Those working on amendments to the WSFS constitution, specifically those amendments to the Hugo Awards voting process designed to counter slates and “bad actors”, have written up and put forth their proposals well in advance of the Business Meeting, in order to afford WSFS members an opportunity to review and discuss.
The primary, and, in my opinion, most important of these proposals is 3SV or, Three Stage Voting.
3SV is a straight forward and simple addition to the existing process.
Currently, members of the convention (and eligible voters from the preceding and next Worldcons) make up to five nominations in each of several different award categories. Those nominations are tallied, reviewed for eligibility, nominees are given an opportunity to decline, any adjustments necessary are made and a final ballot is produced, consisting of the top 5 nominees in each category, sometimes as few as three, sometimes as many as six, depending on whether or not enough nominees meet minimum vote requirements or if there is a tie for fifth place.
One additional “nominee” is then added to each category, that of No Award. (A traditional addition that is routinely used by voters to reflect dissatisfaction with all nominees in a category, or even with the category itself.)
Members then vote by ranking nominees in each category, 1 through 3, 4, 5 (or 6).
Final tallies involve an elimination process and a winner is arrived at.
3SV would insert an additional vote between nominations and final voting. (Nominations > 3SV > Final Vote.) Up to the top 15 nominees in each category are presented to the voters, who in effect have an opportunity to preemptively vote No Award for each of the 15 nominees. Based on the criteria of the proposal (here), nominees that receive above a certain threshold of “reject” votes during this round are removed from the list of 15 and the remaining top 5 nominees – based on the original nomination counts – are then placed on the final ballot.
Nominees of questionable origin, undeserving nominees and nominees gamed onto the ballot can be removed at this second stage, which will prevent bad actors from acquiring a “Hugo Award Finalist” designation; voters will not have to choose to vote for something reprehensible or No Award the entire category; the effectiveness of slate voting will be seriously reduced, if not eliminated.
The bar for rejection is high – 60% – so it is unlikely that anything but those works generally perceived as having arrived on the ballot through unfair means will be eliminated during the process.
Amazing Stories fully endorses the passage and use of 3SV – whether separately or in conjunction with EPH, 6+1 and the other proposals. We do so for one primary reason:
3SV returns an active role in the process of rejecting slates and campaigning for awards to the voters. It does so in a way that does not disenfranchise anyone, prevents bad actors from taking advantage of the awards and clearly demonstrates the will of the majority during the final voting process.
We urge anyone attending this year’s business meeting to vote for the adoption of 3SV.
The current voting rules and the entire Hugo Awards process can be found here.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the editorial position of Amazing Stories, its owner and The Experimenter Publishing Company. The views expressed may or may not coincide with those of independent contributors to the site.