but it's already been demonstrated that it's too late to avoid that anyways. I think it's better just to get it out in the open.

And in the end one of the things the Disgruntled Canines claim is that they feel the Hugo awards have become too "literary" and esoteric and have gotten away from their "popular" and "fun" roots.

I don't think that's true (cf. http://www.blackgate.com/2015/04/04/a-detailed-explanation/) but i also don't think that "popular" means the same thing to the average fan that they think it means and it might be interesting to give them the more "popularity" based awards they're clamoring for. I would like to believe that giving them what they claim they want would not result in the outcome they desire.

The con to this idea (other than the aforementioned drama) is that i'm not sure how much the actual final round of the Hugos would matter in this scenario. If you already have five finalists ranked by the number of nominating votes that people have been arguing about and rehashing for weeks or months, would anything change significantly in the final voting? Or would whoever came in first in the nominations always take first in the finals?

And the other ideas i don't agree with as much:

5: Restrict the nomination round to full members.

There have been a number of proposals about how to restrict the number of people who can vote in order to prevent ballot stuffing. As should be clear from above i'm more in favor of opening the system up more rather than trying to close it down. (Though as someone who only started participating in the system about five years ago my opinions are obviously rather biased.)

However if opening up the voting process more turns out to be a non-starter i think restricting just the nomination round to full members would be a reasonable compromise. The idea is that the internet has proven that there are a lot of people of *ahem* a certain political/moral persuasion and are willing to rig an election in their favor who have $40 to spare.

The con is, aside from the obvious downsides of preventing a lot of people who've been doing things the "right" way from participating in the nominations, that if these people could spare $40 just to spite some people they don't like i'm not sure if increasing the price to $210 will be enough of a disincentive.

6: Make the number of nomination slots smaller than the number of final slots.

The exact opposite of #1. Keep the final ballot the same size but reduce the size of nomination round to 1-3. Or keep the nominating round at 5 but increase the size of the final ballot to 10 in each category.

The theory is that if the Disgruntled Canines, or anyone who follows in their lead, puts together a slate of 5 nominees then those 5 will make it onto the final ballot, but so will 5 other works, and the much larger population of voters in the final round can be trusted to sort things out appropriately.

The con is, with enough support the Disgruntled Canines (or anyone else interested) would only have to put together multiple slates and make sure their group was evenly divided between them. It makes slates a little more complicated to organize but far from impossible.

7: Have a jury pick the works that go on the final ballot, possibly in correlation with voter nominations.

This would fix the current problem, but definitely create other problems, as well as kind of breaking what i think the Hugos are all about.

The big question of course would be "who shall pick the pickers?" And what standards should they use to judge the works? The jury could just be a backup review system, to disqualify anything that "obviously" only made it into the top 5 of nominations only because of voting shenanigans. But coming up with guidelines to determine that would be very difficult, and the first time they were applied to disqualify one or more works would almost certainly result in a firestorm of controversy.

It would also make the accusations (which i believe to be currently baseless) about the Hugos being controlled by a secret cabal practically true. It would be a somewhat ironic twist to have the rabble-rousers bring about the very thing they were rousing rabble against, but i'm not sure it would be worth paying that price in order to fingerpoint at them and go "Ha ha!"
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Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
 
Реактивный микрокиборг / Wingless Angelcorneredangel on April 13th, 2015 10:09 pm (UTC)
1: Allow people to nominate more than five works in a category

My immediate reaction - this obviously devalues the effect of even a nomination. And in a market as small as SF/F, *anything* to get your book to stand out from all the others is a Big Deal...

...the other question that's in my mind is simply - so far, there's a lot being said about how horrible the "gamed" slate is.

Has anyone who could be in a position of Authority and Good Critical Taste actually looked at the slate nominations? What if at least some of them are really worth a vote on the merits?

