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Dang, my little traffic counter is tired—Vox Day linked to my last blog. I normally get an uptick when File770 links, but now we see who the real powerhouse is. Thanks to all who stopped by. It’s good to have discussion, although this one got a little off-track.

I read all the comments, here and also on these two respective sites. There are interesting responses. First, I gather that some people have a quite a personal investment in the Hugo Awards. The suggestion I made in the blog that DragonCon had looked at the Hugo controversy and would be in competition turned out more than one knight-errant to defend the Hugo Awards. Steve Davidson wrote a response supporting my position that the Dragon Awards are likely to change the flow of both money and promotion in ways that will undermine the Hugos.

The big question was about what I meant by “the Hugo process where works are winnowed through a narrow review and recommendation system and onto the ballot.” Although the Sad/Rabid Puppies have been severely trashed for their viewpoints, a faction of fandom has looked at their complaints critically and moved to analyze the awards process in response. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recall that I’ve featured statistical studies of the awards process for both the Hugos and the Nebulas during the last year. These show that prominent recommendation lists can be used to predict the nominees pretty accurately, and that the awards process is subject to bias. Other studies have shown the lists have limited sources, low diversity and a tendency for repeat appearances. The award winners for both the Hugos and the Nebulas are typically chosen by relatively small groups of individuals that lean to professional writers, editors and publishers. This is what I’m calling a “narrow” process.

I don’t know that you can ever eliminate these problems. People will always need a system to sift through what’s available. One of the main issues is how to work through the sheer number of SFF works published during the year, and another is the fierce competition to use the awards for their promotional value. I expect the Dragon Awards will have similar fairness issues. Plus, you can bet some people are already looking for ways to manipulate the results.

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