...and of course the other *other* thing is, hey, some people are just not used to the idea of voting a slate. For other people, voting a slate is the whole point *of* being a member of a particular group, and the reward.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 14th, 2015 01:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think allowing >5 nominees per category will solve anything. The best suggestion I've seen--which is going to be put forward at the Business Meeting this year--is to decrease the number of nominations per ballot and increase the number of final nominees: rather than 5/5, go to 4/6. Logistically this makes it harder for a single slate to dominate all slots. It could still dominate 4 of them, true, but not all 6. (This is #6 in the list here.)

secritcrush is reading the slate nominees and is ... less than impressed. I read a couple of them (via the links on their lj) and agreed on one ("Ashes to Ashes...." it was boring!) and thought the other was a cool idea and well executed, though the flaws SC pointed out in worldbuilding are definitely flaws (Totaled).

As to the ones from last year's SP, I gave up on Vox Day's pretentious garbage five pages in (it was on par with Shannara fanfic written by a thirteen year old who is utterly convinced of his profundity). I read all of The Butcher of Khardov and found it competently executed but unoriginal. The two by Torgersen were competent but boring and jingoistic and unoriginal, respectively.

The thing is, SFF already has a juried award: the Nebulas, which are voted on by members of SFWA. They also have a people's choice award, run by Locus magazine.

Now to address things from the original post that aren't in the comment I'm replying to (because I don't want to start a new thread.)

#3 is not going to fly, because there was a constitution change proposed last year, which needs to be approved again this year to pass, to forbid any changes to membership rates (ie to make a low-price voting-only membership). That idea shows that the proposer doesn't know that the "supporting membership" to a WorldCon is essentially a voting-only membership. The qualification to vote in the Hugos is membership in WSFS. A supporting membership is your dues to WSFS. A supporting membership is by definition a voting-only membership.

There are two threads over on Making Light about voting systems (guest posts by Bruce Schneier), and they're very long and detailed and interesting.
(Screened comment)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 14th, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
Was this meant in response to me? I am confuse.
DonAithnen: Squid Plush Confuseddonaithnen on April 14th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC)
No, sorry, tried to respond on my phone the first time and must have done it wrong =P
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 14th, 2015 08:53 pm (UTC)
Ah, the joys of LJ threading!
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 15th, 2015 02:21 am (UTC)
I still think reducing the nomination size is a horrible idea =/

First because it hampers both the people playing fairly as well as the Canines. Who do i drop from the ballot? The Jack Campbell or LE Modesitt Jr who i really want to see get some Hugo love but i intellectually know don't have a chance? Or the Seanan McGuire or John Scalzi whose most recent books may not have been quite as exciting as the previous ones but who still have the best chance of making in on the ballot and displacing a Canine nominee? Either the rich are going to get richer or the vote is going to be even more split. (Because splitting the vote is effectively the intent.)

But it's not actually going to hamper anyone who's even halfway effective at organizing, which is the one thing the Canines _are_ good at.

Sad Puppies #4
If your first name starts with A-M:
#1 Torgersen, #2 Corellia, #3 Vox, #4 Wright
If your first name starts with N-Z:
#1 Vox, #2 Wright, #3 Ringo, #4 Card

Done! While i'm agonizing over Campbell vs Scalzi they walk away with all six nominations.

(Obviously for optimum effect you'd want more groups with a statistically even division, but that serves perfectly well for demonstration purposes.)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 15th, 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
If they do that [A-M vote X, N-Z vote Y], they can't claim, as they are, that it's "just a suggested list!" So there's that.

The answer to "but what do I put on the ballot?" is "the things you liked best."
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 15th, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
That's a simple answer, but it's too easy.

What if i like a lot of books approximately equally? Who do i put on the list? The lesser known author who really needs a push? or the well known author who has a better chance of making it on the ballot?

I left Scalzi off my ballot because there were other authors whose books i liked about as well, but who i felt needed the attention more than Scalzi. Now after this all blew up i feel like i made the wrong decision.

(And if Ann Leckie hadn't made it on the ballot anyways i would have felt even worse about not having had time to read her new book before the nominations.)
DonAithnen: Squid Plush Grumpydonaithnen on April 14th, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
"My immediate reaction - this obviously devalues the effect of even a nomination. And in a market as small as SF/F, *anything* to get your book to stand out from all the others is a Big Deal..."

How does that devalue the effect of the nomination? I'm not suggesting that there should be more than 5 nominees in the final bracket, just that each person should be able to nominate more than 5 works. In the same way that individually each person can (and frequently does) vote for five items in the finals, but only one item will be the winner. (Well, with the rare exception of ties of course.)


"...the other question that's in my mind is simply - so far, there's a lot being said about how horrible the "gamed" slate is.

Has anyone who could be in a position of Authority and Good Critical Taste actually looked at the slate nominations? What if at least some of them are really worth a vote on the merits?"

I read, or at least skimmed, the works they submitted last year. They ranged from mediocre to horrible. I don't know of anyone "of Authority and Good Critical Taste" who has had the chance to review all the works yet. One friend of a friend has gone to the trouble to get most of the works ahead of the official member's packet and their conclusion was "So far they've been pretty meh, frankly (and one was so bad that I'd rank No Award above it whether it was on a slate or not)."

Of equal concern is that the nominees show a stunning lack of diversity. And i'm not even talking about the fact that the majority of them are by white males. A single person got six of the nominations (well, at least before it was discovered that one of the works nominated wasn't even eligible.) And nine of the nominees were published by a single "micro-publisher."

"Coincidentally" the head of the micro-publishing house was the person who organized one of the two slates (the one that ended up coming out on top) and the author is one of his buddies.

Which would be bad enough by itself, but the author is a homophobe with violent tendencies, and the publisher is a racist sexist neo-facsist. He claimed that the people repeating his statement that a fellow member of the SFWA (before he got himself kicked out) was a "half-savage" because she was black was taken out of context. If you actually examine the context what he said was much, much worse.

I believe in "judge the art, not the artist" to a moderate degree. However when an artist starts including their extreme views in their art it obviously becomes fair game, and when they intentionally set themselves up on a soapbox to publicly shout their viewpoint, using their fame/notoriety as an artist to back it, then it becomes fair to judge them based on that as well. Or to put it more simply, i don't judge people by their private beliefs. If they advertise their beliefs publicly then it may have an impact. The publicly they advertise those beliefs and the more i disagree with those beliefs the more likely it is to have an impact.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/12/right-wing-trolls-hijack-scifi-oscars.html?via=mobile&source=twitter

http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2015/04/13/vox-day-says-his-totally-not-racist-comments-have-been-taken-out-of-context-in-context-theyre-even-worse/
DonAithnen: Squid Plush Grumpydonaithnen on April 14th, 2015 08:51 pm (UTC)
"...and of course the other *other* thing is, hey, some people are just not used to the idea of voting a slate. For other people, voting a slate is the whole point *of* being a member of a particular group, and the reward."

As for slates themselves. I am very used to slates. Anyone who participates in national or state politics is used to a slate. Slates are super-effective at what they do, and they ruin everything they touch. Right after poorly designed voting systems slates are probably the number two cause of two party systems. I participate in slates for national and state elections because the results are so important to our lives, however i'm not happy with what it forces me to do. The choices seem to usually be between bad and worse.

It's kind of amazing that the Hugos have avoided slates for as long as they have, just based on common culture and a gentleperson's agreement. It probably helped that the finalist voting is pretty well designed and thus discourages slate voting, but the nominating round was sitting there wide open waiting for someone to take advantage of it, and for decades no one did.

I loved that when voting for the Hugos i didn't have to pay attention to any party lines, i could just vote for whoever i liked the most without worrying that it might help someone i didn't like win.

In theory that's still true in the finals, but the intent has been entirely circumvented by what's going on in the nominating round. Now, if it doesn't turn out to be possible to nip this trend in the bud, the only effective counter-strategy will be an alternate slate. And then i'll have to choose between voting for a slate that will almost certainly include some items i don't really like, or voting for what _i_ want and inadvertently helping the opposing slate filled with items that i _really_ don't like. Thus perpetuating the two party system into yet another venue.

I find it hard to imagine anyone really finds that rewarding. If they do i can't help but think they're more concerned with "winning" than the actual intent of the contest, which i find both sad and aggravating. And when they're doing it to promote a political agenda it's infuriating.

If "No Awarding" multiple categories can short circuit that process it will be unfortunate, but better than the alternatives and will be less damaging in the long run. Of course the person who organized the second slate has threatened to destroy the Hugos if that happens, which just proves that he's not really interested in improving the Hugos. "If i game the system that's great, but if you game the system in response then fuck it all!"
Beth Leonardbeth_leonard on April 14th, 2015 04:59 am (UTC)
I wonder if it's too late to try to appeal to people's honor -- requiring with a nomination at the least a checkbox, and at the most a selfie-video saying "I have read the work which I have nominated and I believe it to be worthy."

For final votes, again, a selfie-video submitted with the vote that says, "I have read at least 3 of the five nominations and I am voting for the one I want to receive the award."

Plus, the organizers could make a cool compilation video of all the people who have submitted votes.

I think the idea of a slate is fine, but it's got to be more than just a popularity contest. [ETA: Popularity contest of works people have heard about but haven't read. If a work wins because it's actually good and was popular, then that's fine.]

--Beth

Edited at 2015-04-14 05:00 am (UTC)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 14th, 2015 01:06 pm (UTC)
The Hugos have *always* been a popularity contest. The contest is among members of WSFS, which is a subset of (all people who read or watch SFF). Before the internet, people talked in print zines, APAs, and at conventions: "did you read X? It was AMAZING." With the internet, now there are a lot more people who can say "I read X, it was AMAZING, you should read it!"
DonAithnen: maddonaithnen on April 14th, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC)
I disagree, slates are horrible horrible things. (See my other comment for more details.)

And as akiko said it always has been a popularity contest. And there's nothing wrong with that as it's a personal popularity contest. When it becomes a political popularity contest it makes me grumpy and sad =/
Steuardsteuard on April 14th, 2015 11:37 pm (UTC)
Honor is useless as a filter at this point: the Rabid Puppies recruited GamerGate as politically-aligned support, and a substantial fraction of GamerGaters appear to be utterly devoid of moral compass. A person who would make rape threats or send a SWAT team to raid an uppity woman's house isn't going to be deterred by a checkbox or even a video.

And that's my argument against the $1 nominating membership as well: GamerGate draws on *chan culture, where sockpuppetry is an accepted social norm. I'd expect a bunch of folks in that crowd to nominate hundreds of times, just for the lulz.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 15th, 2015 02:07 am (UTC)
You don't think requiring payment via credit card would limit sockpuppetry?
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 15th, 2015 11:42 am (UTC)
You can buy multiple memberships at once. One for you, one for your partner, one for your kid, say. Payment by credit card won't stop that.

Also, a supporting membership is by definition a nominating-only membership.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 15th, 2015 09:33 pm (UTC)
Um, i do not understand what you're saying. I've gotten a supporting membership multiple times and in every instance i have been able to vote in the finals.

As for the credit card thing. You're right, if it were done at all a nominating membership would have to be restricted to one at a time, specifically for the person named on the credit card. Which is sadly limiting for people unable to get a credit card, but i can't really think of any better way to prevent sockpuppetry =/
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 16th, 2015 01:54 pm (UTC)
*voting-only.

The only criterion to nominate and vote in the Hugo Awards is membership in WSFS. Right now, that is $40 (a supporting membership).

There is a motion at the business meeting which passed last year and will be ratified if it passes this year that forbids any change in membership levels (ie, there can be no membership level below "supporting"). I agree with this, tbh.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 24th, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
3-time Hugo administrator and head of this year's business meeting Kevin Standlee explains why lowering the cost of a supporting membership (or making a level below that, which is going to be explicitly banned after this business meeting, assuming the proposal is ratified) is a bad idea here.